The Pilot mode is inspired by racing games and aims to be a mix of the speed and fluidity of games like F-Zero, while having combative elements more reminiscent of MarioKart and Twisted Metal.

The Pilot is given various choices by way of forks in the road. On each lap, Pilots have the choice of attacking the enemy’s base, collecting items for their team, and collecting charges which are used to attack the enemy’s base. These choices exist in order to give the Pilot the ability to use different strategies, and also to overcome the racer’s disadvantage of being locked to a set course. If the track had no forks, a well-armed Soldier or high-level Hacker could easily pick off a Pilot on each lap.

Pilots earn points by collecting up to 10 charges from the road and then deliveries them by passing by the enemy base. How much energy they steal for their team depends on the number of charges delivered and the Pilot’s level. Pilots earn levels by completing laps. Pilots are intentionally designed as ‘glass cannons’. They have the greatest potential to earn points, but given their comparative lack of freedom, they are also the most vulnerable of the modes. We did this because Pilots cannot choose to engage other players as easily, so by making them the most potentially powerful, we force the other modes to engage them.

Given the Pilot’s penchant for drawing unwanted attention, they have a suite of items to help them survive. Speed boosts help them get around the track faster while shields make them briefly invulnerable. Missiles automatically find the nearest enemy and fire at them, meaning that Pilots can attack Hackers and strike back against Soldiers without needing to aim. Playing the Pilot successfully relies on agility, awareness, and good decision making regarding when to use items.


Puzzle games are difficult to represent in the same way as other game genres because the variation between puzzle games is much larger than between first person shooters (for example). We have chosen to use Match-3 to represent the puzzle genre for now, although the Hacker framework could easily support a wide range of puzzle concepts in the future.

We want Hackers to be able to interact with the other modes in 3D space, without the players needing to aim, navigate 3D space, or otherwise deal with 3D aspect of the game that aren’t a part of a traditional puzzle experience. The primary methods for doing this are through Hacker Nodes and turrets. When a Hacker begins a game of Fusion, they exist in a ‘Logged Out’ state, during which they can see the entire map, but cannot affect it. There are a number of Hacker Nodes on the map that they can click on in order to log in. Once logged in, the player is presented with a game board and has access to several ways of influencing the game. In our demo level, there are a total of 6 Nodes on the map, each with slightly different properties. At your opponents’ base, making matches earns points, the amount of which depends on your level. You cannot earn levels at your opponents’ base, however. At each other node, you earn levels, but cannot earn points. The middle Nodes are team-specific, meaning that opposing Hackers cannot attack you and boot you the same way they can at base nodes. The remaining two nodes are unlockable nodes, which must be opened by allied Soldiers or Pilots, but have a bonus to the speed with which you earn levels.

In addition to the abstract differences between nodes, their physical location matters. When a Hacker is logged in, their Node lights up, making it easy to tell where Hackers are. These locations can then be attacked by other players. Rather than imposing a Health bar on puzzle players, we instead tie damage into their experience more directly by having it lower their progress bar. This makes them able to earn matches to keep themselves alive. If their progress bar becomes empty while being shot at, however, they are booted, which costs them a level and makes them unable to log back into to that node for 15 seconds.

In order to defend themselves from these attacks, Hackers have a couple of options. The first is a shield item, which makes the Node immune to damage for a short while. The second is the ‘turret’ item, which places a turret near their node. These guns automatically target and attack nearby enemies. Their damage, health, range, and tracking speeds all depend on the Hacker’s level, making the puzzle player’s skill directly relate to how easy their turrets kills Soldiers and Pilots. In this way, Hackers can be aggressive as well. Logging into a node that enemies need to pass by and activating five turrets is a good way to ruin someone’s day.


Soldiers represent the first person shooter genre and adhere to most of the conventions of those games. They have a pistol with infinite ammo and can use items to arm themselves with more powerful assault rifles and rocket launchers. Although some of the Soldier’s strategy is specific to Fusion, the basic mechanics are identical to Halo, CoD, or any other FPS.

Soldiers are the most aggressive of the modes, having easy ways to hunt down and destroy any other player in the game. Doing this not only serves a tactical purpose, but also strips those players of levels, while adding levels to the Soldier. Like the other Modes, Soldiers steal more energy at higher levels, so Soldiers will often be well-served to attack other players early on and then attack the opponents’ base once they have earned a high level.

The way in which Soldiers earn points for their team is somewhat like a backwards version of capture-the-flag. They must pass through a charging station at the center of the map and then, once charged, reach their opponents’ base. Both the charging station and base are on the race track and near Hacker nodes, meaning that the other modes have ample opportunity to help or oppose them.