Preview - CyberJudas (DOS, 1996)

D.C. True call themselves "creators of software for the mind and the heart" – their creative efforts are directed at software that is entertaining, challenging, realistic – and educational. CyberJudas, their newest and most spectacular work, promises to teach a lot about politics, economics, and the potential for blackness in the human heart . . .

CyberJudas is, at its core, a massive political simulation: You, as the player, will portray the president of the United States in a not-too-distant future. The entire planet is simulated, and you are the most powerful person IN it . . . Over forty types of action can be taken, and each will affect the globe in a massive ripple effect driven and managed by a sophisticated AI. You must live with – and strive to understand – the consequences of your actions.

You'll have a lot of help in doing the latter, at least. Your link to the world is a massive computer network – a cyberspace simulation that sits somewhere between current global net-systems and the fanciful nets of science-fiction. The information that you'll be required to deal with is MASSIVE – but the following screens are only a few of the features at your disposal:

THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK: A sizable text on the state of the world, right down to each of 160 individual nations. Each country will be acting on their own political agenda throughout the game, and what is happening where will be displayed in detail. In addition, the ORIGINAL CIA Factbook will also be available for review, so you can monitor how much the global climate changes under your influence. This feature is an expanded version of the one in CyberJudas' predecessor, Shadow President.

THE CITY/PROJECTED EFFECT SCREEN: The player can go into individual quadrants of the city which have been affected by his actions, and get stats and result displays at any level of detail. This will be a combination of the City Icon and Country View screens in Shadow President, and replace the "Action Results" displays, which used to be simple bar charts and numbers.

THE EVENT HORIZON VORTEX: A multi-purpose screen which will allow you to view any of the events in the simulation from a variety of angles. You'll be able to run up and down regional and national timelines, checking each event for details such as "who initiated this?" – vital clues for solving the problems of the game. This feature includes "The Tracer" – essentially an on-line private investigator which will help you unravel the events at need.

YOUR ADVISORS: D.C. True is breaking new ground with their version of this, a traditional feature in many "God Games." In CyberJudas, you have a close cabinet of advisors who will offer advice on what course of action to take . . . However, these aren't just faces offering statistics. Each is a fully developed character – with motivations both personal and political, driven by sophisticated personality simulations. And it is among your cabinet that the real novelty of the game arises. Beyond just being a political sim of unmatched detail, CyberJudas has a terrifying premise: One of your advisors is trying to undermine the power of the presidency and send the world into violent chaos.

To achieve his goals, the traitor will advise you along courses that will bring about his plan. He is close enough to you to know almost every move you make, and he can appear to you in cyberspace as OTHER advisors, further baffling your attempts to determine who among your trusted cabinet he is. To make matters more complicated, the OTHER advisors each have their own legitimate agendas that they are pushing – and you have to weed out the serpent before it's too late for the world.

To win the game, you've got to balance the world through cyberspace, stay elected, avoid assassination, impeachment and scandal – and find and bring to justice the CyberJudas.

The philosophy behind the game is the essence of D.C. True's efforts – to combine entertainment and education – with a hint of exploring human nature. Characters are being modeled down to their dress habits and leisure-time activities. The interface will include dozens of major advancements over the one used in Shadow President, and will be less abstract, more informative, and friendlier. Perhaps more importantly, information on WHY events happen will be provided, allowing you to trace good and bad results back through the tangle of interrelated events . . . By tracing correlations back to the agendas of your advisors, the traitor can be rooted out, and then brought to justice.

That's a lot to find in gameplay – but on top of that, CyberJudas will be taking full advantage of the CD format to bring STUNNING fully rendered graphics and animations to the game, The atmosphere is a tense and frightening one at times, and the resulting package should be – at the very least – a classic in the genre of political intrigue.