- For the Electronics Skill, see Electronics (Skill)
The "Electronics" Mini-Game is one of the four major mini-games that may be played during a mission in Covert Action. In this Mini-Game, Max is trying to rearrange the circuitry on a circuit board to install a Wiretap or Tracking Device, while trying not to trip any of the alarms connected to the board.
When Wiretapping, this is done to obtain information from a particular Hideout without Breaking Into it, or to monitor future Message Traffic to and from that Hideout. When placing a Tracking Device on a car, a successful game will reveal the location where the car's owner resides.
The Electricity Mini-Game comes up whenever Max tries to install either a Wiretap on a Hideout's phone lines, or a Tracking Device on a car leaving a hideout and headed for someplace else. Both games are nearly identical (only the outcome is different).
The game is based on the ability to logically determine which wire goes where, and decide which Electronic Chip should be installed at each position on the circuit board in order to let electricity flow to the right places and not flow to the wrong places.
The Circuit BoardEdit
When doing electronics work, the screen shows a close-up of a circuit board. It is covered with chips, and there are signal traces running across the board and through those chips.
Twisting and weaving their way across the board are 10 "Signal Paths". These are essentially like wires, which conduct electricity from one side of the board to the other.
All Paths originate in two connector points near the bottom-left corner of the screen. These are marked with the letters "+5V." and "GND.":
One path originates from each connector.
The Paths coming out of the "GND" connector are colored green. This indicates that they are not carrying any electricity. The red-and-white paths are coming come out through the "+5V" connector, and are thus carrying electricity.
Immediately once they come out of these connectors, each of these two Paths splits into 5 paths, giving us the total 10 Paths that run across the screen.
On the right-most side of the board are the 10 Exit Chips. This is where all the Paths reach once they've made their journey across the board. Each Path ends in one Exit Chip.
Exit chips are emblazoned with a symbol to let you know their purpose. Chips leading to the Alarm are marked with a bell. Chips marked with a phone receiver or a transmitter icon indicate a Target Chip:
When the game begins, the board is configured in such a way that the Alarm Chips are "deactivated" - the Paths running into them are green, meaning they carry no electric current. As long as it stays that way, the Alarm won't be triggered.
On the other hand, the Paths running into the Target Chips are marked red, signifying that the phones are all still connected properly, as they are receiving electricity. Your goal is to disconnect the electricity reaching those chips by turning those Paths green.
On the main part of the board is a set of 35 Logic Chips. These are arranged in 5 rows of 7 chips each. They straddle the Paths so that each Logic Ship has two Paths passing through it from left to right, one "Top Path" and one "Bottom Path".
Each Logic Chip is also marked with a symbol. The symbol indicates the "logical operation" performed by that chip: It takes input from both paths on the left, processes it in some way, and puts out electricity on the right paths as appropriate. In other words, the chip decides which of the two paths exiting out its right side will carry electricity, if at all, based on what's coming in on its left.
The simplest example for this is the No Action Chip, which looks like two straight horizontal lines:
This chip, as its name suggests, performs no operation. It simply allows current through without interfering. If both Paths coming in on the left side are carrying an electric current (red-and-white pattern), then both Paths going out the right side will also be carrying a current. If only the top Path on the left is carrying a current (as seen above), only the top Path on the right will carry a current, and so on.
Rules of the GameEdit
An Electronics game begins with the chips on the board arranged in a way that the wires on the right-hand side (those going into the Target Chips) are carrying electricity into the Phone/Trace chips, and no electricity into the Alarm chips.
The Player's task is to alter the board so that the Paths running into the Phone/Trace chips will carry no electricity (Green). However, the game is instantly "lost" if electricity is ever passed into the Alarm chips. This raises the alarm, and its effect is usually to fail the rest of the mini-game and alert the enemy of your tampering (raising their Alert level).
The game is played by picking up Chips from the circuit board, and placing them elsewhere to change the flow of electricity. Initially the player has one random "Spare" chip in his hand, which he can replace with any other chip on the board. The chip that was picked up can then be placed elsewhere, and so on until the game is either won or lost.
In addition, this game is limited in time - you only have anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes to complete the mini-game, otherwise it ends with a semi-failure.
The Logic of ChipsEdit
There are exactly 12 different kinds of Logic Chips that can appear on a circuit board. The actual number of chip types that you'll encounter is based on the difficulty level of the mini-game itself (see Electronics (Skill)), with only 6 basic types appearing at lowest difficulty.
Each chip performs a different "logical operation". It acts based on the state of the two wires coming in its left side, producing (or withholding) electricity on the two wires coming out the right side. Each chip reacts differently.
|No Action||Both paths pass unaffected through the chip.||1|
|Crossover||Crosses the paths over one another.||1|
|Top Combiner||Combines both signals and sends the result out the top path.||1|
|Bottom Combiner||Combines both signals and sends the result out the bottom path.||1|
|Top Splitter||Copies the signal from the top path to both paths.||1|
|Bottom Splitter||Copies the signal from the bottom path to both paths.||1|
|Top Inverter||Inverts the signal of the top path.||2|
|Bottom Inverter||Inverts the signal of the bottom path.||2|
|Double Inverter||Inverts the signal of both paths.||3|
|Top Crossover Inverter||Inverts the signal on the top path, then crosses both paths over one another.||3|
|Bottom Crossover Inverter||Inverts the signal on the bottom path, then crosses both paths over one another.||4|
|Double Crossover Inverter||Inverts the signal on both paths, and crosses both paths over one another.||4|