Program to help with the hacking mini-game in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.
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README
hacker.rb
words.gz
words.txt

README

Vault-Tec 1337 Hax0ring Tool -- a program to aid hacking in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas
Copyright (C) 2011  Leon N. Maurer

It was getting tiresome to use pencil and paper to work through the hacking mini-game in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, so I created this program.

See http://www.physics.wisc.edu/~lmaurer/code/vlht/vlht.html for graphical instructions.

How does it work? First, you enter in the words in play. This program will recommend which word to chose to rule out the most other words. The number it displays next to the word is the expected number of words left after you choose that word and enter in the number of correct letters it has. So, you want to choose the word with the smallest number next to it, which is at the top of the list. After you try a word, the program will remove words that are no longer possible candidates (e.g. if you chose "released" and were told it had 4 letters correct, then "defeated" is no longer an option since it has 5 letters in common with "released"). Rinse, lather, repeat. There are no guarantees that it will solve the puzzle with 4 guesses, but it has yet to fail me.

The program also has some nice features to keep you from making mistakes, like a wordlist to make sure you entered the word correctly.

How does its calculation work?
Let Pn be the probability that a given word has n correct letters, and let Nn be the number of other words that have n letters in common with the given word. Then the expected number of words left after choosing the given word is:

ExpectValue = P0*N0 + P1*N1 + P2*N2 + P3*N3 + ...

Now, Pn = Nn/(# of other words) since each word is equally likely to be the correct word. So, 

ExpectValue = (N0^2 + N1^2 + N3^2 + ...)/(number of other words)

That's the score the program displays next to each word; you want to choose the word with the smallest score to eliminate the most other words on average.

This program can use a wordlist to check for misspellings in the words entered.
This should either a text file with one word per line, or a gzipped version of
that file. If no file is provided, the program will still run.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The provided word list was copied from /usr/share/dict/words of an Ubuntu
installation. It is available under the GNU General Public License.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
version 2 as published by the Free Software Foundation;

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
GNU General Public License for more details.

A copy of the license is available at 
<http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.html>
You can also receive a paper copy by writing the Free Software
Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301, USA.