Pip Boys As A Service

A few weeks ago Fallout 4 was released, and like all future games of the year, productivity has fallen through the floor, cosplayers are busy crafting outfits, and modders are busy tearing the game to pieces. As with all big game releases, Fallout 4 has a super-deluxe, ultra-collectible edition, and this version comes with its own Pip Boy, the in-game wrist-mounted user interface that manages stats, inventory, and quests.

This Pip Boy is actually functional, relying on a smartphone to mirror the display in-game Pip Boy. This, of course, means there must be some sort of communication between the game and a phone. [Kyle] found this somewhat interesting and decided to dig into these communications to see what else could be done with the real life mirror of the in-game Pip Boy

With a simple swipe of nmap, [Kyle] discovered two ports open on his PS4. By creating a relay to listen in on whatever is passing through these ports, [Kyle] built a tool that allows anyone to dump data from the in-game Pip Boy to any other service.

The library and command line tool work with PS4 and PC and are able to dump stats and data from the in-game Pip Boy to the outside world. It will be interesting to see what kind of mashups could be created with this; especially interesting would be a leaderboard for an entire office of vault dwellers, but a TV-sized Pip Boy would also suffice.

Yes, that is a challenge.

24 thoughts on “Pip Boys As A Service

    1. If I have malware running on your PC, this information is totally unneeded.
      That malware on your PC can already insert keystrokes via remote command or a timer, and could be sending me back screen captures as cues to when to do so.

      You don’t even need to go into the game settings and enable the pip-boy service to accept connections given your set of circumstances, let alone need to know the protocol that disabled service uses :P

  1. wow, i had a similar thought just yesterday when i “discovered” this feature for the first time. the smartphone app connects to the game over the network (i have the pc version) and allows not only to view the stats, maps and quests, it also allows to control the game, activate the radio, equip weapons and amor etc.. basically almost everything the in-game pipboy can do. i wondered what would be possible. a tool that monitors the health and applies stim-packs automatically ? switches your waepon when you run out of ammo ? puts on the hazmat suit if radiation level rise ? but who has time for things like that when instead you could be playing fallout ;-)

    1. Glad to see someone saw applications useful to the player where I only saw troll value.

      Malware that causes the PC to drop items as they traverse the wastes? Random fast-travels? So much fun to be had!

    2. I used it for exactly 6 seconds and discovered that all it does is cripple you. when you bring up the pip boy in game all time stops, so that deathclaw about to rip your head off, he stops while you are in the pipboy on screen. when you are using the phone, well he kills and eats you. making it a novelty that is only useful for a brief moment in time.

      Buddy of mine paid the $200 for the arm mount special edition fake pipboy, and if you don’t have the right phone it doesnt fit well, and he ripped it off his arm after his first combat in game.

      1. So what you’re saying is the game needs a small update? All games get patched nowadays, they let them out the door half-finished because of this, so maybe your friend’s not the only person who noticed?

        Might be best to bring up on-screen PB to pause it, then use your wrist version then, if that’s possible. It’s still cool, just a little SNAFU.

          1. A simple option in the game would’ve fixed this, either in-game or on the phone itself. As well as an option, a pause button on the phone too, since sometimes you want to pause, sometimes you don’t. Particularly if you’ve got a co-pilot managing your inventory for you, and the like.

            It *might* be, that a pause option was once included, and that there’s a message you could send the console to make it pause. Perhaps Kyle could try messing about in the other direction, have his PC pretend to be the phone. I dunno, maybe the messages the phone sends could be useful.

            Maybe a bit of disassembly on the PC version of the game, or at least looking at the routine names etc, forensically pulling it apart, might offer up some strings the game can accept from the Pip-Boy app. Of course he’d have to get hold of a PC with the game installed on it, not saying it’s cheap or easy, but surely there’s some geek out there with the game, and also some programming tools. Or wouldn’t mind having programming tools installed.

            Or failing that, some Arduino thing maybe that emulates the “pause” button on the controller. I know the PS3 used Bluetooth for it’s controller, but some pseudo-version that’s not quite compatible, to make it harder for third parties to make controllers. Maybe the phone could emulate the pad’s pause button through Bluetooth.

    1. Oooh! Why not? There’s enough tubes and assorted electronic glassware in the game. Something like that would be very fitting with the post-apocalyptic 1950s scifi feel. Mount it in a metal case from an old military radio, complete with the big Bakelite knobs. A few of those old-fashioned flip switches, Dymo labelling, I can see it now!

  2. I’ve tried installing it to my smartwatch 3 but just get a blank screen, something to do with missing unity packages. Alas not pushed any further, would have been nice to have a micro pip

  3. As a different spin,
    Why not interact with the real world?

    – Change radio station on your real radio / computer radio
    – Order pizza when you use a stimpak, 3L cola when you use a mentat
    – Display location on the in-game map based on current GPS data (geofence around work, home
    – populate inventory with shopping items, “drop” them to check them off the shopping list
    – Health , other stats based on awake time
    – SPECIAL points early via augmented reality (climb 200 flights of stairs for +1 strength, spend 10 hours Driving for perception, run for endurance, pub crawl for charisma (or gain 20 Twitter followers), 10 hours in the library for intelligence, do aerobics for agility, and procreate or pray for luck
    – Alternatively rate people based on similar criteria
    – Pipboy as a social media app (“equip shotgun to swipe right”)

    The world’s your oyster. Which is to say, go be an irritating lump of stardust.

  4. I’d like to have a decently high resolution, capacitive touch display to connect to a STM F3 Discovery board. Put the F3 in one half of an arm cuff and the display, switches and other stuff in the other half. Connect the two via a pair of short 50 pin SCSI ribbon cables so the cuff can hinge open.

    Why the F3 board? Because of its magnetic compass, accelerometer and other sensors, it should be usable as an input source for an inertial navigation system. Why would one want that when there’s GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou? What if some day there aren’t those, or their signals are being jammed? Military aircraft of the 60’s had inertial nav systems that were accurate enough to autopilot them from just after takeoff to lined up for landing at the dialed in destination airstrip.

    Modern electronics ought to be at least that good, or better.

    Also, I have an F3 board and want to see it get some of the love and accessories that have been lavished on the F4 board.

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