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So...
Nice! 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Good, but needs work. 100%  100%  [ 1 ]
Whoa, that's a lot to read... um, I dunno yet. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Eehhhh... I don't like it, but at least some of it is promising. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:21 pm 
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[[UPDATE: 2009/12/23: Broad strokes of thread written; values added for "Locked"/"Unlocked" MPCPs]]
[[UPDATE: 2009/12/20: Wrote Cyberterminal Construction post.]]


Navigation:
1) MPCP/Persona Programs
2) I/O Module (determines I/O Speed) and ports
3) Memory
4) I/O Interfaces (things like radio links, satellite links, etc)
5) ASIST Interface/RAS Override
6) Hardening/Biofeedback filters/Reality filter
7) Miscellaneous components (casing armor, smartlinks, transceivers, etc)
8) Cyberterminal construction

We all know how SR3 defines a deck, its costs, and its construction. And by "know" I mean that nobody has a clue what a deck costs, why, or what the designers intended when they made the rules. The reason nobody has a clue about these things is, I suspect, because the designers themselves didn't have a clue what they were doing, or at least they seemed to have several different clues about what they were doing and didn't bother to reconcile them or even compare notes before publishing the core rules and Matrix.

Clearly we need a single set of rules for decker hardware/software that are both internally consistent and consistent with the world of SR3R, and here we shall write them.

Core assumptions: The following are assumed to be accepted changes to the SR3R Core/Decking rules. If these change, naturally the rules in this thread will have to be greatly altered.

1) Prices will be low for decking hardware. Very low, like the SR3 prices for guns, and for largely the same reason: supply is cheap and plentiful and ubiquitous.
1a) This is balanced both because deckers will be primarily skill based (A-B priority skills, B-D priority resources), and because we're probably going to reduce starting character wealth. Decks will need to be cheaper, because deckers will have far, far less money to spend than they currently do.
2) Response Increase will not be in the new decks. Whether or not we're integrating the entire Physical/Mental Initiative proposal, initiative boosts should always be cyberware-based, in this case some sort of headware that makes your brain work faster (I've previously suggested variable-rating datajacks, which seems to make sense).
3) I'm ambivalent about having MPCP rating factor into Hacking Pool. I just don't know what else we can put there: Int is already there, Bod/Qui/Str don't make sense, Wil might make sense but it's already used for damage. Charisma? One of the (non-decking, but computer-related) skills?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:23 pm 
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So, proposal. Let's go down the list of SR3 deck components (note: not including Response Increase):
1) MPCP/Persona Programs
2) I/O Module (determines I/O Speed) and ports
3) Memory
4) I/O Interfaces (things like radio links, satellite links, etc)
5) ASIST Interface/RAS Override
6) Hardening/Biofeedback filters/Reality filter
7) Miscellaneous components (casing armor, smartlinks, transceivers, etc)
8) Cyberterminal construction

I'll be discussing how I see each of these, and how/why I want to see them work, both from a construction and from a use point of view.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:23 pm 
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1) MPCP/Persona Programs

MPCP
The Master Persona Control Processor/Program (MPCP) is the core component of any cyberterminal or deck or computer. Though it's sometimes called a program, it actually includes both hardware and software, and contains the hardware components that in the old days used to be called the CPU, GPU, QCPU, and northbridge, as well as the cached software components that used to be called the BIOS and the OS, all integrated into a single modular optical chip.

In game terms, the MPCP rating serves as the cap for all Persona program ratings, as well as all utility ratings. Due to bandwidth limitations, the MPCP limits the total rating of all Persona program attributes to three times the MPCP. In addition, I/O Speed is capped by the MPCP, and Active Memory is capped by the MPCP Rating x 200 Mp.

Due to economies of scale and large megacorporate manufacturing facilities, ultra-small MPCP chips are used for everything that does general computation, and can be found in just about everything: cars, planes, cell phones, trid screens, woven into color-changing clothes, embedded into credsticks, and of course, the center of cyberterminals and cyberdecks. This makes the MPCP chips found outside of legally-purchased high-rating terminals and decks dirt cheap, ubiquitous, and generally hardware-limited to be slow.

Code:
"Locked" MPCPs
MPCP Rating       Availability           Cost              SI
   1-2               Always          Rating * 5 Y          0.5
   3-4               Always          Rating * 10 Y         0.5
   5-6          Rating / 2 days      Rating^2 * 50 Y       1
   7-8        Rating+2 / 7 days      Rating^2 * 250 Y      1
   9+         Rating+4 / 14 days     Rating^2 * 1,000 Y   1.5

"Unlocked" MPCPs
MPCP Rating       Availability         Cost               SI
   1-4            4    / 7 days     Rating * 100 Y        1.5
   5-6         Rating  / 7 days     Rating^2 * 100 Y      2
   7-8        Rating+2 / 14 days    Rating^2 * 2,000 Y    2
   9+         Rating+4 / 21 days    Rating^2 * 10,000 Y  2.5


The reason for the price difference is that the Unlocked MPCPs are a "decker-compatible" MPCP: an MPCP that has been modded to be capable of using Hot ASIST and a Persona with Masking. Higher-rating "decker-compatible" MPCPs are especially difficult to come by for non-corporate deckers as they tend to be highly regulated; most decker worth their salt "build" their own by modding and overclocking their own MPCP. (see Construction below).

Persona Program/Attributes
The four "Persona programs"--Bod, Sensor, Evasion and Masking--are the four core programs which dictate how an MPCP-generated Matrix Icon interacts with the world of the Matrix. It is the combination of these Persona programs and the MPCP with a metahuman user which makes up the core of a person's Matrix Icon. Essentially these programs act as an Icon's attributes.

The first three Persona programs are essential parts of every Matrix Icon; every deck or terminal that connects a person to the Matrix has a suite of all three, usually at the same Rating as the MPCP. The fourth Persona program, Masking, is used exclusively by deckers, is highly illegal, and requires special modification of an MPCP chip even to use.

Like all other Matrix utilities, Persona programs must be run on a cyberdeck or terminal's Active Memory (See "Memory" section below for details). Unlike other Matrix utilities, Persona programs are extremely resource-intensive, and have components that integrate directly into the MPCP chip itself, which imposes additional limitations on their Ratings. All manufactured MPCPs are designed to run three times their Rating in Persona programs, so for the majority of non-decker Matrix users this is not an issue, but for deckers, who must also run Masking programs, this forces painful compromises on what Ratings the Persona programs can be run, and is one of the main reasons deckers require higher-rating MPCP chips than casual Matrix users.

Bod is the Icon's Body attribute. This combination of error-correction utilities is the attribute Matrix Icons use to resist Matrix damage and being knocked offline by malicious users and viruses.

Sensor is the Icon's basic Intelligence. Sensor automatically scans and interprets the dataflow of the Matrix and presents the user with a digested simsense interface. Though a decker can manually scan the Matrix with the Analyze utility, Sensor is far less invasive and doesn't raise Security Tally.

Evasion is the Icon's basic Quickness. Any attack program, line trace, or spam message must hit a TN of the target's Evasion before it can do anything.

Masking can be thought of as the Icon's Charisma, in that an Icon with Masking is trying to gracefully hide its identity in a way that doesn't raise the attention of any security programs or a host's Security Tally. Masking is used to determine the Detection Factor of a decker's Icon: the Target Number the host uses to oppose the decker's actions.

Persona programs use the same creation, cost and availability rules as do regular programs; they are printed below for convenience. The size multiplier for the "common use" Bod, Sensor and Evasion Persona programs is 3; for the "decking" program Masking it is 10.

Code:
Persona Program Costs and Availability
Bod / Sensor / Evasion
Rating    Availability            Cost          SI
1-3        2/1 day         Rating^2 x 3 Y       1
4-6        4/3 days        Rating^2 x 15 Y      1
7-9        8/7 days        Rating^2 x 30 Y     1.5
10+       12/7 days        Rating^2 x 75 Y      2

Masking
Rating    Availability            Cost           SI
1-3        4/7 days        Rating^2 x 250 Y      1
4-6        6/7 days        Rating^2 x 500 Y     1.5
7-9       10/14 days       Rating^2 x 1250 Y     2
10+    Rating+2/21 days    Rating^2 x 2500 Y     3


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:23 pm 
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2) I/O Module (determines I/O Speed) and ports

When the MPCP needs to interact with "slower" components, such as storage memory, the Matrix, or human brains, it goes through an I/O Module, what in older computing terms would comprise the southbridge and motherboard. I/O Modules are rated for various speeds, which give an upper limit to how many megapulses (Mp) of data they are able to transmit in a Combat Turn. An MPCP is installed into an I/O Module, and can thus only have one at a time. Any Rating of MPCP can be installed into any Rating I/O Module, but if the installed MPCP is of lower Rating than the I/O Module, the I/O Module slows down until its effective Rating is equal to the MPCP.

In the old days computers had a myriad of ports and connectors to interact with various devices. By 2060, virtually all of them were replaced by a single unified optical cable system, called Fucci Universal Ports (or FUPs) An individual FUP has a maximum connection speed of 100Mp per Combat Turn, which is enough to run a single full Hot ASIST Matrix or rigger connection to and from a brain. For this reason many deckers and riggers use multi-port datajacks if they need to interface their body and cyberware to other devices while rigging and decking. For others, running around with superfluous connection capacity to your brain has become a fashion statement among the "cyber-chic" crowd.

Also, many "broadband" Matrix connections use more than one FUP and multi-port cable, in order to break what would otherwise be a 100 Mp limit on total connection speed. One of the great aspects of the FUP paradigm is how easy it is to duplex a connection this way; the total capacity of a multi-port connection is simply equal to the number of FUPs used times 100 Mp.

Normal, off-the-shelf I/O Modules come with a number of ports equal to their Rating, which thus defines the maximum number of devices a user can connect to that device or deck. If a user needs to connect more devices to their deck they generally use cheap, credit-card sized I/O hubs: one or more ports connect to the deck, and the others connect to any devices desired.

Code:
I/O Module    I/O             Default
  Rating      Speed          # of ports    Availability         Cost           SI
  1-4    Rating x 100Mp        Rating         Always        Rating x 10 Y      1
  5-8    200 + Rating x 50Mp   Rating       4 / 3 days      Rating x 250 Y     1
  9+     200 + Rating x 50Mp   Rating   Rating-2 / 7 days   Rating x 1,000 Y  1.5
I/O Hubs
  2-5    Rating x 50Mp   Rating         Always        Rating x 10 Y      1
  6-12   Rating x 50Mp   Rating       4 / 3 days      Rating x 50 Y      1
  13+    Rating x 50Mp   Rating   Rating-2 / 7 days   Rating x 100 Y    1.5



Code:
I/O Speed for Different Types of Connections
Type                                                     Speed
Standard-definition security camera (max Perception 1-3)  1 Mp
High-definition security camera (max Perception 4-6)      5 Mp
Ultra High-def security camera (max Perception 7+)       10 Mp
Cold ASIST Matrix connection to brain                    25 Mp
Basic simsense connection                                50 Mp
Full-X simsense connection (includes emotive track)      75 Mp
Smartgun connection to/from brain                        25 Mp
Hot ASIST Matrix/rigger connection to brain             100 Mp
Most other connections (radio transceivers, etc)         <1 Mp


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:24 pm 
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3) Memory

There are three types of memory for a shadowrun deck: "Active" memory, which connects directly to an MPCP, and is where utility programs are primarily run and stored, "Storage" memory, which connects directly to an I/O Module (that is, without taking up an FUP) and is used for quickly storing data and utility backups, and "Offline" memory, which connects to an FUP and is used for cheap, permanent storage.

Active Memory is installed directly on top of an MPCP chip and links directly to it. Because of this direct link to the MPCP, transfers to and from Active Memory don't use up capacity on the I/O Module, though the other side of the transfer (usually Storage Memory) can. Utility programs must be copied into Active Memory in order to be run (that is, to confer any benefits to an active Matrix user). The total amount of Active Memory that an MPCP can utilize is limited to its MPCP Rating times 200 Mp, though most stock cyberterminals and cyberdecks come with less.

Storage Memory is installed directly on top of the I/O Module and is used to store files that may need to be quickly uploaded or downloaded (utilities, for instance, or paydata). Because of the direct link to the I/O Module, Storage Memory does not take up an FUP, and is not subject to the 100 Mp I/O speed limit of a single FUP connection.

Offline Memory typically comes in smaller memory sticks ("sticks") or larger removable memory drives (RMDs or drives) which plug into FUPs on the I/O Module. Offline Memory tends to be very cheap, plentiful and slow; most sticks run at a fraction of the full 100 Mp per Combat Turn of a single FUP, and few drives ever run at the greater than 100 Mp rate that would require more than one FUP.

Code:
Memory Type      Availability         Cost             SI
Active            4/8 hours       Size * .5 Y          1
Storage           4/8 hours       Size * .25 Y         1
Offline            Always    Size * I/O Speed/1,000 Y  1


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:24 pm 
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4) I/O Interfaces (things like radio links, satellite links, etc)

In order to get on the Matrix a user needs to connect his terminal/deck to it using some sort of wired or wireless connection. By far the most common type of fast wired Matrix connection is a direct fiberoptic cable connection that feeds from an MSP optical network terminal directly into a cyberterminal's FUPs; it's so common that it's just called a Matrix connection, and is a standard feature on all decks. High-speed connections faster than 100Mp take up multiple FUPs on a given cyberterminal.

For the decker on the go, sometimes just plugging into an authorized Matrix connection isn't possible. For these times there is the dataline tap, which allows a decker to piggy-back a Matrix connection off of a junction box or vulnerable I/O hub.

The mobile nature of a cyberterminal or cyberdeck sometimes makes it convenient to use a wireless connection to access the Matrix. The most common wireless connections are radio/cellular, laser, microwave, and satellite. Each of these options requires a special hardware component--a "dongle"--which translates the wireless signal to a regular optical Matrix connection that the deck's I/O Module can understand. In addition, each wireless system has its own special considerations and rules.

Radio wave-based wireless Matrix connections have the lowest bandwidth, especially when signals must be routed through the cellular phone network (cellular phones use radio waves to communicate). This is in exchange for the excellent coverage of the cellular network; generally speaking you can get a cellular signal just about anywhere, except for places specifically designed and built to keep them out. Deckers interested in decking over cellular-based Matrix connections have to multiplex together several cellular connections to get enough bandwidth to run a Hot ASIST connection, which requires the Commlink utility.

Laser-based wireless Matrix connections are the only truly high-bandwidth wireless option. A laser connection is basically a fiberoptic Matrix connection without the fiberoptic cable; the signal instead passes through the air as laser light to a receiver, which passes it back to fiberoptic cable. Typical setups have the user directing the laser dongle's beam at a target area, which senses the incoming connection and automatically adjusts to target the dongle. Laser links are easy to multiplex; each one takes up one FUP and has an I/O speed of 100 Mp.

Microwave and satellite systems require a dish, which makes them more expensive and bulky than other options. They tend to have a longer range than laser links, and are mainly used to wirelessly link across large distances in remote areas.

Code:
Connection hardware       Bandwidth       Availability              Cost         SI
Fiberoptic cable       100 Mp x Rating       Always        Rating x1 Y per meter  1
Dataline tap            50 Mp x Rating    Rating+2/48 hours   Rating x 100 Y      1
Radio (per connection)        25 Mp        4/8  hours               50 Y          1
Cellular                      25 Mp        2/6  hours               25 Y          1
Cellular (high-bandwidth)*   100 Mp        8/48 hours              200 Y          1
Laser (per connection)       100 Mp        4/8  hours               50 Y          1
Microwave (per connection)    50 Mp        8/48 hours              150 Y         1.5
Satellite (per connection)     50 Mp        4/8  hours              200 Y          1

*Also requires Commlink utility and successful Multiplex Commcall operation


Linking Connections
Most wireless options are fairly low bandwidth: none even break the 100Mp threshold that would make it necessary to use multiple FUPs. For that matter, only the Laser Link will allow Hot ASIST with only one connection. This means that deckers using wireless options for Hot ASIST will generally have to link multiple connections together.

Generally speaking multiple connections are not a problem, as bandwidth speeds add together: all you need for a 100 MP Radio connection is four Radio Link dongles plugged into four FUPs (or, more likely, a hub which is connected to the deck's I/O Module. Using multiple connections, however, does have some cost: each additional connection made to the Matrix lowers the TN for any Trace program by 1.

((Additional rules needed for tracking down Riggers using multiple connections to jump into a drone.))


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:24 pm 
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5) ASIST Interface/RAS Override

ASIST (the Artificial Sensory Induction SysTem) interconnect protocol has been around for over forty years by 2060, making it an unfathomably ancient in terms of modern Shadowrun computing, more than twice as old the FUP interconnect. The protocol would have long ago been consigned to the bit bucket of history, were it not for the fact that this protocol describes the link between a computer and a (meta)human brain; (meta)human brains unfortunately are a bit of obsolete legacy hardware that simply have to be supported. Even the overclocked "Hot" version, one that funnels more compressed data in to the brain than it can naturally handle, and that has the capacity to replace the body's senses and muscles with that of a machine, isn't much newer; it was first developed during the Crash of 2030.

That's right; the protocol for a compressed neural interface directly to and from the brain is as old as the Internet will be in 2011, and is almost five times as old for them as the USB 2.0 port (USB 3.0 was released earlier this year, and will be common in 2012) is for us. It's such an old and established protocol that it's been a standard part of every manufactured I/O Module for the past decade and beyond, and is included in the price of an I/O Module.

The RAS Override signal, which artificially invokes the brain's "sleep" state and prevents the body's muscles from receiving signals from the brain, is a basic part of the ASIST interface and is also included.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:24 pm 
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6) Hardening/Biofeedback filters/Reality filter

The Matrix can be a dangerous place, both for an MPCP and the user riding along on one. Bits of malicious code can cause havok to both the fragile components of the deck and to the Matrix user's brain.

Hardening represents the extent to which the deck and the user are protected from the ravages of the Matrix. This reduces the Target Number to resist any incoming attacks which damage the MPCP hardware (example: Blaster IC) or the decker (example: Sparky IC. The maximum Hardening rating for a deck is equal to MPCP Rating; most stock decks have about half their Rating in hardening.

Biofeedback filters monitor the datastream between the decker and the Matrix, searching for and screening out or attenuating dangerous biofeedback from the Matrix. (They work the same as the ICCM Biofeedback Filters in Matrix)

Reality filters were at one time meant to rid the world of the threat from Black IC. They forced the MPCP to essentially break down and rewrite the ASIST code received through the Matrix from scratch, completely scrubbing any possible lethal biofeedback. Black IC makers have since come back swinging, hiding the lethal signals behind and inside seemingly innocuous code, but a good reality filter remains the last word in biological defense from Black IC.

While the reality filter is active, Black IC cannot prevent a user from jacking out, even after a successful attack. Any time the decker is forced to resist damage caused by Matrix activity, except for dumpshock, the Power of the damage is cut in half and the Damage Level is lowered one level. If a biofeedback filter is also installed, the decker can roll both his Body and Willpower dice, and add the total successes together to reduce the damage.

Bob had an active Biofeedback and Reality Filter, and is smacked by a lethal Black IC program, taking 8D Physical damage. First, his Hardening (Bob has Hardening 2) lowers the Power to 6D. Then the reality filter kicks in, lowering the damage further to 4S. Bob rolls his 5 Willpower dice and achieves 3 successes, then rolls his 2 Body dice and achieves another success. These four successes combine to stage the damage down to Light damage. Good thing he had a filter!

Reality filters must be specially fitted to a specific decker to fit his neural profile. They are ineffective when used by another person. Furthermore, reality filters are installed directly on top of the MPCP chip. They so monopolize the power of the MPCP that the effective rating of the MPCP is lowered by one whenever they are active.

Code:
                         Availability              Cost             SI
Hardening               Rating/48 hours       Rating x 25 Y         1
Biofeedback Filter  MPCP Rating+2/48 hours  MPCP Rating x 2,500 Y  1.5
Reality Filter      MPCP Rating+4/72 hours  MPCP Rating x 50,000 Y  2


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:24 pm 
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7) Miscellaneous components (casing armor, smartlinks, transceivers, etc)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:21 pm 
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8) Cyberterminal construction

At the very minimum, a cyberterminal consists of four main components:

A) The MPCP, which makes up the terminal's "brain"
B) The Active Memory, which makes up the terminal's, well, active memory.
C) The three Persona programs (Bod, Evasion, Sensor), stored and run on the terminal's Active Memory, which make up the terminal's "mind" (Masking is added as a fourth Persona program for cyberdecks)
D) The I/O Module, which is how the MPCP communicates with the rest of the world (Storage Memory, deckers, peripherals, the Matrix, etc).

To make a proper cyberterminal (or a cyberdeck, which consists of all the above plus the fourth Persona Program Masking) a builder simply plugs the MPCP into the Active Memory and the I/O Module, loads the Persona programs, and he's done. Assembling the components is an easy task, as everything uses standard, well-known connections (Electronics B/R skill: TN 2[2]*, interval 15 minutes).

*Using notation of TN Target Number[Threshold]{C}. "C" means that successes are cumulative, that you can "keep" successes from one test to another and add them together.

Constructing the individual components of a cyberterminal (or cyberdeck) is slightly more complicated.

"Constructing" the MPCP: Scavenging, Unlocking and Overclocking
Despite the fact that billions of them exist all over the world, and are integrated into practically everything, MPCP chips represent the bleeding edge of modern Sixth World technology. Manufacturing an MPCP chip requires precise manipulation of materials at the subatomic level, and is, generally speaking, completely beyond the capability of anything smaller than a multinational corporation. Essentially, the "Facility" level of tools (actually several Facilities, along with a large team of specialists) is required to design and construct an MPCP, and the process is so time-consuming and research-intensive that the tests involved are simply beyond the scope of any abstract rules.

Scavenging
Luckily for the decker on a shoestring budget, MPCPs are everywhere. Color-changing clothes, holographic billboards, street lights, cars, drones, just about everything in the Sixth World has at least one MPCP chip inside of it doing the processing work. These chips can be removed by a skilled hardware worker with a Microtronics Kit; see below for ratings of chips that can be Scavenged from other items. Extra successes from this test can be used to reduce the time, or can be used to lower the chance for the MPCP to fail (see below).

Scavenging an MPCP requires hardware-level alterations and can damage the MPCP. See "Disadvantages of Scavenging" below.

Code:
MPCP Scavenging
Type of Item                             MPCP Rating Yield    Scavenging Test TN/Interval
Color-shifting clothing, radios, cell phone    1-3                10[1]C / 10 min
Street lights, billboards, pocket secretary,
  "cheap" cyberterminal                        2-3                10[2]C / 10 min
Trid television, simsense player,
  "average" cyberterminal                      2-5                10[3]C / 20 min
Car*, drone*, "above-average" cyberterminal    4-6                10[4]C / 20 min
Aircraft*, helicopter*                          5+                10[5]C / 40 min
Matrix host*, "good" cyberterminal/deck         6+                10[6+]C / 40 min

*May contain multiple MPCP chips, of varying ratings, depending on quality of item.


Unlocking
Even when an MPCP has been liberated from its confines and attached to an honest I/O Module like a real cyberterminal, the decker is still not ready to deck. First he must "Unlock" the MPCP, the process which allows it to run four Persona programs, specifically the Masking program that lets a decker conceal his activities. This process also requires a Microtronics Kit; the decker rolls his Computer B/R skill against a TN of the MPCP's Rating * 2[2]C, interval 30 minutes.

Unlocking an MPCP requires hardware-level alterations and can damage the MPCP in the same way that a Scavenged MPCP can be damaged. See "Disadvantages of Scavenging" below.

Overclocking
Even once the MPCP is Unlocked, an MPCP that has been scavenged from a car or a trid set is usually of fairly low Rating; most such chips top out at Rating 6 unless the decker is lucky or crazy enough to break into a megacorporate data center or crack open a military aircraft. All is not lost, however, for the decker who wants to obtain a higher-rating MPCP without paying for it. Through various hardware and software tricks, a competent hardware hacker can force an MPCP to work as if it had a higher Rating, a process called Overclocking. There are two kinds of Overclocking, "Quick" and "Safe": the "Quick" option is faster, but far more dangerous, while the "Safe" option is more time-consuming and, while not actually safe, far more so than the "Quick" option is.

Terminology
"Original MPCP Rating" --The Rating of the original MPCP, before it was overclocked.
"Overclocked MPCP Rating" --The new Rating of the Overclocked MPCP.
"Overclock Level" --The difference between the Overclocked MPCP Rating and the Original MPCP Rating.

Quick Overclocking
For a decker in a hurry, "Quick" Overclocking allows him to whip up a high-Rating MPCP in a hurry, though the process is extremely dangerous both for the chip and for the person using it. A Quick Overclock only requires a microtronics kit (and, of course, an MPCP to Overclock). The decker chooses his Overclock Level, the maximum being either his Electronics B/R skill rating, his Programming skill rating, or one half the original MPCP Rating, whichever is less. He makes a Programming skill test (TN of MPCP[Overclock Level + 2]C, interval 1 hour), and an Electronics B/R skill test (TN of MPCP[Overclock Level + 2]C, interval 1 hour), to represent both the hardware and software aspects of the Overclock. Failure on the Electronics B/R test means that the MPCP chip is ruined and can no longer be used. Failure on the Programming test means that the Quick Overclock has failed, and the process must be started over from the beginning with another Electronics B/R test.

Disadvantages of a Quick Overclock
When an MPCP that has undergone a Quick Overclock is used for any purpose, it is in constant danger of spectacular hardware failure. Directly wiring your brain up to one (especially in Hot ASIST mode) is a task only for the insane and the truly desperate.
  • To start with, the Matrix Icon controlled by a Quick Overclock begins any Matrix session with a number of boxes filled on the icon's Condition Monitor equal to the Overclock Level. These boxes represent the internal glitches caused by a Quick Overclock and cannot be healed through any means; other Matrix damage can be healed as normal.
  • Quick-overclocked MPCPs are not as capable at parallel tasks. The total Ratings for the Persona programs run on an Overclocked MPCP is reduced by twice the Overclock Level. For example, an MPCP with an Original Rating of 4 that has been Quick Overclocked to an Overclocked Rating of 6 can run a total Rating of (6*3 - 2*2) = 14 in Persona programs.
  • The TNs for Simsense Overload damage (p. 226 SR3) and Dump Shock are increased by the MPCP's Overclock Level.
  • The Quick Overclock process is actually fairly similar to the feedback techniques used by Black IC. If the Overclock Level is greater than 2 the damage from Simsense Overload is Physical rather than Stun.
  • The process also makes feedback occur more often. Deckers on a Quick Overclock MPCP must check for Simsense Overload whenever a decker logs onto or off of a host/LTG/RTG, a Persona Attribute changes value (voluntarily as with Modes, or involuntarily as with Crippler IC), when a program crashes (as with Tar IC), or when a Trace program locks on. Treat the "Icon Damage Level" as Light for these tests, making the TN equal to 2 + Overclock Level

Safe Overclocking
A Safe Overclock is a longer-term procedure, one which generally speaking ends with Overclocked MPCPs that are nearly indistinguishable from a "normal" MPCP. A Safe Overclock requires a microtronics shop and a number of MPCP chips equal to the desired Overclock Level squared (only one for a level 1 Overclock, 4 for a level 2 Overclock, 9 for a level 3 Overclock, etc. The decker chooses his Overclock Level, the maximum being either his Electronics B/R skill rating, his Programming skill rating, or one half the original MPCP Rating, whichever is less.

He makes an Electronics B/R skill test (TN of MPCP[Overclock Level*2 + 2]C, interval 1 day), and a Programming skill test (TN of MPCP[Overclock Level*2 + 2]C, interval 1 day) to represent both the hardware and software aspects of the Overclock. Failure on either test means that the Safe Overclock has failed, and must be started over again. Success results in a single Safe Overclocked MPCP chip; the other MPCP chips are still functional but will never be able to undergo a Safe Overclock of an equal level (they can still undergo a Quick Overclock, or used in a lower-level Safe Overclock).

Disadvantages of a Safe Overclock
An MPCP that has undergone a Safe Overclock is far more stable than a Quick Overclock.
  • Safe-overclocked MPCPs are better than Quick Overclocks, but still not as capable at parallel tasks. The total Ratings for the Persona programs run on an Overclocked MPCP is reduced by the Overclock Level, rather than twice the Overclock Level. For example, an MPCP with an Original Rating of 4 that has been Safe Overclocked to an Overclocked Rating of 6 can run a total Rating of (6*3 - 2) = 16 in Persona programs.
  • The TNs for Simsense Overload damage (p. 226 SR3) and Dump Shock are increased by only half the MPCP's Overclock Level (round up). Simsense Overload damage is never Physical, nor does it occur more often.

Active Memory and I/O Modules
Active Memory can harvested from other (likely stolen) MPCPs, or it can be baked from scratch. It can be harvested from an MPCP with Active Memory already installed using a Microtronics kit and a simple check (Electronics B/R TN 2[2]C, interval 1 minute) The process, however, has the potential to damage the Active Memory (See "Disadvantages of Scavenging" below); for this purpose treat the Rating of the scavenged part as equal to the capacity divided by 50.

"Baking" Active Memory requires a microtronics shop and blank optical memory chips equal to twice the desired capacity of Active Memory, and a very slightly more difficult check (Electronics B/R TN 5[2]C, interval (Active Memory capacity)/1000 hour).

I/O Modules, like MPCPs, also cannot generally be constructed. They can, however, be scavenged from an existing cyberterminal relatively easily (Electronics B/R TN 2[2]C, interval 1 minute). Again, however, see "Disadvantages of Scavenging" below.

Though I/O Modules cannot be built from scratch, adding FUPs to an existing I/O Module, however, is possible, requiring a Microtronics Shop, and 20 Y in parts per FUP (Electronics B/R TN 6[2]C, interval 1 hour). Note that this does not increase the total speed of the I/O Module, just the number of ports.

Persona Programs
Persona Programs use the same programming rules as any other program or utility. Body, Evasion and Sensor are General Use programs, while Masking is a Decking program. (Rules to follow, but basically follows the rules in Matrix).

Disadvantages of Scavenging
The process of extracting scavenging components makes the original device useless (considering there's now a hole where the central processor used to be), but that's usually not a big deal for the decker, as it's generally not his stuff in the first place, or if it was then it probably wasn't working right to begin with. The problem is that the process may not result in a usable chip or component, and the decker may or may not realise this until it is too late.

Whenever a decker successfully makes any of the Scavenging tests above, the GM secretly rolls the component's Rating against a TN equal to twice the decker's Electronics B/R skill Rating. Each extra success the decker invested from the Scavenging test adds +2 to this TN as well. If the component does not score a success, the component was removed successfully with no problems. If it scores one success, then there was a critical failure and the component is now useless. If it scores two or more successes, then the component has developed an incurable flaw, but one that the decker has not noticed; the GM is to make note of this flaw, which logically should pop up and fry the chip at any time, but Murphy's Law demands it happen at a... "dramatically appropriate" time.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:21 pm 
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Okay, to recap costs and availabilities for pre-fabbed parts.

Code:
"Locked" MPCPs
MPCP Rating       Availability           Cost           SI
   1-2               Always          Rating * 5 Y       0.5
   3-4               Always          Rating * 10 Y      0.5
   5-6          Rating / 2 days    Rating^2 * 50 Y       1
   7-8        Rating+2 / 7 days    Rating^2 * 250 Y      1
   9+         Rating+4 / 14 days   Rating^2 * 1,000 Y   1.5

"Unlocked" MPCPs
MPCP Rating       Availability         Cost             SI
   1-4            4    / 7 days     Rating * 100 Y      1.5
   5-6         Rating  / 7 days   Rating^2 * 100 Y      2
   7-8        Rating+2 / 14 days  Rating^2 * 2,000 Y    2
   9+         Rating+4 / 21 days  Rating^2 * 10,000 Y  2.5

Code:
Persona Program Costs and Availability
Bod / Sensor / Evasion
Rating    Availability            Cost         SI
1-3        2/7 days        Rating^2 x 3 Y      1
4-6        4/7 days        Rating^2 x 15 Y     1
7-9        8/14 days      Rating^2 x 30 Y     1.5
10+       16/30 days      Rating^2 x 75 Y      2

Masking
Rating    Availability            Cost          SI
1-3        2/7 days        Rating^2 x 250 Y      1
4-6        4/7 days        Rating^2 x 500 Y     1.5
7-9        8/14 days       Rating^2 x 1250 Y     2
10+       16/30 days       Rating^2 x 2500 Y     3

"Common Use" utilities and programs
Rating    Availability                Cost              SI
1-3        2/7 days     Rating^2 x multiplier x 1 Y     1
4-6        4/7 days     Rating^2 x multiplier x 5 Y     1
7-9        8/14 days    Rating^2 x multiplier x 10 Y   1.5
10+       16/30 days    Rating^2 x multiplier x 25 Y    2

"Common Use" utilities and programs
Rating    Availability                Cost                SI
1-3        2/7 days     Rating^2 x multiplier x 25 Y      1
4-6        4/7 days     Rating^2 x multiplier x 50 Y     1.5
7-9        8/14 days    Rating^2 x multiplier x 125 Y     2
10+       16/30 days    Rating^2 x multiplier x 250 Y     3


Code:
I/O Module    I/O             Default
  Rating      Speed          # of ports    Availability         Cost           SI
  1-4    Rating x 100Mp        Rating         Always        Rating x 10 Y      1
  5-8    200 + Rating x 50Mp   Rating       4 / 3 days      Rating x 250 Y     1
  9+     200 + Rating x 50Mp   Rating   Rating-2 / 7 days   Rating x 1,000 Y  1.5
I/O Hubs
  2-5    Rating x 50Mp   Rating         Always        Rating x 10 Y      1
  6-12   Rating x 50Mp   Rating       4 / 3 days      Rating x 50 Y      1
  13+    Rating x 50Mp   Rating   Rating-2 / 7 days   Rating x 100 Y    1.5


Code:
I/O Speed for Different Types of Connections
Type                                                     Speed
Standard-definition security camera (max Perception 1-3)  1 Mp
High-definition security camera (max Perception 4-6)      5 Mp
Ultra High-def security camera (max Perception 7+)       10 Mp
Cold ASIST Matrix connection to brain                    25 Mp
Basic simsense connection                                50 Mp
Full-X simsense connection (includes emotive track)      75 Mp
Smartgun connection to/from brain                        25 Mp
Rigger connection to/from brain                          50 Mp
Hot ASIST Matrix connection to/from brain            100 Mp minimum
Most other connections (radio transceivers, etc)         <1 Mp


Code:
Memory Type      Availability         Cost             SI
Active            4/8 hours       Size x .5 Y          1
Storage           4/8 hours       Size x .25 Y         1
Offline            Always    Size x I/O Speed/1,000 Y  1


Code:
Connection hardware       Bandwidth       Availability              Cost         SI
Fiberoptic cable       100 Mp x Rating       Always        Rating x1 Y per meter  1
Dataline tap            50 Mp x Rating    Rating+2/48 hours   Rating x 100 Y      1
Radio (per connection)        25 Mp        4/8  hours               50 Y          1
Cellular                      25 Mp        2/6  hours               25 Y          1
Cellular (high-bandwidth)*   100 Mp        8/48 hours              200 Y          1
Laser (per connection)       100 Mp        4/8  hours               50 Y          1
Microwave (per connection)    50 Mp        8/48 hours              150 Y         1.5
Satellite (per connection)     50 Mp        4/8  hours              200 Y          1

*Also requires Commlink utility and successful Multiplex Commcall operation


Code:
                         Availability              Cost             SI
Hardening               Rating/48 hours       Rating x 25 Y         1
Biofeedback Filter  MPCP Rating+2/48 hours  MPCP Rating x 2,500 Y  1.5
Reality Filter      MPCP Rating+4/72 hours  MPCP Rating x 50,000 Y  2


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:14 pm 
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Hm, I'm thinking of making Cold/Hot ASIST free; after all, you're already paying for that by buying trodes/datajacks, so why pay twice?

Another reason I like the idea of everyone having a theoretically Hot ASIST-capable deck is that it can potentially make the Matrix dangerous for everyone. What I'm getting at is that maybe Black IC (and deckers, through an Alter Icon operation) can force Cold-ASIST users into Hot ASIST so they can kill them, or brain-hack them with Personafixes and psychotropic IC effects, or whatever.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:57 pm 
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I like that when no one answers you, you answer your own call for comments :P

I'll have to go over the prices more carefully later, do a sample run to get an approximate cost for a standard, low-end and high-end deck. HOWEVER, I do think the price for Masking chips should be high. Masking chips are illegal, limited-run, controlled devices with a very limited audience. You don't have Cold War-era masking chips being shipped to Angola. Masking chips are probably the one big piece of gear which is cheaper to make yourself than purchase elsewhere (even security deckers don't generally need masking, so it's going to have a smaller buyer-base and it can't be copied and resold).


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:00 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
I like that when no one answers you, you answer your own call for comments :P
Well, yeah; when I get on one of these writing tears it's hard to stop myself from interrupting my own thoughts while in progress, let alone afterward. :D

Quote:
I'll have to go over the prices more carefully later, do a sample run to get an approximate cost for a standard, low-end and high-end deck. HOWEVER, I do think the price for Masking chips should be high. Masking chips are illegal, limited-run, controlled devices with a very limited audience. You don't have Cold War-era masking chips being shipped to Angola. Masking chips are probably the one big piece of gear which is cheaper to make yourself than purchase elsewhere (even security deckers don't generally need masking, so it's going to have a smaller buyer-base and it can't be copied and resold).

Standard decks are listed above; I re-built all the stock cyberterminals using the new rules. The MPCP-3 one came out dirt cheap, but then it's worthless so that's fine. The MPCP-6 one is less than SR3 base price; that's fine. The MPCP-9+ ones are really expensive, which makes sense to me.

Re: Masking. Masking is a program now, rather than a chip, and follow the same cost mechanism as programs, but that's semantics. But yes, you're right, and it brings me back to a point I had made in another thread but didn't really take into account here: general-purpose programs should be cheap, while hacking-specific programs should be expensive. SR4 had the right idea here: hacking programs there cost ten times as much as common-use programs, straight across the board. Give me a second to adjust.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:50 pm 
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So, update: here are the prices for the stock cyberdecks (the MPCP-3 one excluded because nobody in their right mind would deck with an MPCP-3 deck):

Code:
                                              Active  Storage   I/O   
Model                      MPCP   Hardening   Memory  Memory   Speed 
Sony CTY-360-D              5         3        300     600      200   
Novatech Hyberdeck          6         4        500    1000      240   
CMT Avatar                  7         4        700    1400      300   
Renraku Kraftwerk           8         4       1000    2000      360   
Transys Highlander          9         4       1500    2500      400   
Novatech Slimcase          10         5       2000    2500      480   
Farlight Excalibur         12         6       3000    5000      600   


Now, we have to adjust these ratings upward a little to account for certain rule changes I made. For instance, since Persona programs run on Active Memory, we need to boost Active and Storage memory upwards to account for this. The Farlight is going to lose some Active memory, however, because it hit my new max; at higher levels you don't need all rating 12 programs anyway, so you really shouldn't have ever-increasing amounts of memory. I/O Speed has to be boosted to account for the Hot ASIST connections heading to and from the MPCP. So, if we were to use the above prices to rebuild the stock decks from SR3 p. 207, here are your prices:

Code:
Sony CTY-360-D            16,690
Novatech Hyberdeck        24,895
CMT Avatar                72,935
Renraku Kraftwerk         95,185
Transys Highlander        193,040
Novatech Slimcase         376,625
Farlight Excalibur        542,275


Now, these prices only make sense if we assume the following:

1) Rather than a million nuyen, players with Resources A will have on the order of 100,000 Y to start. Deckers will be expected to spend roughly half of this on programs, and a quarter on an MPCP-6 deck... aw crap, I just realized we were trying to get away from forcing the decker to put an "A" in resources... okay, more adjustments to come, I guess.
2) The extraordinary price jumps for MPCPs above 6 means that the majority of high-skill, "street-level" deckers will never afford a good MPCP and will have to get by by building/Scrounging (if we do accept that new skill) their own
3) We need to make MPCP-6 the natural start point for deckers rather than MPCP 8. Right now it's actually really hard to do Overwatch and generally be a reliable decker--not super-powerful, just reliable enough to not assume failure against anything other than a low-level Green system--with an MPCP of less than 8; many games I know allow deckers specifically to break normal chargen rules for Availability/device Rating to get a Kraftwerk at chargen for this reason. This means, IMO, that MPCP 6 should be able to give you a DF of between 11 and 12; that discussion will be for another thread.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:58 am 
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I sort of like the persona chips being hardware, just for the color of it all. I imagine them like BIOS chips, where it's firmware, really. Semantics, I know, but color :)

The prices look reasonable. I don't mind trying them out. However, we'll need to make sure as we adjust starting cash we also keep cash collected on the run reasonable, otherwise a $500k deck is not going to be enough :) (which is okay with your deck creation rules, just saying - decrease prices and the power of what people will buy goes up).

Your point 1 tells me maybe we should wait on this particular aspect until we settle on how much we will expect deckers to pay out at chargen. Fill out the rules, leave the prices 'til later.


Other than that, I like it. It all makes sense, is straight-forward, and can be expanded easily. The players don't need to know all of this (we still have a list of decks for them), but it makes for good advanced rules.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:51 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
I sort of like the persona chips being hardware, just for the color of it all. I imagine them like BIOS chips, where it's firmware, really. Semantics, I know, but color :)
If Persona are the BIOS chips, then what of the MPCP, which also has a software component? I envision a future where compute hardware is completely commoditiezed, and the "internet browser" aka Matrix Icon is the OS, rather the same direction Chrome is going now. In that paradigm you have the MPCP as the processor/BIOS, and the Persona programs as the OS/browser combo running on top of it.

Quote:
Other than that, I like it. It all makes sense, is straight-forward, and can be expanded easily. The players don't need to know all of this (we still have a list of decks for them), but it makes for good advanced rules.

Well wait until you see my actual deck creation rules before you say that. :) It'll be awhile before I can write them out fully, but the gist is:

1) MPCPs can't technically be fabricated by players, not unless you can spend tens of billions of nuyen on a bleeding edge megafacility. I mean, MPCPs are the latest tech, and manufacturing them requires manipulating materials on the atomic and sub-atomic level; the barrier to entry is high, to say the least. So, you have two choices:
1a) You can take a cheap, low-level MPCP that you buy or "find" somewhere, and "overclock" it to a higher level. This process will cause the MPCP chip to fail spectacularly at some point (luck-dependent naturally, but probably your skill will play some part in how reliable an overclock is, and will be exponentially more likely to fail the higher you go.) Generally only the desperate will do this: say a decker gets his deck shot and he has ten minutes/an hour to jury-rig a new one.
1b) You can take your time and look for a chip that was binned lower than it was supposed to be. Basically a way to take a longer time with an overclock and have it fail much less, or even not at all.

2) Everything else is either software, which is dirt cheap unless it's a hacking program, or a (relatively) easy Electronics B/R tests on top of Parts costs that are a fraction of the custom build cost (probably half of what you'd spend to have it built for you.) The Scrounging skill I mentioned in another thread would be particularly effective here, as by 2060 there should be trashed bits of serviceable electronics everywhere.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:59 am 
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I imagined the MPCP chip as the MoBo and processor. The persona chips are three (or four) separate chips with firmware that is literally plugged into the board. This is why you can change your chip ratings, but it requires doing something special (powering down and reflashing). It's just another component of the computer you need to plug in, like RAM chips, but it carries with it a payload of very low-level programming meant to modify how the MPCP runs at the register level.

Since decks only come with three chips, the decker literally had to crack open the deck and solder in a new chip, then adjust all four to work together nicely. Seems cooler, to me, to imagine opening a computer to find another chip soldered and glued in to make the system do stuff it shouldn't.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:53 pm 
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For me, when I hear the words "Persona chip" it rubs me entirely the wrong way, since the way the Personas are described they behave exactly like one would expect an OS or other Presentation-level program to act. It's like someone built a "Browser chip" that you have to solder onto your motherboard to give you an internet browser: why would a program like that require a different chip?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:35 pm 
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Update to ASIST interface (5), just to emphasize that it's free for all I/O Modules.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:31 am 
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BIG update to Cyberterminal Construction. Basically just wrote the whole thing (except programming; I'll leave tweaks to programming to another thread.)

What do you think?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:13 pm 
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Programming... at this point, I'm thinking of leaving it mostly the way it is in Matrix. Maybe add a second Decking test for Decking programs, maybe make different programming languages actual Language skills (and have proportionately larger benefits?). Not sure there; maybe I'll make a new thread about programming.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:45 am 
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So, does silence mean consent? Everyone else likes the idea?

Or is noone listening? :)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:47 pm 
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Sorry, work blocked the forum, so I only have time to check on weekends, and since I haven't run 'all the books' decking (especially deck construction) like... ever... I feel like my opinion is less well informed than most.

I like the Quick Overclocking rules. That's pretty cool. I'm not sure about the other one, since it seems like everyone will be doing it (because the drawbacks come up so rarely) with the downside that it makes said drawbacks a lot more deadly (turning dumpshock seriously more dangerous). We have to think about whether we want to make dumpshock more deadly for the 'average' case of decker.

I still think the persona chips should be literal chips :P

By canon, the cap of your persona programs is based off the MPCP rating. If we're literally buying those programs, does the rise in MPCP only increase the (second) cap on maximum persona rating? If your MPCP is 8 and you can't buy a Masking chip over 5, your Masking is capped at 5. Upgrading your MPCP means you can boost your other attributes (if the program level permits), but not Masking. I also assume that changing your persona attributes mid-run is trivial?

Utility programs should all be standardized to a single multiplier rating as much as possible. They're less interesting than illegal programs, so we should follow the pattern set by the persona chips and keep to that.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:47 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
Sorry, work blocked the forum, so I only have time to check on weekends, and since I haven't run 'all the books' decking (especially deck construction) like... ever... I feel like my opinion is less well informed than most.

I like the Quick Overclocking rules. That's pretty cool. I'm not sure about the other one, since it seems like everyone will be doing it (because the drawbacks come up so rarely) with the downside that it makes said drawbacks a lot more deadly (turning dumpshock seriously more dangerous). We have to think about whether we want to make dumpshock more deadly for the 'average' case of decker.
Yeah, that I'm a little unsure of. On the other hand, a +2 power means you've overclocked your MPCP by 4, which means a minimum MPCP of 8 (and likely 10, since MPCP-6s are relatively cheap), so you're fairly past chargen levels here, and likely have extra protection. In particular, my redesigned Reality Filter+ICCM Biofeedback filter combo (God what a useless POS the canon Reality Filter is!) will balance it out. In fact it might balance it too well; I'll have to look into that.

Quote:
I still think the persona chips should be literal chips :P
I almost want to go the other way and make the I/O Module part of the MPCP. There are rumors that Intel is going to be doing the same with Haswell, when it comes out in 2013-14 or so.

Quote:
By canon, the cap of your persona programs is based off the MPCP rating. If we're literally buying those programs, does the rise in MPCP only increase the (second) cap on maximum persona rating? If your MPCP is 8 and you can't buy a Masking chip over 5, your Masking is capped at 5. Upgrading your MPCP means you can boost your other attributes (if the program level permits), but not Masking. I also assume that changing your persona attributes mid-run is trivial?
Both limits would still apply: no single persona program over MPCP (baring Program Modes), and, due to [INSERT HANDWAVEY ARGUMENT HERE] the sum of the Persona Attributes can't exceed MPCPx3, which doesn't affect anyone but the deckers.

I've always assumed that Programs can be deliberately started at a lower Rating than normal, but that you can't change their Rating while they're running. In other words, if you wanted to swap around your Persona programs (eg. your Matrix Attributes) mid-run you'd have to turn them off and reload them into your MPCP, which would take a nontrivial amount of time and be suicidal in combat. Switching Modes, by contrast, is a single action.

Quote:
Utility programs should all be standardized to a single multiplier rating as much as possible. They're less interesting than illegal programs, so we should follow the pattern set by the persona chips and keep to that.
Agreed, and when I draft up revised programming rules I'll take that into account.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:08 pm 
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Oh, right! I forgot the Unlocking part: how to "unlock" an off-the-shelf MPCP (the kind that can be had for Rating*10 Y) so it can run Masking. That was the cornerstone of my "street decker" idea: the tech-wiz who can--at least in theory--hack a major corp host using a soldering iron, a fiberoptic cable, and a few chips harvested from an old station wagon.

When I get home, I promise. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:36 pm 
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Okay, re-read that section 8. How's that sound?

The motivation here is to make deckers less dependent on a specific physical computer. In my view a "real" decker won't have to worry about losing his deck, because he can whip one up for essentially free with a little work. It makes him IMO a "sturdier" character, one who can deal with losing his deck once in a while and have a backup plan, even if he is strapped for cash and has to be ready for a run in a day or two.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:24 pm 
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Starting characters can get a 'free' MPCP chip of rating 6 (after overclocking), and more advanced characters will cap out around 8 or 9 (after spending a LOT of karma), while COTS chips will cap out around 12? Doesn't seem unbalanced, and it is pretty cool. Lends a spin to the character type I haven't seen before. It does add complexity, but not much, and it's infrequent.

I'm also starting to see the allure of a more general scavenging skill again :P


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:00 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
Starting characters can get a 'free' MPCP chip of rating 6 (after overclocking), and more advanced characters will cap out around 8 or 9 (after spending a LOT of karma), while COTS chips will cap out around 12? Doesn't seem unbalanced, and it is pretty cool. Lends a spin to the character type I haven't seen before. It does add complexity, but not much, and it's infrequent.
Thanks. I've always thought the decker archetypes weren't "street" enough; they're all walking around with half-million dollar laptops casually slung over a shoulder, paying for things in money rather than five-fingered discounts and duct tape. Having a guy who can throw together a hot rig out of junk pulled from a trash can just feels more... l33t, I guess, than the guy who bought his deck from the local 'Shack (God I can't believe there actually is a "The Shack" chain now. All they need is to merge with a "Stuffer Co." food chain store and we're all set! :D).

I still have to write programming rules. I should probably give prices for "locked" chips (EDIT: done! Check MPCP section above). And, in a crowning achievement, I'll give rules for Host construction, something even the book doesn't do! :)

Quote:
I'm also starting to see the allure of a more general scavenging skill again :P
I know, doesn't it? I think a Scavenging skill would be a perfect fit for Shadworun, where characters spend a lot more time crawling through urban blight than nature. It also fits my view of game design better than delegating the process to roleplay, especially since it gives you mechanical benefits and IMO really needs to be balanced with actual rules rather than a GM's Mother-May-I.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:41 am 
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On the flip side, scavenging is such a broad activity, with so many facets, I still don't feel like making an actual Scavenge skill is the way to go, just letting people engage in the scavenging activity (just like there's no single 'Shadowrunning' skill). Knowledge[item being searched] and knowledge[local] would probably cover it.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:50 pm 
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That may well be the way to go. Certainly not all forms of scavenging would be covered by a Scavenging skill, but I do think that certain things should be. After all, we have a Small Unit Tactics skill, but not all combat tactics require use of the actual skill; it just provides for certain mechanics that would be difficult to represent any other way.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:59 pm 
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Went over a few things and generally cleaned up the wording.

Also came up with a great disadvantage for overclocking MPCPs: you lost some of your max Persona attributes compared to an honest MPCP of the correct Rating. For instance:

A regular MPCP-9 can have total Persona ratings of 27
An MPCP-6 that has been Quick-Overclocked to 9 can have total Persona ratings of 21
An MPCP-6 that has been Safe-Overclocked to 9 can have total Persona ratings of 24

Sound like a reasonable limitation?


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