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> Copying drone pilot/autosoft, Rampant abuse or innocent exploitation?
The Jopp
post Mar 27 2006, 07:49 AM
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Rampant abuse or innocent exploitation?

Ok, after talking through a few odd things in SR4 a few resource related questions came up.

The Doberman…

It costs 3000, includes a Pilot 3 worth 3000 and two autosofts worth 1200. It includes one weapon which can be up to a light machine gun worth 1800.

Even if the gun is integrated into the Doberman shell an average hacker/rigger can easily copy all programs and save 4200Y in resources in the beginning of the game (ok, not much in the long run but anyway…)

Now, what are peoples opinion about this? Since all pilot programs and autosofts can be upgraded and are software how would rampant abuse of this be halted?

Ok, abuse might be a strong word but if I want a pilot program I might as well buy the Doberman and crack the program.

Or, most probably, the program is integrated in the circuitry of the actual piloting chip with enough storage for software update.

The latter sounds reasonable but would it be logical from a corporate POW to use hardwired programming instead of consumer friendly programming with optional pilot OS and the control program of your choice?
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Rooks
post Mar 27 2006, 07:54 AM
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I thought you had to spring for the weapon seperately, it just came with a mount that was able to fit a weapon of the size of a lmg inside
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The Jopp
post Mar 27 2006, 10:15 AM
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Nope, the actual wording is:

GM-Nissan Doberman: The Doberman is a perimeter patrol
crawler drone equally effective during daytime or nighttime
conditions. Comes equipped with one weapon (LMG
or smaller) and Clearsight 3 and Targeting 3 autosofts.

Which means that it comes with an integrated weapon. I would say that one cannot jsut remove it and start shooting since it is probably lacking trigger and all the comforts a human would need to shoot it.
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Cain
post Mar 27 2006, 10:34 AM
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While the rules say that a Pilot is a Pilot is a Pilot, you're well within your rights to rule that each Pilot program is specific to one vehicle or class of vehicles. So, you can't upload the Pilot from a car into a semiballistic and expect it to work. In this case, you can say that the Pilot has been specifically written for small crawlers, or possibly even just Dobermans. I'd go with the first, personally.

You're kinda out of luck on the autosoft, though. That one would be pretty universal.
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The Jopp
post Mar 27 2006, 10:44 AM
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Well, the rules DO contradict that since pilot programs are universal and the actual autosoft is the skill. The pilot attribute would be like a character who is untrained (but they do not default, they just roll their rating) but for simplicities sake I'd rule that the software is hardwired into the drone with some space for upgrading the software into version 4.0 or something like that.

There would be a difference if one bought the V4 pilot program because then it would include the whole vehicle suite or something equally microsoftish and would be equally adaptable to ay kind of vehicle.
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Azathfeld
post Mar 27 2006, 12:10 PM
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It's more than possible that Pilot programs are just encoded onto physical chips that you slot into the drone, and upgrading one is a matter of removing the chip and replacing it with a new one. A lot of modern devices store their firmware in a similar manner. That's probably what I'll rule; given the desire to protect corp secrets, in this case it deosn't make sense to do anything else, as you're just inviting piracy.
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The Jopp
post Mar 27 2006, 12:15 PM
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Still, that wouldn't stop piracy since all you would need would be an emty datachip and the skills to crack and copy the program unto the new chip.

Still, it wouldn't matter in the long run, at most a number cruncher would save 1-2 build points.
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Rooks
post Mar 27 2006, 02:31 PM
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Does it say how much ammo it can contain as well?
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neko128
post Mar 27 2006, 02:56 PM
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Personally, if it comes up in my game, I'm going to rule that Pilot programs are highly specific to the device - a ground/tracked Pilot is highly incompatible with a roto-drone (-4 penalty on everything) and still partially incompatible with other ground/tracked drones (-1 or so). Of course, if they have access to the source for a pilot, i'll give them a hefty bonus on modifying it for use in another drone.

I'm saying this based on the massive differences between the requirements of piloting a ground vehicle vs. an airborne vehicle vs. a naval vehicle, and even within a type; for example, ground vehicles have to worry little to none about balance and stability, beyond "don't drive up that half pipe lest ye flip over", but aerial drones don't have to worry at all about traction and surface conditions for movement and maneuvering.

And yes, this is all covered by various Autosofts, but I see it as a difference of degree; Microsoft Office vs. a graphing and reporting program, for example. They have a large amount of overlap in the area where the graphing program works, but the graphing program has more features in its area and does it much better.
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The Jopp
post Mar 27 2006, 03:09 PM
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The ´drawbacks to this would be that it would cost massive amounts of cash for those that wants to be diverse drone riggers since a ratign 4 pilot costs 10K...

I'd rather rule that it's an integrated OS that can be upgraded by a higher rating pilot program. Hardwired OS into the actual drone with enough space for upgrades, that way the pilot is just an upgrade to make it more intelligent.

The basis for pilot programs is that they have ALL the basics for controlling vehicles of all kinds, perhaps not exotic vehicles but most certanly everything else.

The autosofts improve their already basic skill into a more expert program. Just slapping a label on each pilot program would severily limit the options for a rigger.
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Azathfeld
post Mar 27 2006, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE (The Jopp)
Still, that wouldn't stop piracy since all you would need would be an emty datachip and the skills to crack and copy the program unto the new chip.

Still, it wouldn't matter in the long run, at most a number cruncher would save 1-2 build points.

A "data chip" is not the same thing as a ROM chip containing burned-in instructions. It may be possible to reconstruct a new ROM chip with the same instructions, but it's not generally as simple copying the data out and putting it in the new chip.

There are programmable ROM chips out there today, but there are also machines whose firmware is built into non-programmable memory, and requires you to physically replace the chip to upgrade it. Many printers have firmware encoded that way.

You can probably recreate the program, but I'd assign that a threshold of, oh, say, Pilot rating * 3, in an extended test with a three month interval.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Mar 27 2006, 06:33 PM
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It doesn't really matter.
Given the RAW, yes, you could do that.
But then again, why not copy the Pilot and Softs of that corporate drone when hacking it anyways and crack them later?
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Cain
post Mar 27 2006, 07:16 PM
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QUOTE
Well, the rules DO contradict that since pilot programs are universal and the actual autosoft is the skill. The pilot attribute would be like a character who is untrained (but they do not default, they just roll their rating) but for simplicities sake I'd rule that the software is hardwired into the drone with some space for upgrading the software into version 4.0 or something like that.

No book handy, but I seem to recall that the sidebar on Pilots and Agents lists how a Pilot is only really good within it's specialty. So, I'd definitely say that the Pilot for a ground drone isn't going to be at its best when slotted into a rotorcraft.

QUOTE
The ´drawbacks to this would be that it would cost massive amounts of cash for those that wants to be diverse drone riggers since a ratign 4 pilot costs 10K...

Not if you rule that Pilots are specific to a given class of vehicle, as opposed to a single vehicle only. This way, if you have three crawler drones, you'll only need to buy 1 Pilot program for all of them, even if they're different models. This slows down the copy-protection abuse, but still leaves things relatively cheap.

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Rotbart van Dain...
post Mar 27 2006, 07:26 PM
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QUOTE (Cain)
No book handy, but I seem to recall that the sidebar on Pilots and Agents lists how a Pilot is only really good within it's specialty. So, I'd definitely say that the Pilot for a ground drone isn't going to be at its best when slotted into a rotorcraft.

No, that's what Maneuver Autosofts are for.
Pilots are generic, it doesn't matter whether you install them on a drone or your fridge.
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emo samurai
post Mar 27 2006, 07:33 PM
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I'm sure that the instructions for "lower altitude" on a chopper are much different from the "turn right and then stop" on a car. If autosofts were that versatile, they basically have to be AI's. AI's that learn much, much faster than humans.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Mar 27 2006, 07:35 PM
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Autosoft != Pilot.

There is a generic Pilot, and specialized Autosofts.
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yesman
post Mar 27 2006, 10:12 PM
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This is almost a moot point. Any runner serious about drones is going to want to purchase a rating 4 pilot program.
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Edward
post Mar 28 2006, 04:45 AM
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The minimum complexity pilot program for a ground vehicle would not work in a rotor craft. Nether would the minimum complexity rotor pilot work in a ground craft, it would /expect/ to be able to go up. This is true at all ratings

A pilot program could be written that would work for all vehicles, it would be very complicated and hard to write but it could be done. I would have said it would be economically inefficient to do so but the corps may have decided to do so.

Edward
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yesman
post Mar 28 2006, 06:26 AM
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I think you might be slightly misinterpreting what it is that pilot programs do. Pilot programs do not pilot, they think. Autosofts handle the piloting. It may help to think of the pilot program as the AI of drones and vehicles.
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Edward
post Mar 28 2006, 06:40 AM
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I disagree.

Not that a drone can operate without any autosite, but it cannot operate without a pilot program. Thus a pilot program must have the ability to pilot. Or is every drone now required to have a mauver auto soft.

Edward
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The Jopp
post Mar 28 2006, 07:04 AM
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Well, after reading the description about Pilot programs it DOES seems like they ”only” think – but I hardly think that is the only thing they are there for.

The pilot attribute would most probably also stand in for the reaction attribute that is used for vehicles and the split second decision making of a computer makes defaulting a piece of cake so there is no modifier for pilot programs, thus they use their whole pilot attribute for piloting instead of suffering a -1D6 modifier like a human would do.

The Autosoft is the actual skill for driving a specific vehicle so they would be even more efficient. I think that a program dedicated for controlling a vehicle is expensive enough since it is a VERY common program, it is located in your fridge, car, fire alarm, house security etc. The best one can get at chargen is worth 2BP or 2 months of middle lifestyles, that’s very expensive.

Having it cost 10K for rating 4 for each vehicle group would be a bit excessive, but perhaps worth playtesting, in that case I’d definitely rule that it is generic software that can be downloaded and cracked. The “bought” program at chargen might very well represent that the character has already cracked the copy protection.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Mar 28 2006, 07:05 AM
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QUOTE (Edward)
A pilot program could be written that would work for all vehicles, it would be very complicated and hard to write but it could be done. I would have said it would be economically inefficient to do so but the corps may have decided to do so.

You call 'write once, slap onto anything' cost inefficent? :|
And, yeah, Pilot is much more expensive then System.
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yesman
post Mar 28 2006, 07:31 AM
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QUOTE (Edward @ Mar 28 2006, 12:40 AM)
I disagree.

Not that a drone can operate without any autosite, but it cannot operate without a pilot program. Thus a pilot program must have the ability to pilot. Or is every drone now required to have a mauver auto soft.

Edward

Pilot alone does offer the ability to pilot, in the same way that the Agility attribute includes the ability to fire a pistol. My point was that the Pilot program isn't limited to just piloting, it's pretty all-inclusive actually. It's the Attribute for every skill a drone has (perhaps excepting sensor/perception tests). Autosofts are the skills.

The Pilot rating is the intelligence (or arete even if you will) of the drone in the same way that Agent rating is for Agents or IC rating is for IC. Or to get really out there, Force is to Spirits or Sprites.
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Edward
post Mar 28 2006, 07:55 AM
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Writing a program that can make full use of 3 dimensional flight ability, and accept that it is always going to be on the ground is much harder than you would think. I believe it would take les programmer hours to produce one pilot program for each class of vehicle (wield ground, crawler ground, fixed wing aircraft, rotor craft, VTA, ext, ext) than to make one program that dose them all as effectively. If you double the size of a program you take 10 times as long looking for bugs alone.

Edward
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The Jopp
post Mar 28 2006, 08:07 AM
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QUOTE (Edward)
If you double the size of a program you take 10 times as long looking for bugs alone.

Edward

At the same time you can as a human default to ANY vehicle with a -1D6 to your Reaction Attribute...and I thought it was hard operating a helicopter...

The pilot program probably IS 10 times as big as most other programs since it is a semiintelligent operating system. It is at least 4 times more expensive than any normal OS for a commlink. Program size is basically a non-issue in 2070 but the generic pilot program is massproduced as a software.

Remember that the pilot program can handle most BASIC flight/drive/dive without much hassle, probably because assisted drive-by-wire system already integrated into vehicles that lets the basic human control a helicopter without too much problem, unless they do something stupid like fancy maneuvering.
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