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> The Matrix Explained, ...sort of...
noonesshowmonkey
post Jul 23 2007, 12:48 AM
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General consensus seems to be that the Wireless World section of the SR4 core book was inadequate in providing thurough and usable rules. This thread is intended to expand on the content provided in the core rule book, as a repository for user-created examples of matrix encounters, and function as an FAQ of sorts for the Matrix 2.0 in the 2070s.

Please limit posts to relevant information, questions and responses. I plan to link fruitful forum threads and sites on this thread as well as provide content.
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noonesshowmonkey
post Jul 23 2007, 12:49 AM
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This first post is a general glossary of terms that I have found come up regularly during matrix adventures. Some are derived terms, others are simply expansions on terms from the core rule book. All include examples.

********

General Networking

Device – Any mechanical or electronic equipment that is networked with other devices and may be connected to the matrix. A device may be subscribed to a network.

Subscription – an open connection involving a “hand shake? between devices and nodes. An access command creates a subscription between the accessed node and the accessing device. As a handshake and connection between two devices, a subscription also includes user access information including access privileges (user, security or admin). A commlink or other system's total number of open connections is limited by its OS and processing power - a device can manage as many simultaneous subscriptions (open connections) as its system x 2.

Example: Proto just got into a massive gunfight and his right cyber-arm is on the fritz again… then again a few Pred rounds will do that. Heading to Doc Atton’s Chop Shop and Used Book Store for some much needed fixit help, Proto logs onto the node in Atton’s shop and subscribes his cyber-arm to the shop’s triage node via his commlink. Allowed access to the arm, the shop’s triage agent orders the limb into a self diagnostic with a full data feed report. Within a few seconds the arm is whirring, buzzing and letting off the foul smell of burned coolant. Now if only Atton was as good with meat bodies as he is with cyber…

Subscription List – a list of users deemed friendly and allowed access to a node or device. A listed subscriber is allowed to connect automatically upon detection and request for connection. This automates the process of logging on and does not require a log on action to be performed. By automatically logging on and allowing open data stream immediately, subscription is a great way for friends to share data such as music, voice or video chat, pictures or other files without having to wade through ponderous user interface security. A subscription list is for all intents and purposes unlimited - it is merely a list of acceptable and friendly devices or nodes.

Example: LoCoPyRo is running surveillance for his team. Currently subscribed to his commlink are three roto-drones providing aerial reconnaissance as well as his three team mate’s commlinks. By subscribing his team mates’ commlinks, PyRo can send them real time map updates from his drones, manage and protect their micro-transceiver traffic and provide location tracking. PyRo’s commlink is running the Iris Orb OS and its System 3 is stretched to the limit with the six active subscriptions. When his dataminer buddy, Ch0pp3r, calls him up to send a datadump for a job PyRo’s poor OS takes a dump. Ch0pp3r is on the subscribe list for PyRo’s commlink with secure level privileges and automatically logs on and begins sending data, pushing the subscription total past its limit, slowing PyRo down just as the shooting starts…

Network Bridges – when a device or node is networked to a node, i.e. subscribed, a network bridge is created. Data must pass between the device or node and the subscribed node in some way or another, creating a connection that a hacker can exploit. A network bridge essentially describes a series of devices or nodes that are daisy chained to a control node; this control device often has a matrix connection.

Example: A security hacker is trying to hack PyRo’s team to assist security forces responding to an alert. The spider’s first priority is to take down the runner’s situational awareness. Rather than trying to grapple with the intruding hacker directly, the spider decides to hack into one of the runner’s commlinks to gain access to PyRo’s network. Once inside, the spider can begin to exploit the network bridges between the hacked commlink and the drones or the commlink and PyRo.

Node – A matrix object-location, the abstract building blocks of the matrix. A node is a location on the matrix where commands can be executed, data and programs exist etc. – a node functions as a “room? in the matrix in game terms. Nodes are specifically the matrix object and not the device that generates the object. A device may or may not have a matrix node depending on its purpose and network connectivity.

Example: D-Bass is hunting through a club for a mark. The Montmarte Lounge operates a social network that provides matchmaking and chat features for patrons of the club, checking active commlinks for relevant matchmaking data. D-Bass logs onto the social networking node and makes a quick computer + scan check to see who is logged on. Not finding his mark in the “room? of the social network node, he has to start looking elsewhere.

SubNode – a derived term for a node linked to other nodes. A subnode is a tiered instantiated matrix object-location. The Sub-Node is a branch off of a larger node, a room that links a matrix user to other rooms.

Example: After sniffing around for users in hidden mode and finding nothing, D-Bass decides to check back on the social networking node for any unusual activity. Running an illegal sniffer program in public dataspace is dangerous, but what else is a good stealth program for? His sniffer comes back with a chirping notification that it found several users that were spoofing ID and D-Bass sets about hacking. Sliding through a firewall, D-Bass logs onto one of the security conscious patron’s commlink and has a look around the hacked user’s commlink – a sub-node - trying to find a more definite form of identification. He seems to have over stayed his welcome when some IC comes swooping down to send him packing…

Complex Node-Networking – a derived term for large scale computer systems that are a series of complex node-networks. A complex network contains devices and nodes that in turn are hosts to other networks. A complex node-network functions as a series of rooms that a hacker must navigate to find whatever they are looking for. Each room essentially links to other rooms until eventually the desired individual subsystem is found. Access privileges are generally checked as a user logs on to each individual sub-node, some sub-nodes have unique access levels and others are simply restricted or hidden.

Example: D-Bass is searching around on a Renraku subsidiary’s financial computer system for some dirt on a corp exec to use as intimidation fodder. Initiating a computer + datascan he becomes aware that the system is setup into sub-nodes for employee records, internal accounting, security, and client records. Thinking that internal accounting might have show the exec as embezzling, D-Bass hops into the network to see what he can see. After hacking in he makes a computer + datascan and over 1,200 listings. Setting a browse + datascan agent up and giving it a list of search arguments to trawl through the data, D-Bass hops off the internal accounting node. Maybe the employee records will have some juicy paydata.

Commlink Terminology

Commcode– the commcode, or commlink ID, is software-level identification and functions as the unique user name for the commlink. It is somewhat analogous to a cell phone number but much closer to a screen name or e-mail address (in the 2070s, all three are basically the same thing, anyways) with a subscription list being a buddy list or address book. A commlink ID allows the network and other users to identify that particular user out of the myriad of matrix denizens.

Example: Proto is looking around for a hotshot cyber-doc to upgrade his current hardware. Tapping his contacts for some info he comes up with a few hits and gets the commcode “BandSaw187?. Now he has a dealer… that only leaves the nuyen.

Access ID – hardware level identification of a device network device. The physical address of a device is the access ID and is used by a system to identify locations of and destinations for data traffic. Access IDs are often used as authentication for security systems, essentially limiting access a subscribed node to a select group of devices (computer terminals).

Example: Now that he has a dealer, Proto wants to check up on good ole BandSaw187. As promising a title for a doc as that is, some background information would be nice and Proto taps a contact to do some datamining. Ch0pp3r hits the matrix and quickly finds the Access ID which BandSaw187’s commcode points to. Locating the Access ID, Ch0pp3r sets about creating a dossier for the user. Apparently BandSaw187, aka David Svinth, attended UC Berkley medical before leaving mysteriously two semesters before graduation. The lowest GPA graduate of a medical program is still called “Doctor?. How much different is someone that drops out a few months before graduation? Proto is not in a position to complain and instead sets out to make the extra cash.


PAN Modes

Active – in active mode a PAN broadcasts its user ID and relevant information for local networks. Common places that require active mode include high security locations such as airports or secure banks etc. In active mode the local network can send interrogation requests to a commlink which are automatically responded to. These interrogations can be for any particular data such as subscribed systems (cyberware etc) or loaded programs and failure to respond will trigger alarms.

Example: LoCoPyRo is chasing down a go ganger that stole from him. The ganger is screaming down the interstate towards the international airport and PyRo gets an AR request to set his commlink to active mode within the next kilometer or the authorities will be notified. Swearing madly, he sets his commlink to active mode, letting the whole world know that he is sporting illegal cyberware if an inquisitive network should ask. He has about seven tenths of a kilometer to catch this go ganger before he reaches the airport’s security line and that inquisitive network finds out exactly how much illegal cyberware he is running…

Passive – only authorized (subscriber list) devices can access your commlink in passive mode. Any other access attempts will result in a notification and request for authentication. The commlink is, however, still logging onto local networks and broadcasting its public ID.

Example: Proto is headed to the local megamall to hit a stuffer shack for some fresh ammo and some nutrisoy. Setting his commlink to passive mode, he can avoid the bombastic AR ad-softs that skulk about the megamall’s network without turning too many heads. Nearing the enterance Proto finds sea of Lonestar uniforms; apparently the mall was recently the scene of a local gang shootout. A Lonestar security drone hovers near and an ARO pops up on his commlink as the drone attempts to log onto his commlink and interrogate him. Declining the “invitation? to let Lonestar scan his (illegal) hardware, Proto is informed that he has exactly 30 seconds to vacate the premises before security is notified. Looks like it is time to go…

Hidden – in hidden mode a commlink denies connections to unregistered users, does not automatically log onto networks and does not broadcast personal information to any networks. Electronically speaking, the commlink can only be found if it wants to be found or if a hacker sniffs it out. Discretion often comes with a social cost, however, as it is considered very rude to operate in hidden mode.

Example: D-Bass is headed to a meet with his team to negotiate their latest contract with the Johnson. The meet is at a public park in Auburn and D-Bass will be providing electronic security. He arrives several hours earlier and sets himself up as a bum with his commlink in hidden mode, letting no one see him electronically and not broadcasting his ID; bums can’t afford commlinks anyways. Unless a security hacker is trying very hard to find a needle in a stack of needles, D-Bass ought to be able to monitor comm traffic during the meet unmolested and undetected.

******

- der menkey

"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter."
~Ernest Hemingway
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noonesshowmonkey
post Jul 23 2007, 12:51 AM
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I had planned a supplemental handout in .pdf form to expand on the planning, design and implementation of networks and their security in the 2070s. That plan is on hold now, as Knasser has done an incredible job on this topic already:

Example Matrix Sites - by Knasser
This page includes a link to the .pdf that Knasser made. This .pdf includes visualizations of several example networks and text descriptions of their systems. It is an excellent rubric for designing a network and security.

A fantastic resource.

- der menkey

"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter."
~Ernest Hemmingway
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hobgoblin
post Jul 23 2007, 02:28 AM
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about subscription, note that the book talks about the persona in reference to the subscription list. this have lead me to theorize that the subscription list is there to limit the number of nodes, agents and drones a user can have active contact with, not the total number of devices another device can talk to.
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Synner
post Jul 23 2007, 07:51 AM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin)
the subscription list is there to limit the number of nodes, agents and drones a user can have active contact with, not the total number of devices another device can talk to.

This is correct. The subscription list is potentially infinite. The number of active subscriptions is limited.
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hobgoblin
post Jul 23 2007, 08:23 AM
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the bigger question, synner, is what exactly does that list limit.
and sadly, while i have my interpretation, both this thread, and others, show that thats just one way of reading the current text of the book. and the faq isnt really helping by the looks of it.

people seems to think of the subscription is as a kind of nework firewall, limiting the incoming connections. but the more i read that bit of text, the more i have a feel that its the outbound connections that its limiting. and if that is correct, then i wonder if not the very name is misleading. subscription are commonly seen as access rights. if im subscribed to a cable service, im allowed to access their services. so its very simple to read the "subscription list" as controling who or what can access me, not how much stuff i can access at the same time.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 23 2007, 08:30 AM
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By RAW, active connections and active subscriptions are limited (..yeah, what's the difference?) - no matter whether they are trivial and used for fluff, or important and used for Drones, Agents and Hacking Nodes.

Giving that SR doesn't know the wonders of piplines, multiplexing and the like, this means that you might as well connect to the net with an acoustic coupler.
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Casper
post Jul 23 2007, 08:32 AM
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I have a small request. Has anyone gone into actually fleshing out the differences between normal, security, and admin user privileges. I only ask because I have my Groups TM always going for admin access I always wander how far admin will get you as opposed to the other levels of access.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 23 2007, 08:35 AM
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Access to:
User: what belongs to you - and what you need to work
Security: what belongs to you - and what you need to work... in this case including security stuff. Ugh.
Admin: whatever you want
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Aaron
post Jul 23 2007, 11:58 AM
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Modernly (i.e. in real life), the number of connections a device can maintain is based on a combination of its networking software (usually part of the operating system) and the hardware it uses.

Make of that what you will.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 23 2007, 12:09 PM
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If memory and bandwidth in SR4 are for all normal purposes 'unlimited', so is the number of active connections.
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Synner
post Jul 23 2007, 12:11 PM
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Unless of course you consider it a security feature and you disregard processing power (memory =/= processing power).
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 23 2007, 12:34 PM
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QUOTE (Synner)
Unless of course you consider it a security feature

No. Just... no. Even Microsoft just limited waiting connections.

QUOTE (Synner)
and you disregard processing power (memory =/= processing power).

Processing power for such tasks is technically unlimited, too. Sure, you need high response for high programs, but in the end, even a Response 1 Commlink is able to be used for realistic real-time video manipulation. Network routing does not even compare to that.
Even IRL, most internet gateways will run into memory problems before they run out of CPU time. Most broadband wifi routers run linux on a 100-200MHz embedded processor and they have a default of routing about 1024-4096 active connections... but the only thing that really get's the CPU over 10% is the HTML interface refreshing.

The main problem of the connection limit is that it kills the fluff. If a highly immersed wifi world is desired, the user should never have to worry about connections.
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noonesshowmonkey
post Jul 23 2007, 08:36 PM
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In response to a request for expanded user accounts information:

Account Privileges
This is an expanded definition of the account privileges found in the SR4 core book. Each provides a basic description of the type of access granted, functions that can be executed and each has examples associated with them.

User – the basic level of account privileges, user level connections have few rights. A user level connection is one of basic utilitarian purpose. With a user account, one would be able to access limited amounts of data of menial or highly limited consequence and would be unable to change or remove information. A user level account can generally only run a limited amount of programs, if any, and is unable to edit running programs.

Example 1: On the Dumpshock forums, an unregistered viewer has User level access. They may read the forums but cannot post, remove posts or execute any functions such as creating a profile for themselves. Their access is purely read-only and of limited amounts of data.

Example 2: D-Bass is hacking the Renraku computer system of a financial subsidiary. His first access point is through their main matrix portal and it is on this node that he must first log on. Making a hacking + exploit check, he is able to easily gain User level access, disguising himself as a lowly corp employee. This allows him to look around the node without having to provide incriminating information about his location, illegal programs he has running etc. While connected he can look around public data and programs, interacting with the Secretary agent if he so chooses and otherwise learning more information about the system for future hacking.

Example 3: On a campus network, the main public page is literally that: public. No permissions are required to view it. If the network maintains web-hosted e-mail, this requires a user name and password for logging on. For a student, this would be a user level account. The student account (user quality) allows them access to their e-mail, several pages of academic schedule information that are normally withheld, access to limited automated tech support and other basic functions of the network. Short of their e-mail, none of these functions allow the student to modify any data (they cannot set dates on the academic calendar, for example); they have read-only access.


Security – secure level access entails greater privileges, access to restricted information and connections, often with the ability to go beyond read-only interaction with data. A secure level user can access specific information of value to them and the system and can access / edit that information. Further, a secure level user is often the lowest access level that is allowed to connect intra-node without raising suspicion. Secure level access is also generally the first tier of access that is allowed to use or load agents.

Example 1: Basic forum accounts on Dumpshock, or any forums really, function as a limited secure level access. A registered user has the ability to read forum threads and then post comments, start their own threads, and edit threads they have access to (generally only their own). The system also maintains a profile of the user that allows them to modify information present in that profile, changing the way the user and the system interact. Security level users can generally run programs on specific nodes and edit several specific programs.

Example 2: D-Bass is tired of looking around the public sections of the Renraku system and decides its time to move on. After having done a (this is me hand waiving) computer + scan (10, 1 minute VR, 1 hour AR) check to case the system for secure level connections and browsing the Secretary agent’s logs for information (a hacking + exploit [Agent’s firewall] check), he finds a nice and juicy security account to piggyback. Once he is done hacking the account, he has secure level access onto their main network node which has its sub-nodes for employee records, internal accounting, security, and client records. His account allows him access to many of these sub-nodes but only allows him to access and edit data on a few of them, probably only things like client records for a given associate, employee records for his hacked user account etc.

Example 3: Secure level access onto a campus network would be something akin to a tech-monkey’s account privileges. Either as a technical support tech or a club leader or any other account type that demands the ability to both read and edit data, a secure level account will be able to access other features that were previously unavailable such as: a trouble-ticket system for tech support, edit privileges on the academic calendar (inputing data about a club meeting or event) and can access new nodes (trouble-ticket database and editing node, for example). The kinds of data they can modify are useful to them and to the system, though only for specific and limited uses. If the network maintains a file-server, secure level users can gain access to this server, add and remove files and execute a great many of them.


Administrator – as the title suggests, admin access is for system administrators. The scope of their connection privileges are vast and include most of the system. An admin user is able to access sensitive data that is useful to them and useful to the system, able to access and edit that data, input new data, remove access logs… just about anything. An administrator user can generally run programs (or agents), modify running programs, and execute illegal or highly sensitive functions or programs on the node without raising an alert. At the admin level, users are able to connect to nearly any intra-network node and perhaps several inter-network nodes.

Example 1: On any forum the administrators possess basic functionality well beyond other users. These include the ability to close, move, edit and open threads, ban or edit users and their privileges. Administrators engage with powerful tools and sections of the forums generally off-limits to other users and can send system wide e-mail, have access to personal information of registered users etc.

Example 2: The Internal Accounting node is looking very juicy and D-Bass queries the node for access. Access denied. His account is unable to get in or he needs an admin level account; either way it’s back to hacking. After hacking his way in with a -6 dice pool, D-Bass has admin privileges in the Internal Accounting node (intra-network). Once on the node he can search around for any information, sensitive information to the company and the system, and once he finds it he can modify or add data. After some snooping around he finds a financial log that suggests his mark has been embezzling. D-Bass encrypts the file further (going beyond merely editing, but full on encrypt / decrypt privileges), adds a databomb (accessing or modifying security systems on a node), and sets up a stealth agent on the node to run and hide the information (ability to add agents and run complex and maybe even illegal programs on the node). The blackmail is ready. Either the corporate stoop helps them or he gets taken care of. Going back to looking around the network node, D-Bass sees a portal to access off-site Renraku nodes; admin level access permits him to enter other systems (inter-network).

Example 3: On a campus network, system administrators get admin access. A system administrator includes professors, tech-support admins, department heads, the president of the college etc. These users have access to accounting information for billing and finance, they can get access to student records and transcripts, to academic records keeping software. If the network hosts files on a file server, an admin level user has unlimited access to these files, can add new ones, delete old ones, and run any of them. The data an admin user can get access to is fundamental to the running of the college and is of great importance to the user and the system.


I hope this is useful.

- der menkey

"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter."
~Ernest Hemingway
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hobgoblin
post Jul 23 2007, 08:43 PM
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to expand on the dumpshock user example:

on dumpshock one can say that any person that dont log in is granted access to a "guest" user account. said account have only read access to the content of dumpshock, not write access.

but a logged in user also have write rights, in that one can create new threads and add to existing ones.

this would be the equivalent to a public matrix node. one where anyone can walk in and interact to a limited degree. hell, one may even classify it as a sub-user kind of access.

on a non-public node (say the hacker network of the books) that automatic guest/sub-user access does not exist.
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noonesshowmonkey
post Jul 23 2007, 08:51 PM
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In response to further clarification of what subscriptions are, why they are limited etc:

QUOTE
Subscription – an open connection involving a “hand shake? between devices and nodes. An access command creates a subscription between the accessed node and the accessing device. As a handshake and connection between two devices, a subscription also includes user access information including access privileges (user, security or admin). A device can manage as many simultaneous subscriptions as its system x 2.

Example: Proto just got into a massive gunfight and his right cyber-arm is on the fritz again… then again a few Pred rounds will do that. Heading to Doc Atton’s Chop Shop and Used Book Store for some much needed fixit help, Proto logs onto the node in Atton’s shop and subscribes his cyber-arm to the shop’s triage node via his commlink. Allowed access to the arm, the shop’s triage agent orders the limb into a self diagnostic with a full data feed report. Within a few seconds the arm is whirring, buzzing and letting off the foul smell of burned coolant. Now if only Atton was as good with meat bodies as he is with cyber…


On Subscriptions - In the explanation that was provided, a subscription is considered analogous with an open connection. They are one in the same. An open connection creates a subscription, a subscription to a device opens a connection. The subscription list is not at all associated with the functionality of the subscription. Perhaps the only connection is that a subscription list streamlines the connection (subscription) of devices and nodes for ease of use. A subscription list is for intents and purposes unlimited. The number of open connections (subscriptions) is not. The main text has been edited to reflect this.

On Limited Connections - As a user noted, infinite speed and memory does not necessarily mean that an infinite number of connections or pieces of software can be run. As the power of computing and size of storage increases, so does the complexity of the programs and size of data being manipulated. The goal of the writers for SR4 was to make sure that players were not needing a calculator on hand to manage their memory load (as in earlier versions, or when screwing around with old DOS). To allow unlimited connections is completely absurd on several levels.

First, the user with open connections is unable to process that information cognitively, the programs that would manage these connections would slow down due to competition for resources. Secondly, an unlimited number of programs or connections would allow a hacker to perform massively more actions in out-of-combat game play than other characters. Considering the time load that a hacker already puts on the game and the GM, I doubt that any game writer would be willing to give any more of the game time to the already attention hungry hackers.

Part of the difficulty in understanding the Matrix 2.0 in SR4 comes from the fact that it resembles, abstractly, some of the functions of modern computing. This would seem to suggest that they are somewhat analogous. Truly, this idea is a waste of time. SR4 must remain playable first and foremost and if that means sundering its relationship with the common understanding of networking and computing, then so be it.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 23 2007, 09:11 PM
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noonesshowmonkey
post Jul 23 2007, 09:44 PM
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In response to the role of the Matrix in SR 4:

SR 4 is all about constant connectivity. Agreed.

There is a difference between incindental action and narrative action, however. Where unlimited commlink connections, unlimited program use, makes sense is during non-tense scenes. When initiative is not in question, when the results of the interaction are not disputed with the price of losing being character death or other such things, there is no reason to adjudicate how many things a person can do. In combat, however, there is a distinct need to manage the number of things that a user can do.

Joe Average can be connected to basically an infinite number of people with chat or telecom connections. Personally, as a GM, I consider telecom to be a single connection if I consider it a connection at all. Joe Average, however, is not a 1337 hacker slipping into and out of highly secure systems that are hell bent on finding and killing him.

I very much agree that general SR4 play should in no way really ever become a question of how many connections or whatever you have running. Theres absolutely no reason to nit pick that kind of detail.

In VR combat, the rules provide limitations that hackers use to differentiate themselves from each other. If every hacker on any commlink whatever can do a zillion things, there is less motivation to get a better commlink. Classic to nearly any RPG is the linear progression of equipment alongside experience that improves character skills and abilities.

As far as SR4 vs SR4, sure. Games have rules. Without the rules, everything is free form and up to the bias of players and GMs. Pure creativity is great, but the rules can be of great help when it comes time to resolve conflict in a game. The fluff butts up against the rules. Big deal. In Warhammer 40k fluff a Space Marine is a a machine of death capable of killing nearly non stop for a year on end. In the tabletop game, however, where people are playing and conflicts need to be resolved in a non-fluff way, they have limitations just like everyone else. Thats the price of fluff vs gameplay. Oh well.

Null.

I hope this thread can remain mostly content for the sake of helping people navigate the tricky waters of the Matrix in SR4.

Thanks.

- der menkey

"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter."
~Ernest Hemingway

**Edited for content**

This post has been edited by noonesshowmonkey: Oct 9 2007, 07:13 PM
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hobgoblin
post Jul 23 2007, 09:52 PM
Post #19


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QUOTE
SR4 builds around the fact that everyone is always online, chatting, surfing, sharing... in short, a world where Joe Average doesn't have to worry about managing connection, because he can't possibly run into the near-infinite limits.
The rules contradict that.


it only contradicts it if one expects the user to have to maintain a active node connection to each and every person he is talking to at any moment.

but notice that unlike SR3 and earlier, there is no "phone" program. its now become integrated with the os apparently. so i would hazard a guess that as long as you have some sort of subscription with a MSP, that traffic can be considered background noise. you pop of a message of some kind and forget about it. hell, text, voice, video, it does not matter, its just a message anyways. it may well be that a "phone" conversation in SR is a series of voice based messages going back and forth. kinda like a voice based IM, complete with adapted etiquette. in many ways it would be like a throw back to the two way radio ;)

the real issue comes when one does a closer look at node = website. things break down kinda fast then ;)
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 23 2007, 10:00 PM
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So the solution for this FAQ is to apply the subscription/connection limit rules only to using Drones (those got group exceptions, too), Agents and Hacking.
Everything else just works.... even if you have a thousand peers.
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hobgoblin
post Jul 23 2007, 10:20 PM
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QUOTE
strcit RAW


to quote adam savage, theres your problem.

i worry that the biggest negative effect d20/d&d have had on the rpg community as a whole, is the deep focus on the letter of the rules...

if we where a bickering group of lawyers before, the introduction of RAW and other similar shorthands onto the vocabulary didn't help...
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Caine Hazen
post Jul 24 2007, 12:49 AM
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QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig)
QUOTE (noonesshowmonkey)
Where unlimited commlink connections, unlimited program use, makes sense is during non-tense scenes.

I'm talking about connections. What's with programs?

What do you think opens connections to your PAN. I mean if you are running a program that interacts with anyone, you obviously will have an open connection. And if you're the type of person who runs with all your ports open and receiving, let me know your ISP and current IP address on your system please... :rotfl:

And to address the "RAW" (which is a silly term best left to cancer causing games) lets look at what you're calling into question:
QUOTE
In game terms, your persona maintains a subscription list
of nodes that you are accessing and that are allowed to establish
communication with you. The subscription list may be unlimited
in size, but the number of nodes, agents, or drones that
a persona may actively subscribe to (access) at any one time is
limited
to the persona’s System x 2.


Looks like your "FAQ" is already built in there. You just have to know what is connecting actively to each player's commlink each turn. For example; You have subscribed your whole team to your commlink to share cybereye and ear data and so when split up you can keep track of what's going on. Suddenly team A is jumped. On turn one a runner with a system 5 commlink (say the rigger for funs sake) actively drops a command 2 his 2 combat drones. There's 2 marks on his list. His next pass he contacts the 3 runners on team 2, for 5 total connections. next turn he takes an active feed from the Sammy's cybered/smart gunned eyes to get a grenade shoot off on one of the drones, 6 total now. Even issuing a message to the remaining 2 team mates next turn takes the total up to 8. I mean after the next combat round, any of those subscriptions not used he can deactivate as simple actions if he felt the need to free up some. He can still even log into his home network and give orders to his stove at this point if he wants to waste actions on that.
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kzt
post Jul 24 2007, 04:55 AM
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Ok I'll admit it, this wasn't a useful post.


This post has been edited by kzt: Jul 24 2007, 06:05 AM
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hobgoblin
post Jul 24 2007, 05:48 AM
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QUOTE
The shouldn't write stupid rules if they didn't want people to interpret them stupidly.


i wonder how many times wizards of the coast wrote and rewrote the text on some of their magic the gathering cards. there is a reason why legal texts at times sounds like they are written in a language all their own.

question, do you want your rule books to sound like the law books used by lawyers?

also, i think you missed the target of you joke in your quote. i was not aiming at the rule text, but the strict interpretation of rules that the use of RAW seems to imply. a strictness that i feel comes from the d&d/d20 community. the very same community that i believe have made the exspression RAW part of the common rpg vocabulary...
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kzt
post Jul 24 2007, 06:09 AM
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Ok I'll admit it, that wasn't a useful post.

Here's one that tries to be. It's just a slightly different view. I had to use some of the fluff from the rulebook to make this work, just didn't see any other way.

MATRIX 2.0 BASICS
Five years after the disaster of 2065 the Matrix of 2070 is composed of a near-infinite number of overlapping and interconnected wireless mesh networks used to control nearly every aspect of modern life. After the second catastrophic worldwide computer disaster in 35 years the priorities of the designers of the new Matrix were much more focused on ensuring there would never be a third.

So the new Matrix is built to ensure that it is secure, omnipresent, secure, accessible from all locations, secure and integrated into daily life. And did I mention secure?

[snip]

MATRIX TOPOLOGY
The Matrix a complex organism, a vast collection of billions of nodes all linked together in various networks that are themselves linked together. They are designed to allow random users traffic to traverse them without allowing the random users to actually access anything on the local system or network. Hence it is possible to get on the matrix virtually anywhere. So you can get on the Matrix in the lobby of Ares Space, but that doesn’t mean you have any way of accessing the actual systems that Ares Space uses.

At the bottom layer of the pyramid are individual users with their commlinks and personal area networks. These users and PANs wirelessly interact with other PANs and devices all around them in a wireless mesh network, as well as with the telecommunications vendors that you buy your commcode from who ensure that calls to your commcode will reach you, no matter where you are. Most commercial Commlinks are very low powered devices designed to work for a month or more on a single charge. To do this they have very low powered radios, limiting range to a few hundred meters at most, which provides great service pretty much everywhere that a normal person would go. Variant versions are available for those who need to travel into the dangerous dead zones.

The second tier are the huge number of wireless base stations installed by businesses, in residences or by telecommunications vendors, that Commlinks connect to In addition, commlinks can mesh connect with other commlinks over significant distances back to a base station if they can’t find a good signal locally.

Homes and offices are integrated through a terminal—or term for short—that tends to serve as its multimedia center (image scanner, full-size printer, video screen or holo display, larger speakers, and so on). It's a much faster connection than a wireless commlink, but (given the typically fast wireless connection and the things people do with their commlink) most people never really notice. This also provides local wireless access for commlinks and connects through a fiber link (in developed areas, via specialized wireless in others) to a company that provides the matrix connection. In general, people would no more not have matrix service than they would not have water or power.

The bottom of the pyramid are the service provider networks that transport data across a region, continent or world-wide. When properly functioning they are invisible to users. Only larger companies directly interact with them, as their sole purpose is to move huge amounts of data unnoticed behind the scenes and to stop large scale Matrix "events". The company that provides service to houses and small offices will typically have a contract with a small local service provider, who will contract with a large world-wide provider. This is unimportant to most users, the Matrix just works. It’s even unimportant to most hackers, as the service providers transport their traffic along with everyone else's. It only becomes important when someone creates “significant? events, at which point “things? start happening very fast. There will be no third worldwide computer disaster.
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