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Garrowolf
My View of the Matrix

There are two large sections of the Matrix:

There is GridLink. This is the only part of the Matrix which has a geographical 1:1 correspondance. All of the buildings are modeled as a part of traffic flow. This is used to direct and control traffic flow and contains all of the signs and floating ads. It contains all the Ads and floating billboards and such. When you are looking through AR you are seeing the GridLink without the vehicle stuff in addition to whatever arrows are within range of your commlink. This is why you can see a billboard for Ares at a distance outside of your signal range and click on it. You can set your filters to filter out various billboards, certain types of arrows, spam, etc.

When you are going through the world in VR you can go through the GridLink as a VR Ghost floating down the middle of the street. You would still have the traffic filtered out but you could see the same billboards and business signs and even see people walking down the street and talk to them as long as they haven't blocked you off. You could see everyone else floating along as well or have them filtered out and see a sort of empty street. The people walking down the street can see you as well through AR unless they have Avatars filtered out. A totally unfiltered commlink would drive most people nuts.

Then there is the Internet. It is just like it is today for the most part. It is full of web pages. It contains all the cable channels and all the communications stuff. Many web pages are full VR rooms with agents to talk to about their products. There is no 1:1 correlation between the Internet and physical geography. There are whole lands in VR but they exist in servers only. The Internet and the Gridlink are very interconnected. You can walk down the street and click on a resturant and pull up it's web page. You can access the internet nearly anywhere through business signs and billboards.

There is a whole VR Mall called "The Mall" (I got this from a novel but I can't remember which one). It has every major store in the world all side by side divided up into subjects such as clothes, electronics, games, etc. Anyone can go there but it has no physical side to it. It is just in the Matrix.

Both of these together are what is called the Matrix and the average person would be hard pressed to know where one ends and the other begins.

What there is NOT:
There is no Nodequest. You move through hundreds of switch points and servers all the time. You don't roll to go from one to the next. Besides, they don't charge you for how many nodes you move through so all that billing stuff is silly. When you are in a VR space then there is VR stuff but when you are going through the Internet there is no rooms or fast highways or whatever unless you have that visual inside your commlink. Most of the time it's just floating windows that pop up. You could find a VR web site and pop in to that but you don't need a visual of movement or warping around.

Your Avatar is not out there in the Matrix. You are surfing along accessing hundreds of servers, maybe just to construct one web site or VR chat room. If you are in VR then you can present any Avatar you want. You can present that avatar as floating along in the gridlink but the avatar not actually out there - it is a file that you have made public so that anyone who wants to view your avatar (ie it is within range and you haven't filtered them out) will see it. There is no way to get trapped in a server by having your connection to that server close behind you.

There is NO reality to Virtual Reality. It is not solid. There is code and some of that code has a visual component but hitting a VR avatar is useless unless you have agreed to take damage in some sort of game. There is no way for your avatar to take damage unless the file is corrupted on your commlink and then it probably won't work. The condition monitor only appies to damage to the commlink. It will not show up on the avatar. There is no reason for it to have the visuals for it and why would you want to give away that information to your enemy. Think of hacking as like playing poker. You don't want to give away tells that they are succeeding. Therefore no dinosaurs eating other avatars.

Basically everyone is inside their office space inside their commlinks. They can remove the office visual and float in space surrounded by windows. You can create a visual of whatever you want around you. This is going full VR. This can be hot or cold sim. You can choose to replace any icon or avatar you want in your office space. There is no Reality Filter contests. You always win, but you don't get a bonus. In order for someone to change your setting they would have had to already hacked into your commlink. The reality filter contest is implying a free successful hack for the sole purpose of changing your browser colors. This is stupid.

Alot of this may seem so obvious that it doesn't need to be said but what I am trying to do is fight the habit of falling for the illusion that alot of cyberpunk writers and games have done. It confuses the players and readers and shows that they lack the fundamental understanding of computers that their character would have.
OneTrikPony
I can see that and I think it's right except why does AR have to be on gridlink? isn't that the motor vehicle trafic control system?

you still get arross in VR right? Arros have a physical range but they also pop up in VR when your icon comes in range.

Why do you make a distinction between the AR/VR matrix and the "internet", didn't cannon pretty much kill the WWW with the crash of '29? What do people do on the internet?

QUOTE
There is no way to get trapped in a server by having your connection to that server close behind you.
right you just get bumped to the previous *level* which might be the previous tir of the network your on or might be directly to your comlink node. What happens to Agents that are on that node? If the node cuts connections but does not crash do agents that are running on the node keep running?

QUOTE
There is no way for your avatar to take damage unless the file is corrupted on your commlink and then it probably won't work.The condition monitor only appies to damage to the commlink. It will not show up on the avatar. There is no reason for it to have the visuals for it and why would you want to give away that information to your enemy.
I thought your *avatar* was the same thing as the Icon of your Persona. You may not have coded your Icon to display damage (file corruption from attacks on your persona), but an Analyze action will tell an opponent what shape you're in and that may as well be displayed in thier visual as damage to your Icon. How I "see" you is as easily modified as the immage you progect right?
QUOTE
There is no Reality Filter contests
In SR4 mechanics I can't see any use for a reality filter. But, I had always thought that the reality filter worked by presenting the virtual world in a familiar metaphore. I thought the contest came intoplay when the metaphore used by the host was untranslatable, or that the code of the host's Icon was to heavy for your reality filter to translate. Stacpool in "wolf and raven" wrote of a decker that used a baseball metaphore. To her the whole matrix was a ball park. I always wondered what would happen if her reality filter failed to a football metaphore and all of a sudden some wicked IC in pads runs out to tackle the pitcher. smile.gif
kzt
Tron was just never a good model, and that is still what Shadowrun is still trying to emulate.

I think it's fundamental mistake is assuming that people who know what they are doing will use any sort of interface that prevents them from directly interacting with the system or filtering it. Kiddie scripters use GUIs that more competent people have built, people who know what they are doing typically work with command line tools that allow them to directly interact with the target. And they will be a lot faster than something that uses a billion lines of code to make clever animated pictures and is running with an 85 millisecond round-trip delay on top of that.

VR/AR etc would be tools for people who don't really understand how the network works or are just using the system to do something. The clever visual picture of streets and buildings is a whole lot less useful to a hacker than the actual route table used by the RTG. The whole idea of a "hidden nodes" just doesn't work if you are looking at the actual system table of the network instead of the view it wants to show you.
Garrowolf
The reason that AR is on gridlink because there is no other 1:1 virtual space. It's is already there in order to have a model for traffic control so it seemed like it would be able to do double duty. Otherwise I couldn't think of a reason to have a virtual city. It's not necessary on ther face of it but as a side effect of traffic control it make more sense to me.

Yes, you could see arrows if you were in VR moving through the grid.

The internet is used for everything that it is used for today. There doesn't need to be a VR display for everything, most of it would still be on web pages, though they might be spiffier.
Even if it all did crash it would still be replaced with the stuff that works. I just took the crash to mean that they wanted to get rid of some of the node quest stuff and the matrix topography. In my games it never looked like that in the first place and the crash just lost lots of data.

I don't have agents actually on other nodes. They are on your commlink running from there. The reason I do that is it seems like it would be very easy to prevent agents from moving from node to node. All you have to do is only allow access of a certain bandwidth - enough to surf for web pages but not enough to move an agent on to your resources.

The avatar is your icon on the Matrix. There is nothing there to take as damage. It's just a copy of a file that is sent to the viewing computer just like what happens when you look at a picture on a web page. If you damaged a web page image but didn't upload it back to the site then you would only be damaging your copy. The analyze action MIGHT tell you that there is bandwidth problems but keep in mind that if you do send an attack virus at a commlink you can get feedback from the virus that it is succeeding if you want to. You don't need the analyze to do that.

The reality filter would be better phrased as your VR Desktop or Office Space. That would make it less misleading.
OneTrikPony
I have only a vague idea of what a system table of the network is but can a person really scan and comprehend a whole one of those in less than 85 miliseconds?

By 85 milisecond delay are you refereing to the Observe in Detail simple action of a matrix perception test?
De Badd Ass
QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
I can see that and I think it's right except why does AR have to be on gridlink? isn't that the motor vehicle trafic control system?

I agree with OneTrikPony about the relationship between AR and gridlink. I will wait for Unwired to explain the relationship between AR and VR.

In Real Life 2007, AR is accessed via wi-fi and cellphones (satellite and WiMax are bit players). These are two different approaches to AR.

The cellular network is highly centralized. You access other nodes through third parties - a cellular provider, an internet service provider, and a specialized search engine. The AR search engine combines your search parameters with GPS information from your cell phone and returns localized hits. If you leave the search parameter blank you will get everything local. If the search engine is anything like Google, businesses will be paying for favorable placement.

AR over wi-fi is highly decentralized. Your wireless node directly accesses all other nodes within range. Some are private, and most just allow internet connection. The ones implementing AR have their own local web server. In a shopping mall there might be a mall server that covers the entire mall. On a downtown street, there might be complete anarchy.

If this doesn't describe your experiences, it's because you aren't accessing AR. No, I am not describing the way most businesses operate today. I am describing what is possible today. The question is: which of these two approaches will evolve into the matrix 2.0, and which one will become extinct?

I think that the two systems will converge, and that both will be accessed via one device, the commlink; just like today's portable computer and cellphone are converging. The cellular system will be the way VR is accessed, and the wi-fi system will be the way AR is accessed (ISPs may even license individual wi-fi providers to provide internet access to roaming commlinks). Now you know what Windows 2070 (actually Internet Explorer 2070) will have to be doing - managing multiple simultaneous connections.

Back on Topic: In neither case do you actually travel to other nodes. In both cases you establish two-way connections with other nodes. These connections send you active-x, exe, Flash, html, Java, Javascript, mpeg, XUL, etc. Your ability to sever those connections may depend on who is the better programmer. Do you place your bet on Microsoft?

As to how billing will work? Who, sixty years ago, would have guessed that people would pay to watch commercial television? Who knows what billing metaphor will be in existence sixty years from now. If you want an instant headache, try following the net neutrality debates.
kzt
QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
I have only a vague idea of what a system table of the network is but can a person really scan and comprehend a whole one of those in less than 85 miliseconds?

By 85 milisecond delay are you refereing to the Observe in Detail simple action of a matrix perception test?

85 msec is an arbitrary number, but it reflects the effects of distance. You get about 200,000 Km/sec in fiber, plus an itsy bit of delay for every time your data stream passes though a device. So if you are 2000 km away (by the actual physical path - not straight line) you have at least 40 milliseconds between when you issue a command and when you can possibly see a result. (Let's call this a sequential action)

So if you are infinitely fast you can only execute 50 sequential actions in a second against a system 2000 km away. If I'm 2 km away I could (if infinitely fast) carry out 50,000 sequential actions in a second because my round trip time is .02 milliseconds.

If I'm running automated agents on 1000 hosts that are close to the target system you can imagine that I could try a hell of lot of different attack approaches before anything other than an automated system could react. (This is part of the reason why botnets are really annoying if you are doing network security.)

If, on the other hand, I'm using a satcom link to a geosynchronous sat I'd be maybe able to carry out three actions per second.


As to the system tables, in order to send traffic you have to have a path to your destination in the system, all the way from your transmission point to the the destination. If you want to know whether the destination received it there has to be a path all the way back to you from the destination. So if you understand how the target is represented internally you an find the target really fast, since you are using the same system that is used to transmit data between hosts. Whether the fancy VR system want to show you this doesn't matter, because for anything to talk to it the system has to know how to get to it.

It's like tracking down someone with an unlisted phone number when you are the guy who programs the phone companies billing system. (or have his login) The phone company has to know what the phone number is to make it work and who to bill the phone to so they get paid. So it takes essentially no effort or time for you to connect the name to the number. No need for paying private detectives or human engineering their friends and relatives, you just look it up.

If the system is only intermittently active it still needs to establish connectivity to the world before it can do anything. Which means it has to establish connectivity to the system that is used to transfer data before it can transfer data itself. If you monitor this with a physically close agent you know when it's present, probably before it has established connectivity to the rest of the world.
eidolon
It's an interesting take, but I actually rather prefer SR's "incorrect" way of doing things. Call it devotion to genre if you like. smile.gif

I do plan on doing a few things similar in my next game though. I'm actually going to be modeling the Matrix after The Street in Snow Crash, and Gridlink will be an underlay system much as you've described it (of course, no AR in my games, but the rest of it).
SL James
QUOTE (eidolon)
It's an interesting take, but I actually rather prefer SR's "incorrect" way of doing things. Call it devotion to genre if you like. smile.gif

Yes. Such a novel concept that the corps would design the Matrix to be hostile to deckers.
eidolon
Not what I was getting at, really. Garrowolf has a lot of really good points vis--vis computers and reality vs. SR/cyberpunk "ghost in the machine", it's just that I enjoy forgetting how computers work in order to play said ghost.
GrinderTheTroll
QUOTE (Garrowolf)
My View of the Matrix...

Good to see you've taken some intiative since we all lack some real depth to the Matrix.

Although I don't agree with your interpretation, as long as you can make it work for your games more power to ya. cyber.gif

ChicagosFinest
So at home your TV is your home computer and you can interactively oder stuff online as well as watch TV like microsoft envisioned?

The veiw of the matrix is so up and down that i just hit the reset button completely like the writers did and forgot about it all together. Seeing as how I have yet to run on the matrix i need some help.

Grider can I get your take?
GrinderTheTroll
QUOTE (ChicagosFinest)
So at home your TV is your home computer and you can interactively oder stuff online as well as watch TV like microsoft envisioned?

The veiw of the matrix is so up and down that i just hit the reset button completely like the writers did and forgot about it all together. Seeing as how I have yet to run on the matrix i need some help.

Grider can I get your take?

I really just see AR as a subset of VR. Both AR and VR allow interection of nodes/systems within your Signal Range. Once you access the node (your legal MSP or some other Node you force to allow you access) you can start addressing nodes/systems outside the physicallity of your commlink's Singal Range using lookup services or knowing the address of the destination.

AR is the bare-bones UI and VR is the full-blown sensory emersion UI. Public nodes presist themes (maybe some Private ones do too) but your are subject to seeing the Matrix from what the current Node allows you to see. For example, once in a Private Aztech Node/System, you'll see their iconography, not the outside theme Aztech "resides" in.

I don't see the need for a 1-1 correspondance for AR overlays since it's not that useful to have a virtual overlay of a 50-story building over the real thing. Maybe some of the advertisements or signage might be, although I see too much AR overlay as a hinderance not the helpful tool it should be.

I also don't see smaller "sub-matrix" systems but rather lots of public and private services. I am sure there is more than one set of "2070 Yellow Pages" that you can organize, filter and sort how you'd like as well as public/private libraries, shopping centers and the like much as we see today. Your MSP probably has preferred vendors and such they are partnered with as does any corporate conglomorate.

For grid-guide systems, I doubt you could see the actual traffic flow to the point you could identify individual vehicles. That to me seems awful private information to make public. I am sure you'd get some Traffic-Index or some metric like that to help you make traffic decisions as your are driving in AR. In VR, this would be abstracted to a public system (traffic Indicies, information) with some animated traffic iconography, since you're obviously letting the car drive if you are full-VR while in traffic.
PlatonicPimp
Actually, by canon the entire city of seatlle has AR overlays to make the buildings all emerald-y. There's also a program that lets you slap images up on any surface you want, but only you can see them.

The key here is that AR does not have to have a 1-1 correspondance, but it can if you want it to. It's just a matter of having the computer's cameras analyze it's images, create a 3d model of the area, and check both your own data and the broadcast data of the nodes in range to see if anything is supposed to be there. Y'know, Just. I've always figured that those 1-1 AR overlays tend to be the links for the nodes they represent, and you interact with them somehow in order to access said node.
GrinderTheTroll
QUOTE (PlatonicPimp)
Actually, by canon the entire city of seatlle has AR overlays to make the buildings all emerald-y. There's also a program that lets you slap images up on any surface you want, but only you can see them.

AR or VR? I'd think AR would be too distracting for trying to get about with a ton of visual imagry.

Time for a re-read for me! cyber.gif
PlatonicPimp
AR.

And really that isn't critical visuals, unless you consider the city itself to be visually overwhelming.

In fact, if you did, it might be possible to get your reality filter to edit out the skyline.
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