Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Conceptualizing the Wireless World...
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Method
I need help!! frown.gif

I'm gearing up to GM a game for some friends. We are all old school SR players (about 18 years) who haven't yet played 4th edtion together. Obviously one of the biggest changes will be the Wireless Matrix, but even as the GM I've had a hard time conceptualizing the new system myself, let alone being able to describe it to "new" players.

Before I start, let me say that I know very little about real life wireless computer networking. But I have searched the forums extensively. I've read countless posts, the official FAQ, Serbitar's Guide to the Matrix, knassers example Matrix sites, wikipedia's page about TCP/IP, and the Wireless World section of the core rule book (numerous times). I just can't seem to put it all together in my head. To be honest I don't even know where to start so this will probably come off as a stream of random questions.

I guess Subscription would be a good place.

----------------------------------------------------------------

1.) Is there a distinction between a device and a node? Obviously you subscribe devices, but according to the RAW you must also subscribe nodes in order to access them right? So do you have to log on to a node to subscribe it or subscribe a node to log on to it? Does your subscription limit (p.212) encompass both nodes and devices (if theres any difference)?

2.) I've heard some describe a "hardware vs. logic vs. software layer model" (hobgoblin IIRC), but the book doesn't make such distinctions. The closest I can figure is your commlink opperates on at least three sepperate levels, each distinct from the others:

a.) A level for linking (and exchanging data) between devices subscribed to your PAN (hardware)
b.) A level for interacting with other PANs and your AR environment.
c.) A level for direct communication with the Matrix (data search, text messaging, bank transactions, etc).

Is that at all correct? If so, don't devices and matrix nodes opperate on two distinct levels (a and b respectively)?

3.) I've heard subscription described simply as "a connection that can be used to access a node". So if you subscribe a node or device you don't have to log on to access it from that point on? If so what account privilages (p.216) does that access have? I've also heard subscription described as being "like your favorites in Internet Explorer". Isn't the subscription list more like your favorites?

4.) Do you need to subscribe to someones PAN to share data with them (images, txts etc) and do they need to subscribe to your's to receive it? How would a shadowrunning team be networked? It seems unlikely that every member of the team would have a commlink with enough open subscription slots to subscribe every other member of the team.

5.) If a device is subscribed to a PAN, can someone else try to subscribe it? The FAQ makes mention of as-of-yet unreleased rules that say you can "slave" a node, which would seem to imply that one can subscribe a node already subscribed to someone else. If thats the case why hack or spoof anything? Couldn't you just subscribe it and issue legitimate commands?

6.) The FAQ states pretty explicitly that you don't need to subscribe a node to hack it, but you do need to log on. So once you log on you have access to that node but you loose it if you leave the node (see #3 above)? Couldn't you access any number of nodes by hacking if it doesn't require a subscription slot?

7.) Do items linked to your comm by fiber optic cable count toward you subscription limit?

8.) Does a character need to spend an action to add a node or device to his/her subscription list? Does a character have to spend an action to link a new device?

9.) Can you link items together in an endless chain (example: can a smartgun be subscribed to your cybereyes and the cybereyes in turn to your PAN)? And if so, does one node have access to all the others in the chain? If thats the case, and everything has a wireless-enabled computer, couldn't you just wander about linking everything to everything else and not even worry about subscription limits?


----------------------------------------------------------------

But enough of that!! If anyone has the perfect analogy for conceptulizing subscription, I'd love to hear it. In the mean time, on to other things:

----------------------------------------------------------------

10.) What is the difference between your Commcode and your AccessID. The book seems to describe your commcode as your personal cell number or email address and the access ID as a characteristic of a hardware device (p.216). Wouldn't your commcode become part of your datatrail (and thus become a liability and need to be replaced regularly)?

11.) How is your access ID related to your account privilages? Where does a passcode come into play? If you have a passcode are you automatically subscribed to a node? Or automatically logged on?

12.) Does your PAN mode determine the account privilages of others who are accessing your PAN?


----------------------------------------------------------------

I think I'll stop there for now. My access to the internet maybe limited this week, but I'll make every effort to reply to any answers.

As always, any help is greatly appreciated!! grinbig.gif

Method

[EDIT:for clarity, spelling and format]
kzt
A lot of it I've just hand waved. The people writing this generally didn't have a clue how it would logically have to operate to be functional, and Frank has pointed out that two of the writers included rules that are diametrically opposed to one another about how tests work and the developer never seems to noticed. frown.gif Or cared. frown.gif frown.gif

The computer rules just don't stand up to even superficial inspection, and the more you know about how stuff really works the worse it gets. Tron was silly when it came out and it hasn't gotten better with age, but they are still trying to preserve the flavor of it 25 years later.

The wireless matrix is a neat idea executed poorly. Make a rational decision about the questions and WRITE THEM DOWN, so it works the same way the next time the questions comes up in your game.
Aaron
A device can be a node, but not all devices are nodes. A device is a Matrix-capable machine, and a node is a place in the Matrix generated by a Matrix-capable device.

There would have to be several layers to a Matrix network, but for ease of play, it's easiest to just talk about the upper level(s). If Rob, Synner, and the rest figure out how the Matrix works on the lower levels, they don't necessarily have to tell us, they can just figure out what actions work and what don't based on how the lower level operations work.

Account privileges are based on the device. Basically, someone with an admin account on the device gets to choose what actions are allowed at each level. Most of the devices you're going to see in SR4 play will only have admin access, anyway (I include commlinks in this category, unless someone's set up their commlink as a server for some reason).

You don't need to subscribe to a teammate's PAN just to send them data. However, if you need a more robust connection (for real-time applications) or you need something from their commlink, you'll need a subscription.

Subscription is a two-way thing. It has to be okay with both devices, and you'd better believe that my drones have orders to only accept subscriptions from me.

Since it refers to an action ("subscribe"), I think when the FAQ states that subscription is part of hacking in, it means the Log On action that creates a connection is part of the hacking action.

I think that items linked to your comm by fiber optic cable do count toward your subscription limit. The limit is based on System, which is software, not hardware.

I believe that characters must spend an action to open a subscription, and that action is Log On.

It seems to me that a subscription is just an open line of communication. For example, if I want to command a bunch of drones in "Captain's Chair Mode," I'd need them to be subscribed to my commlink, so I can get real-time data and give real-time commands. With a subscription, I'm logged in and trusted, and don't have to use a Log On action to start controlling it.

Commcode vs. Access ID: It seems that one's commcode is like their email address, their IM screen name, or (to a lesser extent) their cell phone number; it is independent of what machine you are currently using. The Access ID is like a MAC address or IP address; it is used by the network to determine which device gets what packets.

Your commcode could be traced to your access ID, but there are anonymizers for that (they're mentioned in the book). I figure an anonymizer is a node that is running an agent or three, each taking a Spoof action every second; I doubt any Track attempt could keep up, so it's easy to just say "you get your email without being traced."

A node can have a "white list" of access IDs that automatically get access. For example, a garage door opener can be set to open for certain access IDs. However, if you get a new commlink, or you're borrowing somebody else's, you won't be able to open your garage door; this is where passcodes (and biometrics, and passkeys) come into play.

Aaron's Really Quick Guide to Modes:
  • Active: Everybody can see me, anybody can subscribe to me.
  • Passive: Everybody can see me, nobody subscribes without permission.
  • Hidden: Nobody can see me, nobody subscribes without permission.
High-class and high-security areas require active mode so that law enforcement and security forces can check your documentation without having to ask. They can also snoop into your PAN devices to see what devices you're carrying.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Method)
I need help!!

Here it is: You are already insane - give into it. nyahnyah.gif

QUOTE (Method)
I guess Subscription would be a good place.

To go insane? Indeed.
No matter what the RAW says:

First, assume that there is a way of connecting to devices that doesn't need your Persona and is for things that don't need Tests.
Then assume that the Subscription Limit only limits three things: Agent and Drones under your direct control, and how many Personas you can toss around.

Thus, you can happily surf the net, chat all day long while watching hundres of live feeds at once, share files with all of your friends and use every device you are carrying... but the things that really matter (hacking and playing overlord), you only up to your subscription limit.

QUOTE (Method)
What is the difference between your Commcode and your AccessID.  The book seems to describe your commcode as your personal cell number or email address and the access ID as a characteristic of a hardware device (p.216).

That's pretty much it. Access ID is an IPv6 adress, then.


QUOTE (Method)
How is your access ID related to your account privilages?

It identifies you...

QUOTE (Method)
Where does a passcode come into play?

Where a password would.

QUOTE (Method)
If you have a passcode are you automatically subscribed to a node?  Or automatically logged on?

Only if you tell your commlink to auto-login.

QUOTE (Method)
Does your PAN mode determine the account privilages of others who are accessing your PAN?

No.
Dashifen
All my takes, YMMV:
  1. A device is a generic term for any piece of electronic equipment. A node is an area of wireless coverage created by a device with a Signal rating. There have been a number of discussions involving subscription here in the forums and, I think, for the purposes of Subscription Lists, the concept between a device and the node it's creating, you subscribe to the device by being in communication via its node. Alternatively, a device without a node, you would have to connect to with wires in order to subscribe. In other words, the node is a communications medium. Thus, your subscription list contains the devices (drones, matrix hosts, coffee makers, etc.) with which you're willing to communicate and to communicate with them wirelessly, they must have a node or be connected to a device which has a node (like a coffee maker connected to a house's node).

  2. I wouldn't personally worry about the level of detail you seem to describe in this question, but yeah, it looks okay. To me, though, all three levels are facilitated by communication with some form of device and there's no reason to split it up into three different types of communication, cognitively speaking.

  3. The subscription list is like your favorites in IE; it's a list of devices with which you're willing to communicate. That's why they say that it's nigh infinite on p. 212. But, it's my point of view that the devices that you are actively communicating with are those which are actively subscribed and that's when the limit of System x 2 comes into play. More about subscriptions and subscribing can be found here.

  4. Yes. If you're not subscribed with something, you cannot communicate with it. So, if you want to send images and other data to a team member, their PAN (which probably means their commlink unless they allow annonymous subscription directly to their cybereyes ( eek.gif )) you can't send them the data. You could perform a 2070 email type and they could look at it later (even if later is a few seconds or moments later) but if you want real-time, synchronous communication, then you need a subscription.

    Usually, I handwave team communiations because my players aren't interested in that level of detail. Also, as I state in the thread I linked above, only active communications approach the System x 2 limit. If you're not talking to Randy the Razorgirl, then her PAN can take a slot in your Subscription List (infinite) but not your Active Subscription List (limited to System x 2 subscriptions). Alternatively, for those who disagree with me, I suppose that you could by a high level commlink and use it to facilitate communications loading it with encryption, analyze, etc. so that said communication is protected. Then, the team all subscribe that one commlink and that one commlink just has to have enough of a System to subscribe the team.

  5. Sure. If I'm making coffee on a matrix-capable coffee maker and Jimmy wants to as well, I can subscribe to it, tell it what coffee I want, then Jimmy can subscribe to it and tell what coffee he wants. As long as System x 2 + 1 people don't try to submit orders at the exact same time, the coffee maker will gladly handle all those subscriptions and move right along. For such a public device, no logging in may be necessary. But, many devices -- especially business appliances, vehicles, drones, matrix hosts, etc. -- may not allow access to many commands at such a level. When that's the case, you'll need to hack it.

    For example, imagine a maglock. Just subscribing to the maglock's node might give you information about wither or not it's locked, when it was last unlocked, etc. If you hack it's node, however, and get access to the lock's internal logs and databases, you might be able to get more information, like who was the last person to unlock the door, for example. And, if it's not a legitimate command to unlock the door without a proper passcode, keycard, number sequence, etc. then you'd have to hack/spoof it if you wanted to unlock it without those credentials.

  6. This is one case where I personally disagree with the FAQ. I fact, I'm not sure which question you're referring to, but a cursory glance at it a moment ago didn't yield the same understanding unto me that you seem to have. If you're hacking a node, it's my opinion that said hack will take up an active subscription slot on your commlink. However, it does not take up an active subscription slot for the node's device. How could that be? Well, it's my take from p. 212 that active subscriptions describe legitimate access. I take that interpretation from the sentence: "In game terms, your persona maintains a subscription list of nodes that you are accessing and that are allowed to establish communication with you" (emphasis mine). Thus, the FAQ could be said to be meaning that the node doesn't really subscribe you when you hack it, but you subscribe the node. This indicates, to me, the illegitimacy of the hack.

  7. I don't have a RAW reference for it, but I'd say yes, if only for game balance purposes.

  8. I'm not sure this is stated in the RAW, but I'd call it a free action to add a device to the subscription list if you have some form of DNI access to your commlink or a simple if you don't. As for linking a new device, if you mean to actively subscribe it then that's a simple action.

  9. Yes, you can daisy chain your linkages. In fact, p. 212 seems to indicate that this is common so that your devices are are linked to your commlink which is, then, the only legitimate point of entry into your PAN. As for wandering around subscribing everything, technically yes, you could add all sorts of devices to your subscription list since it's infinite in length. But, you still couldn't actively subscribe to any more than System x 2 at once. I suppose the next arguement would be that you could command actively subscribed device A to command it's actively subscribed device B to do something, but depending on the order, the complexity, and the "intelligence" of the Pilot for A and B, you're command might get garbled in a "whisper down the alley" style way. For example, you might tell A to "shoot that guy" and A tells B to "shoot that guy" but "that guy" could be a different person by the time that B gets around to acting especially if A or B glitches their comprehension test.

  10. I've always seen Commcode as a sort of identity for your commlink online. Like you said, it's an email address. If someone doesn't have you subscribed, then can send a message to your Commcode and you can get it later. The Access ID is more like a MAC address - it's an inherent part of your commlink and would take a Hardware test to change. This is more what I worry about on runs since it's conceivable that a system could record your Access ID and use that to track you down. Hence spoofing the datatrail and editing the logs to remove a record of your intrusion.

  11. If you have a passcode, you can log onto the node and you'll have the privileges that are associated with that code's account. If you hack into a node on the fly, you're exploiting a flaw in the system to access it without needing a passcode. Probing the target seems to indicate that you might find a backdoor or some other artifact of programming allowing you multiple entries until the door is closed, an illegitimate passcode if you will.

    Now, Access ID, in my opinoin, is unrelated to your account privileges. Access ID is an ID for your hardware. An account might be associated with a specific ID such that you'd need to hack the system in order to use an account -- a passcode -- with your current hardware, but that's the only connection that I'm seeing at this time.

  12. No. PAN mode only determines how people can find your node. Their account comes with privileges. If you want Huggy the Love Troll to have Administrative access to your PAN, then you can grant him an account which has them, but if Randy the Razorgirl only deserves User access, then her account has only user access.
Dashifen
Oh, and I should mention that Rotbart and I have competing interpretations on the rules. If we contradict each other, it's only par for the course biggrin.gif

(no offense intended, Rotbart, just trying to head off understandable confusion by the original poster)
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Dashifen)
Oh, and I should mention that Rotbart and I have competing interpretations on the rules. If we contradict each other, it's only par for the course

(no offense intended, Rotbart, just trying to head off understandable confusion by the original poster)

Uhm... I don't interpret the RAW anymore regarding subscription. It's the way of madness.

Perhaps I should have made it more clear that my advice has nothing to do with the RAW anymore.
Blog
Not all of my explanations are cannon; but how I understand/feel that this system would work. Most of these devices in SR are designed to be used by the general public and therefore generally are easy to use and a lot of the whole subscription stuff can be glossed over.

QUOTE (Method)
1.) Is there a distinction between a device and a node? Obviously you subscribe devices, but according to the RAW you must also subscribe nodes in order to access them right?  So do you have to log on to a node to subscribe it or subscribe a node to log on to it?  Does your subscription limit (p.212) encompass both nodes and devices (if theres any difference)?


In the meat world its a hardware device. In the digital world its a node. They act as a hole for interaction between the two worlds. The node can have different presence levels in the digital world (active/passive/hidden)

QUOTE (Method)
2.) I've heard some describe a "hardware vs. logic vs. software layer model" (hobgoblin IIRC), but the book doesn't make such distinctions.  The closest I can figure is your commlink opperates on at least three sepperate levels, each distinct from the others:

a.) A level for linking (and exchanging data) between devices subscribed to your PAN (hardware)
b.) A level for interacting with other PANs and your AR environment.
c.) A level for direct communication with the Matrix (data search, text messaging, bank transactions, etc).

It falls down to what your doing.
Are you doing something with the physical device? Like say adding more memory: hardware
Are you doing something with running (hacking) programs? Like say watching who is connected to your node: software
Are you doing something which the GM would rather just get the roll over with quickly: logic

QUOTE (Method)

3.) I've heard subscription described simply as "a connection that can be used to access a node". So if you subscribe a node or device you don't have to log on to access it from that point on?  If so what account privilages (p.216) does that access have?  I've also heard subscription described as being "like your favorites in Internet Explorer".  Isn't the subscription list more like your favorites?

I view it as when trying to connect it will attempt to resolve a guest account access. If that fails or replies back that a username/pass is required then it would fall down to needing to hack.

Since this is a wireless world, you may not be subscribing directly to the node in question. You may be subscribed to a nearby node A. Which has a subscription list to C. Which it is subscribed to D etc etc. This is a transparent part of the game mechanics; if its connected to the matrix you can somehow get a connection to it.

QUOTE (Method)

4.) Do you need to subscribe to someones PAN to share data with them (images, txts etc) and do they need to subscribe to your's to receive it?  How would a shadowrunning team be networked?  It seems unlikely that every member of the team would have a commlink with enough open subscription slots to subscribe every other member of the team.

Your run network would be running in hidden. And only allow connection from the subscription list (your other runners). All other connection attempts should fire an alert and be forwarded to the hacker of the group.

Optionally one 'good' comlink can function as the com-central. All runners subscribe to that one and its good enough to hold that many subscriptions.

QUOTE (Method)

5.) If a device is subscribed to a PAN, can someone else try to subscribe it?  The FAQ makes mention of as-of-yet unreleased rules that say you can "slave" a node, which would seem to imply that one can subscribe a node already subscribed to someone else.  If thats the case why hack or spoof anything?  Couldn't you just subscribe it and issue legitimate commands?

Yes. It may require hacking. But if someone has their cybereyes connected to their comlink and its running in active mode. People can see what you see.

Commonly this is why runners have more then one comlink/node which serve different functions and DONT interact with you. (one for ID, one for PAN, one for run communication).

QUOTE (Method)

6.) The FAQ states pretty explicitly that you don't need to subscribe a node to hack it, but you do need to log on.  So once you log on you have access to that node but you loose it if you leave the node (see #3 above)? Couldn't you access any number of nodes by hacking if it doesn't require a subscription slot?

Hacking in is gaining access in a manner that does not follow the standard methods. Usually to gain privleges that are normally not allowed to the system.

When you log in you are subscribing. The methods you used to obtain the login did not take a subscription slot. (personal interpretation)

QUOTE (Method)

7.) Do items linked to your comm by fiber optic cable count toward you subscription limit?

Yes and no. The device only has so many ports to connect stuff too (think USB).

As long as the connected device is not another node like device (say chained comlinks) I would consider the wired device to be an extension of the device its connected to and therefore not require a subscription; ie in my mind the wired line port is a dedicated subscription port exempt from the wireless subscription listing.

QUOTE (Method)

8.) Does a character need to spend an action to add a node or device to his/her subscription list?  Does a character have to spend an action to link a new device?

No clue. We gloss over this in my games as typically thats a pre/post run thing.

QUOTE (Method)

9.) Can you link items together in an endless chain (example: can a smartgun be subscribed to your cybereyes and the cybereyes in turn to your PAN)? And if so, does one node have access to all the others in the chain? If thats the case, and everything has a wireless-enabled computer, couldn't you just wander about linking everything to everything else and not even worry about subscription limits?

Thats what makes wireless work. I dont have the signal to connect to china. But I know this access point over here connects to something over there to something over there and eventually i'm in china.

As a runner though.. Thats a LOT of your own data trail to leave laying around unmanaged. You *could* do this but I would expect that over time you would draw undesired attention to yourself.

QUOTE (Method)

10.) What is the difference between your Commcode and your AccessID.  The book seems to describe your commcode as your personal cell number or email address and the access ID as a characteristic of a hardware device (p.216).  Wouldn't your commcode become part of your datatrail (and thus become a liability and need to be replaced regularly)?

Commcode is what I would consider your 'mailbox' for phone/email/etc and AccessID what your device is. example: when runing in public mode. You accessID is being broadcasted out so other nearby devices can connect.

QUOTE (Method)

11.) How is your access ID related to your account privilages? Where does a passcode come into play?  If you have a passcode are you automatically subscribed to a node?  Or automatically logged on? 

Having the accessID allows you to find the device (often found snooping subscription lists of linked devices). To login you need a valid passcode or hacking. The account priviliges depend on what passcode you used

QUOTE (Method)

12.) Does your PAN mode determine the account privilages of others who are accessing your PAN?

Its rather transparent in the game mechanics. Assume if its a good chummer they have higher account privilages then a Guest account. But then again they probabaly actually have a personal account. Generally assume all logins have the least amount of privilages as is required to function. This is where hacking is key in that you can gain privilages which your account normally does not have.
Method
Thank you all for your replies. I think this is starting to pull it together for me!! wobble.gif

----------------------------------------------------------------

More:

13.) So the only ways to log onto a node are:
- with a legitimate Access ID and Passcode (requiring a Complex Action but no test)
- hacking the node using an Exploit program?

14.) Access ID, Passcodes, Privileges- do I have this right:
- when attempting to log on/subscribe a node, the node identifies the potential user by their comm’s Access ID, which is essentially their “username??
- the Passcode and Privileges are predetermined for the user account he/she is logging onto?

15.) Can any node be set to active/passive/hidden? For example, once I subscribe my cyberarm to my comm, can I order the cyberarm to go hidden to protect it from being hacked?


----------------------------------------------------------------

QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig)
Then assume that the Subscription Limit only limits three things: Agent and Drones under your direct control, and how many Personas you can toss around.


This interpretation seems to be in harmony with the rules as stated on p.212. I think this makes more sense, but tell me if I got this right:

In effect you are saying that all the devices in my PAN can stay subscribed (via the subscription list) but remain on “standby? unless they have something relevant to send to the comm (like targeting data from my smartlink that needs to be routed to my image link) on a minute by minute basis. Accessing nodes to perform operations (legit or hacking), running agents or drones on the other hands present a more constant drain on the system, and so these are continually subscribed while in operation. Is that at all close?

In effect one needs to think of the subscription list and limit as a dynamic, constantly changing, constantly updating interplay, that only determines what a character can access right then for any given action. Right?

----------------------------------------------------------------

QUOTE (Dashifen)
…all three levels are facilitated by communication with some form of device and there's no reason to split it up into three different types of communication, cognitively speaking.


Could you elaborate at all? How do you envision this working without needing a dedicated subscription slot for Matrix connection and any number of subscription slots to interface with all the local nodes and PANs you encounter?

QUOTE (Dashifen)
Thus, the FAQ could be said to be meaning that the node doesn't really subscribe you when you hack it, but you subscribe the node. This indicates, to me, the illegitimacy of the hack.


This makes sense. Thus you cannot preempt hacking attempts by cramming your comm full of subscriptions, right?

----------------------------------------------------------------

QUOTE (Blog)
…if someone has their cybereyes connected to their comlink and its running in active mode. People can see what you see.


This is a scary proposition. I interpreted the PAN modes as an indication of what data you are willingly transmitting, not how much access others have to your comm. Isn’t there any way to limit what a user can access in each mode?

----------------------------------------------------------------



Thanks again!! I'll post more as it comes to me.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Method)
In effect one needs to think of the subscription list and limit as a dynamic, constantly changing, constantly updating interplay, that only determines what a character can access right then for any given action.  Right?

Except I don't care about 'standby' or multiplexing or what else. wink.gif
Stuff just works, important stuff is limited.
Ravor
Well personally I don't sunscribe to the theory that in Active mode you automatically broadcast everything, but what anyone even remotely interested in cyberware security should do is buy a Beta-grade datajack with skinlink adaptation and set all of your cyber to only talk to it using internal wiring. Then load your ( Responce 5 ) rated datajack up with as many ( Rating 4 ) Agents as you can fit and still only drop your responce down to four.

That way even if someone hacks into your comm system they still have to get through a very nasty chokepoint before they can even think about shuting down your eyes are making you shoot yourself.
Method
Okay, so maybe not a good example, but the point of my question was:

15.) Can any node be set to active/pasive/hidden?
Method
16.) Subscription and Logging On are synonymous?
Zen Shooter01
I take this thread as proof that the SR4 matrix rules are hopelessly wrecked. So wrecked, in fact, as to not just be bad, illogical, or unbalanced, but actually impenetrable - indecipherable gibberish.

Boy, I'm looking forward to Unwired.
Method
Zen Shooter01: I don't think my personal ignorance really proves anything. I appreciate your feedback, but the last thing I want is for this thread to degenerate into another "Why the Matrix is broken" thread...
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Zen Shooter01)
indecipherable gibberish.

They are not Perl.
Method
And yet more...

----------------------------------------------------------------

17.) If your PAN is running in hidden mode, do you still receive messages (text, voicemail) routed to your commcode via the matrix? I could see it either way, since your comm probably queries your MSP for your messages every few minutes, but then if you aren't allowing subscription from surrounding nodes you can't very well access the 'trix, right?

18.) Along the same lines, what about data searches in hidden mode?
kzt
17 & 18: Logically you shouldn't be able to, but nothing in the rules suggest you can't. You can still make and receive live calls unless it is off. I'd argue that, at the least, that anyone knowing your comcode can find your physical location (with appropriate access to the various systems, legally or otherwise) unless you turn it off and go fully off-line.
Crusher Bob
I'd compare hidden mode to being behind a NAT router or similar device. Any probing at your connection doesn't even show that a computer (or even a whole network) is hooked up at that address, but you can have outgoing connections just fine.
Aku
i got the impression, in hidden mode, YOU can do whatever you want, but when someone tries to contact you, you're "not home"
Rotbart van Dainig
'Hidden Mode' is a joke. You aren't 'hiding'.

You are simply not broadcasting your presence, nor answering to broadcast presence requests. Think access point with SSID turned off. Or any old radio.
redne
You could say that the definition of "being hiding" is "not broadcasting your presence, nor answering to broadcast presence requests."

biggrin.gif
Rotbart van Dainig
No. If you are just standing around in the plain open, you are not hiding. Even if everyone else is screaming "I'm here!".
hobgoblin
ever heared the expression, hidden in plain sight?
Rotbart van Dainig
That's done by being louder than the rest. wink.gif
Caine Hazen
QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig)
'Hidden Mode' is a joke. You aren't 'hiding'.

You are simply not broadcasting your presence, nor answering to broadcast presence requests. Think access point with SSID turned off. Or any old radio.

That's pretty much what sys admins call hidden mode now-a-days.
Synner667
QUOTE (kzt)
A lot of it I've just hand waved. The people writing this generally didn't have a clue how it would logically have to operate to be functional, and Frank has pointed out that two of the writers included rules that are diametrically opposed to one another about how tests work and the developer never seems to noticed. frown.gif Or cared. frown.gif frown.gif

The computer rules just don't stand up to even superficial inspection, and the more you know about how stuff really works the worse it gets. Tron was silly when it came out and it hasn't gotten better with age, but they are still trying to preserve the flavor of it 25 years later.

The wireless matrix is a neat idea executed poorly. Make a rational decision about the questions and WRITE THEM DOWN, so it works the same way the next time the questions comes up in your game.

Hi,

From what I read somewhere, the wireless Matrix was done purely so that Deckers would have to go on runs, because having the Decker do his thing in isolation used to mess up so many games.

It's not a new idea, as CyberGeneration did it a few years ago - and did it much better.


Just my thruppence..

Method
QUOTE (Synner667 @ Jul 15 2007, 12:42 PM)
...the wireless Matrix was done purely so that Deckers would have to go on runs, because having the Decker do his thing in isolation used to mess up so many games.

I can fully relate to their intent. I have played SR since the first edition hit the shelves, so I have seen many a game bog down due to decking. Despite the ambiguity of the current rules, they are infinantly better than those from previous editions.

----------------------------------------------------------------

I guess my issue with Hidden Mode stems from the line on page 211 that states:
QUOTE (SR4)
"...your PAN is invisible to other nodes unless you access or authorize them." (emphasis mine)


If your access to the Matrix is mediated by subscribing some node in a meshed network (a network that is inturn connected to the grid at some other point), wouldn't receiveing messages or running a data search require you to reveal yourself?
hobgoblin
well you can find a hidden node at any time, it just takes more effort then finding a active or passive one. so the use of invisible in that quote is less then a exact description.

but in the end, dont try to apply to much real world knowhow about wired or wireless networks. the rules are for flavor first, real world correctness a distant second imo.
Aaron
QUOTE (Method)
If your access to the Matrix is mediated by subscribing some node in a meshed network (a network that is inturn connected to the grid at some other point), wouldn't receiveing messages or running a data search require you to reveal yourself?

It depends on how the network layer of the protocol used by the Matrix works. Apparently, the answer is "no."

Incidentally, if the Matrix is a data-centric network (which I would believe if you told me, since storage is almost infinitely cheap), one wouldn't have to connect to the outside world to do a data search at all.
kzt
QUOTE (Aaron)
Incidentally, if the Matrix is a data-centric network (which I would believe if you told me, since storage is almost infinitely cheap), one wouldn't have to connect to the outside world to do a data search at all.

So if I turn off my transmitter I can do this how?
Aaron
You can do it if the Matrix is a data-centric (also known as content-centric) network. All of the publicly-accessible data on the Matrix would be encrypted, certified, signed, compressed, and stored locally. It would update automatically whenever you are connected, so some of the data can get old, but it should be pretty much be up to date.

If you've got time, grab some popcorn and watch Van Jacobson* explain the concept in a lecture to Google engineers.

*Van Jacobson is a Research Fellow at the Palo Alto Research Center. He also used to be the Chief Scientist at Cisco. He also used to be the head of Network Research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Basically, the dude's done a lot of this stuff.
hobgoblin
QUOTE
encrypted, certified, signed,


and now we wait for the "useless encryption" mob...
kzt
QUOTE (hobgoblin)
QUOTE
encrypted, certified, signed,


and now we wait for the "useless encryption" mob...

Nah, it's pretty self-evident by now how little though got put into that "feature".
Wakshaani
How useless *is* encryption, anyway?

It seems as if only pretty high-end hackers can get past it. Joe Corp Hacker would have trouble while the average street hustler or citizen wouldn't be able to at all.

Or am I mis-remembering?
Ravor
It depends on whether or not you are using the optional rule limiting the number of rolls on an extended test, but yeah, considering that you get to make a new test each turn it's not nearly as impression as it should be.
hobgoblin
I just wish they would go into more detail about how to attach ic to the encryption, as the book talks about some high end ones doing just that. Nothing like having to fend of a black hammer carrying ic while trying to decrypt something...
kzt
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jul 18 2007, 09:39 PM)
  Nothing like having to fend of a black hammer carrying ic while trying to decrypt something...

Why, your skills have nothing to do with attacking encryption per RAW? Let the sammy do it in AR.
hobgoblin
Is there a joke i dont see? Btw, the word raw is begining to annoy me.
kzt
As I've said before, the way the rules interact make no sense. But this is what they SAY: "Make a Decrypt + Response (Encryption rating x 2, 1 Combat Turn) Extended Test to break the encryption."

Note that there is NO reason to actually have anyone in hot sim doing this, your sammy in AR can do the job EXACTLY as well as the most skilled hacker in hot sim can.

I'm not sorry you don't like this, because it's absolutely stupid. But that's what the book actually SAYS.
Prae
Whenever I played SR (2 or 3) I tried to stay away from the Matrix rules as much as possible lol.

But, this new "wireless" era has me intrigued. I do agree that the rules are lacking simpatico, but I think I've figured out at least one thing (or three) and can use a current, simplistic analogy to explain it.

The Active, Passive, and Hidden Conundrum:
Think of Current Day Instant Messengers:

Active. I'm online and ready to be bombarded with greetings, spam messages, solicitations for 'cyber' and the like. Any muppet in an X-meters radius knows I'm there and willing to be blinded by 2070-style pop ups. Mind you people can access my PAN, which I equate to viewing my "User page" or "About me" stuff with the only real protection being whatever my OS's Firewall rating is (Or IC for you devious Deckers).

Passive (my preferred status, both IRL and SR). I'm online, but telling anyone that isn't in a special Access List (For lack of a better term) I'm not. I'm fakin' not being there for the masses. So if someone drops me a message, or goes active, (I suppose in AR) a little window pops up and I can choose to respond or ignore it at my whim. The peeps in my Access List, like my teammates/contacts see me as online and ready to rock. Otherwise all "pings" sent my way are blocked. The only List Exception to this that I can see is things like Public Safety Warnings and the like. Maybe even things like our modern day Amber Alert are allowed.

Hidden. I figure this is just like Passive, except not even the peeps in the Access List see me as being available. Full level "Appear Offline". Note that I can still access Nodes and other Active or friendly Passive PANs, but for all intents and purposes, I don't exist on the network, even for the Safety Alerts and stuff.

... And that's about as far as I got before my brain said, "Critters are cool," and I went to read that part of SR4.

So, if my take seems right, use it. If it's wrong, well, ... meh.
Crusher Bob
QUOTE (kzt)
As I've said before, the way the rules interact make no sense. But this is what they SAY: "Make a Decrypt + Response (Encryption rating x 2, 1 Combat Turn) Extended Test to break the encryption."

Note that there is NO reason to actually have anyone in hot sim doing this, your sammy in AR can do the job EXACTLY as well as the most skilled hacker in hot sim can.

I'm not sorry you don't like this, because it's absolutely stupid. But that's what the book actually SAYS.

Don't you get +2 dice for being in hot-sim?
Ravor
Yeah, but I think I'd gladly trade those two dice in exchange for not having to worry about getting my brain fried.
Dashifen
QUOTE (Method)
QUOTE (Dashifen)
…all three levels are facilitated by communication with some form of device and there's no reason to split it up into three different types of communication, cognitively speaking.


Could you elaborate at all? How do you envision this working without needing a dedicated subscription slot for Matrix connection and any number of subscription slots to interface with all the local nodes and PANs you encounter?


I've fought with others a lot about this one, but I think that to make things work, you've got to assume that there's some amount of automatic communication source handling on the part of the Matrix and by commlinks. Assume temporarily that your commlink (hereafter CL) is subscribed (thus actively communication in real time) with five other networks and that its system is 3. Thus, it CL still has 1 available active subscription slot. I do think that the letter of the law indicates that only one more network can communication with CL before no other communication is possible. However, I don't personally feel that this makes a lot of sense.

Thus, I choose to interpret a semantic difference between the (infinite) subscription list (SL) and the (finite) active subscription list (ASL) described on p. 212. The any device in SL can contact a commlink and for a brief moment, communicate with it (thus moving into the ASL), and then subsequently and automatically leave the ASL re-opening its slot. Plus, since we know that data transfer speeds and bandwidth in the Sixth World have reached a level that we don't even really have to worry about them except in specific circumstances (e.g., combat), I feel that all of this can happen in a few moments (perhaps less than a second?) before another device can perform the same operation. In this way, when you get up in the morning and you've already subscribed System 2 commlink to your house's node, a local news feed, and a national news feed (3 active subscriptions), you're coffee maker can still let you know that it's brewed you a cup, your fridge can let you know the milk has expired, and the cat's dish tells you that it's empty. All of these communications take place and then end in moments and, thus, such incidental communications need not be considered as a part of the ASL of a commlink.

So, then, what's the point of the ASL? Really, it's for on-the-job considerations as follows: you need to know the security status of a node in real time then you'll need to subscribe it; if you're getting information about the status/location of your teammates, that's a subscription; communicating in real time with your buddies would be another one; finally, getting a video feed from a surveillance drone hovering above your target would be another. If you're commlink has a System of 2, you're hosed and you're not going to be able to initiate another communication channel until you drop one of your active ones.

In short, I choose to ignore short, incidental communications (even emails, IMs, an the link) and assume that these day-to-day asynchronous forms of communications can automatically be subscribed and unsubscribed by the operating system of a commlink. But, when the user of that commlink chooses to dedicate system resources to a real-time, sychronous feed of information (be it text, visual, audio, doesn't matter), then you've used up a slot on that commlink's active subscription list which is limited to System x 2 such dedications.

QUOTE (Method)
QUOTE (Dashifen)
Thus, the FAQ could be said to be meaning that the node doesn't really subscribe you when you hack it, but you subscribe the node. This indicates, to me, the illegitimacy of the hack.


This makes sense. Thus you cannot preempt hacking attempts by cramming your comm full of subscriptions, right?


That's exactly why I came to that conclusion. Otherwise, every system in the world would be jammed with exactly the number of connections to which it needed to be actively subscribed in order to prevent hacking from occuring. But, if illegitimate access is not considered an active subscription by the hacked node, then there's still a way in regardless of how taxed a system may be.

And for what it's worth:

QUOTE (Method)
13.) So the only ways to log onto a node are:
- with a legitimate Access ID and Passcode (requiring a Complex Action but no test)
- hacking the node using an Exploit program?

14.) Access ID, Passcodes, Privileges- do I have this right:
- when attempting to log on/subscribe a node, the node identifies the potential user by their comm’s Access ID, which is essentially their “username??
- the Passcode and Privileges are predetermined for the user account he/she is logging onto?

15.) Can any node be set to active/passive/hidden? For example, once I subscribe my cyberarm to my comm, can I order the cyberarm to go hidden to protect it from being hacked?

16.) Subscription and Logging On are synonymous?

17.) If your PAN is running in hidden mode, do you still receive messages (text, voicemail) routed to your commcode via the matrix? I could see it either way, since your comm probably queries your MSP for your messages every few minutes, but then if you aren't allowing subscription from surrounding nodes you can't very well access the 'trix, right?

18.) Along the same lines, what about data searches in hidden mode?


Edit: Hmm ... seems you can't start a numbered list in the middle. Oh well.
  1. That would be my understanding, yes.
  2. Yes, that's correct, too. Hence, when hacking, you must specify the privileges that you're going to try and acquire during the hack. As for what actions can be performed in a specific node based on those privileges, that's up to the GM.
  3. Yes, any node had three modes.
  4. They're not always synonymous. Consider a node which has a public and private section. The public section might be something like a store where you can go and browse through the information in the node but you couldn't get into the employees only information of that store without logging on. But, for most purposes, you can probably assume they're synonymous.
  5. I would say that hidden is hidden. As kzt said above me, the rules don't say it, but hidden mode means that surrounding nodes have to search for you. I don't think that the average MSP is interested in wasting computing cycles trying to find hidden mode users, they'll just wait until the next time they see you and let you know that you have 4,295 messages, 4,294 of which are marked spam.
  6. You can perform data searches in hidden mode because you can always create a connection to the outside world in hidden mode, just the outside world can't easily make a connection to you. I would imaging this is what facilitates the finding of a hidden node: you look for wireless information streaming an and out of a location which doesn't report itself as an active or passive node.
Talia Invierno
Just wanted to say thank you, Method, for asking these questions. I'm learning too! smile.gif
Method
Talia: No problem. These other guys are doing all the work!! nyahnyah.gif

Seriously though, thank you all for posting. This has been very helpful, and I think now I might actually have a working understanding of the wireless world. notworthy.gif
hobgoblin
the one interesting bit about the subscription stuff is that the text talk about the persona, not the node or comlink or device.

this to me indicates that while the amount of background traffic is unlimited (the hardware can talk to any number of hardware) the system (as in the os) can only manage so many simsense feeds or something like that (not including the simsense feed of the device your directly using).

as in, the subscription limit is only there so a hacker cant be at a 1001 places at the same time (or at least cant with a portable device). its not about limiting the background traffic.
Method
hobgoblin: I'm glad you made this point, because I was thinking about asking you about this.

I seem to remember reading a post you made in another thread (I doubt I could ever find it again) where you wrote about the persona being an interface utility that your comm loads into other nodes to establish a data stream back to your comm. I thought that was a very good explaination.

I think this falls right in line with Rotbart's statements above about handwaving subscription for everything except agents, drones, and nodes you send your persona into, but explains it in a way that makes sense to me. smile.gif
hobgoblin
heh, glad to be of service.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012