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Daier Mune
I'm rather confused as to how you utilize activesofts with a skillwire system. I had thought it was a pretty straightforward system of slotting the chip into a datajack, but after reading and re-reading the corebook, now i'm not so certain.

neither the description for Activesofts nor skillwires make any mention of how you are supposed to access the skillwire data. Knowsofts and Linguasofts specificaly mention the need of a DNI in order to access them, but Activesofts only mention the fact that you need a skillwire system. I have to assume a DNI of some sort is required, as it seems to complex to be transmitted via wireless signal.

futhermore, the description for Skillwires says that it can support a number of Activesofts equal to twice it's rating, so a rating 3 system could have 6 skills being run at the same time, right? assuming that a datajack is needed for Activesofts, do i need to have six datajacks in order to run all six 'softs, or can they all be loaded into the system one at a time from a single datajack?
Stahlseele
you need one datajack . . MAXIMUM . . probably more like an internal comlink, up/download softs via skinlink into the system . . and because there's no real size in pulse or something else, you could arguably STORE an infinite ammount of softs in there . . but you can only RUN 6 at a time . . imagine there being an endless number of slots to PARK software in, but only 6 slots to RUN from . . so if you have for example one set of 6 combat skills, one set of 6 social skills, one set of 6 physical skills and one set of 6 vehicle skills, you can run only one set at a time . . let's say you have another set of 6 technical skills and another set of 6-something skills . . that is 6 sets a 6 skills a set . . you could either run one set at a time or one skill from every one of those sets at the same time . .
as an analogy, let's say you have terabytes of HDD Space to STORE, but only 6 MB of RAM to RUN
Jaid
you just download the activesoft into the skillwires. and why couldn't you just transmit that in? why would it not be possible, out of curiosity?

anyways, skillwires can run up to 2 * rating (in your example, 6) worth of activesoft ratings, not that number of activesofts. so, for example, you could have a rating 3, a rating 2, and a rating 1 activesoft active, or 2 rating 3 activesofts, or 3 rating 2 activesofts, or 6 rating 1 skillsofts. you could not run 6 rating 3 skillsofts however, as the total rating of those skillsofts is 18, which is quite a bit more than a rating 3 skillwire can run.

(note: if you look in the core book, it says total rating of activesofts, not total number of activesofts)
Starmage21
He's right, its ambiguous.

My best guess is that the programs themselves are resident on your commlink(ubiquitous thing it is), the skillwires just utilize the data.

In SR3 you had to have a special datajack for skillsofts in addition to the skillwires called a Chipjack. Now that you dont even need a datajack for full VR, you shouldnt need one for skillwires.
Stahlseele
i think we all agree on the wires not coming with the needed input device is kinda stupid . . as was the vehicle control rig in SR3, which came without jacks too . .
Edge2054
Who's to say the skillwire system itself isn't the input device? Just because a piece of 'ware doesn't have a physical slot doesn't mean it can't access data.

Here's an example.

Jack of All Trades the skillwire junky calls up his fixer and orders a pistols (3) skillsoft, a demolitions (3) skillsoft, and a dodge (3) skillsoft. His fixer checks Jacks cred and then transfers the three programs to Jack's commlink. Jack doesn't have an internal commlink, nor does he have a datajack or sim module handy. What Jack does have is a skillwire (3) system which itself has short range wireless connectivity for diagnostics and access to skillsofts.

Now here we have some divergence which is going to depend on your group and game master. Can Jack download all three of the chips into his skillwire's memory and only run two at a time? Do skillwires have storage memory or just active memory? That's not detailed in the book but considering storage memory is considered to be so cheap you no longer even have the option to install it as cyberware I'd lean towards the skillwire having enough storage memory to do it's job with or without an active commlink. My logic behind this is that skillwires are used by military and corporate soldiers in areas where running an active commlink might not be an option due to either the situation or outside circumstances (jamming for instance).

In short, I don't see any reason why skillwires can't be considered a self-sufficient piece of 'ware, perfectly capable of doing it's job without the help of any other systems once the skillsofts are accessed. Of course your group may see things differently.
Slymoon
Downloaded from the fixer...

Ok, so has it been covered whether or not a Hacker can just hack and duplicate the activesofts? (no book in front of me, but iirc they are fairly pricey)

Daier Mune
hmm. well Knowsofts and Linguasofts say they MUST be accessed from a sim module or a datajack, so should we just assume the same is needed for the Activesofts?
suppenhuhn
i think that knowsofts have to be accessed via jack or sim is because they offer a direct input to your brain. now active softs are way more sophisticated because they also need to interface with your peripheral system and thus require you to use the more advanced system ie a skillwire.
Also in BBB it's clearly stated that most cyberware come with a very short ranged networking capability, thus it would be reasonable to just hold your com close to your belly to establish a connection to your wires and install the necessary software on it.
Edge2054
@Slymoon

I don't see why a skillsoft couldn't be pirated.

QUOTE
BBB pg 228 - SOURCE CODE AND PIRACY
Most legally-purchased programs are sold with built-in copy protection, so that the program cannot easily be duplicated without an access code. Hackers have invented many ways of circumventing these methods, however, to the point where piracy is the rule rather than the exception.

If a character wishes to duplicate a program that is copy-protected, he needs to break the protection. This requires an extended Software + Logic Test with a threshold between 10 and 20 (gamemaster’s discretion) and an interval of 1 hour.


QUOTE (Daier Mune @ Mar 7 2008, 11:47 PM) *
hmm. well Knowsofts and Linguasofts say they MUST be accessed from a sim module or a datajack, so should we just assume the same is needed for the Activesofts?


Nope, Activesofts specifically state that they're accessed by a skillwire system. From this we can assume that a skillwire's wireless connectivity is all that's required assuming the Activesoft program itself is with in range of the skillwire's wireless connection and loaded onto a device that the skillwire can communicate with (a commlink for example). Now if you want to keep your skillwire off the grid so to speak you could probably upload programs to it via a sim module or data jack.

Also if you look at the notation in the matrix section on storage memory basically any device that might need storage memory has it. It's that cheap and that micronized in fourth edition. From that I'd assume that a skillwire system would have a computer built in capable of not only running rating x2 levels of Activesofts but also of storing a vast number of inactive Activesofts.
b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (Edge2054 @ Mar 7 2008, 07:26 PM) *
@Slymoon

I



Nope, Activesofts specifically state that they're accessed by a skillwire system. From this we can assume that a skillwire's wireless connectivity is all that's required assuming the Activesoft program itself is with in range of the skillwire's wireless connection and loaded onto a device that the skillwire can communicate with (a commlink for example). Now if you want to keep your skillwire off the grid so to speak you could probably upload programs to it via a sim module or data jack.



Seems to me that if skillwires by design can take over your body, directing your neuromuscular impulses, and they can be accessed wirelessly by anyone who can convincingly impersonate a trusted source (ie, h4x0rz), then Firewall and IC become even more important than they already are.

Be great to have some quick rules to spoof someone's skillwires so that they twitch around for a combat turn or two, though.

MaxHunter
Do not advertise your skillwires children, and invest heavily in Firewalls and IC.

BTW. changing skillsofts from "storage" into "active" would be an action akin to running a program in the commlink, taking a couple actions, wouldn't it?

Cheers!

Max
Daier Mune
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Mar 7 2008, 09:44 PM) *
Seems to me that if skillwires by design can take over your body, directing your neuromuscular impulses, and they can be accessed wirelessly by anyone who can convincingly impersonate a trusted source (ie, h4x0rz), then Firewall and IC become even more important than they already are.

Be great to have some quick rules to spoof someone's skillwires so that they twitch around for a combat turn or two, though.


hah, oh man. that is both awesome and horrible at the same time.
Edge2054
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Mar 8 2008, 01:44 AM) *
Seems to me that if skillwires by design can take over your body, directing your neuromuscular impulses, and they can be accessed wirelessly by anyone who can convincingly impersonate a trusted source (ie, h4x0rz), then Firewall and IC become even more important than they already are.

Be great to have some quick rules to spoof someone's skillwires so that they twitch around for a combat turn or two, though.



There's pretty detailed information in the Faq for doing this.
http://www.shadowrun4.com/resources/faq.shtml#6

To paraphrase most cyberware has a very low signal rating (generally 0) so the hacker either needs to be within range of that or able to access a device with a stronger signal rating that the 'ware is networked into (a commlink for example).

So if you're not very close you have to get through the networks firewall (most likely the firewall of the commlink) and then spoof the device itself.

Device ratings for cyberware (and other various things) are listed on page 214 of the main book.

As far as the exact affects of spoofing someone's skillwires that'd be up to the GM, to quote the FAQ.

QUOTE
Once hacked, an implant can be manipulated within the limits of its programming and functionality. To a large degree, this is up to the hacker's ingenuity and the gamemaster's leeway.


Of course turning on/off the wireless connection on a piece of cyberware is considered a free action and there's not a lot of reason for a smart runner to leave his skillwires in wireless mode when it's not needed.

Not to derail the thread but while we're on this topic a smartlink is potentially the easiest device to abuse for a hacker rather it's a 'ware or externally based system. It needs to communicate with the smartgun system built into the gun in order to function and aside from a skin link or visible cable connection wireless is the way to go. A hacker getting into a smartlink system could eject the guns clip, fire the gun without pulling the trigger, and potentially edit the trajectory analysis software to throw off the guns aim substantially (negative die pool modifiers as long as the hacked character was trusting the smartlinks aim). Again though the hacker would either need to get through the PANs firewall or be close enough to access the smartlink's signal directly.
Edge2054
QUOTE (MaxHunter @ Mar 8 2008, 01:59 AM) *
BTW. changing skillsofts from "storage" into "active" would be an action akin to running a program in the commlink, taking a couple actions, wouldn't it?

Cheers!

Max


Complex Action as near as I can tell (Use Complex Object pg. 138).
nathanross
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Mar 7 2008, 08:44 PM) *
Seems to me that if skillwires by design can take over your body, directing your neuromuscular impulses, and they can be accessed wirelessly by anyone who can convincingly impersonate a trusted source (ie, h4x0rz), then Firewall and IC become even more important than they already are.

Be great to have some quick rules to spoof someone's skillwires so that they twitch around for a combat turn or two, though.

There are skillwire twitchers that you plug into the datajack and it makes the skillwires go crazy. It is used by Law Enforcement.

However, the day they enable wireless controlled skillwires is the day every sammy in the world gets them pulled out. I dont like having to store IC inside my body personally, and that is the only way to keep a determined hacker out. I personally treat all cyberware as acting through a DNI. I would NEVER EVER EVER buy something that I have to control through my computer. All of it is done at the neural level. I know Im kind of rebelling against SR4 here, but f#ck it. No wireless cyberware.

Now that I got that monkey off my back,

Max ratings equal to 2 * Skillwire rating
Load new activesofts with complex aciton

Also, as for the medium, they are software. They can be pirated, stored on credsticks, etc. Anything you can do with software you can do with skillsofts. Also remember that Knowsofts and Linguasofts do not require skillwires, and can be stored in you commlink or headware memory (if they even have that still).
Jaid
first off, it's a simple action to change what activesofts you're running. says so right in the description of skillwires in the main book.

secondly, allowing skillwires (or cyberlimbs) to move based on wireless commands is the dumbest idea ever. no company would ever do it, because no good can come of it. any GM who allows that kind of crap is a GM where i would never play a cybered up character, because that is just plain dumb.

when you hack someone's skillwires, you would be able to change what programs they have running (changing their pistols autosoft to cooking, for example) or steal activesofts. you would not be able to take over someone's body, because that's not what skillwires do. you don't tell your skillwires "make me shoot something" and then it shoots something... you tell your skillwires to implant the knowledge of how to shoot things in general into your mind and body, and then you shoot things under your own control. likewise, with cyberlimbs, you might be able to (for example) put the cyberlimb into overdrive, activate devices installed in the cyberlimb, obtain diagnostic information about the cyberlimb, and so forth. you would not be able to take over someone's hand, because including that kind of wireless functionality into someone's cyberhand would be absolutely moronic. it's not a fragging drone arm strapped into your shoulder where you chopped off your arm, it's a cybernetic replacement for your hand, and it takes command from your brain through your central nervous system just like a normal hand. that's why it costs essence. a drone arm strapped to your shoulder would be controllable in such a manner (and it probably isn't unrealistic to suppose that there is such a thing in SR4 at least) but not an actual cyberlimb.
DireRadiant
Skillwires are a device. It can store active softs.

It's meant to run activesofts,s ot hey can obviously be on the skillwires.

Cyberware comes with wireless, you can use that for i/o of data.

All implanted cyberware come with DNI control. This is also a i/o channel for interacting with the skillwires.
Edge2054
QUOTE (Jaid @ Mar 8 2008, 03:29 AM) *
first off, it's a simple action to change what activesofts you're running. says so right in the description of skillwires in the main book.


Not sure how I missed this and I stand corrected.

QUOTE
secondly, allowing skillwires (or cyberlimbs) to move based on wireless commands is the dumbest idea ever. no company would ever do it, because no good can come of it. any GM who allows that kind of crap is a GM where i would never play a cybered up character, because that is just plain dumb.


Based off the description of skillwires I don't see it being as far fetched as you're making it out to be. Granted if I was GMing I'd probably cap any hacked muscle movements at a negative die pool penalty equal to the rating of the skillwire. In other words if you want to hack into the muscles the skillwire controls the best affect you can get is spasms that translate into a penalty.

As far as limbs go there's little reason to have these run in wireless mode ever (they're external devices, if a doctor needs to run diagnostics on them they can just plug them in). As far as skillwires I already illustrated why a smart character never has to worry about this but sense the two posts before DireRadient's seem to be flaming on the very idea of hacking them I'll reiterate.

I'm going to deviate from skillwires for a second and talk about hacking wired reflexes and the viability of it. It's not, ever really. While wired reflexes are an internal device and most likely have wireless capability so a doctor can run diagnostics on your 'ware they don't need to be connected to a wireless network beyond that. What this means for your character is this. He goes in to see his Street Doc to have his 'ware checked out, nothing is wrong per say it's just a routine check up. He spends a free action activating his wired reflexes wireless device, the doc runs his diagnostics, and he turns the wireless connection back off, forgetting that his reflexes even have a wireless interface until his next check up.

So back to skillwires. Same deal here with the diagnostics. In addition to this they have wireless connectivity so you can upload new Activesofts. In other words when you buy a new soft you flip on the wireless connection, transfer the program to your 'ware, and then turn the connection back off, forgetting that the wireless connection even exists until the next time you need it.

While skillwires and other 'ware are hackable most 'ware doesn't need to have an active wireless connection to do it's job. There's little reason to keep the wireless connection running when you don't need it and a paranoid(/smart) runner won't have all his 'ware running in wireless mode on a run. As I outlined in a previous post the most viable device to hack is a smartlink... most other 'ware doesn't use it's wireless connection as part of it's function.

To put it another way, cyberware only needs to have it's wireless connection active when it needs to communicate with another device. For most 'ware this means that most of the time it doesn't need it's connection and that most of the time that connection won't be active.
Cthulhudreams
Seriously, runners will just turn their skillwires wireless off. They can get a manual switch to do this. There is SFA preventing you from just turning it on, copying your new 'softs' over and then turning it off.

And really everyone will do that, so hacking skillwires is functionally impossible.
Nostalgic Jester
I was plannning on saying a bunch of things... but others have already said them (particularly Jaid).

There´s something I´d like to ask, though: why is it that so many people "need" to hack things that aren´t really hackable and that even if you ruled they were, there´s not much you can do with/to them? Is it some kind of "all praise GITS" syndrome? I mean, there are already just TOO many things for a creative and dedicated hacker to do, there´s almost no time for them to do all the crazy not-stretching-the-rules-a-bit things already available to them!

Is it just me, or hackers are on its prime on SR4? I don´t remember hacking as being as powerful nor as reaching on any previous edition... Fuck, it has become quite mandatory for most really professional shadowrunners to have at least some ability related to abusing electronics!

Now, don´t get me wrong, I LOVE it this way: I just don´t understand why so many people need to squeeze even more from what hacking can already accomplish. indifferent.gif
b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (Jaid @ Mar 7 2008, 11:29 PM) *
first off, it's a simple action to change what activesofts you're running. says so right in the description of skillwires in the main book.

secondly, allowing skillwires (or cyberlimbs) to move based on wireless commands is the dumbest idea ever. no company would ever do it, because no good can come of it. any GM who allows that kind of crap is a GM where i would never play a cybered up character, because that is just plain dumb.


Well yeah, that makes sense, but on the other hand, being all "Tank, I need a pilot program for a V-212 helicopter" is the awesome.

QUOTE
when you hack someone's skillwires, you would be able to change what programs they have running (changing their pistols autosoft to cooking, for example) or steal activesofts. you would not be able to take over someone's body, because that's not what skillwires do. you don't tell your skillwires "make me shoot something" and then it shoots something... you tell your skillwires to implant the knowledge of how to shoot things in general into your mind and body, and then you shoot things under your own control.


There's the internal contradiction in skillwires, I think -- the RAW say they're overriding your control, but you do tell them what to do. Huh? In any case, I was figuring on the hacker needing to set up all the motions in advance, pretty much. But yeah, disabling wireless whenever you don't absolutely need it is the way to go, definitely.

b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (Nostalgic Jester @ Mar 9 2008, 03:16 AM) *
There´s something I´d like to ask, though: why is it that so many people "need" to hack things that aren´t really hackable and that even if you ruled they were, there´s not much you can do with/to them? Is it some kind of "all praise GITS" syndrome? I mean, there are already just TOO many things for a creative and dedicated hacker to do, there´s almost no time for them to do all the crazy not-stretching-the-rules-a-bit things already available to them!


Well, thematically an important element of cyberpunk is that we've turned over so much decision-making to machines -- voluntarily, or at least semi-voluntarily (needing skillwires to compete, or "needing" BTLs to cope with unbearable affect). Additionally, part of it is that there's already a guy who can actually take over your arm and make it shoot your foot, even if you don't have any cyberware. Merely taking a complex action and overcoming your Willpower (plus Counterspelling, if any) is probably easier, and certainly faster, than hacking your PAN on the fly to mess with your stuff, and it doesn't seem like that breaks the game.

Plus, I was just kinda speculating ...

QUOTE
Is it just me, or hackers are on its prime on SR4? I don´t remember hacking as being as powerful nor as reaching on any previous edition... Fuck, it has become quite mandatory for most really professional shadowrunners to have at least some ability related to abusing electronics!

Now, don´t get me wrong, I LOVE it this way: I just don´t understand why so many people need to squeeze even more from what hacking can already accomplish. indifferent.gif


Because that's what hacking is about, I figure: making systems work in ways they weren't designed to. cool.gif
Nostalgic Jester
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Mar 9 2008, 03:44 AM) *
Well, thematically an important element of cyberpunk is that we've turned over so much decision-making to machines -- voluntarily, or at least semi-voluntarily (needing skillwires to compete, or "needing" BTLs to cope with unbearable affect). Additionally, part of it is that there's already a guy who can actually take over your arm and make it shoot your foot, even if you don't have any cyberware. Merely taking a complex action and overcoming your Willpower (plus Counterspelling, if any) is probably easier, and certainly faster, than hacking your PAN on the fly to mess with your stuff, and it doesn't seem like that breaks the game.

Plus, I was just kinda speculating ...

Because that's what hacking is about, I figure: making systems work in ways they weren't designed to. cool.gif


We are approaching this subject from different angles: I assumed it was clear I was focusing on the rules one (maybe I did so because the thread was mostly geared that way) but based on your answer I see I wasn´t so obvious... My statement is about the actual rules related to this issue, not to my feelings on them (balanced or not, engaging or not, etc.) nor to any other kind of thing not directly related to them (fluff, fictional background, etc.).

We more or less agree on this subject´s "flavor" angle and seem to also have a similar opinion on its "rules" side of things (both assumptions based on both your previous posts), so even though I wanted to clarify all this I see nothing to argue about. smile.gif
Sir_Psycho
I think one of the best things about hacking some-one's commlink and associated ware is rarely to do it on the fly during combat. It's too hard, and any decker near a combat should probably be thinking about team support and trying not to get perforated to locate the enemy's node, hack through thick fire-walls and then try and circumvent whatever secondary method of daisy-chaining and skinlinking they use to keep you out.

The great thing about hacking is similar to ritual sorcery. Just like an aura, a commlink is pretty hard to turn off, and people rarely do. If you're a hacker and you've got the time to sit down and have a VR session against some-one's commlink, sniffing out exactly what ware they have and what you can and can't do, then you start thinking of ways to screw them. Oh, so they like simchips? And they've got a hot sim module? Why not upload a black death BTL into their commlink, and next time they try to chip their favourite hot pr0nsoft, embedded code you've put into their OS switches the Black Death biofeedback kicker into their synapses. Ouch.
Write a virus. Maybe you can switch up their Pistols Activesoft, so that they eject the clip instead of firing. If they've got a smartlink, then if you spot them in a bar and have some time before you think the lead is going to start flying, you stealth in, alter their smartlink protocols, and re-encrypt the alterations to buggery, so that when they try to fire their gun, they can't seem to get the damn safety off, and once it's a fight, it'll be at least a few combat turns before they or their decker can try and re-edit your changes to their smartlink, even if you figure out what's going on.

But all that stuff is rare, a hacker is still a support role in most situations, you're there to help the other team members not get hacked, just like a counter-speller. You are the primary legwork man, so you provide the valuable intel, such as the sec-guards helmets don't have flare compensation, so flash grenades are go. And the matrix is your domain, if a file needs stealing, an OS or security system needs crashing, or you need to find where in the gridguide system the car with your extraction target is and where it's going. You are limited in the meat, and you are supposed to be.
Mx
What's with all this smartlink hacking, who the hell keeps their smartlink on a wireless mode, that just idiotic. I would never have my smartlinks wireless mode on, thats exacly what you have the skinlink for.
Sir_Psycho
You can be safer, and practice good PAN security, but it's very difficult to be completely protected. An intuitive hacker doesn't need to wirelessly hack your smartlink. He could break into your commlink, and even though your smartlink isn't connected to your commlink at all, it's most likely connected to your image link that's in your glasses or cyber-eyes. It would be possible to get through to your smartlink.

Don't get me wrong, you can make things hard, very hard, for a hacker. But if you could make it impossible, everyone probably would as standard procedure. If saying "i turn the wireless off" effectively makes your gear invulnerable to hackers, without posing any penalties, then who would play a hacker?
Cthulhudreams
That is a very good question, because you can say 'I turn my wireless off' and there are no specified penalties.

Edit: It does make co-ordination of the team harder because you loose voice comms, but the red force doesn't need a hacker to take out comms, just a high rating jammer, if thats their schtick.
Stahlseele
aside from there being parts of sprawls where you can get in trouble for going without wireless
Cthulhudreams
Oh yeah sure, but I'm assuming the point were the players are getting their stuff hacked illegally is much the same point as when they break out the illegal weapons and spells and go to town on whatever mission it is that they have this week which is also the point were they do illegal stuff and get in trouble

So having a completely segregated network with 'run stuff' on it with no wireless, cables and skinlinks, and then having a cellphone with a fake sin loaded that you don't even care about (maybe earbuds?), and then you turn that off when stuff starts to go down, you are 100% haxor proof. Note that a security guard with a radio is doing the same thing.
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