Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Commlinks
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Pages: 1, 2
Synner667
Hi,

Just back from a few days away, and re-reading my SR v4 rulebook..
..Specifically [for the moment] about wireless networks [cross-pollinating the SR info with CyberGeneration info, and some other stuff].


Rereading the stuff about Commlinks, I'm not sure that I see everyone having one..

Base cost is 300¥ [CMT Clip] to actually interact with the world, added is the cost of a display [¥25, Image Link sunglasses] to be able to usefully see the interactive world, and gloves to be able to press virtual buttons [¥250, AR Gloves]..
..So about ¥575 to be able to interact with the virtual world.

The example in the rulebook must be someone with implanted cameras and some sort of realtime optical recognition software, else how would their system be able to put text boxes in the right places [I wonder what the costs are] ??


I earn about £25k/year [about $50k, I think], but I'm not sure I'd want to spend nearly £600 for a portable computer too often.

For many people, not in reasonably wellpaid jobs, would there be a big uptake on them ??
I can't imagine droves of low income people buying them, when they might struggle for rent or food or day-to-day things.


How much coverage would there really be, to cater for the general population [obviously, wealthy people would have nicely infrastructured areas to support wireless networks] ??
Knowing how tech companies are in the realworld, I'm not sure I can see the 2070 ones having installed a huge number of wireless hotspots within 6 years - especially when there were so many repercussions from the 2064 Matrix Crash.


In fact, the Commlink doesn't appear to be anything more than a very powerful wireless smartphone or ultraportable computer [circa a little ahead of now]. with some sophisticated spatial software and the associated hardware.
I don't want to seem a killjoy, but are widespread wireless networking and powerful portable computers really so amazing [the current tech world expect have both of those within the next 10 years] ??

Or is it the interactivity that's the wonderful thing ??
Tho, considering brain-to-machine interfaces will have been around in SR for a while now, I can't see it as being anything amazing.


Do we know anything about the infrastructure for the wireless networks ??
Heath Robinson
I believe it's mentioned that the majority of people experience AR through SimSense overwriting portions of their field of experience. It is also implied, I believe, that your vison-enhancement capable equipment does include a set of cameras and your wireless equipment is capable of identifying relative locations of other devices via radio triangulation.

The idea behind the wireless matrix is not an access point architecture, but a large scale ad-hoc network that's mostly possible due to the sheer density of wireless transmitters in 2070. Every wireless capable device can route your packets, so your infrastructure is partially self-constructing as you get additional uptake and you only need to deploy some relays in places to guarantee some limited level of connectivity. You can use protocol translation at the outer limits to connect your surviving old networks to the newer stuff with a minimum of effort. You can get some useful optimisations by clever use of fibre alongside your wireless connections as well.

The commlink is so massively multi-purpose - y'know, because it's a damn computer - that they'll get marketed as an equivalent for any piece of current mobile computing technology (as well as some mobile devices we don't currently have) with the functions of every other neat little device. This would be similar to how the functionality of mobile phones is rapidly expanding to encompass any other device that may be popular.
Professeur
Also, the Commlink isn't just some portable computer. It's your ONLY computer, and the only one you'll ever need (except if you change your comm... or if something better comes along the way). It's also your cellphone, and your general multi-purpose electronic/informatic device (Trid/Mp3 player, PDA, whatever). Also, I think the satellite link costs something like 150Y, so it wouldn't really be that expensive to get coverage EVERYWHERE.

Hope I could answer some of your questions.
b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (Synner667 @ Apr 10 2008, 04:24 PM) *
The example in the rulebook must be someone with implanted cameras and some sort of realtime optical recognition software, else how would their system be able to put text boxes in the right places [I wonder what the costs are] ??

Huh, I figured it was triangulating the signal or using GPS-type data sent as part of the signal.
QUOTE
For many people, not in reasonably wellpaid jobs, would there be a big uptake on them ??
I can't imagine droves of low income people buying them, when they might struggle for rent or food or day-to-day things.


Probably it would be as hard to get a job without a commlink as it is now to get one without a phone. Or an address. Someone really poor would maybe own a used low-end commlink, much like you can get used low-end cellphones on craigslist or eBay. Image link and the virtual keyboard and such are nice but optional, as you can use the crappy screen and roll-out(!) keyboard on the commlink (think of something like the Sidekick -- in 2070, that'll be like having a rotary-dial phone). Beyond ghetto, it's Barrens.
QUOTE
How much coverage would there really be, to cater for the general population [obviously, wealthy people would have nicely infrastructured areas to support wireless networks] ??
Knowing how tech companies are in the realworld, I'm not sure I can see the 2070 ones having installed a huge number of wireless hotspots within 6 years - especially when there were so many repercussions from the 2064 Matrix Crash.

The main idea of the Wireless Matrix Initiative was probably establishing a standard. Beyond that, various devices communicate with each other and relay other communications (without "reading" them), so each wireless-enabled device is, in a sense, a hotspot. Or a small warmspot, anyway.

In some sense, though, that's one of the less believable elements of the setting.
nathanross
I also do not like the "everyone has a commlink" like RAW fluff would have it. I have yet to come up with official houserules on the subject, but I generally treat it as such (by rating):

1-2, Cellphones
3-4, Mobile Computers
5-6, Cyberdecks

Now the size is not the same. Rating 1-2 can be tiny; so small in fact that they can only be accessed wirelessly. Of course you can get them bigger (with a numerpad) but for most of the clubgoing set, this way it doesn't get in the way when they want to grind.

Rating 3-4 is also incredibly small, but needs to be at least business card in area, and half an inch in depth. Rating 5-6 is only a little bit bigger than this, and usually contains an internal sim module and datajack port (I dont buy that trodes are equivalent to datajacks).

As for how VR/AR looks, I treat it like Astral Space. The density of public nodes (those that replaced the Seattle Grid) allow perfect triangulation between nodes, and so when you dive into VR, you appear as your persona floating in virtual space. However, unlike astral, what is real in this space is the sculpting of the system and the nodes that are currently accessing it. That means that as you walk down a virtual street in downtown, you see tons of nodes walking around (commlinks). I am not sure how they deal with intercity matrix (I think the old fiber optic trunks are still more efficient than satellites or daisy chaining wireless emitters) in terms of sculpting. I think it could either be handled as a SAN or tunnel highway that you have to travel through from some centralized hub.

I still think of things in terms of Grid hierarchy, but instead of length = time, length = length in real life. Also, Private networks are limited to buildings usually by Matrix blocking paint (Wifi is not a term in my SR, and whoever put that in the book should be taken out back and shot), and connected to other corporate buildings via conventional Fiber optics or encrypted directional wireless. Though, I guess you still need SANs and Chokepoints that connect the PLTG to the LTG so employees can telecommute.

I also have not yet figured out how to scale hosts appropriately, since the SR4 rules are terrible with modeling high end corporate hosts and data havens.
fatal2ty
The way I view a Commlink is an amalgamation of your Cell phone, Wallet, MP3 Player, and a Personal Computer.

I don't know anybody that doesn't have a wallet of some kind, I can maybe think of 1 person that doesn't have a cell phone and most people i know have an MP3 player at least. I'm not poor, but I wouldn't call myself upper class either.

Nowadays, most people wouldn't leave the house without a Cell Phone and their Wallet, The wallet has your drivers license, paper money, Bank Card, Credit Card, memberships, receipts, etc. Your Cell phone keeps you connected to everyone you know. In SR, they just merged the 2 and added extra features. Not everyone will have a brand new off the shelf Commlink, but it isn't hard to get a used phone nowadays, i would assume a commlink would be even easier to get. Theres probably a decent shape one sitting in a pawn shop for nuyen.gif5, after that you just get a friend with the right contacts to hook you up with a pirate connecton to the matrix and your set.

Another thing i just thought of, You can get a Cell Phone for free if you sign a contract for 2-3 years with a provider, I could see that still happening in 2070, you would pay your Matrix Provider a monthly fee and have unlimited Matrix usage, they would give you a commlink for free, low end, but still a commlink.

Now, as for the average Street Bum, they don't have a SIN, they don't have anything, no, just like now they don't have Cell Phones and their Wallet might have a stick of gum in it, they wouldn't have a Commlink in SR, they wouldn't care too much either, as long as they could get some food, some shelter and some Alchohol to ease the pain they're content
b1ffov3rfl0w
Just curious, why do you not like the term "WiFi"? Is it the InterCaps, or the fact that it's a sort of trade name, or something else?

As for yer typical Bum, remember that many of them weren't always living on the street, and that a fair number of these guys will be BTL/hot-sim/VR addicts of some kind, so they won't be so willing to hock their commlinks to buy booze, any more than a junkie would sell his works.
Earlydawn
You know, the basis for 4th Edition Matrix has always made me scratch my head about Matrix services. Why are people paying for "service" that they're fundamentally grabbing off of Joe Baggadoughnuts' node? An E-mail account? You can get that for free NOW, so I don't know why you'd pay for it in the techno-fetishist future of 2070.. question.gif
Cthulhudreams
It costs less than that. A trode net is 50 nuyen and you are going to use one of those. So your example is down to about 150 quid, which isn't very much at all really, I imagine some people pay more for phones (the iphone!!) today.
b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (Earlydawn @ Apr 10 2008, 08:16 PM) *
You know, the basis for 4th Edition Matrix has always made me scratch my head about Matrix services. Why are people paying for "service" that they're fundamentally grabbing off of Joe Baggadoughnuts' node? An E-mail account? You can get that for free NOW, so I don't know why you'd pay for it in the techno-fetishist future of 2070.. question.gif


Actually by the book (p 206) there is a bunch of Matrix infrastructure, which is I suppose is the way a megacorporation (or two) would organize it. I'm not sure why I envisioned the Matrix as the total of billions of ad-hoc network interactions, other than that it would make sense that way. Still, you'd need to connect beyond 50 meters or whatever, across oceans and stuff.
ccelizic
the wireless matrix is kinda scary in a "big brother is watching you" sort of way too. That commlink is broadcasting your commcode provided by you provider. Now the current rules give no prices for service, but they make a passing mention to avaliabliity of "black commcodes" that don't give your information away. Otherwise you can presume your commcode is linked to your SIN presuming you have one. As a GM I'd inclined to say that a a black commcode is part of a fake ID package, at least until unwired comes out. Most savvy shadowrunnres however will run in hidden mode to maintain a low wireless profile and so they don't compromise their identity. A good hacker can spoof a fake commcode too which helps keeps his real commcode from being compromised legally. Being in a nice neighborhood while running hidden means you attract unwanted legal attention

Just glancing into some of the shadowrun missions there's a few situations that come up where the PC's can get in a compromising situation if they don't have a commlink in active mode. Since it's not easy to detect hidden a hidden commlink, I suspect drones that patrol for hidden nodes instead just look for people walking around that lack an active commlink. This can make life difficult for anyone who lacks a commlink. It would also make life difficult for any havenot vagarants in the area, gives the law enforcement to shuffle'em outta the nice areas.

The barrens are noted for having patchy matrix connections at best. And since you need some sort of ID to log on, you either need some sort of hacking skill to spoof one, or be able to shell out for a fake. The commlink becomes another fence between the haves and havenots. It also becomes a way for the powers that be to discretely keep tabs on all your activities at all times. So sure, in those flashy marketining campaigns a commlink is the next best thing since sliced bread. But to your paranoid conspiracy theorists it's plenty of ammunition for their overworked mind.
Fuchs
Commlink=Smartphone.

In the last few years, we saw portable phones become more and more versatile. Cameras are now standard, as are MP3 players and some calendar function. In Africa, portable phones are already used to transfer money from one user to another, often accross countries to their family, or to pay for goods.

So, I see commlinks as as spread as portable phones today. Yes, everyone will have one.
MYST1C
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Apr 11 2008, 01:15 AM) *
Just curious, why do you not like the term "WiFi"? Is it the InterCaps, or the fact that it's a sort of trade name, or something else?

Speaking from a German perspective here:
I was quite disappointed when I discovered the "WiFi" term in the German SR4 book. Why? Because that term is not at all common here in Germany! We usually call that technology WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) or Funknetz ("radio network").
nathanross
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Apr 10 2008, 07:15 PM) *
Just curious, why do you not like the term "WiFi"? Is it the InterCaps, or the fact that it's a sort of trade name, or something else?

As for yer typical Bum, remember that many of them weren't always living on the street, and that a fair number of these guys will be BTL/hot-sim/VR addicts of some kind, so they won't be so willing to hock their commlinks to buy booze, any more than a junkie would sell his works.

I hate the term WiFi because it has absolutely nothing to do with SR and degrades the SR Matrix to being like our current technology. WiFi or Wireless Fidelity is great in 2008. But it is just ad-speak that caught on. I hate seeing it in the book because I get the feeling it was put there to make the matrix more accessible (though incomplete) for new players by comparing it to current technology. The same goes for the supposed RFID proliferation which is a blow up of current technology. I guess I am sick of seeing the modern world in SR. I expect SR to be different, and so far everything they have done in SR4 has been to bring it closer.

And as for BTL's they come with the player built in (sim-module as well, IIRC) so all you need is a cable and a jack. I do not see bums owning commlinks. Far too new a technology. And where is the corp looking out for the bottom line? If commlinks are so proliferate, why aren't the corps charging subscription fees?

(Drinks and remembers the Glory Days)
Fuchs
I like it when SR adapts, and in my campaign, we had smartphones for decades, so commlinks are nothing new at all.
Subscription fees I cover by lifestyle.
ornot
Today mobile phones are tremendously widely used. There are whole families living in a single room in deprived third world conditions, who still scrape together the money for mobile phones and satellite TV. Similarly there is no reason why in SR almost everyone except truly destitute street people would have a commlink. SINless could probably get hold of the equivalent of PayAsYouGo type 'links. Bear in mind that there will be a wide range of providers competing for customers, which will keep the price down (I also include connection fees in lifestyle costs). I always run my world with a thriving greymarket culture which caters to the SINless, and can be accessed by runners who want to keep their identities secret. Syndicate backed banking services strike me as a logical extension of modern day loansharking. I'd suggest that in the cheapest commlinks (specifically the PayAsYouGo and syndicate backed type), users would be exposed to far more advertising and spam. People with higher lifestyle, and consequently higher cost comlink providers, would have more effective spam catchers.

I accept that SR4 is trying to adapt to reflect advances in current tech, and personally I prefer it. Having things unwired makes it easier to incorporate hackers/deckers/riggers into runs.

Finally... Funknetz! I see a new disco trend emerging in my SR world! Fibreoptic afro hairdo's! Cyber platforms! I guess it is the '70s again.
Zak
QUOTE (ornot @ Apr 11 2008, 05:42 AM) *
Finally... Funknetz! I see a new disco trend emerging in my SR world! Fibreoptic afro hairdo's! Cyber platforms! I guess it is the '70s again.


quoted for awesomeness love.gif spin.gif love.gif spin.gif love.gif spin.gif love.gif
fatal2ty
Fiberoptic afro, holy crap, that is possibly the most awesome thing I've heard of since, well, anything I guess.

I'm gonna have my group get into a fight with a bunch of gangers, a couple of them sporting Fiberoptic Afros
nathanross
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Apr 11 2008, 03:29 AM) *
I like it when SR adapts, and in my campaign, we had smartphones for decades, so commlinks are nothing new at all.
Subscription fees I cover by lifestyle.

Sure, they have had Pocket Secretaries for a while. The big difference was that your pocket secretary != cyberdeck. Now that they are one in the same, I need more of a reason why everyone does not have R6 commlinks. Aside from availability (which is completely based on game balance), they dont cost a whole lot more for the functionality. It is foolish that more than half the population would not be running around with them. Once you have one, there is no need to upgrade (which is completely unrealistic).
Nightwalker450
QUOTE (nathanross @ Apr 11 2008, 12:06 PM) *
Sure, they have had Pocket Secretaries for a while. The big difference was that your pocket secretary != cyberdeck. Now that they are one in the same, I need more of a reason why everyone does not have R6 commlinks. Aside from availability (which is completely based on game balance), they dont cost a whole lot more for the functionality. It is foolish that more than half the population would not be running around with them. Once you have one, there is no need to upgrade (which is completely unrealistic).


Until 2071, when your R6, is now the new R4. biggrin.gif
I think this is how it would happen, so anyone running a R1 commlink probably got it in 2065 with the start of wireless. R4 is probably a couple years old. People running a R6 have something thats only a couple months old.
ornot
Hopefully in Unwired they'll introduce rules for rating degradation...

I'm not too comfortable arbitrarily implementing rating changes without some playtesting for balance.
Nightwalker450
QUOTE (ornot @ Apr 11 2008, 12:21 PM) *
Hopefully in Unwired they'll introduce rules for rating degradation...

I'm not too comfortable arbitrarily implementing rating changes without some playtesting for balance.


I'm pretty sure upkeep, and updates were supposed to be covered in unwired. I can't remember where I heard that though.

But just theorizing a simple rating markdown of 1 every 6 months would probably be good. (of course Rating 1 minimum)
Eyeless Blond
I hope you guys are making mages pay upkeep for their spells and Magic attribute too.
Moon-Hawk
As for the price of commlinks: my cell-phone costs hundreds of dollars....or so I'm told, I got it for 50 bucks with a 2-year phone contract renewal.
I don't think anyone (normal people now, not shadowrunners) really pays for a cheap commlink, it's just part of a monthly bill. You can probably even get used ones for free, that some corp has "generously" collected, loaded with spyware, and donated to the public. I have no problem believing that everyone can get their hands on a crap commlink, and there also exists a market for very high-end links that people will pay a lot of money to have.
Nightwalker450
QUOTE (Eyeless Blond @ Apr 11 2008, 03:28 PM) *
I hope you guys are making mages pay upkeep for their spells and Magic attribute too.


Magic isn't as technological cutting edge as software and computer systems. Mages spells only come in one grade (known and unknown), and they pay their upkeep in karma for initiaition. Hackers need some form of upkeep, otherwise with the copying of software they have 0 upkeep. All their cash can go to lifestyle, and all their karma can goto new abilities. They are currently the only occupation that stalls completely. Riggers have to repair and update drones, sammies have to buy ammo and medical expenses. Mages have spells, and initiations.

Hackers only have to reboot their commlink to fix it right now, and have a relatively lower amount of damage they take (this varies from GM to GM of course). And as stated they buy all their programs at 6, and a commlink with 6 ratings (which costs a total of 4,000 nuyen.gif post creation, which is just the response, everything else is perfectly legit to start with), and the hacker is done.
nathanross
QUOTE (Eyeless Blond @ Apr 11 2008, 03:28 PM) *
I hope you guys are making mages pay upkeep for their spells and Magic attribute too.

rotfl.gif "Man, my spells are feeling so out of date, I need to go get the new version."

And while we're at it, what about Attribute upkeep? Do you loose a point of strength while you spend a month (or multiple months) suspended in a tube getting genetech done? That would be a bitch! Technology is something much easier to deal with, though Im not sure I like the decrease in Response over time.
O'Donnell Heir
QUOTE (nathanross @ Apr 11 2008, 11:06 AM) *
Sure, they have had Pocket Secretaries for a while. The big difference was that your pocket secretary != cyberdeck. Now that they are one in the same, I need more of a reason why everyone does not have R6 commlinks. Aside from availability (which is completely based on game balance), they dont cost a whole lot more for the functionality. It is foolish that more than half the population would not be running around with them. Once you have one, there is no need to upgrade (which is completely unrealistic).


"Why doesn't everyone have an Alienware computer? Sure they're very expensive, but you get a lot out of it as well and it's some of the best and most powerful computers on the market." This is what I'm hearing when someone say "Why doesn't everyone have an R6?"

Because they don't need it, it's just not cost effective when you're only using it for cyber clubs, hang outs, VR games, and what equates to today's surfing the web. You could do all that on a fairly low grade cyberdeck, and you just don't need the extra power unless you're specifically trying to do something out of the ordinary with it (Wage slave programmer/controller, Hacker, Rigger, Corp, ect.). The same goes for any non-hacker, why spend the money buying something you're not going to get the full use out of, when you can get something for roughly half the price and still get all you need out of it. Unless you expect every joe blo out there to be able to design and build sprites, software, and entire rigs. It seems you're looking at it very much from the eyes of a Shadowrunning Hacker.
ornot
QUOTE (nathanross @ Apr 11 2008, 04:29 PM) *
rotfl.gif "Man, my spells are feeling so out of date, I need to go get the new version."

And while we're at it, what about Attribute upkeep? Do you loose a point of strength while you spend a month (or multiple months) suspended in a tube getting genetech done? That would be a bitch! Technology is something much easier to deal with, though Im not sure I like the decrease in Response over time.


Realistically, I'd expect a natural high strength/body character to train pretty extensively to stay in shape. Or invest in some pharmaceutical wizardryto not have his body breakdown all that muscle.

Admittedly all that training would probably be done in downtime, so the player wouldn't experience the pain.

Technically a hacker might well dedicate his downtime to writing and rewriting his programs to maintain their ratings, but at some stage he'll need more hardware.
b1ffov3rfl0w
Also, if spells were primarily used to deal with (or more accurately against) other spells, everyone would have to keep up with the magical arms race. But spells are mostly used on people or objects, so there's no need. That said, enforcing SotA-type stuff has no real in-game purpose other than to make hackers spend money (or time), although it does also promote a sense of progress/escalation without giving anyone extremely ridiculous dice pools.
b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (MYST1C @ Apr 11 2008, 02:49 AM) *
Speaking from a German perspective here:
I was quite disappointed when I discovered the "WiFi" term in the German SR4 book. Why? Because that term is not at all common here in Germany! We usually call that technology WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) or Funknetz ("radio network").


Funknetz is a great, great word, as noted. But for real, WiFi is the name of a company, or more precisely WiFi Alliance is the name of a not-for-profit certification org. The technology is WLAN, or whatever, but that's not really a pronounceable word in English (in German it's a type of custard, I believe). "WiFi" refers to a single standard so that the different devices are interoperable, because it would be kind of sucky to have a wireless device that can't talk to other wireless devices. Sort of like buying a Zune. OH, BURN! But really. You don't want that.

The term was coined by the same marketing wizards who came up with "Prozac". Think about that -- although there are newer and probably better antidepressants out now, we still mostly talk about Prozac, right? The name occupies a niche in popular culture that Zoloft or sertraline just isn't going to usurp. Maybe "wifi" will have the same sort of staying power.
nathanross
QUOTE (O'Donnell Heir @ Apr 11 2008, 06:59 PM) *
"Why doesn't everyone have an Alienware computer? Sure they're very expensive, but you get a lot out of it as well and it's some of the best and most powerful computers on the market." This is what I'm hearing when someone say "Why doesn't everyone have an R6?"

Because as the rules are currently written, there will never be anything better, and it will never get old. There is also no physical difference between 1 and 6. Sure, not everyone needs the best, but the best sure is cheap.
KCKitsune
QUOTE (nathanross @ Apr 11 2008, 10:18 PM) *
Because as the rules are currently written, there will never be anything better, and it will never get old. There is also no physical difference between 1 and 6. Sure, not everyone needs the best, but the best sure is cheap.


Nathanross... did you enforce this rule when you were playing 2nd edition rules?
MYST1C
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Apr 12 2008, 04:18 AM) *
Funknetz is a great, great word, as noted.

Just to make it clear for anyone who might not know: The German noun "Funk" (and the related verb "funken") has no relation to the "funk" music style! The u in Funk is pronounced like oo in "moose" or e in "few".
A Funknetz is simply a Netzwerk (network) that uses Funkwellen (radio waves).

QUOTE
The technology is WLAN, or whatever, but that's not really a pronounceable word in English (in German it's a type of custard, I believe).

Well, in German WLAN is usually pronounced as if it were a German acronym - roughly: Veh-Lunn.

QUOTE
Maybe "wifi" will have the same sort of staying power.

Maybe in the US, yes. The thing is, "wifi" is not a term known over here - as Germany (and all of Europe, AFAIK) doesn't use wifi! Our wireless networks use the closely related but slightly different IEEE 802.11 standard.
And when you look at a name like "IEEE 802.11" you understand why "WLAN" is preferred...
Synner667
Thank you for your input, one and all.

Couple of things tho..

Trodes need the use of a Sim Module [pg 318].
Using a Sim Module overrides the motor functions while you are immersed in the Sim. Your physical body is limp, as if you were sleeping [pg 318]

So that doesn't sound it's much use for walking around and interacting with the world !!

Also, even if that was viable, there's no mention of being able to interact - just receive information/sensory input..
..It's not for overlaying images, etc to the users sight - it's for sensory immersion.

So, Simsensing isn't a viable option - prices [and the take up] would stay as they are.


No-one's mentioned the interaction of realworld with the overlayed world, as would be needed for using Augmented Reality..
..Any thoughts ??


No-one's mentioned anything about the Commlink being able to see what the user sees and reacting to it [tho someone mentioned triangulation of signale, but I'd go against that because of the lack of finesse in interpreting signals]..
..Any thoughts ??


Can't really see the wireless networks being a series of ad-hoc connections..
..Simply because it's not made only of Commlinks - it's have to have some sort of backbone for everything that's not a Commlink - signs, gear, etc.

And with that is the ownership of such an infrastructure - the Corps will only do it if they can make money from it..
..Which would indicate a poor/basic service for free, and a good service with a subscription.

Hiding in a wirless network ??
Nice idea, but if you can receive a signal from anyone, you're not hidden..
..In the same way that mobile phones can be tracked by triangulating their signal, as long as they're on - regardless if they're accepting calls or not.


Distributed storage or computing ??
Not sure that in a world just recovering from an AI created global network collapse, people would be too willing to let just anyone pass information through their processors, or store data in their storage.


The term WiFi is a publicity term, something nice for consumers to understand and for packaging..
..And is widespread wherever people use English - regardless of whether it's accurate.

No-one in a wireless future will think about connections, or the tech behind it, except the real developer techies [notice how no-one in Star Trek worries about it, because it's just part of life]..
..In the same way that no-one in SR worries about OS's. memory speeds, bandwidth, etc - it's very boring and doesn't really add anything.

Yes, I know many SR people are technically oriented, and many people really do think that detailing the technical aspects of vehicles or guns actually add something to SR..
..But that's not most people.


When I grab my iPhone and go places, I switch it on and use it - I surf the web, send emails and look up maps without worrying where I am or what sort of connection I'm using [my costs are included and I generally get good access]
The main thing I can't do is have the information in my field of view, with interaction with phantom button/signs/etc..
..Which is what I'd need an Image Link and AR Gloves for, and that'll add much expense to my ownership.


As I see it, the whole wireless thing was put in by the developers because it's supposed to make people want to play Hackers, because they want to make SR 'accessible' and because they think it's one way to 'update' SR.

I think they messed up big time with, and no-one really cares about such stuff.

Hackers are a staple of the genre, but remaking the game just so they can be with the other characters indicates [to me] that they looked at the wrong thing..
..Remoulding Hackers and Riggers to be the same thing ??
Totally ignores Riggers and Hackers in cyberpunk fiction, and really shows how much they bent the game out of shape to make things fit.

There are several RPG based on cyberpunk and they all suffer from the Hacker problem, but they don't remake the RPG to make them viable..
..They offer them as a choice, and leave them for Players to play - or not.
Heath Robinson
QUOTE
The easiest and most common way to get your AR fix, though, is through simsense. You need a sim module for your commlink to interpret the signals and feed you the data via a cyberware simrig, worn simrig, trode net, or datajack.
Page 209, BBB, "Augmented Reality".


QUOTE
As a safety precaution, sim mods override your motor functions while you are fully immersed in VR, so that you don€™t blindly thrash around in the real world and potentially injure yourself or break things.
Page 228, BBB, "Virtual Reality".


Only when you are fully immersed is your motor function impaired by the sim module. It is, furthermore, trivial to selectively overwrite portions of the experience field when you can already write the correct things to the right part (overwriting the entire field of view requires knowledge of how to selectively overwrite every small bit of the field of view individually). Furthermore, if you cannot also manipulate controls whilst using ASIST, then how do you get anything done in VR? I therefore believe that most will be able to manipulate standard computing UI objects using only their minds (as they would have to in VR) and that would extend to using ASIST with AR, plus you have an internal model of your limb position anyway and this could potentially be extracted with credulous near-future-tech to allow you to handle AR controls with your hands.

Your Commlink will have some form of positioning system (potentially using signal strength from devices with known, fixed locations) and would be able to identify relatively accurately where other objects are through multiple triangulations, or else all wireless accessable devices inherently know where they are (again, possibly using signal strength from known devices with fixed locations). This is not too "inaccurate" since we're not dealing with precision systems (since when did your everyday activities necessitate precision?), and your accuracy for triangulation improves with the more known points, anyway, and I expect that there are going to be a number of well known nodes that will have their positions accurately measured and that these will be used to get a good fix on locations.

I do not think that you want AR and the real world to interact, it'd be an inconvenience if someone walking too close to you disrupted your phone call with someone important, or your important financial transaction, or filling out that important bureaucratic form that tells the government that you're really alive and would like to get a SIN.

You can keep your opinions on the development reasons behind the introduction of AR and wireless networking in Shadowrun, I'll continue to imagine the awesome possibilties and fawn over it becoming a reality in our world.
b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (MYST1C @ Apr 12 2008, 05:26 AM) *
Just to make it clear for anyone who might not know: The German noun "Funk" (and the related verb "funken") has no relation to the "funk" music style! The u in Funk is pronounced like oo in "moose" or e in "few".
A Funknetz is simply a Netzwerk (network) that uses Funkwellen (radio waves).


Yeah, the English word "funk" comes from French, sort of, but still, any word that has "funk" in it is great: Telefunken, Funkensender, Funknetz
QUOTE
Well, in German WLAN is usually pronounced as if it were a German acronym - roughly: Veh-Lunn.

WLAN Smithy. Super-WLAN. Etc. Of course, we have the clumsy "doubleyou" pronunciation of "W", or the slack-jawed yokelish "dubyuh". For some reason "dub" hasn't really ever caught on.
QUOTE
Maybe in the US, yes. The thing is, "wifi" is not a term known over here - as Germany (and all of Europe, AFAIK) doesn't use wifi! Our wireless networks use the closely related but slightly different IEEE 802.11 standard.
And when you look at a name like "IEEE 802.11" you understand why "WLAN" is preferred...

So realy, 802.11? That's, like, old and slow legacy stuff.

kzt
No IEEE standard 802.11 has all wireless PHY and MAC layer stuff. A B ... through Z (minus L, O, Q and X)
b1ffov3rfl0w
QUOTE (Heath Robinson @ Apr 13 2008, 07:45 PM) *
I do not think that you want AR and the real world to interact,

Er? To me the point of AR, pretty much, is interacting with RL -- overlays, AROs, little info things where your various sensor data shows up (like a highlighted area where your mm-wave radar has detected a concealed handgun under someone's jacket and whatnot).
kzt
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Apr 13 2008, 06:04 PM) *
Er? To me the point of AR, pretty much, is interacting with RL -- overlays, AROs, little info things where your various sensor data shows up

If you are feeling bored, watch this video of Bruce Sterling mostly on interfaces. He mentions that a number of the cyberpunk tropes are there because they make it easer to tell a story in a book, not because they really make any real sense. Including the concept of AR glasses that he created.

"Just listening to Bruce lay out the litany of devices that the mobile phone has replaced is a moment of sheer technological hilarity; and hearing him talk about why science fiction writers love talking computers (which all turn into Mr Clippy in the real world) is an eye-opening exercise in the difference between sensawunda and cognitive loading. "
NativeRigger
QUOTE (kzt @ Apr 13 2008, 06:11 PM) *
If you are feeling bored, watch this video of Bruce Sterling mostly on interfaces. He mentions that a number of the cyberpunk tropes are there because they make it easer to tell a story in a book, not because they really make any real sense. Including the concept of AR glasses that he created.


I think there might be a little bit of hubris in his statements. Cyberpunk's concept of AR is not in the least bit original, it's simply an evolution of military HUD technology that was around decades before cyberpunk. It's not even that highly refined when you consider the targetting monocles on "modern" helo gunships that originated slightly before the birth of cyberpunk. And of course we shouldn't even have to discuss the practicality issue.

-NR
Heath Robinson
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Apr 14 2008, 01:04 AM) *
Er? To me the point of AR, pretty much, is interacting with RL -- overlays, AROs, little info things where your various sensor data shows up (like a highlighted area where your mm-wave radar has detected a concealed handgun under someone's jacket and whatnot).

Oh, sure, you want the AR to relate to the real world, but you don't want physical objects to interact with AROs. There is a difference between the two and it is important. Interaction is active, relation is passive. You want your AROs to interact with logical devices and other AROs, but only relate to the physical world. If they interacted with the physical world, then people passing nearby would knock your ARO windows around and that would make working with them somewhat difficult.

Your driving directions overlay ARO wouldn't be very useful if passing cars knocked it off the road, nor would that handy overlay of the subjects internal organs be useful if your scalpel throws it to the floor when you make incissions. You do not want your AROs to interact with the physical world because the interactions would be one way (physical -> AR) and not conducive to the usefulness of AR unless such interaction is intended to be part of the ARO program (like, say, miracle shooter).
MYST1C
QUOTE (b1ffov3rfl0w @ Apr 14 2008, 01:56 AM) *
So realy, 802.11? That's, like, old and slow legacy stuff.

Actually, from my understanding and some Wikipedia reading: "Wi-Fi" is a marketing term coined by the Wi-Fi Alliance, an alliance of hardware manufacturers that certify wireless network hardware. Only hardware manufactured by an alliance member can sport the "Wi-Fi" logo.
But the technology behind the marketing is IEEE 802.11!
So Wi-Fi is IEEE 802.11 but IEEE 802.11 is not Wi-Fi (though both terms are used interchangeably in some countries). Kinda like Ubuntu and Debian.

The most common WLAN speeds you can find here in Germany are 11MBit/s (802.11b) and 54MBit/s (802.11g). The next version (802.11n, 540MBit/s) is scheduled for 2009 although some hardware based on preliminary specifictions ("draft-n") is already around.
There are also some non-standard networks around ("PBCC", "802.11b+", "802.11g++") but you need proprietary hardware for those.
ornot
QUOTE (Synner667 @ Apr 13 2008, 06:52 PM) *
Thank you for your input, one and all.

Couple of things tho..

/snip

No-one's mentioned anything about the Commlink being able to see what the user sees and reacting to it [tho someone mentioned triangulation of signale, but I'd go against that because of the lack of finesse in interpreting signals]..
..Any thoughts ??


Can't really see the wireless networks being a series of ad-hoc connections..
..Simply because it's not made only of Commlinks - it's have to have some sort of backbone for everything that's not a Commlink - signs, gear, etc.

And with that is the ownership of such an infrastructure - the Corps will only do it if they can make money from it..
..Which would indicate a poor/basic service for free, and a good service with a subscription.

Hiding in a wirless network ??
Nice idea, but if you can receive a signal from anyone, you're not hidden..
..In the same way that mobile phones can be tracked by triangulating their signal, as long as they're on - regardless if they're accepting calls or not.

/snip


/I edited out the bits I wasn't going to address. Hope you don't mind.

In many cases AR doesn't need to interact with RL. Windows or objects would be projected into the users FOV using simsense the same way deckers have interacted with VR since the early days of SR. The difference being that RL is still perceivable through or behind the overlay. Consistent with this, AROs that pop up in response to RFIDs would display whatever information they were encoded with, perhaps including the proximity and direction the signal comes from, if pertinent (signs, for example). AR that maps to RL in the FOV - AR architecture and the like - is harder to justify without handwavium, but we're already accepting two way translation between mental impulses and electronics with the existence of cyberware. Consider, though, that with satnavs we have digital models of our location, and GPS is already increasingly available on mobile phones, so the stumbling block is simply the overlay of that digital model in the right orientation into the simsense overlay.

I have no problem with the wireless infrastructure being owned, operated, and profited upon by the corps. However, we don't charge our PCs water rates based on how many showers they take, or even RP the showering process (at least in most games I'd imagine) and I never had a phone bill for using my phone in SR3; it is all assumed and covered by the lifestyle costs. I would assign the same status to SR4 commlink charges.

As far as being 'in hidden mode', note that the Sniffer program can still pick up a Hidden PAN. The way I see it, is that a Hidden network is not advertising its existence, and is minimising its data usage - shutting down instant messenger programs and not broadcasting the users profile, not accepting connections initiated by other devices etc. It would still be pretty damned obvious in a low data environment, such as the wilderness, but in a high intensity signal environment, picking it out from the crowd would be tricky, as the RAW suggests.
Shiloh
QUOTE
I have no problem with the wireless infrastructure being owned, operated, and profited upon by the corps.


As I read it, the *wireless* infrastructure on the street isn't owned by the megacorps. I think it's made pretty clear that short-range traffic is handled on a mesh-style peer-to-peer networking basis by all the nodes in range which overlap. It's the protocols that enforce this cooperation while preventing (by default at least; obviously a hack could change this) snooping on the traffic, which permitted the rapid regrowth of Matrix 2.0 from the ashes of the Crash.

The Corps own the longer-distance hops, of course, and they'll be *participants* in the melange of service provision at street level, but it's only the gateway nodes that will be paying the Corps for connectivity, and as such they'll be microcharging your account and/or ramming paid advertising down your virtual gullet as you use them. Deckers of course have ways of avoiding such charges.
wanderer_king
AR was a really neat inclusion to SR4 IMO.... I gave it a somewhat updated feel. As to the commlink issue, you need to consider the following; Decks were orginally about the size of a laptop, and were in a lot of ways the developers original idea on what mobile computing would be in the future; however technology has significantly advanced since SR was originally publish, and computers have become way more common than the developers could have predicted at the time. Commlinks are to cellphones as the original idea of decks were to laptops at the time; an idealized future version with more power. However, they also represent the computerized world. Also, I love the idea that people would interact and even base perceptions on a network id.... as for owning one, I see it as if you aren't broadcasting an active pan in certain security zones or conditions, the Star is likely to assume you are a runner or criminal and hose you down, rather than exposing themselves to counter-fire to confirm if you are a criminal...... good motivations for even the poorest of people to buy, find or steal a commlink.
Fuchs
I assume walking through the streets of 2070 with AR is like walking around in an MMOG today. You've got the mini-map displayed somewhere in a corner, for quick orientation, you see tags on all objects with RIFD, and you can quickly /examine them for more information (looking up profiles, accessing AR menus of vending machines, and so on) and your friends' short messages pop up in a chat window while you speak with others over your phone (ventrilo, teamspeak). Info boxes from your gun, and other gear pop up as well, and thank to RIFD tags, you can even sift through your gear (inventory) electronically.

With a biomonitor, you even have your "Life counter" smile.gif.
Rad
QUOTE (Heath Robinson @ Apr 13 2008, 06:40 PM) *
Oh, sure, you want the AR to relate to the real world, but you don't want physical objects to interact with AROs. There is a difference between the two and it is important. Interaction is active, relation is passive. You want your AROs to interact with logical devices and other AROs, but only relate to the physical world. If they interacted with the physical world, then people passing nearby would knock your ARO windows around and that would make working with them somewhat difficult.

Your diriving directions overlay ARO wouldn't be very useful if passing cars knocked it off the road, nor would that handy overlay of the subjects internal organs be useful if your scalpel throws it to the floor when you make incissions. You do not want your AROs to interact with the physical world because the interactions would be one way (physical -> AR) and not conducive to the usefulness of AR unless such interaction is intended to be part of the ARO program (like, say, miracle shooter).


I dunno, I think that would make for a pretty hilarious mod. Maybe one of those practical joke things like the Blue Screen of Death screensaver?

>Imagines a hacker uploading that mod to the pursuing security forces<

Try to use that smartlink now sucker!

As for the Bruce Sterling video, he doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. He just got done claiming that a direct brain/computer interface is impossible, when it's already been done years ago--I'll see if I can pull an article up on the net.

(Short version is, paraplegic got an experimental implanted device that allowed him to wirelessly move a mouse pointer with his brain, and I think he could type letters too.)

Finally, on to the topic at hand:

I'd say the #1 reason for people to carry commlinks is: It carries your SIN. Without it, prove you're not SINless.

If you are SINless, and aren't interested in pretending otherwise, then fine, don't get a commlink--I wonder if LoneStar will give you a cheap one to hold the criminal SIN they'll issue you when they pick you up.

As for displays, comlinks have a built-in Trid display. Unless I've misinterpreted the text--and alot of the artwork--trid is loosely analogous to modern holograms. IE: You're commlink doesn't have to have a big screen, it's display can hover in the air over the device, which you see happening in several of the illustrations.

A lot of this stuff is covered in the description of commlinks in the main rulebook. AR Gloves and Image-Linked shades or cybereyes are nifty and do add some functionality, but a commlink will still function as a stand-alone device. Think of it as the difference between using a pda, and using a pda hooked up to a docking station with a full-sized keyboard and external monitor.


Finally, about the "WiFi is a brand name" thing: So is "Band-Aid", but you don't hear many people asking for "Adhesive Strips" when they get cut. Marketing works, sad but true.
Blade
Actually I suppose that Windows somehow interact with RL to arrange the display so that it doesn't cover anything too important. As far as I know that's one of the big issues with AR/HUD displays.
Rad
There's also transparency, which works to a greater or lesser degree. Like Fuchs said, these are all things that you already see in videogames, so it isn't hard to imagine how they'd be implemented in real life.
Synner667
QUOTE (Shiloh @ Apr 14 2008, 10:55 AM) *
As I read it, the *wireless* infrastructure on the street isn't owned by the megacorps. I think it's made pretty clear that short-range traffic is handled on a mesh-style peer-to-peer networking basis by all the nodes in range which overlap. It's the protocols that enforce this cooperation while preventing (by default at least; obviously a hack could change this) snooping on the traffic, which permitted the rapid regrowth of Matrix 2.0 from the ashes of the Crash.


Considering that wireless networks are locked down now [well, in theory - many people and companies don't seem to do too good a job of basic wireless security], I don't see that an ad-hoc wireless network will let people connect and pass data through them..
..Especially not just a short time after yet another Matrix crash.


QUOTE (Fuchs @ Apr 14 2008, 12:59 PM) *
I assume walking through the streets of 2070 with AR is like walking around in an MMOG today. You've got the mini-map displayed somewhere in a corner, for quick orientation, you see tags on all objects with RIFD, and you can quickly /examine them for more information (looking up profiles, accessing AR menus of vending machines, and so on) and your friends' short messages pop up in a chat window while you speak with others over your phone (ventrilo, teamspeak). Info boxes from your gun, and other gear pop up as well, and thank to RIFD tags, you can even sift through your gear (inventory) electronically.


That's pretty much how I envision it.

However, in a computer game you use a mouse and/or keyboard keys to select various options..
..But how to do that for a HUD, with no brain connection ??


QUOTE (ornot @ Apr 14 2008, 10:28 AM) *
/I edited out the bits I wasn't going to address. Hope you don't mind.


I don't mind at all - thank you for asking smile.gif

QUOTE (ornot @ Apr 14 2008, 10:28 AM) *
handwavium


That's a great phrase, I'm sure it'll crop up in my conversations smile.gif

QUOTE (ornot @ Apr 14 2008, 10:28 AM) *
I have no problem with the wireless infrastructure being owned, operated, and profited upon by the corps. However, we don't charge our PCs water rates based on how many showers they take, or even RP the showering process (at least in most games I'd imagine) and I never had a phone bill for using my phone in SR3; it is all assumed and covered by the lifestyle costs. I would assign the same status to SR4 commlink charges.

As far as being 'in hidden mode', note that the Sniffer program can still pick up a Hidden PAN. The way I see it, is that a Hidden network is not advertising its existence, and is minimising its data usage - shutting down instant messenger programs and not broadcasting the users profile, not accepting connections initiated by other devices etc. It would still be pretty damned obvious in a low data environment, such as the wilderness, but in a high intensity signal environment, picking it out from the crowd would be tricky, as the RAW suggests.



My thoughts are about the fact that if you are online and connected, the Corp will know about you and where you are and who the system says you are..
..They are almost guaranteed to log who signs, etc interact with [for advertising, if not for security], so the only way to hide would be to switch off.
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