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NockerGeek
QUOTE (Irian @ Jun 24 2008, 02:04 PM) *
You're assuming that there's a perfect copy protection. Otherwise the degrading rules would depend on how successfull someone was hacking the software, but it isn't. So it CAN NOT depend on copy protection. Simple, isn't it? You're idea can also not work, because people would simply start cracking the software again as soon as the message keeps appearing. And as there's no rule in the rulebook that prevents them from beeing successfull here, this can't be the reason for degrading.

So, your explanation has flaws and doesn't even explain the rules, sorry.


Reading is fundamental!

QUOTE (NockerGeek @ Jun 24 2008, 12:50 PM) *
Meanwhile, some script kiddies are disseminating a worm that exploits a security hole that was found after you stopped patching, so your 'soft is dealing with that, too. Sure, you've got a firewall, but it's using up more processing power as it tries to fight off various bits of malicious code.

Of course, if you'd just stayed legit and not cracked, you'd be getting security patches, and legit key codes that only update monthly. But hey, you saved some money by cracking, right?


So the degradation isn't just due to the issue with the incomplete copy protection, but also due to all the malicious code that's zipping around (think about the recent Adobe Flash 9 player which had an exploitable weakness and required a fresh download from Adobe to fix it, or all the people who don't bother running Windows Update and getting their boxes turned into zombies).

And you're right, there's no "perfect" copy protection, but considering that copy protection cracks are generally reverse-engineered, it makes sense that the flaw in the crack wouldn't be found until things started getting wonky after a month - oh, look, time to repatch your cracked software. You're still going to be patching regularly as new exploits come out; the planned obsolescence isn't the only problem you have, remember. Also, who says it's not the corp itself releasing the 'soft-targeting worms to the public to encourage people to go legit? Remember, never doubt the deviousness of a Grim, Dystopic Megacorp ™ with a lot of money and manpower available.
Tycho
QUOTE (Lebo77 @ Jun 24 2008, 02:37 PM) *
Why would a corp do that? Running background checks costs nuyen.gif . They have your money from the initial transaction. Customer support is apparently free in this brave new wireless world, so why charge for them. Check to make sure the software license is valid, sure. But running a background check to make sure your customer is still legit? How does that help profits?
Also consider outfits like HackerHouse. Would THEY be sticklers about proper SIN and licenses? I doubt it. They might run a rating 1-2 SIN check to make sure they get paid, but beyond that they would be unlikely to shut you down unless a Corp Court order or someone with big guns or teeth (Sader-Krupp) told them to.



They do that because the book says so:

QUOTE ("P.119 Unwired")
If bought during the game with a commlink that is linked to a forged ID, gamemasters may call for an ID check (p. 260, SR4) with a verification system rating of 2–4.


with a SIN Rating 1 you likely fail that test.

cya
Tycho
WeaverMount
QUOTE (NockerGeek @ Jun 24 2008, 01:48 PM) *
No, I'm assuming that the coders are good enough to put in two layers of copy protection - a first layer that's difficult but not impossible to break. which would trick most crackers into thinking they'd succeeded (after all, it seems like it's working through the first month), and a second, obfuscated layer that doesn't even look like copy protection. After all, short of a lucky break with paydata, it's not like the hacker's going to magically have the source code available - even decompiled code is ugly and obfuscated compared to the original, commented code - so there's little chance of them even knowing about the piggyback packet that rides on board the patch response.

Basically, it's the corp saying, "We know people are going to try to crack our software, so let's trick them into thinking that they've succeeded."


This whole scheme is non-sense. First off if degradation was by design, a couple dozen shadow coders would just re-write every app. You can talk to me about hidden protocol and what not, but per the BBB you can write your own apps ... so you can.

Also (and this really gets me) you can just come up with a cleaver idea and all it fool proof. Yeah in real life frequency hopping pretty much shuts down getting on the enemy's tac channel. A player can't just declare they are using that technique and get immunity. This is basically what you are trying to do here with the corps. You came up with a cleaver idea for some second-layer protection that didn't revolve around dice and declare it un-beatable. That just wouldn't be the case. Besides all you would have to do is reinstall. Storage space is unlimited. You could keep a back your everything and just reinstall all the time. I actually assume it's pretty standard practice for a hacker to reformat, re-install everything from a ghost image, and spoof a new ID every after every run. Especially because it only costs a 100 for the meta-link to do it.
Irian
QUOTE
Reading is fundamental!


I just didn't comment the other part, because that part is ok. I didn't say, that software doesn't degrade. For example, attack programs should become less and less usefull, because the other side will try to make their defensive programs better in protecting against the attack programs - but of course, it also works the other way, defensive programms will become less and less usefull because new attack routines will be able to bypass them.

But I don't think that this "secret 2nd copy protection" thing has anything to do with it. I think this idea is nonsense. Perhaps it happens once to a hacker, but that's the same thing as when the Samurai gets a defective ammo round. It can happen, but I wouldn't make a rule out of it.

QUOTE (Tycho @ Jun 24 2008, 09:30 PM) *
with a SIN Rating 1 you likely fail that test.


Even a rating 6 SIN will fail this test very quickly, especially if this test is needed every month for each piece of software smile.gif
Cheops
QUOTE (Irian @ Jun 24 2008, 07:43 PM) *
Even a rating 6 SIN will fail this test very quickly, especially if this test is needed every month for each piece of software smile.gif


Nowhere in the book does it say it checks every month. It checks when you register the program and that's it.

It also says that during the game if you purchase new software then you have to make that check. Not during char gen.

I will also point out that no where does it say that you can't add Registration by itself to illegally pirated copies and then go and register it with the company that made it. Sure, you'd have to hack the Patch Node to register yourself but they already suggested that for patch updates. So let's see, 10% of cost, 1500 for programming environment, Logic + Software (3, 1/2 month) test, and a hack.
hobgoblin
doing a quick numbers check, it will be most expensive to have ai/pilots and activesofts degrade. but even then, having some 5 rating 4 activesofts will only cost you 1500 a month to keep it going.

so yes, calculate, add to lifestyle cost and keep on running wink.gif
Sombranox
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jun 24 2008, 04:50 PM) *
doing a quick numbers check, it will be most expensive to have ai/pilots and activesofts degrade. but even then, having some 5 rating 4 activesofts will only cost you 1500 a month to keep it going.

so yes, calculate, add to lifestyle cost and keep on running wink.gif


Don't forget to subtract the cost of their middle lifestyle as well since they should be able to make Hacking+Spoof(12,1day) extended tests each month with no problem.

So really, just calculate the cost and replace lifestyle cost with that.
NockerGeek
QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Jun 24 2008, 02:42 PM) *
This whole scheme is non-sense. First off if degradation was by design, a couple dozen shadow coders would just re-write every app. You can talk to me about hidden protocol and what not, but per the BBB you can write your own apps ... so you can.


Yeah, you're right, you can roll your own apps - and those programs degrade too (UW, p.109). Even open-source software degrades (UW, p.110, sidebar).

QUOTE
Also (and this really gets me) you can just come up with a cleaver idea and all it fool proof. Yeah in real life frequency hopping pretty much shuts down getting on the enemy's tac channel. A player can't just declare they are using that technique and get immunity. This is basically what you are trying to do here with the corps. You came up with a cleaver idea for some second-layer protection that didn't revolve around dice and declare it un-beatable. That just wouldn't be the case. Besides all you would have to do is reinstall. Storage space is unlimited. You could keep a back your everything and just reinstall all the time. I actually assume it's pretty standard practice for a hacker to reformat, re-install everything from a ghost image, and spoof a new ID every after every run. Especially because it only costs a 100 for the meta-link to do it.


Sure, you can constantly be reloading your software onto a fresh install. Doesn't make it any less cracked or more up to date. It might get you past any layered copy protection issues that might exist, but it won't help with anything else.

Besides, I was merely giving one possible reason why somebody's active skillsofts might be degrading, something that is very possible as per the fluff, and that makes sense. I didn't declare it as some sort of unbeatable GM-fiat ruling; rather, I just described the way I picture, in my opinion, how a corp might go about developing its software. Is it the end-all be-all for software degradation? Not in the slightest. If anything, the constantly-evolving security holes are probably a bigger issue than the nagware/phone-home problem... but in any games that I run, both are going to be around as fluff explanations. In SR, the corps are greedy bastards, even more than today (a Grim Dystopic ™ future, remember?), so in my games, you can just about guarantee they're going to throw any possible trick at crackers to protect their income streams. Will it stop crackers in their tracks? No, but it does lead to a constant arms race between zero-day cracking teams and corp copy protection developers - just like we have today, only moreso.

My opinions, based on my experience and my interpretations, offered for others to read, nothing more.
WearzManySkins
The degrading software is making the ASSumption that the hacker/crackers have their thumbs up their arse and not disabling the degradation or writing warez without the degradation.

Again nice fluff attempts at explaining a bad idea.

WMS
Irian
Hm, no, I don't quite disagree with the idea of degrading in generell, but it doesn't make sense with every software. Two examples:

An "attack" program depends on how vulnerable the target is. If the attack programs tries to use "old" methods to harm the target, the defensive programs will be very effective. Let's say Johnny bought this new nova-hot piece of software which uses a totaly new way of signal manipulation to harm the target. Johnny will use it for, let's say two weeks - along with some other users - and then the coders who write defensive programs will notice that there's a new trick to harm someone. They will adapt and write patches for the defensive software that will make the new program less effective - it degrades. Same thing goes other way round: Defensive programs will become less and less effective (unless patched) because new attack programs are written - they degrade. Security holes get closed, new security holes found, etc.

On the other hand, a "Pistol" autosoft will perhaps have troubles with totaly new pistols, but it will still let you hit exactly as good in 10 years as it does now. Degrading here doesn't make sense, imho.

And of course I don't like the actual rule mechanism, because it's too much bookkeeping. I would probably rule that under "lifestyle" or charge a certain percentage.
hobgoblin
QUOTE (Sombranox @ Jun 24 2008, 10:59 PM) *
Don't forget to subtract the cost of their middle lifestyle as well since they should be able to make Hacking+Spoof(12,1day) extended tests each month with no problem.

So really, just calculate the cost and replace lifestyle cost with that.


hmm, indeed. spending 3 days on the spoof, then pay for the apps, and keep on running.

still, something like that should really be rolled. glitches and critical glitches could be oh so fun wink.gif

nothing like having to run from the repo-troll vegm.gif
Cheops
QUOTE (WearzManySkins @ Jun 24 2008, 10:10 PM) *
The degrading software is making the ASSumption that the hacker/crackers have their thumbs up their arse and not disabling the degradation or writing warez without the degradation.

Again nice fluff attempts at explaining a bad idea.

WMS


Except that no where in the book does it say that you can do that without adding Registration and registering with a Corp node.

Also, did anyone notice that you can now directly download activesofts from the net, and that you can share activesofts through a subscription link. Don't need to buy activesofts anymore, before every run have hacker create hidden account on Corp Death Strike Team node and download from there directly to the runners. As long as you aren't running the software too long (less than 6 combat turns - ie. less than any combat EVER in shadowrun) they probably wouldn't notice.

It also means that you can spend your BP on all the illegal combat type skills and have the whole team buy the other skills as a group legally. Stick them all on your Roving Hub and then people can run them as needed. Only problem is that you can't have 2 people use the same activesoft at the same time.
hobgoblin
QUOTE (Irian @ Jun 24 2008, 11:18 PM) *
On the other hand, a "Pistol" autosoft will perhaps have troubles with totaly new pistols, but it will still let you hit exactly as good in 10 years as it does now. Degrading here doesn't make sense, imho.


your looking at a expense of 180 pr 2 months (something i see now that i forgot about in my earlier activesoft calculation), or 90 a month to keep it up to date. and as its cracked, one can use it anywhere. and i dont think its so much about the guns as its interaction with other stuff. unless your willing to run that old pilot you may be looking at patches there that fixes something that will cause a glitch in the pistols autosoft. at that point i guess one can rule that the pistol autosoft will not degrade, but as the pilot is degrading, what then?

still, at this point i would probably drop a pile of sourcebooks at any players head. or in other words, it degrades, learn to live with it...
crizh
Roving Hub for the win btw.

Who makes this shit up?

An availability 6 drone that contains an availability 14 nexus?

Nice.
hobgoblin
for shits and giggles, put it in some drone blimp doing ads for shadowrunners the mmo wink.gif
Cheops
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jun 24 2008, 10:31 PM) *
for shits and giggles, put it in some drone blimp doing ads for shadowrunners the mmo wink.gif


LTA Mod only costs 1200 for the Roving Hub but it does reduce your Mod Slots to 3 frown.gif
Mx
QUOTE (Irian @ Jun 25 2008, 12:18 AM) *
And of course I don't like the actual rule mechanism, because it's too much bookkeeping. I would probably rule that under "lifestyle" or charge a certain percentage.


Where's the need for lot of bookkeeping, just calculate the monthly cost and add it to characters lifestyle
Irian
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jun 24 2008, 11:28 PM) *
unless your willing to run that old pilot you may be looking at patches there that fixes something that will cause a glitch in the pistols autosoft. at that point i guess one can rule that the pistol autosoft will not degrade, but as the pilot is degrading, what then?


I don't see the connection between "patches correct bugs" and "without patches, all programs will become less effective". You can write Texts with Word 97, if you want to. It's not worse than when it was written. It stills works equally good. You can't open newer files, of course, but the function itself hasn't degraded.
Same thing with Pistol autosoft: Perhaps it can't connect to the newest smartlink after 10 years, but it will still hit the targets equally well. If the autosoft has a bug, it will have this bug now and in 10 years without patch. Bug the bug doesn't suddenly appear and make the shooting less effective - at least not always with every program smile.gif This hasn't anything to do with patches or glitches. Of course a GM could start adding program bugs, but I don't see the need for a rule here.
Muspellsheimr
The program degradation rules, as written, make no sense at all. Your program does not degrade if it fails to receive regular patches - it remains the same. Degradation does make sense if explained by your programs going out of date, however. The problem with this is the 1-2 month time period is far to short for that explanation. I suspect that if we use the degradation rules at all, the increments will be 6 months. Know/Lingua softs may degrade at a very slow interval, but Activesofts should not at all (at least for physical/combat skills).

EDIT:
Also, it was said the next errata would be released shortly after Unwired, dealing primarily with changes relating to Unwired. When can we be expecting said errata?
Prime Mover
Feel out of loop here due to not having PDF yet. But 2070's tech and corporations involved would seem to make this possible. And that degradation is only affecting illegal copies correct? I see no reason not to create a mechanic to limit copied programs, sure other ways to do it, but degradation and rules (again havent seen em yet) behind them seem reasonable.


Edit: From the above post, new errata for BBB, wondering if will include analyze for sprites? Is this in 5th printing?
Cheops
QUOTE (Irian @ Jun 24 2008, 09:45 PM) *
I don't see the connection between "patches correct bugs" and "without patches, all programs will become less effective". You can write Texts with Word 97, if you want to. It's not worse than when it was written. It stills works equally good. You can't open newer files, of course, but the function itself hasn't degraded.
Same thing with Pistol autosoft: Perhaps it can't connect to the newest smartlink after 10 years, but it will still hit the targets equally well. If the autosoft has a bug, it will have this bug now and in 10 years without patch. Bug the bug doesn't suddenly appear and make the shooting less effective - at least not always with every program smile.gif This hasn't anything to do with patches or glitches. Of course a GM could start adding program bugs, but I don't see the need for a rule here.


If it helps -- think of it this way. You don't actually KNOW how to fire that pistol. The Skillwires are TELLING your body what to do to fire that pistol. Your skillwires are a computer just like everything else and activeSOFTs are software just like everything else that runs on computers. If your software gets out of date then when the computer tells your body to fire the pistol the glitches in the software that weren't patched affect your aim. YOU ARE NOT firing a pistol. The only conscious part of it as far as you are concerned is deciding that you want to shoot something.

Irian
I prefer thinking this way: The rules aren't very good. We will probably house rule this smile.gif Ok, in my actual group (which hasn't played in a while, unfortunatly) we don't even have a hacker, just an elf chick we rescued a while ago and can call if we need something done smile.gif
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Cheops @ Jun 24 2008, 05:37 PM) *
But he got the cracked skillsoft for FREE from a buddy or for 10% OF COST!

So the Ares Alpha of the the Street Samurai should automagically degrade in Damage because he stole it from Ares, while the one Adept bought at Weapons World doesn't?
Cheops
QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jun 24 2008, 10:57 PM) *
So the Ares Alpha of the the Street Samurai should automagically degrade in Damage because he stole it from Ares, while the one Adept bought at Weapons World doesn't?


Apples vs. Oranges.

Equivalent would be if Sam bought Ares Alpha from a fixer who told him that the gun was used in a double homicide yesterday and the police are looking for it. He can give it to you at 10% of cost.

Hackers can also get their programs for free. It's called you hack the patch node and get free patches (same as a Street Sam robbing a Weapons World). It's IN THE ACTUAL BOOK.

Seriously is anyone actually reading this book?
Fuchs
It's still SOTA. SOTA rules aka upkeep are bad.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Cheops @ Jun 25 2008, 12:08 AM) *
Equivalent would be if Sam bought Ares Alpha from a fixer who told him that the gun was used in a double homicide yesterday and the police are looking for it. He can give it to you at 10% of cost.

No, it's just 'stolen from Ares'. No cost at all.

QUOTE (Cheops @ Jun 25 2008, 12:08 AM) *
It's called you hack the patch node and get free patches (same as a Street Sam robbing a Weapons World).

Just it doesn't get worse if he doesn't rob it every month.
Aaron
Early in development, there was some talk about the protocols used in the WMI (the thing that makes the Matrix work) being a sort of authenticity checker, making it more difficult to use cracked software and even doing Bad Things to your illegal copies. I don't know where this went; it wasn't my chapter, and I still haven't read it cover to cover.

If you're honestly confused about how degradation could work, this will probably set you on the path to a settled mind. If you're trying to weasel out of having your cracked programs degrade, I can't help you.
Irian
QUOTE (Aaron @ Jun 25 2008, 01:31 AM) *
Early in development, there was some talk about the protocols used in the WMI (the thing that makes the Matrix work) being a sort of authenticity checker, making it more difficult to use cracked software and even doing Bad Things to your illegal copies.


That really sounds like a typical Shadowrun idea.
Cheops
QUOTE (Aaron @ Jun 25 2008, 12:31 AM) *
Early in development, there was some talk about the protocols used in the WMI (the thing that makes the Matrix work) being a sort of authenticity checker, making it more difficult to use cracked software and even doing Bad Things to your illegal copies. I don't know where this went; it wasn't my chapter, and I still haven't read it cover to cover.

If you're honestly confused about how degradation could work, this will probably set you on the path to a settled mind. If you're trying to weasel out of having your cracked programs degrade, I can't help you.


With a quick scan through the only remnant I could find of this is some Shadow talk on p 21 where they speculate that the corps intentially frak with programs so that you have to use their patches.
Cheops
QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jun 25 2008, 12:14 AM) *
No, it's just 'stolen from Ares'. No cost at all.


Just it doesn't get worse if he doesn't rob it every month.


You can also steal programs. No cost at all.

They also don't get worse each month if you take proper maintenance. Technically Street Sams should have to maintain their weapons and cyber every month as well or else they start to get buggy. Just with programs they actually forced you to say "I'm cleaning my gun after that firefight," "I'm downloading the latest Image Link software so that it interfaces properly with my Smartlink."

But the Street sam is limited in advancement by Essence/Money so they don't need to be restricted as much as a Hacker does.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Aaron @ Jun 25 2008, 12:31 AM) *
If you're honestly confused about how degradation could work, this will probably set you on the path to a settled mind.

Sorry, no. There is no way to explain how degredation in a closed system could ever work. It's just a rule to 'balance' Hackers to Technomancers.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Cheops @ Jun 25 2008, 12:50 AM) *
Technically Street Sams should have to maintain their weapons and cyber every month as well or else they start to get buggy.

Just there are no hard rules forcing them to roleplay such upkeet with brutal time intervalls.

QUOTE (Cheops @ Jun 25 2008, 12:50 AM) *
But the Street sam is limited in advancement by Essence/Money so they don't need to be restricted as much as a Hacker does.

The advancement of a hacker tends to be much more limited than the street sams.
Sma
Whats´s up with the Tacnet rules?

Is it intentional that a tacnet can only provide boni to contributing members ? So even if you have full coverage of an area due to having lots of drones and teammembers uploading sensory data you cannot benefit from it unless you upload data yourself?

Are rating 3+ tacnets supposed to be restricted to heavily cybered individuals and christmas trees? Drone sensor rating capping at 3 for published drones and the tentative ruling Synner put forth would allow upgrading drones to sensor 4.
Cheops
Agreed. TacNets seem pretty nerfed. Especially since I was already allowing the group to do stuff like that with regular AR networking.

1) I think that it was intentional.
2) Correct. And silly
3) Not really because it is very easy to get stuff that counts as a channel. Most of my characters will have a camera (1), with LL (2), Thermo (3), and Vision Mag (4). Add Smartlink (5), Ultrasound (6), Increased Sensitivity Hearing (7), and Nose Mk. 1 (cool.gif.

Don't get why smell is included but not touch/taste.
Crank
QUOTE (Aaron @ Jun 24 2008, 06:31 PM) *
If you're trying to weasel out of having your cracked programs degrade, I can't help you.


Its not the cracked programs that are the problem, its the activesofts, knowsofts, and linguasofts degrading that don't make sense to quite a few of us. No weaseling, just cold, hard logic.
paws2sky
Agreed.

Program degradation makes lots of sense to me; Hacking programs, in particular. And Firewall too. Common Use and System make a little less sense, but its still fairly reasonable.

Pilot and autosofts degrading is a bit more of a stretch, but I can see a couple argument for why they could degrade if they're not updated.

What really bothers me this is degrading skillsofts (of all varieties). Knowsofts and mapsofts (I assume they'd degrade too?) seem most vulnerable. Besides using antiquated lingo, I don't see Linguasofts being negatively affected. And Activesofts, well, I think I've presented my case on those.

-paws
(Anxiously awaiting the dead tree version of Unwired so I can read this thing in detail.)
crizh
QUOTE (Sma @ Jun 25 2008, 01:20 AM) *
Are rating 3+ tacnets supposed to be restricted to heavily cybered individuals and christmas trees? Drone sensor rating capping at 3 for published drones and the tentative ruling Synner put forth would allow upgrading drones to sensor 4.


For each drone......

I am thinking about using iBalls as the basis for a Team Cluster, if each team member carried two they would all have more than enough channels for a Rating 4 TacNet.
Sombranox
QUOTE (Cheops @ Jun 24 2008, 08:37 PM) *
Don't get why smell is included but not touch/taste.


I'd assume because smell can identify things like proximity to enemies and threats by gunpowder or chemical smells or some such.

Touch I guess I could see being a valid one maybe for the tacnet taking texture of the terrain into effect or something, but couldn't imagine how taste would help in a gunfight.
Sma
QUOTE (Cheops @ Jun 25 2008, 02:37 AM) *
3) Not really because it is very easy to get stuff that counts as a channel. Most of my characters will have a camera (1), with LL (2), Thermo (3), and Vision Mag (4). Add Smartlink (5), Ultrasound (6), Increased Sensitivity Hearing (7), and Nose Mk. 1 (cool.gif.
Don't get why smell is included but not touch/taste.


Thats what I meant with christmas tree. A Noncybered individual will have to have all sorts of sensor paraphernalia dangling off themselves to count as a member. Which is -as you said- patently silly.
But my main contention lies in the inability of a high level tacnet to benefit from having drones all over the place while a low level network does. Because 3 dudes plus a swarm of upgraded Flyspys is +2 dice on a level 2 network and +1 die on a level 4 network.

QUOTE (crizh @ Jun 25 2008, 03:03 AM) *
For each drone......

I am thinking about using iBalls as the basis for a Team Cluster, if each team member carried two they would all have more than enough channels for a Rating 4 TacNet.


Unaugmented IBalls have a sensor rating of 2, thus - on their own- are only eligible to be a contributing member of a rating 1 Tacnet; and while the text is unclear enough to allow for drones that are somehow slaved through you to count for your channels, having 2 IBalls count as rating 4 (which btw. would only add give sufficient channels for a R2 tacnet, unless you want to count them in addition to your own eyes) because you get twice the amount of cameras that way, seems to be stretching it a bit far.
Cthulhudreams
QUOTE (Dashifen @ Jun 24 2008, 11:56 AM) *
I'm excited by these rules because they will give the hacker character the drive the need to find the SOTA which, without degradation, they were consistently at after character generation.


This is stupid. Are you seriously saying that hackers should adventure to stay exactly as good as they are, whereas everyone else adventures to get better? It certainly seems so.
Lebo77
QUOTE (Tycho @ Jun 24 2008, 03:30 PM) *
They do that because the book says so:

QUOTE

If bought during the game with a commlink that is linked to a forged ID, gamemasters may call for an ID check (p. 260, SR4) with a verification system rating of 2€“4.



with a SIN Rating 1 you likely fail that test.

cya
Tycho



Note the word "may" in your above quote. It all depends on how "law & order" your software vendor is feeling. Some less-reputable vendors might decide not to check IDs. Or to check them at a sub-standard level. (Well, the SIN has the right number of digits...)

Plus, if you have a contact (like a Mr. Johnson you just pulled a big job for) at a software company, he might be able to arrange for the ID check to be skipped, or the license to be strangely assigned to a little old lady in Boston who does not even own a comlink. My point is that there are many ways around this issue, and it's not always in the corps best interest to do a through background check. Doing a check just gets in the way of sales and cuts into profits. If the Corp Court is threatening them with sanctions they will toe the line. If they are tired of getting burned by hackers useing their own software against them, they may get strict for a while. But if I were GMing, I would only call for this is unusual cases.

"May" is optional. "Will" is strongly suggestive. "Shall" is mandatory.

Edit: Oh. Your page reference is wrong. 109 not 119. Also, that check is related to when a PC is buying the software. Not each time the user downloads a patch. I can see some minimal logic for some vendors, under some circumstances checking the ID when a new copy is bought. I can see no argument for checking on each patch download beyond external pressure, and that is tough to put on a major corp.
Tycho
I know all of that (besides the mistake in the page reference), but if you go to a stuffer Check and buy some food for 10+ nuyen.gif , your Id is checked the second you pay with your online bank account.

So your ID will be checked every time, moreover the intention of the registration system is, that the program is registered to your SIN. So the corp have to verify your SIN to see if your will get a Patch anyway. So why not check it, especially for R rated Programs, because the license may be lost during the last month or the ID might get rated for criminal involvements. Such in ID Check takes nearly no time and greatly increases the security for the corp for very little cost.

cya
Tycho
Lebo77
OK, software degradation is a game balance conceit. We all know that. You want an explanation to make it go down a little easier:

What if there is a hardware component we have not considered? A chip installed in all hardware capable of running degrading software which maintains acts as a "verifier". It generates Psudo-random numbers of tremendous length using a as-yet un-reverse-engineered algorithm. Any software run on the device accesses the chip and checks it's current output. Several times every second each program looks at a different sub-section of the current very large number (say, digits 1,000,000-2,000,000 for an Ares Attack-5 program with no options, and each time it checks it looks at 10% of those digits). The next week worth of numbers is included in each patch. If the numbers match, then the software runs great. If not, then the software stops dead in it's tracks. Cracking the copy protection removes this feature, the problem is that the CORRECT random numbers are needed for some stages of various parts of the programs computations. Attempting to remove this functionality requires re-coding most of the software, so there is little point in trying to do so.
The cracker can insert a routine that taps them straight off the chip (since it is right there in the unit). The problem is that doing so ever so slightly effects the chips algorithm for that type of program (since you have to request specific bits, and need to access them more often due to the fact you don't have a current correct copy of the full numbers.) This effect starts out small, but the errors build over time. Eventually, the computations from the software become grossly wrong. Your pistols-4 skillsoft has degraded to a pistols-0.

Some issues with this model:
1. Yes, this explanation relies on a piece of uncrackable hardware installed in all hardware. This type of thing COULD be mandated by the Corp Court. Failure to adhere to the standard is punishable by Omega Order, but eventually this system could be cracked. That sounds like a shadowrun waiting to happen to me.
2. It fails to explain the degradation of Free Software, or software you wrote yourself. In some cases, degradation can be explained by obsolescence. "Sorry, but your browse program is too old to connect to our library database. Please upgrade at..." I don't think many hackers write their own Skillsofts, and it would be odd to see open-source Pistols-4, so that is no issue. Perhaps the corps try to force people off open-source by using proprietary formats. (Remind anyone a certain Redmond WA based company) so your edit program degrades. "So sorry, please upgrade to Write2069 or later to open this file."
3. The need for the software to use the full random numbers is downright silly. No programmer would write this way, and in the real world it's not even possible. If the numbers are PRN then a fixed code base would not benefit from them, and would in fact simply have it's calculations perturbed by them. However, assuming this is another breakthrough in applied math/computer science (another Heinrich Maneuver-like breakthrough) then this handwave could be explainable. UN-like the Heinrich Maneuver however, it was made by a Corp Court researcher, and the results were never released to the public. All the "secure" software is re-encoded by a supercomputer on Zurich-Orbital and then re-transmitted back to the creating corp. The software sent back requires the chip. If you could get your hands on the pre-ZO source code you would have something that does not degrade. (another Shadowrun!) Or better, if you could get access to the ZO mainframe, you could get the algorithm...

This model explains a lot of things:
1. Why un-patched software degrades. You don't have the week's magic numbers, so you start creating an error (for that program only) in your security chip.
2. Why some programs degrade, and some don't. The errors effect only the range of digits which apply to that particular program.
3. Hacked patches consist of a new set of numbers, and allow you to correct for the "drift" your chip has undergone. I settled on weekly patches arbitrarily, so if the drift was small enough you could miss a patch or two with no real worries. (say you were out of the country). This schedule is not set in stone however.

Note: I don't buy ANY of this. The software degradation thing exists to make buying software at full price make sense since cracking it is so easy. I support the idea that PCs who decide to skimp on software costs by using hacked software should take a hit in some way. As for the -1 to tracking thresholds for using registered software: Why not just hack out the LEAVE FINGERPRINTS part of the software? Each time a patch comes out you apply it to a "clean" copy of the software and do a quick hack again to chop out the LEAVE FINGERPRINTS routine again. Since that algorithm is not essential for the company's bottom line, I doubt it is as well-defended as the copy protection.
Lebo77
QUOTE (Tycho @ Jun 25 2008, 01:21 AM) *
I know all of that (besides the mistake in the page reference), but if you go to a stuffer Check and buy some food for 10+ nuyen.gif , your Id is checked the second you pay with your online bank account.

Where are you getting that? Why does the Shack CARE if you are using a fake ID? They care if you money is real, that's IT. If this were true no SINless could shop at the Shack (without fake ID, and who has that aside from 'runners). Profit magins at stores like that are fairly thin, why pay for a background check when a simple bank draft does the trick. EFT the 10 nuyen.gif from the listed account and be done with it. Sure, they might record the name for customer profiling, but checking SINs just costs them money and lots and lots of potential customers (95% of the SINless).

You are wrong about the prevalence of background checks in the Shadowrun universe.

QUOTE
So your ID will be checked every time, moreover the intention of the registration system is, that the program is registered to your SIN. So the corp have to verify your SIN to see if your will get a Patch anyway. So why not check it, especially for R rated Programs, because the license may be lost during the last month or the ID might get rated for criminal involvements. Such in ID Check takes nearly no time and greatly increases the security for the corp for very little cost.

cya
Tycho

Your conclusion does not follow from your argument. In the Stuffer Shack case money was changing hands. I disagree that Stuffer Shack would check ID over a 10 yen purchase, but that appears to be your argument.
They do not need to verify your SIN. They need to check to see if the SIN you provided when you log in to get the patch (or more likely the software license number) is on the list of software license numbers (or SINs in your example) that is approved to receive patches. Why complicate things by running out and checking SIN registries, credit reporting agencies, the DMV and what all jsut to make sure a person is who he says he is. Also, what about software registered to non-metahuman persons (a.k.a. corporations). They don't have SINs. They have some kind of ID however (like a tax ID). Maybe the trick is to form a Hong-Kong virtual corp and register the software to that. (see Corporate Shadowfiles for info on why having a shell company is a good idea. Yes, it is out of print.)

Second, why would the corp want to check your licenses AFTER they have sold you the software? How does it in any meaningful way improve their security? This is like a gun store running FBI checks on customers they sold guns to last year to see if they are still allowed to have them. In most places you can buy ammo without a background check, the gun is the controlled item.

Finally: Who said SIN checks were cheap? The people who compile all the data for those checks need to get paid. The higher the check rating, the more databases you need to pay for. Pulling a credit report can cost a bank $20-30 or more in some cases, and that is from ONE credit bureau. There are thee major ones, and they do not always agree. A simple Rating 1 background could cost 2-3 nuyen.gif. Lets be conservative and say 1. In your Stuffer Shack example the shack is taking a 10% hit to profit margin from that check. Ouch. All to keep out customers that it wants to bring in.

Edit: flamebait removed
Fuchs
I see no need at all, neither from a game mechanics perspective, nor from a game balance perspective, to have programs decay. It just seems designed to hinder a hacker player's fun by adding money drains and book keeping while not offering anything positive.

Could anyone please explain the Game Mechanic/Balance reason for it?

Not the fluff, not the pseudo-rationalising, I mean the mechanical/balance reason to introduce such a thing. Why did anyone think it was needed?

Was the hacker unbalanced before without a money drain?
apple
QUOTE (Lebo77 @ Jun 25 2008, 01:12 AM) *
Where are you getting that?


Tycho already quoted the corresponding rule from Unwired. Why they care? Well, it´s in the rule and especially illegal or hacking programs are restricted so like buying a weapon there will be an ID check if you buy your attack/armor/exploit program. And of course the BBB describes general SIN checks and sensor scans as being normal (look at the drone examples).

QUOTE
If this were true no SINless could shop at the Shack


Absolutely right. That is the reason why certified checksticks or shadowy shops (who don´t check the SIN) exist. Fortunately SIN check are not mentioned to be standard for common good, just the online transaction where you need an account (and you need a sin for a bank account or a shadow bank account). Unfortunately SIN checks seem pretty standard for buying restricted programs, and it is not a basic check but a check with 2-4 dices against your SIN rating (which has a maximum of 6). But to be honest, the SIN rules as presented in the BBB are pretty broken ... no runner could have a rating 6 SIN for more than 24h if he is living in a larger city, because at some point during the day even a rating 6 SIN would fail the hundreds of SIN tests made during each day.

QUOTE
Second, why would the corp want to check your licenses AFTER they have sold you the software?


It´s like the microsoft windows auto update authentification: they check if your program is really legally bought. And they check it in reality every time your windows wants to update (or if you go manually on the windows update webpage)

QUOTE
Finally: Who said SIN checks were cheap?


Since you have to broadcast your ID in high security areas it seems normal that your ID is checked ... otherwise the whole "broadcast your ID"-system would make any sense.

SYL
Sombranox
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Jun 25 2008, 02:58 AM) *
I see no need at all, neither from a game mechanics perspective, nor from a game balance perspective, to have programs decay. It just seems designed to hinder a hacker player's fun by adding money drains and book keeping while not offering anything positive.

Could anyone please explain the Game Mechanic/Balance reason for it?

Not the fluff, not the pseudo-rationalising, I mean the mechanical/balance reason to introduce such a thing. Why did anyone think it was needed?

Was the hacker unbalanced before without a money drain?


The single reason from a game balance reasoning that I can see for degrading programs is still pretty much a fluff reason.

A 100K will start you pretty much out with a nearly perfect commlink and almost all of the programs at rating 6. One 8K purchase later and you have response 6 and suddenly have as good of stuff as you're pretty much going to get.

Degrading is a horribly book-keeping-inducing, poorly conceived method of giving hackers something to keep dumping time and money into after chargen.

Technomancers will be on the endless quest towards ungodliness via karma whoring worse than mages.

Riggers will be constantly dumping time and money into getting bigger, badder vehicles and drones with more tricked out fun.

Sammies will be hunting towards fitting as much ware into their bodies as possible and pumping a wide variety of combat and other types of skills and attributes

Hackers can dump money into ware as much as a Sammie, though usually with most of it crammed into his head, but for the most part, until the last few months of books, there hasn't been much that was like _critical_ for them to get that wasn't available at chargen. Similarly, after a few dozen skill raises, there's not much to dump karma into that is hacker specific and so you start having to branch out into other things since they don't even really need to dump points into attributes since most everything is skill+program for them and getting all the hacker skills to 6 isn't that far off from most.

Soooo, in comes a way to keep hackers mildly focused on hacker stuff with part of their time and finances in a lasting way.

Admittedly, the biggest pain of the whole thing is that while the others have a pretty much infinite advancement opportunity, Hackers still peak fairly early and now instead of having more opportunity to advance somehow, they get to just spend time keeping themselves at that peak.

So everyone should just make hybrid hackers to give themselves something to continue advancing in when they can't go anywhere else with hacking.

P.S. Gods I'm a spammy bastard this time of night. Summary: There really isn't a good reason for degrading programs except for some fluff and something to do.
apple
QUOTE (Lebo77 @ Jun 25 2008, 12:47 AM) *
Some issues with this model:


Degradation is explained in Unwired: software gets old, other software gets better. Which may be ok for hacking and defending programs (exploit vs firewall for example) but which sounds very strange for lingua/active/knowledge software (the english language does not change every 2 month so dramatically that i would not be able to speak english after one year without a new dictionary). Especially considering that there are no rules for real skill degradation and the time span is one or two month (not one or two years) ... even my ICQ from the year 2003 and my old netscape is still running and can connect to the internet or the icq database.

So, no, a realistic explanation is not really possible. It just uses a real world mechanism, shorten its time span from several month/years to 1 or 2 (again: with the exception of offensive and defensive software) month to balance technomancers with hackers. One has to pay nothing with the crackings rules in the BBB, but the other had to pay with precious karma.

Unfortunately the new rules demand 20+ rolls (or buying hits, while you still have to check the corresponding ¥ values and the availability roll) for the average hacker/rigger/skillwire/commlink-user. This mechanism is just cumbersome and it smells like SR3. It could have been done much more elegant, faster and simplier.

SYL
knasser

I've now had time to read a little more of the PDF and I'll post some more comments / questions / thoughts when I have time. I just want to say that the irony is overwhelming that I think I was the only person who never house-ruled the original Matrix rules (I could always make them make sense) and now that the supplement is here, I'm going to be making some quite substantial house rules. Seriously, I have three / four house rules in my game total and none on the Matrix. Until now. :/
Muspellsheimr
In a random tangent completely unrelated to the current topic:
It is good to play with fire, & squirrels are the source of all evil.


And so this post is not entirely worthless, I fully agree with what has been said about degradation being a very poorly designed & implemented way to give hackers a way to "advance" after character generation. My current suggestion for those who agree, do not use it, or increase the degradation period to 6 months. After I have had a chance to think about it thoroughly, I may present a more effective 'fix'.

Damn I'm bored tonight...
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