Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Unwired Questions
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Tycho
So it is right that degradation affects every software in game (when cracked, of cause)?


cya
Tycho
paws2sky
So...

Say, I have an uncracked Pistols activesoft. I've had it for a couple years and its been so good to me that I've never bothered to get rid of it or learn the skill myself. I only use an Ares Predator IV, a gun widely available when I purchased my activesoft.

We take on a new team member, a skillwired wageslave no longer in corp employment. To get the new member something resembling the ability to fight, we crack the Pistols skillsoft and I give him one of my spare Predator IV's.

Magically, two months later, my activesoft, as well as the noob's activesoft, no longer works as well with my Predator IV?

Uh... no.

Sorry, Synner, that makes zero sense to me. I understand planned obsolescence, but if I haven't upgraded ANYTHING at all or changed my gear setup in any way, I can't think of a reason why I'd suddenly get poorer performance out of my equipment.

This isn't even one of the so-called corner cases.

-paws
Cheops
QUOTE (Irian @ Jun 24 2008, 01:37 PM) *
Skillsofts shouldn't degrade, als Skills also don't. Languages also don't change quickly, so if a piece of code knows Japanese fluently today, it will also be fluently in 10 years, perhaps missing the newest "slang", but that's not enough to make it degrade 1 point, imho.


However, what you seem to be glossing over about the degrading thing is that you bought those Skillwires for either 50% off, 90% off, or for free and as a result it now degrades. I'd say that's pretty good.

The thing that dismays me the most is that Agent Smith is now officially part of the game. Whereas the rules previously didn't say you could do Agent Smith so a GM could hand wave it away, there are now formal rules for it. Access ID, p 110. They all have the same AID unless you spoof the AID when you first load it onto a node. So you can still do it by taking a Complex Action (about 1 second) per agent. There are even rules now for finding nodes to run the agents on so you don't have to buy a ton of commlinks.
Ancient History
QUOTE (paws2sky @ Jun 24 2008, 03:05 PM) *
So...

Say, I have an uncracked Pistols activesoft. I've had it for a couple years and its been so good to me that I've never bothered to get rid of it or learn the skill myself. I only use an Ares Predator IV, a gun widely available when I purchased my activesoft.

We take on a new team member, a skillwired wageslave no longer in corp employment. To get the new member something resembling the ability to fight, we crack the Pistols skillsoft and I give him one of my spare Predator IV's.

Magically, two months later, my activesoft, as well as the noob's activesoft, no longer works as well with my Predator IV?

Uh... no.

Let's just get this straight for a minute: for years, you've been a loyal little corp drone with your perfectly legal copy of the Pistols activesoft. You decide to crack it, instead of just buying your little buddy a new copy like a good customer, and so you stop getting the updates and patches you need.

Tough noogies.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Tycho @ Jun 24 2008, 02:56 PM) *
So it is right that degradation affects every software in game (when cracked, of cause)?

No. Technically, Registration is only available to Common, Hacking, Autosoft, Simsense.

As for the issue of degrading programs:

This is just a rationale to tell the players: Your characters stuff gets worse over time so you have to pay upkeep - everyone else doesn't. Thinking to hard about the rationale will only cause pain - if you don't like to put additional pressure on characters, just change the timeframe or ignore the rule alltogether: It's just there to make Technomancers feel better.

It's the same for Nanite degradation and restoration by a nano-hive - change degradation to 1 month and restoration to 1 day and Nanites like Nantidote actually become useful.
Synner
QUOTE (paws2sky @ Jun 24 2008, 03:05 PM) *
Sorry, Synner, that makes zero sense to me. I understand planned obsolescence, but if I haven't upgraded ANYTHING at all or changed my gear setup in any way, I can't think of a reason why I'd suddenly get poorer performance out of my equipment.

Because for the last two years you have been updating and patching the skillsoft automatically (to enhance integration with the new Ares Predator IV smartlink friend/foe update in patch v3.12d, to remove a slight twitch that occurs when holding a Pistol at a 64º angle, to better assimilate the new SmartEye imagelink DNI codec that's integral to all new Evo cybereyes, or the latest greatest data exchange algorhythm from Renraku, etc). Suddenly not only are those patches and updates not coming, but because the system no longer recieves updates its performance preprogrammed obsolescence kicks in (ie. error checking and compensation systems stop working, etc) —and you can't even complain, you are using pirated software. Obviously, the reasoning changes slightly for different types of software, but the basic principles apply.
Irian
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Jun 24 2008, 04:32 PM) *
Let's just get this straight for a minute: for years, you've been a loyal little corp drone with your perfectly legal copy of the Pistols activesoft. You decide to crack it, instead of just buying your little buddy a new copy like a good customer, and so you stop getting the updates and patches you need.


Why should an activesoft degrade? I download the cracked Pistols activesoft, go to a shooting range and can shoot really well. A year after that, I go to the same shooting range and suddenly I don't hit anything anymore?
paws2sky
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Jun 24 2008, 09:32 AM) *
Let's just get this straight for a minute: for years, you've been a loyal little corp drone with your perfectly legal copy of the Pistols activesoft. You decide to crack it, instead of just buying your little buddy a new copy like a good customer, and so you stop getting the updates and patches you need.

Tough noogies.


WTF? What updates and patches!? I'm using the exact same setup I've always been using!


If I turn off or decline the automatic software updates on my computer IRL, my copy of iTunes still does everything it used to. All my MP3s still play, my iTune library still exists, I can still add new music files. I'm not using the video features, iTunes store, and all that jazz anyway, so I don't care if they get updated. I just want it to play music.

Similarly with my copy of photoshop. I don't care to buy the latest and greatest version of the software, but my exisiting copy doesn't get worse because of that. I may not have some of the bells and whistles the newer version does, but so what? It doesn't mean my other program stops working...

Cause if it did, my son's 10+ year old computer wouldn't even boot up.

-paws
Ancient History
QUOTE (Irian @ Jun 24 2008, 03:44 PM) *
Why should an activesoft degrade?

Because megacorps are greedy bastards.
paws2sky
Okay, just got an email from someone who's been following this, with the following quote attached. He cites it as being on p. 118 of Unwired.

QUOTE
Note that due to the recording nature, format, and specialized
post production techniques used to create simsense programs,
neither skillsoft nor BTLs can be programmed and updated in the
standard software sense.


Okay, if that's true, how exactly do I patch a cracked activesoft?
kanislatrans
kind of like" No consumer repairable parts inside. opening this case by anyone other than a qualified technician will result in voiding your warrenty!" stickers.

makes sense to me.

I like it. gives the hacker something to be doing that revoles around hacking.

of course,if they are all busy patching thier cracked programs, the hits on the Pron networks will take a drastic dive in traffic.. spin.gif spin.gif

Irian
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Jun 24 2008, 04:52 PM) *
Because megacorps are greedy bastards.


Sorry, the degrading-rules make sense for some special cases, where new developments make old programs useless. But I don't think it's a good idea to try to force the rule on things where it doesn't make sense. Of course you could explain it that way, but then cars would have to degrade, too, as would guns, knifes, kitchen utils, etc.
Anyway, Degrading is a rules aspect that simulates the world. If it was something that megacorps implemented, it would be a programming option.
Fuchs
I am with Rotbart on this one: SOTA rules were put in to make TMs feel good. Not needed.
DireRadiant
(meta) Humans never degrade! or change....
WearzManySkins
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Jun 24 2008, 10:05 AM) *
I am with Rotbart on this one: SOTA rules were put in to make TMs feel good. Not needed.

I agree also with the above. degrading is not needed in most cases.

WMS
Cheops
QUOTE (paws2sky @ Jun 24 2008, 03:53 PM) *
Okay, just got an email from someone who's been following this, with the following quote attached. He cites it as being on p. 118 of Unwired.



Okay, if that's true, how exactly do I patch a cracked activesoft?


Nice try Nugget. That only applies to Simsense Options. And it means that you have to purchase the simsense chip with option all at once, you can't buy the simsense and later add options to it.

As far as degrading goes I just take it to mean that the Corps don't provide backwards compatibility with their programs. Ie. Just because your Itunes currently plays music, next month when the new Apple Music Format comes out it is not compatible with your old player unless you patch to the new player.
apple
So, has anybody, especially the authors, tested the SOTA-rules in full for their hacker/rigger-archetypes? Because I think it will involve a lot of dice rolls, bookkeeping and numbercrunching each month to determine if the hacker gets their cracked patches and pays 10% of the difference.

And no, Cobra, legal programs are not really usable by hackers, because they leave a datatrail not only when you buy then, but when you use them too. Or did I misunderstod Unwired?

SYL
paws2sky
QUOTE (Cheops @ Jun 24 2008, 10:13 AM) *
Nice try Nugget. That only applies to Simsense Options. And it means that you have to purchase the simsense chip with option all at once, you can't buy the simsense and later add options to it.


Since I don't have the book, I'm limited by what info I can get out of people. So can the Nugget stuff, k?

QUOTE
As far as degrading goes I just take it to mean that the Corps don't provide backwards compatibility with their programs. Ie. Just because your Itunes currently plays music, next month when the new Apple Music Format comes out it is not compatible with your old player unless you patch to the new player.


I can still play my old music. I can still add new songs to my library. Why do I care about the new format when the old one works just fine.

Similarly, I can still use the Predator I've been using for years with my Pistols Activesoft. Maybe I can't use the new Ares Shredyoursadassintoconfettisoup Metal Storm Heavy Pistol (ASMSHP for short) that just came out last week. Okay. So? The Predator works just fine for my purposes.

-paws
Fuchs
SOTA was bad in SR3, I don't see it being good in SR4. The whole set up just smacks of "roll roll bookkeep bookkeep".

I do find it rather strange that MitS, Augmentation and Arsenal more or less simply added options while Unwired adds more non-optional hindrances as well.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (apple @ Jun 24 2008, 04:13 PM) *
Because I think it will involve a lot of dice rolls, bookkeeping and numbercrunching each month to determine if the hacker gets their cracked patches and pays 10% of the difference.

And don't forget the spoofed lifestyle...

QUOTE (apple @ Jun 24 2008, 04:13 PM) *
And no, Cobra, legal programs are not really usable by hackers, because they leave a datatrail not only when you buy then, but when you use them too. Or did I misunderstod Unwired?

No, you didn't. Using Registered Programs is suicide for runners. Registered Skillsoft are fine, on the other hand - they stay on the skillwire/sim module and the uplink to the matrix is only activated every month or so to update.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Jun 24 2008, 03:52 PM) *
Because megacorps are greedy bastards.

Actually, if you buy it, it will never degrade - and you'll never by that program again.

If greed was the issue, legally bought programs would forcefully degrade - and cracked ones wouldn't.
PlatonicPimp
OK, just to throw a few things out there that could still muck with your program rating even given all that.

As exploits are found in the old program, viruses and other malware that take advantage of those exploits crop up. Patches close the exploits, your unpatched version still has them. The cumulative effect of the malware is a drain on resources or borks features.

Certain coding errors take time to add up. Without patches, allocation errors gradually build up. Minor state chages such as shutting down improperly also introduce errors. Over time, without the maintainence that patches represent, these errors reduce the rating of the program.

I know that I have 10 year old computers that have never had an update or reinstall, that can't complete their boot process because they've borked themselves with accumulated errors. However, you can simply assume that a program cannot be reduced below rating 1.

That said, if you don't like it, change the interval of degredation. I might even make it a curve, saying that degredation occurs every (6/rating) months. So SOTA degrades quickly, but less SOTA stuff is more stable.

I know that unless my Hacker characters are into all this, though, i think I'll just combine lifestyle hacking and program updates into regular lifestyle costs. IE: yes, being a hacker saves you on lifestyle costs, but use that extra money to buy patches, so you break even. Or for serious, just buy your character a cracker contact. There are a half dozen easy ways to make this go away.
Dashifen
QUOTE (PlatonicPimp @ Jun 24 2008, 09:48 AM) *
I know that unless my Hacker characters are into all this, though, i think I'll just combine lifestyle hacking and program updates into regular lifestyle costs. IE: yes, being a hacker saves you on lifestyle costs, but use that extra money to buy patches, so you break even. Or for serious, just buy your character a cracker contact. There are a half dozen easy ways to make this go away.


Quoted for truth biggrin.gif

I like the concept of the rules since most of my hacker characters have ended up with hundreds of thousands of nuyen after being basically perfect out of the box with the highest rating programs and attributes they can get. 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.

Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Synner @ Jun 24 2008, 03:38 PM) *
Because for the last two years you have been updating and patching the skillsoft automatically (to enhance integration with the new Ares Predator IV smartlink friend/foe update in patch v3.12d, to remove a slight twitch that occurs when holding a Pistol at a 64º angle, to better assimilate the new SmartEye imagelink DNI codec that's integral to all new Evo cybereyes, or the latest greatest data exchange algorhythm from Renraku, etc). Suddenly not only are those patches and updates not coming, but because the system no longer recieves updates its performance preprogrammed obsolescence kicks in (ie. error checking and compensation systems stop working, etc) €”and you can't even complain, you are using pirated software. Obviously, the reasoning changes slightly for different types of software, but the basic principles apply.

The basic principle is a game design decision that can't be reasonably explained at all in the game world.

Just take someone with no smartlink, a dumb gun, the only implants are skillwires (with wifi disabled) and a cracked skillsoft loaded on them .

After 4 months he can't shoot anymore.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Dashifen @ Jun 24 2008, 04:56 PM) *
I like the concept of the rules since most of my hacker characters have ended up with hundreds of thousands of nuyen after being basically perfect out of the box with the highest rating programs and attributes they can get. 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.

Most players won't enjoy spending precious game time and hard-earned character resources just to make their characters stay as good as they are when everyone will get better or blow their money on fun things.
crizh
QUOTE (Synner @ Jun 24 2008, 03:38 PM) *
Because for the last two years you have been updating and patching the skillsoft automatically (to enhance integration with the new Ares Predator IV smartlink friend/foe update in patch v3.12d, to remove a slight twitch that occurs when holding a Pistol at a 64º angle, to better assimilate the new SmartEye imagelink DNI codec that's integral to all new Evo cybereyes, or the latest greatest data exchange algorhythm from Renraku, etc). Suddenly not only are those patches and updates not coming, but because the system no longer recieves updates its performance preprogrammed obsolescence kicks in


Hahahahahaha.

All of those suggested updates improve functionality rather than preventing it degrading.

As to programmed apoptosis. D'ya think?

Funny, I would have thought that when someone cracked the copy-protection and magically obtained the entire source tree they might also take the opportunity to streamline the code by removing cruft that causes the package to self-destruct.

YMMV, I suppose.
cryptoknight
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Jun 24 2008, 10:29 AM) *
SOTA was bad in SR3, I don't see it being good in SR4. The whole set up just smacks of "roll roll bookkeep bookkeep".

I do find it rather strange that MitS, Augmentation and Arsenal more or less simply added options while Unwired adds more non-optional hindrances as well.



SOTA sucked long before SR3... I remember Sleaze, Search, etc degrading in SR1, and it made very little sense back then.
Cheops
QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jun 24 2008, 04:06 PM) *
The basic principle is a game design decision that can't be reasonably explained at all in the game world.

Just take someone with no smartlink, a dumb gun, the only implants are skillwires (with wifi disabled) and a cracked skillsoft loaded on them .

After 4 months he can't shoot anymore.


But he got the cracked skillsoft for FREE from a buddy or for 10% OF COST!
Prime Mover
Never liked the idea of past editions of SOTA with all gear, was terrible drag. I don't have book in front of me but I DO agree with SOTA degradation on cracked software. It does make sense and keeps players from mass producing high end software for fun and profit.
PlatonicPimp
What sucked about SOTA, then and now, is that it chooses to represent the continual improvement of technology as a reduction in the functionality of older stuff. I mean, what it represents is the fact that each year a better version comes out. But, because the game numbers are balanced as they are, they prefer to leave them the same. What should be the gradual introduction of higher rated stuff becomes the degredation of older stuff. It sucks, and that's why I don't think of it so much as SOTA as i think of it as accumulated malware. My computer with a cracked copy of windoze on it has never had a security patch installed, and DAMN has it slowed down each month of operation. Old code is worse because malware actively makes it worse. The older the code, the more it's exploits are discovered, the more system allocation errors add up, and bugs that didn't bother you so much before begin to occur with more frequency and power.

What sucks about this is the extra bookkeeping, but it's not really that hard. Figure out what each program is going to cost you per month to maintain, either in terms of paying for patches or in programming time. Figure it on purchased hits. You are either going to have to do the programming yourself, pay someone else, or have a contact who will just give you patches they have. Or some combination. I say pick a few programs you want to manage yourself, and then trade those patches for the rest through your contact, or even sell them and use the funds to buy the rest of your patches. A little up front math, and you just add all this to your lifestyle costs and be done with it. Each month it takes me X hours and Y nuyen to keep my cracked stuff SOTA.
knasser
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jun 24 2008, 11:58 AM) *
i ended up getting a copy of the pdf, and looking at page 55, there is info about clusters wink.gif

perfect for those that earlier asked about representing a whole network as a single node.


Ah, actually it doesn't answer the question - sorry. Clustering, slaving and the definition of nodes were the very first things I looked up (agents and IC were second). Clustering is basically a means to tie lots of nodes together and but they still remain nodes in a sense and their Firewall and System ratings are pegged at the lowest common denominator. On a tangent, that doesn't quite make sense to me as it is independent of which nodes are accessible to the hacker - i.e. If you have two medium-powerful computers with wireless enabled, and someone connects up their cheap little comm by direct (wired) link, it suddenly becomes easier to hack into the cluster even if the hacker can't access the cheap comm. You can justify anything with sufficient quantities of fluff, but it seems more natural to me that the lowest common denominator rule was to represent a "weakest link" principle, which doesn't apply if the weak link can't be reached. At any rate, that was all a side-discussion. As I said, I made quite a bit of use of networks as nodes in my last games and Unwired seems to have definitely written off the description of network nodes concept in the core book. That's a shame, in my opinion as I saw it as quite forward thinking.

As to the degradation of illegal software, I'm afraid I'm mostly with the people who say it doesn't make sense. I think it was a valiant effort on Synner's part to fluff-justify the gradual failure of a pistol activesoft, but it was a lost cause from the start. Various hacking programs such as Attack, Stealth etc. should probably degrade or at least provide a mechanism to support that (and it should be tied to rating so that there's actually a reason for everyone not to just have the Rating 6 version of everything), but language softs, pistols activesoftst, etc. Degredation doesn't make sense on any kind of game-timescale. If the corps were capable of detecting the program was pirated, they wouldn't degrade - they'd either shut down or secretly call home to mamacorp. And if they can't detect that they're pirated then there's no good reason for them to degrade. Cracked is cracked.

EDIT: I also have to say that the degradation does look like quite a bit of book-keeping. The suggestion that it's quite easy so long as you pretend the hacker's initial programs were all bought at the same time in chargen doesn't really work once players start buying things or upgrading things in game.
PlatonicPimp
It's only wierd timed bookkeeping assuming you let it degrade. Don't.
Cheops
As I noted in another thread it isn't that big a penalty to use Registered software. First of all the only log of Skillsoft use through Registration would be on your own wires/commlink. Second of all it only adds a modifier to Tracking tests. Finally if you are worried about your SIN being compromised just pay the 1000 nuyen for a Rating 1 SIN buy all your programs and then throw away the SIN. As long as you don't piss off the corp with which the software is registered then they won't bother erasing your patch account (since you are a paying customer) or if you do something so splashy that the heat is on them to shut you down.

Tracking can be beat by losing Half Response (satellite) or -1 Response (proxy server and <= 4 registered programs used). It is actually FAR more important for the Hacker to be able to erase Access Logs than to worry about being tracked.
Tycho
With a SIN Rating 1, you likely won't get the verification check and so can't even buy the software. I as an GM would reroll SIN/Licence Verification for every update/patch.

cya
Tycho
hobgoblin
QUOTE (knasser @ Jun 24 2008, 06:52 PM) *
Ah, actually it doesn't answer the question - sorry. Clustering, slaving and the definition of nodes were the very first things I looked up (agents and IC were second). Clustering is basically a means to tie lots of nodes together and but they still remain nodes in a sense and their Firewall and System ratings are pegged at the lowest common denominator. On a tangent, that doesn't quite make sense to me as it is independent of which nodes are accessible to the hacker - i.e. If you have two medium-powerful computers with wireless enabled, and someone connects up their cheap little comm by direct (wired) link, it suddenly becomes easier to hack into the cluster even if the hacker can't access the cheap comm. You can justify anything with sufficient quantities of fluff, but it seems more natural to me that the lowest common denominator rule was to represent a "weakest link" principle, which doesn't apply if the weak link can't be reached. At any rate, that was all a side-discussion. As I said, I made quite a bit of use of networks as nodes in my last games and Unwired seems to have definitely written off the description of network nodes concept in the core book. That's a shame, in my opinion as I saw it as quite forward thinking.


dont forget that a cluster presents a common front. that is, your not talking about demilitarized zones or similar. a cluster, for all intents and purposes are a single computer. or maybe one should call it a grid computer? wink.gif http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GRID_computing

yes, they are multiple hardware devices. but when the user have logged in, it will appear like one big computer. and if one target the login just right, one can hit the weakest part of this "computer". the funny thing is that everything is a router in SR4.

if you want to have some up front security, set up a chokepoint node, and put the cluster node behind that.
Fuchs
For the "SOTA is realistic" argument: We already have SOTA. It's called "power creep", and happens whenever a new crunchy sourcebook is put out - new, more powerful stuff or more options appear, and characters need to adjust/upgrade.
Cheops
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Jun 24 2008, 06:22 PM) *
For the "SOTA is realistic" argument: We already have SOTA. It's called "power creep", and happens whenever a new crunchy sourcebook is put out - new, more powerful stuff or more options appear, and characters need to adjust/upgrade.


Amen to that Brother!
NockerGeek
QUOTE (crizh @ Jun 24 2008, 11:11 AM) *
Hahahahahaha.

All of those suggested updates improve functionality rather than preventing it degrading.

As to programmed apoptosis. D'ya think?

Funny, I would have thought that when someone cracked the copy-protection and magically obtained the entire source tree they might also take the opportunity to streamline the code by removing cruft that causes the package to self-destruct.

YMMV, I suppose.


I'd look at it this way. Your activesoft is programmed to phone home to the megacorp to receive a new unlocking key on a monthly basis. When it's registered, that's fine - it goes out, gets the key, grabs any official patches, and goes about its merry business. Then, you crack it, and the cracker basically shunts all unlocking key requests into a key generator that spoofs a working key. During the first month, the 'soft tries to phone home, gets sent to the keygen, gets a spoofed key, and keeps working. The crack isn't perfect - the 'soft isn't getting any response when it requests patches - but it does the job. Month 2, and the programmed obsolescence kicks in. Another data packet, one the cracker didn't know about, contains an additional key that gets sent with the patch response. So now the 'soft starts asking for that key hourly. After a week, it starts asking every fifteen minutes. Each time it asks, it hits the keygen, which uses up some system cycles. Then, it starts asking every time something asks the 'soft to process something. So, now, everytime you aim with that Ares Predator IV, it throws off your aim because the system is chugging constantly to get new keys as every call to adjust aim spawns a new key request. Performance starts degrading badly.

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?
Cheops
Non-Degradation Rules Question:

Jamming on the Fly (105): If I succeed at the opposed test do I automatically jam the target? If so what is my Jamming rating for purposes of determining radius? Would it be = targeted Signal rating -1/5m or =net hits -1/5m?
Fuchs
I am sure we can come up with reasons why drones, cars, guns etc. need to pay upkeep as well. And of course fridges need to be restocked, clothing needs to be replaced, cars need to get refueled, etc. etc.

I don't see why it is needed though - that's what abstract lifestyle is for.
Irian
QUOTE
I'd look at it this way. Your activesoft is programmed to phone home to the megacorp to receive a new unlocking key on a monthly basis. When it's registered, that's fine - it goes out, gets the key, grabs any official patches, and goes about its merry business. Then, you crack it, and the cracker basically shunts all unlocking key requests into a key generator that spoofs a working key. During the first month, the 'soft tries to phone home, gets sent to the keygen, gets a spoofed key, and keeps working. The crack isn't perfect - the 'soft isn't getting any response when it requests patches - but it does the job. Month 2, and the programmed obsolescence kicks in. Another data packet, one the cracker didn't know about, contains an additional key that gets sent with the patch response. So now the 'soft starts asking for that key hourly. After a week, it starts asking every fifteen minutes. Each time it asks, it hits the keygen, which uses up some system cycles. Then, it starts asking every time something asks the 'soft to process something. So, now, everytime you aim with that Ares Predator IV, it throws off your aim because the system is chugging constantly to get new keys as every call to adjust aim spawns a new key request. Performance starts degrading badly.


You're assuming that the coders are NOT good enough to implement a working copy protection, but they ARE good enough to implement perfect 2nd layer copy protection? That's absurd: Either the hacker isn't good enough to crack the code, then the copy protection stops him, or he IS good enough, but then he'll also find the 2nd layer copy protection. If there was something like an uncrackable copy protection, they would have used it in the first place and not later smile.gif And of course: If I write the code myself, it also degrades.

So your explanation is a little bit... nonsense, sorry. Imho, it's clear that the SOTA rules are there to model that the matrix changes almost every day. Old security problems get solved, new defense programms writen, new File Formats invented. The idea is ok - but the rules to reflect that are not very good. It doesn't help to try to make an explanation for the strange rules.
Sombranox
QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jun 24 2008, 11:47 AM) *
Actually, if you buy it, it will never degrade - and you'll never by that program again.

If greed was the issue, legally bought programs would forcefully degrade - and cracked ones wouldn't.



Actually, the greed doesn't come in from having to pay for upgrades. The greed comes in from forcing people to pay a few hundred or few thousand nuyen on a program the first time. And have to pay that much for each copy they want to get for their friends.

Where the corps are losing money is when Joe Hacker buys one copy of the program, rips out the copy protection and registration, and either gives ten copies away to friends or, worse, puts it up on a P2P site where a few thousand people download it for free or close to it.

Now multiply those few thousand free copies by the cost of the program and that is how much money the corp just lost because Joe Hacker. Multiply this by all the Joe Hackers and Tom Warez Crackers out there and suddenly the corps are losing money hand over fist because of this problem.

So what do they do? They start inserting bugs into the code, little errors that slowly cripple it if people don't use nice registered copies.


Edit to add: As to the issue of whether a corp could add this second layer of degrading code that the hacker couldn't just rewrite, I think of it like this.

Copy protection and registration are like these nice self-contained modules. The hacker searches through the code for those modules, wraps them in his own layer of code that spoofs them to think that they are still working or else finds a way to tear them out, and then leaves the rest of the program alone. That's why it doesn't take months to crack the protection on the program.

Then the "second layer" of degrading functionality. This I see as less of a nice little module linked in to the main program and more of a coding standard that the corp enforces, not only in each program, but in the infrastructure that backs the entire matrix. An infrastructure, by the way, that the fluff in Unwired says the corp keep secret from non-corp programmers in attempt to thwart open source movements and hackers by hiding behind their proprietary protocols and designs.

So now they have this standard which they all use to program with. Maybe it says Bob Coder is required to throw in an occasional intentional mistake at relative random through a bunch of low level stuff. Maybe they just modify their nexi programming environments to automatically insert said bugs so even the coders don't really know where the problems are. Nothing critical, but enough that forces regular updates that they can give to users and forces things to screw with Joe Hacker.

At the same time, with their proprietary knowledge of all the little protocols of the matrix, they can also keep on the cutting edge as changes go into the infrastructure, whereas Joe Hacker or Frank Open Sourcer have no clue about what changes are happening in the overall matrix, and so fall further behind right there in trying to keep up with the constant changes.

So all in all through my regular spam, I just have to say that I still agree with the ideas of the fluff and the rules behind it. I also agree with everyone who thinks it's a huge and annoying hassle of bookkeeping. Like everything in this game though, the option always exists to just flat out ignore it or find a way to handwave it.


Yeah, the corp could have made more money by making people pay a monthly fee for the ability to download those patches, but this way, the legal users feel like they're getting free niceness from the corp in those daily or weekly updates and bug support, so they are more willing to blow a lot of money to buy other new programs from the corp.

Meanwhile, the illegal users are stuck in a constant loop of upkeep just to keep up and keep their privacy intact, making the legal option look more appealing.

So no, it makes sense why greed would drive them to force degradation of illegal programs.
PlatonicPimp
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Jun 24 2008, 05:53 PM) *
I am sure we can come up with reasons why drones, cars, guns etc. need to pay upkeep as well. And of course fridges need to be restocked, clothing needs to be replaced, cars need to get refueled, etc. etc.

I don't see why it is needed though - that's what abstract lifestyle is for.


Sammies buy ammo. Frankly if they are any kind of professional they buy a new gun after every run, or at least change the barrel. Mages need new fetishes and summoning materials. Faces gotta buy the drinks. Everyone has recurring costs not associated with lifestyle.
Lebo77
QUOTE (Tycho @ Jun 24 2008, 12:20 PM) *
With a SIN Rating 1, you likely won't get the verification check and so can't even buy the software. I as an GM would reroll SIN/Licence Verification for every update/patch.

cya
Tycho


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.
hobgoblin
heh, looks like someone took everything microsoft have ever been accused of doing and turned the dial up to 11 wink.gif
NockerGeek
QUOTE (Irian @ Jun 24 2008, 12:57 PM) *
You're assuming that the coders are NOT good enough to implement a working copy protection, but they ARE good enough to implement perfect 2nd layer copy protection? That's absurd: Either the hacker isn't good enough to crack the code, then the copy protection stops him, or he IS good enough, but then he'll also find the 2nd layer copy protection. If there was something like an uncrackable copy protection, they would have used it in the first place and not later smile.gif And of course: If I write the code myself, it also degrades.


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."
Earlydawn
I see patching as a factor in everyone's meta-game. How much in-game downtime do you have between runs? Some of the books peg it at upwards of three months between big jobs, and that makes sense to me. Mid-level runners are going to have tasks and side-work to accomplish around their sprawl between gigs, and professionals are going to be pulling in so much nuyen.gif that they can afford six months of lifestyle off a single job. This all comes back to concept; to me, Shadowrun is a game, but it's also partially a simulator of future crime. There are other costs then the new shiny stuff, and there's a lot of time to kill between runs. That allows for side-jobs, and your character's "sub-life".
Crank
In response to the degradation of skillsofts and "hidden" bugs in the program, all of that could be completely worked around by loading another copy of the same cracked software. For example, warez group posts the newest cracked rating 4 pistols activesoft. Joe Hacker downloads a copy and then makes an additional copy and places it someplace offline, hermetically sealed, in a Faraday cage, etc. He loads one copy into his skill wires and a couple of months later, the bugs have begun kicking in and "planned obsolescence" or whatever. Please explain why he cannot go get the stored copy and instantly be returned to a rating 4 in pistols.

The bottom line is that software/equipment that opposes another piece of software/equipment, it makes perfect sense for degradation, because the program doesn't really degrade, it just isn't as effective against newer stuff. For something static, such as an activesoft, no explanation given logically makes sense other than for game balance.
knasser

Honestly, none of the justifications for software degradation hold up except for the cases of things like Attack, Stealth, Encryption etc. where they can reasonably be expected to fall behind the times. Things like Activesofts make very little sense. For those who do want degradation across the board, I can offer a better fluff reason, though I probably wont use it myself.

In a world where almost everything can run software and programs themselves are no longer simple executables but defined processes that can relocate themselves from platform to platform and integrate themselves with other processes on the fly, the world of software is no longer a peaceful one. Where once, back at the start of the millenium, computers could become infected with viruses and subverted, now your very software is a sophisticated base of operations and is always under attack to some degree or another. Regular patching keeps the immune system of your pet programs healthy and in order. The ability to call back to its supplier to perform integrity checks or re-download corrupted routines or datasets ensures that in the silent storm of automated cyber-warfare, your system keeps ticking over smoothly. Of course, once your software is no longer registered it is cast out into the neon darkness in which there is a great gnashing of processors and where the Worm does not die.

There. Now don't you wish I'd been a contributor to Unwired. wink.gif

Still not satisfied with the networks as nodes issue, though. wink.gif

K.
Irian
QUOTE (NockerGeek @ Jun 24 2008, 08:48 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.


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.
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