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DracoBlue
I'll start out by admitting I'm new to the game. I've picked up the 4th Edition revised book and am gradually making my way through it, so it's possible I've overlooked the answer to my question in the book, or that I haven't got there yet. If so, feel free to point me to a page where I can read it for myself. I've found that the book has a lot of little rules tucked away in less-than-obvious places sometimes.

I am having trouble wrapping my head around how people access AR and VR and how commlinks work.

This is my understanding from what I've read so far:
1. a comm is essentially a tricked out smartphone. While it can be hard-wired to you, that isn't necessarily the case.
2. AR and VR are really only accessible only if you have the right (audio & visual) accessories (eg. cybereyes, glasses, etc.)

So my questions are thus: If your comm isn't hardwired to you and you don't feel like walking around with glasses on cool.gif to check out all the AROs and whatnot, are you basically stuck to surfing the Matrix on your comm like on a modern smartphone? What if you want to access VR? Is that even possible with only a commlink? How common are these things to everyday people or corp employees vs. runners?

How does it all work?? indifferent.gif
Stahlseele
AR works only with gloves/earplugs/glasses or the right implants.
VR works ONLY with the right kind of implant. not even with eyes/ears and touchlink.
VR means your body is in the corner droooling all by itself while you are doing the same as a mage, having an out of body experience that is shared with the rest of the capable world.
you can surf without either AR or VR, but that is very limited.
and seeing how VR is easy and cheap with stylish sunglasses, why would you ever do something else?
Ol' Scratch
What?

A simple set of 50 'trodes will allow you full access to both AR and VR. As will a datajack. Gloves/glasses/feedback clothing/etc. is a pure style choice, and a very outdated one at that.
Stahlseele
*nods* i forgot about the trodenet . .
Mirilion
Also remember that you can view AR (in a limited fashion) through your commlink screen. I don't think it's considered primitive as such, but it's definately not sexy. I think a form of AR similar to this exists today.
Ol' Scratch
Commlinks come standard with holo projectors, too.
LurkerOutThere
Really? I don't recall seeing that.
Stahlseele
the built in ones too? ^^
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ May 23 2010, 11:15 AM) *
the built in ones too? ^^


That would be awesome... "A light bulb comes on over the character's Head" has a whole new meaning at that point...

Keep the Faith
Stahlseele
yah, i had tinkered with something like that once . . yes, i tried building deadpool, yes he had a holographic emitter built into some cyber part of his that showed pictures correlating to his thoughts abover his heads in small yellow bubbles/boxes.
DracoBlue
So, trodes allow for full AR and VR access without gloves or any other accessory? Why would people want to walk around with a headband on all the time?

What exactly is a sim module? What does it look like and where would someone keep it on their person?
LurkerOutThere
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ May 23 2010, 12:19 PM) *
yah, i had tinkered with something like that once . . yes, i tried building deadpool, yes he had a holographic emitter built into some cyber part of his that showed pictures correlating to his thoughts abover his heads in small yellow bubbles/boxes.


You win!
DracoBlue
QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ May 23 2010, 10:12 AM) *
Really? I don't recall seeing that.


Page 328 of SR4 revised, listing standard commlink features notes "micro-trid/holo-projector/'touchscreen' display" as one of those features.

So, someone with just a comm could maybe at least view AR via AROs projected as holographic images? And everyone else would be able to see what they're seeing, yes?
Stahlseele
*bows* =^.^=
Bira
I suspect that the fact that nearly everyone has video glasses or some sort of trode hat/headband on will be considered quite normal in 2070. Just another fashion, really.

If you really don't want to be seen wearing either, get yourself some contacts, or a datajack.
Banaticus
Anyone else could see what they're seeing if they choose to use the holo-projector. It's just like the latest round of uber smart phones that most people haven't ever heard of yet. You have your touch-screen "phone", then you can turn on the projector and project it on a wall for everyone else to see as your manipulate it. It's just that the Shadowrun version doesn't need a wall for other people to see.

AR is the default method of Matrix interaction. It *is* a touch screen (with a keypad on the screen for typing things in). It's basically a really nice GUI on terminal commands.
Stahlseele
Or skinlink and put it in your tightywighties
Mirilion
QUOTE (DracoBlue @ May 23 2010, 07:24 PM) *
Page 328 of SR4 revised, listing standard commlink features notes "micro-trid/holo-projector/'touchscreen' display" as one of those features.

So, someone with just a comm could maybe at least view AR via AROs projected as holographic images? And everyone else would be able to see what they're seeing, yes?


Yep. Since without some sort of AR gloves you would still need to manipulate your commlink's interface somehow (touchscreen, on-screen keyboard, stuff like that), and people can either look and see what your holo-projector is projecting, or (if they look over your shoulder) actually look at your commlink display.

Check out this tech if you haven't already seen it.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUdDhWfpqxg
Sengir
QUOTE (DracoBlue @ May 23 2010, 07:20 PM) *
So, trodes allow for full AR and VR access without gloves or any other accessory? Why would people want to walk around with a headband on all the time?

What exactly is a sim module? What does it look like and where would someone keep it on their person?

Trodes (and other forms of DNI, like datajacks) still require a sim module, basically a modem for brain waves which comes as an add-on module for commlinks.

As to why people would want to walk around with a headband, I guess it is one of those things which turned from a neccessity into a fashionable accessory. And if you don't want to follow that trend, you can still get headwear with integrated trodes.
DracoBlue
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ May 23 2010, 10:36 AM) *
Or skinlink and put it in your tightywighties


Does a skinlink work exactly like a trodenet, then, or nanopaste trodes? The books says a skinlink is "limited to touch" but I'm not sure what that means.

QUOTE (Mirilion @ May 23 2010, 10:40 AM) *
Yep. Since without some sort of AR gloves you would still need to manipulate your commlink's interface somehow...


Okay. So gloves are still necessary to interact (not just view) AR or VR, even if you have an implant/trodes/etc.

Still don't really grok what a sim/sim module is, exactly.

Thanks to everyone for your answers so far! You're all awesome and helpful.
Stahlseele
skinlink is only a means of data transmission.
technically, you still need a dni or contact lenses or something like that for it to work i think
but i am not sure about that actually.
DracoBlue
Stahlseele and Sengir mentioned DNIs. What does DNI stand for?
Darkeus
QUOTE (DracoBlue @ May 23 2010, 03:02 PM) *
Stahlseele and Sengir mentioned DNIs. What does DNI stand for?


Direct Neural Interface.

basically, wiring stuff to be run by your mind.
Bira
QUOTE (DracoBlue @ May 23 2010, 03:53 PM) *
Does a skinlink work exactly like a trodenet, then, or nanopaste trodes? The books says a skinlink is "limited to touch" but I'm not sure what that means.


A skinlink is something to replace a wireless connection, not a way to interface with your commlink. It's something you add both to your commlink and to your peripherals, and it makes them talk by conducting a signal through your skin rather than through wireless radio. This makes it harder to eavesdrop on your PAN, but it's not a complete interface by itself.

QUOTE
Okay. So gloves are still necessary to interact (not just view) AR or VR, even if you have an implant/trodes/etc.


Hm... I think it's the other way around. Trodes pick up your neural signals and allow for hands-free input on AR and VR. If you also have a sim module (which is a bit like a video card today, except it's for simsemse) they also allow you to perceive AR and VR without the need for any eyewear or earbuds. You might still want some sort of eyewear if you also want low-light or thermo sight, but if all you want is AR/VR, trodes and a simlink would be enough to establish a direct neural interface.

LurkerOutThere
QUOTE (DracoBlue @ May 23 2010, 01:53 PM) *
Does a skinlink work exactly like a trodenet, then, or nanopaste trodes? The books says a skinlink is "limited to touch" but I'm not sure what that means.



Okay. So gloves are still necessary to interact (not just view) AR or VR, even if you have an implant/trodes/etc.

Still don't really grok what a sim/sim module is, exactly.

Thanks to everyone for your answers so far! You're all awesome and helpful.


No, if you have a DNI source, that is trodes or an implanted datajack you can manipulate AR with a thought. Skinlink is just a connection medium. Personally what I do on all my cyber characters is get a implanted datajack and pay the cash to have skinlink on it and then either plug my personal devices in or skinlink them for anything worth having.
Stahlseele
Direct Neural Interface
Datajack for example.
Sengir
QUOTE (DracoBlue @ May 23 2010, 06:53 PM) *
Does a skinlink work exactly like a trodenet, then, or nanopaste trodes?

No, a skinlink just replaces the radio transmissions between two devices by sending low-power singals through the skin.

QUOTE
Okay. So gloves are still necessary to interact (not just view) AR or VR, even if you have an implant/trodes/etc.

A sim module (implanted or connected via trodes/datajack) does not just send visuals and other data into the brain, it can also "read" the brain signals and convert them into commands to your devices. So gloves, contacts, feedback clothes etc. are no longer neccessary once you have a sim module and some way to get the simsense data into your brain.
DracoBlue
Awesome. I think that answers all of my questions for now! I'll be sure to swing by if I come up with any more, and I think I'll stick around here even if I don't. You've all been super helpful and I didn't feel dumb for asking anything.

Thanks, everyone! biggrin.gif
Banaticus
QUOTE (DracoBlue @ May 23 2010, 11:53 AM) *
So gloves are still necessary to interact (not just view) AR or VR, even if you have an implant/trodes/etc.

No, that's not true. AR is normal every day interaction. When you use an iPhone, you're using it in AR. All those apps and the ability to multitask with a touch screen interface... AR. If you use the holographic projector, then you either need gloves or an implant or a trode network to interact with the holographic projection (otherwise, how will the commlink know where you're touching?).

If you're in VR, the gloves don't do a bit of good because your body goes all drooly while in VR. So, gloves are only useful if you don't have an implant, aren't using a trode net and still want to use an AR holographic projection.
Raven the Trickster
Or for that matter AR projected onto your eyes using any type of eyewear or ware with an image link.
Raven the Trickster
Edit: Argh, another double post. I can't wait to get back home to a decent speed connection.
Mirilion
To clarify what I wrote earlier - You need AR gloves or you need to manipulate your commlink interface if you don't have some form of DNI. If you have DNI you can just see the AR in your field of vision, and interact with it by thought alone. Most of my non-hacker characters had no form of DNI whatsoever. one of the examples in the SR4 rulebook (a highschool girl with no DNI, nor AR gloves) led me to believe that DNI (by trodes or datajack) isn't that common.
Falconer
I can think of a marginal use for AR gloves.

Technical adepts w/ item attunement. It lists commlink as a possibility, but it would only get the bonus while manually working the commlink through it's manual interface.

I could see item attunement AR gloves as viable... then when the adept interacts w/ cyber using the AR gloves he gains the dicepool bonus equal to half his initiate grade. Granted proably only usefull for a grade 4+ initiate... but it's a unique way to add dice to the adept.
LurkerOutThere
I think AR gloves are going to be kind of a niche item. They will most often used by people who work with computers an AR enough that they don't want to mess with trodes or direct comlink interface but for whatever reason don't want to get a datajack put in.
Sengir
QUOTE (Mirilion @ May 23 2010, 07:58 PM) *
one of the examples in the SR4 rulebook (a highschool girl with no DNI, nor AR gloves) led me to believe that DNI (by trodes or datajack) isn't that common.

Yep, even though technically a sim module + trodes is better in any way and just costs 150 nuyen.gif, the more clumsy and expensive options still seem to be popular...maybe people don't like the idea of some electronic signal messing with their brains
Raven the Trickster
QUOTE (Sengir @ May 23 2010, 04:22 PM) *
maybe people don't like the idea of some electronic signal messing with their brains


There are certainly plenty of fluff references in various books to suggest that, especially in Unwired.
LurkerOutThere
Which contributes to my often trotted out belief that tech in shadowrun is functionally stagnant soon to be eclipsed entirely by magic as the only two new ideas that have been floated recently are wifi and nanotech. One of which is old news even in RL andf the other is interesting but doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
Drats
I think it'd be kind of tough to advance the kind of nanotech available in the Shadows too far beyond what we've got without leaving "cyberpunk" in the dust and heading for The Singularity or transhumanitarianism at a full run. Plausible, perhaps, but not really in keeping with the flavor of the game.
Xahn Borealis
The Idiot's Guide To The Matrix in Unwired can help you out too.
RunnerPaul
QUOTE (Mirilion @ May 23 2010, 03:58 PM) *
one of the examples in the SR4 rulebook (a highschool girl with no DNI, nor AR gloves) led me to believe that DNI (by trodes or datajack) isn't that common.


For what it's worth, p.209 of the original edition of the SR4 core rules stated, "The easiest and most common way to get your AR fix, though, is through simsense."

SR4A's version of this line omits "and most common," but I would chalk that up to needing to prune the word count to make room for the other changes to that chapter, and not an intentional shift in the assumptions of the 2070s setting.
Sengir
QUOTE (RunnerPaul @ May 24 2010, 12:03 PM) *
SR4A's version of this line omits "and most common," but I would chalk that up to needing to prune the word count to make room for the other changes to that chapter, and not an intentional shift in the assumptions of the 2070s setting.

Well, half of the sample characters have no sim module. Although to be fair, the matrix gear seems to have been assigned at random - several chars have sim modules but no trodes/datajack, others have DNI gear but also AR gloves...
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