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Eyeless Blond
Am I not calculating this right, or is it actually *cheaper* to have someone else install any cyberterminal component that requires software than it is to buy the thing wholesale and install it yourself? For example, let's say I want to install a Reality Filter on an MPCP 7 deck. I could have it done by someone else and pay them 34,692Y for it, or I could pay 245,000Y for the reality filter program (183,750Y for object code only, but twice as much due to Street Index) and burn/install it myself, which requires a Design test, a Cook test, an Installation Test, a microtonics shop and a biotech kit.

Are my choices *really* to pay someone a fee, or pay five times as much for the "privelage" of installing it myself, with all the equipment requirements thereof?
Aku
or you could just do it all yourself. nothing but time for writing the software.
SpasticTeapot
Not quite. If you're the kind of decker who can write high-end programs in his/her spare time, 35,000 nuyen is pocket change.
If you stop and think, the whole "installation is more expensive" thing is realistic. The guy who installs the software has 200,000 nuyen worth of tools, so he's justified in charging you 10,00 or so for installation.

What I'm surprised about is that there's only one OS for cyberdecks. Deckers can do crazy things with a cyberdeck; why not replace the BIOS with a re-writable memory card of some sort, and code the OS yourself? Admittedly, quality of graphics and such would suffer due to the lack of fancy coding, but a user-coded OS could quite easily be faster than a corp-cooked system, and more powerful to boot. Of course, you'd have a more rudimentary interface, but it's a small price to pay for increased speed.
What does this have to do with getting a Reality Filter? Simply, a user-coded OS will let you do the same thing with a user-coded program which you could edit to your preferences.

Does this seem unrealistic to you?
Ever hear of Linux?
Ever hear about how Travelocity managed to do with 3 million what a windows based system would cost 30 million for the same thing?
Open-source OS's are by no means a thing of fiction...so why not a part of shadowrun, as well?

Eyeless Blond
Sorry SpasticTeapot, I think you're missing the decimal place. The thing is, according to the rules in Matrix, it's cheaper for you to have someone else install the Reality Filter; it's one-fifth the cost in fact. You have to pay 183,750Y plus Street Index 2 to buy *only* the software, five times more than the 34,692Y you pay for parts, software, and professional installation. See where my objection comes from now?

(Edit): And isn't Travelocity owned by Microsoft, or was that Expedia? Guess I never heard that one. nyahnyah.gif
Edward
That is strange.

If you write the software yourself you donít have to pay that so there is still a reason to do it yourself.

Also there are real life parallels to this. Just last week I purchased a maglight with batteries for $70, the same torch without batteries would have been $90.

Edward
Vuron
Well even if you write the software yourself there are pretty substantial costs for design and production.

However this really gets into why corporations have all the advantages as once they have acchieved a design they can mass produce far cheaper than someone can make something themselves. For the most part it's cheaper for me to buy even simple objects like a table or chair from a retailer than it is for me to buy the materials and make it myself (not even factoring in the labor aspect). When you factor in high end items the advantage becomes immense as it costs you far less to buy a new car than it would be for you to assemble one from parts. Modern computers have the advantage of being relatively simple to assemble if you have all the parts but if you factor in having to write a workable OS or bios on top of that the cost would be insane.

That being said I seriously doubt that a reality filter should be something that you should just be able to purchase off the shelf as IMHO the reaction benefits should come from the software being written custom to your specifications. Even assuming that expert systems can write custom software I'd say that each reality filter should be relatively unique. Of course with the preponderance of sculpted systems out there I begin to doubt whether reality filters should be as common as they once were.
Eyeless Blond
All I know is my Computer Shop is basically useless except for upgrading Active and Storage Memory, and a couple other things that don't require anything more complicated than a kit. I *guess* that's alright, but 10,000 is a steep price to pay for what I can do nowadays with a screwdriver. nyahnyah.gif
Vuron
Personally I'd allow for a shop to be used to repair some cyberdeck damage done via black and grey ice. It's not inherently listed in the rules but having to wholesale replace your programs when your cyberdeck gets blasted seems a bit much.

Really heavy damage to the MPCP would likely require wholesale replacement or a really high end facility to fixe though.

However look at from the standpoint of components being less modular and more of integrated electronics. Even with a good shop most people can't come close to soldering components onto a motherboard much less burning new microprocessors or the quantum/biological equivalents thereof.
Edward
A reality filter can be broken down into to logical parts.

A icon recognition system and a the images you want to use instead.

I can see commercial reality filters providing only the first part and you get a custom set of icons to look at,

The funny thing with sculpted systems is that you canít include a given sculpted systems iconography in your reality filter and you can enter the same system on different occasions and it will work some of the time. logically if my reality filter can work out fuchyís sculpting last week it should be able to work it out this week. And it is still worth having a reality filter. It doesnít take long to turn it of on entering a new system and the advantage if it dose work is huge.

Edward
Vuron
One really simple sculpted systems in which the MPCP of the deck dramatically outclasses the system ratings I would be tempted to say that the reality filter either works automatically or works until the system is upgraded or jumps up into a different range of alert.

High end systems (Red-8 and up) are almost certainly throwing so much computing power into enforcing the reality of the system architecture that only the most potent cyberdecks should be able to compete. After all UV hosts are so potent of sculpted systems as to completely override the normal reality of the matrix (icons and such) and impose a hyperreality based on the person.

Perhaps rather than having a roll for the success of the filter it should more of comparison of MPCP to system rating (modified by color code) in which only in cases of the MPCP and host being relatively equal in power that a success test is required.

Thus only when deckers have excalibur class decks can they routinely override really secure systems with thier reality filter and against heavy duty hosts they have no chance whatsoever.
Edward
No I disagree.
With the exception of UV systems the ratings of a system should have little impact on the affect of a reality filter.

I give several examples.

A corporationís public announcements host. There is no sensitive data on this sight it is rated green easy but as the public face of the cooperation much effort was put into designing its appearance. Every icon has been painstakingly rendered to the upmost precision with no regard to conventions of standard iconography. A reality filter should have great difficulty on this host.

The chokepoint from said public host to the secure virtual meeting room for the corporationís management very red very hard. Although the iconography is supposed to be the same very little processing power is actually being devoted to the display, as almost all available processing power is being used for security. Not feeling the need to impress deckers with pretty pictures many of the IC icons are in fact standard. A reality filter should be able to cope with this system easily.

Also when a bouncing system jumps up it needs to get the processing power from something, one of eth easiest things to drop would be the sculpted system. In fact I think that somewhere I read that Zurich orbital dose that.

Edward
Demosthenes
Consider, however, that UMS iconography is essentially based on the current idea of 'markup' - everyone's cyberdeck has the UMS icons for different aspects of the net already coded in and preloaded. This means that you don't need to dedicate any serious processing to have a UMS system, just something like an <icon> tag (Say, <icon=ums.SAN ID="LTG#">, plus the associated XYZ coordinates/vectors so that the deck knows where to put the SAN in the decker's field of 'vision').

That means that you don't need to use much bandwidth for displaying the matrix side of your host at all...and you can use the bandwidth you've purchased for data transfer, streaming hot ASIST, and all that kind of thing.
Reality filters only _really_ need to personalise the metaphor, and therefore replace the "pre-loaded" UMS iconography with the decker's personalised matrix metaphor.

Sculpted systems actually have to transmit the simsense data, as well as everything else, to everyone interacting with the system, and then they have to somehow (automagically, I guess), force the decker's cyberdeck OS to use the sculpted system's metaphor, rather than the one the decker wants to use. Of course, this implies that the sculpted system has a great deal more control over the decker's 'display settings' than the decker does.

[ Spoiler ]
.

Processing power and sculpting: definitely requires more work than UMS systems. A UMS system would need to keep track of the 'virtual location' of everything on the host, and update all that data constantly. But the rendering work (displaying the icons etc) would be done by the cyberdeck.
When you have a sculpted system, there's a lot more rendering going on...

But then, I have serious problems with the current 'reality' of the matrix in SR. Why waste bandwidth with full 3d ASIST simulations of netspace when it's unnecessary most of the time? And I'm not going to go near the 'really real' ultra violet stuff...[stop rant before it starts]

(I know: it's a historical/fictional holdover from the days when everyone thought VR was the future of the net...)

But then, I'm just a technical translator, not a real programmer...
The_Eyes
Honestly most of that stuff I'm currently taking a bit on faith. See, there is every indication in the core book and elsewhere that there are things going on at a fundamental level that are different from what we all know about computers. First off, everything is being stored as a program, and a continually self-executing program at that (evidenced by datasofts, etc). This is profoundly different than the computers that we're used to: cyberterminal construction rules indicate that the MPCP is constructed no differently than any other OCC and in fact has no inherent processing ability other than that containned within any other OCC, which in turn implies that there is no central processing unit, and that programs appear capable of running themselves.

In fact, the more I look at these and other aspects of the SR Matrix (the uselessness of application-level encryption, for instance) the more I like the idea that computers in general have somehow changed on a fundamental level, something that could have occured if for example quantum computing suddenly became the dominant form of computer science*. Basically what I'm saying is that all the rules have changed on an even more fundamental level than we're arguing, so all our arguments about reality filters and processing power are built on several underlying assumptions that simply aren't true anymore.

*-The quantum computing thing I'm actually not too sure about, but some of the more obvious consequences of the mass-adoption of q-comp as the dominant system architecture are 1)programs that cannot, in theory, be decompiled, and 2)that large numbers can be factored in polynomial time (such as the ones used for RSA encryption), leading to software decryption algorithms that take comparable time to break software encryption algorithms. So it kinda fits, but of course I really don't know much about q-comp on any level so I'm not sure if there's important stuff I'm missing here.

(Edit: Eyeless Blond posting. Jeez I have to learn to switch my nick when I'm in this forum.)
Vuron
Personally I think the idea that SR computing is quantum based to be pretty dubious as q-computing is still pretty much in conceptual phases as we really don't know how to solve huge hurdles in making in feasible beyond very small levels of complexity.

Further every indication seems to be that q-computing will be more of a niche technology as it's extremely good in theory for handling factorization but not inherently better for the vast majority of computing tasks. It also seems as if it would likely be limited to research institutions due to the problems of needing insanely cold temperatures.

Considering room temperature superconductors is a problem they've been working on for ages (which always seems just around the corner along with fusion reactors etc) I tend to think that 2050-2070 as being far too soon of a time table for the "grittiness" of the shadowrun setting to be plausible. Factor in the two tech crashes of the setting and likelihood drops even further.

Not that it's not decent material for science fiction but at the current time nanoscale silicon computing seems a bit more likely.
Eyeless Blond
Actually q-computing is very much more powerful than many people seem to realize. Factoring large numbers is what you call an NP-complete (or NP-hard) problem. This is a class of problems very much larger than the subset P which can be done in polynomial time on "classical" computers. The thing about q-computing is it's inherently "massively parallel"; you can encode a large amount of information on a single q-bit if you're careful, even though it's not very easy to do so.

In terms of the technology jump, bear in mind that the transistor--indeed, the very concept of the semiconductor and the P-N junction--wasn't discovered until the 1930s. Logic would dictate that something so recent would never become so commonly available. I mean, how implausible is it that something that was only scientific theory, kept closely under wraps by Bell Labs, would become such an ubiquitous material only 70 years later? biggrin.gif If ever a class of material is discovered that does allow for high-tempreatre isolation of q-bits I'm certain the world community would jump on it like a shark.Further, the Crash of '29 would have fuelled an insane amount of speculation into a fundamentally different idea of computing (thus Echo Mirage).

But yes I agree it's implaussible for a technology to go from academic research to household use in 60 years. It only took the laser 40 years. biggrin.gif

(Edit): Another thing to realise is that we're actually beginning to get near the point where you cannot fundamentally put any more transistors onto the surface area of a silicon chip. It's actually the same problem that's currently plauging the people trying to develop q-computers: when you get that small there's too much interference between the adjacent transistors, and you get quantum "bleed-over" between the two.

Oh, and as always I warn people to take all the above with a large grain of salt. I only have the barest of familiarity with quantum computing; indeed with computer science in general (Chemistry major here); I make no claims to be an expert or even decently knowledgable on the subject of computers, other than the minor I took in college and the scraps of information I've cobbled together over the years.
Vuron
From what I understand a good number of people are pretty much extremely doubtful that coherence within a quantum computer of any size will be solved anytime soon. Without the basic physics to even begin the process of developing the damn things I tend to believe that we won't see quantum computing in our lifetimes or our children.

Of course I tend to doubt that the standard protechnology line that scientific knowledge expands exponentially in favor of a model in which scientific knowledge plateaus for extended periods of time before making rapid ascents.
Edward
Responding to demosthens

I see the relationship between sculpted systems and the deckers deck somewhat differently.

My understanding of the net only runs to HTML so I am ignoring flash and its like

Standard UMS is like HTML with a standard library of icons and images as well as text, no image would be downloaded to your computer because you already have them all.

A sculpted system has pictures that are not in the standard set, these are downloaded onto your system and displayed for you. You could if you wanted to turn of the downloading of these extra images but because all the information is imbedded in pictures it would be like turning of pictures and trying to read a web comic.

A reality filter is an alternative set of images that correspond to the standard UMS icons for example in UMS a san looks like a white door with a block text label on it with a magnetic pass key, in my Victorian England reality filter it would look like a wooden door with an attractive flowing script for the label and an old fashioned key lock. The closest thing there I to an equivalent today in browser skins.

When a reality filter encounters a sculpted system it sees its semi intelligent systems to try and work out what the images its getting given mean (partly looking at what the icons seem to do). EG1 the sculpted system models a san as a black painted door with a sign beside it and a key pad, the reality filter works out what that is and models it accordingly. EG2, the sculpted system displays sans as firemanís poles and data stores as lockers with labels on them and a combination lock. My reality filter briefly tries to model the data stores as doors (meaning sans) and the sans as goodness knows what. The mess with many icons being wrong eliminates the benefits of the reality filter and is very annoying so I probably turn it off at the first available opportunity.

Dose that make scene to you.

Edward
Demosthenes
[/B]@The_Eyes:
[B]I don't have Matrix, so may be basing my reply on outdated information, but in Virtual Realities 2.0 Deck construction required you to purchase "Processor logic circuitry" (this was apparently just a rationale for making deck construction more time consuming and expensive, as you didn't really have many options in what kind of "PLC" you put in the deck).

As to the perpetually-auto-executing programs thing...

1- Knowsofts don't _do_ anything until you run them through a knowsoft link or other appropriate hard/software. Conclusion: there is no meaningful way to determine if knowsoft/skillsoft software actually runs when it's not being processed by another system. Hence, this point is kind of outside the discussion.

2- Programs and data are moved around on OMCs - Optical Memory Chips - not OCCs - Optical Code Chips. OMCs are just a means of storing data that can be written to and read from repeatedly. OCCs are hard-coded chips that have to be "Cooked" using something akin to a desktop microchip building kit. The implication is that OCCs carry more than code - and given the difference in physical procedures needed to build them, they probably contain processors of some kind (or _are_ processors of some kind).

3- The MPCP is programmed like other programmes, but needs to be encoded onto a hard-coded OCC. If it was on an Optical Memory Chip...then why is it expensive to upgrade the MPCP? Optical memory chips are cheap (less than nuyen.gif 5/MP iirc).

@Edward:
I get your idea about encoding system data within the icon data itself...my way of dealing with that would be to programme my Reality Filter to read the incoming images for the system data, and then use that to display the system according to MY metaphor. The problem with this approach is that it uses up a lot of processing power and time... So accepting the Sculpted metaphor should speed things up...but it doesn't.

I appreciate BTW that the basic idea is that a suitable metaphor increases a decker's reaction speed, while an unsuitable one reduces it...
This raises another question: shouldn't Reality Filters make it easier to perform system operations (you know what you're doing intuitively) rather than necessarily increasing your reaction time? That's a whole 'nother can of worms, however.
Eyeless Blond
QUOTE (Demosthenes)
1- Knowsofts don't _do_ anything until you run them through a knowsoft link or other appropriate hard/software. Conclusion: there is no meaningful way to determine if knowsoft/skillsoft software actually runs when it's not being processed by another system. Hence, this point is kind of outside the discussion.
Well yes, the whole discussion is kinda off-topic really. The thing about the knowsoft link though is that it really doesn't seem to have any inherent processing ability. In fact the Essence cost is no more than a limited simsense rig or a headware router, indicating that there is likely little more there than just a connection to the part of the brain that controls memory. So, where is the program being executed?

QUOTE
2- Programs and data are moved around on OMCs - Optical Memory Chips - not OCCs - Optical Code Chips. OMCs are just a means of storing data that can be written to and read from repeatedly. OCCs are hard-coded chips that have to be "Cooked" using something akin to a desktop microchip building kit. The implication is that OCCs carry more than code - and given the difference in physical procedures needed to build them, they probably contain processors of some kind (or _are_ processors of some kind).
Ah, but nothing other than time (and the proper processing equipment) is required to turn an OMC into an OCC; no extra parts go into the OMC and in fact the only functional difference between the two is that OCCs can't be erased/overwritten. The code written on the OMC and the code burned into an OCC are treated the same way in all respects, which is why you can take a Knowsoft for instance and load it onto headware memory (or an OMC) and run it without a change. An OCC is nothing more than an OMC with a hardware level write-protect flag turned on.

QUOTE
3- The MPCP is programmed like other programmes, but needs to be encoded onto a hard-coded OCC. If it was on an Optical Memory Chip...then why is it expensive to upgrade the MPCP? Optical memory chips are cheap (less than  nuyen.gif 5/MP iirc).

Actually, it's not. The only real cost for upgrading the MPCP, Persona chips, etc. is the software cost; the actual parts cost is almost negligable (rating^2*35Y). The simple fact that there is no actual hardware anywhere in a cyberdeck, just a series of burned optical code chips linked together with a nominal fee's worth of wires and screws and stuff, seems to indicate that programs are not really "executed" in a central location as they are in a modern computer, but rather simply self-execute within their own chips.
Demosthenes
I stand corrected! wink.gif
QUOTE
In fact the Essence cost is no more than a limited simsense rig or a headware router, indicating that there is likely little more there than just a connection to the part of the brain that controls memory. So, where is the program being executed?

Good question.

First off, I'd argue that Greater processing power/hardware != Essence cost necessarily...

Granted, it doesn't say anywhere that a Knowsoft link _runs_ knowsofts...(though if you think that a knowsoft link lets you "know" the contents of a knowsoft chip, then the low essence cost is pretty mindboggling, especially compared to skillwires...)
But why is it necessary to have an additional piece of ware, if all you need to do is connect the skill program to the brain?

Rating 1 Skillwires only cost twice the essence of a knowsoft link. They have to somehow take the data from your cheep@$$ skillchips and turn it into signals that your CNS and body will understand, while simultaneously overriding your voluntary actions that relate to that specific skill. Sounds like a more subtle version of an RAS override I suppose...which is hardware, not software (it takes up space and essence when you implant one...).

The ballistics processor for a smartlink only costs twice the essence of a knowsoft link, and that has to be able to integrate with your brain, the gun, and your field of vision as well as running calculations...

Consider all the other things datajacks are capable of (that's a whole 'nother thread, I know).

I'm going to stop now, 'cause I think I've gone far enough off-topic.
Edward
QUOTE (Demosthenes)

@Edward:
I get your idea about encoding system data within the icon data itself...my way of dealing with that would be to programme my Reality Filter to read the incoming images for the system data, and then use that to display the system according to MY metaphor. The problem with this approach is that it uses up a lot of processing power and time... So accepting the Sculpted metaphor should speed things up...but it doesn't.

That is indeed what happens.

The problem is that sometimes your reality filter will make a mistake or be unable to recognise the purpose of an icon, if it doesnít know what an icon is it doesnít know what it should look like in your metaphor.

Your assertion that accepting the sculpted system will free up system resources thus allowing you to act faster is flawed.

Turning of your reality filter (in or out of a sculpted system) frees up your decks resources. Recall that whenever you use a reality filter your MPCP drops by 1.

Your mistake is assuming that initiative has anything to do with processing power of the deck. It dose not. Compare these 2 decks, MPCP 2 with 20MP active memory and no response increase. MPCP 10 20,000MP active memory, no response increase. Clearly the second has greater processing power but no higher initiative. This is because the speed at witch you act is not determined by your deck but by how fast the decker reacts. Special modals on the deck called response increase alters the interface with the brain to allow you to react to the matrix faster. A reality filter shows you images that you understand better and faster than other iconographies, thus your brain wastes les time working out what things mean and can react to them faster.

There could be a case for a reality filter reducing the target number for any operation but that would be a bit to jaggy on a game balance level.

Edward
Demosthenes
QUOTE
A reality filter shows you images that you understand better and faster than other iconographies, thus your brain wastes less time working out what things mean and can react to them faster.

I don't recall assuming that processing power per-se affects initiative - processing power clearly has something to do with it, however, since Response Increase is limited in its rating in proportion to the MPCP rating.
QUOTE
Special modules on the deck called response increase alters the interface with the brain to allow you to react to the matrix faster.

Response Increase is not a modification to the interface with the brain: it's a modifier to the deck. It still boosts your initiative when you're running with no cyber interface whatever, though it's less effective. (Unless they've changed this since VR 2.0).
This implies some very peculiar things about the nature of the user/matrix interface in SR and the effectiveness of response increase - especially when you consider that matrix actions are allegedly faster than meatworld actions...

I understand what you're getting at, but I disagree with the underlying premises - not your underlying premises, but the ones underlying the performance and functioning of the matrix in SR3. (This is why I didn't go out of my way to get Matrix...)

[Edit]Actually, that assumption was implicit in my argument about releasing system resources by deactivating the reality filter. My bad. I believe that it's a valid assumption: if I run a program that puts a more intuitive interface on top of Windows, it uses system resources and slows the computer down, but it might actually speed up my use of the computer, simply by being more user friendly... But I doubt the usability of a cyberdeck would that affected by turning off a Reality Filter... Granted, the assumption that matrix actions are exceedingly fast implies that even the tiniest edge in terms of user response will be meaningful...But the nature of response increase (working even when you're not jacked in) makes that argument seem inconsistent to me. YMMV, obviously, and I'm not discussing Canon - I'm trying (hopefully with some amount of clarity) to explain why I'm not all that happy with the SR canon matrix... [/Edit]

[Second Edit]
As to Reality Filters reducing target numbers, I feel that it probably makes more sense for the RF to grant TN bonuses than initiative bonuses.
But then, I have problems with needing a VCR to gain rigger initiative bonuses, when you can do the same thing in the matrix using response increase.
If you have a sufficiently well-designed reality filter and interface it directly with the physical controls of a vehicle, rather than linking it to the matrix...see where I'm going? (That's another thread entirely, though).
hobgoblin
hmm, in matrix you need to be using hot asist to access the power of the response increase.

reality filter will help you id stuff faster as you know what the stuff is set to. go into a sculpted system and it can be anything at all.

as for why a reality filter clashes with a scuplted system? i dont have anything else to offer then a theory that the reality filter interpets the vr gui data that the host is sending out. on a nonsculpted system its simple to id stuff as its all UMS but on a sculpted one this have changed and the reality filter will need more data to work with, slowing down its response time, it may even fail totaly to id some of the stuff.

this theory is based on the fact that you have to use analyze to find out what your up against (the gm should just tell you how the icon looks like, not tell you what ice your fighting). this indicates that the ice dont send out a simple id but rather send out a request for a UMS shape (stored in the asist interface) or send out a whole "icon" file. with the second option one then gets a interpetation problem for the reality filter as it have no UMS request to work with and rather have to guess what kind of grahics to apply based on what actions thats performed.
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