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Should creating hardware/software cost Karma to design/build?
Yes, and yes. Both hardware and software should cost Karma 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Yes, and no. Hardware should cost Karma, but not software. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
No, and Yes. Hardware should not cost Karma, but not software. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
No, and no. Neither hardware nor software should cost Karma to design/create. 100%  100%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 5
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:20 pm 
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Had a quick brainstorm. Should designing or creating hardware/software from scratch cost Karma? One problem with decker balance is their almost complete karma independence. Should programming that new agent or designing that wiz new MPCP take a bit of karma investment?

Keep in mind that anything we do here will likely have to be replicated with riggers, so for them to design a new vehicle/drone or program a new Pilot would also take a few points of karma.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:57 pm 
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Programming does, effectively, require karma. There's like half a dozen knowledge skills required to make a program plan, without which you get, IIRC, a flat +2 penalty to your programming test.

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:09 pm 
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Actually... That's a reasonable idea. I know there are a few programming projects I had that literally sucked a little piece of my soul out.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:22 pm 
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Kagetenshi wrote:
Programming does, effectively, require karma. There's like half a dozen knowledge skills required to make a program plan, without which you get, IIRC, a flat +2 penalty to your programming test.

~J
Any decker who can't at least default to one other program design knowledge skill and get at least one success doesn't deserve to be able to write programs higher than rating 3 or so anyway. :p


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:24 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
Actually... That's a reasonable idea. I know there are a few programming projects I had that literally sucked a little piece of my soul out.

In the 2050s, that's a thing of the past. Lisp has finally come into its own (in the form of HoloLisp), and Java and C++ (and Microsoft's imitations thereof) will never hurt you again.

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:28 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
Actually... That's a reasonable idea. I know there are a few programming projects I had that literally sucked a little piece of my soul out.
Heh, I know the feeling.

Maybe we could say something like no Karma cost for low-rating programs (<= 3 or so), then have the karma costs grow linearly after that? At the same time, make the Availability of a program based on Rating, so high-Rating programs effectively have to be self-programmed?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:12 am 
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I think requiring karma is a bit sadistic. That said you can come up with rules that will dramatically improve programming roll results if you spend a little karma.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:35 am 
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Ok, I gave some more thought as to why I don't like this idea.

1) It's unprecedented. I'm pretty sure there aren't any other non-magical things external to an individual that cost karma.

2) It really just encourages buying programs. A decker doesn't have to program—indeed, unless we throw out the bug rules they've got at least some incentive already not to. This just increases the incentive not to—it doesn't make decking cost karma, it makes one approach to decking cost karma.

I guess those are the main objections, at least that I can put into words effectively right now.

~J

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:59 am 
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I don't think this would be a great idea with standard COTS utilities (for the reasons Kage mentioned), but I think it would make sense if you're making something special like an agent or a knowbot. I'd see this more as relating to the Agent Smith question.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:19 pm 
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Well, not really. The problem we're having with controlling Smith is that the same problem the RIAA is having with trying to create a false scarcity in music: data can be copied.

This was actually part of a larger proposal with regards especially to programming, and will eventually go in the Deck/Host/Program Creation thread that I'll be making once we've got more of the basic issues dealt with. At its core are the following issues:

1) Deckers buy too many high-rating programs -- possibly solved by raising Availability of programs > rating 6, though may be solved by fixing programming (see below).
2) Deckers should have the option to create more of their own programs -- possibly solved by significantly reducing base time for programming tests, however...
2a) Solving the programing time question opens the door for abuse, by letting deckers get all their programs for free --> problem solved by this idea.
3) Deckers don't require much karma --> problem solved by this idea.

See where I'm going with this?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:28 pm 
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heh ... make A.I. the matrix version of Ally's. Bring forth the dikote.

Joking aside, this could be a really great plot device. Some way of capturing and downloading part of your personality, then changing.

This gives me some cool plot ideas.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Ah, so you're basically saying if you want to program it in a reasonable amount of time, then you spend karma. Otherwise, presumably you could just do it the normal, slow, painful way. An interesting idea. I'd be more inclined to adopt it if it could be more widely applied, however, rather than just have it be a single rule applied to a single situation.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:16 pm 
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Yeah, I like the idea of it being karma free for anyone to do, but if you are willing to spend some karma you can get very nice bonuses to cut down the time. That seems like a best of both worlds kind of deal. Combine it with dramatic increases in the price of high rating programs (or decreases in availability, whatever) and programming will be a serious consideration for deckers.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:17 pm 
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So what do you think would be fair for karma expenditure? Spend karma = rating to, what, half the time? More? We do want this to actually be used, so it'll have to be a significant time saver.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:27 pm 
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Might it be easier to buy successes? One karma buys one success, which can then be used to either decrease time or increase capabilities or somesuch?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:29 pm 
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We're not talking about karma pool, we're talking about good karma ... the same way mages spend it.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:35 pm 
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Yes. With karma pool, any KP you spend refreshes. In this case, it wouldn't. Although I can see how a high-KP character won't need to spend karma in this case.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:05 pm 
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Buying successes burns pool, actually.

~J

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:19 pm 
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So maybe it makes sense, since losing karma isn't as pricey as losing karma pool (although KP still has other methods of increasing successes...)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:58 pm 
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Well you can already in Canon SR3 use/burn your karma pool to assist in current program writing and I'm sure you could in any variant of it we come up with. We're talking about a mage-like cost to decking which is good karma to write a program. I think its not a bad idea, just it should not be required. I think a player willing to sacrifice Good Karma should be handily rewarded for it.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:11 pm 
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Right, and that's what I"m saying. For most people their karma pool is super valuable, and not easily given up. However if we were to say 'well, this will take 6 months, but with 6 more karma, you can finish it in 1 month', that's a serious draw to burn some pesky karma (and it's still optional).

Or let it count as successes for adding options, things like that.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:25 pm 
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So, how much karma/time reduction are we talking? Your average rating 6 program (multiplier 3, let's say) has a base time to create of 108 days; most "special" programs will have options and higher ratings/multipliers and may take many times longer, even years, under the current rules. How much should karma be allowed to reduce that, and how expensive should it be?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:42 pm 
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Figure out how many successes the average decker needs to get to make something cool in a reasonable amount of time and how many successes he can expect to actually get. That's the number of points he should be able to buy.

Figure out how much karma he has burning a hole in his pocket. Divide that by the number of successes he needs. That's how much it should cost.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:01 pm 
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So, we need to define:

-Something cool
-reasonable amount of time
-how much karma he has burning a hole in his pocket


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:14 pm 
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Well lets compare it to how much karma it takes a mage to make and learn a decent spell. I don't have the numbers handy, but that's the precedent.

Offhand if I wanted to just wing it I would say:
You can spend Good Karma to add dice to the programming test at a 1:1 ratio. You cannot spend more good karma in this fashion than your programming skill. So if you have a skill of 4, you can add up to 4 more dice for 4 Good karma. It's simple, intuitive, and doesn't change the existing rules at all but allows you potentially double your successes. You won't find too many deckers who wouldn't spend the good karma, thus adding the desire for deckers to have a karma outlet. This, combined with our proposed expansion of decker skills, will really help to make decking more in depth overall. I still think higher ranked programs should be more expensive as well, however ... with higher availability ... just to really drive home the idea that going much beyond 4-5 a decker really needs to consider writing his own shit.

108 days is still a LONG time, but divided by 6-8 isn't nearly as nasty.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:25 pm 
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Remember that 108 days is for something that's available at chargen, and it's not even the biggest thing that's available at chargen.

Consider a rating-3 programming suite, which has a multiplier of 15. That baby's 135Mps, and thus takes 135 days base time. Also available at chargen.

Now look at a biggie: an Analyze-6 with a Sneak-2 option, probably the most required starting program in a post-Matrix book game, what with all the silly "gotchas" hiding everywhere. Again, available at chargen, but the program takes up 8^2 * 3 = 252Mps, and thus 252 days base time. And again, available at chargen.

How about a rating 6 Black Hammer? multiplier of 20, so it would take 720 days base time to write, nearly two years! And it's also available at chargen, though prohibitively expensive for the benefit.

We're also talking single utilities here as well, of which a typical decker will have a couple dozen usually. Imagine trying to upgrade them all, even a couple of rating points.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:41 am 
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Well lets put this into real world terms. I've been slinging code now for about 16 years, 10 of those as a professional. 720 man-days isn't actually all that outrageous for a major program. That said under the system I proposed a person with a 6 programming skill, sacrificing 6 good karma, could potentially get 12 successes, which will cut that 720 down to 80. 80 isn't THAT bad, hell 80 man-days isn't much at all in my world. I realize this is a game and 80 days is a LONG time ... but we are talking about the worst case and a utility that is off-the-wall powerful when all is said and done.

12 successes will reduce a more average 108 days down to 9 days. That's extremely tolerable. Of course 12 success is a bit over the top

But we don't have to stop there. We can introduce the idea of toolkits/rootkits, or programming platforms, or maybe AI programming assistants. For it to truly work these things should come in multiple ratings and should ADD DICE, not reduce target numbers ... which is weird because the book offers a lot of options that reduce target numbers but very few that add dice.

Also are the rules for modifying existing programs nicer than the rules to create new ones? I have no books here at work, just curious. Sure to write a new rating 7 whatever might take 30 days, but upgrading your rating 6 should take a fraction of that.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:01 am 
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3 months for a hard-core program seems reasonable. How often does the street sam or mage upgrade? And how long does it take to make something really cool, like an agent?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:19 pm 
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feralminded wrote:
But we don't have to stop there. We can introduce the idea of toolkits/rootkits, or programming platforms, or maybe AI programming assistants. For it to truly work these things should come in multiple ratings and should ADD DICE, not reduce target numbers ... which is weird because the book offers a lot of options that reduce target numbers but very few that add dice.
Already exists. Programming suites add complementary dice to programming tests.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:34 pm 
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That's right, I keep mixing up what adds dice and what reduces target numbers.


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