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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:34 pm 
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((From the Suggestions thread))

AA) There are really four technical Active skills that a decker really ought to have to consider himself a real decker: Electronics, Electronics B/R, Computer, Computer B/R. Unfortunately, just about everything that the decker really ever needs to do (deck, search, write programs, cybercombat) are all part of the single Computer skill. Maybe we can shift around what each skill covers, so that your competent decker would need high scores in all 4 to truly fill the role? For instance:


-1) Rather than the (IMO silly) distinction between Computer and Electronics, how about Computer and Decking?

--a) Decking would be the... less reputable stuff. Anything that involves subterfuge, or fooling the system would be covered (Access and Control, naturally, but also cybercombat and Null Operations, as both deal with directly subverting, rather than actually working with or within, the system.) Copying/editing a file/slave without the system knowing, or when the system is trying to prevent it, would also fit here. You'd also use this for picking electronic locks and the like, as those are all basically computers.

--b) Computer would cover tasks that are themselves complex. Search operations, for example. Looping cameras would be a very simple Computer test, while actively editing the camera to make a person appear invisible would be a bit tougher. Generally speaking, someone with high Decking and low Computer would be able to get in and get out of a system easily, and could force the system to do whatever he wanted, but wouldn't be capable of actually doing what he needed to do once he got there.

-2) Computer B/R would be the new programming skill. Thus, rather than building computer hardware, the B/R skill would in other words be building and repairing computer programs. Maybe you can also use this to "repair" programs hit by Tar IC?

-3) Electronics B/R would now basically be the catch-all for what's left. Building computer hardware, other electronics hardware, etc. would go here. Most of those aren't used enough to constitute their own skill, really, and most are simple enough to be cross-compatible. Note that there is no more "Electronics" skill; anything that would be covered in that skill is clearly either Computer or Decking anyway.

--a)Should Electronics Warfare go here, or under Computer or Decking? Maybe a totally different Active Skill? *shrug*


((Further comments))

nezumi wrote:
Quote:
-2) Computer B/R would be the new programming skill. Thus, rather than building computer hardware, the B/R skill would in other words be building and repairing computer programs. Maybe you can also use this to "repair" programs hit by Tar IC?
I always thought that was the way :P (That's a word of support)
Yeah, right now it's a specialization of Computers. The result is that a decker these days needs exactly one skill, two if he plans to actually build his deck along with his programs (Computer B/R)

Quote:
Quote:
-3) Electronics B/R would now basically be the catch-all for what's left. Building computer hardware, other electronics hardware, etc. would go here. Most of those aren't used enough to constitute their own skill, really, and most are simple enough to be cross-compatible.

This I'm not sure about (in part because you haven't said what 'electronics' is). I can't imagine electronics is just how to use electronic devices. I can't think of a lot of electronic devices that would really warrant my having a specialized skill JUST to use them (the exception being electronic warfare). Before EW, I just assumed Electronics was all things technical and about electronics, so overcoming keypads, build/repair, and what few EW actions are available in the main book. Otherwise electronics becomes really pretty useless.
Yeah, there would basically be no more Electronics (non-B/R) skill anymore. You'd use Electronics B/R to mess with hardware, Computer B/R to mess with software, and either Decking or Computer to do things with software. Generally it's Computer if it's using programs in legal, intended ways, and Decking if trying to find an exploit or weakness in the code for B/E or other purposes.

Editing a camera, for instance, would require Decking if you wanted to just loop the camera, but if you wanted to hack the camera *and* splice in custom footage you'd need to also use Computer skill (and/or maybe a Cinematography knowledge skill check :)) to determine how well you were able to conjure up a fake input to splice in.

I could see EW being a part of the Decking skill, or even part of the Computer skill. Honestly, though, signal processing and its ilk is pretty much a skill of its own, and I'd really like to see it be its own skill.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:52 pm 
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hmmm ... what if we get rid of the computer skill for operating the deck, since it is all simple to do ... and have everything based on the utilities that you have installed on your deck?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:12 pm 
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I would imagine basic deck operations wouldn't require a test any more than basic vehicle operations. However, if someone sat me down and asked me to modify camera footage to blot out someone while they are shooting at me, I'm pretty sure that would warrant a skill test.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:13 pm 
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Platinum wrote:
hmmm ... what if we get rid of the computer skill for operating the deck, since it is all simple to do ... and have everything based on the utilities that you have installed on your deck?
Well, I'm against this, first off because that's how Otaku are wired and it would ditch one of the biggest distinctions between them and deckers. On a more fundamental level, though, it seems like a change just for the sake of change, and not one that necessarily because it enhances the play experience, makes things more balanced, or clarifies existing rules.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:35 pm 
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Personally I think Otaku were just trumped up to fulfill someone's wet dream of decking without a cyberdeck. So why keep them at all.

It's not a change for the sake of change. I seem to be alone in thinking that TN's are inflated, to require both skills and utilities. Which just makes decking that much more unattractive. I honestly don't see the point of utilities and think that it's just a game mechanic to have deckers spending all their off time coding.

Anyhow I don't seem to be on the same wave length as you guys, so good luck with the project.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:06 pm 
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Platinum wrote:
Anyhow I don't seem to be on the same wave length as you guys, so good luck with the project.
Heh, you're letting a little thing like universal opposition to your idea stop you? Don't give up; it took four months before anyone even seriously considered mine. :P The problem is at the moment it just seems like too much change for too little benefit. Start fleshing out the idea, find out the potential benefits and complications, give us something more than a couple of one-liners.

(Edit) Such as: how will this affect subsystem ratings? Security Level/Value? IC ratings/abilities? matrix Combat Maneuvers? Advancement paths for deckers? This proposal is a change to the most fundamental aspect of the decking subgame; we're going to need a little more analysis of what the consequences of that will be before we start seriously considering it.

Oh, and don't go too far out of your way to insult Otaku. Kagetenshi seems to like them. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:35 pm 
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Hmm... I gotta say, I think we should run an SR1/2 matrix run here to get a sense for how it was done before. More and more I'm finding how they did stuff back then made more sense, was simpler, and just seemed more fun! I think they simplified decking for SR3 because it was too time consuming, but basically they just made it way more confusing and boring without making it any faster.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:35 pm 
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I too feel the SR3 metaphor of utilities and subsystems is needlessly complex. Less can be more. I have some ideas I'll try and cultivate into something meaningful in the next couple of days.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:05 pm 
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Getting back to the main topic, does anyone feel comfortable with (re)dividing the major decker skills this way? To reiterate, there would be four skills:

Decking - "Black hat" computing: exploiting holes in hosts, and other electronic systems
Specializations: By subsystem(Access, Control, Index, Files, Slave), Integrated systems*, Archaic Systems

Computers - "White hat" computing: performing inherently complex computational tasks.**
Specializations: Electronics Warfare, Information Search, AI Interaction (for giving orders to Pilots/Agents/IC), system administration***

Computer B/R - Programming skill. Used as maximum for improvised programs****
Specializations: by utility type (Operational utilities, frame core, etc)

Electronics B/R - for building hardware, including deck hardware
Specializations: Not sure yet

*-For directly decking a slave node device, like a car, a refrigerator, etc. Assuming our "AR in SR" system adds support for such things.

**-Would be the basis for hacking pool instead of MPCP, if we chose to go that route.

***-another brainstorm I just had; look for a new thread in the Host forum soon.

****-Would be the maximum for improvised attack/defense dice allocation, as well as improvised operational utilities if we approved that idea.


Last edited by Eyeless Blond on Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:41 pm 
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That's the way I'd like to see decking skills broken down as well. I do think computer should be used while decking for complex things like search and analyze operations. I would also like to see computer B/R come into play somehow when improvising utilities/programs and/or editing matrix nodes. That way you will use 3 skills frequently while decking. Decking for the hardcore combat and deception stuff. Computer for the more mundane stuff. Computer B/R for the improvised stuff. Good deckers will definitely want all 3.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:54 pm 
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Good idea. Lemme think...

(Edit): How about that?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:07 am 
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I'd support it. Not sure if I like the idea of EW or System Admin being under computers, as they both seem like they'd be better suited elsewhere (possibly as their own skills), but for the purpose of designing Shadowrun and not SysAdminRun, it looks good.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:22 am 
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SysAdminRun would be great. What skill do you use to not tell the person who just called you at 2:20 AM to reboot the switch to feck off? Probably Etiquette, but what specialization?

~J

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:09 pm 
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Probably Etiquette(Pointy-haired boss)

And yes, ideally they probably would be separate skills, but then so would a large number of other things. That's already four active skills, though, and that's a tall order for someone who already needs an A in resources to function. Unless you think we should work to make the million nuyen unnecessary for a decker?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:20 pm 
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I don't think sysadmin would be required for a decker. He doesn't need to configure routers, just to bust 'em.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:42 pm 
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Well we're also considering Computer skill for handling complex computing tasks in general, and it would be the perfect skill for adding to hacking pool, if we went that route. A competent decker's gonna have to have all four skills, though maybe not all of them maxed out.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:51 pm 
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It seems to me that Electronics here is being misunderstood; it's currently the skill one uses to break maglocks, etc., while B/R only serves to assist this by helping one gain access to the guts of the lock without busting something. In that light E/W seems a slightly odd but reasonable pairing, and I'm not sure I can support eliminating it because that seems to give a decent group of things under its purview.

Did I misunderstand your argument?

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:56 am 
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Kagetenshi wrote:
It seems to me that Electronics here is being misunderstood; it's currently the skill one uses to break maglocks, etc., while B/R only serves to assist this by helping one gain access to the guts of the lock without busting something. In that light E/W seems a slightly odd but reasonable pairing, and I'm not sure I can support eliminating it because that seems to give a decent group of things under its purview.

Did I misunderstand your argument?

Yeah, a little bit, but you have a good point. As I see it, Electronics was originally meant to be "the Rigger and (sorta) B/E Specialist skill", while Computer was originally meant to be "the Decker and (sorta) Rigger skill". I'm perfectly fine with keeping all the functions of Electronics where they are, though in my opinion messing with Maglocks and cardreaders should be a Build/Repair skill since you're messing with hardware rather than software.

My intent was to break up the functions of Computer, with the aim of making a Decker a skill-based, rather than cash-based, character. So, instead of a decker being all about essentially one primary skill (Computer), with a few minor things to flesh him out (Etiquette:Matrix, Computer B/R, Stealth), he would be a character with four or five primary skills (Computer, Decking, Computer B/R, Electronics B/R, possibly Matrix Combat). I explainned this in a little more detail in the second thread in this vein, and went on to bring up the necessary corollary, that the deck itself will have to go down in price, in yet another thread.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:15 am 
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Eyeless Blond wrote:
I'm perfectly fine with keeping all the functions of Electronics where they are, though in my opinion messing with Maglocks and cardreaders should be a Build/Repair skill since you're messing with hardware rather than software.

By the description it seems to me that you're only really messing with hardware during that first "take-the-cover-off" stage; after that you're trying to trick the guts of the lock into sending an unlock signal without actually processing a valid access code, which seems less connected with hardware. This is somewhat tangential, though.

I'm not yet clear on how your proposal separates Computer and Decking (the specific lines, I mean, not the general idea), but it's early and I haven't yet read through a stack of new replies so you may have clarified it.

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:04 pm 
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Kagetenshi wrote:
Eyeless Blond wrote:
I'm perfectly fine with keeping all the functions of Electronics where they are, though in my opinion messing with Maglocks and cardreaders should be a Build/Repair skill since you're messing with hardware rather than software.

By the description it seems to me that you're only really messing with hardware during that first "take-the-cover-off" stage; after that you're trying to trick the guts of the lock into sending an unlock signal without actually processing a valid access code, which seems less connected with hardware. This is somewhat tangential, though.
Hm, yeah I guess I can see Electronics being its own entirely separate skill too.

That'd mean you have three Technical, Active, non-B/R skills:
-Decking, for pulling the wool over the host's eyes and doing things without the host knowing about it. Generally speaking anything targeting the Access or Control subsystems would use Decking: here the difficulty is that the host is directly opposing your actions, and less the inherent difficulty of the actual task.*
-Computer, for computationally-intensive tasks like complex searches through large data sets. Generally speaking anything targeting the Index, File, or Slave subsystems would use Computer: here the difficulty is the inherent computational difficulty of the task, not that the host is directly opposing you.*
-Electronics, for more close-to-hardware, bare wires electronics work. Complex signal processing (read: Electronics Warfare and the Encrypt/Decrypt programs), working with maglocks and card readers. In other words, if it needs a voltmeter or oscilloscope, it's probably Electronics.**

*--Computer, Electronics and Decking would default to each other, though naturally no real decker would be without both. A former IT specialist, however, or computer science researcher might have a really high Computer skill and no Decking skill at all. A home-grown hacker might have a really high Decking skill built from years of hacking ATMs and stuff, but a low or nonexistant Computer skill.
**--The only thing that makes me nervous is that this skill seems to straddle the line between Computer and Electronics B/R. I could honestly see eliminating Electronics altogether, and rolling the Electronics Warfare stuff into Computer and the maglock-breaking into Electronics B/R, or rolling it all into Computer.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:35 am 
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Yeah, the Electronics/Electroincs B/R crossover really bothers me. In my game, I've simply eliminated Electronics B/R unless you are actively building an electronic device from scratch, and even then you can default from Electronics with only a +2 modifier.

However, it's starting to seem to me that Electronics is applied to whenever you are trying to make an electronic device do what it is designed to do. Using override codes, maintenance options, or your mag-card decrypter device would use the Electronics skill.

Eletronics b/r would be any case where you are modifying (including clipping things to the wires) the device to do what you want.

BOTH would apply equally to openning maglocks, but they use different methods. Electronics would use the current method, somehow spoofing the device without altering it, but Electronics b/r would involve clipping something else into the device, turning off parts, etc. and would have the same result (except b/r would be messier, but probably wouldn't leave the lock having weird problems that Electronics apparently does).


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