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Catodon
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« Reply #60 on: June 03, 2012, 03:13:31 PM »

Well the big issues with cyber is engineering the cell-machine interface. My partner worked for the Australian bionic eye project for a bit and even for very very poor black and white resolution the technology is at the very edge of what we are currently capable of. Even in the near (say next 20 years) stem cell therapies are going to be a better bet (I'm in tissue engineering of the eye as my day job). Machine-nerve interfaces tend to burn out the cells.
That said for more mechanical stuff like arms you are probably right.
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« Reply #61 on: June 03, 2012, 03:43:20 PM »

That depends a lot on whether you can regrow the arm in situ and if not, by itself or you have to grow a whole human just for the arm.
You can already grow muscle tissue independently of the organism, so growing an arm and grafting it back sounds feasible.  You could also go the route taken in The Forever War when the main character lost most of his leg:  Metal bone structure, suspended in a "growth medium" and the body rebuilt the muscles and tendons and skin.
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« Reply #62 on: June 03, 2012, 04:02:17 PM »

Well the big issues with cyber is engineering the cell-machine interface. My partner worked for the Australian bionic eye project for a bit and even for very very poor black and white resolution the technology is at the very edge of what we are currently capable of. Even in the near (say next 20 years) stem cell therapies are going to be a better bet (I'm in tissue engineering of the eye as my day job). Machine-nerve interfaces tend to burn out the cells.
That said for more mechanical stuff like arms you are probably right.

It's true that the resolution isn't very good, but it's good enough to help a formerly almost blind person function more normally again. While stem cell therapies might get better than that, the current technology will get better than that. The major issue right now is to deliver the electrodes close enough to the nerves, which produces some of the resolution issues, and requires high voltages to stimulate the nerve, which leads to electrode corrosion (which is the primary failure mechanism).

I don't think the cells "burn out". Rather, the body rejects most kinds of implants and forms scar tissues around them, which also reduces signal from the electrodes and makes the implant fail. A lot of effort has been put towards fixing that latter issue for almost 7 years now, and I don't know what the current state of the technology is, but I thought good progress had been made with new materials.
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« Reply #63 on: June 03, 2012, 04:32:23 PM »

I'll hasten to add that no one, to my knowledge, has built an entire eye yet. The current efforts add implants to the retina to translate optical signals into nerve signals, and they address specific illnesses such as retinitis pigmentosa, where there is still an optical nerve that works. Building an entire eye is a much more daunting undertaking.
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Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #64 on: June 03, 2012, 07:00:24 PM »

That depends a lot on whether you can regrow the arm in situ and if not, by itself or you have to grow a whole human just for the arm.

See the movie "The Island" for an entertaining treatise on the latter...

Or MST3Ks riff of "Parts: The Clonus Horrors": http://www.club-mst3k.com/811-parts-the-clonus-horror
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« Reply #65 on: June 04, 2012, 01:44:59 PM »

While stem cell therapies might get better than that, the current technology will get better than that.

I don't want to seem like I'm taking part of your post out of context or anything, but both of those are very definite "will"s.  The only reason stem cell therapies would not improve is due to some form of outside force slowing / stopping progress (and the exact same must be said of technological advancement).

I can seriously see cybertech being substantially cheaper then biotech for a good while, if simply because of it's ability to be mass produced (which is something that is a much hard propositon for biotech).  Price often dictates popularity - sure the 30 Megapixel Nikon NE-112B Cyber-Eye might not be as good as a vat-grown and guaranteed rejection-free bio-eye, but if it's 1% the price the 99% will probably buy it.

The hardest thing from an RPG perspective is loss of tactile sensation in cyberwear - that's really hard to model.  Suggestions are welcome though.  This of course assumes relatively near future timelines, and not far future or post-cyberpunk (like Ghost in the Shell where the major has a greatly enhanced sense of touch - which is just as hard to model).
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« Reply #66 on: June 04, 2012, 02:57:08 PM »

While stem cell therapies might get better than that, the current technology will get better than that.

I don't want to seem like I'm taking part of your post out of context or anything, but both of those are very definite "will"s.  The only reason stem cell therapies would not improve is due to some form of outside force slowing / stopping progress (and the exact same must be said of technological advancement).


From a science perspective, I wouldn't call both o f them "will"s, for the simple reason that one of them has been done (ie implemented in patients) and the other one can be done theoretically (apologies if it has been done, not my field). Having done something points out very clearly to you what the problems are and how the course of research has to be shaped. Not having done something, but only being able to do so theoretically, means you don't even have a clear idea what all of the implementation roadblocks are that you'll stumble across when you try to implement.

I'm not trying to put biotech down, but I've been in materials development long enough to be a bit more cynical about development times for technologies. The overall potential for biotech is much higher - why would you want bits of metal in you when biotech can make you as good as you were before? Note that I'm also talking in terms of the 20 year time frame Catodon mentioned.

Tactile sensation is something that a newer generation of prosthetics is working out right now. You need it at least to some degree to, eg, pick up an egg. The latest solutions that I've seen involve pneumatics and hydraulics, rather than servo motors, where you can apply and sense the pressure simultaneously. Unfortunately, I don't have a link handy for that one. Assuming that it is scalable (ie that you can reduce the size of the pressure pads to increase resolution), you should be able to mimic tactile sensation.
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« Reply #67 on: June 04, 2012, 03:00:12 PM »

Man, all this talk about Cyberpunk makes me really want to run a game. Let's get back on topic for mechanics again; that's where we started, no?

How easy is it to just add Firearm feats to Fantasycraft from SC 2.0 and port over the weapons?
Maybe cyberware could be bought as prize, rather than gear picks?
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« Reply #68 on: June 04, 2012, 03:19:22 PM »

Weapon proficiencies need a reasonable reworking, but we can swing that.

Spycraft has 16, and FantasyCraft has 7.  How many do you want?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 03:28:18 PM by MilitiaJim » Logged

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« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2012, 03:12:09 AM »

The thing about biotech is that is kind of has been done before (in a way): Subjects have recieved transplants (I've personally seen fingers, hands and eyes), so that box is checked (it's no difference if it came from a corpse of a vat to the surgeon).  Parts have also been successfully lab grown.  The gap we need to bridge is putting the latter into the former, which will happen eventually.

Reverse side - there's a big difference between current top end prosthetics and "proper" cyberwear (for clarity: I mean something that allows a patient to have no lose - not mobility, functionality or anything else).  So really, neither has been totally done - but both are right on the cusp (which makes it a pretty excitint time to be around really).  I have seen those new sense gloves that use tightly packed tubes to replace sensation, they're just not quite at human skin's normal yet.

For what it's worth though, the closest thing to an area of expertise I have is Engineering and IT (with a strong focus and interest in materials engineering and robotics).  I'm a huge fan of the chrome (and if we could sort out the man-machine interface I'd probably be choose to be autmented).

----------
Moving along, lets talk mechanics (Disclaimer: I haven't settled on a system yet, these are just my thoughts):

Proficiencies:  My personal breakdown preference is: Handgun, Rifle, Siege (Tactical), Vehicular, Bows, Hurled, Edged, Blunt, Unarmed.

Feats: My conversions are here (but I'm rethinking them along with weapons), if you use SC2.0 weapons whole cloth (which totally works, btw) they should be balanced (though Marksmanship Basics is still as weaksauce as it was in SC2).  EDIT: Those are a bit out of date, I've rewritten them since then (and I'll try convert from this horrible excell file I got from our groups old wiki into something postable if you're interested).

Cyberwear: So setting dependant.  How much is publically / black market available?  Rare/readily available?  If you want to run classic cyberpunk, most people have some degree of 'ware (or check out Deus Ex: HR) - so that doesn't necessarily work as a prize.  My current thoughts are to build purchasable cyber-units, each of which has a capacity which can then have modules installed in it.
Example:  Cyberarm - Capacity: [5]  Cost: [$1000].
Modules available: Natural Look [2], Data Deck [1-3], Weapon System [1-5], Micromanipulators [2].
Each module takes up it's listed capacity inside the cyberarm - so someone with a natural looking arm can also squeeze in a high powered Deck and that's it done.  Kinda cribbed from other game systems, but I like it.

Prizes:  Illegal / restricted cyberwear and weapons systems.

Weapons:  My current thoughts are as follows (YMMV of course):
Category: Rifle (Assault Rifle)
Name  Damage  Threat  Accuracy  Range  Recoil  Ammo  Qualities  Mode  Size
5.56x45mm NATO  4d4  20  3  125ft x10  5  30M  Unreliable, Collapsable  S/B(3)/A(10)  S/2H

Explanation:
Category: It uses the Rifle proficiency, and is an Assault Rifle (for the purposes of tricks / feats etc - like how a Razor Sword is a "Fencing Weapon").
Accuracy: You gain this as a bonus to hit when making Aimed attacks.
Recoil: When using the burst or autofire action you inflict additional damage for each multiple of the above you hit by (Recoil 5 = Hit by 5: 1x Extra Damage // Hit by 10: 2x Extra Damage).
Ammo: Number of shots you can take before reloading (from full).  M=Magazine (1x Handle Item to reload), I = Individual rounds (1 handle item per 3 ammo to reload, can partial load).
Mode: Ways the weapon can be fired: S=Single Shot, B(X)=Burst fire, X shots per trigger pull (usually 3, sometimes 2 or 4), A(X)=Autofire, X volleys fired at max.

Autofire:  You fire any number of volleys (each consisting of 3 rounds) up to the weapons A(X) value.  Each volley fired gives you a +1 to hit.  You inflict additional damage for each multiple of the weapons recoil value you hit by.  Example: You fire 10 volleys from your 5.56mm AR (cook off the mag), you gain a +10 to hit your target and roll a 27 to hit (in total).  His defence is 14, so you inflict damage three times (beat by 13, not enough for a 4th damage).


Sorry for the long post, hopefully something helps (oh and I'll expand on the above substantially if I run with Spycraft for my Cyberpunk game).
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 03:15:17 AM by Sletchman » Logged
MilitiaJim
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« Reply #70 on: June 05, 2012, 08:42:05 AM »

Proficiencies:  My personal breakdown preference is: Handgun, Rifle, Siege (Tactical), Vehicular, Bows, Hurled, Edged, Blunt, Unarmed.
Solid split, maybe toss bows into hurled, but no biggie and I wouldn't bitch if you didn't.
Feats: ...though Marksmanship Basics is still as weaksauce as it was in SC2.  ...
I've always thought Marksmanship Basics is solid.  Extra +1 for Bracing as a free action is right handy, and the follow on feats are nice.  Unless your campaign is all dense city work, it works.  (If you're never leaving the city, go with CQB B/M/S.)
Cyberwear: So setting dependant.  ...
Each module takes up it's listed capacity inside the cyberarm - so someone with a natural looking arm can also squeeze in a high powered Deck and that's it done.  Kinda cribbed from other game systems, but I like it.

Prizes:  Illegal / restricted cyberwear and weapons systems.
Bleeding edge prototypes too.  Also like.   Smiley

Keep up the good work.
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« Reply #71 on: June 05, 2012, 10:45:49 AM »

Prizes:  Illegal / restricted cyberwear and weapons systems.
Bleeding edge prototypes too.  Also like.   Smiley

Keep up the good work.

Totally on the prototypes, and thanks.

Here's what I've got so far:

(click to show/hide)

So, what am I missing?  Still working on capacity numbers for each item, but want to make sure I have a mental list of what items I want to build towards first.
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MikeS
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« Reply #72 on: June 05, 2012, 09:39:39 PM »


So, what am I missing?  Still working on capacity numbers for each item, but want to make sure I have a mental list of what items I want to build towards first.

Between the GURPS Ultratechs and the full set of Shadowrun chrome books, never mind my own ideas, I can probably extend that list by quite a bit, but is it really your goal to create an exhaustive list and stat it?

I think if you start statting out all the stuff above, you will have a good framework from which you can then stat the odd request your players will come up with.

Something to maybe think about up front: if you armor cyberlimbs, -skulls, and -torsos, how does that work (in terms of capacity per rating)? I never really liked the Shadowrun solutions; most of them weren't worth it. Also, rather than using "natural looking" as an upgrade, how about using it as base type and assigning capacity specifically to that, eg:

"natural" cyber limb: capacity 5
obvious cyber limb: capacity 7
"industrial" cyber limb: capacity 10

Another feature to add, perhaps:

Torso structural reinforcement: for people who want cyber limbs that are strong enough to tear their own body apart, but don't want a full cyber torso, this modification supports various stress points in the body to make it tougher, and helps distribute load from cybersytems

And my favorite:
Articulate mount: attached to a cyber torso or torso structural reinforcement, this servo mount can hold extra weapons and comes with an autonomous targeting system. The user just has to select his targets (via targetlink) and the mount and gun do the rest...
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« Reply #73 on: June 05, 2012, 10:21:42 PM »

One of the things that helps me think about which cyberware might exist and how widespread it is are the following questions:

1. How is it powered?
2. How hard is it to install?

The answers to 1 have potentially world-shaping consequences, because you'll typically have one of the following:
1. Nuclear power cell
2. Advanced chemical battery/supercap
3. Fuel cell (hydrogen/methanol)
4. Biofuel cell (burns sugar and oxygen from the blood stream)

I don't like 1 and 4 much, because 1 has to be a very hot source to provide enough power, which gives all kinds of problems with shielding and handling, and 4 is limited to body resources, which may work for low-power devices, but will likely be insufficient for a high-strength cyber limb.

3 can be kind of messy, depending on how much fuel is loaded, unless you assume a safe storage form (not too unrealistic, actually). You do have to add fuel and remove exhaust somehow.

2 is my favorite, because these can be charged inductively (ie without plugging into anything), but it means that some fairly advanced battery technology is available, which will shape cars (can be easily electric now), power grids (may be unnecessary, because distributed energy generation becomes practical), and portable electronics in general.

Ease of implantation has big consequences for how widespread it is, as does cost. It may be easiest to work backwards from the desired end result: if cyberware is common, the price point for those common items are probably no more than $2000-3000 in 2012 dollars, for the sum of device + implantation. Going from communications fads, the most popular items would be ones that let you interface with the internet or with entertainment electronics, so obviously stuff that connects to your brain in a pretty serious fashion. Since open skull surgery is expensive and will likely stay expensive, there must be a way to make the neural connections without big holes: maybe surgery is done endoscopically, maybe the nerve clusters are visible with the available medical imaging technology (at least after injecting a contrasting agent) so that you can "make the connections" from the outside by shooting the wires in. Of course, there may be recovery/activation times in which the patient must rest or train his new faculties.

So it looks like interfacing simple brain ware is routine, or should be to make it widespread.  Similar thoughts have to go into surgery that replaces muscles, etc.

I usually shy away from things like nanotech as tech enabler for cyberpunk (except for maybe the most elementary and simple processes), because it's existence has extremely far reaching consequences for all aspects of life and gets you quickly to a point where the social givens of a cyberpunk setting cannot be maintained without straining disbelief severely.
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« Reply #74 on: June 06, 2012, 10:18:26 AM »

I'll try attack it piecemeal (so please don't think I'm taking any quotes out of context, just giving my response some context).


So, what am I missing?  Still working on capacity numbers for each item, but want to make sure I have a mental list of what items I want to build towards first.

Between the GURPS Ultratechs and the full set of Shadowrun chrome books, never mind my own ideas, I can probably extend that list by quite a bit, but is it really your goal to create an exhaustive list and stat it?

Yeah.  It'd make more sense if you knew me well, but I'll leave it that I've OCD.  Instead of writing 2 powers for my buddies XCOM game (dominate and fear), I wrote an entire Psionics system with about 130 powers, a base class and an expert class (and more I'm working on).  It's just how my mind works (plus others can run games in the setting when I'm done if they're interested).  Time to find my Shadowrun and Ultra Tech books, methinks.

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Something to maybe think about up front: if you armor cyberlimbs, -skulls, and -torsos, how does that work (in terms of capacity per rating)? I never really liked the Shadowrun solutions; most of them weren't worth it.

True, in Shadowrun it was a pretty universally bad idea.  Something like that works better in a GURPS environment, where you have armour by location.  In the Mastercraft framework it either becomes Thick Hide or Fittings (for just armoured limbs).  Either of which aren't super powerful choice, but can be made quite balanced in the games structure (and be a worthwhile choice, instead of a waste of currency).

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Also, rather than using "natural looking" as an upgrade, how about using it as base type and assigning capacity specifically to that, eg:

"natural" cyber limb: capacity 5
obvious cyber limb: capacity 7
"industrial" cyber limb: capacity 10

I did consider this briefly, the reason I went with what I did was to reduce base options - if a natural limb has a capacity of 5 and an obvious has 7, you really just need 1 arm price and an upgrade.  How you flavour it will vary by campaign, but the mechanics are the same.

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Torso structural reinforcement: for people who want cyber limbs that are strong enough to tear their own body apart, but don't want a full cyber torso, this modification supports various stress points in the body to make it tougher, and helps distribute load from cybersytems

That one is a little weird.  Realistically it has to be an exoskeleton to keep their flesh bits intact, and they'd have to wear it at all times (unless powered down).  That's easy to stat up, but I guess it comes down to the big question of "Where do we draw the realism line?"  If we go hard science, then cyberarms can have greatly improved grip strength, but not much in the way of "arm strength" (lest the rip apart the person), and nothing short of a replacement torso will fix that.  It also presents the problem of how to model just pure "Grip Strength" - while keeping the game balanced.  I actually have statted up some exoskeletons though, for what that's worth.

Quote
And my favorite:
Articulate mount: attached to a cyber torso or torso structural reinforcement, this servo mount can hold extra weapons and comes with an autonomous targeting system. The user just has to select his targets (via targetlink) and the mount and gun do the rest...

Easy to stat, hard to balance.  Free attacks are always a problem though, especially free attacks that only cost hard currency.  If this cost a feat or something it'd be a bit easier (you could make it an NPC passenger that uses it's attack stats - pretty doable in FC with Personal Lt. right now).  As a prize it's easier - a prize that grants a low XP NPC that attacks with a specific weapon.  Easy as cake in GURPS - Extra Attack + Enhanced Tracking, aspected to a specific firearm only.  About 27pts from memory [(25+5)-10%].

1. How is it powered?

Gotta go with advanced battery / capaciter.  You list some really good reasons for it, and I can think of more (not least of which is players - you give my group a micronised nuclar generator and they will ruin my day).

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2. How hard is it to install?

By definition it's difficult surgery.  That means you need a cleanroom (one would hope...) and advanced training.  Likely along side very advanced robotics and automation (with supervision).  I'd say things like brainchips would become common: Baby monitors that work anywhere and let you feel what your child is feeling just sell themselves.  Full VR Videogames that don't require a television or controller sell themselves.  Completely handsfree video cellphones sell themselves (ala Futurama's Eye-Phone).  That consumer need will drive corporate research into making it easier to get into the consumers (and quicker, and smoother - so they can profit more).

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I usually shy away from things like nanotech as tech enabler for cyberpunk (except for maybe the most elementary and simple processes), because it's existence has extremely far reaching consequences for all aspects of life and gets you quickly to a point where the social givens of a cyberpunk setting cannot be maintained without straining disbelief severely.

Agreed.  While something like The Diamond Age is a very interesting setting, the implications of widespread nanobuilders is world shattering, and decidely post-cyberpunk.  Also worth noting is the year I'm shooting for is about 2054, nano assemblers are really past that sort of tech level (unless there's a massive leap really soon).  Nano-scale construction will be a factor - wires, circuitry and so on allow brainchips (for interfacing with other components) and multiple functions within a unit that today would have no spare space.  But no matter compilers (ala Transmetropolitan or The Diamond Age) for me - it just changes things too much (and the PCs just become scavengers for garbage to decompile, rather then badass cybermercs or whatever).

Now would probably be a good time for me to smooth out a history of the future I think, since it's really determines everything else.  The rest of this post had some interesting thought points, but again - needs more of the setting to be finalised before it can be really thought about.
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