Tuesday, February 28, 2012

[GURPS] Defining Computer Operation Skill

Disclaimer: this is my current understanding of computers, and may change as I learn more or as our use of computers continue evolve.

In GURPS we have a few computer skills, and its really designed for the cinematic as the "computer hacking" skill suggests. GURPS have tried to make clear how real world hacking works, it appears in the Basic Set and more tools found in GURPS Social Engineering, which is the real method most hackers bypass security systems (good thing SJGames was not raided for this, this time around).

I like the symmetry of the Sacred Trinity of Design, Repair and use in B190. Electronics Operation, Electronics Repair and (Electronic) Engineering. I was hoping to follow the precedents.

I use this gamification to simplify my understanding of the computer skill sets for myself. This is also a setting of expectations for my Spreadsheets and Spaceships game.

  • TL7 - Computer use is specialized, and a sit-down task. the revolution is that regular people can use computers.  
  • TL8 - Computer use is a task not just for work, it has become common place and part of everyone's every day life. 
  • TL9 - Computer is mobile and ubiquitous. Computers have gotten smaller and more powerful; it has found its way into a lot of our everyday tools, and are constantly at our side. This was true of the previous era, but now much of everything people are exposed to either have a processor, tracked by a computer, or designed by a computer.
  • TL10 - Computer use is innate, people do it like any other natural action. Because of Cybernetics, computers assist people in almost everything they do. A TL10 professional when comparing experience outside the enhancements provided by computers reality seems blurred, aesthetically displeasing, dull, filled with uncertainty, and incredibly challenging (especially since the standards such people are used have risen).  

Electronics Operation (Computers) (Average) IQ/TL8.
Computer Operations comes from the Electronics Operation Skill, specializing in computers. In TL8, computers had become easier because of Graphic User Interface. I prefer to consider it under Electronics Operations (Average) IQ/TL but give TL8 computers a different set of standards out of the aesthetic system symmetry.
First. You do not make a skill check to use a computer, if you are from TL8 and have cultural familiarity from TL8; then you can operate a computer out of shear familiarity. If you are TL8, you don't need computer skill, you can work in default or the skill that requires a computer program tool. A graphics artist, a writer, an architect, an engineer, etc... knows enough how to turn on his computer and access the programs he uses for his Artist, Writing, Drafting, Engineering etc...
Second. The computer operations skill is knowledge of making use of special features of the computer other than the most basic. The baseline is accessing Office Applications and Surfing, and what ever skill uses a special program (artists, engineers, music composers, etc.); this is a baseline and you don't need to roll.
Third. Once you have a skill, you have the ability to do the special actions found in an Operating Manual. Basically you are a Desktop User, and if you have a skill level of about 12 and up, you can apply for Desktop Professional Certification (the lowest level of IT; the certification passing is a perk that requires a skill of at least 12). Not all businesses are Certification Conscious, but certifications do mean a little bit higher pay.
As a Desktop Professional, you roll to be able to remember to do something that draws from the users manual without references. In any computer manual, you will notice there are many different tasks and each have their own difficulty level (TDM).
In TL8, only in extreme situations is where people work without a manual. The default is people work with references, the possession of such references means people can succeed automatically, skill becomes important in determining how quickly you do your task. At default a roll accomplishes the task in an average amount of time, on a failure means at the end of expending that average amount of time the task failed and the player has the option to roll again trying a different method with no modifiers OR take extra time, which means he/she is looking at references and tries other methods. 
  • System Admin is a special Technique. Defaults Computer Operations -3, and is an average technique. 
  • Cloud Systems Admin is a technique that defaults to System Admin at -2, and is an average difficulty technique. Cloud Systems are a more sophisticated and powerful computer system; basically its for handling computers larger than medium: managing the resources of computer clusters. 
  • Network Associate. Ave technique, defaults Computer Operations -3. (example CISCO Certified Network Associate, Huawei Certified Datacom Associate, Juniper Certified Network Associate etc. etc.)
    • Network Associate Specialization: Security, Design, WLan, WAN, Voice, etc. Ave technique. 
  • Network Professional. Ave technique, defaults Network Associate  -2. Network Professional gives you familiarity with Electronic Communications skill between and Electronic Operation: communications systems allow you to do some Network Professional Tasks at a -5 default.     
Optional Specialty (B170)
Electronics Operation (Computers, Desktop) (Easy) IQ.

Engineer (Electronics-Network) (Average*) IQ.
This is an engineering specialty, that requires a decent Network Professional skill level. Morbidly low network professional effective skill level should penalize Network Engineering skill. This has a lot of overlap with the Engineer (Electronics-Communications) (Average) IQ.

* Optional Specialty Rules in B170.

Computer Operations TL9
In TL9, learning an Operating System is not a big deal as it was in TL7 or TL8. In TL8 Most operating systems converge are actually easy to figure out, in fact most people learn new Operating Systems every few years as they switch mobile computing devices. As computers get more ubiquitous, Open Standards are enforced to create more market competition.  
Around this time, wearable computers have become more effective. Professionals, begin to invest in such computers as their ability to input in the device gets even much better despite increasing mobility. back in TL8, typing speed is what determined how fast people were to use computers. In TL9 wearable computers can now process gestures, sub-vocalization, bodily motions, eye movement, and some surface scan to draw more information and make better communication with the user.     
People can now work anywhere, and any time. They can carry all their work related data with them where they can wear a reasonable amount of light gear. People multi-task more, and intelligent tools and vehicles begin to do mundane things for people as their quality of attention goes down for these low value tasks.  
Mobility makes people more productive not just because of the work they can squeeze in. Tools become more portable, the tons of aids, props, visualizations and enhancements allow people to gain multiple perspectives quite easily and quickly. Certain non-portable computing allow people literally swim and immerse themselves in data and virtualizations. As most People still have a predominantly sophisticated Visual Processor, and slowly they gain ground with those who have better math and analytically skills as Visualization technology brings down the Multiple-Intelligence barrier.  
Powerful computer corporations of TL9, are investing in the future: Cybernetic Interface. As the frontier of the physical computer becomes thoroughly scoured. 

Computer Operations TL10
Cybernetics and Neural interfaces make TL9 wearable computers as interface obsolete. Cybernetics rapidly gets used, by those who can afford it. In early TL10, wearable computers still out-perform cybernetic enhancements. As the TL matures, hybrid systems become predominant. There comes into play multiple standards for Neural interfaces. Midway through TL10, we have Cybernetics becoming slowly more effective despite the power and space limitations inside the human body. Wearable computers are still the most cost effective, cyberware becomes the best "terminal" or interface device.  
For a long time, some people will want to try to push the Cybernetics line, to be better overall then wearable but laws of diminishing returns gives the edge to the hybrid system. Those who push really hard make evasive upgrades and enhancements. 
Around this late mature era of TL10, other technologies begin to compete for what TL11 is going to appear like. Bio-tech has come around with a way to power and integrate processing powers through biological enhancements. Then there are alternatives to micro-electronics, that function very different from current electronic theories; these create electronic-like devices that function with a newer branches of Physics. These are computers that don't need electricity and use another power-source, these are devices that overcome many of the weaknesses of electronics.
Bridge Systems, are a kind of terminal that allows to gestalt the computing and decision making power of an Officer Crew. This is not only meant for ships, there are such "bridge" systems that can be found in seats of government and corporations that are used to make powerful calculations to control forces that are impossible to predict in our TL8 world view. These are tools to navigate worlds of super-science physics, to make psycho-historical predictions, create and manipulate biological permutations or to control alien and powerful energies. 
Electronics Repair (Computers) (Average) IQ.
Engineering (Electronics-Computers) (Average) IQ.

Computer Programming (Hard) IQ.
In B184, Computer Programming is a generalist skill and gives the access to multiple program languages. If want to focus in particular computer languages (like a researcher only has SQL; web designer who only has HTML/PHP) can take advantage of the Optional Specialization rule.

Using the Optional Specialization Rule Computer Programming skill is a particularly hard language: C, C+, C++, SQL, Python, Perl, Java, etc. You can default from other Programming languages at a penalty of -1 to -4 depending on how closely these are related. Typically the strategy behind choosing and learning a language is similar to the rules of Improving Skills from Default B173. There is a core programming skill and the player buys other programming skill off setting the default penalty. In in this manner, the core skill keeps going up, but the skills bought up from default stay he same, as core skill gets so much better that it is better to default from the core skills, these past spent points are chalked up to familiarity.  

In TL8, the age where open source is a strong contender programming skills alows you to customize these open tools for your own purposes or make a due diligence regarding a program if you have access to the core code. note that Analyzing a program is a monumental task that is measured in weeks and can be measured in months without the right documentation material. Its easier to start a new program than to find out what you did wrong with the last one. 

Engineer (Electronics-Software) (Average*) IQ. This requires Computer Programming (Hard) IQ.
* Optional Specialty Rules in B170.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Ideas about the Future of Gaming

disclaimer: I'm not an expert, and I'm clearly biased to a particular direction.

recent influences:

  • Ryan Dancey's article in RPGnet, 
  • disccusions on the SJgames threads regarding the poor market for heavily researched historical content and production trends
  • The many crowd-sourcing projects in RPGs anecdotally observed
  • the success of kickstarter projects
  • e-publishing and how the market is shifting
the good news: Gaming in the manner of Table-top will continue to exist... the differences is who we play with, our tools, and the satisfaction over time. 

I will continue to Game, and so will a lot of people. Of course not as often as I would like, but the experience and the satisfaction will grow over time despite age. What will change is that, in the global Technology Level we will be leveraging the shared resources of a community at the same time finding services that meet our niche desires. 

I cannot replace the game because it's grind is equivalent to real world training. The research, writing and story telling is necessary for me to keep mentally fit as I grow older. The socialization and ability to meet a diverse amount of people while being able to connect to them keeps me open to the changing world. 

Gaming to me is a mental exercise. Its something fun to do with all these skills I need for work. It's mental sparring, intense competition, and teamwork in a safe, social, and amicable environment. 

I cannot replace it with a lot of automation (in the game play, not in the preparation) because once it can be automated then I'll begin to stagnate. When there is predictability in the patterns, then it gets boring and the collective intelligence of the group even gets bored far quicker and without even consciously knowing its bored. 

One key assumption is that, I'm not the only person who discovered Table Top Games are a powerful mnemonic technique to learn anything. It allows me to frame every piece of knowledge or skill, like a game and immediately put a long term strategic perspective in the time I spend, the skills I acquire and the projects I do. It overcomes a lot of the cognitive biases that prevent me from getting things done and stops me from being too unproductive.

what will happen/change?
Tools, Aids and Costs of both time and money. 

So you're a bit more productive with gaming. Ideally this should reflect in income and ability to undertake training (because you frame it like a munchkin: greedily accumulating character points). You reach a point of diminishing returns, when your time to prep becomes more difficult as your skill level increase along with expectations. 

So your a crazy munchkin GM, you employ the skills you've learned being a good GM. You organize better: 
  • you assign tasks to your players,
  • you simplify and streamline your process and automate some tasks
  • you leverage crowd-sourcing 
  • it is cost efficient to finally afford those tools that you need to pay to use. 
Ok, you evolved and now your getting more things done than ever before. Your GM self of years ago, will marvel at the tools, elaborate metrics and techniques you now employ behind the screen. You've mastered managing expectations, and you develop a better practice with every game, squeezing it of every lesson to prep for the next game. 

Criticism can be harsh, you find the middle way where after some time things fall into perspective and you discover what is objective and more empirically effective. 

What happens next is that you can't do everything, and you need to increase your experience by meeting a greater diversity of individuals. Sure you have your comfort zone, but curiosity and the munchkin inside wants to test limits, wants to feel and maybe taste that frustration and humbling experience of what will be the next horizon to overcome. You want to circle back to those comfort areas and show them something new, and have something new from meeting a diverse kind of people. 

Around this time, it becomes cost effective to delegate some tasks. Ideally you can delegate in the form of sharing a load, one person specializes in a tool that can be used by a larger group of people with similar ideas. 

The simplest it begins with crowd-sourcing some character guidelines and templates, then it gets even more sophisticated with spreadsheets or possibly some programs. Unfortunately, this is not enough, the sophistication of the tools cannot reach the sophistication of a human being who does the complex task: helping the GM or GMing in itself. 

Now we moved to shared personnel resources, someone wants to basically get real manpower to help in these projects. One notices some VPAs do many of the tasks GMs are better off delegating,  unfortunately the full time cost is just too much relative to your gaming monthly budget. Well this is where your Crowd-sourcing and Open-Content Community kicks in. You have a lot of GMs who have similar enough interests to make for a cost effective solution through economies of scale... the next problem is who is going to risk and standardize (for expectations and specialization) this service; who is going to take the time to create the best practice? 

How I think things would work out:
You are the GM of this new age. You've written a ton of material, you might have spent only 6-8hours a week but your building on hundreds of thousands of hours drawn from a shared content. What takes time is formulating your vision: you wrote it down following several organizational and writing tools shared by many other GMs, modified for your needs and the interests of your target audience. It takes you a few minutes to modify the template for your new campaign, you take a few minutes to modify the character creation spreadsheet, a few more generating a whole host of NPCs for ranges of circumstances. You're a little bit strange and download some videos and audios of accents and personalities recommended by your other GM friends, you listen to these on the way or from work; you are making funny accents in public.

You have some custom game material, you might have spent only $10 in all for the campaign material. 

This assumes you take your games really seriously and your time is several times more valuable than what you are paying a VPA per hour. Lets assume that you have a VPA, every month contributing about 10 hours at about $59 for about 3 months; in those months if half of the time the VPA was making material it would be a total of 30 hours of material in the metrics given below: 
In those hours... 
  • ...the VPA can proof read at 1400 wph, help you proof read your work, 
  • help you generate content at about 400wph after drawing from 1000 words of content in that same hour (at 90% comprehension; speed reading/scanning will double to quadruple speed), 
  • layout your NPCs stat block the way you like it a speed of 1000wph (about 4-5 character sheets or about 4-6 presentation pages/hr), 
  • or transcribe your 6 hour games and upload it to your blog as a draft. 
  • The VPA can be the one to follow up and coordinate with players, or help interview players that suit your needs and schedule the calls for you.  
  • If the VPA is just modifying existing material, to be consistent with your "Vision & ;mission" for the game, all those menial changes can be done by someone else, while you fixate on the plot and researching interesting material for the game. 

You then set a meeting with other GMs, GMs you set aside time for to listen to, and you show them your material. They throw you a couple of curve balls and give you another perspective. They give you intel about how certain players may react in the situations that will transpire, and coach you through all the tricks of the trade to keep things fun and moving along. These GMs might get some "kharma" points for the help, some crowd sourced ideas enter into the game last minute. 

You begin the game with a small nicely presentable pdf of the game material. Everyone has read it and gave their input. You've chatted your players up and everyone has been psyched out.  Your VTT tools are prepped, either by you or with help by someone else. There are some rehearsed tactics, but mostly everything in the background can be generated on the fly, from a peasant to an entire economy in about 5-15 mins. What happens next is nothing goes according to plan, and you spend about 2 hours of the 6 pulling things out of your @$$. 

Its not that bad, you had the typical crowd pleasers: some combat, good role-playing, and  real strategic thinking that caught you blindsided. Its not that bad, the session has been recorded and someone else can go make the transcription, while you go back to the GM hive-mind and crowd-source some ideas. The next session, might be better. 

By the time the next session rolls around, 6 hours of game play have become transcribed and very meticulously researched; some GMs have given some fair warnings and more prep has come to play. Some things have been set into motion that the players can't help but follow through: out of morbid curiosity, real role-playing, or because of some ton of cognitive bias (sunk cost effect, self fulfilling prophecy, confirmation bias, overconfidence etc...). Lower unfamiliarity and it appears that your gaining, there are some tricks that improve the overall RPG experience that come into play. 

The next few sessions goes well, to great. You've only targeted 5 sessions, and squeezed as much fun as you can from the experience. In the end, you compile and make your notes presentable, other GMs can easily see the formulas and where they too would have been caught of guard. There would be some praise for the GMship, and some constructive criticism and healthy discussion about how things could have been done better. You have the option to try again with a new group using less resources than the previous group and given you some heady experience and all that developed material; or to try the same group again for a different game, realizing some chemistry that might be worth exploring; or a new or older game and new group.

I realize writing this that my personal philosophy or expectations is not going to be true for everyone: 
  • not everyone wants a well documented game
  • not everyone feels the need to prepare a lot (if they could spend +20hours a week they would). 
  • not everyone needs so many props, tricks and help
  • not everyone is an attention whore
  • people may hate being data-mined 
  • very few people would like to try other gaming groups, once they found a comfort zone
and of course many would not want to spend more than $10/mo. on games.

As our time gets more valuable, and the tools get better, maybe game enhancing services might have the best bang for buck. Around this time, GM and player performance maybe so well documented that standards may arise and the hobby might develop a language. What I mean by language is that the game experience becomes easier to communicate, that it can be its own sport/game.

edit. as more people read this I'm getting more self conscious about my grammar and spelling. So you'll notice some edits where I realized I had a major brain fart.

Friday, February 24, 2012

[Traveller and Ultra Tech] A science post about appreciating computing power of the human brain

Disclaimer: i'm not a computer scientist, i'm drawing from my experience with 3d graphics and rendering graphics and guessing.

The Visual Cortex is an example of a very very powerful specialized computer. The best way to imagine how powerful it is, is by looking at graphics of simpler visual processors.

If you're familiar with how insects, dogs, and animals see then you have an idea. Some simpler visual processors can sometimes distinguish perspective, sometimes color, distance, patterns, texture, or has a powerful ability to adapt to diverse lighting conditions (photographers should appreciate this the most). You can make a comparison to graphics in computers to those of other visual processors and still come up with some parallels in complexity. 

Now here's another kicker, object recognition and context recognition. One thing is to visually construct the world around you (your eyes really do a lot more of inference than you think; if you've been in G+ the visual illusions should point out a lot of its weaknesses and amazing compensation abilities), its another to be able to, without consciously thinking, make decisions based on all the other specialized processing centers: Spatial, kinesthetic, touch, equilibrium etc...

Imagine just driving and the amount of processing going on, if you consider the ability to navigate and drive. Then consider the meta thinking when you strategize and plot a course, then consider that your going a route, using route memory, and multi-tasking (like I always do) like doing problem solving task, developing a composition, or mulling over the complexities of a social interaction. 

The graphics alone requires a computer 100x better than a desktop (Complexity 5; passmarks 100,000-999,999) (roughly the computing power to render an high quality image in less than a second continuously at a rate of about 40fps), every additional task that coordinates with the specialized processing requires a processor as sophisticated: part of the processes is coordinating with the visual, part of the processes in the specialized intelligence tasks, and another part coordinating with the other Intelligence. If you believe or adhere to multiple-intelligence theory you have: kinesthetic, spatial, memory, visual, logical, mathematical, linguistic, musical, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. A human brain might be around Complexity 6 (IQ10-11 in GURPS), but it has the capacity to become x10 (IQ12-13) through more effective through mnemonic techniques, conditioning, and education. 

The funny thing about orders of magnitude of 10, is that you might have 10-100x better in one intelligence but as you coordinate and implement with all others: communicating ideas, working in a socially complex structure, converting the ideas to multiple mediums, kinda forces some kind of averaging out. 

So in around TL10+, a C5 tiny computer is 0.04lbs and a C6 small computer is about 0.4lbs. You can probably fit a small computer in your head and probably about several tiny computers, a neural interface, radio communication. 

So the difference in genetics, I can make up for my intelligence by the amount of additional computer system I'll implant. From having one crawl down my spine, another tiny computer, to an organic and regenerate-able flexible computer embedded in one's skin (several lbs of a circuitry), to evasive surgery min-maxing the space inside one's body (as well as finding a way to generate enough power for all of that; like a skin suite that powers through solar, heat and kinesthetics through hydro-distribution).  

anyways this is how I try to put computing power into perspective. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mass Combat and State-Craft Campaign; Organization

A new friend, Cal of http://www.robotmessiah.com/ is prepping for his TL2 Mass Combat and State-Craft game. I've been always working towards bringing down the prep barrier/cost of such a game. 

At work one of the things that got me thinking about this is my experience with leasing and construction. Our main line of business is total-fit-out. We make furniture, design, build, lay-out network cabling, data-centers, civil-works etc... I'm not an engineer but I'm exposed to the costing portion of the work. You really just need a few structures with complete costing, ideally with samples of special constructions and things that are exceptions to the rule (use Low Tech Companions Building rules). Anyway, in Real Life, work costing is unpredictable and it can factor in to the variance from the abstraction. Nothing a GM can easily hand wave. Basically make an easier to use version and templates to draw from.  

One of the things I could help in, with GMs who want to run such game, is to make a way to organize assets. Assets like armies, holdings, head-quarters, and retainers. The idea I have is building Decks, card decks; I got it also from work particularly when companies and departments have to present to other people information about their organization they make a Power point of Decks. Making a power point version of you Card Deck doesn't hurt.   

3 Kinds of Decks. There is the standard CCG card stock, then there is the larger and fewer cards. I'm mostly experienced with L5R, which is a State-Craft and Mass Combat CCG.  Ideally a reference guide to be printed out and updated. Ideally more than 2-3 copies of the reference guide would be awesome for a GM-free board-gamification of this when Idle. 

The 3 card sizes. 

  • B8 ( 63mm × 88mm; 2.5" × 3.5") - Mass Combat Units, Manpower groups.
  • B7 (88mm ×125mm; 3.5"× 4.9") - Retainers, Minor Allies, Lesser Holdings (manor, villages, mines, towns). Has a sleeve that fits in Manpower cards. 
  • B6 (4.9" × 6.9"; 125mm × 176mm) - Stronghold, Major Allies, Greater Holdings (duchies, principalities, counties, baronies; large towns or cities). Has a Sleeve that fits in manpower cards and sub-holdings. 

Size according to ISO 216 

I'll really go full steam into this when I get a Gaming PA and buy the tools for this (Campaign Cartographer, Cosmographer... etc.). One with graphics skills... I have just the friend who has the skills to help me do this, I'll just ask him first.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

[GURPS traveller] HT is Redundancy and Fail-safe

Im brain storming for a game and would like your input (crowd sourcing).

I have an idea to make HT, like in traveler ships, affect redundancies and fail-safe. I got the idea at work, clients being so protective of their accounts that they have triple to quadruple the number of fail-safe and redundancies. I realize these measure of value in technology. 

So HT8 has almost no redundancies, to make up for it the practice is not to push it to the red zone ever. Going up the HT chain, we have greater and greater degrees of redundancies. Some redundancies start being designed for enemy action at HT11. Backups in-case someone tries to intentionally penetrate or break the system. 

It makes sense for ships, vehicles, power armor, and technology that can be dangerous to its user. As for red zoning equipment performance, safe is at half level... I wonder at what level should i start having checks? Can apply to ships, guns, vehicles? So high HT means you can get max performance? Does that mean an HT8 hero class ship with a max acceleration of 1.3g has to roll HT every time it escapes 1G world?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

[Gurps traveller/ultra-tech]Complexity and Computers in TL10

[Gurps traveller/ultra-tech]Complexity and Computers in TL10

So ive being doing the numbers, looking for a dominant strategy given the game rules and how i know technology is applied today. But first...

Moores law assumes unlimited resources, no market correction, a proportionally expanding infrastructure base. Its an assumption of a trend, like putting your money in housing/internet/emerging markets will 'always be' the best place to increase ones assets. All trends have an ending, basically in any point in the next forseeable future, the GM can slow things down.

The current Anti-science movement is a GREAT reason, if not depressing, why technology cant move past a certain point. If only 1% of the world is producing science there is a great loss of diversity in the problem solvong process, wisdom of crowds- diversity increases the amount of perspectives. As for some reason, maybe asimov figured out the anti science movement is inevitable, like his psychohistory, that when science is spread to the masses, part of its practice is to question things...

Sorry for getting distracted. Anyway, ill talk about the computer, its todays equivalent, how it will be used, who will use it, and ideas for your game.

Your computer at work or home (benchmark)
TL8, Complexity 3, 1000-9,999 pms (processes per micro-second). In the US and you bought it 2011, and spent less than $500, probably 1500-2000pm. If your a MAC or windows 8 user your Graphics user interface, those windows that allow your uber powerful visual processor interface with the computer eats up about ~300pm (because of many debugging tracking software), your antivirus 150-200pm, your browser left in the background with a dozen tabs ~30pm, and skyrim eating up the rest at about ~800.

Tiny, $10, 0.04lbs
Complexity 5, about 100,000-999,999 passmarks
Todays equivalent
the processing power of a multinational company's data center. This is the equivalent of getting 100 of your computer today. In todays world to make all those computers one single mainframe computer would take $100,000+ of networking appliances (cisco huawei), UPS 20kva, encryption, security, airconditioning, specially designed racks, heat sinks, and about 9 network certificated associates, plus a professional level, 10s of thousands in security updates, upgrades, and redundancies. The servers would make around $18m annualy assuming 60% market utilization.

You have all that can fit in your wrist watch, jewelry, eyeware, inside your skull. If people figure out cerebral signal mapping by perfecting an algorithm for it, then almost half of all that computing power will be used in translating all your thoughts to coded actions or script as quickly as you have thought of it. The other half may be projecting it back to meaningful signals into your visual, auditory, smell, and touch centers.

Every additional tiny computer working with the most intuitive interfaces or mental interface, can have a large array of programs. If you work with computers alot then immagine all the programs youve learned doing your every whim almost at will. You have one other computer or your 'familiar' learning and cataloging all your adjustments and making adjustments as quickly as having sensed there was something wrong.

These computers allow us to pay attention to things we could not afford to, taking care of our bodies in a way. Basically it allows us to measure every action, calorie, and energy level, and remind us in the way we like of what our better selves would want us to do; if need be instantly gratify us.

Of course now that thoughts are translated to data people can read and capture, security and appliances have evolved to protect, back up, encrypt and self destruct all such. So as busy as you are building up tools and databases, you build up security systems.

A person would have as many redundancies hidden around him as we do trinkets, both clearly visible others intentionally hidden from the best detection system available to the public. It will be as though parts of you have been fractured into shards allowing you to reconstitute in you unrecordable thoughts.

In TL10, middle class earns about $50,000 a year. Even if people can live on $7200 and $12,800 in housing, people will be investing ~25% in savings (assuming asian and european trends, and US does the same), and ~25% in augmentation (or maintainance of augmentation) in the form of training, cyber ware, familiars/assistance, certification, and professional equipment (a real growth of about 1-2% per year since everyone, in their class, is doing it).

These tiny computers make up their wardrobe, particularly elements they are allowed to constantly wear. The actions that get us to think creatively: walking, meditation, exercise, socialization become the primary activity of the day. Although, structure is good for the brain and for people, these will still be structured in a way.

As early as culturally ideal, people start getting mental cyberware. As parents are protective of their childrens future, sometimes wrecklessly too early and unable to allow them to appreciate a world which might not intuitively understand them, or allow them to learn the harder lessons in life without being threatened of cyber profiling/mentally raped.

its really better IMO when there is an appreciation of all the dangers, and a certain degree of paranoia, the healthy degree of paranoia a datacenter has against social engineering attacks.

Small $100, 0.4lbs
Complexity 6 (IQ10)
This is 10x more powerful than one tiny computer, BUT your character will be having about a dozen on him and a few inside him all working in gestalt. Small computers are primarily used as AI assistance or familiars.

These are your companions, from child hood imaginary friends, pets, and limited AI emulations long dead loved ones/or your guardian ancestor (great grand dad of TL8 watching over us). They can be mind emulations of our idealized selfs or one of our own personalities we wish to have around more often.

They lend assistance in a small robot body, without occupying the space a medium sized body would. They can go with you anywhere, and if they need help, they are not too heavy. They can be in a life-like animal or fantastic form, or a rugged or rustic robot form.

Some people crave alot of familiars, others are satisfied with one, some for every different aspects of their daily life, some make do with seemingly inert object that speaks or projects images only just to them. Some may want a swarm as a familair, who knows?

Anybody whose wanted to be pampered would definitly have a familiar who can pamper them. Anyone who deals with handiwork will need such that can help them, perfectly suited to their needs.

On ships, these become very very important in psychological stability in very long voyages and very closed conditions, and all sorts of unforeseeable risks.

Medium computers
$1000, 4lbs, thats complexity 7(IQ12) or 10,000,000pm.

A companion with much more intelligence. In a medium sized body, you can fit +10, such to gestalt to a C8 (IQ14).

Onboard navigation systems for 3d travel with special sensory tracking and identification thats happening around it (which needs powerful inference, a massive database, a lot of phsyics calculation for precision use of resources)

Engineering robots for ships. They track and identify every bolt, nut and cubic milimeter of the ship. They map trends of wear and tear and failures, after tracking these they formulate hundreds of options per second, constantly updating with every new piece of information. Its AGILE process like it was done by... A super computer.

The command station robot does the same but in a way. Its all about tracking, trending, AGILE laying out of all the options and assumptions for the officers, but in terms of navigation, managing the ships data systems, registry informtion, and coordination with other ships.

In traveller you need one medium robot for the command section and engineering, with one redundancy for both, plus one for every additional 100dtons of engineering. Since ships operate constantly, you will have 2 people on duty at any time (5 full time equivalen in command station, 5 in the rest of the ship), with a robot companion to help them. Some robots might have a tiny to small computer to give it personalty.

To be continued

Sorry for the crappy writing, did it all on the ipad with all thumns.

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In My Traveller Universe: Opening a Can of Worms

I'm just trying to brainstorm for an upcoming game. One of the challenges I face is costing and callibrating skill and IQ levels in a world where cybernetic augmentation of one's mental abilities is the norm, and that computers are 100x more powerful than now. (see GURPS 4E ultra-tech) So other than spending a lot of money in certification, skill upgrades in the latest tech, people regularly upgrade their mental abilities.

Obviously starting off wealthy means access to the best equipment and cybernetics, and Gov't restricted upgrades. This would create great source of inequality, especially when powers that be create control barriers to who has access to the mental upgrades.

I don't need to detail the fully entrenched Upper-class. Those who have individuals who have the best of everything: education, cybernetics, and genetics. I need to know how much do they leave the “free market” alone. Then I need to know what is my Middle Class made up of? How much cybernetics do they have, how much are they spending to perpetually be up-to-date, and what professions they are in?

I begin to realize, with people who have near god-like intelligence. Those who are still human because of their motives, but have at their disposal the best Intelligence in the galaxy have everything as their pawns. Even “free” worlds and “free traders” are mere toys and pawns in their own scheme of things. The kind of intelligence that may have something like Psychohistory at their Disposal.

Other Considerations in IMTU.
Another strange thing is that there are Ratios for Robotic Assistance. For everyone profession, there is at least some robotic assistance. Looking at the ISW ratios, I will have to make up some ratios for Robot assistants and what these robots are made up of (their cost, complexity, skill level, space and maintenance).