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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 12:23 am 
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This would help tremendously in deciding my character concept:

What is the state of the art in medicine/cybernetics, computer and information tech, weapons and military?

Do cybernetics exist in any form? We talking Neuromancer or Burning Chrome with augmentations to the body and direct neural I/O with computers, or Ghost In The Shell with advanced cybernetic prostheses and full prosthetic bodies? Are beam type or particle type energy weapons still the stuff of Hollywood? Any space travel or colonization?

Were there any major international conflicts that occured after the dissolution of the US? Does the Tigris and Euphrates river valley glow in the dark and Mecca and Tel Aviv both glass parking lots?

Background man, background!

:D


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:31 am 
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These are all excellent questions, and I don't have answers to all of them yet. Originally, the game was set in 2020. This would be low-tech, with simple cybernetics (arms, legs, reflexes, direct neural interfact, etc). That said, because this is a tabletop game, I'm strongly inclined to age the world another 20 or 30 years and see where that takes us. Feedback would certainly be welcome in this regard.



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:55 am 
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I think part of what I liked about CP2020 was the concept of humanity loss. I didn't like the way it was implemented, but I did like the idea that it changed you. I thought it was stupid for replacement arms, but maybe interesting for people for whom neural interface was happening.

I enjoy the dirty low-tech mixed with the sleek high tech. I'd hate to advance so much that we missed out on the awkwardness of technological adolesence, if that makes any sense. Can we move forward and remain gritty and cynical without moving out of CP and into SF?



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:01 am 
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Neuro wrote:
I enjoy the dirty low-tech mixed with the sleek high tech. I'd hate to advance so much that we missed out on the awkwardness of technological adolesence, if that makes any sense. Can we move forward and remain gritty and cynical without moving out of CP and into SF?


Of course. Shadowrun's timelines stretched clear to 2060 or so, iirc. The streets would be similar to 2020, just with more technological adaptation. Corporate R&D levels would reflect Ghost in the Shell. If I advanced the game, I suspect it would very closely resemble the Neuromancer trilogy. I may steal some stuff from Transhuman Space as well.



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:11 am 
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I'm rather fond of the lower end of the spectrum - y'know, your everyday pistols and rifles, just with more dohickeys and general improvements, cyberware thats fairly powerful, but not 100% reliable. Beam/Energy weapons are controlled/used exclusively by ultrarich corporations, cos they require massive amounts of energy, but will effectively blow the fuck out of what you point them at...

One of the big tropes of the CP genre is that the protagonists are on the cutting edge of the technology - well, some of it, anyways. Increasing the technology level might make this distinction a bit fuzzier.



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:38 am 
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Bio. I really, really believe the wave of the future is in biologics and nanotech.

I see potential for the biologics to get out of hand and for the nanotech to be expensive. Beam weapons, however, seem retarded, no offence. You also shouldn't take what I said as a vote for a low tech level, just that I want to see it preserved a la the Lo Teks to some degree. I don't want us to lose touch with the idea of the junkyard masterpiece.

(Pardon me. Just wanted to get the thought out while it was in my head.)



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:41 am 
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ANd to be honest, the consept of exanded biologics and nanotechnology seem much more interesting in the greater scheme of things especially with the current developments being made right now.



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:51 am 
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Quote:
ANd to be honest, the consept of exanded biologics and nanotechnology seem much more interesting in the greater scheme of things especially with the current developments being made right now.


This could lead to some -very- cool stuff. And give Winter plenty of evil things to play with. Has anyone else here read Stephensons "The Diamond Age"? It was a terrible book in terms of plot, but it had some cool ideas in regards to the use of nanotechnology...



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:52 am 
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Cookie cutters.



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:57 am 
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Quote:
Cookie cutters.


w0rd.

Nanotech warfare.

Creepy shit.



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 5:17 pm 
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The Diamond Age... That had the uprising in Hong Kong/mainland China, and the enclaves of the Neo Victorians, Confucians, etcetera? The engineer who made the nanotech book-computer that raised the little girl?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 5:48 pm 
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Lemme toss these ideas out:

Firearms tech:

Brass cartridge firearms are considered antiques or curios, rather like blackpowder is currently.

Caseless powder burning firearms are the standard.

Non explosive propellant based projectile weapons are the new hotness (man portable railguns, wire guns, flechette pistol/rifles, smart bullets w/range programmable explosive charges . Stuff that's blue sky on Discovery channel)

Lasers/particle beams: Big, bulky, vehicle mounted or requring a 2 man crew minimum, military/megacorp scale money needed to buy-maintain crew and so forth to effectively field one.

man portable beam weapons are tasers with 100 yd range, microwave guns for crowd control (can give a nasty burn if you're targeted too long), focused sonics and ULF's (bowel busters, puke guns), "phasers" (actually available now, 2 lasers create a path for an ionizing charge that can lock up voluntary motor functions.)

Thanks to advances in monomolecular and nanotech construction methodologies though, a more ancient projectile weapon is enjoying a renaissance: the bow and arrow/crossbow. Smart fibers allow a bow that's light to draw, yet can hurl an arrow with tremendous force (think arrow through a 1/2" thick sheet of steel) coupled with projectiles large enough to carry a number of payloads (gas, liquid, mono wire for climbing or setting vehicle traps, explosives,) and monomolecular cutting edges, once again proves the old adage that "what's old is new again" is certainly true.


Edged weaponry:

Monomolecular and vibroblade cutting implements, cheaply available thanks to nanoscale manufacturing. The vat ninja mono-whip from "Johnny Mnemonic" is reality. Diamonds are no longer a girl's best friend since DeBeers went under after synthetic gem quality and better diamonds came flooding out of fabs in the US, Japan, Euope and Russia. In fact, gemstones in general aren't much more than costume jewelry thanks to gem quality synthetics. Sworsmanship becomes required teaching again to the world's police and military forces.

Body armor:

Thermoptic camo (Ghost In The Shell, aka the "Predator effect") commonly available, merely a subset of the variety of fashion available due to nano manufactured light tubes woven into any cloth you care to name. Corporate advertising runs wild.

Reactive/predictive armor that can sense incoming projectiles alllowing light, comfortable personal body armor that can stop most chemical firearm projectiles and the lighter kinetic projectiles.

Vehicle technology:

I'm thinking Blade Runnerish. Groundcars are most common, but police and military and well to do civilians have multiphase, VTOL capable transportation. Maintenance costs in line with what a high end luxo or sports car would be today. Flight computer tech and a proliferation of autopilot beacons and aids enable safe transit in the skies for those who can swing the price of entry.

Ambulatory vehicles. John Deere already has a 4 legged tree harvesting machine that is very close to, if not already in commercial use. Military/police applications are obvious (Ghost in the Shell crab tank, anyone?) as well as civilian use for those who want to live out in the boonies or want the ultimate off road vehicle.

Hover vehicles. Again, more common throughout the spectrum. Mostly military and commercial (LCAC's, hover ferries) with the occasional commercial/enthusiast model.

I think with the advent of the micro methane fuel cells now being used in cell phones in Japan that most all would be electric powered, given 40-60 years to advance the tech to where the engergy-density ratio is comparable to or superior to a gasoline internal combustion engine.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 8:14 pm 
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Cybernetics:

Mechanical prosthetic limbs and organs are common, if expensive for the ones that effectively mimic the original (i.e. looks indistinguishable from a natural limb) down to affordable for those that have the basic shape, but are readily distinguishable as cybernetic prosthetics.

Full body cyborgs would be either prototypes or still in the animal test stage. Encasing a human brain into a selfcontained support system (Ghost In The Shelll cyberbrain) is still a highly controversial and bleeding edge technology. The bodies themselves, due to the large volume of expertise in making indistinguishable replacement limbs (hair, skin, etc) look and perform as a regular body would, albeit enhanced. You can replace all your organs, limbs and enhance your reflexes, etcetera, but it's not quite to the point of being able to pop your brain into a new body at will.

Enhancements: night vision, Zeiss-Ikon eye implants, retractile monofilament fingertip blades, "Wolverine" blades, enhanced muscles, joints, soft tissues and bones are reality.


Biotech - Major advances in biotech are what have spurred the sudden flurry of the mega's to perfect the wetware to hardware interface, and made the cyberbrain into a possibility rather than science fiction.

On other paths, there are a new breed of computers that are grown cell by cell, neuron by neuron, rather than doping layers of silicon.

And of course, for those who can afford it, since the human genome has been mapped out for better than 40 years, anti agathics have become reality. The Swiss clinics can't stop the biological clock, but they can slow it down considerably. Lifespans running into 2 centuries are seen as very feasible, with even longer lifespans hypothesized, with the proper regimen of clinical support.

Nanotechnology

The Japanese and Germans lead in this field in production, with many brilliant innovations coming out of the CalNeva (former US states of California and Nevada) research sprawl. and New Israel.

Nano tech has dramatically altered the economics of manufacturing and logistics across a broad range of industries, most notably the medical/biotechnological, computers and telecomm and the arms industry. A shift to nano manufacturing leads to massive layoffs as many skilled laborers find their jobs obsoleted by micromachines that can do a far more precise job faster. Processing power becomes cheap and plentiful, literally being disposable in the form of animated packaging, news and periodicals that stream up to the second information and advertising, even eating utensils become lilliputian billboards hocking the latest game or news reality show.

The Isreali's, most notably, embrace nanotech with a keen eye towards surveillance and information gathering and assassination and covert operations. The Syrians learned a costly lesson in the form of "Locusts", self replicating autonomous drones that were seeded in the desert ahead and behind advancing armor and infantry that consumed any available material and reassembled themselves molecule by molecuile into a variety of autonomous weaponry.. Spider bombs, gauss snipers, etcetera


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:26 pm 
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Alright, time to try and answer these one by one. These answers are for the 2040s timeline, incidentally.

Cartridge vs Casless Ammunition:
Both are available. Military and police almost exclusively use casless, but catridge ammunition is still common on the streets, with hunters, etc.

Flechettes, railguns, smart weapons:
Available to the military, much harder to come by on the streets.

Man Portable Beam Weapons:
The discovery channel still talks about them. There's been limited success with them, but they tend to involve a backpack sized power supply. Not something you're ever likely to see, outside of military R&D and perhaps the occasional special ops team.

Focused Sonics. microwaves, etc:
Targetted towards riot control, these weapons never really caught on. They exist, certainly, but haven't seen widespread use.

Old school projectile weapons: Although available, confined to a niche market. Available for the eccentrics.

Edged Weaponry: The monowhip lives! Nonetheless, the discovery seems to have made more impact in the kitchen than in the battlefield. That said, it's certainly being utilized making better combat knives and the like. Monowire's also replaced concertina wire in high-security applications.

Thermoptic Camo: Color shifting clothing was very hot when this first came out. Hunters now use camoflauge made from the stuff. Nonetheless, it still leaves a distinctive outline, hardly making one invisible. Of course, the stuff the corporate R&D departments have is rumored to be FAR more effective.

Reactive Body Armor: Amazing advances have been made in this field. Politicans now wear undershirts designed to protect the vitals. Unfortunately, it is not the end all to the arms race between firearms and armor, and it still requires a bit of bulk to feel completely secure. Armored clothing did have a surge in fashion, however, and it's not uncommon to see people (gang members, police officers, motorcycle riders) wearing tailor-made armored jackets.

Vehicles: Your average person still owns a car with 4 wheels that runs on petrol, alcohol, hydrogen, or electricity. There are far more options now,. VTOL vector-thrust aircraft (think banshees from shadowrun) are in use, and personal aircraft have become more common.

Ambulatory vehicles: These are in use in off-road applications. The military certaiinly has use of them, and police have access to certain models.

Hover Vehicles: Vectored thrust seems to be what's caught on. Hovercraft still exist (and are still in use), but aren't much more common than they are now.

Fuel cells: Both batteries and fuel cells have been highly refined. Kinetic power is also often utilized. Many devices can go for days, weeks, or even years without being recharged.

Cybernetics: Medical cybernetics are common, their effectiveness and concealability based on what the patient can afford. Cosmetic cybernetics are not uncommon, especially among the noveaux rich. Many of the upper class sport designer eyes, ears, etc. More radical surgeries, such as those designed to give combat enhancements, are regulated by the government or outlawed completely. Nonetheless, they exist, and can be implanted in many a back alley chop shop. Complete cyborg replacements are still largely the stuff of rumor, although it certainly seems theoretically feasible (kind of like human cloning is today).

Biotech: It exists. It's made a lot of progress. I wanna look over Transhuman Space before I give a definitive answer on this.

Gene Therapy: If you've got a ton of money, dying becomes more an annoyance than an eventuality. Many expensive treatments now promise immortality, although nearly all are lacking in proof on human subjects.

Nanotechnology: Just finally starting to come into it's own. It's been in use in several fields (particularly medicine) for a decade or more, but is still not commonplace. Still, it's becoming less and less rare with each passing day.

Computers: Computers are phenominally faster than they are today. Virtual reality is commonplace, althought direct neural interfaces are largely limited to those who require it for their livelihood. Despite all of this progress, most users still use 'trodes or even a dumb terminal, and still complain about how long Microsoft Word 2045 takes to load.



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 7:42 am 
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What about biologic computation?



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 9:00 am 
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Neuro wrote:
What about biologic computation?


I suppose I'm not sure it matters, in a 'Affects the price of petrol in London' sort of way. At any rate, I'll be handling the biological side of stuff AFTER I get Transhuman Space, because from what I've read it's got a lot of good resources for that kind of thing.



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 9:34 am 
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Just wanted to put it on your radar, since I was thinking about computation speed.



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 5:45 pm 
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Other interesting tech questions:

State of the art for entertainment?

Realistic holography should be pretty common, since it won't be too terribly long before it's commercially viable in the here and now.

Simstims? Tally Isham, or whoever the flavor of the month is?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:27 am 
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Three-dimensional entertainment sets are the norm. The projection size of these units tends to be in line with modern television sets. Theatres, naturally, have far larger (and more expensive) setups. Two-dimensional programming is far from dead, and many classic films have been converted to 3D.

SimStim exists, however is not the mainstream for entertainment. Most people simply view it as too intense for casual recreation. That said, there certainly is a market for SimStim entertainment. Common subjects include extreme sports (skydiving, motorcycle racing), event coverage (attending concerts, parties and the like), reality (think the real world, but you're inside the characters), and adult entertainment. There is also an underground market for illegal simstim, these can range anywhere from street fighting to high speed persuits to even suicides.



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:28 am 
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I suppose I should note that I've gone ahead and decided to work with the advanced timeline. With any luck, I'll have more history up in a couple of days for you to read.



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