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Cyberpunk, shadowrun... How do you deal with current tech being better than future-tech?

Faethor

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Interface zero had a reasonable go at updating cyberpunk, going along the lines that everyone got chipped for a bright wireless 3d immersive future... and it (obviously) went horribly wrong so people just invested in better security and firewalls and prayed they didnt get their brain hacked or infected (a great part of the setting) - because without it, all the wondrous tech (that's ALL) doesn't even register that they exist - doors won't open, ac won't adjust, toilets self clean while your using them, lifts won't come - the world treats you like you don't have a neon soul or a digital presence. They kept the dangerous tech because not using it made things inconvenient (!) - that is a modern conceit I can totally get behind in plausability terms.

Neoluddites are the real deal in this setting, forced to live like hermits. Never has the divide between old generation and new been more neatly drawn.

Hey, at least the newest cortical processors come with an on/off button now I suppose.
 

Gee4orce

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What's the big deal with everything having to be wired vs. wireless? Is it going to be game breaking if you just say that you can jack in wirelessly? If you need to keep people in a physical location when they are jacked in, well, we all know how unreliable cellular connections can be if you move around....
 

Chilitoke

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Bandwith can also be an easy copout explanation. For the wire.

if its about the Memory or Storage of a handheld computer, i would just ignore those or say that a Shadowrun MB is not the same as ours.
Or that the data is less i.e. stuff is compressed better, due to reasons.
 

Poisson Resistance

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Bandwith can also be an easy copout explanation. For the wire.

if its about the Memory or Storage of a handheld computer, i would just ignore those or say that a Shadowrun MB is not the same as ours.
Or that the data is less i.e. stuff is compressed better, due to reasons.
SR has never used bytes to describe data size. It's always used units of light, pulses, which are typically scaled to megapulses, because it assumed very nearly everything switched to optical (even back in 1e) unless you got some really cheap cyberware or the like; it's even something that's dropped in a conversation about the lesser thunderbird in PAoNA.

The problem with Mp, though, is that some of the described storage spaces made optical systems seem far behind the eight ball on storage capacity. This is why SR4 presumably did away with most storage capacity concerns and hand-waved how many pictures you could have in your storage drive away as "lots, you'll never fill it up that way".
 

Stormfalcon

Just slumming
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Alternative timeline. The game's present is not our future. So you can have all kinds of 80s stuff: cyberdecks that need to physically connect to the Net, big expensive cellphones with no internet connections and post WWIII Cold War with the Soviet Union.
This is my approach to the matter of tech levels in cyberpunk games. Back when CP2020 and Shadowrun came out, their timelines were still in the future and we had no idea how prevalent wifi would be, let alone smartphones and tablets. These days, I see the earlier portions of their timelines as alternate past histories and go from there. Our tech being much more advanced than they imagined it? I just see it as their tech evolving at a different pace, or differently altogether.
 

Ramidel

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Fundamentally the cyberpunk genre is retrofuturism, pretending it is anything else is just odd to me.
Nah, it's swinging back into fashion in a new form. But cyberpunk written now (and not as a deliberate throwback) will look different from cyberpunk written in the '80s, because we're grappling with different technological challenges.
 
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giant.robot

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I think a couple cyberpunk tropes (gameable ones are that) break when using modern technologies instead of the retro tech.

Wireless networks are a big one. It's not so much that the behavior of hacking necessarily changes but the consequences are different. In the wired retrotech hacking model the runners need to be physically connected to a phone line or network. Security countermeasures might do things like fry the runner's modem or deck (or brain) with a power surge on the wire. Part of the PC's task was getting a runner to a suitable access point and protecting them while they're running. Being able to netrun wirelessly removes a lot of physical consequences for runners.

If you want to add wireless network access or other more modern technologies I think it's important to replace the dangers/consequences of wired running. It's not necessarilygame breaking not to do that but it really changes the economy of a PC group if the runner can always be safely separated from that objective. You'd have the same problems with players in the 90s wanting to netrun from their apartments saying they'd justgo through a proxy to get access to some target network.
 

Stingray

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I am currently using SR5 for a 2050s setting with motified matrix rules to get rid of wireless specifics. I pitched the technological part of game to my new players as "1980s style cyberpunk" and they accepted it without any discussion. It's a genre and i don't think you can have real cyberpunk with our current technology. Call it dystopian transhumanism but it's not cyberpunk.
 

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
What's the big deal with everything having to be wired vs. wireless? Is it going to be game breaking if you just say that you can jack in wirelessly? If you need to keep people in a physical location when they are jacked in, well, we all know how unreliable cellular connections can be if you move around....
I think it depends on what it is. There's stuff (like utilities) that are on the general internet that probably shouldn't be. So, wireless jacking could assume public/general access, not secure/proprietary. And its easier to secure a physical connection access.

So, if you're going after smaller gigs, might not be a big thing. Going after a big target? Its probably safe to assume that at least some things will be wired, depending on how important it is.
 
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