Computers are everywhere, in everything and everyone. From the micro processors infused into most materials, to micro computers built into nearly every object, home mainframes, civic and corporate megacomputers, even the nanotech in your body and the nanosphere all around you.
Artificial Intelligence is ubiquitous tech in the galaxy. Simple non-volitional, and dedicated AI is all around you. Most of it is “quiet”, simply doing its job “behind the curtain” as it were, and without it intergalactic civilization would cease to function in short order.
Practicaly everyone has a personal non-volitional AI servant residing in the nano computer matrix in their brains. These internal AI servents often run silently but can be given simple personality simulations if desired. Their main function is to act as the operating system of your internal computer, edit your Augmented Reality perception to your preferences, filter email, record important data, protect you from computer/mental intrusion, monitor your health and well being and alert emergency responders if needed, operate your internal comm, translate languages, access instructions or provide personalized HUD interface for devices, and generally facilitate every day living in a high tech and multi-species society.
In game terms this basicaly means that characters will not be being hit with constant negatives for unfamilliarity penalties so long as they are working with people or devices considered normal or common in the galaxy. Also they are protected from a flood of datasphere spam in their heads every time they’re on “civilized” worlds.
True volitional AI is also known as Synthetic Intelligence, or SI.
“I may be synthetic, but there is nothing artificial about my intelligence.” -Aurora Obsidian, chief civil SI controller for Blackguard Bay.
SI entities are common on most large scale data networks such as for civil, corporate, and military agencies. Their intelligence and initiative coupled with their quantom speed data processing and multi-tasking abilities are essential for the operation, maintenance, and defense of importat, complex, large scale operations.
SI are considered sapient beings in almost every galactic civilization and are normaly accorded the rights and privledges of citizenship. Their lives are very different from organics and other physical beings however. They live in the datasphere and were created to perform specific tasks. The vast majority of SI entities have no objection to this. They know they were programed to be content in their assigned roles, but they look on it as knowing their “purpose in life”, which is more so than can be said of most beings.
Computers are built using a simple version of the rules for building computer systems in GURPS Ultratech.
A computer’s Complexity (before TL bonus) is the skill bonus for a user.
It’s SMA stat is equil to its’ Complexity rounded up to the nearest die type for a dedicated AI, plus one die type for a non-violitional AI, and two for a full violitional SI.
Computers have no STR or AGI obviously.
VIG starts at d6 for most hardware. This may be improved by “hardening” or reduced by using cheep, substandard, and/or improvised materials and components.
SPI represents the robustness of the computer’s programming and software under stress. This is d6 for most systems, but can be improved or degraded by the quality of its’ coding and some of its’ hardware. Cheep systems and core programming are d4 SPI. Expensive quality systems are d8 or more. Quantom adds one die type regardless as it makes the computer’s “mind” more flexible and resilient.
There is no need to detail out all the software on a computer. With the exception of some special programs we can assume most computers have the proper software included for whatever tasks they are intended for.
The “Extra Capacity” upgrade simply adds 1 to the Complexity bonus for having a larger “tool kit” to work with.
The encryption/decryption software package needed for hacking adds $1000 to cost.
Quantom computers add +4 bonus to hack or defend from hacking verses non-quantom computers. Only quantom computers may run full violitional SI programs. An SI run on a non-quantom computer looses much of its initiative and personality and is effectively a non-violitional AI in game stats.
Sample Computer: PC with Quantom (add 1d type to SPI), Hardened 1(add 1d type to VIG), High Capacity, and “Hacker” package. It is Complexity 6 and comes standard with a non-violitional AI operating system.
AGI 0, SMA d8, SPI d8, STR 0, VIG d8, Toughness 6. It has its SMA d8 skill level for asigned tasks and gives the user and itself Knowledge: Computers +6 for its Complexity 6. Cost: $31,010. Weight: 20lbs. 2 C cells/20 hours.
Most hacking is done through Augmented Reality so that the hacker percieves their actions in the datasphere as an overlay of the physical world. This is benificial as the hacker can keep up with the group while performing their job.
Full immersion into the artificial landscape of the datasphere is posible though and not uncommon. This can sometimes help the hacker to focus on their task and gain a broader awareness of the datasphere without all the distractions of the “meat world”.
A very simple and quick hack may be just a single skill roll. Add the positive modifiers for the hacker and their computer, subtract the modifiers for the target computer, then roll for success. The GM may of course include any situational modifiers they feel appropriate.
More involved hacks are likely Dramatic Tasks. This often represents the “window” a hacker has in a system before the alarms go off and that system boots them out or summons overwhealming opposition in the form of SI guardians or police and opposing operators.
As powerful SIs are considered Wild Card characters themselves, any attempt to combat or oppose them directly should be handled as a contest of skills. This is practically imposibly difficult for a lone hacker as high level SIs are extreemly intelligent, skilled, superhumanly fast, multitasking, and almost always have superior resources to call uppon such as the processing power (Complexity) of a megacomputer loaded with ICE ( Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics) and a support crew of various other AIs, SIs, and live operators.
Direct assault on a major mainframe system, rather than just sneaking around in it to try and complete a few tasks like most hacks are, is the job of a full force of hackers/operators, SIs, and AIs with their own mainframe ready to do pitched battle in cyberspace.