Had a lot of you asking me about how I program and the like. Programming is important if you do want to be the novahot matrix cowboy/cowgirl. That's true. And the benefits of investing in the skills and equipment to do your own programming and deckbuilding is that you will always be able to access what you need to jack into the matrix, without relying on others.
But.. is that necessarily a good use of your time?
A word of warning: Deckbuilding in particular is time consuming and expensive. If you do not have a good computer to do the program on and you are inexperienced with the deckbuilding, you can spend DAYS working on just one part. 1) And as you will see, a custom deck is requiring many parts to function. In life, the saying “time is money” is so true. While expensive at first glance, it might be ultimately more profitable to just buy the storebought deck, or even the custom deck from another netjockey.
…but if you're reading this, you're already thinking of sinking your time and money into this. So, choom.
If I was to list the pros and cons of every different computer and encoder that are on the market, we'd be here all day. Instead, I've just summarised Computers and Encoders as a category.
WARNING: OBJECTS DROPPED OUTSIDE OF APARTMENTS, GARAGES ETC ARE AT RISK OF DISAPPEARING.. damn gangers. 2)
|Optical Chips||You need these for programming, but also sometimes for deckbuilding. Buy at electronics stores. Legal||Varies.|
|Decking Parts||You need these for deckbuilding only. Buy at electronics stores. Legal.||Varies|
|Computers||You need a computer (laptop, desktop, datacenter, etc) to install your programming designs onto. The higher the rating, the faster you can program. Also, large storage sizes recommended. The larger the program you are coding, the more storage you need. Legal.||Varies, from 10,000 nuyen to 350,000 that I've seen.|
|Encoders||You need this to COOK your programs onto optical chips once you have finished programming them. Higher ratings cook your chips faster. Legal.||10,000-20,000 nuyen.|
|Microtronics Workshop||You need this to build parts and to build cyberdecks. Legal, but hard to acquire.||30,000~nuyen.|
They say that the design phase is optional. I say skip it at your own peril.
If you've done any formal sort of matrix studies, you would know that there are 5 major skills involved in just the design phase. Operational, Special, Cyberterm, Defensive and Combat program design.
(from help program design:) This set of 5 skills (Operational, Special, Cyberterm, Defensive and Combat are used in the optional design phase of programming cyberdeck programs. Extra successes in the design phase lead to easier programming tests later on. Program Design (Cyberterm): This skill is used for any programs needed for cyberterm construction and persona progs. Program Design (Special): Programming Suites, Sleaze, Track, Compressor and Battletac all fall under the special category. Program Design (Combat): This covers all attack programs. Program Design (Defensive): Cloak, Lock-On, Medic and Armour are covered in this category. Program Design (Operational): All other programs not covered by the previous categories.
Settle in, Omae. This is where the bulk of the work is.
This uses your training in Computer B/R, and it can take days or even weeks for the bigger programs.
Creating or buying a programming suite from another programmer and installing it on your computer will speed this up, as will using a better computer… or being a better programmer - an easy prospect if you just use skillwires.
If you want to be able to install your finished program onto your deck, you need to cook it to an optical chip.
This is where the encoder comes into use. Just make sure you have enough optical chips lying about, and just smack it in there like your parents smacked you - with love, Omae <3. You don't even have to watch it while the encoder does it things. Again, just like your parents with you!
N.B. As previously mentioned, programming on a device that has a programming suite is easier/quicker. The only downside to having a programming suite installed is that they take up space, which can be a problem if you are using a cheap drek computer. But you wouldn't do that to yourself, would you, baby?
And then you're done. You can INSTALL the completed program chip onto your deck. Don't forget to set the program to default, if you want it to load automatically!
Please see Sunny's Guide to Decking for a cheat sheet on the various utilities and what they do while I finish working on thhe below:
|Number||Name||Necessary for hardware part?||Associated Matrix actions?|
|1||Bod||Yes: Bod Chip Part|
|2||Evasion||Yes: Evasion Chip Part|
|3||Masking||Yes: Masking Chip Part|
|4||Sensor||Yes: Sensor Chip Part|
|5||Attack||No.||RUN attack. For use against IC. Destroying IC raises detection value.|
|6||Slow||No.||(NERP)Slows IC down, potentially shutting them down. Does not raise detection value.(NERP)|
|7||Medic||No.||RUN medic. Heals your icon. Potentially loses effectiveness the longer it is loaded.|
|8||Snooper||No.||(NERP)Assists with Analyze Operations.(NERP)|
|9||BattleTac||No.||(NERP)Use with your comlink program to assist each other in the matrix!(NERP)|
|10||Compressor||No.||(NERP)Potentially compresses files, making them load/download faster. (NERP)|
|11||Analyze||No.||Allows ANALYZE actions to succeed.|
|12||Decrypt||No.||DECRYPT Databombs. Decrypt encrypted subsystems.|
|13||Deception||No.||Crucial for LOGON and graceful LOGOFF.|
|15||Sleaze||No.||Average of Sleaze program and Masking Chip = how hidden you are.|
|16||Scanner||No||LOCATE Decker/ SCAN Decker|
|17||Browse||No||LOCATE host <keyword>/LOCATE File/Trace MXP|
|18||Read/Write||No||UPLOAD file. DOWNLOAD file / DOWNLOAD paydata|
|27||Programming Suite||No*||Recommended install on your programming computer.|
|31||Cold ASIST Interface||Yes.|
|32||Hot ASIST Interface||Yes.|
BUILDing a deck involves using your understanding of Computer b/r, but also some parts of cyberdecks require software. This will require you to design, program and cook the relevant software (as above) before BUILDING the part into your cyberdeck.
The following assumes that you've managed to purchase yourself a microtronics workshop, and that you have SET it up, and that you've gone ahead and got some cyberdeck parts and bags of optic chips stockpiled.
While I don't suppose there's any law preventing you from just setting up a workshop just anywhere, 30,000 nuyen's a substantial bit of creds to just lose when the first ganger walks up and takes it from you. Set it up in your APARTMENT or even a GARAGE, Omae.
(OOC: DROP the workshop from your inventory and SET it up. Takes 5 OOC minutes to SET up or PACK up workshops.) (WARNING!!!! Objects dropped outside of player housing are LOST if/when the server resets or crashes.)
I'm still working on this - <3 Sunny
Many of the optional parts aren't exactly optional (go up against blackice without any hardening and you probably won't be able to tell me about it later), but when I've listed a part as “required” that means that it is one of the minimum components necessary for a deck to even turn ON.
“Programming Required” means that you will also need to design and program and cook the related chip, making sure that your part plan MATCHES the programming plan.
|##||Required or Optional deck part?||Part Name||Programming Required?||What's it?||Comments|
|1||Required||Active Memory||No||Back in the olden days, the oldtech term was “RAM.” Your deck's active memory limits the utility programs it can run at once.||Loading a utility into active memory does not remove it from the storage memory. You can set utilities to automatically load by DEFAULT, too. 6)|
|2||Required||Storage Memory||No||Your cyberdeck's harddrive.||You can't download something that's larger than your available storage memory, duh. Loading a utility program into Active Memory does NOT remove it from Storage Memory. You install and uninstall things to your deck's storage memory OUTSIDE of the matrix.|
|3||Hot ASIST Interface||You gain the ability to choose between hot and cold ASIST modes. 7) In hot ASIST mode, you can use your hacking pool and (if installed)response increases.||Your squishy decker meat brain is unshielded from the matrix, leaving you vulnerable to grey and black IC and greater injury from dumpshock… However, you can choose between the two modes. So a Hot ASIST Interface is definitely superior. Cold ASIST mode limits the damage to you, the decker.|
|4||Cold ASIST Interface||Cold ASIST mode limits the damage to you, the decker, from grey and black IC.||All store bought decks and cyberware use Cold ASIST interfaces. You cannot chose to use hot ASIST mode with a Cold ASIST interface. In Cold ASIST mode you lose the ability to use your hacking pool and there's no point to building and installing response increases.|
|5||Optional||Hardening||Yes||A collection of internal deck programs designed to reinforce your deck’s resistance to invasive code such as viruses, gray and black IC, etc. Each point of hardening reduces damage from Black IC to your deck's icon or to YOU, the actual decker. It also makes it harder for grey IC to damage your icon.||Recommended, if you like your brain unbaked.|
|6||ICCM Biofeedback Filter|
|7||Required||Icon Chip||Yes||Your mind is represented by your persona icon, which can have any appearance you wish, Omae.||Make it a wiz one, yeah?|
|8||Required||I/O Speed||Input and Output, baby.||I/O's are like those old modems that connected terminals and computers back in the dark ages. All uploads and downloads are always at the full I/O speed of your deck.|
|9||Required||MCPC||Yes||The Master Persona Control Program, the master operating system of a cyberdeck. The Cyberdeck's OS. The MPCP Rating is the central value for cyberdecks. The MPCP Rating multiplied by 3 equals the maximum total of the deck’s persona programs. No single Persona Rating may exceed the MPCP Rating, and the maximum value for utility programs is equal to the MPCP Rating||You want as high an MCPC score as possible, Omae.|
|10||Required||Bod Chip||Yes||Bod is the decker's resistance to damage and is used primarily in combat to prevent damage to the deckers icon from White and Grey IC. Bod does not prevent against damage to the Decker.||For use in Custom Decks only. Different to the store bought version, can't use store bought in custom decks. You need to build in a bod chip.|
|11||Required||Sensors Chip||Yes||Sensors are used to detect icon movement within a host. It is the decker's eyes and ears when he is logged on. High sensors can help detect IC before they attack, giving you the opportunity to maneuver yourself to a better position.||For use in Custom Decks only.Different to the store bought version, can't use store bought in custom decks. You need to build in a sensors chip.|
|12||Optional||Masking Chip||Yes||Masking helps a persona camouflage itself to its surroundings. It is one of the most useful persona programs in a decker's arsenal. Coupled with the Sleaze utility program it determines your detection factor. The higher your detection factor is, the more difficulty the host (and IC) have detecting your presence. Your detection factor is the average of both your masking chip and any sleaze utility program loaded on your deck.||For use in Custom Decks only. Different to the store bought version, can't use store bought in custom decks. You need to build in a masking chip.|
|13||Optional||Evasion Chip||Yes||Sometimes even the best decker gets caught out. When this time comes they need the evasion persona program. It helps not only in combat maneuvers but to help avoid Trace IC from locking onto you.||For use in Custom Decks only. Different to the store bought version, can't use store bought in custom decks. You need to build in an evasion chip.|
|17||Optional||Response Increase||No||Helps your reflexes in the matrix. Like wired reflexes, only in the matrix!||You MUST be running in hot ASIST mode to utilise this.|
|18||Required||Matrix Interface||Allows you to interface with the world data network, the matrix, via your central nervous system.|
Programming your own utilities is easy enough for me to admit that even a beginner netrunner probably could manage to sling the code together. Evaluate utilities (used in finding paydata) will decay periodically8), so it is useful to be able to make this yourself. You do not need a microtronics workshop UNLESS you plan on making your own custom deck.