ALI Customization Rules

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chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
ALI Customization Rules

I decided to try to extend the ideas for programming custom ALIs that we were discussing in this thread into a fully-fledged system. Starting from what DivineWrath wrote:

DivineWrath wrote:
My current thoughts are to allow you to do 2 cp worth of programming with a week of work. So 10 skill points, 2 specializations, traits, aptitudes, and so on. No rep or pools though.

I've come up with the following rules:

General Rules:


ALIs have an aptitude maximum of 15. They can have up to 10 active skills. Their active skill totals cannot exceed 40, with the exception of one primary skill which may be at 60. They can additionally have up to 10 Know skills. Their Know skill totals cannot exceed 80.

ALIs cannot default; if they don’t possess a skill, they can’t use it. They can use specializations (which can exceed their maximums). They do not get pools, unless a morph, bot, vehicle, or other device they are operating provides them. ALIs do not suffer stress from resleeving, as they possess little to no sense of identity.

Baseline:


A baseline ALI has all aptitudes at 10, though damaged or badly programmed ALIs may have less. It has no skill ranks beyond those granted by its aptitudes, and it has the Enhanced Behavior (Obedient, Level 3), Real-World Naiveté, and Morph Familiarity [relevant device] traits. GMs may assign other traits as they see fit.

Upgrading:


An existing ALI can be improved by increasing its skill ranks, increasing its aptitudes, or giving it new specializations. This is accomplished via a Programming test with a timeframe of one week; a successful test grants 1 CP worth of improvements, +1 CP per superior success.

When increasing aptitudes, remember to increase the ranks of linked skills as appropriate, and note that if an increased aptitude causes a secondary skill total to exceed 40 or a primary skill total to exceed 60, the extra ranks are lost. Existing skills can be deleted (or reduced to 40, in the case of a primary skill) to make room for different primary or secondary skills; doing so provides no benefit other than the room for a different skill.

Additionally, extra enhanced or restricted behaviors may be added or removed as part of this programming test, though doing so does not grant the ALI any additional CP. ALIs may not be given any other traits except with explicit GM permission. (Use common sense: an extra Morph Familiarity is probably fine. Psi probably is not.)

Character Creation:


Players wishing to start the game with an ALI other than the standard Muse ALI as their muse may replace the free Muse ALI they recieve in step 12 of character creation with any other Moderate complexity ALI, or spend 1 GP to replace it with a Major complexity ALI. The final result is subject to GM approval.

Purchasing:


ALIs may also be purchased. Variations on the standard ALIs listed on page 326 (such as a version of the ALI with one or two skills switched for different ones) are fairly easy to find, but ALIs with more niche or unusual skill sets may be significantly harder to acquire. ALIs have a complexity dependent on how many CP worth of improvements beyond baseline they have, as listed below:
  • Min/1: Baseline ALI
  • Mod/2: ALI with more than 0 and at most 50 CP above baseline.
  • Maj/3: ALI with more than 50 and at most 100 CP above baseline.
  • Rare/-: ALI with more than 100 CP above baseline.

The only exception to this rule is the standard Muse, which is Moderate complexity due to how incredibly common it is. ALIs designed for potentially illegal activities, such as combat or hacking, may additionally have a Restricted (R) classification.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Well, if you care to know

Well, if you care to know (which you probably do), I'll explain my thoughts. I choose to base improving ALIs on improving your own skills. 1 cp per week. I thought that egos were a better choice for improving skills, so to give ALIs a competitive advantage, they got the ability to be improved by 2 cp per week. Also, egos get their skills improved without needing a skill test, while ALIs would need a successful program test.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
DivineWrath wrote:Well, if

DivineWrath wrote:
Well, if you care to know (which you probably do), I'll explain my thoughts. I choose to base improving ALIs on improving your own skills. 1 cp per week. I thought that egos were a better choice for improving skills, so to give ALIs a competitive advantage, they got the ability to be improved by 2 cp per week. Also, egos get their skills improved without needing a skill test, while ALIs would need a successful program test.

That's what I assumed, yeah, but upgrading your character costs Rez Points, which means it's a limited resource compared to upgrading an ALI which only costs time. Plus, any reasonably good programmer will get 2 CP per week on average from superior successes, especially considering they don't have anything better to spend their pool points on during downtime. This way, it actually rewards being good at programming.

ubik2 ubik2's picture
I expect the Writing

I expect the Writing Blueprints rules to apply to ALI as well. This means that in 8 months (perhaps 32-34 real time hours), you can create any of the ALIs that would be of Moderate complexity. In 24 months (say 96-102 real time hours), you can create any of the Major complexity examples.

Kaos ALI (Major) has 60x1, 40x4, and 30x2 active skills, as well as 80x1 know skills.
Sentry ALI (Major) has 60x1, 40x3, and 30x4 active skills, as well as 80x2 know skills.
Assuming aptitudes of 10, both of these are 200 active skill points spent (Fray/Perceive have a higher base).

Bot/Vehicle ALI (Moderate) has 60x1, 40x1, 30x3, and 20x3 active skills, as well as 80x1 know skills (and two specializations).
Security ALI (Moderate) has 60x1, 40x1, 30x4, and 20x1 active skills, as well as 80x1 know skills.
Assuming aptitudes of 10, both of these are 150 active skill points spent.

The Device ALI is significantly weaker than the others, but its complexity may be misleading. These ALIs are included in Minor items.

The Muse ALI would have 160 active skill points if aptitudes were 10, but the INT aptitude of 15 means it only needs 145 active skill points.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
ubik2 wrote:I expect the

ubik2 wrote:
I expect the Writing Blueprints rules to apply to ALI as well. This means that in 8 months (perhaps 32-34 real time hours), you can create any of the ALIs that would be of Moderate complexity. In 24 months (say 96-102 real time hours), you can create any of the Major complexity examples.

I actually hadn't considered that! Let's see if my rules work for that. For reference, here's how many CP I calculated each ALI to have:

bot: 44 cp
device: 47 cp
kaos: 54 cp
muse: 60 cp
security: 48 cp
sentry: 68 cp

Assuming a competent programmer can add 2 CP per week, and that each month has 4 weeks, this would give us that a Bot ALI would take 5.5 months to make. This seems like significantly less than what the blueprint rules say, but we need to remember that a baseline ALI starts at Minor complexity, meaning the act of upgrading it should probably just cover the difference between Minor and Moderate, which is 6 months. So we're pretty close!

Unfortunately, it doesn't work as well for the Major complexity ALIs, since as we've seen they don't actually have that many more points than the Moderate complexity ones. A Sentry ALI (the one with the most points) would take only 8.5 months to make. The theoretical maximum I chose for Maj complexity ALIs to be 100 CP, which would only take 12.5 months to make.

I could say that once an ALI hits Major complexity (more than 50 CP), then improving it takes twice as long (so two weeks per improvement instead of one). Doing that would increase the time it takes to write a 100 CP ALI to 18 months, which is close enough to 24 for my taste.

That said, I'm not super sure how important it is for ALIs to follow the writing blueprints rules, since they're their own thing and not really a kind of blueprint. IDK.

ubik2 wrote:
The Device ALI is significantly weaker than the others, but its complexity may be misleading. These ALIs are included in Minor items.

This is true if you consider only active skills, but if you consider knowledge skills, the device ALI has a similar amount to the other Moderate ALIs. Essentially, what it lacks in active skills it makes up in knowledge. Which is partially why I chose to determine the complexity based on number of CP spent instead of number of active skills.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
chaos_forge wrote:I actually

chaos_forge wrote:
I actually hadn't considered that! Let's see if my rules work for that. For reference, here's how many CP I calculated each ALI to have:

bot: 44 cp
device: 47 cp
kaos: 54 cp
muse: 60 cp
security: 48 cp
sentry: 68 cp

Assuming a competent programmer can add 2 CP per week, and that each month has 4 weeks, this would give us that a Bot ALI would take 5.5 months to make. This seems like significantly less than what the blueprint rules say, but we need to remember that a baseline ALI starts at Minor complexity, meaning the act of upgrading it should probably just cover the difference between Minor and Moderate, which is 6 months. So we're pretty close!

Unfortunately, it doesn't work as well for the Major complexity ALIs, since as we've seen they don't actually have that many more points than the Moderate complexity ones. A Sentry ALI (the one with the most points) would take only 8.5 months to make. The theoretical maximum I chose for Maj complexity ALIs to be 100 CP, which would only take 12.5 months to make.

This is one of the reasons why I originally choose to advance ALIs as characters (per week progress). There wasn't a whole lot of difference between most of the ALIs, but the difference in blueprint programing was huge.

Per week progress also made it possible for players to make small improvements to ALIs in short periods of time. At least I thought it was a good idea.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
DivineWrath wrote:This is one

DivineWrath wrote:
This is one of the reasons why I originally choose to advance ALIs as characters (per week progress). There wasn't a whole lot of difference between most of the ALIs, but the difference in blueprint programing was huge.

Per week progress also made it possible for players to make small improvements to ALIs in short periods of time. At least I thought it was a good idea.

Yeah, I definitely think the per-week progress is a good idea (although IIRC you can split programming task actions across multiple sessions if you need to do something else in between). But determining the exact rate of progress is a lot harder . . . it needs to be fast enough to be worth doing, but not too fast considering that upgrading ALIs doesn't cost anything other than time.

RN I'm considering the possibility of saying that once an ALI is past 50 CP upgrading it takes longer . . . similar to how leveling a skill takes longer once its rank is past 60

ICU2 ICU2's picture
How do ALI skills for Pilot

How do ALI skills for Pilot work in a vehicle that has multiple methods of operation (and thus requires multiple Pilot skills)?

For example, the ALI for a GEV (page 352) would need Pilot: Ground, Pilot: Nautical, and Pilot Space. Similarly, the Flying Car (page 350) would need Pilot: Air and Pilot: Ground. In all cases, the ALI only appears to have a single Pilot skill.