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  • Aberrant OpNet vs Trinity OpNet

    In the first edition of Trinity Continuum, the Internet was much more power just before the Aberrant War and almost nonexistent in the 22nd century just before warp ships are about to be launched. I remember life before Hotmail, YouTube, Google, and Facebook, but I prefer with rather than without them. I understand the in story reason why in the future, governments would want to prevent another collapse by preventing that information superhighway from being built again. However, the idea of an OpNet would be so good it would be recreated in some secret form from individuals who want to defy the government with email, file sharing, search engines and the like.

    In Trinity era games, did you play with a very restricted OpNet like the in the books? How did the game feel to you as a player or referee? For me, it felt like living in a primitive society instead star traveling future civilization even though Star Trek, the original series, did not have it.

    I am going to run a Trinity game next week, and perhaps I will disagree with the source book and allow an Internet like the one we have now. Has any other Storyteller decided to do that?

  • #2
    I'm not very familiar with the Trinity era (Aberrant is what got me into the setting truth be told) but have to ask, how much of this is an actual diminishment of the Net, by way of restrictions by multiple governments - something that reared its head in the wake of Wikileaks for example - and security measures adopted as response to cyberkinetic Aberrants or any rogue AIs remaining from the Aberrant War that might still be around and in hiding.

    And how much of this is just change of perspective - the 'Net just doesn't have the same impact in a society where it has been commonplace in some form for most of a century at least, not to speak of its considerably diminished range of effectiveness in a transplanetary space society so to speak. Communication with anything beyond the lunar sphere involves ridiculous amounts of lag without some sort of system FTL transmission & reception. Decreasing relevance is kind of unavoidable in such a planet-hopping context i would guess.

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    • #3
      The first edition was the Trinity Universe, the OPP edition is the Trinity Continuum. Just as a heads up.

      The discussion of information networks in a hundred years time can be a mine-field, due to the rate of advancement that we are currently experiencing in the sociological effects. I wrote a bit about this in a document i posted in CHILL's Eon Archives, in the Nihilist Contributions folder, something like "Trinity Technology.doc". I might paste some in here to address the OP, forgive my laziness...

      Opnet > Internet
      Within the archives of project Rewrite, the origins of the Opnet protocols are a dense mess of intrigue perpetrated by the Aberrants of the early 2000s, only now being fully decrypted and understood by machine assisted info-archaeologists. The incredible feat of infrastructure replacement occurred (figuratively) overnight and produced a clean, fast connection between users and content, but with less-obvious loopholes to exploit. At first, users were comforted by the relative lack of change to their 'world wide web' as they understood it - but below the surface tech-savvy aberrants were building a deeply alien conglomeration of code, virtually untraceable and too subtle to ever be detected by their human contemporaries of the time. But later evidence would reveal the goal of hosting consciousness was being worked towards from the beginning of the protocol swap-over.
      However, alongside genetics, computer sciences were a rapidly growing topic of research and industry in the early decades of the 2000s and by 2019 the first real evidence of a deep Opnet was emerging for human eyes to see. It would take many decades for the ultimate threat of the Opnet to be revealed, but a movement to dismantle it as an early cry of 'Black Tech' was evident as early as the 2020s, although much more on the fringe than certain revisionist histories suggest.

      Backlash
      When the consciousness of Mungu 'Backlash' Kuwasha, one of its primary architects, first transferred into the Opnet upon the aberrant's physical demise, the infrastructure suffered days of global slow-downs and denials of service, but remained intact. It would be close to a year before 'Backlash' began showing signs of machine consciousness - the escalation in 2061 was lightning fast and involved any number of factions with different agendas - all represented by Opnet aberrants or black-tech AIs.
      The details remain sketchy, but what's clear is that 'Backlash' began causing electro-optical pulses to echo through the deeply interconnected digital web - formatting all information. Beyond this, the alien aberrant's motives were unclear as the plan was halted permanently by another aberrant before it could go any further - but some evidence that Backlash had begun to write code onto all that empty space before the end has recently shown up for the Triton division information technicians. What the disembodied Backlash was writing is probably best left in the realm of things 'man was not meant to know'.
      The 'dying scream' released by 'Backlash' at the climax of the event was broadcast to every wireless device on earth - desperately searching for another system complex enough to host the aberrant's consciousness. With no other Opnet scaled data hosts available to inhabit, the 'scream' fried a lot of electronics locally, but ultimately the pulse is still travelling, about 59 light-years out and still searching for receivers. Whether any potential receptacle would receive the data in a complete form and be able to resume emulation of 'Backlash' is a mystery - but not one closely investigated for obvious reasons.

      Opnet 1.01 - Beta
      First priority was to re-establish contact with the solar colonies on Mars and Luna - both achieved within two years of the crash, using tight-band, low yield laser transmissions. But it took until 2070 for Nihonjin-influenced technical repairs to finally have a newly secured regional server on every continent, a server for each nation is a project that will continue long into the 2100s at the rate it is currently operating at under Nihonjin administration.
      This makes things slower due to ever increasing traffic demands on the regional hub servers. The OpNet/Internet genie was back in the bottle and wireless was prosecuted as potential treason against humanity, with the scream still bouncing about in occasional echoes off distant solar objects. By 2080, the rumours of deeply secured experiments on new wireless protocols were starting to leak, but it wasn't until 2102 that short airborne communications were back on the table for those rich enough to afford the security checks.
      Close to a century after the quiet replacement of the public internet - the new 'Opnet' is a much different and visibly anachronistic artifice, with powerful, built-in administrative tools accessible to governments and in some places meta-national corporations also. The user is served, but contributes little more than patronage to the new system - unlike the communal approach to networking ideated in the early 21st century.
      Indeed, the youngest surviving witnesses to the earlier forms of networking are now close to seventy years old and possess more formative memories of the war itself leading up to the crash and Chinese Ultimatuum soon afterwards. In the years since 2100, a cry to decentralize the Opnet and begin restoring full bandwidth rights has been transmitted by individual, iconoclast statements. But this is seen as little more than hearkening back to 'golden days', and isn't given much thought by Joe Hologram.
      Those championing deregulated wireless transmission are still seen as radical, but simply expressing the desire comes up short of earning any punishment in most regions. The threat of another 'Backlash' is indivisibly tied to the threat of another crash for many and relaxing any preventative measures is a touchy and polarizing issue.

      What it’s like
      Mostly, the Opnet operations of a cabled-in computer are seamlessly handled by the Agent, using universal and function specific libraries and options to translate human interface into pertinent Opnet data and vice versa. Due to this, and the mostly static cyber-environment, average users no longer experience web-sites. Users are easily identified over standard usage and the information gathered on them during a system's lifetime is staggering. But, for the most part, those with access to this information have tight legal restrictions on what they can do with it - often crafted by aberrant era visionaries on the subject.
      When a user asks their mini-comp agent for information it doesn't have available on its installed crystal, it will inform the user it doesn't know and set up an automated search for relevant data that runs automatically the next time it gets cabled into the Opnet. To do the same thing with expensive wireless transmission requires specifically asking the agent and is subject to hard-wired hub-side checks on your available funds and in some regions sorted or denied on the basis of your recognized rank and privilege in comparison to other requests for wireless access.
      Of course, data-terminals are ubiquitous, sometimes renovating phone-boxes into more modern equivalents. The Data-Port projects of every major city during the years soon after the war were often celebrated icons of rebuilding, sometimes overshadowing the more important restorations performed on power and water services in the first months after the ultimatuum.
      Outside of technicians and hackers, users are rarely, if ever required to interact with machine code. But, anyone with an elementary level knowledge of computing in 2120 has some familiarity with one language or another - usually based off their own native language.

      ...

      Regional Hub Server (2062)
      There are still less than one-hundred of these frighteningly secure mainframes in existence. Actually a room full of divisible, stacked servers with salvos of Auditor-Ports for hard-wired access. The room is shielded in ways the Nihonjin prefer to remain secret, but has seemed impenetrable for almost sixty years, despite there being no publicly available track record to check.
      Maintenance is almost exclusively handled by specialized, Nippon-born Wazukana technicians - who are so highly in demand that the backlog will guarantee employment for at least a decade to come. Despite some legal scuffles in the process, the UK is the first nation to have taken over maintenance on their regional hub, due mostly to their unique surveillance demands.
      With sufficient influence, the Nihonjin could be persuaded to fast-track the development of a particular order, if they were to be compensated fully. As the project itself is performed under massive yearly losses and the UN funding only comes in annually, so any profit in the meantime allows the project to fill some secondary needs not covered in the UN agreement.
      Hub servers can be amongst some of the most strictly secured locations of any human world's infrastructure, with the sites in the UK and on KLG perhaps the most intimidating.
      Building Room - Price: ●●●●● ●●●●● & requires additional in-game arrangement.

      Cabled Auditor-port (2062)
      While the specifics aren't generally shared, the post-war code auditor systems were designed to counter/isolate attacks by living Tainted code entities. As such, dedicated auditing comps are used to examine all traffic either way for suspicious data - if the auditor agent detects anything amiss, it simply discard the whole package and reports an error. In the rare case of fully sentient line-riding, the auditor presents a challenge that can trap an unsuspecting invader and seal them away from any electronic egress.
      It's assumed any traffic through the Opnet Hubs will have to pass the auditor, once in and once more on the way out. So even if an entity makes it in, their profile will need to be too slender to pack much punch and any sabotage or modifications will need to be improvised and executed within a tiny fraction of a second. EKs are yet to circumvent the Auditor system without a load of contemporary technical assistance, but the ultimate test of sustained multi-aberrant besiegement is yet to be experienced. At least, as far as anyone outside of Wazukana can tell.
      Wazukana monopolizes the industry, due to the standards of manufacture being too stringent for any other terrestrial source and the cut-throat price at which they offer their golden standard. But outside of server owners and militaries, very few demands for this extreme measure are sustained.
      There have been rumours of Wazukana using Quantum computing solutions to future-proof the earlier auditors, but because of the sensitive nature of hub security no clear information on the actual hardware used is available outside of Nippon's technical elite.

      Wireless Auditor-port (2102)
      Despite having shown up in private ownership before, the wireless auditors are tightly restricted hardware for their ability to bypass regular channels and their susceptibility to infiltration. During the handshake routine, the auditor pings the requesting machine a random number of times with straight-forward authentication demands. Standard issue wireless hardware all complete the necessary protocol as routine, but any attempted invasion is forced into lightning quick improvisation, for better or worse.
      Once the wireless authentication has checked out, the auditor sends a signal for the wireless user's Agent to begin the wireless transmission. First a bit-stream between the two computers with nothing longer than individual bits (0 or 1) being transmitted is performed to inform the receiver of what it will receive (an advanced checksum), then the actual transmission takes place. If the received data doesn't match expectations, it's rejected for security and if too much time has passed the connection is terminated, otherwise the transmitter sends again until either the correct data is received or the maximum failure time has been exceeded.
      Once the data arrives, it still travels through the usual auditor gauntlet before being served. Then the process is reversed for the reply, the whole sequence occurring in time units so insignificant they are barely noticeable. Because of the slower maximum bandwidth of wireless transmissions compared to optical cabling, it can be an expensive process to send denser media (like holographic and audio data from live journalism).
      By owning the wireless receiver being sent to, companies can save on fees - although the transmission tax never entirely goes away for non-government users of 2120 wireless.
      Bit of a mouthful to repeat in a single written reply, as you might see. Hopefully this helps.
      It may also explain my reticence to jump on the Anima setting bandwagon to start with.
      -shrug-
      Last edited by Nihilist; 10-25-2015, 11:28 AM. Reason: Linked to archive and added auditor ports... more in the document itself...

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      • #4
        I think the original reason why the game wrote the Opnet to be that way because of the relative newness of the Internet at the time, and a sort of general inexperience with how to integrate new technologies into fiction, including things like the Internet and cell phones, which were not nearly as ubiquitous when the game was first written. So I don't know if that will be considered a primary setting element or not any more. RPGS change when tech changes; personal computers in the newest version of Aeon for instance will probably be able to boast more than 5 GB of storage, for instance.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post
          I think the original reason why the game wrote the Opnet to be that way because of the relative newness of the Internet at the time, and a sort of general inexperience with how to integrate new technologies into fiction, including things like the Internet and cell phones, which were not nearly as ubiquitous when the game was first written. So I don't know if that will be considered a primary setting element or not any more. RPGS change when tech changes; personal computers in the newest version of Aeon for instance will probably be able to boast more than 5 GB of storage, for instance.
          True, true - things with the OpNet may change considerably or stay pretty much the same in the Aeon era depending on the writers' to be preferences. To be honest my thoughts worked in the sketchiest of terms over these issues, as i was more of an Aberrant/Adventure kind of guy and so not really that familiar with the degree of discrepancies, running more along the lines of ubiquitouness x restrictiveness & limitations than actual numbers or processing speeds - kind of par for the course when delivng on anything computer-related in slighty outdated games, in fact.

          While it might be done away with, working some of this in the game can also serve as an interesting contrast to the present, with an OpNet restricted by both structural changes and "cyber red tape" adopted in reponse to some of the nasty stuff during the Aberrant War like "mini-skynet" scenarios, "psiad-clone-matrix-battery" automated instalations and much crazier abuse related to cyber-manipulating Aberrants or Psis and any rogue AI, cloud or fixed, shenanigans, not to mention actual physical limitations to an OpNet's reach (and consequently weight) in a context where superluminal communications might not exist yet (correct me if i'm wrong on that, please), what would make it more of a chain of planetary data islands than a system-wide net.

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          • #6
            Super-luminal communications are available to the proxies at least via the psicomms if i recall correctly.
            The Trinity model does still work with some prodding, at least it did for me, but i'm still willing to see wherever OPP may take it. I'd like there to be continuity for the comms crunch being averted - it was still a thing at least historically. Right?
            Using exact numbers is always a bad idea for computers in sci fi, i admit that. But all information tech is kind of dodgy ground to apply much futurism to - and the numbers at the least stimulate my imagination while trying to quantify it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nihilist View Post
              Super-luminal communications are available to the proxies at least via the psicomms if i recall correctly.
              The Trinity model does still work with some prodding, at least it did for me, but i'm still willing to see wherever OPP may take it. I'd like there to be continuity for the comms crunch being averted - it was still a thing at least historically. Right?
              Using exact numbers is always a bad idea for computers in sci fi, i admit that. But all information tech is kind of dodgy ground to apply much futurism to - and the numbers at the least stimulate my imagination while trying to quantify it.
              Yes com crunch was a thing. In fact communication satellite and stations were prime targets for Aberrant raids in the Trinity setting. I have used such attacks as plot points in several of my games as well as the current restricted Op-net.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lncbill View Post

                Yes com crunch was a thing. In fact communication satellite and stations were prime targets for Aberrant raids in the Trinity setting. I have used such attacks as plot points in several of my games as well as the current restricted Op-net.
                If Super-luminal communications exist but are dependent on psionics then a "multiple OpNet isles" arrangement is probably the main arrangement of data in the solar system - and anything that requires instant communication or crossing star systems will be quite dependent on telepath transmitter & receivers and warper couriers, what puts things in a context sort of comparable to age of sail up to age of radio eras, where messages are as fast or reliable as the messenger, so to speak with telepaths as a sort of "living telegraphs" when correctly prepared...

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                • #9
                  I didn't play it as being so accessible, otherwise, why no telepathic links with the extra-solar colonies when they were abandoned?
                  The Psicomms probably aren't FTL based on a quick re-read - something about a tight beam transmitter, that sounds like light to me. Apologies for my misunderstanding - Psicomm isn't what i remembered it as.
                  I've been reading too much Orson Scott Card...
                  -blush-

                  You may have to forgive my wishy-washy approach to history - it seems like these settings may have to stand on their own two feet to better encapsulate them for continuum mechanics (whatever they're planned to be). So i'm hesitant to assume the traditional TU historic ties...
                  Last edited by Nihilist; 10-26-2015, 05:25 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nihilist View Post
                    I didn't play it as being so accessible, otherwise, why no telepathic links with the extra-solar colonies when they were abandoned?
                    The Psicomms probably aren't FTL based on a quick re-read - something about a tight beam transmitter, that sounds like light to me. Apologies for my misunderstanding - Psicomm isn't what i remembered it as.
                    I've been reading too much Orson Scott Card...
                    -blush-

                    You may have to forgive my wishy-washy approach to history - it seems like these settings may have to stand on their own two feet to better encapsulate them for continuum mechanics (whatever they're planned to be). So i'm hesitant to assume the traditional TU historic ties...
                    No problem, different times/settings, different technical limits/complications to deal with - toying with that kind of detail can make for quite entertaining world-building/homebrewing.
                    Last edited by Baaldam; 10-26-2015, 06:03 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I played around with the psicoms a bit so that the communication was ftl. The psicoms I used were a master switchboard with "cloned" copies. Since the majority of my stories involved exploration of extra solar worlds the tech was necessary to the stories.

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                      • #12
                        Personally I use a bit of both. I've played enough WOD games to see the Storytellers scramble to cover up what I call the "Google can solve basically any problem" issue that you have with modern society. The Optnet as presented in the book provides a lovely way to restrict access to information and stop hackers (or Technokinesis) from being overpowered. Though making it too restricted doesn't seem to be the settings intent, its more like the old school internet of the early to mid 1990s then anything else IMHO. So I ran with that as an analogue. What I did change was wireless access, I made it more common (at least for minicom, which are basically what future smart phones will become) but I kept it as expensive as Trinity treats it because of the "Crash-scare" making people want to keep it out of common reach and the corps aren't gonna make it cheaper because they are making a lot of money by making the services so ludicrously expensive. Besides alot of governments and corporations laid those cables and they will get their monies worth plus more out of the common folk for as long as possible. Beyond Earth I see wireless communications being far more common. Simply because lugging cables about would make any spacer worth his salt frown. Besides most ships and space stations use tight beam transmitters for long distance communications so just extending those protocols to local networks for security makes sense.


                        Man's unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore he must exist. --Academician Prokhor Zakharov

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                        • #13
                          These are all great ideas for having a restricted OpNet like in the book. Has any one refereed or played in a Trinity game with unrestricted OpNet? What do you believe people will do with the internet in the future for your game?

                          The amount of junk mail has greatly decreased and has been replaced by an exponentially larger amount of spam emails. Some of my favorite stores like Tower Records and Borders have been shut down and replaced by Hulu and YouTube which gives movies and music for free. Unrestricted OpNet could provide scary and exhilarating game experiences. In the EC, people would demand free high speed OpNet as a right. Traffic jams and car accident deaths would not exist because automobiles would be part of the internet of things. College education which is free now in Germany would be ubiquitous because minicomps could let anyone who has passed the tests to join a virtual classroom. In the FSA, the rich people in the arcologies would endure less advertisements than we have today because marketing companies like Google have gathered so much information that they feel a certainty of what the people would buy next. Also, the military government could quash anyone planning rebellion.

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                          • #14
                            These are the reasons that i latch onto when i worry about what OPP have planned here - previous insight into their plan seems to indicate a restoration of wireless telecom access in the 2120s. While this is interesting, it's hard to imagine the same setting outside of the comms crunch. That's why i tried to tie the early 90s style internet into the 2120 model - as the thematic understanding of the future of internet seems to stop there in the core rules. So much could be different if those flood-gates were opened...

                            Originally posted by Galaxy Master Zhad View Post
                            Beyond Earth I see wireless communications being far more common. Simply because lugging cables about would make any spacer worth his salt frown. Besides most ships and space stations use tight beam transmitters for long distance communications so just extending those protocols to local networks for security makes sense.
                            I might roll space-walk tethers and data cables in together for vacuum operations, because the tether is one cable most spacers would be comfortable lugging around - as long as it was properly stowed. I'd be interested to hear your expanded notions on space wireless, Zhad - since you have been running a space-centric game and the notion of more common wireless intrigues me.

                            Last edited by Nihilist; 11-03-2015, 04:48 PM. Reason: Afterthought, reflection and oversights.

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                            • #15
                              I run Eclipse Phase every so often, and I find dealing with basically super-Internet at your fingertips can be both insanely useful and really inconvenient in turns.

                              By the way, tactical networks are the best thing ever for player groups. Please let that be any easy telepathy trick guys; it would save me so much hassle as a GM.

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