Silver Age Beyond
Computers in the greater galaxy were once so commonplace even a child could use one. This is no longer the case in the vast majority of Imperium controlled space and beyond. These high-technology machines are largely proscribed (considered sinful) by the Sectus, although they are allowed in approved libraries and for necessary uses, such as plotting jump coordinates. Nowadays, those who use computers must be ever-watchful for roving Inquisitors.
Using a computer requires a Mind + Computers roll. Especially user-friendly machines may allow a Social Sciences + Computers roll.
Computers are extremely expensive, beginning at 500 GC for the clunkiest models. All starships have computers as a necessity, and the piloting skill allows a pilot minimal use of the computer, but only for piloting tasks.
At low tech levels ( 4 or 5), computers are not much different than those used in the late 20th century, although they may be more or less advanced. At Tech Level 6, different substances can be used in their construction, such superior silicon like substances found on some worlds. At Tech Level 7, truly advanced or wondrous materials can be introduced, such as Galateum, necessary for artificial intelligence neural networks. In addition, as the Tech Level increases, different methods of information storage and retrieval may be used. Some advanced computers store their data through coherent light or sound, rather than magnetic scribblings. These advanced methods require advanced understanding of their workings — one of the many reasons data from the Second Republic is so hard to retrieve. Once a light or sound computer has broken down or been corrupted, many do not know how to retrieve the raw data that may still be stored within the machine or on disks. Not even the Computer Scanning ability may automatically view this data (the computer must have power and still requires a roll).
Most computers store removable data on laser crystals, which come in a variety of sizes and require a variety of media to read them. There are three main standards — or sizes — to most Diaspora and Second Republic era disks: mini, standard and mega. The mini is a tiny disk-shaped crystal meant to fit into wristwatch style computer 30 GC; the standard is the most common size, a bit smaller than a late-20th century compact disk but capable of holding more memory 20 GC; and the mega is a large crystal cassette which holds an immense amount of memory 40 GC. There are other crystal standards, but they tend to be unique to rarer computer systems.
Some computers can link up with other machines to share data or programs. Such networking is actually rare in modern times throughout the galaxy, but is known, especially among the Ingenium Engineers or the money dealers of Guild Arius. Usually, models produced by the same guild will network with each other, but not necessarily with the machines of a competing guild. Almost all Second Republic-era computers can network with other computers of the same era.
All computers require a power source. Most built during or after the Second Republic use fusion cells. One cell will power a computer for about 1 week worth of continuous use. Certain high-tech cities on Capital Secundus, Guildheim and Criticus still maintain a fusion power grid which a computer can plug into.
|Item||Tech Level||Falcon – GC Cost|
|Auto-Pilot||6||500 install/5000 software|
|Electronic Abacus||4||400 desk/500 lap|
Programming Computers in the Greater Galaxy
There is a wide array of unique programming languages still used, especially for those who want to encrypt their data — breaking the code requires understanding the language. As normal, the skill Computers is used to interface with computers and program them.
Computers out in the galaxy at large are notorious for their difficult operating systems and programming languages. Each programming language must be learned separately; just like a foreign language, and programming one of them requires the skill Computers. A character who knows this skill is considered to know one language; she will have to buy the skill separately for each extra language she wishes to learn (due to their advanced, ancient nature, these cost 2 skill pts (( Chrisperience) per language instead of the normal 1).
|Tambda:||This is the premiere high-tech coding language of the Empire, an artificial language constructed by the Ingenium. Since only members of that guild are familiar with this language, computers that are completely reprogrammed by them can only be fully accessed by their members. Most incarnations are effectively TL6.|
|Maurocastrum:||The Money Dealers Guild has developed its own language as well, although it is used mainly to store records and financial data. Since only a handful of these bureaucrats have the knowledge to construct data systems, they’ve done a shockingly poor job. Any system using Maurocastrum is five times more difficult than it needs to be, and only other members of the Money Dealer’s guild can decode these arcane operating systems. Consider this TL5.|
|Maxima V.V:||The Sectus has sanctioned and developed this cumbersome programming language. Take the crude raw data language of the First Republic, translate it into Latin, require a system of declensions for different situations, and you’ll be decoding the Holy Tome of the All-Maker in no time. The first version of Maxima was TL4; this one is TL5.|
|Krë:||This programming language of the Reikaw was developed completely independently of human society. It reflects the cultural preferences of that race, and humans find it annoying at an almost instinctual level. TL5|
|Facet:||Golems (robots) have their own various computer languages within their data matrixes. Facet is a meta-language that applies to most of them. Explorers who find ancient golems have a better chance of kick-starting them if they understand it. TL5 to TL7|
|Scade:||This is the original form of Tambda, present in many TL5 computers. Its raw data format makes it easy to translate into other languages. Add +2 to any computers roll that involves Scade. The Sectus is notorious for capturing these machines and modifying them to allegedly work better under Maxima V.V.|