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SR4 - Drones on Autopilot and Controlling Drones

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dapperFedora

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« on: <06-18-13/1812:48> »
First time posting on these boards, I hope I am putting this in the right place.

Anywho, my whole group is going to be running out first game soon.  I am the only one interested in doing anything with drones and will also be the only Technomancer.  I have been cycling through the core book and Unwired looking through the drone control rules and I have come across something I having trouble figuring out.

With Control a Device you are forced to use a Complex Action for any tiny thing you do: aiming, moving, shooting, etc.  It also states that the drone will sit there, doing nothing until it receives the next Control a Device action you take.  This means that unless you use your own action to use Full Defense, it will not protect itself in any way, shape or form.

So when does the Drone stop listening to you and start acting on it's own again?  Will it sit there doing nothing for as long as you are subscribed to it?  For as long as you keep your focus on it?  Or would you have to Issue a Command for it to operate as normal, probably telling it to attack a target or just to defend itself.  And what if you mix actions together?  You issue it a Command to move, then Control it to shoot, then issue it another so it can defend itself, just how would that affect the Drone's Initiative/Actions available to it per pass.

Thanks in advance for the help.
« Last Edit: <06-19-13/1118:19> by dapperFedora »

BlueTroll

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« Reply #1 on: <06-19-13/0534:20> »
You've found the right place..
Don't know if I'm the right person, though. Haven't done that much with drones myself.

The way I understand it you can allow the drone to function pretty much independently with it's Pilot, you can micromanage with Command, or you can just take over the reins and Jump in.

If you let the Pilot do things it pretty much takes one Complex action for you to direct it, and it operates and defends itself until the assignment is done or you change it.
If you Command it it takes you one Complex action to let it do one Complex action, whatever that action is - but I do think you can still react, like defend to an attack. It's kinda like operating a nowadays drone by laptop (or AR in SR).
Jumping in and out takes a Simple action, but allows you to do everything, and faster yourself.

Hope I'm on the right track, and of any help.
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dapperFedora

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« Reply #2 on: <06-19-13/1116:48> »
While I thank you for the response (and I mean no disrespect if I come off as such) but I understand that and I know the rules and limitations of each type of control.

The thing I am wondering is when will the drone's Pilot program take over after I stop sending it Control Done actions?  Will it just go back to running the Pilot program after a certain amount of time, and if so, how long does that take?  Do I have to unsubscribe from it in order for that to happen?  Do I have to turn off my Command Program?  Do I have to send it a Command Simple Action in order for it to switch back over?  Or is most of this end up being a GM/Table-by-Table case and is handled different ways, so I would be best off till my GM gets around to reading up on those rules and come to an understanding with them?  Just trying to find some clarification in a (sort of clunky) caveat of the system.

At least to me, the Pilot Program seems like it is intended to be able to make threat assessment choices at least for the purpose of self preservation.  On the other hand, it is a computer, and I know all too well (yay programing!) that they can get hung up on the tiniest little things or waiting for input.  So I can go either way it's intended and find a way to work with it.
« Last Edit: <06-19-13/1118:42> by dapperFedora »

BlueTroll

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« Reply #3 on: <06-19-13/1216:33> »
No problem.. I think I get what you need to know now..  ;)

It could be Drone Control is captured under the Free Action; change device mode - that's how I would interpret it anyway.

As soon as your Command program disconnects from the drone, I'd say it reverts back to autonomous actions. including defense.

I think you maintain your subscription to your drone, as well as keep on running your Command program. You simply disconnect the two for the time being - and can easily regain control over your drone at some later time.

Hope this is of more use..  :)
...
And I will say then
Every tale is gift
And the scars borne by us both
Are easily missed
In the distance between us

(part of) Bard's Curse
Fisher kel Tath

Mantis

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« Reply #4 on: <06-19-13/1428:55> »
We generally run it that unless you are actively issuing commands to a drone, it runs autonomously. The command option is there for when you need to tell it to do something now dammit, now rather than just let it go on with its interpretation of the orders you initially gave. If you look at the sidebar on pg 234 of SR4A, you can see how generally competent an Agent or Pilot is.
Of course, as a technomancer, you are far better off just dumping a sprite into you drone and issue it orders (simple actions) to carry out for you via the drone. Machine sprites are a good choice for this with their optional CFs taken as autosofts specific to the drone you dump them into.

Nobody

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« Reply #5 on: <06-25-13/0508:33> »
The really fun answer is that using Scripting on pg. 69 of Unwired, you can decide exactly how your drone's integrated (or custom) dog-brain performs decisions like that. You can tell it how long to wait before acting and what to do afterward. Giving it fuzzy logic lets it be flexible (i.e. I haven't gotten a command in 9 seconds, and audio sensors are picking up gunfire at the rigger's location, and tac-net registers multiple hostile contacts, so I should probably go provide cover fire). Otherwise it runs off of a default script (patrol area x, alert if y sensors are tripped, report to z position every 2 minutes), or simply maintain position and await further orders when not being actively controlled.

If you don't expect to need to actively use your Command program, turning it off will save you drain on your System (mostly important if you're also the team's hacker or overwatch). Keeping subscribed to your drone is optional, and your pilot would certainly kick on if that happened (again, probably with a default script if you haven't given it something specific). Maintaining subscription does have the upshot of making more aware that a drone goes offline, gets jammed, or otherwise falls to mischief. Multiple subscriptions, of course, also drain your hardware resources.

But yeah, if you're a 'Mancer? What Mantis said.


 

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