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[6e] Sensors & arrays

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Referring to the core rules pp. 276-277:

I'm confused about a sensor array (2 or more sensor functions at 1000 and 1 capacity each) vs. multiple individual sensors (rating x 100 and 1 capacity each).

Let's say I'm searching an abandoned base for alien life forms so I want a handheld motion sensor, laser range finder, and atmosphere sensor (3 sensor functions).

The rules say sensors bought individually have a rating from 1 to 8.  But for a sensor array, it just says it has up to its rating in functions, without saying what the rating of those individual functions are.

So for my handheld device, I buy the 3-capacity enclosure for 300, which it would appear can either hold the 3 individual sensors at a capacity of 1 each (filling its total of 3) and cost 300-2400 depending on individual sensor ratings, or a single sensor array of 3 sensors for the same total capacity 3 but a flat 3000 -- now a fixed cost but it's then unclear what the ratings of the component sensor functions are and why it would be better than the cheaper combination of single-function sensors.

How is this meant to work?  What should the cost and rating of my handheld 3-function scanner be?

Edit: further confusing, the Sensors table says a single sensor has Capacity 1 for any rating, while the text says "If a function has the same name as an imaging or audio device" then it has "a Capacity equal to its rating", contradicting the adjacent table.

Wait, I think I completely misunderstood the sensor array.

I now think the "Sensor Array" is a housing, similar to the wall-mounted housing or Handheld housing.

So I think I could have any of these:

* Handheld housing 3 with motion sensor 8, laser range finder 8, and atmosphere sensor 8 (total 2700)
* Wall-mounted housing 3 with motion sensor 8, laser range finder 8, and atmosphere sensor 8 (total 3150)
* "Sensor array" 3 with motion sensor 8, laser range finder 8, and atmosphere sensor 8 (total 5400)
I don't know what the "sensor array" looks like, other than I guess it sometimes comes in vehicles or drones for free?  So maybe it's the miniaturized "installed into some other device" version of a sensor housing?

On the Capacity, if I put a Camera in my same Handheld Housing 3, it might replace all 3 of the other rating 8 sensors -- if for instance it was a Camera 3 with Vision Enhancement and Vision Magnification, I guess there would be no more space for other sensors in the rating 3 Housing.

So if I had a drone with Sensor 2, it could contain for instance:

* a Rating 2 camera with low-light+magnification, or...
* a Rating 1 camera plus a Rating 8 Ultrasound, or...
* a Rating 8 Ultrasound plus a Rating 8 Atmosphere Sensor

Stainless Steel Devil Rat:
Ok, some terminology:

Sensor: the thingie that generates data (audio, video, etc)
Sensor Array: a group of Sensors working in tandem
Sensor Housing: the thing you put a Sensor Array in

So, some examples.

1) let's say you have a shadowrun that requires you transit through a toxic wasteland.  Ergo, you're going to want some kind of hand-held scanner that detects both radiation and toxic vapors in the air.  So for starters, you know you want it all to fit into a hand-held scanner.  This physical and empty shell with no sensors in it costs 100 nuyen per point of capacity, with a maximum of 3 capacity.  Each sensor function only consumes 1 capacity, so a geiger counter and an atmospheric sensor each require 1 for a total of 2 capacity.  Ergo, a capacity 2 hand-held sensor meets your needs: 200 nuyen so far for the Sensor Housing.  Of course those two sensors have to be acquired.  The maximum sensor rating you can put in a hand-held sensor housing is 3.  Since sensor functions only consume 1 capacity no matter what their rating is, you can either buy max or save money.  2 rating 3 sensors costs 300 nuyen each, and since your life is on the line why skimp on a couple hundred nuyen, neh?  A hand-held housing with 2 rating 3 sensors costs 200+300+300=800 nuyen.

2) let's say you've acquired some kind of supervillain ego and are building a fortified lair in the middle of the wilderness.  You want to install some kind of early warning radar system to alert you when someone's flying an aircraft in the direction of your super lair, and money is no object.  The maximum rating Radar (sensor) available in the CRB is rating 8.  This radar costs a laughably low 800 nuyen, but them's the rules*.  Of course, you can't just put a rating 8 sensor in a hand-held housing!  Per the Sensor Packages chart on pg 277, you're going to need to obtain or construct an entire building to house your 800 nuyen Rating 8 Radar.  It'll doubtlessly raise the total cost of your radar detection site rather significantly, but there's no rules on how much it costs to buy or build an entire building.  GM fiat here! ;) 
of course, once you DO have/acquire your building to house your giant radar dish in/on, since you have such a huge Sensor Housing you could if you want put an array in that building to join the Radar system.  Or just leave it as a "single sensor housing".

*EDIT: Ok, actually, RADAR isn't in the rules as an available sensor function.  Of course a GM could fiat something, but in this case I'd strongly recommend "tweaking" the rating x 100 nuyen cost a bit :D 

Redoing example 2, as something that is actually practical:

2) let's say you maintain a safehouse, and you want to install a great MAD scanner in a strategic chokepoint.  Maximum rating available is 8, for 800 nuyen.  Something that capable cannot be housed in something as small as a RFID tag hidden on the wall, or even in a hand-held housing you issue to a guard or such.  It's going to have to be installed IN the building structure itself, necessitating whatever renovations/costs deemed appropriate because again, there's no rules for general contractor work.

"OK, but..."   :)

Anyway, thank you for clarifying.  I had clearly missed the actual effect of the rating of sensor/size of installation chart.

But when do you ever buy a "Sensor Array" for 1000 x (# of sensors)?  You didn't buy one in your handheld example, nor in your building-install example.  I'm not clear on what benefit an "array" brings to the table beyond what you already get from a group of individual sensors.

If I were to think real-world, perhaps a radar + thermographic sensor array to detect aircraft, and perhaps working together to generate one result they'd increase the detection chances vs. the same two sensors in two separate consoles.  But there's not a lot of overlap among the sensors listed in the book, and I haven't noticed a benefit provided for installing them into an "array" (could have been for instance, treat multiple sensors in an array as a Teamwork test), so it just seems like a waste of a few 1000.

Michael Chandra:
We don't have a Rigger book yet, but if you're modding a vehicle or drone, its Sensor rating plays a role. It plays into its Attack Rating (p196, Piloting skill + Sensor), and it serves as their Device Rating in case of hacking (p201). It also is used for a drone attack roll (p201, Targeting + Sensor), its perception (p201, Clearsight), and when fighting ECM with Electronic Warfare (p201, Electronic Warfare). The rules on p276 also note that a Sensor Array can replace your Perception skill with its rating. So if you're observing through a drone, if your Perception is worse than its Sensor Array, yay there!

So given how important a Sensor rating is for a drone/vehicle, and the rules noting they come with Sensor Arrays, to me it sounds like a Sensor Array is what you buy when you are upgrading a vehicle or drone. So if I have a Steel Lynx (Sensor Rating 4) and want to upgrade it (can only go up to 5), I pay 5 grand for a new Array + 500 per Sensor (which it can have 5 of due to being rating 5).

Meanwhile, if I frequently drive my Ares Roadmaster and want to make it competent, while it only has a Sensor Array rating 2, I could go '7 grand for a Rating 7 Sensor Array, 700 nuyen per Sensor, max 7, let's say I'm grabbing 5... So 10.5k nuyen to upgrade it from Sensor Rating 2 to Sensor Rating 7.' Then I add a weapon mount or two, add a Targeting Autosoft and Evasion, and suddenly my Roadmaster can gun down my enemies when I need evac, with 5 more dice than if I had left it at its default Sensor 2.


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