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Direct Neural Craft Interface


SOC-14 10K
Mostly for slyen2 but open for discussion and ridicule

The following idea was spawned by slyen2 asking here if it were possible and this is the way I see it working. So what say the rest of the gearheads? Does it work? Is it balanced? Does it need more detail or is it enough to run with?
Direct Neural Craft Interface - a CT alternate rules expansion.

By utilizing advances in brain mapping experimental TL8 direct neural control systems grew into limited general applications at TL9. While of significant value in some areas the usage for space craft control sees only limited adoption by most space faring races.

The space craft interface versions are primarily used in some single seat Naval fighters and a few Scout ships. While not common in the Scout/Courier a few are so equipped, and some of these end up as much sought after when decommissioned as Seekers. The most common usage however is in the communications branch of the Scouts where it is used in every X-Boat.

The system is centered around a special control couch that costs Mcr0.1 and is 0.5 tons. The control couch may be installed in the place of a normal control couch but will not function as one so it is usually installed in addition to the required control couches. The operator sits in a normal fashion but the couch clamps the users legs, arms and head in place and interfaces via a large hood. The hood acts a transceiver to the brain, providing the user with a virtual reality interface while immobilizing their voluntary muscles and translating their thoughts and motor control impulses into direct control of the virtual reality. A secondary and originally unexpected benefit of the hood is its function as a very effective psionic shield. This proved critical and enlightening in the 1st Imperium's initial contact with the Zhodani, and led to the research that perfected the artificial psi shield helmet.

The system works through the standard computer/bridge interfaces with the craft's systems, requiring an interface program for each crew position to be controlled. Each interface program is specific to the crew task and costs Mcr0.1 and requires 1 slot while active. The maximum number of interface programs is limited to 1 + 1 per computer model number, treating bis models as one model number higher.

Unlike normal multitasking the direct neural interface does not penalize skill level and allows up to three separate crew positions to be handled by the operator. Appropriate crew positions are Pilot, including small craft, Navigator, and Gunner.

Not every person is adept at interfacing and the only way to discover if you have the aptitude is to try it. X-Boat pilots are chosen exclusively from the few Scouts who show aptitude and the Scout service is the only Service that actively recruits for this trait to fill the ranks of the communications branches X-Pilots.
Far Trader -

What about fatigue or some other mental side effects? The brain would be processing a lot more information than it normally does.
While not a gearhead, CT JTAS does have rules for direct neural chips. I am sure that the Zhodani have also modified these for psionic switches (also mentioned in canon). Therefore, it is a small jump from that to a neural network.

However, I have always imagined this is why the Zhodani make better pilots and have a better navy because of the psionic advantage. In the Imperium, research in this direction would be closely aligned...although, some Answerin might be interested in creating systems such as this.

Fatigue would be a side effect for the inexperienced but in the long run and through proper psionic training, one would only see the diminish of psi rather than draining the physical points.
Yeah, I was pretty sure there were implants and such but had no books on hand. What I threw together while watching Blue no doubt borrowed from a lot of systems.

I had thought to add higher tech versions and more notes but in the interest simplicity kept it short.

I was thinking of some sort of fatique, or burnout, and specific qualities to define who could get the hang of it and such but again for simplicity and not to tie the hands of anyone too tightly dropped it. One thought that did cross my mind in that respect was using Psi points, but as an untested and untrained in the Imperium.

So as an example:

A Scout, right out of X-Pilot school might have a rating of (2d6-1) points (of Psi). Each space combat turn of virtual interface would drain (temporarily) 1 point (of Psi). At 1 point you'd feel drained and at 0 points you'd pass out (and maybe suffer a permanent loss of 1 point of Psi). Eventually (lose 1 point of Psi per Term) the Scout would no longer be able to interface and have to opt out of the X-Pilot program. Some of them might discover that certain illegal drugs (Psi drugs) allow them to last longer and use them to extend their career. Anyway that's one option.
well in Nadiso they had something simillar im told, well here it goes:

each pilot controls a single object let it be a mech or a Battleship but the ammount of training required is difirent as well as the type. Thus a mech operator cant operate a Battleship and visaversa. but it is mostly because the controls are differant and it requires alot more difficulty to control a battleship than a one man mech, not to mention the strain on the contiousness.

also added to this fact is that 1 person would be in dierect controll of the whole ship or mech.

-Slyen2 (but should have been Slyen)