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New Synthetic Concept: Hologram


Nanako

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An idea i've been mulling over for a while for a new playable role


A hologram is a synthetic, station-bound unit, lawed similarly to a cyborg. they can be made from positronic brains, or uploaded personalities from a real brain


Holograms which can effect force are a relatively new, concept, created by an improvement of the standard AI holoprojectors. A hologram effector module uses an array of electromagnets and sonic waves to manipulate objects, and even the air around them to manipulate nonmetallic objects. The array is very clean and precise, allowing for minute, accurate motions, but it cannot apply a great deal of force. As experimental technology, NT has chosen one of its research stations as a place to give them a trial run and see how they do in operation


Since they are ultimately projected images, a hologram is not actually where it appears to be. Although they can manifest a physical body near any holopad, their consciousness lives, functionally, in a computer somewhere on the station. Possibly in the research department or near the messaging server in the AI core


A hologram has three states of being


Manifested:

The hologram is projecting a pseudo-physical body from a holoprojector. During this state, a manifested hologram will appear as a humanoid being, and it can grab, pickup, use, move and manipulate most small objects. Manifested holograms can do many kinds of precise work, such as chemistry, surgery, paperwork, botany, mixing drinks, cooking food, etc. They have hands, and thus have identical dexterity to a human, as well as the ability to pick things up and store them in a holographic backpack.


A manifested hologram is, however, limited in strength. They cannot drag people, gas canisters, lockers, cyborgs, crates or any other kinds of computers or large machinery. (they can drag rollerbeds with people on them)They also cannot apply enough force to pull the trigger on a gun, and hit half as hard with any kind of melee weaponry they use to strike things. They cannot use most functions of a crowbar, such as forcing doors open, or jacking things out of computers, and they cannot pick up certain large items, such as exosuit parts, stacks of material sheets, fire axes, voidsuits, armour vests and large guns (all of these can be dragged, but not picked up). They cannot use grabs on any creature larger than a corgi. This weakness makes holograms decidedly unsuitable for most engineering or security work, but perfectly suited to precise tasks that require dexterity a cyborg can't muster.


A hologram is still a projection of light, and as such is incorporeal. they cannot be harmed by any kinds of weaponry directed at their body, melee attacks will go through their body harmlesly, projectile weapons will pass through and keep going. However they can only exist near a holopad, and cannot enter areas without one (and will be kicked out if it is destroyed, damaged, depowered, removed or otherwise shut down). As incorporeal beings, they are not restriced by solid matter, and can happily walk through tables, crates, machinery, etc without issue. They can also walk through walls and doors, however passing through such a solid object is something only they can do, and the normal rules of matter apply to anything they're carrying. Thus, a hologram walking through a wall will drop everything in their hand and backpack, at the point they enter. (walking through walls can be toggled on and off as an ability). A hologram will be stopped if it tries to walk into an area not serviced by a holopad (as if it were a normal person walking into a wall)


A manifested hologram uses a very large amount of power, they are experimental, un-optimised technology. The computer that generates them will consume 70Kw of power while they are manifested, and the holopad they're running on will use an additional 30Kw from local power sources. Thus they can drain power fast in times of energy shortage, and may be better off not manifesting during that time. In total a manifested hologram uses 100Kw, which is about 20-25% of what the entire station normally consumes, so running them will require the engine to be outputting a bit more than is needed Most engine setups generate 800Kw without much effort, so there's usually enough in the budget if the supermatter is operational. With the correct optimisation, i've seen the supermatter outputting over 8 Megawatts, so this extra burden won't be a problem if engineering is competent.


While the holodeck is running, holograms can manifest anywhere inside it at no additional power cost (beyond what the holodeck already uses), because the whole room is made of powerful, optimised holoprojectors. Thus the holodeck is their natural environment. If the holodeck is shut down, holograms will not be kicked back to the cloud, but merely begin consuming their own normal power costs from the area to stay manifested.


A manifested hologram cannot wear clothes/armour/accessories, but it gains a customisation menu which allows it to choose holographic outfits from almost anything available in the game, similar to wearing chameleon projector stuff


While manifested, a hologram has the same system-interaction abilities a cyborg does, and can open/bolt/electrify doors if they're powered and connected to the AI


Cloud

A hologram's second state of existence, is merely as data in the servers of the station.. In this state, they act something like an AI, and can roam the station looking through cameras. However they cannot interact with anything at all in this state, and don't have access to most of the AI's tools or systems. they also cannot use jump to/follow mob through cameras.


From this state, a hologram can manifest onto any active holopad on the station, even those in areas where cameras are down. however manifesting takes some time( 20 seconds ish) and is not an instant means of teleporting around

If a manifested hologram deactivates and returns to the cloud, anything it was carrying is dropped on the floor. Manifested holograms are returned to cloud form if the holopad they're using becomes disabled, and no others are overlapping with wherever they are.


While in the cloud, a hologram's computer uses 10Kw of power, a vastly reduced amount that allows it to continue operating for a while during shortages.


Deactivated:

The hologram enters this state when it is turned off, or its computer loses power. in this state the hologram cannot see anything except its computer, and has an interface similar to a blind or sleeping person, and no ability to do anything. A deactivated hologram is probably as good as dead and the player may as well ghost unless it can reasonably expect engineering to come and fix it. In this state, the hologram's computer consumes no power at all.


Any hologram computer which is unpowered will appear on a station alerts console, allowing engineering to notice and fix the problem if they can. Remedial steps may include reconfiguring the local substation, increasing engine output, or relocating the computer to somewhere with enough power. As long as the computer is intact, the hologram remains alive within it, stored on the hard drive as data, it will only die if the computer is destroyed or disassembled, or if the hologram is deleted from it.


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Dealing with holograms:


Anyone with the appropriate access (generally heads of staff, or perhaps just CE/RD/Captain) can interact with a hologram's control computer and have a few options to deal with it. a hologram can be locked from manifesting, restricting it to cloud state only. It can be deactivated as mentioned above, or its software can be deleted, which instantly kills it, similar to blowing up borgs from the RD's computer. Unlike borgs however, the computer cannot be destroyed to prevent this, because doing so would kill the hologram anyway. Its laws can also be changed or reset by inserting cyborg law boards, and it can be slaved or unslaved from the AI.


New hologram control computers can be built with the appropriate circuitboards (produceable in science) and an MMI or posibrain can be inserted to activate them, and turn a player into a hologram. Given the high power costs though, an arrangement with engineering must be made if new holograms are being built



Closing Thoughts

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Holograms are designed to offer a new type of character, and a new experience, especially for dedicated synthetic players. They are also designed to be a powerful tool in an antag AI's army that can overcome most of the limitations cyborgs have, but with a whole different set of limitations to prevent them being obviously superior. I've designed the concept as an alternative that fills a niche, without intruding too much on what cyborgs are designed to do. Most notably they are unsuitable for main roles in security, engineering and robotics, but competent in many other areas where a cyborg's limitations get in the way. They can also act as support in any department, but are unable to run most departments alone without support from someone to move heavy things around


Your opinions please?

 

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It's a reasonable start for an idea, though some of the justifications for why they can't do things is really shaky. They can manipulate small objects and perform surgery, but can't pull the trigger of a pistol they can pick up? No, I would think it's more written into their code they can't take hostile actions. This opens opportunities for killer holograms during malf or law subversion.


There are also not enough holopads on station, or the ability to build/deconstruct holopads. One of the two of those need to be added, preferably the latter.


Also, what is stopping the AI from manifesting a solid hologram? Why can you, a tiny isolated computer that can only interface with holopads, do something it can't?

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No, I would think it's more written into their code they can't take hostile actions. This opens opportunities for killer holograms during malf or law subversion.

 

This makes sense, i approve

There are also not enough holopads on station, or the ability to build/deconstruct holopads. One of the two of those need to be added, preferably the latter.

 

I was thinking a few more would be added, and the range of them would be increased to reduce the need for spamming them everywhere. adding the ability to build them would definitely be included. we can't already?

 

Also, what is stopping the AI from manifesting a solid hologram? Why can you, a tiny isolated computer that can only interface with holopads, do something it can't?

 

Well fwiw, i was thinking hologram control computers wouldn't be tiny. more like an 8-foot high server rack dedicated to the processing required


We can also say the AI, by default, simply doesn't have the software for it, because its new, experimental, and thus a risk to add to an already functioning system. A malf AI could research it, and maybe science could also add it during-shift to AIs that lack it.

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There are also not enough holopads on station, or the ability to build/deconstruct holopads. One of the two of those need to be added, preferably the latter.

 

I was thinking a few more would be added, and the range of them would be increased to reduce the need for spamming them everywhere. adding the ability to build them would definitely be included. we can't already?

 

No, as things are currently coded, you cannot interact with holopads in any fashion other than to poke them for the AI's attention. You can't use tools on them, build new ones, break or damage them (beyond generally blowing them up with the rest of the room), or in any way disable them by means other than turning off equipment power in the room's APC. To my knoweldge, they have no icon states for 'maintenance hatch open' or 'partially constructed' either, along with no coded 'recipe' for making a new one.

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this would make for some fun RP, but how complicated would it be to be one?

 

The experience of playing one would be interesting, but not too complex.


Your status panel would have some readouts, like the power level of your computer, the holopad you're currently using, your current power draws.


You'd have an abilities panel which contains a couple buttons. Return to cloud, deactivate, toggle wallwalking, jumpto holopad (brings up a list, manifesting still takes some time) and a button to drop all the things you're carrying . Also an appearance changer menu accessed via a button in there


When walking around, your presence would automatically switch from one holopad to another, as long as you're not trying to enter an unserviced area. Ideally tiles would have an overlay, visible only to you, to indicate they're out of holopad range and not reachable

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