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Radio broadcasts

If you have a fixed radio station and a keyed wavelength. Perhaps you could create a single use recording a bit like the TV, except it can only be broadcast once. That way we could set up daily broadcasts like a pirate radio station that could be set up to play once a day for a few hours with a pre-recorded show of sorts. I like the idea that TV is locked down completely by NLM...but who'se in control of the other airwaves? Pirate radio broadcasts. Sure some people will use these stations for private communications...but a mixer radio station seems themely as hell.
An audio recorder/looper would be really nice. Ideally, it would have a minimum and maximum threshold based on how often the loop runs. i.e.

Does the audio loop run every ten minutes? You are limited to one sentence of 140 characters.

Does the loop run every hour? You can get up to 6 sentences of up to 140 characters.

My expectation would be it creates a positive feedback loop that encourages PC's to maximize the length of their daily/weekly radio broadcast of choice.

One thousand percent this.

We need a way of creating persistent, repeatable content to broadcast. Doesn't have to be, and honestly shouldn't be as robust as NLM's media system, even some basic 'tape/holo recorders' would work.

Hell. Make it take a E-note module and just read off the script as written 'recorded' on a timer.

Is it really theme?

I mean... this seems more Steampunk/Noir than Cyberpunk. If it were Cyberpunk, you'd be uploading something to a server to hijack NLM's broadcasts.

I have no issue with this as a game system... but pirate radio seems... 1940s not 2100s.

Still Radios are in and certainly a cool game system, so, yeah, being able to broadcast would be really sweet.

I mean...radio broadcasts seem more like something you'd manually do more so than you'd stick a recording in, least with the current tech for this kinda thing.

Not saying I wouldn't like recordings, because I would especially for player based music, etc, but part of radio is that its fairly live IRL, and would benefit more from it being an interactable medium compared to TV, which for the most part in SD, is non interactable.

Well. This IS the cyberpunk game with guns from the 1920's in it.

All the recent additions have been amazing, but to your point, @BlazingCoconut, perhaps not 100% on CP's theme. But then again, depending on your source material, running around bashing in people's skulls with wooden sticks, cromag characters, etc. may not be the most themely.

But to go with this, we've also been getting massive expansions to cybernetics, rigging, robotics, and other cool more futuristic content!

A dedicated player could build an incredible radio following using only the tools available to them right now. Get the word out, publish a broadcast schedule on flyers or the grid, stick to it, deliver interesting content.

Repeatable messages would be cool, but they aren't strictly necessary to make a pirate radio show worth listening to.

What makes it themely in my mind is the fact that mixers usually don't have access to that sort of thing. Deckers and hacker groups who focus on hacking might have access to server hijacks and TV servers and all that. But I can only imagine that most mixers don't have the intelligence for that. Scavenged broadcast equipment. A car battery plugged into an antena with a microphone and a rigged up radio system. That's what most mixers will use. And even if they don't have one of those ham radio style things, they have some sort of recieving radio. Too poor to afford their brand new NLM Quickterm or a Basic TV to watch their shows..Instead they lie in the gutter with their earplugs in, cuddled under some fireproof blanket they raided from a first aid kit...Listening to the broadcasts they can trust.
The only issue you might run into is people broadcasting over each other. Like if I was a mixer and wanted my song to be played. I'd set up a continual loop to broadcast forever. Which basically kills an entire band for the time that it's broadcasting.

Just something to think about in terms of contention. Broadcasts might make Radio really spammy and unusable too as everyone hammers their broadcasts over each other since there is no central schedule.

Again, all for it, but there probably should be some thought to the implementation of it before just adding it in.

Stuff like this exists. FOIC
People shouting over each other on radio is 100% what SIC network is.

Theme!

@LeanneGreere

"Listening to the broadcasts they can trust."

There is SO much to unpack in that statement. I found it amusing enough to comment on. Not going to say anything more on that, but it made my day reading that.

@BlazingCoconut

at least in the UK - pirate radio was really popular in the 90s and even still in the 2000s - where grime music got popular and where alot of artists got their start. many still operate, as well. i think its pretty themely to have pirate radios operating when NLM (to my knowledge) has monopolised and controls most other forms of media (tv, the internet/the grid), etc) - not just for music but for information sharing and news outside of NLM's vicegrip

Agree with Not_anon. I'm also from the UK and that's kinda why I love this stuff.

The main reason I suggested this was to provide us the oppertunity to have the broadcaster use "Tapes" or something that could be used from musical people which could be played across the radio so we don't just have a talk radio.

It's just a thought and I understand it might not fit exactly how people see the theme but I was just going with some stuff we already had sort of implimented and build on it

@not_anon

Ironically I'm an Ex-Pat in the US. I mean yes... kind of? It's in the game, so it should be used and again, I'm not against the idea out of hand. I do think that broadcasts open up a lot of other issues that could make the intended use of radio completely null. If everyone is fighting for broadcast time, then... communicating on them might become really difficult.

But Radio, in general, is not really a CP theme. In nearly every genre piece people hack or take over transmitters to broadcast through the Net/Matrix/TV/etc. Radio just is not prevalent in the theme material. Because it's a tech from another era. Just like RadioDramas. They are period from the 20s-50s. Sure, people still produce them... and Pod Casts have revitalized them a little, but you would not say that RadioDrama's are all themely if you were doing a period piece for today.

If I had my choice, it would be some kind of splice/hack/etc that allows Mixers to take over an NLM channel for X amount of mintues/hours and broadcast content. Not only would that allow a very themely way to broadcast, but it would foster conflict and be far more on theme. Plus it would utilize TVs more and doesn't run into the risk of ruining the primary intention of radios.

However, again, I'm not opposed to the idea. Just some thoughts around it is all.

If I had my choice, it would be some kind of splice/hack/etc that allows Mixers to take over an NLM channel for X amount of mintues/hours and broadcast content. Not only would that allow a very themely way to broadcast, but it would foster conflict and be far more on theme. Plus it would utilize TVs more and doesn't run into the risk of ruining the primary intention of radios.

This exists. Just because we have one form of pirate entertainment that is limited to a number of people who utilize it doesn't mean we shouldn't have another more open, unregulated one.

@ReeferMadness

Technically, the ability to broadcast music/programming/etc also exists too. So that's already in game. Nothing is stopping people from broadcasting what they need or setting up their own little radio hour.

But again, not really opposed, but I do think there are things which should be thought through before adding something like this. Have five shows broadcasting on top of each other, or some mixer power repeating their song on every frequency might cause issues to the intended use of radios.

I think you greatly overestimate the player bases ability to actually create and push new content. In addition, by putting limitations on the broadcast devices in question - you can prevent frequencies from being bombarded. The entire frequency system is set up to be opt-in with the exception of baselines so I'm not certain what the problem is.

I think radio content creators are just looking for a way to broadcast their content in a set it and forget it in the fashion that can yield a consistent audience as one can with newspapers, grid, and tv today.

"Radio, in general, is not really a CP theme."

It depends what you do with it. It's not inherently un-CP.

I mean, friggin' Johnny Mnemonic starts with an antique double-barrel break-action shotgun with hand-machined brass shells (since they're otherwise unavailable) because "when they expect high tech, go low tech."

CP is about subversion.

"this seems more Steampunk/Noir than Cyberpunk"

It breaks my heart when people either forget or never knew in the first place that CP is noir. If it's not noir, it's not proper CP.

I don't think its healthy for system performance to give everyone the ability to determine their own schedule and frequency of automatic spam they subject others to. I'd need to really 'meta manage' it without your control, determining when there had been too much spam recently and artificially failing your check when you go to transmit as a result.

Also, I hated the repeating loops in Fallout, I'd like this to be a live system of Pirate DJs, which are very 80s. Like watch UHF, its' on Amazon Prime ffs.

I think the system performance thing is real -- if anyone could do it it would become huge.

It's sort of one of those chicken and egg issues -- it would be cool if there was a managed pirate radio or pirate TV station in the Mix, but then you kind of want to be something player-driven before it's coded. You don't want some NPC saying 'and now there is pirate radio here'.

Perhaps if a group of PCs consistently run a radio station over the course of months staff could run a plot + code to be able to give the ability to 'pre-program' a set number of broadcasts similar to how NLM can program channels, turning that station into an IC institution with a lease and the ability to program things akin to many of the other IC businesses. Seeing an IC business like that emerge out of organic play would be cool.

I love the idea of pirate radio. While pirate TV is themely, it's also heavily illegal and results in things like corpsec hit squads when it is overused. I think radio is a natural, unpoliced, unowned, fallback that creators/djs/rebels can use to get their message out. I've always loved that as a concept, CP or not.
I think a looper that transcribed all the .txt files on any e-memory module plugged into it over a radio station keyed until the battery died would be an interesting piece of tech.
Recognizing the code might be a nightmare to implement and taxing to run, I think Reefer's idea is quietly very awesome and has pretty considerable potential, though I'd argue it would be even better if it was something players could just leave running forever (or at least for a long time) with the right equipment.

It would open the door for low budget radio programs (not live ones but repeating pre-written formats) or even number station style data caches (how to do X, Y and Z documented by some long dead mentor in repeated 30 minute patterns every other hour).

Adding new 'shows' into a rotation just by adding formatted text files to an e-note is, conceptually, really fucking awesome. It's easy to imagine players running wild with it and probably coming up with stuff we can't think of now.

Something like in Fallout 3 where you have repeating messages would be cool. Imagine a faction putting out a broadcast to visit some secret location in the Badlands!
Question about radios: Do low to high band take obstacles and distance?

IIRC, low band signals have short range, but carry more data, right? And high band signals can go much further, but take skill on the part of the operator to be reliable, e.g. when bouncing your signal off of the atmosphere to sens it over a mountain to your chum 30 miles away.

I don't know if that's how it works IC, but it would be very cool to make low band radios have short range, but transmit a clearer signal signal, and have high band have long range, but require more dkill on the operator's part to transmit. Have you ever tried to play with REAL radios? That shit is not intuitive and takes training and practice, something cool for tech characters to bring.

"Loopers" or the device that Reefer mentioned I remember as being a hotly-demanded item when radio was first introduced. If there is a desire to see pirate radio stations existing, then the ability to record and replay (even if just spitting back a .txt as suggested) would be almost required.

Live performances would be amazing of course, but the problem is the lack of interest of owning radios combined with the logistical challenges of doing live shows (what time is the show, what frequency, etc.) These things are easily addressed by editing your .txt file and plugging in ad-spots for upcoming live shows, talk radio and etc. while also providing people with a running playlist of things to enjoy when live performances aren't available. This is paralleled IRL by radio stations running X hours of robo-broadcasts and then sticking a syndicated rebroadcast show in at Y time slot on Z day.

The only concern I would have would be making sure there are appropriate limitations as to the number of 'pirate radio' station style devices allowed into the game, since open broadcast is very much a denial of service attack over the radio. Just don't want 40 stations eating up a huge chunk of the low or mid band airwaves, which is exactly the reason why we have the FCC in the first place!

Forgot to mention:

Two features I think would be bangers for such a device. Allow for the .txt to loop if it's in a 'unformatted' manner, but perhaps allow timestamps based on minutes, which will fire off the bracketed MUSIC/TALK starting at the time listed on the header. This mirrors real-world programming.

Example:

DJ Jazzy Jeff Jimbo hands it off to Weatherman Dan at the top of every hour:

:00 [WEATHER REPORT]

:15 [AD SPOT ONE]

:16 [UPCOMING SONGS/ARTISTS]

:17 [MUSIC]

:30 [AD SPOT TWO]

If you wanted to be more granular, you could allow the header to drill down to minute and second, and give the owner of the station the ability to pace out music, shows and other content in a way that there isn't massive dead-air gaps, or that they can fill with their own canned content. I recognize that this is in some ways infringing on some IC jobs, but I think some competition between 'modern' and 'retro' media might make for interesting class divide gameplay.

The other thing about loopers is that it allows for the DJ/content producers to have a life (IC and OOC). Nobody wants to stop good RP just to beeline to a radio station to read off the ad spot of the week, then try and beeline back to doing what they were previously, and there shouldn't be an expectation that the DJ or radio station owner be around and in-game/character an excessive amount of time just to babysit the station. This was a huge problem I encountered when I attempted to run a radio station in the past- that without the ability to pre-record or otherwise 'program' content, that my character's ability to actually play the game between being a radio jock was seriously disrupted- it wasn't fun.

With the addition of the voicelink, a looper function that could be combined with patching it into a radio would be superb.
Agreed. That's one of the ideas we had that was pushing us in this direction. We are still thinking about implementation. Do we want to go full radio studio like a pocket NLM studio for radios that allows scheduling, or something else... I would definitely expect some ability to transmit recorded programs soon either way.
How about both?

Giving NLM a few key frequencies for updates would be pretty awesome and bonus points if we can tie some of these into key infrastructure.

1) An hourly 5-10 minutes repeating news flash.

Really cut and dry snippets here featuring: Current weather, biggest gain/loss on Stocks lately, player-informed gossip snippet, and player-informed commercial.

2) A specific frequency which reports mag-lev locations?

Finally, make the NLM radio schedulers accessible outside NLM for subversive purposes, but maybe locating the current scheduler requires a McGuffin run or something so the location is dynamic.

Otherwise, I think ad-hoc radio broadcasts that are dependent on radios and looper/voice links that inevitably run out of battery life is ideal.

This creates two common vectors of information. One that is standard, monitored and exploitable, and another which is entirely unregulated.

I think it would be ideal if there was some level of band overlap between L-M-H band radios. That way if there's a low power station in red you can get some signal on Gold, or vs. Versa, without having to have everyone tuning in on mid band radios.

That said, I haven't had the chance to actually test out low band range so please ignore if this isn't really an issue.

Bumping this thread to really echo TalonCzar's point. The lack of overlap between radios basically makes mid-band the only worthwhile option, and the financial investment of high-band quite worthless.

Either custom modifications which can be made to off-the-shelf radio done by Electro_techs or some level of cascading overlap on off-the-shelf radios would give a much needed boost to the relevance of this items.

IMO there is no reason why a hig-band radio shouldn't possess the ability, whether when bought or modified by the correct skillsets like reefer said, to reach all other frequencies for broadcast.

The price would justify the ability. Right now they're just high-end toys meant to reach an area of the game that hardly anyone can go into due to how it was revamped and left unfinished.

That’s a very good point about mid- and high-band radios. This is slightly off topic (sorry) but I feel like a reason why not many people use radios is because they don’t want to keep them turned on all the time as it would waste battery. What if radios were more like progias in that they didn’t need a battery to function, but could still be turned on and off? Radios wouldn’t be too OP if this happens because it would be possible to get access to someone’s securetalk card frequency if the radio is dipped.
I haven't noticed battery life on radios to be an issue, honestly. Are you really experiencing them runout that often?
No, actually. Just the IC feeling of not wanting to leave it on all the time. But in all honesty batteries are affordable so it probably isn’t quite an issue.
Radios are like the archetypal failed product launch.

It was questionable to begin with if there was even any real practical gameplay purpose for them in a universe with phones and SIC, as the previous radio devices were never really used except when people tried to use them for the sake of it. Then they were launched with way too much complexity and stratification as though they'd be designed for a different game with 10,000+ players, interest peaked fast and fell off quickly as the limitations became obvious and then they were broken for a year afterwards which wiped out any further uptake and the critical mass was never found.

What could have been a revival by reworking the low-band, that everyone had invested their efforts in, ended up being a stake to the heart of it when low-band was essentially written off and even more impractical and expensive mid-band devices were introduced.

I will remain forever baffled that what was essentially a worse, more expensive and clunky form of SIC was seen as needing to be saddled with so many asterisks.

It could have been really cool.

Though I will add, I don't think the asterisks were really added intentionally. In a vacuum the system that Mirage designed is really cool, and well thought out. It's a simplified simulation of reality that mirrors a lot of the real world concepts and tech, and does all that within the tiny slice of physical world that the game world models.

I think the problem came down to the possibility that characters could be hundreds of thousands, or even millions of kilometers away from one another in theory, but in practice 99% of all characters were usually within <5km of one another in practice.

To echo earlier mentions of repeated automated broadcasts in the thread, I think even something as simple as a badlands weather report would make radios a lot more important, or at least atmospheric, especially for people interested in the badlands.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNLUP4nDJGQ

I agree, batko. I think the key is to fill the airwaves with paydata both big and small. Ideally, I think content-wise as players we can generate that as a community via RP, but the technical limitations around even an extremely well setup intermediary require some staff support/code changes.
I've thought about this stuff before but never really wrote anything about it on the forums.

Keying is great for one man radio shows, but in my opinion the true way for them to shine is something akin to late night call in shows where crazy v-202heads and corpie suits alike are given the same broadcast space to call and complain or talk about life or anything.

Thus, what would really make radio shows shine, aside from the ability to broadcast recordings and pirated music, is some kind of device to hook a progia up to a radio to have live on-air call ins be broadcasted, sort of like intercoms, but without having to unkey the channel so that anyone with a radio can chime in.

Also the ability to record audio from televisions for the aforementioned pirated music.

If a holophone could be patched into intercom or radio system that would be a huge leap, however, there is also an opportunity to create a loopback there because they also account for shouting and other elements.

Cool idea, but code-wise a big ask.

Yeah, probably not too realistic for such a niche thing but man I would love if players got actual themed radio stations going and some toys to support giving them their own unique flavors.
I'd never oppose new or better mechanics being added to radios, but there was several attempts to do radio shows and call-in radio shows or hybrids. The issues were the extremely limited audience, where players were essentially making more effort to roleplay with fewer people than just going to a bar. It definitely wasn't for lack of effort, at least a handful of players ran multiple fun shows, sometimes to empty airwaves.

Right at launch there was something close to being critical mass of interest, but the issue was I believe that the cost and practicality of radio units funnelled most of the audience into battery-powered handhelds that somewhat discouraged leaving the units on all the time, so that the available audience at any moment became lessened over time rather than increased.

Afterwards installed radios became non-functional due to a bug, and once that was resolved the audience had really dwindled to basically the diehards and those who had radio chrome installed that meant they could listen always and forever.

The mid-band re-rollout more or less overrode the radio chrome characters and made the equipment of the diehards somewhat defunct, so it ended up being somewhat of a neutral capture: Losing old audience where it gained some new.

If the radios characters actually have now just stayed on all the time like televisions and SIC, and had decent reach, I believe the content would follow, but I'm doubtful player content alone can do the work to overcome the hump of proliferation and use.

I have a pretty rock solid use-case that I cannot share OOCly, but it's a noteworthy start. :-)
Well of course you do Reefer, but you don't count! You rolled a nat 20 on creativity!

I'd love for discoverability to hit the inflection point and create new interest, and it might be possible, I just don't think that it was for lack of content or attempts to make it so far.

I just don't think something so expensive and complex can't be ubiquitous off the back of one or two niche functions, and ubiquity is really the standard that radio content of any kind will compete against while television and SIC exist. Two mediums that can reach everyone in the game, with an implicit demonstration that this is needed in a small population game.

Primarily I'd like to see low and mid bands merged, and worry about high band balancing when space is more of a thing. Have handhelds limited in their broadcast range but conversely can receive from anywhere, and don't require batteries, while installed radios can reach everywhere (on Earth) with their broadcast.

This would limit the ability for characters to treat radio like SIC without deadzones and pad camp 24/7, while still letting them be an audience for the broadcasts. Ditto it would take advantage of all the existing infrastructure that characters have already bought and installed (sometimes in themselves) so isn't as much need for new uptake.

I don't know exactly what the critical mass of population for self-perpetuating content is, but based off my own experiences I would say it was in the range of 8-10 characters potentially being an audience for content on average. Lower than that and I think it becomes simple player time economy to focus on in-character roleplaying in public locations instead.

Not sure if you implied this in your post but I think the radios should still be limited to people on the same sector as you. (Plus Badlands reach.) You can’t have an underground radio station if it’s broadcasted straight to corporate radios on Green.
If handhelds could only broadcast to the sector they're in (but receive from all of them) and installed radios could broadcast everywhere and receive from everywhere, that would potentially cover both use cases maybe? Characters could decide to go low-power to keep things on the down low, or high power to reach the biggest audience, or deliberately hit an audience outside their sector for propagandizing or otherwise.

I'm sure that was the intent with the system we have now, it's just only low band ever took off in a modest way so its limitations became the limitations of radio as a whole.

I think the current range for low, mid, and high bands respectively makes sense as not all are confined to a strict sector as previously indicated, but the lack of overlap with lower bands on higher band radios is a big limiting factor as stated previously.

I really enjoy the various vehicle and static location installed radios with their notable constraints beyond this.

Like you mean high-band should be able to pick up mid-band in the bargain? It certainly makes a lot of sense in terms of cost versus functionality, because the prices are outrageous in comparison to what they do (it's better value to buy a spaceship that has a radio in it than buy the radio itself), but I don't know if that really solves the core issue of not having a listening audience for radio content because of the anti-audience design of less expensive radios that pretty much ensures minimal passive engagement.

I think you can put all sorts of limitations and hardships and costs on the act of broadcasting (just look at how byzantine and burdensome and difficult television broadcast is), but on the audience side it has to be as easy as possible to engage passively or people won't bother and the broadcast side loses its core motivator.

Yeah I think the high end radios not being able to to pickup the lower channels seems like an oversight for the cost involved. But I think the current radio static code would need to be altered due to how it works currently. Without getting too much into it, it is a sort of a mess sometimes even for same sector communication if certain conditions are met but idk how much I can get into here lol.
Everything about radios seems to mimic real life. That includes most people not giving a shit about them, and them being incredibly niche.

I'm into ham radio, and I think that's the only reason I sort of understand the radio setup we have on Sindome.

I have to echo 0x1mm's post from earlier in the thread about radios being a great system if we had 10k players. We do not have 10k players, and thus, the system is overly complex, difficult to discover, expensive to get into, and the end result is you don't have much content to interact with.

There is a lot I'd like to do with radios, and radio shows, which I think would be really cool, but again, they are so niche that it's not really worth it at this point as a player or coder.

My inclination is that we don't need 3 bands. Low/Mid should be combined and High should remain. High has a place in that it's meant for ship to ship / space communication. Low was meant to be intra-sector, while mid was meant to be inter-sector and city/badlands.

Radios make sense in the badlands because there is no SIC and grid service is spotty. But the badlands are a destination, not a place to live. The system doesn't have enough regular reason for use to be viable the way it is now.

The code is cool, and there is a lot of interesting shit to do with it and discover, but it's a hat on a hat on a hat, in terms of duplicating functionality we essentially already had, that was doing the job better, because it was more accessible.

I dunno. Kinda feel like we should just have one band with frequency guidelines for what should use what for what kind of communication, similar to what ham radio operators already have in terms of a band plan: https://www.arrl.org/band-plan

What slither said. Now that I know they're into ham radio, well, take it from there. Remember in Cowboy Bebop, (Debatably CP, but very much high tech low life) where Radical Ed was using a satellite transmitter she held on her head to get into things. People operating on the fringes of society using radios is kinda cp. So is using trashed electronics to build a reciever or transmitter out of electronics so old it's not even worth the time to get the copper out of them. It'd be a cool trick for someone who's invested some points in Electric tech anyway. People used to take vcrs, some copper wire, and a coathanger and make a basic setup. I think if you really really wanted people to use it, it'd be focused really on the lower end and the high end. You're either using something trashy to talk to trashy people, or using something flashy to talk to flashy people in space or some such. Although, ham radio people (myself included once upon a time) have made such a sport of bouncing things off satellites and talking to the ISS and all that. There could be a skill check for electronics that lets someone take a shitty radio and do something absurd with it. The lower end should be very cheap. Espec for recievers. See the wikipedia article on crystal radios.
There are DIY radios one can build already.
Rather than creating a new thread, I will put this here.

The currently mechanic that limits where DIY radios can be installed is dramatically limited their accessibility and adoption.

Please consider removing that install limitation so that they can be installed in more locations.

Thanks.

In the hypothetical future where low/mid band were folded in together and where radios were combined to reduce the variety bloat, you could simplify the homemade radio functionality by having the installation determine the function rather than the object.

So for example: A low-mid composite device makeshift radio is installed by a mechanic in a vehicle acts as a homemade CB radio, installed by en electrician in a room acts a radio transmitting rig, upgraded with a [redacted] by a [foic] then is overclocked to work as a high-band device.