The Scape

Glossary

chop n. A person’s digital signature.
infosphere n. The part of the world in which normal wireless networking protocols operate; functionally, the stratosphere on down.
Scape n. The most common piece of personal technology in the world, post-2030, much like smartphones were in the 2020s. Provides access to augmented reality, records audio and video, wireless data and GPS location. It has enough computing power and storage for social media, lifelogging, games, and office tasks, but is puny in comparison to a cyberdeck.
ScapeCard n. A Scape in the form of a transparent card that acts as a window into augmented reality; the cheapest possible Scape.
ScapePad n. A Scape in the form of a moderately flexible touchscreen device; much more comfortable to sit on than a 20teens smartphone.
wristScape n. A piece of flexible circuitry that wraps around the wrist and can be unrolled into a touchscreen device.
ScapeGogs n. A Scape in the form of goggles; commonly seen among the working classes. They usually have bone conduction audio and subvocal input.
ScapeSpex n. A Scape in the form of spectacles, which communicates by skinlink to hearplugs. More commonly seen among white collar workers.
monoScape n. A Scape that covers one eye, usually worn as an eyepatch, though monocles are favored in some sets; you see the real world through one eye and a rendering of it through the other. Diminishes the experience of augmented reality and gives you a headache if you want to do something extended like read a book, but makes it much easier to spot mana illusions and attempts to hack your sensorium.
ScapeTacts n. A Scape with camera and video in the form of contact lenses. More commonly seen among the upper classes. In 2050, requires some form of support hardware worn on or near the head to provide computing and inductive power, often in the form of fashionable headbands, tiaras, necklaces, collars, and the like.
datagloves n. The most effective way to manipulate objects in augmented reality, as they give haptic feedback, but also the most cumbersome when dealing with the physical world.
datacuffs n. A more elegant way to manipulate objects in augmented reality; they scan the motion of the tendons in your wrists using infrared light and calculate your hand gestures from that. The infrared light leaking from these is visible to dwarfs, trolls, and many types of cybereyes. The basic models are matte black wristbands, but they go all the way up to an expensive leather-covered watchbands to hold that Patek Philippe on one wrist while a gem-studded gold bracelet encloses the other.
datarings n. Another way to manipulate objects in augmented reality, with one ring on each finger.
hearplugs n. Earplugs that fit inside the ear canal, almost invisible from the outside. Microphones on the outside transmit and filter sound, protecting the wearer from loud noises.
cyberScape n. A cybernetically implanted Scape, splicing directly to the optic and cochlear nerves and using eye tracking, subvocal inputs, and proprioceptive awareness of body positioning; includes full simsense playback and audio and video recording. It is very low-power and requires a relay, usually called a commlink, to access wide-area and satellite grids.
dracoScape n. A Scape designed for draconic users, produced by Transys Neuronet under the supervision of Celedyr. It looks like a pince-nez, bracelets, and a bone conduction coronet for sound. The pince-nez is actually drawing on the retinas of the dragon using lasers, and the bracelets use infrared light and accelerometers to make it feasible to use augmented reality in draconic form. They are expensive, and designed for every dragon’s decker staff to install thoroughly trusted libraries. Dragons apparently have no interest in augmented reality contact lenses.
skinlink n. Wireless communications protocol that modulates the body’s electric field. It is preferred over radio-frequency protocols for privacy, but it can be eavesdropped on from a distance using sensitive equipment, and hacked by planting a small device on your target's clothing. While generally used for personal area networks, a handshake or fistbump can permit data exchange.
spime n. An object whose essential information is stored in the Matrix.
tag v. Publicly attach information to your augmented reality profile. tag up: v. fly a virtual flag. tag down: v. cease displaying a tag.

Living in the Infosphere

In the 1960s, the primary geopolitical concern was nuclear war. The United States government commissioned research into computer networks that could survive extensive damage. This led to the creation of successively larger networks, beginning with the ARPANET, connecting four computers together in 1969, and eventually growing into the Internet, which became commercially accessible in 1989 and grew quickly with the development of the hypertext World Wide Web, starting in 1991.

In Japan, speculation was rampant and its large corporations immediately piled into the technology; historians believe that had they not hitched their wagon to the 1990s technology boom, the then-prevalent asset price bubble in Japan would have led to a collapse and more than a decade of economic stagnation.

Japanese megacorporations snapped up everything from technology giants to Silicon Valley startups, with Shiawase Corporation acquiring Microsoft in 1990, the Sony-Apple merger in 1992 (itself later acquired by Mitsuhama Computer Technologies), and Wakatta Software picking up Google in 1999 (and later getting absorbed by Renraku Computer Systems).

Personal computers were introduced in the 1970s, luggable portables in the 1980s, laptops and palmtops in the mid-1990s, and music players like the Sony-Apple iPod in 2001. The major convergence device, however, was the smartphone, exemplified by the Sony-Apple iPhone, introduced in 2007. Smartphones provided wireless communication, GPS, a camera, and a computer, all in one’s pocket.

Back when people walked around hunched over their phones to let you know they were targets instead of staring off into space, or running around in headphones that blocked them hearing anyone sneak up on them. Talking to people who aren’t there hasn’t changed since Bluetooth headsets, but you never know whether it’s a friend far away in the Matrix, right there in astral space, or in their imagination.

Robbin’ Hood

The worldwide VITAS outbreak in 2010 that killed off a quarter of the world’s population devastated economies around the globe, wrecked the emerging titans in China and India, and slowed the pace of innovation in the First World. Development proceeded nevertheless, with Mitsuhama releasing machine translation for smartphones in 2014. The prices on smartphones dropped year by year, and they spread all over the planet, often ahead of the other infrastructure of civilization.

An epidemic of identity theft in the Troublesome Teens led to the development of the chop, a digital signature (public-private key pair), inspired by the original seal used in East Asia. In East Asia, chops usually appear in documents as red kanji; in the West, they are anything from a picture of the user to a heraldic crest.

The original chop was a smartwatch application that used its accelerometers to determine when to present the owner’s credentials, with the characteristic gesture of wielding a seal (though they quickly added the knocking gesture when the chop came to replace door keys). In the modern day, a wristScape may still implement that, though it is more common for the chop to be a ring or even implanted between the metacarpal bones in the palm of the hand. It is commonplace for chops and Scapes to connect via skinlink, which modulates the body’s electrical aura to get about ten megabits per second of bandwidth.

While the user needs to authenticate themself to the chop when they put it on, they then only need to make the appropriate gesture to activate it. Chops are always programmed to require escalating levels of authentication when used for larger transactions, so while a gesture may be enough to open your front door or pay at your local Stuffer Shack, it may demand biometric checks and command of secrets to buy a car. Chops have varying levels of hardware to verify that they have been in continuous contact with their owner since they were last activated, so plucking a ringchop from someone’s forefinger won't let you break into their house.

Humans first began to walk the infosphere in 2019, when smartphone applications used the onboard screen, camera, and GPS to create views of augmented reality. This led to developments as practical as real-time text translation and as frivolous as Pokémon Go, the first popular augmented reality game. Smartphones were small windows into this world.

Augmented reality created demand for wearable access, and Fuchi Industrial Electronics obliged the market with the first Scape in 2024, a set of goggles providing a heads-up display and an LCD shutter, allowing the display of transparent and opaque images in the wearer’s vision, as well as an eye tracking cursor and blink and voice controls. Every Scape has at least two software-defined radios, one for communication and one for location, and a flash/flashlight.

With augmented reality came the demand for datawear, which gives fine grained detail on your body position to your Scape to allow interaction with virtual objects. Datagloves, in particular, are useful for fine manipulation; there are more expensive models that put a ring on each finger, or even bracelets that infer your finger positions from the motions of tendons in your wrist. Cyberware, of course, renders such things unnecessary once it reads from the proprioceptive center in the brain.

Scapes have enough processing power to perform almost-real-time conversions between text, voice, and gesture. A Deaf person can communicate in sign language that is translated into synthesized speech and read the response as subtitles. Sign languages are a commonplace way of giving commands to a computer without the hassle of taping a subvocal microphone to your throat. By 2050, Plains Sign has overtaken other sign languages in popularity; it received a boost from its adoption as the formal language of the Native American Nations, but what put it over the top was Roanhorse Systems’ 2043 release of the wildly popular Trail of Lightning MMORPG, where the easiest way to use magic in the game was to input requests in Plains Sign.

It’s easy to read books in augmented reality; datawear can manipulate physically nonexistent books. A common practice is reading a physical book whose pages are printed with machine-readable patterns encoding the page number and dimensions, which your Scape can transform into the text and pictures of a book, making it easy to flip back and forth and add ghostly bookmarks.

No one ever looks at those things, which makes them a perfect place to hide steganographic information when you expect to be searched for a datachip.

Neon Wraith

Augmented reality also changed the nature of telephone calls. Instead of yelling at each other without any facial nuance, people are mapped into each other’s augmented reality views, placing them sitting on a convenient sofa, standing nearby, or even walking together; rooms in the home or office can be set up for an immersive telepresent visitor by installing strips of microcameras. With everyone using augmented reality overlays, you can clearly see that a physical person is talking to a virtual one— whether they be in sharp focus or a blurry silhouette for privacy. The soft whir of selfie drones is common, as they also facilitate walk-and-talk conversations.

There are expensive districts where walking through someone else’s AR projection is a major faux pas. Don’t blunder in without turning on your overlays if you want to go unnoticed.

Socio Pat

There was considerable outcry when the first Scapes came out with cameras able to constantly record whatever a person saw. The first mass-market models were adjusted to have the ubiquitous red recording light, which is common on Scapes to this day. Between eye tracking and the external cameras, they can subtract glare and sun reflections, and magnify when you peer intently at something.

High-end Scapes have high-res cameras that can do all manner of image analysis. Modules that analyze microexpressions, pupil dilation, and skin flushing are popular with gamblers, negotiators, and more.

Of course, that led to thousands of Mr. Johnsons getting botox, or Stoneface cyberware overrides for their facial nerves.

The Smiling Bandit

Those that weren’t already so fragged up that they don’t have those tells in the first place, anyway.

Hangfire

Now that cyberScapes are the most common implant in the world, they are creating a new class of worker dwelling in simulated luxury, who can enjoy expansive views in blank patches of wall and cordon bleu flavor supplied over simsense while they chew factory-produced mycoprotein.

This was also the time when spimes entered the economy. With the ubiquity of smartphones, it became common practice to add a tiny electronic tag to every manufactured object, making it possible to track it from manufacture to recycling. Reams of fine print moved from packaging to cyberspace.

Spimes make it so much more work when you pull off a heist, either frying or overwriting all the damn tags for every single one of them. And if you fry them, your washing machine and stove and refrigerator won’t know what to do with them and you’ll have to set everything manually, so be nice to your decker who knows how to hack the tags so they keep the essential data without making it obvious you boosted it. It’s even worse when it’s gear that talks to the infosphere; you boost a crate of guns and you have to overwrite their firmware or they brick themselves. And the spime tags on the expensive stuff explode into ugly dye if you fry them.

Feral

Is there anything you don’t steal?

Hatchetman

People see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. If they see a mugging gone wrong or burglary that ransacked the whole place, they won’t see wetwork or targeted theft. If you can’t do your run undetectably, make it look like petty crime— and fence the loot, to make it look good.

Feral

In the modern day, language has become less of a barrier as people can get slightly delayed audio translation or almost-real-time subtitles and text overlays.

When the generation that grew up playing massively multiplayer online RPGs got old enough to become corporate managers, around 2030, global corporations were struggling to find ways to coordinate teams working between continents. Email, shared documents, and videoconferencing were too clumsy; central offices got overly much focus while no one could get competent people to work in remote ones due to the lack of influence; and modern information technology couldn’t solve it. There was, however, one proven way to coordinate people, and that was guilds in MMORPGs. That led to virtual-reality gaming engines being repurposed for creating a symbolic global office environment and the Matrix we know today.

Getting people to think about physical security is already hard. Getting them to think about Matrix security as well is even more difficult, so Matrix security measures often require jumping through hoops in virtual or augmented reality that are not technically required.

Virtual and augmented reality aren’t always the appropriate tool for the task. Social media apps like MemeStream (designed for posting emotive images with modest amounts of text) and ToonTalk (which iteratively generates a comic book out of the interactions of avatars) work just fine from a small screen.

Scapes are now so ubiquitous that many districts in cities require that anyone passing through be actively on the network; people so poor that they cannot afford even a ScapeCard are picked up for vagrancy.

Everyone’s personal gear that has reason to have onboard processing power talks over skinlink to the owner’s Scape, and will often get persnickety if not allowed to advertise its brand logo on the owner’s online presence. Publicly flaunting particular brands for enough hours per year earns you discounts and rewards points.

The Layers

Augmented reality is made up of layers. Augments add to one’s view of existing reality; overlays replace existing reality with a model that changes the appearance of all the physical objects but still makes it possible to interact with them. All augmented reality has latitude/longitude/altitude coordinates that map it into physical reality.

Terra

Terra is a virtual model of the physical world, based on millions of inputs, including radar and lidar maps, building plans, surveillance cameras, satellite imagery, weather radar, and more. It includes both imaging information, making it possible for a virtual tourist to take a stroll on the street, and shape models that assist in automated navigation for vehicles and drones. In big cities, Terra preprocessors integrate feeds for every several blocks.

Messing with the models is very effective if you need to speed up a team’s trip through traffic or slow down someone they’re pursuing; it’s easier than hacking GridGuide directly. After a couple of well-publicized incidents in the 2030s, it is no longer feasible to assassinate people by hacking the model; even the dumbest drones have basic anticollision sensors now.

FastJack

Millions of trideo screens around the world function as windows into Terra. Theme bars show live dawn and dusk all over the planet, or beaches, or thunderstorms; internal apartments in arcologies look out over better vistas than the external ones.

Terra’s security model requires that all live viewpoints are represented by visible avatars; anyone with a Scape should be able to turn on the Terra Avatars layer and see who is looking at them.

There are numerous ways to sleaze past this requirement if you need to shadow someone in the real world.

Red Wraith

This primer is eliding the fact that Terra is an amalgamation of numerous services, with microcred going to whichever one you make use of. The city view is a cash cow for whichever company has the security contract for public surveillance, but the weather stations are going to be from a completely different supplier.

Nuyen Nick

Even in AAA neighborhoods, the cameras can’t cover everything, and the coverage plunges rapidly as your security grade heads down the alphabet. Every street gang that has survived more than six months knows where the cameras aren’t, and will fill you in if you can find the right bribe.

X-Star

Prime

Prime is the primary virtual reality layer. Ownership of land and airspace in the real world corresponds to authority over the matching volume of Prime. Large corporations that provide virtual services use the space over their buildings to display gateways to their online services; those that have primarily physical business have virtual kiosks in their physical lobbies and rent out the space over their building to businesses with no physical presence.

All of Prime is essentially a business directory; anyone who already knows where they want to go can jump there directly through a bookmark. Businesses sell virtual billboard space above their buildings, and cities rent out their boulevards for virtual parades that usually turn out to be a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of giant promotional icons.

Seattle has taken its moniker of the Emerald City and applied it to their Prime layer, with the boring skyrakers transformed into pillars of multifaceted green gems; even the extraterritorial megacorporations bring their own takes to the layer. The street level is more varied and colorful, but still has a lot of the crystalline elements. And all the tourist kitsch, physical and virtual, has themes from the Oz books.

Of course everyone uses, at minimum, the publicly available imagery; they raise your property taxes if you don’t participate.

Connie Connoisseur

Together, Prime and Terra form the standard view that people refer to as the Matrix.

★★★★★ (pronounced Five Star)

One of the most popular augments, owned by Renraku: a platform to assist in displaying ratings for businesses and services, as well as imagery of products. Views are often customized to get tailored recommendations (so if it knows that you have the gene that makes cilantro taste like soap, it’s not going to tempt you with cuisine that relies on that spice), and calibrated through your trust networks (so a billion one-star ratings from randos won’t overwhelm a handful of thoughtful ratings from people in your social graph).

Depending on how much it knows about you, ★★★★★ will try to steer you to food when it’s been long enough since your last meal that you should be getting hungry, to gifts when you have a birthday or anniversary coming up, and so on. Every megacorp is plugged into this layer’s APIs and trying to get you to give its presentation upvotes for helpfulness and not downvotes for being annoying or creepy.

★★★★★ is incredibly difficult to hack because it’s constantly under assault from legitimate businesses trying to bring in customers and using any exploit they can find. You’re better off going after an already-popular API user than trying to subvert it directly.

FastJack

Kawaii!

An augment designed for children, owned by Mitsuhama. Every teddy bear and Hello Kitty backpack has the potential to give rise to a virtual avatar that will interact with live people and other avatars. Every popularly merchandised vessel of cuteness is here, from the full casts of Bandai and the Muppets to great dragons like Ryumyo and Dunkelzahn. They will play with children who interact with them, and will hold tea parties and dances and so on amongst themselves if left to their own devices.

Great dragons may authorize plush toys of themselves, but they never allow themselves to be depicted performing services for someone like carrying messages. So you can send notes on virtual Ryumyo-themed stationery, but you need some other dragon icon to carry them.

Dunkelzahn’s usual busy loop is curling up with a book, which is an interesting promotional opportunity, but it’s really difficult to get one onto his list. Of course, he’ll read it to someone if they ask.

Socio Pat

It’s a simple rule: my avatar only reads things that I would read to a child myself.

The Big ‘D’

Who the frag gets a great dragon for a babysitter?

Dragonslayer

Security on Kawaii! is pretty fierce because people hate deckers who try to spoil kids having fun. Because of this security, quite a lot of adults have their own retinue of adorable invisible buddies who can carry messages for them.

Do not let your straight face slip if you bring up Kawaii! around a bunch of Yakuza and find they’re surrounded by cute cartoon animals. They doubtless have matching tattoos and use them as messengers.

Prime Runner

It’s a lot easier to hack into someone’s Scape or cyberterminal than it is to break into their mail on Kawaii! Social engineering is also pretty effective via the service because the cute, friendly atmosphere puts people in a more helpful mood. Just be careful to put the personal touch on everything; the spam filters are top notch.

Note that Kawaii! are very cooperative with search warrants, so always encrypt your messages and hide them in the noise bits of pictures of your pets.

These guys have some of the best trace IC on the planet. If you send flocks of winged penises to skywrite anarchist slogans into Kawaii!, they will do their level best to slag your cyberdeck. I’ve heard that if you do something awful enough to make children cry, they’ll pull out the brain-melting black IC or even send an actual shadowrunner to break your legs and rip your datajack out of your skull.

Neon Wraith

Best. Run. Ever.

Bung

Petzapalooza

Brought to you by Yamatetsu! Do you show pictures of your pets to people at every opportunity? This is your chance to do it all the time to everyone else who loves seeing adorable animals! You video your pets enough that it can build a model of them, and wherever you go, animations of your furry family members are hanging out on plausible surfaces nearby. (Those with a faint rainbow nimbus have crossed the Rainbow Bridge; those with a golden nimbus are deliberately out of date, as an opportunity to show off kitten and puppy pics.)

Petzapalooza often leads to people setting up play dates for their dogs and hooking up cat people. (People creeped out by snakes and tarantulas often filter those out.)

You need a pretty good fake SIN to get into Petzapalooza, but once you’re in, cute animal videos are a great way to get close to a target.

Prime Runner

Fanscan

Fans love to announce their fandom, and people can only see one T-shirt at a time. On Mitsuhama’s Fanscan layer, people are surrounded by orbiting icons of the things they publicly embrace. Fanscan facilitates selling unique icons along with books, albums, concert tours, public appearances, and so on.

You can choose which icons you’re displaying at any time, so any time you have a chance to pick up an unusual one, get it. Do a little background work and you can get a target on Fanscan to initiate contact with you.

Prime Runner

Pop stars have fierce encryption on their I attended this concert tokens. Good fake identity purveyors simply have people go to the concerts under the fake ID and then pass the tokens along when they sell the ID; the authentic datatrail makes them more plausible to verification services.

Neon Wraith

Swagger

An API platform from Ares Macrotechnology that grants hovering badges based on verifiable behavior. This can be anything from I recycle! to I never miss Bible study!. They vary in how easy they are to game. They’re all opt-in, cryptographically signed, and can be revoked (so the various social ally badges are really easy to lose if you’re a jerk even once). They can be used for peer pressure and behavioral policing, depending on the group.

Swagger has support for multiple profiles and protocols for revealing them, including some pretty good I’ll show you mine if you show me yours modes that you can trigger after making eye contact detectable on a Scape.

Remember, you have to collect all those hard-partying badges separately for each SIN!

Bung

Halo

A layer to facilitate meeting people, brought to you by Aztechnology. You write up your profile: are you looking for a good evening or something long-term? a meeting of minds, bodies, or both? what’s in your pants? what do you like to find in someone else’s pants? would you rather just have cake than worry about any of that? do you prefer exclusivity? are you already in something complicated? do you have pets? do you have allergies to pets? what policlubs do you support? what policlubs do you oppose? After filling out your profile, the Halo servers put colored halos around the heads of potentially compatible people that you meet who also have Halo profiles and are currently tagged up as open to meeting new people.

If you accept a bodyguarding job, the very first thing you should do is get your client to tag down their Halo profile. If you need a bodyguard, you do not need to be approached by randos.

Hatchetman

Pay attention to the profiles on Halo. One of the questions is how long should someone else’s profile have been stable before you want to talk to them? and the default is a week, so it’s more effective to have a bunch of profiles with your various fake SINs than editing yours just before you walk up to a target. They can also have a lot of nuance, like I’m not interested in anyone whose age preferences break the metatype-adjusted age÷2+7 rule, so setting your profile to the broadest possible acceptance may also backfire.

Prime Runner

Halo is really quite good about matching you up with people you’ll like. What is Aztechnology’s angle on this? I know they go to a lot of trouble to look nice, but the design on Halo seems too empathetic for them.

Connie Connoisseur

That’s because they were an acquisition in 2044. Their angle is that they sell your personal information to the Aztechnology consumer goods companies so they can sell you stuff that will help you party with your new friends, date them, add to wedding registries with them, and so on.

Pyramid Watcher

Emily

An independently owned nonprofit layer to facilitate politeness and etiquette. Allows people to express titles, pronouns, current state of approachability, allergies, dietary restrictions, and so on. People are required to tie a reputation into it; if enough people flag you as having exploited the information to be rude, you will be locked out and branded for seven years.

Don’t screw up your rep with Emily. Most people who use it are aware of what they’re sharing and aren’t going to instantly fall for your con, but it makes it much easier to avoid screwing up the approach.

Prime Runner

Beast Battle

There are numerous virtual pet battle games, and constant turmoil over them as kids get overexcited over them and adults ban them from various spaces by getting ISPs to threaten to block the service if they fail to respect don’t turn this into a virtual war zone markers. There is constant demand for this kind of excitement, so new ones are always springing up and annoying people, and Beast Battle, from MCT Games, is the longest-lived one.

Overlays

Illusory overlay environments exist, but they require a lot of processing power and, since they hide the real world from you, make it hard to spot tails and muggers and other threats, so no one uses them in less than an A rated security area. If you want to see the steampunk or jungle safari or pirate or Star Wars layers, you need to carry a 800¥ processing pack and pay 100¥ a month in fees for all the bandwidth and server usage. You can pay to have a custom appearance in each world; some people have a stylish avatar for each world they occasionally visit, just to be distinctive.

The Battlescape

Modern combat is as much about commanding the information environment as the battlefield. Engagements usually open with deployment of microdrones and jammers as each side attempts to build an information model of the battlefield.

The microdrones include LIDAR limpets that are stuck to any surface with a good vantage point, quadcopter camera/relay drones, and sensor balls that are rolled into areas. They create a mesh network, often using point-to-point infrared laser communications to get around radio-frequency jamming. (They are countered by antilaser aerosols, radar-reflective glitterbombs, and shotgun turrets.)

A combat decker typically finds someplace behind cover (probably next to where the mage is lurking), turns on their RAS override, and operates at Matrix speed commanding the drones, analyzing enemies for weaknesses, and highlighting their weak points for the shooters to target. They are not a rigger and can only do target designation for the drones (any of which might be carrying an explosive payload).

Sensor information from the team can also be integrated into the battlescape, but this makes them much easier to target as they use up wireless bandwidth. Point-to-point laser communication is unreliable even on drones, and almost useless on organic beings running around.

While a decker can be remote, they’re much easier to jam that way; spamming the bandwidth of local Matrix nodes is one of the first things to slow them down. Battlescape drones are typically synchronized with one-time pads back at the base, and the main decision is whether to keep the team’s entire network completely secured by one-time pad (which leaves jamming and physical intervention) or to allow access to the rest of the Matrix (which gives access to weather station reports that can give an edge to those quadcopter drones, and so on) and risk a direct attack from an opposing decker.

Some combat deckers install a Puppet Implant on their own bodies, so they can move them around like a meat drone while reacting at Matrix speeds. The commands are limited (crouch and run there, then drop prone, follow the person holding your hand), but are capable of making use of spinal reflexes for walking.

All popular sites are monetized through selling ads or customers paying to suppress the ads, unless noted.

Memestream

A social media site, owned by Renraku, that is primarily about reaction images and video loops, with optional text. Additionally monetized through selling copyrighted reaction graphics. Comparable to Twitter.

NoDrek

A video- and simsense-sharing site, owned by Ares, where people post no drek, there I was... experiences and other short snippets. Comparable to Vine or TikTok.

SimShare

A simsense-sharing site for aspiring simsense stars, comparable to YouTube, owned by Fuchi. Contains anything from low-budget dramas to how-to instructables that show you how things really feel hands-on.

Sybaris

A simsense-sharing site, owned by Aztechnology, devoted to sharing intense physical and emotional experiences: five-star meals, front-row seats at a play, skydiving, even sex if you pay the extra fees and have a SIN that says you’re 18 or older. Comparable to OnlyFans.

Toontalk

A social media site, owned by Yamatetsu, where each starting post puts a comic book character into a setting, performing an action or posing, possibly with a word balloon. People interacting insert characters into the cartoon; people reacting add their characters into the background. Each conversation then turns into a comic book; often multiple books that all start with the same panel. Additionally monetized through selling copyrighted graphics.

Ziggurat

The dominant artist-patronage site, owned by Mitsuhama, where you can give money to your favorite musicians, writers, trideo and simsense performers, etc. in exchange for perks like concert tickets, invites to exclusive chatrooms, and Fanscan badges.

Of course they don’t mention

Bubble

The open-source, federated network that deliberately limits the spread of viral posts until a sufficient number of residents of one bubble have boosted it for adjacent bubbles to see. It gets no promotion because it has zero corporate affiliation, but the conversations are really interesting.

Bung

There’s also

Archipelago

A torrent-based patronage site that accepts everything from nuyen to Haven cred to support your favorite creators. The megacorps will use everything from denial-of-service attacks and quality-of-service downgrades to shadowrunners when they don’t think they can get a big enough piece of the pie when artists connect to fans, and Archipelago is designed to stymie them. Livestreamed concerts on Archipelago turn into a Matrix war zone as corporate deckers try to disrupt the festivities, but when you get enough fans involved, the corporate types just can’t keep up with all the nodes appearing and disappearing.
Archipelago clients are Layer-compatible for displaying patronage badges, and if a DJ plays music from an Archipelago artist without displaying a supporter badge in augmented reality, the tastemakers will sneer at them. Archipelago badges won’t show up on corporate layers, of course, but the cool people are running Archipelago on their Scapes; after Mitsuhama tried banning Archipelago from their Scapes, how to jailbreak your Mitsuhama Scape videos went to the top ten on SimShare and Fuchi stalled a whole lot on responding to takedown requests.

Connie Connoisseur

Simsense and Social Activism

With the ability to record a person’s subjective experience, including emotional state, a naive person might think that bridges of understanding could be built, and a considerable number of people have been swayed by learning, directly, what it’s like to live someone else’s life. Sadly, technology is no match for the obstinacy of a determined bigot. Play back the anguish of a human who lost a loved one to terrorist action to one of the Sons of Sauron and they will laugh and say it’s just an iota of deserved payback; play back the fear of an ork with a burning cross on their lawn and a Humanis policlub member will say it will keep the trogs in their place. Many people flat-out deny that simsense recordings that conflict with their worldview are at all real.

Simsense moved the needle a considerable number of percentage points, much like cellphone cameras did a generation before. But no technology can change a person’s openness to new perspectives.