CANON PROBLEM 2: The Feasibility of Virus

Last Updated 26 February 2005.

The Problem

Is Virus believable - or is it too far-fetched?


R1: Sentient Chips
Sentient chips from Adventure ??: Signal GK
R2: Transponders
Transponders as the primary source of infection
Transponders are originally described in ???
In "ARTICLE", transponders are described as ???
R4: Geography of the post-Rebellion Imperium
Area of the Safes, Wilds, etc, before the release of Virus
R5: Spread of Virus
Described as...
R6: Virus' Capabilities
Ability of Virus to attack multiple operating systems on multiple platforms
Imperial Data Standards
R7: Foreign Shipping
Foreign vessels installed with Imperial transponders
R8: Dave Nilsen's Observations
Challenge #?? essay
CotI discussion

Discussion Points

D1: Sentient chips - OK?
Sentient chips - believable
D2: Transponder Abilities
Discuss original versions (on/off civilian, plus variable mil-grade) vs TNE's on-all-the-time "honest brokers"
Ability of Cymbeline chips to cut code is limited in range
By TL 15, surely ordinary computer viruses are hedged out?
Or are computers built differently to what we can imagine now (opens up the can-of-worms that is the discussion of Trav computers)?
Modern advances in reprogrammable computers
Transponders - semi-believable
D3: Spread of Virus
Spread by interstellar trade, even though there IS no trade!
Didn't manage to overwhelm the Regency
Speed of spread - not believable
D4: Metagame Considerations
Virus was a plot device introduced to Traveller for the following reasons:
  • to cause a final collapse of all the factions (so there wuld be no "winner");
  • to create an ongoing background antagonist;
  • to allow GDW to update Traveller's 1970's computers with modern concepts (nanotech, AI, etc)
Dave Nilsen pointed out that GDW didn't have to use Virus as the means to cause the final collapse; almost anything could have served as a plot device. However, the Workshop thought that using Virus was a cool way of re-referencing previous material while simultaneously allowing them to open up the Traveller universe to modern computing possibilities and associated storylines.


S1: "Yoda Virus: (A)bort or (F)ail, there is no (R)etry...."
Don't allow Virus in your Traveller universe...
Use another campaign background; for example, Larsen's Wounded Colossus background.
S2: "Innoculate!"
Alter vectors of infection to reduce Virus' abilities.
S3: "Have Virus, Can't Travel"
Have Virus spread more slowly - still allows the Collapse to occur, but even more slowly and painfully.

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