Cyberware is, naturally, a pillar of the cyberpunk setting. This is certainly true in aesthetic terms, and it’s also often part of the theme — a corporation’s product invading your body itself, flesh directly meeting metal, exploring the border between human and machine, and when one might become the other. Signal Nine explores this in a few ways as well, and more to the point right now, it has cyberware!
As you may have gleaned from the combat dev diary, we model body parts fairly extensively, and part of our reason for doing this is to be able to properly model the advantages of cyberware. Fragile skin becomes armor, a limb’s function is boosted, and all new abilities are added. This also synergizes with combat damage and the long-term injuries and scarring that can result. A limb permanently losing function, while certainly consequential to your character, is less of a big deal in a world where you have the option to completely replace it.
This dev diary will be a little different. Instead of summarizing the different things we’re able to create with the cyberware system, we’ll pick a few finished products to show to you, and you’ll certainly begin to get the idea. Let’s start with some of the most ubiquitous pieces and work our way toward the more exotic.
CyberBionics CB-11d Implanted Chipslot
CyberBionics, as a company, is pretty much what it sounds like — right down to the cheap-sounding name. It churns out low-end cyberware. Whatever was cutting edge a decade ago, you can count on CyberBionics having a cheap knock-off version of it today. This makes their products extremely common.
Implanted chipslots, too, are commonplace. Chipslots typically install behind the ear, and there is usually only one slot, though dual socket options are available. Through them, data and software on memory sticks, commonly called simply chips, can interface directly with your cyberware. (Yes, this can be as dangerous as it sounds.) These are standard in business, as loading an entire spreadsheet into your brain is certainly a productivity boost. They can also give you a boost in skills you haven’t actually learned, and they have some more exotic uses we’ll get to a bit later.
Integrand Combat Smartlink 4
Integrand Inter-Solutions have their fingers in every pie, and cyberware is no exception. Though their stuff isn’t usually cutting edge, they make a line of solid products that have become market standards. A common one for both military and mercenary contracts is the Smartlink. This palm implant interfaces with compatible firearms, keeping you updated on its ammunition and condition, and generally improving your aptitude with it.
SGS-224 Heavy Cyberarm
This cyberarm from Schreiber Global Solutions is an excellent mid-range solution to missing an entire arm — something which was in high demand after the last generation’s war. Much better than a simple prosthesis and just short of military-grade, this cybernetic limb has improved gripping and lifting power and its light armor can shrug off most casual attacks. While it’s not strictly meant to be a weapon, anyone who takes a cybernetic fist to the jaw is certain to regret it. If you want to restore lost limb functionality and then some, you could do far worse than this product.
AD DNI-02 Direct Neural Interface Jack
This product by Accelerated Dynamics is the market standard for DNIs, a port used to connect your nervous system directly to cyberspace. Unlike the camouflaged DNI-06b induction jack variant, this one makes a statement with a visible port at the base of your brain stem. With this, there will be no filter between you and cyberspace, which will be a huge advantage for you as a decker… and can also be extremely deadly.
Prepare yourself to take a beating with this product from Hikari Group, a cyberware manufacturer that mostly fills military contracts. Once this is installed, your bones will be infused with a sponge-like matrix of strong alloys, making them harder to break and improving your overall endurance. Want to be a heavy, the sort of person who can get thrown through a plate glass window and shrug it off? This is for you.
AugTek E-9 High-Grade Cybereye
This cybernetic eye replacement by Augmentation Technologies is a good all-rounder, offering sharper vision and an expansion of the visible spectrum at both ends. It’s also one of the few models with recording capability, letting you make a permanent record at will of anything you see, saving it to either an internal memory chip or one you have plugged into your chipslot for sharing with others.
ACG IT-4 Integrated Scalpel
It’s hard to misplace a tool when it’s embedded in your body. This bit of cyberware can be implanted in the first joint of the finger of your choice, providing a ready-made scalpel suitable for delicate operations. Others are available as well, from a variety of manufacturers, letting you have the tools of your trade literally at your fingertips.
ACG-FC3 Catalytic Fuel Cell Implant
This exotic piece by Anqing Components Group is an adjunct to the stomach, used mostly by those augmented to the verge of cybersickness or with something to prove. Cyberware takes a lot of power, but it’s all designed to hook into your metabolism, using up calories, meaning you’ll need to eat more — if you’re thinking of drinking gasoline to get that energy back, like this implant allows you to do, then you must either have a ton of cyberware or you want to look like a real tough guy.
CXP Chemical Analyzer III
This unique chip by CyberExperience Electronics interfaces with your tongue, letting you have an exact rundown of the relevant chemical makeup of anything you taste. Could be useful in an investigation, or just as one of those party tricks that grosses everybody out.
Imagine your enemy’s surprise when you make a fist, and instead of swinging it, it drops off your arm… still connected via a strong cable, and now able to be whipped around, bringing the full effect of momentum to bear. There are a number of implanted weapons like this, of varying practicality, often designed to surprise more than hold up in a sustained fight. Some are, however, extremely deadly, such as the dreaded implanted monowhip.
This is, of course, just a small taste of what we currently have in the game, and an even smaller taste of what’s possible. We haven’t talked about the mathematics coprocessor brain chips, blood clotting enhancements, pain suppressors, various power management options, subdermal armor and chrome skin grafts, and so on. Dozens of pieces are currently implemented, and we expect that to grow into the hundreds once core systems are finalized and we can devote our attention to developing more cyberware. Behind the scenes, our system makes it easy to add new cyberware, whether it’s a replacement, an augment, or an implant — a matter of moments to add the piece itself, though, of course, if it also needs new code to make it work, then that amount of work varies.
We also haven’t gotten into robots yet! Robots, of course, can have many different internal components, and those will be part of the cyberware system. They’re not currently a priority as we prepare for alpha testing, but they certainly will be later.
In conclusion: Augments, upgrades, sidegrades, and so on are all part of the scene, and we plan to have a huge variety of them. Not only are they a way to individualize your character, but the cyberware itself, who made it, and the reason they made it all help to tell the story of the world.