Maxiprog Computers, also known as Maximum Programming Units, are a later-generation type of computer designed for simplicity of use and integrated function, allowing for basic use without requiring full knowledge of the computer skill or individual programming of multiple programs, as in mainframe computers.
The basic unit is a standardized interface processor available in six levels, each level capable of handling more "maxiprog levels".
it can run
Combining Hardware and Maxiprogs: When a character or firm wants a mainframe computer to help with work, security, or whatever, they must first decide what maxiprog functions are needed. Then the levels of those maxiprog functions are determined, depending on the amount of work the maxiprog must do (see Maxiprog Complexity Table). After the maxiprog functions and levels are determined, a sufficiently complex mainframe computer is purchased or rented.
Maxiprogs of different functional areas can be integrated into the same mainframe computer. Only in the larger mainframes do you find an entire computer given over to just one function.
The total number of program levels that a mainframe computer can run is the square of the computer level.
Therefore, a Level 2 Mainframe Computer, which handles up to four maxiprog levels, can either run four Level 1 maxiprogs, two Level 2 maxiprogs, or one Level 2 and two Level 1 maxiprogs. The number of maxiprog outlets that can be plugged into a mainframe computer equals the total maxiprog levels it has (so a Level 6 mainframe has 36 ports). No mainframe computer can run a maxiprog of greater level than its level.
Structure Points: A computer's weight is also its number of structural points. Mainframe weights are listed in the Equipment Tables at the end of this book. Add the weight of each maxiprog attached to the mainframe to find the total structural points of the computer.
Power Sources: Mainframe computers of Levels 1 to 4 are powered by parabatteries of the same level. Level 5 and 6 mainframes use power generators type 1 and 2, respectively. Mainframe computers operate for at least one year before their batteries must be recharged. Power sources do not come as standard equipment with computers and must be purchased separately.
Mainframe Computer Controlled Attacks: Any defensive or offensive weapon or robot controlled by a computer starts on the Level +1 column to resolve its actions. The final attack column is arrived at by adding a +1 Column Shift for every level or Security maxiprogs the computer has, plus any normal combat modifiers. Therefore, a mainframe with a Level 3 Security (Defensive Weapons) maxiprog would attack on the Level +4 column (subject to any normal combat modifiers).
Computer Skill Levels: A mainframe computer does not possess an individual skill unless that skill falls into one of the functional areas of the maxiprog. Much of this is left to the referee's interpretation of the maxiprog's function and level. A good example of this would be a Level 3 Job (Medical) maxiprog. The computer has some knowledge and skills in the medical field, but would it necessarily contain the Medical Treatment: Radiation skill? A lot would depend on the location of the mainframe and whether the radiation poisoning was a rare or common occurrence there.
As a general guideline, the skills and skill levels are identical to those of the maxiprog's function and level. A Level 4 Job (Communications) maxiprog would have the skill equivalence of Communication Devices: Operate skill Level 4 (though not Communication Devices: Repair; that would require one of the Maintenance maxiprogs).
Maxiprogs are the term used for programs that are used by a maximum programming unit computer, as described in Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space.
The actual maxiprog is a 25-cm square by 10 cm thick Johnson Energy Field surrounded by an extremely durable plastic shell. This field holds billibyte upon billibyte of information. It is the most stable field known to the techexes of the Frontier and only an anti-matter field can disrupt the information contained therein.
Four blunt plugs are located on one of the large sides of the maxiprog. These are plugged into a mainframe and the maxiprog immediately interfaces with the hardware and other maxiprogs that are part of the computer.
Maxiprogs are classified from Level 1 to Level 6, the complexity of the programming increasing with the level. The following brief guideline gives the referee some idea of the complexity levels of Maxiprogs. This is important, as the referee's decision usually determines what level of maxiprog a character or organization needs.
|Level||Maximum Extent of Control||Cost|
|1||The needs of a single character or small household.||200|
|2||The needs of a large household or small business.||1,000|
|3||The needs of a medium business or small bureaucracy.||4,000|
|4||The needs of a large business, a medium bureaucracy, or a small town.||12,000|
|5||The needs of a mega-corp (in one field), a large bureaucracy, or a medium-sized city.||25,000|
|6||The needs of a space-station, space ship, or specific field (such as traffic control) in a large city.||40,000|
Maxiprogs Function Description
Maxiprogs are available for six different functional areas. A brief description of each area is listed below.
Analysis/Information: This type of maxiprog will perform one of the following functions: information storage, information access, cross referencing, analysis of statistics and facts, language capabilities, coordination of scanners and interpretation of scanner data, etc. Libraries, government information services, and universities use these maxiprogs extensively.
Creative: This type of maxiprog will perform one of the following functions: abstract representation of data, architectural tools and displays, engineering tools and displays, flight and combat holographic simulation control, data on research and development, data on inventions, and general think tank uses. Military organizations, mega-corp research and development divisions, governmental patent offices, think tanks, and the like use these maxiprogs extensively.
Job: This type of maxiprog will perform one of the following functions: communications operations, robotics management, traffic control and transportation, medical operations, industrial uses such as manufacturing, assembling, packing, etc., and any other specific job function not covered in the other maxiprog areas. Industrial facilities, hospitals, starports and airports, installations, city governments, and the like use these maxiprogs extensively.
Maintenance: This type of maxiprog will perform one of the following functions: life support systems, automatic repair and maintenance on machinery or robots, monitoring a facility for general maintenance, power feed controls (both outgoing and incoming), waste management, and other general maintenance and repair functions. Almost every installation and large facility uses these maxiprogs, as to spaceships and space stations.
Security: This type of maxiprog will perform one of the following functions: defensive systems (internal, external, perimeter, vehicular, etc.), offensive weapon systems, coordination of offensive weapons and defense systems, computer security, etc. Military organizations, law enforcement facilities, large computer systems, space ships and stations, and the like use these maxiprogs extensively.
Mainframe Extra Equipment
Strongbox: The strongbox is a plasteel shell that can completely encase a mainframe computer. For each layer encasing the computer, the computer gains 50 structural points. Up to five layers can be added. Though opening are provided for operations and cables, the maxiprog is locked around the mainframe with a lock of Level 5 or greater.