Smartguns and Optical Sights



This document is something I've knocked together from various sources. The Star Fraction by Ken McLeod had computerised sniper rifle - it wasn't the rifle that had my attention but rather the computer system that was tagged underneath it (well worth buying - as is The Cassini Division).

Many gun-head characters have cyberoptics with low-lite, IR and targeting scopes..... true, it is possible to carry all these options in your head and use them on any weapon. However, what about situations where equipment is shared? Would the security services fork out for that same specification of cyberware for each of it's field staff? Not always.

You may think that some of the prices within this document are fairly low. Given the state of the technology from the rest of the game, I don't think any of the kit in here is too outlandish. I would suggest that getting a gun computer would be an adventure in itself and the player should expect to pay at least double the listed price (unless they're boosting one from a careless owner). This type of equipment should be obtained after many contacts and streetwise tests - gun computers shouldn't be handed out to new characters.

To this end this file deals with the concept of image enhanced smart guns and equipment that could be used by non-modified users.

The Very Basics

First off you'll need a gun computer. This is a small unit about half the size of a pack of smokes. It can fit under the barrel of your weapon or mounted across the top. As the technology improves you'll probably find it's housed in the stock or secreted away around the trigger area (extra $100).

The gun computer costs about $300 and can be fitted by a competent techie (difficult [20] weaponsmith roll) as the various sensors and mounting brackets can be a little tricky for amateurs.

Without any enhancements the gun computer has a smartgun camera, records your current ammo levels, notes what ammo is loaded, barrel temperature, wind speed and target range & speed (in meters). The gun computer can also use the standard cyberoptic options available (see here).

Visual Output

The computer collates various bits of info and passes them on to the user. This is done via a small screen, wire to goggles (or monocle).

Screens are small units that fit on the top of the weapon or hang to the left/right of the muzzle. They're cheap at around $50 and give reasonable performance. On the down side, they can occlude your view (-1 perception/awareness at Ref's discretion) and do affect the balance of the weapon (-1 accuracy). More expensive models use holograms or have balancing and light-weight materials to prevent accuracy problems (holoscreens are $100 while improving balances increases screen cost to $75).

Early 21st Century smart-monocleGoggles can be worn instead of a screen and these provide good performance as well as protecting the eyes from the surrounding environment. The downside to this is if the goggles fail (or the gun camera does) you have to remove them to see. Monocles get around this but they are not to everyone's tastes and get some time to get used to using them (say -2 to visual skills and weapon accuracy before 20 hours training time is up). Cheap goggles ($100) only give you a view from the computer's camera - but hey, they're cheap what did you expect?

Standard goggles cost $150 and have a clear plastic viewers for normal vision but can overlay visuals from the gun camera as needed. You can switch the view to show just the gun, dispense with the gun's view altogether or have a windowed picture in picture option (handy if you're driving - remember not all gun computers are for small arms!). The mid range goggles do not allow you to use cyberoptic options.

If you've forked out for a pair of smartgoggles then you could use those (They let a wearer use cyberoptic mods in a set of goggles - no surgery required, but not all options are available). All gun computers come with the standard jack for interface plugs so attaching them isn't a problem (see wired or wireless). If you've got some good contacts, you may be able to find (difficult [20] streetwise test) some covert goggles. These look just like normal reading glasses and act as the standard goggles (above) but they cost a wad - expect to pay at least $900 (and yes they are wireless and no, they don't take cyberoptic options - at least not yet).

Cyberoptics with picture-in-picture can be used - as can the Overlay Processor but this kinda defeats the purpose of gun computers which are mainly externalised components of the hard to find military optic options.

Wired or Wireless?

You don't have to worry about a connecting a screen to the gun computer, but what about goggles? Well, you can go for the typical interface cable and that'll jack into just about anything these days: your video unit, computer or anyone with a set of interface plugs. The plug and cable are standard so there is no extra cost.

If you fancy something a little more flash you could go wireless. This gives the computer a short range tight beam radio link which relays information to and from your goggles. The transceiver is very small and does not increase the weight of the goggles.

Power consumption is kept to a minimum by the radio link only activating when the you touch the trigger or move your face near for a firing position. A wireless link costs $100 and is easily fitted to the gun computer (average [15] weaponsmith, cybernetics or computer tech test).

Infra-red transmitters had been used during preliminary tests but debris over the transmission port caused numerous problems. Some agencies remain sceptical about radio links due to short range leakage of the signal and the possibility of the system being jammed. If this is a concern to you - opt for a cable but you will have to plug into the weapon whenever you need it. This is a loss of a few seconds so weigh up your options. [NB: a wireless link allows instant "connection" to the smartgun whereas plugging in counts as an action].


So what nifty enhancements does a gun computer and goggle-set give you? Firstly, you get the standard smartgun link which comprises of a target allocator and WHYSIWYG targeting dot from your goggles (or rather - what you see is what you shoot). This grants a +2 hit bonus (+1 from the unit and +1 from the target dot).

There are also a number of add-ons available from specialist manufacturers (streetwise [15] task to find a source - or ask your fixer).

Camera Equipment:

This is a small camera encased in bullet resistant plexiglass placed toward the end of the muzzle. It is designed as a "periscope" so you can safely peak around a corner without getting your head shot off. The tiny camera does swivel within it's case so you can take a good look around.

You won't be able to use this to draw a line of site though as you would need to raise the weapon to fire (don't forget the muzzle flash!). Please note the Arnold Tergunberger school of the pop up look will not give you chance to review your environment - plus you'll give your position away. This device comes highly recommended by the French riot-police and Lagos' Democracy First movement.

Due to the small size of this camera it is only possible to have a maximum two image enhancement installed in the standard package. More expensive versions may take up to four options (max 3 options = $300 and max 4 options = $400).

This is a spin on the tip camera and can be positioned in a number of place. The device is a camera which faces you and looks over your shoulder. Obviously on pistols and other small arms the view isn't that great - but a rifle in the shoulder position gives a clear view.

The view from the camera can be switched on or off and is normally displayed in a window within your vision. In game terms the camera gives you +2 bonus against being ambushed from behind.

If you're using goggles the more advanced versions can be stuck or clipped to the back of you helmet. These "sticky cams" will be wire connected and cost an extra $20.

This is a totally non-reflective coating for your scope, camera lens or goggles. Your targets will not be getting any mirror flashes that give your position away. Each purchase covers one device. At the ref's discretion this may add +1 to stealth/ambush rolls (but really all reflective surfaces should be hidden away).

Security Devices

A signature gun will only fire when the correct palm print ($100) or retina scan ($25) has activated it. Each security device has a difficulty of 25 to bypass and can store ten sets of prints (flasher versions store an extra 10 sets per $100 to a maximum of 100 prints).

The retina print version requires a monocle or pair of goggles and can be set to authorise or lock the gun remotely (5m range).

A cheaper option than a signature gun, this device adds a four button code panel to the computer and to activate/lock the gun you must enter the correct code. Most codes are 5 digits and the unit will store five codes (including a supervisor code to change existing users). Passcode locks can be found on older police issue equipment, but the advent of decent ICE breakers has made them less useful (difficult [20] security test - or [15] with an ICE breaker).

The speech module allows the gun to report back data to your goggles' earphones (or cyberaudio). Ammo levels or warning messages can all be channelled through the speaker. For an extra $100 you can add voice recognition to the weapon so you can lock/unlock the weapon remotely.


The gun computer has a neural network incorporating basic police skills and techniques (i.e.: best places for cover, good sniping positions - and how to avoid them, etc). The weapon is not self aware but is intelligent (INT 4 & TECH 6) and comes with the speech option built-in. It also reports your ammo levels and what type of ammo is currently loaded.

The gun will now report new targets that wander into it's line of fire and can be told to ignore "civilians" or only target "hostiles" (i.e.: people who are visibly armed). It can also track targets visually and

In game terms the gun computer get's it's own awareness tests (awareness +4) and has the following skills: weaponsmith +6; computer tech +4. The military grade computer is INT 6, TECH 8, has wilderness survival +2 and costs $5,000.

Thermograph with target (guess the film <g>)Weapon ID ($500):

The gun computer can scan the camera's input and tell you what weapon your target is using (60% chance of IDing the weapon in question. Keep in mind this is a database and image processor - a heavily customised gun or ultra-modern edition is unlikely to be recognised). Now, did he fire six shots or only five? :-)

The gun computer's camera can use standard cyberoptic options. Standard gun-comps can use four options, but more advanced systems have space for an extra option per $200 (to a max of six options). The image processor options are available at the following prices:


Effect Cost

Targeting System

For use with smartgun, gives a total of +2 to hit

Included as standard

Telescopic View

Gives x100m view per $100 (max is x800). $100 per rating
Flare Guard Prevents whiteout from sunlight or sudden increase in luminosity $200
Light Enhancement View targets in dim conditions (i.e.: starlight or weak street lighting). $200
Thermograph View all heat sources (including through light cover / leaves / fencing). $250
Heat Colour Mix (HCM) View environment normally but overlay specified temperature
bands (i.e.: body heat) with bright colours.
Target Tracker Mark targets and have the gun comp visually track them (so you
won't have targets wandering out of your line of sight and out flanking