The Skybrary
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"I'm switching over to autopilot."

This article or section contains non-canon flavor text. As defined by Wikipedia, flavor text "usually has no effect on the mechanics of the game, but instead serves to add realism or characterization to the item in question." Information included here should not be considered canon unless directly corroborated by official Skyrates material.



There are two main communication systems within Skytopia. The most commonly used by pilots is the in-plane radio system, but a network of point-to-point communication arrays also service the major skylands. There is also a small courier service for paper mail.

Radio[]

The Skytopian in-plane radio system (iPRS) is designed for long-range authenticated communication. The main advantage of this system is that it allows multiple pilots to communicate simultaneously and identifiably much like a telephone conference call. To limit confusion in identifying pilots, the system is equipped with an automated signal ID system. Each time a pilot sends out a message to the radio network, his/her name and faction appears on other pilot's radio display.

Security[]

Although the iPRS is mostly designed for unsecured world-wide communication, it is also capable of operating on secure channels. Each faction has it's own secure channel for internal communication so members can speak freely without being overheard by the members of opposing factions. Wings are also assigned secure channels, although they are less frequently used.

There is no currently known way to transmit on a secured channel without being a member of the controlling faction or wing.

Regulation[]

Public radio channels are regulated for content, and pilots are urged to avoid inappropriate behavior such as swearing and lewdness. These regulations are somewhat enforced by the mysterious organization known as The Devs. Mostly, however, the radio community is expected to monitor itself and report pilots who are repeatedly violating regulations.

Faction and wing secured channels are also supposed to be covered under these regulations, but are much less strongly enforced. Some theorize that this is because the Cult of the Devs is neither capable of nor willing to monitor all channels simultaneously. This, however, may be erroneous.

Other uses[]

While mostly used for mundane chatter and discussion between pilots, the iPRS is also the primary outlet for Ellington Radio. Transcripts of Ell Radio broadcasts are later compiled from iPRS logs and sent to an archive via Arcadia's broadcast center, the Arcadia Communications Network.

Broadcasting centers[]

Many of the major skylands are equipped with long-range, point-to-point broadcasting arrays. These arrays provide instantaneous but unidirectional communications between neighboring skylands.

While mostly used by non-pilots to communicate between skylands, the broadcasting centers are also periodically used during emergency situations as they are far more resilient than the iPRS and usually remain functional during even the worst storms.

Usage[]

Unlike the iPRS, the broadcasting centers are not cable of bidirectional real-time communication. Messages are formatted much like an ordinary paper letter, with a sender and a receiver. It is important to note, however, that each message may only be sent from one broadcasting center to another and must be then passed on to the intended recipient by the receiving tower.

Some towers, such as the Islo Broadcasting Center (or IBC), also have the ability to "relay" transmissions to the in-plane radio system on both public and factional channels.

Security[]

Because messages are sent directly from tower to tower, broadcasting centers are considered more secure than the in-plane radio system.

Additionally, each message is coded with a sender ID and the name of the originating broadcasting center. This prevents unauthorized messages from being sent to secured locations. (For example, A Green Faction member cannot send a message directly to the Red Faction headquarters.)

Message formats[]

All messages sent via broadcast centers are automatically formatted by the array. There are two basic types:

Direct messages[]

All messages sent to a tower are formatted as follows:

**Begin Transmission**
>> Target: Name of recipient/s
>> Source: Originating broadcast center.
>> Signal ID: Sender's Name
>> Time/Date: HHMMtimezone/YYMMDD
message
**End Transmission**

iPRS redirects[]

Messages redirected to the iPRS are affixed with the following heading:

**Begin Automated Signal Redirect**
>> Source: Originating broadcast center.
>> Signal ID: Pilot's Name
>> Redirecting through broadcast center's name.
>> Connection Established.
**Redirection Complete**

Historical uses[]

While it is not normally possible to relay through a broadcasting center directly from an aircraft, some pilots have figured out how to modify their iPRS consoles to connect to nearby towers. James Tanner, a Blue Faction member, was the first known person to accomplish this after his ship was severely damaged by an EM wave during his flight to intercept the Azure Wind.

The following is an exact duplicate of Tanner's first broadcast:

**Begin Transmission**
>> Source: Islo Broadcasting Center, Redirect from Laron (Steppe-Region).
>> Signal ID: James Tanner
>> Time/Date: 0848EST/071029
>> WARNING: Message redirected from craft on broadcast emergency frequency; transmission errors may be present.
I've been monitoring Islo's craft from Getty in preparation to intercept. But this morning at approximately 0100hours, my plane was hit by an EM wave of some kind and forced to land at Romeo for repairs. I'm still grounded now, but managed to get my long range scanners back online.
Islo's craft is gone.
I don't know if there are any pilots in the area that can confirm this, but that's not our only problem. That... {static}
{static} still don't {static} radio back online, but I {static} comms system for this broadcast. I'll report in again as soon as...
{Static}
** Signal Lost **

Couriers[]

For paper mail, such as letters and parcels, senders can sometimes contract with a courier service for delivery. For the core skylands, these couriers will often use the small KittyHawk planes modified for extra speed and range. For skylands outside the KittyHawk's range, couriers will either sub-contract to outside pilots or, if the cargo is sensitive, use a more expensive upper-level performance plane such as a Nova.

Couriers can also carry large packages and bulk items. For these orders, most couriers fly a Dauntless modified for armor and cargo space. Although these planes are usually purchased as decomissioned government planes with more than a couple years on them, their large range and cargo holds make them well suited for deliveries. They are especially well suited for the more dangerous routes, thanks to their tendancy to withstand repeated anti-aircraft fire with minimal damage to crew and cargo.

Though expensive and slow, courier mail is the only way to move parcels or paper documents without doing it yourself. Customers should also be aware that couriers are sometimes attacked by pirates or less-than-ethical party members who are hoping to capture sensitive documents. Because of this, broadcast centers remain the safest way to transmit classified information.

OOC correlations[]

Purpose: This section is an out-of-character explanation of features, such a forums, in terms of their in-character counterparts. It applies only to messages sent "in-character" via chat, forums, etc.

The radio system in the main game window is represented by the in-plane radio system. The world chat is represented by the the public iPRS channel, while faction and wing chats are represented by secure channels.

Most posts in the "Skyrates Created Content" forum are in-character and are represented by the iPRS. It's assumed that the conversation it taking place in real time, over the radio. Some posts will be represented differently, depending on the purpose of the author. (ex. an Ell Radio interview might be represented by a face-to-face meeting on one of the skylands.)

In-character posts on faction boards are usually represented by the iPRS secure channels. Some posts may be represented differently, depending on the purpose of the author, but will most likely be described as such. (ex. a report sent to Faction HQ might be in the form of a message sent via broadcast center, and would be in the format above.)

In-character private messages (PM) on the forum are represented by broadcast centers. While the PM itself need not be formatted, it should be assumed that the character reading the message would see the headings described above.

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