Mind-language studies of the late 20th and early 21st centuries produced a major breakthrough in the field of mental behavior. The synaptic code used by the brain was deciphered. The two most visible results of that discovery are mind-transfers for cloning and Micro-simulations, or, more commonly, Micros.
It was discovered that a series of electrodes could be used to pump sensory information directly into the cerebral cortex, bypassing the senses. This involved the user in an intense "dream" with all the apparent reality of dreams. Applications in the entertainment industry were obvious. With the right software you can do anything without risk to life and limb!
Today, micros are an extremely popular form of entertainment. A micro player costs about $500, and includes a bulky, lightweight sensory helmet ($300 separately) and a master player which can handle up to four users at once. The micro adventures themselves cost about $2 per real4ime minute; the usual program is ten minutes long. Games are also popular; when hooked to a high-quality home computer, anything imaginable can be simulated.
Micros are popular among the duelling crowd, too. Many use them as a form of escapist entertainment, and micro arenas are especially popular the Morgoth Memorial, complete with magical effects, spells and the occasional dragon, is a challenge for even the most proficient duellist. With a microduel, all the hazards and excitement of duelling are reproduced without any physical risks - microduels make wonderful "warm-up" sessions. The high reaction-response of many professional duellists is often due to a pre-combat warmup duel inside the duellist's brain. Micros can also be used for familiarization and training.
Familiarization is the process of getting used to a car, weapon or some other unfamiliar device. Ten minutes of micro training results in the loss of the penalty modifiers for using unfamiliar devices (see GURPS Basic Set and GURPS Autoduel for more details). For example, if you're only used to driving compacts and need to handle an off-road van, the micro session will familiarize you with how the van handles.
Training takes longer and requires more equipment. Micros inject information directly to the brain, but lack the muscle feedback necessary for true co-ordination of the actions placed into memory. Actual physical stimulation is required for complete training. To supply this, micro training centers add gymnasium-like training rooms (for foot practice) and extensive simulators to provide the negative feedback required.
A micro-training session takes place in ten-minute intervals with a rest and evaluation period between each session. During the micro experience, the trainee is monitored by professional trainers as he goes through the workout. paramedics stand by to assist the occasional trainee whose clumsiness results in injury.
The process takes place in realtime (one minute of micro time is the same as one minute of real time) due to the tremendous amount of detail being generated, and is exhausting. The trainee is experiencing the situation as real and reacting accordingly. The rest and evaluation period is necessary to allow trainees to steel themselves for the next bout with micro "reality."
Proficiency takes hours of training time but is usually less expensive than real crisis situations. The military uses micro training to educate soldiers in combat behavior. Thanks to multiple-user setups, entire platoons can be maneuvered in simulated outdoor exersizes.
Micro training can be a valuable supplement to actual experience. Life may be the best teacher, but micro training is the next best thing.
Familiarization micros have the same cost as normal micros: $20 per. Use of a proper familiarization micro will remove any negative modifiers for using or working on unfamiliar machines - a mechanic with the right micro could work on a vehicle he's never seen before; a micro on wire-guided missiles would allow a soldier to fire a ground-mounted WGM without penalty Remember, using a micro takes ten minutes of real time!
Micro training requires facilities, trainers, time and money. Fees are usually $50 per hour, with a maximum of two hours per day. Group micro training costs $30 per hour per trainee- a 90-man company's micro costs are $2,700 per hour.
Experience gained from micro training is 1 skill point per (skill level - 1) x 6 hours - minimum time of 6 hours. This can become expensive, since one successful arena duel can net up to 5 or more skill points; a feat taking 25+ hours in micro training, costing $1,250 or more. In addition, the highest a combat or DX-based skill can be raised via micro training is +3 (or GURPS skill level 14) - above this level, the trainee's reactions begin to outstrip the microsimulator's ability to calculate the results of those actions.