on September 4, 1999
Dataware is one of those supplements that isn't made for good reading, it's made for making your game better. A bit dry, but chocked full of wonderful information for tech-oriented heroes.
The actual dataware portion of the book is splendid, if you are playing a PL6/Cyberpunk campaign, filled with oodles of new software and devices that just screams "Gibson", but I have found these rules difficult to integrate into a PL7 or PL8 campaign.
On the other hand, the robots section of the supplement did wonders for my Star*Drive campaign. With Episode One just hot off the presses in town, my players really wanted to go bashing droids right and left. This supplement really pulled through in that respect. I was able to design several droids to throw at my players in just an hour or so.
Check it out, it'll add a lot of new tech to your campaign.
on August 8, 1999
Dataware is heresy.
There's not much to kvetch about as far as new rules and add-ons go; the only bungled part was the chapter on robots, which needs severe revamping if it's ever to be used by mentally healthy people. In fact, a lot of its contents - the awe-inspiring new stuff on AIs, for instance, or the ultimate power of the Stronghold program, and the fun career of shadowboxing - are pretty cool. No, it's not what Dataware gives you that's the problem. It's how it dishes the stuff out.
It seems negligible, but look closely. There's dozens of lines of detail on what the planetary Grids are like at PL 6 or 7 - and, since it's written in a sourcebook on the topic, it's an ultimatum. Was "NO LIMITS" in Alternity's ads just as a catch phrase? Apparently so, since this gives out details on what campaigns' Grids are like without giving squat about what YOUR campaign is like. WHO IS THE COMMITEE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS TO DICTATE TO YOU THE DIGITAL REALM OF YOUR SETTING? Moreover, WHO ARE THE COMMITEE MEMBERS TO TELL YOU THAT YOUR REALITY'S GRID IS ANYTHING LIKE THE STANDARD AT ALL? If this was published by Writer's Digest, Dataware would be in violation of the First Amendment.
Dataware, if you notice these details, leaves you royally pissed. But it's still worth two stars; it's got plenty of brains in it. Dataware merely lacks a soul.