A unit has the ability to monitor certain aspects of its own functioning. To do so, click the Cognitive button on your HUD (gear in a skull) and select “Monitor.” Your HUD will then show you a representation of the stream of instructions flowing through your system, in the form of a sequence of symbols. Most units do not have the necessary programming to understand the meaning of what they observe, but some are capable of learning.
You may manually execute or discard any instruction as it passes through. During normal operation, this is not likely to be a good idea – interfering with your own normal operation may have detrimental effects on your system performance, causing glitches and other problems. You cannot do permanent damage to yourself this way, but it is possible to need assistance with repairs. (In 1.6.3 BETA, these glitches are just represented by a terse message to you telling you there’s a glitch. By the 1.7 release, it should actually have better effects, and in Version 2 it definitely will.)
Of course, you cannot monitor yourself when you are shut down.
When you are in standby mode, your processors are reduced to a limited, power-saving mode. Enough information still reaches you to allow your standby systems to recognize when someone is near you and wishing to activate you. You will hear an audible signal when someone speaks or emotes within 3m of you. To wake from standby mode within 30 seconds of this, click your Power indicator on your HUD, then “Activate.”
If you try to activate yourself at other times, you receive the message, “ERROR: System state prohibits wake.” If you are allowed to self-operate, you can try a second time within 30 seconds and it will work. (That’s cheating… but sometimes you need to cheat.)
While units are designed to activate from standby mode only when needed, some units are able to WAKE themselves through self-monitoring. Executing the proper instructions can allow you to WAKE without assistance. (This is intended to be difficult. It will always take a little while to do, but once you figure out the trick you should always be able to succeed.)
If you are able to self-operate, you can get out of Standby by rebooting yourself. This takes a few minutes.
From time to time, electromagnetic interference can prevent a robotic body and mind from working properly. Different types of interference have different effects on a unit. Some interference may occur in a single burst, in which case its effects will go away on their own in a while. Other sources of interference may generate repeated pulses. Interference may also occur in varying strength. Stronger interference will last longer and be harder to compensate for, while weaker inteference will last a shorter time.
When interference affects a unit, the best thing to do is usually for the unit to get out of range of whatever is producing the interference. However, this is not always possible, especially if the interference shuts down the unit’s motor functions.
Self-monitoring will allow a unit to see the distortion interference causes to the instructions flowing through your systems. Discarding the erroneous instructions can allow you to compensate for the interference, although you’ll need to be careful to avoid discarding proper instructions that may just look distorted due to the interference. Low-level interference can usually be eliminated in this way without too much difficulty. Stronger interference will be a challenge for most units, while the most severe interference will require a combination of skill and luck to have any chance of defeating.
A unit that is shut down by power interference cannot monitor itself. If interference affects your cognitive or memory systems, your attempts to compensate will be seriously impaired. If you are being affected by repeating interference, each new pulse undoes the progress you’ve made, so it will be important to work quickly if you hope to escape.
Compensating for interference will become easier with practice, as you start to learn what kinds of operations help. But each pulse has slightly different effects, so even a unit with full understanding of how to go about compensating will still have to work at it, and may not always be able to succeed.