…ICE patterns formed and reformed on the screen as he probed for gaps, skirted the most obvious traps, and mapped the route he’d take through Sense/Net’s ICE. It was good ICE. Wonderful ICE…
…His program had reached the fifth gate. He watched as his icebreaker strobed and shifted in front of him, only faintly aware of his hands playing across the deck, making minor adjustments. Translucent planes of color shuffled like a trick deck. Take a card, he thought, any card.
The gate blurred past. He laughed. The Sense/Net ice had accepted his entry as a routine transfer from the consortium’s Los Angeles complex. He was inside. Behind him, viral subprograms peeled off, meshing with the gate’s code fabric, ready to deflect the real Los Angeles data when it arrived.
From Neuromancer, by William Gibson.
Alright. You’ll have noticed the smiley in the headline… that said, there is no right way to emulate ICE in a cyberpunk game. But there is a way to use them literature-appropriately.
Gibson doesn’t use names for ICE. They’re a monolithic complex of intrusion countermeasure electronics. Massive on the outside, packed with things that hurt hackers and their equipment on the inside.
Icebreakers get the same treatment by Gibson. Brand names? No, of course not. This is not Amazon. Mega corps have their own wage slaves to write code for them. And hackers write or trade their own software.
So, to stay close to literature: protect systems with ICE. No names. No virtual, shared hallucination watch dogs or whatever. Just one big monolithic block. Surrounding sensible corp data like a massive wall with built-in weapons. That’s the reason Cyberpunk and Cyberpunk 2020 had ‘data fortresses’. Let’s keep that. In Gibson’s novels, once the walls of the fortress were breached, the netrunner could control the system. I’ll keep that, as well.