This may be something obvious I’m overlooking, but if my MUs are maxed out and I play Self-modifying Code, is SMC trashed (freeing up the MUs) BEFORE the program it finds is installed? Or do I need to have the free MUs to have both installed at the same time (trashing SMC AFTER the new program is installed)?
yes, SMC is trashed as part of the install cost of the program it tutors, so those 2MU are available to install the new program into.
Example: Kate has Magnum Opus and SMC installed. There are no MU expansions in play, so Kate cannot install any new programs without trashing an existing one. Kate triggers SMC to install Gordian Blade, and now has 1 free MU.
If you are at 4 memory out of 5 (because you have a astrolabe installed) (lets say magnum opus, corroder, and gordian blade) you can not install a SMC and immediately use it. you will be at 6 mu before you get the chance, and will need to clear up 1 mu (however, to clear up MU you can trash any programs you choose.). then you can use the SMC to find a thing.
Things happen one at a time.
You are using 4 MU out of 4 available.
You install SMC - you are now 2 MU over your limit. You must trash 2 MU worth of programs.
You use the trash effect of SMC - you are now 2 MU below your limit.
The trash effect resolves and installs a program. Assuming it’s 1 MU, you still have 1 MU remaining.
As with much of the game, don’t rush through changing game states, or you will risk confusion.
Awesome. Thanks all!
To be clear, you can’t use the trash effect of SMC until after it is fully installed. Rules and effects that cause a thing to be trashed, like being over memory limit, cannot be used for the cost of a paid ability.
Minor quibble: You cannot install SMC and then trash other programs to make room for it - you have to trash the programs first. Though the trashing to make space and the actual installation of SMC are both part of the installing action, so there isn’t any time between them, and in most circumstances I suppose it won’t make a difference.