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Full Version: Marine Propulsion Overhaul - Give us the Shaft
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Some threads have suggested a few things like this (or a few of the individual components to be included in the overall suggestion I'm making) but I'd like to condense these into a single topic/concept.

I have a mix of maritime combat and engineering operations experience, and I frigging love this game. I'm kicking myself over not buying this sooner. I do however have some suggestions on the overall marine propulsion system used in the game.

1. Give us the shaft. The idea that we generate "engine power" into one block and just arbitrarily convert it to shaft power is, aside from unrealistic, leaving out an entire area of ship customization.

The basic idea would be this: the (steam or engine) crankshaft must be directly connected out to a propeller block. That shouldn't be too hard to implement. Engines should be adjusted to output torque and RPM. Props would then need to be adjusted to rotate at the RPM of the shaft driving them, and convert the supplied torque into forward/backward motion. This then leads into giving us a bigger reason to care about fuel injection vs super/turbo charged carburetion.
Instead of showing engine power on the gui, show shaft or engine RPM as the throttle-able setting.

An additional block to add would be reduction gears and shaft coupling/decoupling devices. Need 2 props off one engine? gotta split the shaft. Likewise you could couple multiple engines to a single shaft to put more power through the shaft to power a big single prop (submarines and big ships)

2. Custom props fit in here. By allowing us to change the number of prop blades, use some different prop blades (3 for now: standard, variable pitch and non-cavitating for submarines) and blade counts / blade sizes, we can create different props for different applications, and again, eat up all those torques and RPMs to make speed through the water.

These two concepts should allow us to move any ship on significantly fewer propeller blocks, but require design work (and lots of resources spent on shaft/prop parts) to make it work at a viable speed. In simpler terms, almost any ship will work with one or two props, but will have to scale the engine, reduction gear shaft components and prop size to properly match the size of the ship and desired speed.

3. Misc - Some other thoughts/suggestions -

Marine Gas Turbines - add a few blocks to the custom jet to allow them to be converted to marine gas turbine engines. I'm thinking they would use a different exhaust component that allows the shaft to connect to one of the two sides. Because of the ridiculously higher RPMs, reduction gears AND variable pitch propellers would be REQUIRED to make these work. There would probably also need to be some ductable intake/exhaust piping out of these now, since the airflow is so much higher (Game mechanic tradeoff: want to use gas turbines? your heat signature is going to be ridiculous and exhaust stacks are a thing you have to design for)

Steam propulsion turbines. Piston power for steam is cute, but every naval steam engine out there now uses a turbine. I think after adding reduction gears, this becomes a little more conceptually possible in the game, and would be a good addition, especially if nuclear power is ever implemented above the mod level.

Lastly, Nuclear Power. Engines turn fuel into power. Steam engines turn materials into power. Nukes should be a 3rd choice that turn an INSANE amount of initial resource capital into a dangerous kind of power. Want to use nuke propulsion? gotta use containment (read: lead block shielding) around your reactor, and when it goes, anything alive on the ship takes damage, any unshielded electronics take emp damage and if the core itself takes a hit you get catastrophic loss-of-whole-ship kind of damage.

Just some thoughts. If I can make time to operationalize some of this into a mod, I might.
Most of these have already been suggested multiple times, and are the reason Nick started work on FS (has it's own sub-forum at the bottom of the forum overview page). This is because FTD, its ships and players ships would all require a mayor redesign for this to work.
There's also been discussions about nuclear power before, as a alternative means to generate steam, but that's currently a low priority.