From The Depths - Forum

Full Version: Engine Power - Priorities for Production and Consumption
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I would like to have finer control over engines, power consumers, priorities, and a cleaner UI to display and manage it all.

Currently you don't have great control over the power generation and consumption on your craft. You can kind of simulate priorities among fuel engines using responsiveness and decay settings, but this isn't perfect. Power systems mixing fuel, steam, and/or electric provide even less control.

You have a similar lack of control over the power consumers on your vehicle. Sometimes a vehicle may not be able to meet power demands. While this could be simply a case of not installing enough engine power, it could just as easily be engine damage or running out of fuel/electricity. When this happens, the remaining power is split among all requests such that everything is proportionally equally powered. There is no realistic way to shut off non-essential systems to keep more vital systems running at full power. At best you could use electric power, then shut things off based on battery levels.

To solve these issues I would like to see a priority setting that is global to all engines on the craft, and a similar priority setting for all power consumers on the craft. This would include an extra setting on the 'Q' menus for each of these blocks, and ideally also involve an overhaul of the Power section of the 'V' menu to more easily control these settings.

For engines, the priority setting is quite simple. Engines with higher priority will spin up first, while lower priority engines sit idle until higher priority engines reach maximum capacity. This will be a cleaner way of directing load to fuel engines, displacing the messy decay and response settings, and allow builders to better tailor their engine usage to their needs. Engines could be prioritized by efficiency - electric first (since that energy is already "paid for") then use up fuel power, and last the more material-inefficient steam engines. Or prioritize by responsiveness like it is now - steam, then fuel, and last use the instant electric power as a buffer. Or mix and match anything in between.

Power consumer priority is also simple in concept. When power is insufficient, the lowest priority items lose power first. Items with equal priority will use the same weighted power assignment as now, but losing no power before lower priority items, and losing all power before higher priority items. By default everything will be set to the same priority, which will end with the same behavior as current. Ideally these priorities could be set by block - so you could do things like shut off rear shields before losing frontal shields - but since vehicles may have large numbers of power consumers, performance concerns may make it more reasonable to set priorities by block type instead.

As I mentioned, ideally an overhaul like this would include a complete rework of the 'V' power menu.
-First, Electric Engines need to be listed along with Fuel and Steam Engines in the top section.
-Second, the sorting needs to change to alphabetical from placement order, which is completely useless and next to impossible to find anything.
-Third, it would be very nice to allow the newly-sorted list to be collapsible. So you could reduce those 30 propellors (or whatever) to a single line item that shows the number of propellors and their total power consumption.
-Last, this menu would be the best place to set power priorities for a craft. Just needs a text entry or dropdown box next to each line item. Which could be super cluttered, but that's why collapsible menus should be a thing here.

Hopefully this makes some sense, and thanks for reading.