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Readouts for the Readout God! Or a handful of tweaks would be cool.

How much thrust could a thruster thrust if a thruster could thrust thrust?
Damned if I know, dude.

It struck me while I was at the store today that there's an element missing from the UI. Two, even. The first is a display (in the tooltips, on a placed part, etc.) of how much thrust that propulsion components provide, be it jets, ion thrusters, or propellers, all in any of the available sizes. It feels odd that block health, AC, and weight are displayed for any given block, but the most important information about any of the single-block (read: not custom jets, dediblades, or other some-assembly-required systems whose output scales based on user customization) isn't available. It's especially strange in the case of ion thrusters, where they're told to provide significantly less thrust than jets. How much do jets provide in the first place? Without knowing that, there's no frame of reference to even do the calculations manually. You just have to guess, or to have used them enough to be able to eyeball it.

Firstly I'm asking is for a clear readout of how much force is provided by blocks that provide force at the default setting, drive fraction 1 iirc.

Secondly, and very related, can we also have a clear statement of how much engine power each one is going to draw? This one's a bit easier to figure out insofar as you can place an engine, place the propulsion block, activate it, write down the difference in engine power, and then use that figure to do the per-block math until you eventually memorize it. (You could likewise argue that any block that draws power from the engine ought to have that value displayed, but that's maybe a bit beyond the scope of my original thought. I'd like to see it, but it'd be a crap-load of work to update the tooltips for everything).

I'll stand by those two regardless of the general opinion of the upcoming third.

So apparently these have been in the build inventory for quite some time, and I've just always managed to miss them somehow. As a result I'm crossing them off my list.

The third thing I have in mind would be particularly useful in the context of building a craft, however I'm not sure of its utility once the craft is built; I have no idea what to call it, but how about "auto-calc terminal" for now? Its purpose would be to calculate how much force would be required to achieve a certain task. The game tracks a vehicle's weight and drag, as well as gravity, resistance, and the world's physics in general-- so using this information, about how much thrust/propulsion is required to (for example) keep the Non-Descript SkyShip Type A aloft? How much to increase its altitude? Right now, we can add thrust and take thrust away, finding answers as precise as "more than this" or "less than this," but knowing for sure is almost impossible.

In simplest terms, the block would function as a diagnostic readout tool allowing precise calculation of force the vehicle requires to be what it needs to be, accounting for weight, drag, and physics. It might be as simple as "Thrust required to reach altitude X= YYYY| Thrust required to maintain altitude X= YYYY." Or perhaps in the case of a ship, "Thrust required to reach X speed= YYYY." Maybe have a list of selectable parameters similar to the PID UI so if we're looking for forward thrust or vertical thrust. Granted, without any clear indication of how much thrust any given propulsion component provides, those numbers might as well not exist because there's nothing to compare it to. However, if we know the thrust provided by each component as per my first point in this post, we can figure out any assortment and configuration we'd like to hit that number; it would additionally allow for a greater control over the margin of redundancy in a build than "and here's a couple extra just in case some get shot off." Put another way, it opens up more deliberate designs for those who are less able to intuitively know than the current haphazard "uhh, so like a bunch more of those, right?" approach.

It might likewise be handy as a tool that calculates something like "thrust required to roll from orientation X to orientation Y," "thrust required to change pitch from X to Y," "thrust required to yaw at rate X," and so-on.

I'm of two minds on how it would be most beneficial to display variations on the aforementioned readouts which the block would provide. On the one hand, it could be on a slider, which would allow configurable input and require fewer pieces of information to display at once, which may be more easily digestible as a result. On the other hand, it could be pre-loaded to display certain intervals-- say every every 150 feet; it'd require less fiddling on the part of the player to get the information they're after, but would lead to a more cluttered display. Again, the game accounting for the vehicle characteristics and the world's physics to provide required thrust readouts for each of these values would take a great deal of guesswork out of vehicle design.

There are a few drawbacks to the block that I can think of. First and foremost, it would be a tool that would be infinitely more useful to designers of air-or-hover craft than to shipbuilders, I think. Secondly, once a craft is constructed, there wouldn't really be a great deal of need for such a block; it would have little or no influence on how it functions, unless you could attempt to use it mid-combat to get a sense of how battle damage is affecting those systems. With it being a calculation block, I don't know if that would eat too much processing power or if it would have only a minor impact as the game is already doing those calculations anyway.

So yeah. That's basically the idea. No idea how much work it would entail, although I assume that it's at least three times whatever arbitrary figure I might pull out of the air. The first two points, the thrust-per-block display and the engine draw, I stand by. The third would be a handy tool, imo, but I'm putting it up for discussion.
I come off a bit hostile sometimes. I can be a bit excitable. I use harsh language. I also second-guess everything I post, so expect me to be back in a couple hours to walk back anything I said that I think was unfair.
Please don't assume malice.

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Readouts for the Readout God! Or a handful of tweaks would be cool. - by Ulfgard the Unmaker - 2018-08-02, 09:51 AM

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