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Poll: Good idea?
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Yes
52.68%
59 52.68%
No
26.79%
30 26.79%
With Some Changes
20.54%
23 20.54%
Total 112 vote(s) 100%
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Engine/Power Re-ballance/Overhaul

#1
So after spending a lot of time spit-balling this idea in various chats I wanted it written down.

The problems this idea attempts to solve;

Multiple resources that function the same. A while a go we got rid of 3 types of resources, down to just materials, to streamline the game. However we still have Engine power and Electrical power that do almost the same thing
Spinblocks can produce easy, free propulsion. A few paddles on a large arm produce more than enough thrust for any craft, for nearly no resources, and no actual power requirements.
On the same vein, very deadly weapon systems can be produced that take advantage of rams moving at huge speeds on long arms.
Un-intuitive design.
Hard to balance engines. Steam engines in particular are hard to balance with fuel engines as we're all seeing from the hundred different opinions on how it should happen.




There are a few solutions I can think of, but the one I think is most useful to the game is;

Remove engine power completely. Gone, no longer there. Fuel engines would be changed to produce electricity. The core block would be renamed to 'Engine Generator/Dynamic' or something to that effect, and would be given a small natural storage capacity, say 200. This means that small starter ship design would not be affected. Alternatively the generator blocks internal storage capacity could be based on the max output of the engine, so nearly every craft could theoretically be run purely on a fuel engine (From BERP). Eventually they could also be changed to produce mechanical power in the same way steam engines will.

Steam engines would only produce 'mechanical' power, and this wouldn't be added to a pool in the vehicle but only transmitted through shafts. This Mechanical power could then be transferred to electrical power at will with the already implemented generators. 

All current blocks that consume engine power would be changed to consume electrical power instead, and Electrical Engines would convert stored Electrical power into Mechanical power at a small loss.

Spinblocks would have two modes. They would either consuming electrical power dependant on mass of the sub construct on them and speed of rotation, but would have a max 'load', and would either be best for low-speed but medium weight, or medium speed/low weight application. Or they would connect to a source of mechanical power for no max load so long as enough power was supplied, with more power meaning more weight or rotation speed.

This would all add up to more (And more importantly, interesting) design considerations while simplifying and streamlining how the game work, and having a single energy type would free up balancing for many other systems. 

Some considerations that have already been made;
"Small craft and starter craft with no room for batteries would be hamstrung"
This is the reason for adding a small storage in the fuel engine generator block. Any vessel with a fuel engine would have enough storage for a regular propeller or two and maybe a simple weapon laser.

"Current designs will all need a huge rework."
Some of them might, but I think it would be more simple than you think, and mostly involve adding batteries.


Please feel free to vote and discuss, and we'll see where this goes.


Some clarifying notes based on questions;

Turret speed would change based on how much mechanical power was available. More would mean a heavier turret could spin faster.
Different size electrical engines could be added with varying efficiencies for power output. These could then drive turrets and spinblocks further than their native 'electrical power' usage.
Yes, drills could be reworked to use mechanical power too, and streamline things even further.
Turbines would continue to function as they do now, producing electrical power. In the future they could be changed to drive shafts as the steam pistons do.


If those of you voting No or 'With Changes' could leave a reply detailing why they think this, it would be helpful for development
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#2
Seeing as batteries would be mainly relegated to a buffer while engines pace to meet the power demand with the above changes, I feel there is a larger need to encumber the responsiveness of larger fuel engines.
Currently, smaller fuel engines see little use apart from on smaller craft, and such I feel it'd add more depth to have the aforementioned small fuel engines have a far greater responsiveness than massive workhorse fuel engines. This would allow for more thought to be put into exactly what engine type and what configuration would be best suited for the role, adding more depth to the system while still leaving it accessible to less experienced players, as basic propulsion system demands vary little.
Roses are red
Violets are blue;
If you hurt me
I hurt you.
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#3
I don't think this is worth doing. It seems like a solution in search of a problem.

- Wouldn't this, if you look at it in terms of what it does to extant builds, just be requiring batteries in all craft larger than tiny stuff?
- If you make the root engine block behave as a battery that scales with the size of the engine attached to it, what is the point?
- 200 power? I've never built a single thing in this game using that little power. A decent microjet needs ~500 just for movement.
- If Fuel Engines require a massive battery bank in addition to fuel and a giant 5x5xL engine, they'll be more expensive, bigger, still noisy, and still laggy. You'd have to really buff fuel engines' power output per size to make me even consider them at that rate. Even now I only use them on starter ships due to the huge size, heavy frame rate hit, and that unbearable engine noise.
- What about Steam Turbines? They already do exactly what you say you want engines to do, but were not mentioned.

If you're concerned about the dichotomy between "mechanical power" (from fuel engines, steam cranks/pistons, what electrical engines make from "electrical power") versus "electrical power" (from steam turbines and RTGs), and what parts use which, I'd probably just work on making it a lot clearer in the tooltips and in-game text.
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#4
You could add an option on power consumers (propellers, laser root blocks, etc) that lets the builder specify which type of power that piece uses. Another nice thing would be the ability to make Fuel Engines only charge batteries and react to battery capacity rather than instantaneous vehicle load. I bet the constant adjusting to load is what makes Fuel Engines smash the frame rate like they do.
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#5
I like the concept around these changes. Ditching engine power for electricity and having certain components use engine power for a buff is a great idea. For example, steam props having many times the power of electric props.
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#6
The changes to the spinblocks are good, but i would say that i wouldnt change how the steam engine and fuel engine works, as its good to have differnt sources for power.
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#7
(2018-10-23, 12:42 AM)Pastor of Muppets Wrote: I don't think this is worth doing. It seems like a solution in search of a problem.

- Wouldn't this, if you look at it in terms of what it does to extant builds, just be requiring batteries in all craft larger than tiny stuff?
- If you make the root engine block behave as a battery that scales with the size of the engine attached to it, what is the point?
- 200 power? I've never built a single thing in this game using that little power. A decent microjet needs ~500 just for movement.
- If Fuel Engines require a massive battery bank in addition to fuel and a giant 5x5xL engine, they'll be more expensive, bigger, still noisy, and still laggy. You'd have to really buff fuel engines' power output per size to make me even consider them at that rate. Even now I only use them on starter ships due to the huge size, heavy frame rate hit, and that unbearable engine noise.
- What about Steam Turbines? They already do exactly what you say you want engines to do, but were not mentioned.

If you're concerned about the dichotomy between "mechanical power" (from fuel engines, steam cranks/pistons, what electrical engines make from "electrical power") versus "electrical power" (from steam turbines and RTGs), and what parts use which, I'd probably just work on making it a lot clearer in the tooltips and in-game text.
  • As I understand it, the batteries are NOT what the power demands will draw from first. Afaik, at the start of the frame it would go like this:

-Power requests calculated
-Power output calculated

Then batteries are used to make up for any difference between the two, due to either insufficient power or the engine being less responsive than required. Small craft would still function fine.

  • In regard to steam turbines, I think they'd be a mechanical power -> electrical converter at the cost of a little efficiency, this would be their role as fuel engines take the place of electrical generators.


  • The change itself is because the two resources- engine power and electricity- are functionally very similar and they both serve a very similar role. A parallel to this change is the resource streamlining, and while that was controversial, it wasn't entirely opposed.

Please keep in mind that what I think/recall/suggest is not entirely what is being considered but it is my take on it.
Roses are red
Violets are blue;
If you hurt me
I hurt you.
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#8
(2018-10-23, 12:42 AM)Pastor of Muppets Wrote: If you're concerned about the dichotomy between "mechanical power" (from fuel engines, steam cranks/pistons, what electrical engines make from "electrical power") versus "electrical power" (from steam turbines and RTGs), and what parts use which, I'd probably just work on making it a lot clearer in the tooltips and in-game text.

The real problem is that there is not a well-founded distinction between what uses/generates electrical vs. engine power--it is mostly an accumulation of isolated decisions without a long-term goal. The result is that most things work sensibly, but every now and then you get bit--why can you run a laser directly off a steam piston engine but need batteries+an electric motor to run them off steam turbines? After this change, things that require a steady source of power will run on all power generators, without the odd dichotomies that, e.g., steam engines are much more efficient relative to fuel engines running a railgun than a laser.

I would also note that because of frame rate, even if all electricity needs to be routed through batteries, because the game runs physics at 40 FPS (or faster), 200 battery power should satisfy 8000 power/second (unless driven by something with bursty power generation such as RTGs).
Allr andask.
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#9
Personally I think that weapons should be rebalanced long before we worry about the engines. It's been beat to death but any changes to engine power should follow a shield removal because shields are easily what consumes more than 90% of the power on most craft, and shields are inextricably linked to engine power rebalances in this way. Lasers and PACs are the same, but slightly less so. I don't think anyone actually uses railguns, they are really just awful.
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#10
(2018-10-23, 06:00 PM)Blothorn Wrote:
(2018-10-23, 12:42 AM)Pastor of Muppets Wrote: If you're concerned about the dichotomy between "mechanical power" (from fuel engines, steam cranks/pistons, what electrical engines make from "electrical power") versus "electrical power" (from steam turbines and RTGs), and what parts use which, I'd probably just work on making it a lot clearer in the tooltips and in-game text.

The real problem is that there is not a well-founded distinction between what uses/generates electrical vs. engine power--it is mostly an accumulation of isolated decisions without a long-term goal. The result is that most things work sensibly, but every now and then you get bit--why can you run a laser directly off a steam piston engine but need batteries+an electric motor to run them off steam turbines? After this change, things that require a steady source of power will run on all power generators, without the odd dichotomies that, e.g., steam engines are much more efficient relative to fuel engines running a railgun than a laser.

I would also note that because of frame rate, even if all electricity needs to be routed through batteries, because the game runs physics at 40 FPS (or faster), 200 battery power should satisfy 8000 power/second (unless driven by something with bursty power generation such as RTGs).

For clarity's sake, I'm going to define terms according to how I'm using them first:

"Mechanical Power" is what fuel engines and steam piston engines make. These numbers display in the HUD as engine power.
"Electrical Power" is that which comes from electric engines. This displays in smaller text just below engine power in the HUD.
"Power" used by itself refers to Mechanical and Electrical power.

"Battery" is the total capacity of all the battery banks. It displays separately from engine power in the HUD.

---------

Pretty much everything other than railguns and PACs uses "Mechanical Power" or can use "Electrical Power." I would change PACs and railguns to consume "Power" instead of drawing directly from batteries. Everything would use the same "Power" then but you keep two different systems and don't require batteries on every craft.

Giving players the ability to choose where each power consumer's "Power" comes from (Mechanical power or Electrical power) would be a better solution than requiring batteries on everything.


Here's what I would do in simple bullet points:

- Don't allow anything to draw directly from batteries. Batteries should create Electrical Power based on their current charge inherently by using the same equation electric engines use today. Then delete the Electric Engine block since it would become pointless. The Electric Engine block itself is confusing. Make power creation from charge an inherent property of batteries like people expect.

- Make PACs and railgun charging cost "Power" rather than get subtracted from total current battery charge. If the PAC is charging between shots or the APS railgun is firing, consume the power. This might require some numbers adjustments. That unintuitive "Percent of battery to use per shot" railgun slider would need to change for sure. This is good since that slider is badly thought out anyway. It should have been an integer: "Use X power per shot assuming enough chargers."

- Add the ability to choose which "Power" a system consumes by clicking the root block of the system (laser multipurpose, PAC, APS railgun menu, shield, etc) between mechanical or electrical. Or you could prioritize which power to use first.

- Make the "% of output that goes to batteries" setting in Fuel Engines be a hard setting: 100% to batteries means always 100% to batteries; not "ceiling of the unused power" like it is now. This would allow something like a diesel-electric setup (fuel engine into batteries into systems). Diesel-electric can't be done currently.

- Don't allow Steam Piston engines to charge batteries at all since Turbines exist and are much better at it. Remove generators and wheels since they'd be redundant. Shame to lose those nice 3D models =(

- RTGs should just create "Electrical Power" so tiny little drones/miners/etc don't need the extra expense of a battery+electric engine. Plus, that's what real RTGs do anyway: create electricity from radioactive heat.

- Leave Steam Turbines alone mechanically. Requiring them to have batteries makes their volume needs more comparable to the other power producers, assuming their power output stays the same per material cost and size. It also differentiates them from Steam Piston engines, which wouldn't be able to charge batteries at all under this plan. Change boilers like in the next point:

- Put a maximum pressure threshold on Steam Boilers: if they hit that pressure, they stop burning materials until the pressure is safe again. This lets you balance limit the Steam system inherently, rather than relying on bad mechanics like self-destructing pistons or worse yet, exploding boilers. Probably requires numbers changes on pistons and turbines to compensate.

- Do not let steam boilers explode for overpressure. Taking damage for exceeding a threshold the player doesn't really have control over is a bad mechanic. See: self-destructing Steam Pistons.

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Another point that must be made: the Developers have consistently avoided changes that would break too many campaign designs. Requiring battery banks in all vehicles would require massive changes to most of them and would make more than a few designs impossible.
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