Flexible Power System Overhaul Proposal (updated)

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    Edit: put most important ideas and examples from the next posts into this one

    Since editing original post on page 37 out of 40+ pages of Power System Overhaul Proposal makes no sense, I decided to put it here.

    I have read most of pages there, and was surprised by how many people disagree with the need of power system overhaul, so I ll mention some issues of current power and other systems, some of these problems are similar to those, mentioned by schema and Lancake , and some entirely new. Maybe, this issues should be considered not as the huge problems I want to end at all costs, but as things I want to change on my way.
    • 'Block count' paradigm - effectiveness of all current systems depends entirely on their block count, with the exeption of power system and ...scanners. Remember how you place shields, secondary and tertiary weapon modules, jump modules, thrusters, etc. You just place them in any unwanted space you have, because the more blocks - the better system works. As Schema nicely described: The current system makes power and systems purely a game of ratios, which doesn’t offer much complexity and increases the total number of blocks. If we go from 'block count' to 'quality' paradigm, gap in efficiency between ships designed purely for that effectiveness, and ships that designed fisrtly for appearence and then for efficiency - gap between them will decrease. But this gap will always be - because without it terms like 'efficiency' and 'better design' willbe meaningless.
    • Complexity Diversity problem - while current weapon system has various things to offer, other systems are purely one-sided in thier mechanics, and the only choice you make during placing thouse - how much of them you need/you can have on your ship and how make it most efficient, in case of power systems. And by placing them you only change values but not the overall behaviour. Diversity always brings some complexity with it, but reverse is not true. I am not looking for realism or extreme complexity, contrariwise, I want to make more ship system designs viable, such as capacity-based ships, without making this systems too hard to build, and with keeping systems simple on small ships.
    • Unflexibility problem - currently there is no flexibility in spaceship's characteristics. It's deffence, firepower and maneuverability is constant and depends only on how it was built. Only thing you can do about it now - is to use various docking parts. While it can be said, that unflexibility is hardly a main a problem for a sandbox voxel game, it's a major unused opportunity for starmade. Flexibility of ship systems can bump PvP, as well as any other ways of spaceship usage, to absolutely new level.
    • Forsed design choices - I think this problem is misunderstood. It's perfectly ok if game has some designs that are better than others. Because it's how any game works - there will always be more optimal paths, more optimal choices, more optimal tactics. What is not ok - when there is ONE design choice that is better than everything else. We cannot eliminate optimal layout in any way, but we can give more than one optimal choices, each with its own pros and cons.
    Here it goes:


    1) Reactors
    Shortly, that theoretical reactors must have some major characteristics based on it's design, some of them are - energy production, heat generation, power capacity, efficiency per block(or even per fuel point, i personally like idea of consumable fuel) and safety - and while you want to max them all out(except heat generation ofc) you cannot do that. You can find a balance between, or trend to some characteristics, while sacrificing others, or make an extremely one-sided or two-sided reactors - for example capacity/efficiency-based-reactor for those suicide drones I ll mention below.

    Reactor itself is a group, consisting of various block types - such as active, capacity and cooling elements. All of them can interact with their adjacent elements in some way - such as giving bonuses to some characteristics of this reactor group.

    Energy, that can be potentially produced by reactor, must exponentially grow with block count of reactor, but ofc real produced power must greatly depend on reactor layout. This will make small amount of big reactors more optimal, than lots of small ones.

    So, yeah, ships with one giant and power-efficient reactor will have extremely high power generation, but heat generation will be MUCH higher, and in order to handle with that heat, that ship must have VERY large cooling system, which will turn it into giant unefficient powder keg.

    And if that ship will split its giant reactor into several small ones, yes, it will not need enormously large cooling system, but it will lose all its extreme power efficiency. So, it's like two-step softcap - after some point, increasing the size of reactors even further will be unprofitable, not because of power diminishing returns, but because of exessive heat.


    That's the most basic concept, with only three block types, but it can easily developed further. Main idea is simple - every block type recives bonuses with adjacent blocks of the same type, and somehow ineracts with other block types, i.e active elements generate more power and more heat with each adjacent active element, cooling elements work better with each adjacent cooling element, same logic with capacity elements. If active and capacity elements are adjacent - they both recieve bonuses or penalties, if cooling and active elements are adjacent - active elements generate less heat.

    That reactor can be placed anywhere and probably have any shape. But its 'adjacent block' mechanics encourages cuboid shapes.

    Here are some reactor layout examples with description.


    All of them are 6x6x6 and without capacity elements.

    First one:
    Power generation - high.
    Heat generation - noticeable.
    Safety - average.
    Efficiency(per block and per volume) - high.

    Second one:
    Power generation - below average.
    Heat generation - none.
    Safety - very high.
    Efficiency(per block and per volume) - low.

    Third one:
    Power generation - average.
    Heat generation - none.
    Safety - average.
    Efficiency(per block and per volume) - average.

    Last one:
    Power generation - enough to supply average space station with energy.
    Heat generation - enough to burn down average space station immediately.
    Safety - none.
    Efficiency(per block and per volume) - insanely high.


    2) Cooling system
    I like the idea of heat, but instead of restrictive heat boxes and somewhat strange replacement of energy with heat, lets have independent energy and cooling systems. To do so, let other systems generate heat too, for example shield reactors - let them generate heat when absorbing damage. This literally means replacing shield capacity with amount of heat you can store in your cooling system, and shield regen with your cooldown speed. Quality of the shield reactor affects amount of heat generated after a hit taken, or give some special effects. The same can be done for thrusters, cloaking and jamming systems, and so on.

    You can handle with heat locally - near your systems, or transfer it ( probably via isolated conduits) to a more efficient central cooling system(or systems, if you have many), you can just store it in some heat capacitors until some limit, or slowly radiate heat into space via radiator blocks. For the sake of not making learning curve too hard, small ships should be satisfied with inherent cooling of those reactors.

    So, while power system gives you opportunities to use other ship's systems, cooling system solves the consequences of that usage.

    As for shield system, I can see two ways how it can work.

    First way - as I described before. Shield reactors generate heat proportional to taken damage, so there is no more values like shield capacity and regen. It's only a matter of heat now. Shield reactor layout only affects heat generated and maybe gives some effects to your shields - for example increases efficiency of shields transfered to your turrets and other docked entities.

    Second is more classic way. We still have values like shield capacity and regen, their max values and ratio between them depends on reactor layout. The more energy we supply - the closer we get to that max values, but also bigger gets potential heat generation. If ship has full shields, reactor will produce small amounts of heat, but if its shields are damaged and ship is regenerating them - heat production will rise, depending on reactor's shield regen value. Small ships usually trend to shield capacity, so they can be satisfied with reactor's inherent cooling.


    Looks like nobody is reading this anyway.
    However, here are my thoughts and details of heat/cooling system.

    So, why do we actually need it? Isn't it just another complex mess like wires are?
    No, it does two important things:

    Firstly, It works as natural safeguard for a flexible power system of mine. Very intuitive idea, IMO, the more power you supply to a system - the more heat it produce. If you are unable to handle this heat, i.e you exceeded heat capacity of a ship - BOOM, you lost control of it, or even made your ship explode.

    Second its important role - it prevents big ships from being too overpowered. I already described it:
    So, yeah, ships with one giant and power-efficient reactor will have extremely high power generation, but heat generation will be MUCH higher, and in order to handle with that heat, that ship must have VERY large cooling system, which will turn it into giant unefficient powder keg.

    And if that ship will split its giant reactor into several small ones, yes, it will not need enormously large cooling system, but it will lose all its extreme power efficiency. So, it's like two-step softcap - after some point, increasing the size of reactors even further will be unprofitable, not because of power diminishing returns, but because of exessive heat.
    As for cooling system itself - in the most basic form it needs heat sinks and heat capacitors. And like with power reactors, this two types of blocks could interact with adjacent blocks - for example heat sinks will be efficient only if they are next to heat capacitors. So, if power reactor layout affects its power regen, capacity, heat generation and overall efficiency, then, in case of cooling system, its layout affects its heat capacity, cooldown rate, overall efficiency and maybe power consumption(I'm not sure about this one). However, layout of a cooling system wont affect its stats in such a drastic fashion like power system's layout does.

    Another important charactristic of both of power reactors and cooling systems is safety.
    Safety for a reactor means that when it is damaged it wont produce unnecesary heat.
    Safety for a cooling system means that when it is damaged it wont lead to explosion.
    What? Why do cooling system explode, but not the reactors?
    Simple, since even very power-effective reactors in my proposal aren't big, and ships are encouraged to have small amount of this reactors or even one, because of this even a small explosion in the reactor group will leave you almost without power. I dont want such lucky shots to be in the game.

    So, instead of explosion, destroyed active blocks throw some amount of heat into your cooling system, this amount depends on adjacent blocks(i.e on layout) and overall reactor group characteristics.
    Also, consider that destruction of blocks changes your reactor layout.

    As for cooling systems, heat capacitors can potentially explode. They have some threshold of heat capacity, after which, if they get damaged, they explode. Safety of your layout increases this threshold and decreases explosion power.
    It's not a problem at all for a small ships, since they have no cooling system, or a very small one. For medium and big ships it wont be a great threat, unless they are using highly overcharged weapons or extremely effective but hot reactors.

    But for those, who will try to put enormous power-efficent reactor in a rather small ship this will be a nighmare. Since it will be packed to its limits with cooling systems just in order to deal with reactor's extreme heat generation, any shield-down or accidential torpedo will blow that ship into pieces.

    Another amusing way to make your ship explode - is to generate such amount of heat, that you cant handle. If you will reach 100% of your heat capacity, all your systems will shut down and you will be forced out of ship core. But if you, crazy bastard, will reach 200% of your heat cap - yep, you will explode.


    3) Weapon and other systems
    In a way how I see cooling and energy system, weapons can't be kept fully unchanged. Current linear dependence of damage on weapon's block count, should be replaced with linear dependence on energy supplied, while block count will increase efficency of used energy, and decrease heat generated.

    In detail, weapon groups will be able to request some amount of energy, this amount CAN BE SET BY PLAYER manually or through weapon panel, for example. This value can be changed at any time of your flight. Each shot consumes all supplied energy (supplied <= requested) and deal damage linear to this energy. Block count increases damage per energy point in logarithmic fashion, and asymptotically decreases heat production per energy point to some minimum. The more energy is supplied - the bigger this minimum gets. If block count is constant, heat per energy curve will be exponentilal - so if weapon group's block count is too small for amount of supplied energy, weapon group will generate too many heat and shut down until reboot or even make your ship explode.

    Other systems with modules and computer controller, such as Jump-drive and effects, could work in similar fashion.

    This is literally Schema's idea of heat generation by systems, but upside-down. Instead of reactor being to small for a weapon group, it is a weapon group that can be too small for supplied energy.

    This system mechanics is a key to end 'block count' paradigm without any restrictions. Because of logarithmic curve of damage/block, linear curve of damage/energy and exponentilal curve of heat/energy - damage is mostly a matter of QUALITY of your reactor and cooling systems. Same is true with other systems. This also brings a lot of tactical oppotunities to the game - such as energy distribution (all energy to warp-drive/cannons/shields thing), and, for example, small capacity-based suicide drones, which deals one extremely powerful shot from a small weapon, and then explodes because of exessive amount of heat.

    Ok. For example we have weapon group of 100 blocks with one second recharge. All values below are for demonstration.
    • If we supply to it 1 000 000+ energy, it wont even shoot, but will generate INSANE amounts of heat. This will limit capacity-based suicide ships.
    • If we supply from 100 000 to 1 000 000 energy - the weapon will shoot once with very high damage, generate extreme amounts of heat, and shut down for some time or until reboot. Shutdown time goes from 0 sec at 100 000 power, to the max value at 1 000 000 power.
    • If we supply from 10 000 to 100 000 energy - there will be no shutdown, damage output is great, but heat generation is still high. So big ships with well-built power and cooling systems could use this overcharged weapons for large amounts of time or even non-stop. And small ships can use such overcharge for single-strike weapons.
    • If we supply from 1 to 10 000 energy - weapon will generate amounts of heat manageble for inherent cooling, so small ships can shoot for a long amount of time or non-stop.


    4) Power and heat transfer?
    Obviously, energy consuming systems must somehow recieve energy, just as cooling systems must recieve heat. There are two polar solutions of this.

    First way, is how Starmade transfers everything now - nohow. Really, there is no transfer, all systems can instantly and through vacuum get energy wherever they are. N. Tesla would be certanly pleased.

    Second way - transfer energy, heat, maybe even shields through wires and power zones. Again, small ships can be easly freed from this wiring problems - instead of heat influence area, reactors could have power influence area, aka power zone - zone in which reactor can wirelessly transfer energy to systems. For small ships, reactor will have enough power zone size to deliver energy wirelessly without any complexity. And on big ships, your wiring should be good enough to transfer all requested energy to systems in time.

    Problem is - I cant choose which solution is better, while conduits and pipes add more depth to design of all systems and they are major weak points in fights(so you want wire connections to be duplicated), all this wire mess looks like plain overkill - even without wires, all stated problems are nicely solved by ideas in previous parts.
    I just felt that I cannot not to mention this final idea, even if i find it wrong in some ways.

    So, if you think I am wrong or just missed something, let me know. Any meaningful replies will be appreciated.
     
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    • Legacy Citizen 3
    In order to save time I am just going to quote myself with what I said somewhere in the great power debate.

    This topic which has divided many brings up a serious issue, which seems to be forgotten by those who welcome the change, the overhaul of power will set back development of game mechanics that have been already planned.
    Starmade roadmap on Trello: Trello
    Starmade roadmap on SMD: StarMade Active Development Timeline

    There are far more important things than trying to reinvent the wheel.
    If we go through with a complete overhaul of power, core game development might come to a standstill as everything will need rebalancing and bugtesting.
    You see the reason most people disagreed is because even if the idea was less vague it will most likely halt development of already planned things.
     
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    You see the reason most people disagreed is because even if the idea was less vague it will most likely halt development of already planned things.
    I understand them, but its better to have it soon. Because the more we delay it - the more things will have to be changed. Which means even bigger halt and pain with rebuilding your ships in the future.
     
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    NeonSturm

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    • Wired for Logic
    • Thinking Positive
    • Legacy Citizen 5
    • 'Block count' paradigm - effectiveness of all current systems depends entirely on their block count, […], because the more blocks - the better system works. As Schema nicely described: The current system makes power and systems purely a game of ratios, […]. If we go from 'block count' to 'quality' paradigm, gap in efficiency between ships designed purely for that effectiveness, and ships that designed fisrtly for appearence and then for efficiency - gap between them will decrease. But this gap will always be - because without it terms like 'efficiency' and 'better design' willbe meaningless.
    Reduced block count = reduced cost = bigger ships for that cost.
    - Something to consider for balance.

    This will change PvP and give aesthetic ships a new dimension (more space for a smaller price tag).

    • Complexity Diversity problem - […] Diversity always brings some complexity with it, but reverse is not true. I am not looking for realism or extreme complexity, contrariwise, I want to make more ship system designs viable, such as capacity-based ships, without making this systems too hard to build, and with keeping systems simple on small ships.
    I agree.
    An "inbuilt" cooling which doesn't consider the environmental parameters much is just "standard" - not really good or tied to some conditions.

    It's really simple to assume that these "standard" only works for small ships/reactors.
    If you want a bit of lore to it, say the TG does want to support small starter ships and released an AI doing designs for small ships - but a bit poor :)

    • Unflexibility problem - […] While it can be said, that unflexibility is hardly a main a problem for a sandbox voxel game, it's a major unused opportunity for starmade. Flexibility of ship systems can bump PvP, as well as any other way of spaceship usage, to absolutely new level.
    • Forsed design choices - I think this problem is misunderstood. It's perfectly ok if game has some designs that are better than others. Because it's how any game works - there will always be more optimal paths, more optimal choices, more optimal tactics. What is not ok - when there is ONE design choice that is better than everything else, and that's close to starmade current situation. We cannot eliminate optimal layout in any way, but we can give more than one optimal choices, each with its own pros and cons.
    1) Reactors
    Currently, as already was said, power system is the MOST complex and creative, while being highly absurd and without much possibilities for further development. Current system is blamed for forced design choices, but schema's proposed system, with all its heat boxes, penalties for multiple reactors and inability for those heat boxes to go over ship's dimension box - proposed system looks like it forces even more this design choices. But, unlike the current system, it has great, no, GREAT potential if implemented correctly, just think about complex reactors with various ways of generating energy, or even shields, thrust reactors, and dealing with heat.

    Shortly, that theoretical reactors must have some major characteristics based on it's design, some of them are - energy production, heat generation, power capacity, efficiency per block(or even per fuel point, i personally like idea of consumable fuel) and safety - and while you want to max them all out(except heat generation ofc) you cannot do that. You can find a balance between, or trend to some characteristics, while sacrificing others, or make an extremely one-sided or two-sided reactors - for example capacity/efficiency-based-reactor for those suicide drones i ll mention below.
    I hope that some day you can use "either blue cannons or green beams" because of your faction lore rather than balance considerations,
    but can also make systems effective for certain tasks independent of above choice - example of what I mean:
    • weapons/shields against pirates, traders, a specific opponent on your server
    • radar for certain conditions (observer station, sentry drone revealing more stealthty ships, …)
    • power examples:
      • solar sailer: quality low-cost systems, but require a stop near suns and lack quick burst supply for combat.
      • fleet warship: quality high-cost systems, 2 different burst modes (combat thrust supply, combat weapon quick burst)
      • security patrol: super-cruise supply, less for combat-time-only.
      • This requires a power-modification of "burst / cooldown time vs efficiency" …
    Maybe it helps to have a diminishing return on efficiency*complexity (rewarding but not a game-changer at high levels of complexity vs medium ones)
    It's ok if scavengers have 30% overall efficiency, they could have 3x more ships.
    But it shouldn't be too hard to reach 80% overall efficiency
    (note: overall efficiency changes not necessarily proportional with system efficiency)
    Capacitors as they are now are a dangerous concept because there is no limit on how fast you can access this energy for weapons.
    I hope you mean batteries instead (refill a capacitor, but over time –– or "regenerative fuel" or "remaining heat clearance").

    2) Cooling system
    I like the idea of heat, but instead of restrictive heat boxes and somewhat strange replacement of energy with heat, lets have independent energy and cooling systems. To do so, let other systems generate heat too, for example shield reactors - let them generate heat when absorbing damage. This literally means replacing shield capacity with amount of heat you can store in your cooling system, and shield regen with your cooldown speed. Quality of the shield reactor affects amount of heat generated after a hit taken, or give some special effects. The same can be done for thrusters, cloaking and jamming systems, and so on.

    You can handle with heat locally - near your systems, or transfer it ( probably via isolated conduits) to a more efficient central cooling system(or systems, if you have many), you can just store it in some heat capacitors until some limit, or slowly radiate heat into space via radiator blocks. For the sake of not making learning curve too hard, small ships should be satisfied with inherent cooling of those reactors.

    So, while power system gives you opportunities to use other ship's systems, cooling system solves the consequences of that usage.
    This means that your shield ability and weapon ability is linked (shared heat)?

    If damage tanking does not damage shields but increase your heat level, weapons/thrust could get disabled …
    … this needs to be thought through more.

    3) Weapon and other systems
    In a way how I see cooling and energy system, weapons can't be kept fully unchanged. Current linear dependence of damage on weapon's block count, should be replaced with linear dependence on energy supplied, while block count will increase efficiency of used energy, and decrease heat generated.

    In detail, weapon groups will be able to request some amount of energy, this amount CAN BE SET BY PLAYER manually or through weapon panel, for example. Each shot consumes all supplied energy (supplied <= requested) and deal damage linear to this energy. Block count increases damage per energy point in logarithmic fashion and asymptotically decreases heat production per energy point to some minimum. The more energy is supplied - the bigger this minimum gets. If block count is constant, heat per energy curve will be exponentilal - so if weapon group's block count is too small for amount of supplied energy, weapon group will generate too many heat and shut down until reboot or even make your ship explode.

    Other systems with modules and computer controller, such as Jump-drive and effects, will work in similar fashion.

    This is literally Schema's idea of heat generation by systems, but upside-down. Instead of reactor being to small for a weapon group, it is a weapon group that can be too small for supplied energy.

    This system mechanics is a key to end 'block count' paradigm without any restrictions. Because of logarithmic curve of damage/block, linear curve of damage/energy and exponentilal curve of heat/energy - damage is mostly a matter of QUALITY of your reactor and cooling systems. Same is true with other systems. This also brings a lot of tactical oppotunities to the game - such as energy distribution (all energy to warp-drive/cannons/shields thing), and, for example, small capacity-based suicide drones, which deals one extremely powerful shot from a small weapon, and then explodes because of exessive amount of heat
    A nice idea.

    Do you mean something like this?:
    100 blocks can handle 100 power/heat
    or 200 power/heat if your ship's heat level is below 50%
    or 400 power/heat if your ship's heat level is below 25%
    (the steps are just measure points, you would use a function that goes through these measure points).
    IRL, cooling works more efficient with a cooler coolant and thus with a kept-cooler heat sink to cool the coolant more.

    4) Power and heat transfer?
    Obviously, energy consuming systems must somehow receive energy, just as cooling systems must receive heat. There are two polar solutions of this.

    First way, is how Starmade transfers everything now - nohow. Really, there is no transfer, all systems can instantly and through vacuum get energy wherever they are. N. Tesla would be certainly pleased.

    Second way - transfer energy, heat, maybe even shields through wires and power zones. Again, small ships can be easly freed from this wiring problems - instead of heat influence area, reactors could have power influence area, aka power zone - zone in which reactor can wirelessly transfer energy to systems. For small ships, reactor will have enough power zone size to deliver energy wirelessly without any complexity. And on big ships, your wiring should be good enough to transfer all requested energy to systems in time.

    Problem is - I cant choose which solution is better, while conduits and pipes add more depth to design of all systems and they are major weak points in fights(so you want wire connections to be duplicated), all this wire mess looks like plain overkill - even without wires, all stated problems are nicely solved by ideas in previous parts.
    I just felt that I cannot not to mention this final idea, even if i find it wrong in some ways.
    Require wiring and heat pipes is a separate thing, but I could see wiring being less a problem if systems have more blocks than the actual wire.

    Perhaps it's a good idea to start with wires for chambers/systems with above 100 blocks vs a 10 block wire?
    If the optimal wire is below 1x1x1m (1 block), they should not be required - we cannot build a 0.1x0.1x0.1m wire, only a 1x1x1m wire.
    However, wires raise some issues: required damage-checks, shape-checks (bigger than 1 block), infinite loops (a to b to c to a), …
    We could keep chambers strictly hierarchical for heat/power and then allow multiple wires too.
    The hierarchy would be defined by the bottommost or topmost part and bottomup or topdown (cooling-supply, power-supply) …
    … or go 2way from and toward heat tanks (Trees also have roots and branches connected through a shared strain).​
     
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    Capacitors as they are now are a dangerous concept because there is no limit on how fast you can access this energy for weapons.
    I hope you mean batteries instead (refill a capacitor, but over time –– or "regenerative fuel" or "remaining heat clearance").
    Wiring (I talked about it in section 4) - could be a limit to this access speed. But even without wires, with instant power transfer, you are still limited with power capacity and amount of energy your weapon can handle without shutting itself down or making your ship explode.

    This means that your shield ability and weapon ability is linked (shared heat)?

    If damage tanking does not damage shields but increase your heat level, weapons/thrust could get disabled …
    … this needs to be thought through more.
    Yes, all your system abilities are linked through cooling system and power systems. It further encourages you to make qualitative systems, instead of just filling everything with system blocks. As for shield system, I can see two ways how it can work.

    First way - as I described before. Shield reactors generate heat proportional to taken damage, so there is no more values like shield capacity and regen. It's only a matter of heat now. Shield reactor layout only affects heat generated and maybe gives some effects to your shields - for example increases efficiency of shields transfered to your turrets and other docked entities.

    Second is more classic way. We still have values like shield capacity and regen, their max values and ratio between them depends on reactor layout. The more energy we supply - the closer we get to that max values, but also bigger gets potential heat generation. If ship has full shields, reactor will produce small amounts of heat, but if its shields are damaged and ship is regenerating them - heat production will rise, depending on reactor's shield regen value. Small ships usually trend to shield capacity, so they can be satisfied with reactor's inherent cooling.

    And, of course, we can have some compromise between those ways.

    A nice idea.

    Do you mean something like this?:
    100 blocks can handle 100 power/heat
    or 200 power/heat if your ship's heat level is below 50%
    or 400 power/heat if your ship's heat level is below 25%
    (the steps are just measure points, you would use a function that goes through these measure points).
    Ok. For example we have weapon group of 100 blocks. All values below are for demonstration.
    • If we supply to it 1 000 000+ energy, it wont even shoot, but will generate INSANE amounts of heat. This will limit capacity-based suicide ships.
    • If we supply from 100 000 to 1 000 000 energy - the weapon will shoot once with very high damage, generate extreme amounts of heat, and shut down for some time or until reboot. Shutdown time goes from 0 sec at 100 000 power, to the max value at 1 000 000 power.
    • If we supply from 10 000 to 100 000 energy - there will be no shutdown, damage output is great, but heat generation is still high. So big ships with well-built power and cooling systems could use this overcharged weapons for large amounts of time or even non-stop. And small ships can use such overcharge for single-strike weapons.
    • If we supply from 1 to 10 000 energy - weapon will generate amounts of heat manageble for inherent cooling, so small ships can shoot for a long amount of time or non-stop.
     
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    Hey Haalon,

    I just stated a very similar idea of implementing both heat and power to Lancake directly via PM.
    Think some variant of this would be the best and most interesting to build/setup ;)

    Hi Lancake,

    I've let the idea of the overhaul rest in my head a couple of days to give an constructive answer - that is why I write you now, as the thread is already closed. (And you stated we might poke you.)

    I really appreciate the idea of the overhaul!
    Although i have a couple of problems and suggestions for you:

    The idea of reactors instead of these power generating lines seems great to me - especially the moving on from just giant block counts in order to have sufficient systems. It would really allow for more interesting uses of the interior. But I don't get the point of the inner hull. As they are not helpful as as inner barrier would not it be useless to place them and instead leave the space i don't want to fill with interior or systems blank? If i want the reactor to be save from the explosion of another structure nearby i would use armor instead. Also please keep in mind that nearly every system or block is used in interior design - just for the looks for shure - especially the standard armor, since it gives a smooth untiled surface.

    Also the idea of a boundary box for the shrunken systems is a great replacement of high block counts. It also has the effect, that it does not overpower smaller ships with crowded systems. For this the idea heat seems viable as it really is a strong issue in space (since the vacuum doesn't cool anything). But I'm struggling with the idea of replacing power and power regeneration with a relative heat, not only because reactors are usually producing heat but because of the consequences. A relative count of heat would make it impossible to calculate the usage/production of power/heat, as it scales with the number of blocks, the times it's used and the size/configuration of the reactor. I'd highly recommend a system of real counts as they offer the possibility of calculation of the systems. For example: my reactor produces/reduces this amount of power/heat so i'm able to install an additive system with that amount of consumption/production. By using heat in real numbers it would just invert the system of energy with no benefits. The measurement "energy" also provides an better/easier understanding for newbies since it's more self explanatory for us.

    This is not an argumentation only against the use of heat: In my opinion the best option would be to settle for both: The reactor produces power - which could be used all over the ship. If the systems exceed the power consumption we get a system failure. But the reactor also produces heat - that's why it needs the boundary box. A placement of these heat producing systems near each other would simply burn both out. So the box scales with the heat a system produces and generates the space we wanted to achieve. In this setup it should be able to cool systems down (with a special cooling block for example) at the slight cost of power - which reduces the size of the boundary box. This way special reactor designs would be more efficient than others - which adds depth to the gameplay by maintaining the right ratio of heating and cooling or space taken by the boxes. This doesn't favor RP in any means over PvP since you can optimize your systems to the greatest.

    This would also make power capacitors more valuable where you can store energy for usage or as a backup in case of a reactor blowup. It also should be possible to shut down the reactor/parts of the reactor via logic to influence the need of cooling.

    I see further issues with docking. As most most of the turrets don't offer their own power production/ heat resorption this would need to be provided by the previous structure on the docking chain - just like it is already. But with this you could dock your currently overheating (not this kind of overheating produced by a nearly destroyed ship) to an other ship/station and it would cool the overheating ship down on it's own cost of heat capacity. This way you might overheat the station which is not constructed for such a heatload.

    I don't see the issue with a "chandelier structure" mentioned in the early comments on the thread - depending how the conduction should be formed. If I get it right the conduction is only considered between the parts of the reactor. There will be no need to conduct the weapons or thrusters to the reactor - this would prohibit structures with free floating parts. It would also make turrets unnecessarily thick. As long as only the reactor needs conduction blocks there is no profit in a chandelier setup.

    Considering using a lot of small (active) reactors instead of one or two bigger ones should result in a penalty (like they are interfering or so). But it should not put a penalty on redundant backup systems. This could be achieved by giving a penalty on active reactors and make them toggleable via logic. This way the redundant reactor could be enabled when the main reactor gets destroyed, not producing heat during inactivity.

    A little bit out of context might be the following idea:
    Considering heat an the possibility to direct where it is generated or cooled it would be nice to have a ship system that enables a FLIR vision. By maintainig a low heat profile while traveling you could be hiding from the visual spectrum of the vision but being lighten up as you heat up while firing weapons or activating your powerful battle dedicated reactor. Furthermore it would be possible to locate heat producing systems on an enemy's ship. In this case FLIR vision should be enabled in buildmode too!

    Regarding buildmode it seems self explanatory that heat and the spread of head (meaning the heatboxes) must be visible in buildmode (maybe toggleable so that the mode does not get too crowded).

    Uff. That was a bunch of text.
    Thank you for asking for the players opinions! It's nice to be integrated in the development! If you have any further questions fell free to ask.

    Thank you for your time reading my text. I hope I could inspire some ideas.
    Best regards - conductor94

    Best regards - conductor94
     
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    It all comes back to everything only having one stat that scales entirely with size and people wanting to sound smart saying that is complex.
     
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    I just stated a very similar idea of implementing both heat and power
    Well, I cant call it very similar, since only similarities we have is idependent heat and power. I don't like idea of penalties from many reactors. Instead, I want to encourage having small numbers or even one reactor.
    Energy, that can be potentially produced by reactor, must exponentially grow with block count of reactor, but ofc real produced power must greatly depend on reactor layout. This will make small amount of big reactors more optimal, than lots of small ones.
    Also, I am not sure about the idea of heat boxes. But because I must go now, I ll write about them later.
     
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    Ok.
    I don't like idea of penalties from many reactors. Instead, I want to encourage having small numbers or even one reactor.
    The idea behind this penalty is, that you don't bury your ship in small one-block-reactors where ever the space allows it instead on investing in a more complex setup. I understand, that with the reactor you have a very hard weakness - if it's damaged you cannot continue fighting. I don't have an Problem with several reactors - like five or so following the main axis of the ship. But I see no other possibility to prevent people from using the new reactors the same way powergenerators are used at the moment. It's not the perfect solution but it would work. Any suggestion?


    Also, I am not sure about the idea of heat boxes.
    For me the heat box is just a (bad) representation of the heat spreading through the ship. In my suggestion the box can be reduced by cooling, This is a very simple variant of buffering two heat producing systems with cooling. In optimum, head would spread linear through the ship - and accumulation a lot of it in one spot would damage the blocks there - hence the systems producing the heat = burnout.
    I suggested the use of the variable in size boxes as a simpler to implement and easier to understand/construct solution.
     
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    The idea behind this penalty is, that you don't bury your ship in small one-block-reactors where ever the space allows it instead on investing in a more complex setup. I understand, that with the reactor you have a very hard weakness - if it's damaged you cannot continue fighting. I don't have an Problem with several reactors - like five or so following the main axis of the ship. But I see no other possibility to prevent people from using the new reactors the same way powergenerators are used at the moment. It's not the perfect solution but it would work. Any suggestion?
    I already said that, if potential power produced by reactor grows exponentially with reactor block count, it's more effective to have one big reactor, than several small ones. Yes, you still can place 1-block reactors in every possible place, but their power generetion will be negligible in comparison to power generatiom of single big reactor.

    However, curve of potential power per number of reactor blocks must have some inflection point, after which it changes from convex exponential growth to slow concave, or at least linear growth. In simple words, it needs some softcap. Because if we keep it purely exponential, very big ships will have insane amount of power generation.

    And, finally, heat boxes.
    For me the heat box is just a (bad) representation of the heat spreading through the ship. In my suggestion the box can be reduced by cooling, This is a very simple variant of buffering two heat producing systems with cooling. In optimum, head would spread linear through the ship - and accumulation a lot of it in one spot would damage the blocks there - hence the systems producing the heat = burnout.
    They are representation of placed blocks. As Lancake described - a 50 x 20 x 20 Power block system (assuming you're past the soft cap and you don't want to put power aux down, or rely on docked reactors) would be you putting down a 5 x 2 x 2 reactor and its heat boundary box volume would contain 50 x 20 x 20 blocks. So, heat boxes let you have a system with efficiency (and, virtually, volume) of 50x20x20 blocks, by placing only 20 blocks. Sounds great, isn't it?

    However, it forces players to have large systemless space, and not everybody will use it for interior decoration. I personally prefer to see such space filled with ship's systems, than with filler blocks or even nothing.
     
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    NeonSturm

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    They are representation of placed blocks. As Lancake described - a 50 x 20 x 20 Power block system (assuming you're past the soft cap and you don't want to put power aux down, or rely on docked reactors) would be you putting down a 5 x 2 x 2 reactor and its heat boundary box volume would contain 50 x 20 x 20 blocks. So, heat boxes let you have a system with efficiency (and, virtually, volume) of 50x20x20 blocks, by placing only 20 blocks. Sounds great, isn't it?

    However, it forces players to have large systemless space, and not everybody will use it for interior decoration. I personally prefer to see such space filled with ship's systems, than with filler blocks or even nothing.
    Give each chamber it's own heat box - many smaller are more interesting to handle than one large. And you still have one reactor with multiple boxes.

    Then maybe require a wire-frame around that heat box - so that peoples don't build ships in a way that heat volume is outside the ships hull?
    I still look for a better idea on how to avoid that your reactor's function depends on these wireframe blocks.

    But again, heat boxes not for the whole reactor but each chamber will make it more unlikely that heat boxes cover 50% vacuum outside your ships hull.​
     
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    Give each chamber it's own heat box - many smaller are more interesting to handle than one large. And you still have one reactor with multiple boxes.
    In a way how I see reactors, one chamber means one independent reactor. And the way how it's filled determines it's characteristics.
     

    NeonSturm

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    If hull has a lot of mass, it could also be used to store a lot of heat.
    Thermal insulation or cooling pipes might even help against thermal weapons (so why not making heat-storage an ability of hull?)

    ofc - interior hull would store only minimal heat (or you would cook your crew), but advanced/armour hull could become damaging for crew walking on it if your ship gets hot.

    Dedicated heat-sinks would still add more, but giving hull a base capacity on heat could help balancing in favour of pretty ships or armour tanks (which seem to receive little love).​
     
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    If hull has a lot of mass, it could also be used to store a lot of heat.
    Thermal insulation or cooling pipes might even help against thermal weapons (so why not making heat-storage an ability of hull?)

    ofc - interior hull would store only minimal heat (or you would cook your crew), but advanced/armour hull could become damaging for crew walking on it if your ship gets hot.
    That's what i call an overkill. Firstly, thermal weapons isn't what we should care about now. Secondly, it's kinda condradicts the purpose of cooling systems. Thirdly, if hull and armour would deal damage, it would be absurdly risky to use them in interior design.
     

    NeonSturm

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    Firstly, thermal weapons isn't what we should care about now.
    beams, plasma cannons, assume every form of energy turns into heat (shields!).
    Secondly, it's kinda contradicts the purpose of cooling systems.
    cooling systems still have a much lower mass and higher efficiency with block count.
    Thirdly, if hull and armour would deal damage, it would be absurdly risky to use them in interior design.
    That's why you have interior armour. Stealth ships might be cool enough to not suffer from that.

    Don't always think negatively, think positively too!​
     
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    beams, plasma cannons, assume every form of energy turns into heat (shields!).

    cooling systems still have a much lower mass and higher efficiency with block count.

    That's why you have interior armour. Stealth ships might be cool enough to not suffer from that.

    Don't always think negatively, think positively too!​
    Even if i think positively, it doesn't change the fact that this idea somewhat unrelated to overhaul we discuss. Don't get me wrong, i do not complitely disagree with it, but it isn't vital point of overhaul, and its better to discuss it after heat system will be implemented.
     
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    However, curve of potential power per number of reactor blocks must have some inflection point, after which it changes from convex exponential growth to slow concave, or at least linear growth. In simple words, it needs some softcap. Because if we keep it purely exponential, very big ships will have insane amount of power generation.
    This means that your shield ability and weapon ability is linked (shared heat)?
    Actually, no. Power softcap is not that necessary. Independent cooling system not only links abilities of all your systems, it can bring diminishing return to large ships, thus punishing gigantism. Let me explain. Ok, we will keep exponential growth of potential power per reactor block. So, obviously, ships with bigger and better reactors will have much more power. But, lets make growth of potential heat generation even more rapid.
    For example
    Ox Axis - Block count
    Blue line - Power
    Red line - Heat

    So, yeah, ships with one giant and power-efficient reactor will have extremely high power generation, but heat generation will be MUCH higher, and in order to handle with that heat, that ship must have VERY large cooling system, which will turn it into giant unefficient powder keg.
    And if that ship will split its giant reactor into several small ones, yes, it will not need enormously large cooling system, but it will lose all its extreme power efficiency. So, it's like two-step softcap - after some point, increasing the size of reactors even further will be unprofitable, not because of power diminishing returns, but because of exessive heat.

    And some words about reactors themselves. I am currently working on mechanics and formulae of heat-boxless reactors. It looks like they will be larger than poposed ones, but single 10x10x10 reactor, if built efficiently, can produce enough power for spaceships, that just reached softcap with an power old system.
    That's the most basic concept, with only three block types, but it can easily developed further. Main idea is simple - every block type recives bonuses with adjacent blocks of the same type, and somehow ineracts with other block types, i.e active elements generate more power and more heat with each adjacent active element, cooling elements work better with each adjacent cooling element, same logic with capacity elements. If active and capacity elements are adjacent - they both recieve bonuses or penalties, if cooling and active elements are adjacent - active elements generate less heat.

    That reactor can be placed anywhere and have any shape. But its 'adjacent block' mechanics encourages cuboid shapes.
     
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    I am currently working on mechanics and formulae of heat-boxless reactors. It looks like they will be larger than poposed ones, but single 10x10x10 reactor, if built efficiently, can produce enough power for spaceships, that just reached softcap with an power old system.
    Main idea is simple - every block type recives bonuses with adjacent blocks of the same type, and somehow ineracts with other block types, i.e active elements generate more power and more heat with each adjacent active element, cooling elements work better with each adjacent cooling element, same logic with capacity elements. If active and capacity elements are adjacent - they both recieve penalties, if cooling and active elements are adjacent - active elements generate less heat.

    Here are some reactor layout examples with description.


    All of them are 6x6x6 and without capacity elements.


    First one:
    Power generation - high.
    Heat generation - noticeable.
    Safety - average.
    Efficiency(per block and per volume) - high.

    Second one:
    Power generation - below average.
    Heat generation - none.
    Safety - very high.
    Efficiency(per block and per volume) - low.

    Third one:
    Power generation - average.
    Heat generation - none.
    Safety - average.
    Efficiency(per block and per volume) - average.

    Last one:
    Power generation - enough to supply average space station with energy.
    Heat generation - enough to burn down average space station immediately.
    Safety - none.
    Efficiency(per block and per volume) - insanely high.
     
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    Looks like nobody is reading this anyway.
    However, here are my thoughts and details of heat/cooling system.

    So, why do we actually need it? Isn't it just another complex mess like wires are?
    No, it does two important things:

    Firstly, It works as natural safeguard for a flexible power system of mine. Very intuitive idea, IMO, the more power you supply to a system - the more heat it produce. If you are unable to handle this heat, i.e you exceeded heat capacity of a ship - BOOM, you lost control of it, or even made your ship explode.

    Second its important role - it prevents big ships from being too overpowered. I already described it:
    So, yeah, ships with one giant and power-efficient reactor will have extremely high power generation, but heat generation will be MUCH higher, and in order to handle with that heat, that ship must have VERY large cooling system, which will turn it into giant unefficient powder keg.

    And if that ship will split its giant reactor into several small ones, yes, it will not need enormously large cooling system, but it will lose all its extreme power efficiency. So, it's like two-step softcap - after some point, increasing the size of reactors even further will be unprofitable, not because of power diminishing returns, but because of exessive heat.
    As for cooling system itself - in the most basic form it needs heat sinks and heat capacitors. And like with power reactors, this two types of blocks could interact with adjacent blocks - for example heat sinks will be efficient only if they are next to heat capacitors. So, if power reactor layout affects its power regen, capacity, heat generation and overall efficiency, then, in case of cooling system, its layout affects its heat capacity, cooldown rate, overall efficiency and maybe power consumption(I'm not sure about this one). However, layout of a cooling system wont affect its stats in such a drastic fashion like power system's layout does.

    Another important charactristic of both of power reactors and cooling systems is safety.
    Safety for a reactor means that when it is damaged it wont produce unnecesary heat.
    Safety for a cooling system means that when it is damaged it wont lead to explosion.
    What? Why do cooling system explode, but not the reactors?
    Simple, since even very power-effective reactors in my proposal aren't big, and ships are encouraged to have small amount of this reactors or even one, because of this even a small explosion in the reactor group will leave you almost without power. I dont want such lucky shots to be in the game.

    So, instead of explosion, destroyed active blocks throw some amount of heat into your cooling system, this amount depends on adjacent blocks(i.e on layout) and overall reactor group characteristics.
    Also, consider that destruction of blocks changes your reactor layout.

    As for cooling systems, heat capacitors can potentially explode. They have some threshold of heat capacity, after which, if they get damaged, they explode. Safety of your layout increases this threshold and decreases explosion power.
    It's not a problem at all for a small ships, since they have no cooling system, or a very small one. For medium and big ships it wont be a great threat, unless they are using highly overcharged weapons or extremely effective but hot reactors.

    But for those, who will try to put enormous power-efficent reactor in a rather small ship this will be a nighmare. Since it will be packed to its limits with cooling systems just in order to deal with reactor's extreme heat generation, any shield-down or accidential torpedo will blow that ship into pieces.

    Another amusing way to make your ship explode - is to generate such amount of heat, that you cant handle. If you will reach 100% of your heat capacity, all your systems will shut down and you will be forced out of ship core. But if you, crazy bastard, will reach 200% of your heat cap - yep, you will explode.
     

    NeonSturm

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    We can think about real-life applications (not because realism, but people's creativity IRL)
    • overdrive / overclock / over*
      • You usually do this if something has short life-times:
        • example A: expendable drones.
        • example B: racing ships.
      • or a limit-breaker:
        • example A: weapons on civilian ships with a paranoid captain.
        • example B: experimental crafts like racing ships.
    :schema:can now design SM in a way to simply allow to over-feed systems which then produce more heat …
    … or require systems meant to be over-fed to have overdrive slaves/chambers and make them less efficient when not over-driven.

    The first is easier (newbie friendly), the second however gives a ship a character:
    1. racing ship : top-efficiency but low reliability
    2. cargo ship : competitive in value.
    3. civilian ships : individual designs built so that "which chambers are used" can be customized.
    4. military ship : top-reliable/safe (usually higher crew-counts than mercenaries)
    5. military drone : expensive top-tier
    Mercenaries/Pirates might want multi-purpose ships (cargo+combat) while the military specializes for certain tasks.
    Military may prefer ships without much living comfort and which never fail because of bad input (using too many systems at once), while mercenaries are individuals which customize their ships.

    This means that even though one might buy old designs from the other, it might not be what they actually would prefer.
    A good game implements mechanics toward this goal of diversity.