Upkeep and Ammo Systems, StarMade-ified

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    Disclaimer

    This idea is prone to starting large controversy, so if you want to leave a comment, please be a decent human being and instead of tearing the thing down, leave ways that the system could be improved if it were going to be implemented in the first place!


    Introduction/Basic Premise

    The basic idea of threads like this is to make the game more focused on a “survival” aspect, by adding upkeep systems. The premise of these is to create some sort of investment/ ongoing cost of having more and more things to manage. Good forms of upkeep systems are ones that can be reduced/negated by various processes, preferably mid-end game solutions, of which creates a “sloped wall” to encourage the player to set up them.

    The idea of this one is to have fuel of some sort that must be generated by ore. This ore could be a nuclear variant, which would make sense because the power source in StarMade is reactors, and would have to be processed before use. Another form of power could be solar power, which could be taken advantage of mostly by stations, but also by using turret logic scripting, or just straight up solar panels strapped to a ship. More renewable energy, specifically for on planets after the universe update could be wind power. This could take advantage of planets with atmospheres to generate power. Ways to make this more seamless would be to add some form of power battery/capacitor which all power sources connect to and fill up.

    Weapons also need similar refinement. Why can I shoot infinite ammo from a weapon without consequence? Where is this ammo coming from? I find it strange that the only conditions to a fight are that you have ships, and as long as they exist, or the opponents want to continue fighting, a fight can be maintained.


    Reactor refinements

    Reactors are a little busted right now. You place a reactor, and a seemingly infinite source of power comes from them. When put to mass scale, these can be maintained by a single person, because no maintenance is required. What I also find odd, is that this breaks rules of the universe that even StarMade abides to in the game universe's creation. Energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed. It is very easy to destroy matter permanently (another note for another day), but it is also equally easy to create energy (and of course asteroids respawn, but that's a note for another day as well).

    Reactors need some form of upkeep system to discourage players from creating massive ships/bases. Fuel is an easy(ish) remedy to that. The idea is that there is an ore, which can be Uranium, Thorium, or any goofy sci-fi name that Schema can come up with. The idea is that the fuel is refined through 2 methods. The more basic method is there is a special factory that can be placed on ships. These can be upgraded with factory enhancers, but this does not enhance output at all. The secondary form of refinement is via a Capsule Refinery. This works similar to any other ores (makes capsules), but the fuel ores' output is reduced compared to other ores for realism, and game balancing reasons (Nuclear fuel when refined only gives a small amount per ore unit in games, not entirely sure about real life though). There could be a computer, maybe a "Reactor Controller" which can be opened to access the reactor menu, and can be bound to container(s) to have fuel in them. This could be coupled with a logistics update where stuff in a container is auto transferred to another, or this can be bound to a container that is also bound to a capsule refinery.

    The fuel usage would be dependent on output, and therefore indirectly on size. The larger the size means the larger the potential output. Depending on what the reactor is currently outputting, the reactor will use more or less power. The larger of the reactor would also mean that, due to technology constraints, get less efficient. This would grow exponentially to the point where absolutely gargantuan ships would be unfeasible (I'd say like 1-2km+), due to those causing issues for servers, game balancing, and peoples' computers.

    Here's an example equation:
    float FuelUsage = (reactorPowerOutput / 50)^1.2f

    This leads into how we measure reactor output. Reactor output should be based on “wattage”. However, because StarMade is very “sci-fi”, everything uses a bunch of power. Therefore, power should be measured in Kw/s (Kilowatts) per second. There can of course be decimals defined up to the thousandths, however, this will be rounded to on the output counter dynamically where only 5 numbers can be displayed at any time. So the number 10.456 Kw/s would be fine, however, 100.456 Kw/s would be shortened (not internally, just for display), to 100.45 Kw. Anything above 1000 Kw/s would be shortened to its number in Mw/s (Megawatts). So 1123.5 Kw/s = 1.1235 Mw, and so on. Of course an algorithm for this could be determined for Gigawatts, but I don't think anyone will end up getting to 1 million Kilowatts reasonably in survival mode.
    The higher reactor percentage (calculated by dividing the current output by the maximum output) could be used as a cool graphic for the reactor. The higher percentage means brighter emissions. 100% or over 100% would end up in reactors to whitewash the texture. Sidenote: the emissions of any textures should emit actual light, once the lighting engine is remade.


    Solar Panels and Wind Energy

    Solar panels are an alternative to the reactor system which can be used for worse, but “free” power. The only cost is size, material, and the opportunity to get placement wrong. The basic idea is that using a battery system used later, the solar panels could store power in them for use of the structure you are on, or batteries on docked structures. This mostly applies to bases, but also to ships. The way this could work instead of using preexisting dockers, using special dockers that transmit power to whatever docked to it. This could be used to the effect of a station thriving off of solar power, as well as the effect of large or small scale solar stations.

    The placement of such solar panels would effect output, but also would calculate if and where a shadow is placed on it so the solar panels actually have to have direct line to the sun. Maybe use ray casting, StarMade devs.

    Wind turbines are of a different breed. They take advantage of an atmosphere on a planet to generate power. The amount depends on elevation from objects around it, time of day (temperature), and weather (if implemented of course). The windier the weather, the more output. The higher the elevation from nearby objects, the higher output. The light level of where you are (time of day), also plays a factor, as generally hotter/brighter areas generate more hot air currents.

    The practicality of wind turbines would be only for bases, but could be a good, more reliable alternative to solar power on planets.


    Batteries/Power Storage

    The premise of this is more simple than power generation. There is some sort of power block that stores some amount of Kw for use. Reactors will have a small buffer built in, however, solar/wind energy would not. The storage block could either use the old capacitor texture, or have a new one. The way it would have to differ, however, is that the more full your capacitors are (the power is distributed/drawn evenly for simplicity sake), the more full the little indicator would be. If we're using the old capacitor texture, the more green there is from bottom to top on the texture, the more full it is. It would also emit more light the more full the green bar is, because the green indicator functions as an emissive texture. The display information of the storage device would be in Kwh (google formula).


    Weapon Ammo Systems

    There are 2 routes for this to go. The ammo energy “fusion” route, or the straight up material to ammo route. The energy route is the same as how it is now, except more put into lore (does this game have lore?), while the material route is a more balanced perspective for game play purposes.

    The material ammo is created by manufacturing specific ores in standard and advanced refineries. Cannon ammo is generated from any natural stone-like block capsule, along with a specific ore capsule (to be determined). Damage Beams use power, but double their current power draw. Rocket ammo is made by combining metal mesh, crystal composite, some crystal capsule (to be determined), and reactor fuel capsules. The idea of the cannons having stone-like capsules in it is for weight/recoil/force, and the idea of rocket ammo having reactor fuel capsules in it is for minor nuclear explosions.



    Mines created by mine layer systems will use cannon/rocket ammo if those variants are selected, and physical explosive mines will use warheads as ammo (I haven't used mines before so if this stuff is inaccurate, then I'll fix it after told how they work).
     
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    I'm going to avoid touching on weapon ammo systems for the moment, because fights right now tend to be very short, ammunition constraints tend to be less of a factor (unless you are focusing on small ships vs small ships, where aiming is the biggest difficulty and so a lot of shots are 'missed).

    Fuel

    The fuel idea for your power systems is something that I would agree could be useful. The issue I have with it is that it would be just another ore type that people can mass harvest quickly, adding a new ore type I don't think would change anything. Adding a bit more diversity to ores though (instead of the colour of the block they will produce) - you could use existing crystals as a fuel source to power reactors. These would have varying degrees of power generation dependant on the ore used:

    The closer the crystal type is to the star, the more energy it would have - due to the increase in heat the particles would be more 'excited'. This would put Rammet as the weakest producer of energy and Mattise as the strongest producer. Now the real problem here (if you are going for reality after stating the creation/destruction of matter/energy) is the by-products. You need to work out what happens with the by-product, it wouldn't just disappear correct? So a small idea to further your concept:

    Active Crystal = Inactive Crystal + Energy

    On the left side of the equation we have the starting fuel source, on the right hand side we have the product we are after Energy and the useful by-product Inactive Crystal. Inactive crystal could then be used in the crafting of various things using factories, similar to how it is now (active crystal could also be used for the same purpose - however specific things may need active crystal rather than either/or such as red forcefields for Mattise).

    At this point, the biggest issue would be trying not to make the game Tekt Asteroid farming simulator.


    Connections (Battery not necessary)

    In the same sense that you would use a fuel reactor or refinery type block to fuel the power system I would say not much is needed to act as a battery or container. You would still be able to utilise Reactor modules to act as a battery/generation component. We used to have reactor capacitors, but I feel this is generally unnecessary. As with Reactors producing more power in larger sizes, the amount of fuel they would need would be increased (hello factory enhancement chambers). The larger reactors could also be used just as general storage with increasing size being an increased capacity. Instead the question would be how do you connect particular factories to particular reactors - as you would not want all of your crystals or capsules to be drained by the reactor. Similar to systems we have now, create controller blocks for reactors - not like chambers but as you would a computer block for weapons. Now you can link factories to specific reactors and job is completed.



    These are the thoughts I have on your concepts or how I would personally alter them. I like the indicator on batteries/reactors idea, telling you how much power there is. It would also greatly benefit the aspect of re-fuelling stations that people build, regardless of their size. However these re-fuelling stations would favour the concept of your new ore idea more.

    Just some food for thought.