// Energy System and Management

Here I ask your opinion and feedback on specific aspect of the game, or feature I am working on.
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tsunamayo
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:13 am

So it is about time to give Skywanderers an energy system!

Before I start implementing what I have in mind, I want to ask you for feedback, what kind of things you would like to see, but also to discuss together on the potential shortcoming of each proposed ideas. When you refer to any other game, please keep in mind that I played none of them and I dont know how they work, so feel free to give us a quick explanation of the system in question so I can understand (I am also curious on what other game are doing to solve that problem).

I will do a separate thread on Fuel only, this thread is more for the following mecanics:
  • The energy balance itself: I was going for a classical flux + stock system - as I dont see what else we could do. For example you produce 10 per unit of time, and you can store 100. Then you could overconsume 15 and grind your battery, or spend only 5 and replenish it.
  • Energy management: system could be toggled on or off, in order to optimize your energy level depending on the situation. It could yield interesting combat mecanics where you do your best to manage your levels (in the spirit of FTL), potentially with friends.
  • Stacking mecanics: I want to give bonus for putting blocks of a familly close to one other (will also work with any block). The downside being that if a single block is destroyed during combat, it will shut down the whole group - so you might have to make multiple stack as a security measure. For the formula I was going to do a standard threshold + logarithmic curve or even an asymptotic curve in order to have the bonus rate of increase slowing down the more block you put.
  • Block will have different Tier levels. At first the player will craft low tech and then will progress towards more powerful one. This will be linked to fuel mostly.
  • What happen when there is no energy left, and the balance is negative? There are several possibilities: We shut down all systems for a bit, then restart everything: if you produce 10 and consume 20 expect your systems to be up half of the time.
    We start to deactivate some systems automatically (with maybe a priority list).
    Or we put the power reactor in overload mode, with a potential ship destruction if they get overloaded too long :twisted: I will add an overheating mecanism when you take damage, it could contribute to overheating. So if you fire your highly energy intensive beam of death too fast, you will destroy your ship :twisted:
  • You guys will ask for linking and such, but I was not going for that. The main reason is that I wanted to have the energy balance logic at the level of the ship, for simplification purpose. I want something simple, I dont see much added value in term of possibility by having to link systems, and it doesnt sounds fun to do for me...
    But that dont work well for ground structure (could have a energy distance, and have to use relay) - so I am still hesitating.
Thanks for taking time to answer!
Last edited by tsunamayo on Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ultragamer2000
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:16 am

Will energy generators, prsumably reactors be modular like having diffrent blocks to make a reactor chamber or whatever, or just some noob tier power blocks as an end gaol?
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PTTG
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:48 am

As far as energy systems go, I figure this makes sense.

I figure that engine power and electricity are totally separate things. So you'll need to have generator blocks for the ship that are separate from the engine blocks that move the ship.

As far as generator blocks go, I think we'd want to consider solar, fission, fusion, and antimatter, all of those plus batteries. You could throw in chemical fuel, but remember you'll need an oxidizer if you're trying to be remotely scientific.

Oh, my note from the other thread applies here: Consider not using tiers as much as having different niches for different uses. Maybe Fission is low-power, but never runs out. Maybe antimatter is great for most uses, but needs to have a supply line to keep it working. And maybe chemical energy is just what you need to get started, and is always available if you get stranded.

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JRL101
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:36 am

You could do something like, Generator and fuel tank can be sized to accommodate amount of charge/fuel it can produce/store, but the distance they are from each other, can affect their performance, maybe linking them together like the pipes. So it takes the measurement from those to determine what value to use.
Maybe more connections add or multiplies the value of the pipe transfer rate.

I'd rather not have block spam, maybe multi-block structures, or a single placeable object. or a linkable block type with a control block.
Example: Container a shape made of "device blocks" add "control brick" Measures "device blocks" changes their texture, to identify them as part of the "control brick"
Power_001.png
Power_001.png (232.42 KiB) Viewed 5589 times
Here you can see the "device blocks" as show as dark grey in specific shapes.
Power_002.png
Power_002.png (208.33 KiB) Viewed 5589 times
Now the "control brick" has been added defined within the panel, the "control brick" has identified the "device blocks" its attached to, and textured them appropriately. (red for fuel tank, Orange for generators)
What they are is defined by the "control brick"
Power_003.png
Power_003.png (242.06 KiB) Viewed 5589 times
This image shows the pipes connecting the two types of system structures, defining where the generators should be taking their fuel value from.

Alternatively you could "name" each system and then manually tell the other system devices what to take values from.
Image Image

Felix
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:54 am

For my part I really like the overload idea, maybe a combination, like you can have the systems that don't have enough power stop functioning, or you can flip a switch to take the safeties off the reactor and go into overload mode, like if the enemy is getting ready to flee and you want to get those last few parting shots in. :D

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JRL101
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:12 am

Felix wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:54 am
For my part I really like the overload idea, maybe a combination, like you can have the systems that don't have enough power stop functioning, or you can flip a switch to take the safeties off the reactor and go into overload mode, like if the enemy is getting ready to flee and you want to get those last few parting shots in. :D
I love the risk reward idea too. It makes getting that little bit more power, risky but in some situations necessary.
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Gmunga5
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:49 am

Using the flux approach:

Your ideas here seem pretty good. I agree that we shouldn’t need to manually link everything as this would be a pain. The use of fuel tanks, generators and batteries that benefit from being close to each other is also really cool. The idea of there being an optimal amount per ship and once you go over that you will begin to reduce the efficiency of your ship should also be taken into account as I think we all want to avoid block spam.

One idea I saw mentioned was the use of different multi block reactor types I.e fission, fusion, chemical etc. I feel like this could be an interesting approach to add variety and give more ways to achieve a task. These of course could have tiers within them so you could have tier 1 - 3 fission reactors etc. Perhaps you would then have a main tier 3 reactor and two backup tier 2 ones in case of damage or high power use situations.


Power currency approach:

An alternate way to approach power is the way FTL does it, by using generated power as a currency. This way your generators could say produce 15 units of power which you have to share between all your systems. The more power you give a system the stronger it is. This could then link into a tech tree for each system where if you give your lasers 3 energy you get to choose to increase their damage or fire rate etc.

It’s a different system to what you have planned atm but could also reduce block spam as systems would only be able to have a certain amount of energy each so why produce 100 if you only need 50. Aspects of it could work with the flux system to creat a hybrid system too I imagine.

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tsunamayo
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:41 pm

PTTG wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:48 am
Oh, my note from the other thread applies here: Consider not using tiers as much as having different niches for different uses. Maybe Fission is low-power, but never runs out. Maybe antimatter is great for most uses, but needs to have a supply line to keep it working. And maybe chemical energy is just what you need to get started, and is always available if you get stranded.
I think my definition of "tier" might be misunderstood, by Tier I mean for example chemical behind Tier 1, Fusion Tier 2 and Anti-Matter Tier 3 ect.

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tsunamayo
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:45 pm

Gmunga5 wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:49 am
It’s a different system to what you have planned atm but could also reduce block spam as systems would only be able to have a certain amount of energy each so why produce 100 if you only need 50. Aspects of it could work with the flux system to creat a hybrid system too I imagine.
Sorry what do you mean block spam? The use of many block? It will all be a trade-off, if you put a lot of power block then you have a very slow ship with a huge fuel requirement, so it will all come down to what you want to achieve. The way I will do my maneuverability and acceleration function will assign a very high mass to system block, so typically a system block will weight 10x a simple a hull block.

Rizzo
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Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:51 pm

I think the tiers make sense. In order to build/contain the energy sources for those tiers, you would need to find rarer materials. I don't think we should get into chemical rocket propellant or having 20 types of thrusters because thankfully, Tsuna has classified this as a sci-fi game.

In essence we are talking about energy generation, storage and consumption. For energy generation, I like the idea of tiered energy generators with different fuels for those tiers and risk/reward for using them, per my offering on the other thread here. Numbers below are for example only, and may vary from reality, etc.

Energy Generation:

Tier 0: Solar Cells
- Slow energy build up, good back up power source
- Each unit produces energy at 50 Watts/Second
- Consumes 0 fuel
- Requires proximity to light/sun

Tier 1: Hydrogen Reactor
- Consumes hydrogen as a fuel
- Produces energy at 5 Kilowatts/Second
- Burns 1 fuel unit per minute

Tier 2: Nuclear Reactor
- Consumes plutonium in the form of nuclear decay
- Produces energy at 5 Megawatts/Second
- Burns 1 fuel unit per 5 minutes

Tier 3: Antimatter Reactor
- Consumes antimatter
- Produces energy at 5 Gigawatt/Second
- Burns 1 fuel unit per 10 minutes

Energy Storage: Batteries
- Store energy and can be called upon in emergencies or if energy generated fuel is depleted
- Creates a fixed pool of energy that can be consumed
- Players can opt to feed energy into the battery or consume it (toggle)
- Batteries draw power off the grid when charging and supply x/second until depleted

Energy Usage:
- I prefer the model where energy is shared among systems
- So there is a total energy generated + energy stored (potential)
- System consumes energy each second (tick)
- Systems can be disabled to stop consuming their portion of energy

Energy Systems
I'm impartial to having to link energy systems together manually. In most games I've played the energy was distributed automatically through the hull. If wiring can be discrete or easily hidden in Skywanderers, I wouldn't mind having to link it up. If this was required, a system similar to the switch system might be better to create explicit links. Blocks, pipes or hoses might be OK, but I am concerned that they will quickly destroy the aesthetics of the interiors on ships if they have to be everywhere to powered systems.

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