fandingo wrote:Edit: I want to reiterate that I like the idea overall. My tone may have been more severe than I intended. I think my complaints are relatively minor or correctable.
Don't worry , that came through clear.
Besides, I specifically asked for exactly the criticism you gave and you gave it well. It's important to have a proper understanding of the thing, flaws and all.
The Phoenixian wrote:
Part of it is that people are naturally drawn towards being efficient, what one might call "laziness" is really just letting us focus our limited time and attention on more important issues. The downside of that, if you have a boring, powerful system in a game then another, more interesting but less potent system might see less use, even if it's much more fun, simply because it's less efficient.
I guess my main take is that choosing your own adventure is a big part of sandbox games. I certainly won't deny that many players go entirely solar to make things easier -- perhaps simpler is the better word -- or even just because they're not experienced enough to understand all the issues and tradeoffs. I don't see any problem with that. Games are about having fun, and how that's achieved varies greatly between players. Having power "just work" or not be an ongoing risk seems like a reasonable decision players may like to take, especially in their first bases.
I think there's a philosophical difference here, and one with a range of valid opinions. On the one hand you've got types like my old mentor where the idea is "The primary choice of the player is whether or not they play the experience I have provided, Once they make that choice, I call the shots." and on the other you've got tabletop RPGs and even far older games where "Players can and should be trusted to craft their own experiences, we're just providing a system here."
I think it depends quite a lot on what exactly the designer is trying to accomplish. One type of experience requires a great deal of freedom, another needs a narrower path.
That's part of why I suggested Solar-thermal.
Given your particular perspective, I'm actually quite curious of what you'd think of the proposal I made earlier
for Solar thermal, in particular the concept of efficiency scaling with complexity. In your analysis, would it work as the sole form of Solar Panels, as well as a means to let players choose their own difficulty? (Certainly a system with a subtle invitation to ask players to challenge themselves but one that is not meant to be pushy, and still works in its most basic form no matter how late in the game you are.)
I like it, but I have some concerns and comments. I don't think they're particularly serious, and the system could be a fine fit. I wouldn't want photovoltaics gone though. (I'm fine with essentially any linear readjustment of build cost or output of photovoltaics to incentivize the more complex systems, but I think the inherent reliability and trustworthy functionality needs to be preserved.)
First, I think it adds a really good quality logistics chain, and that importance shouldn't be understated. By my count, there's up to five different types of non-transport entities involved (offshore pump, solar heater, steam engine, pump jack, and heat exchanger with the latter two optional). I think that's a good balance of depth and feasibility.
My biggest issue is oil. It simply doesn't make sense as a working fluid due to low critical point (water is +100K and 11x pressure), which is the primary consideration for any major heat transfer liquid where high pressure is feasible. I'm willing to let that slide to some extent in a game, but it throws a major wrench in the player discovery aspect. Unless there's a big flashing light saying that oil is much better, I would never even think to try it because that's not how physics works. Second, consuming oil doesn't make sense. There's no way it'd be used in an open system. The pollution would be far more substantial than burning it. Oil contains carcinogenic and toxic compounds; at least burning oil destroys them, but boiling it into the atmosphere (the only explanation for where it goes)? Biters gon be mad. I guess my point is that, sure, bend reality to use oil, but it either needs to be a one-time fill-up (like people do with water in Uranium Power mod) or a build-time cost for the fabricating assembly plant (obviously that hurts some of the logistics complexity you're seeking). I spent some time last night reading and watching Uranium Power mod info, although I haven't tried to build my own. To me, having a pressurized water resource and recipe makes a lot more sense than oil -- at least it's intuitive and more congruent with reality.
Hmm, my thought was that many solar-thermal plants actually did use oils. I may have used "working fluid" wrong though: The intent wasn't that the heat of the oil actually drives
the steam engines themselves, just that it moves slower through the pipe and so requires roughly 1/3rd the space to heat the same amount of water into steam (plus whatever is given over to the exchange process, which shouldn't be too large)
As far as communicating that to the player, I think simply making a note of it in the tech tree, heat exchange recipe, and various item descriptions of what you're supposed to do should give the player enough of a clue of what to do. "Heat exchanger: Used to transfer heat from various oils into water in order to capture heat."
As far as consumption: I suppose the explanation I'd go with now would be that it's less a matter of the oil being burned or consumed and more a matter of "the high temperature of the oil is enough to significantly expand metal, and heat exchangers have a lot of uneven temperature points that are hard to manage."
Sort of like the SR-71, which notably cannot use rubber sealants on it's fuel tank due to the heat generated by friction in flight. (So it leaks fuel on the ground until it gets hot enough for the metal to heat up and seal up the gaps in the fuel tank.)
fandingo wrote:The only other gameplay issue I have is pipes. Pipes are annoying and boring after building. Yes, they present very real routing challenges, but afterwards, there's nothing. At least belts look cool and very obviously do something. Pipes are mostly obstacles, and pretty much the only ongoing interaction with them is to figure out how to get around them.
One issue with increasing the importance of water is that players must be cognizant of that when selecting a map. That's true for any of the settings, but if more and more power systems require water, "water only in starting area" means power generation is tied there -- at least without unreasonable piping. Not a blocking issue, but it is something minor to consider. I think some other suggestions have this same problem where water layout can put the player into a corner. (That being said, I use the water well and landfill mods, so I wouldn't be affected.)
Yeah, these two issues aren't something I think I can address. I don't think either is crippling
but they are problems.
In the second case at least, a less thirsty power variant such as PV or something like nuclear power is probably better.
fandingo wrote:Can you explain nighttime power in your system? I feel that you're implying hot liquid storage, but I'm neither totally sure nor what they means for accumulators. For hot liquid storage, a couple of things. First, it creates a hard dependency on the night time sensor/circuit break to detect when to use hot liquids. I'm not usually a fan of ideas that require new functionality outside their specific parts because I recognize how scarce development time is and how that reduces the feasibility of the idea. It seems like the devs are already planning, to some extent, to include this functionality, so maybe it's not a big deal. Second, fluids are simply not as approachable -- mostly because it's hard to see what's going on with a pipe or pipe system. Belts, on the other hand, are really easy to tell if there's problems (backwards, misaligned, capacity issue, etc.). I think players may have a difficult time setting their night time volumes if it's just like normal tanks. Compare that to the accumulator bar and joules remaining status on the power screen. A similar thing would need to be done for hot liquids, but there's some added complexity if efficiencies are variable and there's piping limitations, too.
Hot liquid storage is one of three possibilities for nighttime electricity, all of which should be available to the player at any time.
The first possibility is backup coal power. Coal backup is the most basic option, but requires material input and supply. Basically, attach the normal coal setup to the back end of the heater and it will automatically take care of any problems.
The second, Hot water storage itself, needs night detection, as does any proper way to turn off the system.
Night and temperature detection already exists, though both are somewhat hackish versions rather than true items:
For sensing temperature, one can simply use a boiler (or several) and detect when it starts drawing fuel from a smart chest. Once that happens, the system can be shut off for an amount of time, either decided by combinator timers or some other means.
Though that is fairly hackish and requires advanced knowledge.
Thankfully PV solar panels are actually probably the better option for a night sensor since I think, a ratio of 2 small pumps (30 kW draw according to the wiki) to 1 PV panel (60 kW daytime output, assuming no adjustment) is even power draw and the fluid speed will then slow down at the same rate that the heat production does. (Ideally at least.)
Which still requires a bit more knowledge than I'd like, but it's possible.
In any event, hot water storage is simply a matter of producing more water than is needed by day and shutting the oil
Hot oil storage is probably a worse option all around, but just requires two tanks on either side of the exchangers, by day the forward tanks slowly fill up with excess oil, and by night the input to the forward tanks shuts off and the tanks drain to the cold oil tanks at the back of the system.
So backup boilers and hot oil storage together might look like so, if both night detection methods are used:
Code: Select all
| Fuel Consumption Detection | PV Solar panel on isolated system
v This pump turns off at night *Oil Loop* ^ This pump also turns off at night
>--Water line->---------Exchangers-------Steam plant
Naturally, this is overly redundant but it shows both systems.
Accumulators form the third option. They may need to be changed a bit to make them more ideal spikes in power consumption, but they fit the midline between backup coal power's "dead simple" and fluid storage's "complicated efficiency" quite well. (being dead simple in and of themselves, but not truly necessary until an off switch for power is found)