Electric energy

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ssilk
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Re: Electric energy

Post by ssilk » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:15 am

This is my thought, too.
Power plant, like in other games, is no fun in Factorio. In Factorio I want to have a water circuit, heating/cooling etc. which generates the energy.

So there are many possibilities, that it fails, and for nuclear power this means, when the cooling is falling out, that the power generator smelts and radiation disappears.

So what we need to make that is
- much more advanced circuit network, because such a power plant needs much regulation.
- blueprints, which also can copy the circuit completely, mirroring, saving and some more comfort functions
- mining and processing of uranium
- steam as new fluid
- much more equipment, which needs
- a smarter process to assemble them, because it makes no sense to craft everything yourself and also no sense to build an assembly per item. That takes just too much time.
- more options, to separate the electric circuits. Not only turn on/off, but also limit the transferred power, to guarantee the cooling or make other priorisations.
- and to make that an game element, which bring in some action (?, depends on player type, it should enabled to be turned off) some things, which like to destroy elements of the power generation, or other fail.... There where many examples, from animals, which empty the accus to water depletion from lakes.
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Re: Electric energy

Post by Zero_Berz » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:09 pm

Complexity of nuclear power is good. But don`t overdo it. If it will become "micromanagement hell", then no, no and no.

Yea. we need steam as liquid.
Yea, we need 2 separate lines (1 for cooling and 1 for making steam)
yea. Nuclear plant should be complex (though reactor could be with built-in steam generator and cooling, as a 1 building)

And yea. Game will always have some simplified non-real parts. It`s ok. I don`t want for example maintain optimal temperature in electric furnance to make iron, by limitiong energy input and so on.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by ssilk » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:10 pm

No. More or less self-regulating. The control is only, when some accident happens, to stabilize the plant, until it is switched into a save state.

Think for example to simple situation: The power-plant stands on the other side of a lake. Something is killing the power-line to your factory. The steam-engines stop. No steam is used anymore. But it takes a while to cool down the nuclear burners, they produce much more energy than needed. You need to use the hot water or steam anywhere, otherwise the burners will crash. Some emergency-cooling. Simple: If temperature too hot, turn on some pumps, which fills in cold water. There are some situations, which need such kind of control.

And I think to blueprints. A working and stable blueprint for a nuclear power-plant, coming with the game and researchable. Or the components.
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Re: Electric energy

Post by TGS » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:04 pm

Zero_Berz wrote:Complexity of nuclear power is good. But don`t overdo it. If it will become "micromanagement hell", then no, no and no.

Yea. we need steam as liquid.
Yea, we need 2 separate lines (1 for cooling and 1 for making steam)
yea. Nuclear plant should be complex (though reactor could be with built-in steam generator and cooling, as a 1 building)

And yea. Game will always have some simplified non-real parts. It`s ok. I don`t want for example maintain optimal temperature in electric furnance to make iron, by limitiong energy input and so on.
I agree with this 1000x. No offense to anyone in this community, but this community is very like another I used to participate in. In their game they constantly talked about things in very VERY real terms. So much so that it detracted away from the game aspect of it in favor of those who liked die-hard simulation. It was a game that I would say probably lost a good chunk of potential fans because way too much emphasis was placed on creating a 'die-hard' simulation focused heavily on one aspect that those people felt was fun, that all the developers energy went into it and they refused to think outside the mold and outside the aspects of straight up simulation.

Simulation is great. But I used to use a very simple 'argument' with MMO's. Some people are okay with playing a game and working their asses off. But most people play games to get away from work. Not to work more. There is nothing wrong with complexity. But either the complexity has to be 'gamified' or it has to be automated with the option for manual intervention. Otherwise you are going to alienate people who aren't into the die-hard simulation aspects.

I will give an example of the opposite. Spore, spore was supposed to be a fairly extensive simulation game. But... there was a group in the development team that wanted it to be 'gamified' and sadly they got their way and took it too far. The simulation aspect of Spore was practically non-existant. I don't want the same thing to happen to Factorio, just... the opposite. Either way you're gonna hurt one side of the equation. There has to be a balance, a compromise.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Alfdaur » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:13 pm

Yeah, I totaly agree on the fact that gameplay should be the biggest factor. For me, Factorio is more about automation. So I won't mind making a complex setup for nuclear energy. I mean, automating processors or modules takes time. I really like the difficult set up. But once set up, I want the factory to run like a dime. The only biters and resource & elecricity shortages should make your factory crawl to a halt. :)

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Re: Electric energy

Post by TGS » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:16 pm

Alfdaur wrote:Yeah, I totaly agree on the fact that gameplay should be the biggest factor. For me, Factorio is more about automation. So I won't mind making a complex setup for nuclear energy. I mean, automating processors or modules takes time. I really like the difficult set up. But once set up, I want the factory to run like a dime. The only biters and resource & elecricity shortages should make your factory crawl to a halt. :)
Exactly. Complexity can be fine, provided it is introduced in a way that is sensible to the game. I love this game, I think it has amazing potential in the long run. But going too 'ultra-realistic' will put people off. It would put me off if it weren't for the fact that I'm a very persistent person and I enjoy things even if I suck at them.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by ssilk » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:13 pm

Well, I understand, that some things sounds too hyper realistic. But let's play it through in detail!

We have already the problem, that the steam engines are driven by hot water. Well I can live with it. But let's think we have steam. We can make more efficient power with it. The next step would be to have better steam engines, which have an output for the cold steam/hot water. And return it, to the burners, so we need pumps and need only to fill the system once with water. The next step would be, to cool the steam engines, which makes them more efficient. So we need two circuits for the cold and hot water. And a cooling tower. Ok, then replace the burners with more efficient stuff. We are now at a point, where I need to ask: where should I put all that power into? There need to be something, which needs much more power. So much, that it is really needed,and that it is nearly impossible to power everything with solars!

And this must be topped by the need for nuclear energy...

So, what I want to say is A) the jump from small energy levels to factor 1000-10000 more energy is not within seconds. It is a process. A needed thing? Only, when there is something which needs so much energy. B) We have the blueprints as friends. That's missing by other games: you CAN do everything yourself, but for the gameplay it's not needed, therefore you can just take blueprints. C) The learning curve is very light, because everything is introduced.

In other words: before that happen, we will have and need many other stuff (of course different as described by me), otherwise a nuclear power plant is not needed for the gameplay, because that is only another way of power generation and pollution.

And for B) I've another example: electronic musicians are distincted into those, which make the music, they use in many cases "ready to go tunes", something from a library, but they have the idea for a melody, for a feeling, some thought in mind, which they want to express. But there are also those, which like to create new sounds. That's just another level of expression. And those types of characters are the blueprint-makers; the others use them.

I think this type of game - and it is a game to exchange those blueprints - has an incredible depth, if it is made in the right way. And if the result is a hyper realistic nuclear power plant which explodes, if you sneeze, or just an extreme compressed solar farm, in both cases the complexity behind the creation is hidden.
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Re: Electric energy

Post by BubbaJimBoBob » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:24 am

Well after reading, brushing up on some thermodynamics, and then rereading again i find that ssilk does have a point in that it is not a necessity at this time for the game, but i also think that the reasoning is flawed. Particularly that because it is not necessary that it is not useful at this time. Personally i think that having a higher energy generation capacity will allow players to replace steam engine farms that take up loads of space with smaller Nuclear facilities. I do like taking a more technical side to power generation involving two closed loops being hot and cold, i would simply restrict it through the technology tree so that it is not available early on.

I am unsure what exactly is intended in the rest of ssilks post, i am a native english speaker and intend no disrespect, but i just am not sure what is meant, specifically:
So, what I want to say is A) the jump from small energy levels to factor 1000-10000 more energy is not within seconds. It is a process. A needed thing? Only, when there is something which needs so much energy. B) We have the blueprints as friends. That's missing by other games: you CAN do everything yourself, but for the gameplay it's not needed, therefore you can just take blueprints. C) The learning curve is very light, because everything is introduced.

In other words: before that happen, we will have and need many other stuff (of course different as described by me), otherwise a nuclear power plant is not needed for the gameplay, because that is only another way of power generation and pollution.
I will reply as best i understand it, but i am fairly certain that i will need to be corrected. First i would like to address the power output issue ssilk brings up in that Nuclear power plants do not necessarily produce more than a coal fired power plant, and at least here in the united states, there are many coal fired power plants that produce just as much as a nuclear facility would. The primary differences between the two are type of fuel used, efficiency of said fuel, and type of pollution generated. In terms of the game all we really need to care about is the efficiency and pollution, since higher efficiency amounts to less fuel used, and by extension less pollution created in generating power.

Again sorry if i mis-understood, but i wanted to add my two cents.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Coolthulhu » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:22 am

BubbaJimBoBob wrote:The primary differences between the two are type of fuel used, efficiency of said fuel, and type of pollution generated. In terms of the game all we really need to care about is the efficiency and pollution, since higher efficiency amounts to less fuel used, and by extension less pollution created in generating power.
And space requirements, complexity, processing, rarity of fuel etc.

Something as simple as having to dump hot water somewhere (back to lake) could significantly change the usage of power plant by requiring it to form a loop (or have a big cooling tower somewhere) instead of a tree structure that everyone builds with boilers and steam engines.

Also, all waste uranium power plants generate is contained in the reactor. Pollution released from the usage of uranium comes from mining, transporting, chemical processing of uranium, processing spent fuel and transporting spent fuel.
In game terms, it would mean that a "realistic" reactor would be about as polluting as steam engines near it (not at all), it's just the whole infrastructure that would attract biter attention. Also dumping unprocessed spent fuel that many people would choose to do instead of bothering with processing.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by ssilk » Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:43 pm

@BubbaJim: the cited sentences are just a very fast jump from one thought to the next. This post, too. :) This is because I connect many things together and I don't be able to explain every aspect of that in detail. But there are about a doozen of aspects, which all tell me, that this is the direction we should go.

Well, I try. :)

Some numbers first: the next nuclear power plant for me is Grafenreinfeld ( http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernkraftw ... nrheinfeld ) with a power of 1345 Megawatts. That's 2638 of Factorios steam engines. Of course we can built that much burners and steam engines, but the needed amount of coal per second is then around 330 (if I calculated correctly). That around 28 basic belts in parallel! (even if I miscalculated anything, it can't be much lower than 3 belts!). That's just to set the dimensions (factor 1000-10000).

Notice: I didn't say we need to be exactly like reality, and as said, there are some steps (other generators, other burners, more research) between the current steam engine and nuclear power. But I think it is the right way, because of the pollution question and the decision of the player, if he should go green or with pollution.

I explain that more.

I repeat, it is possible to build 1000 steam engines (or perhaps only 200 with an advanced power generation), but it's clear, that it is much easier to build only one power generator. Easier to built one nuclear power plant, dig for uranium, concentrate it, etc. put it in the nuclear burner, care for the waste (plutonium) and so on. This makes sense, but it is difficult to explain.

Because the next question is: What should need so much energy? Well, there is plenty of things, which can be built which needs so much energy. We will find it! I wrote some examples more down.

Standing alone it makes no sense. But from gameplay I have a very big reason: I want that this is going into some direction, where the player is really enabled to play either clean or with pollution, because now there is not much difference with it. But with the waste of the nuclear power generation this is going into some very dirty direction (but will be a much faster game) and on the other hand the player can, no he needs to decide: go into direction of having green energy? Bigger solar fields, fusion power? Who knows? But this will be more difficult and lasts longer.

I want this. :) And we need it, because yet this it is not so clear! Because yet the difference between going green and going pollution is not very big and not difficult to master. But when it's going into these dimensions it is very, very clear. Multiply the current impact of going dirty with factor 1000-10000 and you will see what I mean. :)

And that - again - leads to the logical things, which have to be done before. We need more complex/different power-generators, other burners, pumps, storage-tanks etc., before we can have a nuclear power plant. And we need something, which needs so much energy. Or many things which need little. Like 1,000,000 people, living in their homes for example. But I can imagine many more things. A wide-range radar for example, which needs 2 megawatt each. Some mining-laser. Energy fences. No problem to find something useful.

I hope, my logical chain is now a bit more explained, but as said, I really cannot explain every detail here.

@Coolthulhu: Pollution comes also from storing/dumping the spent fuel. We can eventually speak from plutonium; very poisonousness, very radioactive, very dangerous, very polluting. :)

Btw. Plutonium/Uranium is from gameplay perspective very interesting! ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium )
In German wikipedia ( http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium ) is for example the fact, that plutonium is needed for satellites. Satellites can fell down or explode at start and the pollution by the nuclear battery of the satellite is enormous. Or if you store too much plutonium in one place, you can reach a critical mass and it melts. Plutonium and water is a very good combination. Or Boron.
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Re: Electric energy

Post by Coolthulhu » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:22 pm

ssilk wrote:I repeat, it is possible to build 1000 steam engines (or perhaps only 200 with an advanced power generation), but it's clear, that it is much easier to build only one power generator. Easier to built one nuclear power plant, dig for uranium, concentrate it, etc. put it in the nuclear burner, care for the waste (plutonium) and so on.
And waste a chance for interesting mechanics?
"It just works" diesel generators are good for early game, later you have blueprints, resources to make it happen and most importantly experience to build nice things instead of "plop and forget".

Maybe even later there could be fusion plants working on magic and biter tears, but fission power plants are interesting enough in real life that it would be just a waste to reduce it all to a black box.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by ssilk » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:51 pm

Coolthulhu wrote:
ssilk wrote:I repeat, it is possible to build 1000 steam engines (or perhaps only 200 with an advanced power generation), but it's clear, that it is much easier to build only one power generator. Easier to built one nuclear power plant, dig for uranium, concentrate it, etc. put it in the nuclear burner, care for the waste (plutonium) and so on.
And waste a chance for interesting mechanics?
Not wasted. It's still an option. :)
"It just works" diesel generators are good for early game, later you have blueprints, resources to make it happen and most importantly experience to build nice things instead of "plop and forget".

Maybe even later there could be fusion plants working on magic and biter tears, but fission power plants are interesting enough in real life that it would be just a waste to reduce it all to a black box.
I excluded no option, I just added some. And I was always against having plants as black box. But it's easier to explain it like so.

I repeat: for gameplay reasons I think the player should decide, if he wants to go green or polluted. And the amount of needed energy is the key for that. The amount of needed energy is also the key for the game-speed, but also for the difficulty.

Btw: fission is - following the latest science reports - also polluting. Not as much as nuclear power, but who knows? :)
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Re: Electric energy

Post by slay_mithos » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:43 pm

Bah, if we are going for nuclear power, why go for the low yield method of fusion, when out tech level is obviously more advanced than what we have today?

I mean that Fusion doesn't require any new resource on the map, as it all comes from processing water.

It also gives so much more power that the only reason we don't have fusion power plants on earth is because we can't afford to be unsure of anything, because a problem in the process could blow a much bigger hole than what most fusion bombs are capable of (H bombs for the ones that don't know).

To me, fusion is the way to go for high end energy in factorio, but I'm french, so maybe I'm not as much into fearing nuclear than people in most other countries that prefer to put tons of CO2 in the atmosphere, because at least it can't explode. :D

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Re: Electric energy

Post by ssilk » Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:22 pm

slay_mithos wrote:Bah, if we are going for nuclear power, why go for the low yield method of fusion, when out tech level is obviously more advanced than what we have today?

I mean that Fusion doesn't require any new resource on the map, as it all comes from processing water.
Perhaps, because it needs more than 1000 megawatts to bring it to run? :)
It also gives so much more power that the only reason we don't have fusion power plants on earth is because we can't afford to be unsure of anything, because a problem in the process could blow a much bigger hole than what most fusion bombs are capable of (H bombs for the ones that don't know).
Well, the problem with nuclear energy is, that it can't be stopped and that the waste is extremely toxic and makes really big areas unlivable. That is not so much the problem with fusion. You need deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and need to squeeze it, until the energy drops out. If you don't squeeze, nothing happens. :) do you know: you need an atomic bomb to start the fusion bomb?
To me, fusion is the way to go for high end energy in factorio,
Maybe. But let it be said: it's needs much more afford than just to put some water in...
but I'm french, so maybe I'm not as much into fearing nuclear than people in most other countries that prefer to put tons of CO2 in the atmosphere, because at least it can't explode. :D
Uh., that hurts... :cry:
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Re: Electric energy

Post by Calico » Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:56 pm

slay_mithos wrote: It also gives so much more power that the only reason we don't have fusion power plants on earth is because we can't afford to be unsure of anything, because a problem in the process could blow a much bigger hole than what most fusion bombs are capable of (H bombs for the ones that don't know).
Just to get the facts straight... Fusion Reactors don't blow up. If the superheated plasma actually manages to break the magnetic containment and touches the walls of the chamber the fusion reaction instantly stops. Fission Reactors need a lot of control so that the reaction doesn't get out of hand and causes a catastrophic meltdown,... with Fusion it's the other way around. It needs a huge amount of control to keep the reaction working. One tiny problem and the reaction would come to a halt.

If you want to learn more about fusion, i'd point to the the wikipedia page of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) which is beeing built in Cadarache in the south of France.
Last edited by Calico on Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by slay_mithos » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:16 pm

Yeah, fusion requires a lot of steps, a lot of power to kickstart the reactor, and a lot of control in order to cooldown the chambers.

You would need quite the infrastructure in order to start it, and keep it working, so the massive amount of energy would only be worth it if you have a massive factory, to feed it, and to draw enough power to keep it stable.

It could also push players to extend, to automate more...

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Re: Electric energy

Post by ssilk » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:41 am

@Calico, slay_mithos: Yeah, right thinking into my direction. :)

I could explain much more now, but I don't want to destroy creativity. So just some flashlights:

- going green means, that the same productivity/speed needs much more space, because more things needs to be build to have the same throughput (think to modules). The question is: is that really better?
- going pollution means, that we need much more weapons, because a much bigger area of the native will attack (and hopefully at the same time). The question is: should I kill them all to have silence, or should I live with them?
- eventually we have seasons, or something similar? In winter we need more energy, and the natives spawn and spread and will attack. So we need much, much more energy. What's the right amount if affords to manage that? Couldn't that be more automated?
- catastrophic disasters with nuclear power (or other energy) should be very rare, but if it happens then really catastrophic. Is it worth the risk? How could the risks be minimized?

I think I can continue some more pages like that, but again, I don't want to tell the direction too exactly.
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Re: Electric energy

Post by Netha » Thu May 15, 2014 4:51 pm

What I would really like to see in the future of this game is a full scale fusion reactor. Include it in the research that gives you portable fusion, or perhaps in a project before that since it would make since that a full scale reactor would come before portable power. Have produce maybe 5 MW electric without a steam engine but make it big, maybe five or six square and use a ton or resources. Of course in order to fuel a fusion reactor you need hydrogen so make an electrolysis machine that inputs water and outputs hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is used to fuel the reactor while the oxygen can be used to make more advanced flame throwers or used to make burner equipment more efficient if you have any burning furnaces at that point or use it to make cars and trains more efficient. You could also make it so you can use both the hydrogen and oxygen to make LFO rockets. Of course you could always just forget about the oxygen and have it go out into the environment. Then the reactor could output helium which you could use for blimps (it would be great to have flying transportation for crossing water) or manufacturing advanced technologies.

And as a side suggestion, I would find it very useful to be able to put all forms of fluid in a barrel, especially things like lubricant which I always end up having to run across the factory for my Electric engines.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by AndaleTheGreat » Fri May 16, 2014 1:30 pm

For the nuclear I hope to see that it is dangerous to be near and requires some real specific methods for harvest/handle.
I do hope it is quite hard to get hold of myself. Currently I find it is already pretty simple to move from all coal pretty instantly into major electric and then solar, I just think it would be more interesting if the tiers took longer so I hope adding another higher energy tier doesn't just add another 20 minutes but rather another few hours.

Would also like it if there were issues like radiation leaks, possibility of explosion, damage to surrounding area if it does. Maybe leaks could be just a super low random chance and they could be repaired. Explosions could come from being damaged to the point of breaking I guess.

I would love to see a solar-thermal power plant added in. (Google it.) They continue to provide power overnight, but it would taper off as the night goes on.

I'm kinda against the giant power reserves like the BatBoxes in IC2. A smaller battery setup or an emergency generator that runs on fuel from oil but only when the mains cut out, that would be my preference. As I understand it there is no such thing as a giant station full of capacitors/batteries. Instead, in the US at least, we run our generators at a lower capacity than needed and always build to expect more demand. The is the 'reserve' power. Most of the US has a fifteen to thirty percent reserve. Meaning they have figured out the highest demand and built over and above their needed amount by that much.

Actually, what I'd really like is a main feed power station that takes in your power and could control consumption as well as track usage. The functions from click on the pole would make more sense here. The power station could be used to set preferences in usage, drawing mostly from solar in the day and then turning on the steam engines at night. It could house a warning system as well. Put a bar in the GUI that represents the total amount of power available at any one time where a slider could be adjusted to provide a warning level. Set the slider to 85% and when your consumption reaches that it sets off a warning. This could mean your defenses are taxing you or that you have placed something that tool you over the limit or a generator has gone offline or been disconnected. If you were using solars then it could be the point at which the steam generators kick on (which I think should have to take more time to warm up).

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Soraka » Fri May 16, 2014 9:19 pm

This seems like a neat idea, electricity definitely needs to be more in depth than just slapping on a steam generator every now and then.

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