make reactor more realistic/immersive/challenging

Jushdrug shared this feedback 6 months ago

Reactors should be more challenging to use and maintian. Instead of instantanius power they should require a delicate handeling of fission rate and cooling rate represented with energy input/output to the system in watts.

two sliders, an automation switch, and a shutdown switch as controls.

1. fission rate: slider that sets targeted energy/heat output (in watts) from the core and can be set beyond the maximum rate of cooling the system can hadle (represented as a percentage) to go into an overdrive. Actual rate changes slowly just like in real life. fission rate determines fuel consumption.

2. cooling rate: slider that adjusts the targetet cooling rate (in watts) and changes actual cooling rate much quicker.

the power generation also removes energy/heat from the system depending on demand (has a really high maximum aswell).

heat value that represents stored energy in the system. if heat exceeds a max temperature the reator explodes. exposion size and heat limit depend on size of the reactor.

An automation switch to control things based on power demand. It should try to change fission rate rahter gradually and adjust cooling system instead.

finally an automatic shutdown switch (remove on/off switch) that sets fission rate to 0 and handles cooling residual decay heat output form the core until cold shutdown is reached.

the cooling system should require a small amount of power to work making power outages potentially catastrophical.

this would force players to think more about power delivery in their ships and potential needs for batterys and auxillary power.

it should also be possible to create an equilibruim with the settings where core output and power production cancel each other out requiring no cooling. It would require constant demand though.

Comments (3)


actually it would make more sense if the reactor is only able to convert 65% of the heat from the core into energy (with out the maximum) with the rest having to be cooled by the cooling system so the net temperature doesn't rise. also while increasing the fission rate should have an almost immediate effect, decreasing it should take some time to be effective because of Heat from residual decay.


I would enjoy it if it were a little more involved as well, but I understand that the game isn't currently set up for that.

For example in factorio you need a little setup for nuclear power. You need to mine it with special resources, then setup a production chain to get it working optimally. It suits the game because it's all about setting up production. Space engineers could be about making the reactor setup itself.

That being said, there are simple nuclear reactors like the one in that new mars lander that I think the states made? I guess you could assume it's one of those, but that's not as fun. The more engineering we have in SE the better, I think.

One other thing to mention though, it would not fit the game very well to have it set up so that a power outage could make the reactor critical. I am pretty sure we have new designs that have it so the reactor needs power to keep fission going so that in the event everything goes wrong the reaction simply stops. It's so much safer and having a dangerous chernobyl reactor in SE, while it sounds interesting, doesn't make any sense. I would prefer if it were both interesting and made sense.


I would also like it if nuclear had some disadvantages too. Like the reactors are really heavy or something. Otherwise you have the situation where nuclear is just the best and you don't need to think or optimise anything.


the mars rovers and gps satelites among others don't use full on reactors for power (just think of the danger, paperwork and diplomacy talks of sending a reactor into orbit), instead they use an RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) which uses the decay heat of a strongly radioactive isotope like plutonium-238 for the rovers via a inefficient direct heat to power converion. these only produce a couple hundred watts though so maybe just for the tiny small one.

the fukushima powerplant had a meltdown hours after it was shutdown automatically by the early warning system for earthquakes. even though fission had completely stopped there where still a lot of fresh isotopes that continued giving off heat. it normally takes a lot of time after shutdown before it becomes cold. when the tsunami took out the power the cooling pumps stopped and heat built up inside the core. more heat means more pressure and hadn't they relived some of that into the top floor the building, the breach and subsequent steam exploision would have blown up the whole building. unfortunately there was some hydrogen in that steam that exploded upon contact with the air. thats the explosions you saw on tv.

there are some some ideas of making reactors safer but they are either very complicated or reqiure a lot of space and weight. none of them compact and simple enough for this game.


Reactors were originally created as an easy-setup power source for creative building as well as a basic resource/power combination with uranium in survival, both during the early stages of development. While more involved controls for reactors would be a good addition to the game, we would first need a replacement in these roles. The battery (with normal and small variants) does the former fairly well, but the latter needs either a new block, or an easy way to transfer power between grids to allow effective charging for batteries.