Power lines, and other ENGINEERING features

Rye Bread shared this feedback 2 years ago
Submitted

First off, let me state I love the game and have been following it since before it came out. Secondly, let me state that I almost never play it. Why? The reason why is because I'll open up the game (go through the slogging process of adding all the mods to make it less EMPTY), and build a ship. It isn't very hard or time consuming to build a ship except for grinding the resources since there really aren't any engineering REQUIREMENTS to building a ship in the first place. Locomotion? Strap some ions/hydrogens/atmospherics on the hull anywhere you want and, as long as they're pointed the right way, it will move. Power? Slap stuff onto the grid and it is powered. I'd like to list out a few things I think should be added to improve the engineering aspect of the game (problems to overcome in each and every design, which adds DEPTH) and why I think they should be added.

Power Lines

With power lines, you can no longer just slap stuff anywhere on your ship and call it spaceworthy- now you will have to route power through your ship like a real adult, and making a bad ship means damage can damage those power lines, crippling your ship.

Heat, and coolant

Because engines and nuclear reactors DO actually get hot- guns too. It should be simple enough to copy the conveyor code but instead of items it contains coolant. Then to make coolant from oxygen. The compressor would both function to make coolant and repressurize it like in a real AC system. One would also need fragile radiator strips that must be protected but can vent lots of heat in batches. Additionally, copper pipes could be wired into an outside-edge block to make it constantly vent off small amounts of heat. (All of this is infrared radiation). Disposable heat sink projectors are not necessary but would be neat for combat. (Imagine emergency venting your coolant into space to prevent meltdown? This would be a very cool scenario, but then you've boned your ship for the next few minutes while it repressurizes.)


There is a mod that already does heat but while a great step in the right direction, merely requires that you slap blocks on the hull in order to vent heat.

Fuel Lines

Just like power lines into ion engines or atmo thrusters would be nice, the powerful hydrogen thrusters could use dedicated fuel lines (again, copying conveyor code but not making them connect) instead of just hooking it into conveyor network and calling it a day. I do not know about you, but I do not like my computer boards covered in starship fuel.


With these three things added, different ships will diversify the way they are built. Commercial non-combat ships will likely see a main bus of all 4 tubes going through the middle of the ship and branching where needed, but military ships will have to provide redundant systems to be less vulnerable, and feature more passive heat venting or disposable heatsinks.

Crappy tier parts

What if, and bear with me for a second here, what if there were a tier of parts below the standard one that are super easy to make (like being able to make an assembler with bare hands, thus enabling 0 infrastructure survival start), but break down over time when they are used - requiring regular maintenance to keep them working. This too would influence ship design as you would not place any components hidden away where you cannot physically access them to repair.


Damaged components damage blocks


Right now we have green radiation leak effects from damaged reactors and flame ones from other things, but what if these actually dealt damage? Radiation leaks could make machines malfunction and damage players but not blocks, and fires would damage players slightly while raising the temperature around them and damaging blocks, especially non-armor blocks. This would open the way for adding blocks that are damage control, like foam spewers or nanobots that repair things (there are mods for the latter); all this would add depth. You could vent parts of your ship to put out fires, or removing fallout laden gases so you can go in and fix the issue.


Last, and probably least, long range combat options.

I know you can make personally steered torpedoes, write a script to steer torpedoes, download someone else's script to steer torpedoes, and download mods so your torpedo doesn't look like a blocky turd, but that's dodging the main point. Simply expanding the max range of the sensor block or adding a seeker block that can feed tracking data into a script could go a long way into making space combat where you don't have to build a new ship every time you fight due to the mutual damage. (Yes yes, auto repair or shield mods but that's a flame war in a can of worms I am not opening)


That is all I have for now, but there are probably lots of other things too that would expand the DEPTH of the game that is currently lacking - though there is plenty of room for it. I know Marek has said in his blog that he plans more things like this, turning it from a sandbox into a game, so I am just pitching some nice ideas out into the ballpark, so to speak. :)

Comments (3)

photo
1

I say copy the code, but it really would be similar as since this is a nice object oriented game you can just inherit from conveyor code or its super/parent and override what you need.

photo
1

Now try explaining it all to a first-time player.

photo
1

They have tutorials already which can be modified easily, and people in real life plug things in with cables every single day. If someone can't figure out how to plug things in with all of that, maybe they should pick another genre.

photo
2

Furthermore, crappy parts is easily intuitive if you add visual feedback in the form of sounds and effects as it begins to break down. If your machine is making a loud grinding noise that it wasn't making earlier, maybe you should fix it. If your machine is spewing flame, that's probably hazardous and maybe you should fix it, but carefully, since it just burned you when you slammed your face into it the first time like an idiot. As for heat, maybe your ship hull glowing red from all the turbo boosting and shooting you just did is an indicator that you should do something to cool it off.

Seriously, with proper feedback all of these things are intuitive and easy to explain, and casualizing a game just makes it less appealing to the people who will actually support it for a long time while the casual players just switch games and go play something else.

photo
1

It's less about feedback and more about how many factors do you need to juggle to get anywhere.

Say, in KSP you need to learn a lot before you even make it out of atmosphere (much less get into orbit). There is a reason why thrusters and gyros all work on center of mass, because otherwise designing a controllable ship would become a nightmare.

So right now to start in asteroids you only need 6 small ions and a battery, and a bit of time to understand it takes time to stop - but on a planet you are already facing problems of figuring out the right number of engines.

Now imagine the stuff in suggestion stacked on top of that. I'd say the player should be able to progress by solving one or two problems at a time. Find ore - mine ore - process ore - make parts - build a ship - fly a ship. With restrictions of power line, heat, wear and tear there will be too many factors to keep in mind at once. It's not like you can ask your ship not to overheat while you figure out how much power is needed to run it.

And finally, while having flexible cables would be awesome, I imagine most people would want to hide them - which means you would have a "block with cable running through". Which would be used basically as light armor block is used now - for everything from structure to scaffolding to interior walls.


If we are going in that direction, Keen might as well rename light armor into "structure block", and make heavy armor blocks actually armored.

photo
1

Having a "block with cable running through" still means that damage to that cable can cripple a ship without completely destroying it, which adds depth to combat. As for heat, heat on planet is not a big issue since the air carries the heat away from your ship so starting on planet would be easier for that, you only need to consider that when you get to space where such convection is so minimal it is a non-factor. I have a suggestion for thrust in the form of added functionality to gyroscopes (or maybe another block). Gyroscopes (or other block) on your ship would automatically work as an intermediary between your controls and your ship. For example if your ship is thruster heavy on the right side, your gyros will alter individual thruster power and try to turn the ship to keep you flying straight, but as a consequence turning right will be difficult while turning left may be very easy. Why does this matter? Because if someone targets this special block and you have a poorly constructed ship you will have trouble flying, rewarding the player who takes time in designing a good ship! Also note for wear and tear that only the crappiest tier of parts would have this, this is the tier that can be constructed with your bare hands as currently without a refinery/assembler you cannot start from nothing but hand tools. Current refineries and assemblers or any upgrades from there would be unchanged and have no degradation over time, thus representing a real advantage to going up tiers other than "it's slower/faster more/less grindy".


The other solution to this is having an OPTION to enable it like so many other features, so that new players can figure out the game but experienced players can actually get a rewarding experience.

photo
1

I see your point, but again, most people would just build their ship using new "conductive blocks" to maximize redundancy. So all that would achieve is make building the ship more expensive.

Again, about those well placed shots... well, I admit I have zero experience whatsoever, but from what I saw on youtube combat is less about single precision strike (except on hard to conceal parts like reactors) and more about spamming everything to literally shred your opponent.

While having advanced behaviour optional is a good option, it still requries a complete rework of how power districution works, as well as making it more expensive. It'd be a performance hit, I'm afraid, even without introducing coolant systems.

By the way, can you imagine trying to fit in four (power, cargo, coolant, gases) separate conveyor systems in one ship? It'd make large grid ships completely impractical, as 80% of them would be piping. Combining those systems into conveyor (+ maybe extra power-only transmitters) is a necessity.

photo
1

The solution to that is simple, redundant cable blocks cause short circuits just like in real life their cause fires and stop things from working! Alternatively, make the conductive block weaker than even light armour. In combat, turrets target special components - but for manual aiming you can "shred" them and if the special blocks get hit, it can be over earlier if the target designed a bad ship. Performance hits, planets were a completely unecessary performance hit, they still don't really work quite right and it resulted in space being deprived of much interesting things, so performance hits never stopped them before. As for fitting the stuff in, that would be as simple as adding new composite block sets that can fit 2 out of the four things. That way it's only 2 wide main lines, instead of four. They could also have a final high tier of conveyor for large ships only that are expensive but can hold all four.

This way, high tier military ships can be sleek but low tier "home base" style platforms will be bigger, as you say- but that isn't a problem. Also, cost shouldn't be a problem here as on those military ships much of it is heavy armour which itself is expensive so you're already rich by the time you're making those.

I just want a more rewarding experience that has depth, actually engineering challenges than just slap legos together. At least medieval has structural integrity even if it doesn't work 15% of the time, it is there. I have almost 600 hours in space engineers over the years but it would be doubled or tripled if the game was actually interesting beyond just making a pretty ship.

photo
1

Enforced zero redundancy? That's a fantastically bad idea. Not just combat-wise, but because of what counts as a short circuit? Do four power connection blocks placed in a 2x2 square count? Do two power blocks placed against a functional block count? (Functional blocks must accept and pass power from any attachable face, it's already a minor problem to fit them in as is!) Speaking of those, do four functional blocks placed in a square count as short circuit? Or does a looping circuit of nearly thousand blocks count? Good luck walking that connectivity graph - and good luck trying to find which block to remove on a large ship.

As for composite block, I could agree to having conveyor blocks and "piping" blocks that carry gases - as long as both of them can also work as power connection block.

Next, "large ship only"? You severely underestimate usability of small ships - which will be hit the hardest by this change. Finding a way to connect all you need is already a challenge, without the extra tangle of piping.

To be blunt, you might want to put your suggestion under some rework. Right now it doesn't seem to have been thought over beyond "I want". Try and redesign every ship you ever used with these mechanics in mind, using colored conveyors as substitute. You will see it's nowhere as easy to use as you think.

And to be even more blunt, I wouldn't be surprised if it's new players that bring money in, with exception of DLCs. So disregarding players of lower skill level is a very risky move. Easy to grasp, hard to master, as they say - and your suggestion damages the "easy to grasp" part, while the game is already quite hard to master.

I've said all I had to say. I doubt such a system will ever be implemented, but nevertheless, good luck.

photo
1

Well, instead of having large block for power, simply have actual cables like my original idea, they don't even particularly need physics, they can autoclip to the sides of blocks, the point is you have to wire it up. As it is they should just require copper cables and maybe a computer component in every single block in the game since they're all capable of automated power transmission. Suggesting combination blocks at all was merely a concession in our conversation towards attempting to find something commonly agreeable, but you only provide dissent instead of ideas. As for hard to master, this game... isn't. While I can code C#, I don't bother and still lose nothing in the game; that is arguably the only thing in the game that could be conceived as difficult for most people, and so many people provide ready made scripts. As for redesigning, ships are only designed the way they are because they don't NEED to be designed any other way, you can make any funky shape you want and it makes no difference on the efficiency or ability of the craft, that is NOT engineering, that is "Space Arts and Crafts Men".

Good day, then.

photo
photo
1

These are great ideas for creating new and interesting engineering challenges. When I first started playing SE, I spent a great deal of time looking through the blocks, trying to figure out how to power ship subsystems, until I realized that every block can convey limitless electricity, with 100% efficiency. A bit of a bummer TBH.

Keen, less block skins and more engineering challenges, please!