Please make energy vampires less of an issue

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Thundercraft, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Thundercraft

    Thundercraft Lieutenant

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    I'm not talking about monsters, but the scary vampire loads on our power. Most devices in the game consume energy, even when not used. But, logically, many of these should not require any energy at all. And many do not have any way to turn them off.

    This includes furniture. Benches require 1 kW. Many types of Tables require 1 kW. Even a simple Closet requires 1 kW. Does the thing automatically dry clean, or what? Even the basic Bed requires 1 kW of power. A bed?! Is it one of those vibrating beds like in a cheap motel? :rolleyes: And the one unit of furniture everyone expects to use power - the TV Table - does not require any?!

    All regular Containers require 1 kW of power. For what purpose? It makes sense that Trading Stations and ATM's use power. And it makes sense that medical Scanners require power. But, again, there is no off switch and no Signal Logic to turn any of these things off, so they use power no matter how seldom they are used.

    It makes sense that LCD Screens require power. And at least these actually have an option to turn them off. Though, an LCD Screen that's turned off isn't especially useful, so we'd probably need a Switch or Motion Sensor to turn them on when a player is around, but those do require power. Too bad the game doesn't have painted signs that don't require any power.

    A freak'n Armor Locker requires 5 kW of power, constantly. :( Again... Does it use this for dry cleaning? There isn't even an off switch or a way to turn it off when not in use. And we must have an Armor Locker because we can't change armor or armor boosts without one.

    I can forgive that O2 Stations (and Ventilators) requires power, but... a whopping 20 kW? :eek: What do they do - compress and separate the O2 straight from the atmosphere? No, it merely transfers the O2 from the base's (or vehicle's) reserves into our suits. Couldn't we accomplish the same thing with a simple hose and adapter to fit our suit's internal tank? Where does that massive amount of power go? And, again, there's no way to turn it off when not in use. (Ridiculously, they still use power, even after turning off "Oxygen" from the Control Panel!)

    The one device that I had assumed would be a huge energy vampire - the Large Constructor - is actually rather energy efficient. Granted, it does consume a whopping 250 kW or so while in use. But, as long as it's not being used to make anything, it's a tame pussycat that only drains a measly 2 kW. This does not give players much incentive to turn them off when not needed. (Most players try to keep their Constructors busy, anyway.)

    To add insult to injury: All the Sensor and Signal Blocks require 1 kW of power - the Motion Sensor, Light Barrier, Trap Door, Trigger Plate and even the Lever.

    I mean, come on! :confused: The Lever is nothing more than a switch. And a lever switch is the simplest electrical device ever invented. Since when does a lever switch need electrical power (1000 Watts, at that) just to allow a circuit to be turned off or on. This makes absolutely ZERO sense. It even defeats the purpose of having a switch or motion sensor because they waste power instead of saving it.

    We can't even disable many energy vampires like the Lever and Motion Sensor by selectively turning stuff off from our Control Panel like Signals and Lights. You would think that turning off Signals would include de-powering Motion Sensors, but no... (This does disable their functionality, but they still consume power.) The only solution seems to be turning off the entire base.

    Keep in mind: Even 1 kW is a lot of power! For reference, a small microwave is one of the most power-hungry devices in an average home and it only consumes 1 to 1.5 kW while in use. When not in use, the thing still draws some power. But that's more like 5 watts.

    Instead of making devices more power hungry, the trend these days is the opposite direction. For instance, the average home went from using incandescent bulbs to compact florescent. And, now, many people are switching to the even more energy efficient LED bulbs. So, why do all of Empyrion's Lights consume 1 kW of power, regardless of how bright they are and regardless of the brightness and range settings we use on them?

    Players have a choice: Do we use energy vampire furniture and devices because they are cool or for roleplaying purposes, or do we completely do without them because they not only require extra resources to build, but they waste energy? We can't even use Levers or Motion Sensors to turn the stuff off that we're not using. It's frustrating: The developers have added a lot of very cool stuff to the game, but many hardly seem worth using because they waste power.

    Power consumption wouldn't even be an issue if it wasn't for the fact that we don't have anything like Wind or Solar Panels to provide energy. No, we must endlessly mine for Promethium to fuel everything, from ammo and personal devices, to vehicles, to bases... Never mind how Promethium is not exactly a renewable resource.

    Granted, mining for Promethium isn't that big of a deal. Yes, I know that Bio Fuel is a thing. Yes, we could just turn our bases off. But, it's the principle of the matter. Why should I have to mine for that much extra Promethium just to keep the lights on while I'm away? Is it too much to ask for a simple switch to turn things off without the switch, itself, consuming power? Isn't it enough that we have to build and place an Oxygen Generator in water, keep it stocked with fuel, regularly withdrawing the oxygen and manually fill our vehicle's or base's tanks? Must we also have O2 Stations consume 20 kW, regardless of whether or not we ever use the thing? Want to have 100 Containers to store all the stuff we collect? Well, then, we better be prepared for these to consume 100 kW of power! Time to build another Generator and more fuel tanks, I guess...

    My plan: From now on, I'll build at least two separate bases. One base will be nothing but Turrets and/or Growing Plots - stuff that should be left on all the time. The other base will be everything else. Doing it this way, I will be able to de-power my main base while I'm away, yet still able to leave my Growing Plots and Turrets online. I may even build a third base that is nothing but Containers, never even bothering to put fuel in the tank.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
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  2. Tryst

    Tryst Commander

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    I agree there. Thrusters should be inactive on landing. if you land on a base, you dock, no need for anyhting to keep you in place. If you land on the planet, gravity keeps you in one place without drifting off. Same goes with gravity generators, they should automatically switch off when in a planets atmosphere or in a moons gravitational field. Weapons should only power up when a target comes within 100m of their maximum range, (computers are capable of powering up a weapon when a threat comes within a certain range even now). Constructors only need power when making something, the same goes for food processors etc.

    There really is no need for many devices to be powered up until used just because the vehicle/base is powered.
     
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  3. Thundercraft

    Thundercraft Lieutenant

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    Agreed.

    In the case of Constructors and Food Processors, many players fill up the queue with stuff to do and leave them unattended while they do other things. But, it should be possible for such devices to shut themselves off after they finish producing everything in their build queue. Today, we have personal computers and other devices - even coffee makers - that turn themselves on, automatically perform certain tasks, and shut themselves off after they finish. How far into the future is this supposed to be... about 4 centuries? Why can't we at least have an option for our devices to power themselves down afterwards?

    Point is: 2 kW or even 1 kW of "standby" or "vampire" power draw is way, way too much! It should be more like a single digit of watts, which is so small that it is trivial compared to kiloWatts and, thus, not even calculated.
     
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  4. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey Lieutenant

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    what is also weird is a food processor, cant remember if it uses 1kw or 0 while idle, can hold the same amount as a double container at half the space and makes things! I use these for storage now instead of containers as the fill volume to block space is twice that of a cargo box and uses the same (and maybe none) power.

    What I also do is build a SV in my base and dock it to a wall, take off the everything except core, gen and fuel and o2 tank then build it out throughout the base... use this for storage conatiners, armour lockers and O2 and I only need to switch it on to get air out of it. The only downside is that you cant then access it through the base 'p' menu. But it does save lots of power.
     
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  5. Thundercraft

    Thundercraft Lieutenant

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    That is smart! I hadn't noticed (or had forgotten) that the Food Processor holds so much.
    [Edit: I somehow had the impression that they consume 1 kW while idle... But I was wrong - it's 0 kW.]

    Now that is very clever! Thanks for sharing. It's the convenience of a powered base, but at significant energy savings. Though, stuff like furniture and Deco medical stations won't work on an SV.

    I still like my idea of having separate non-powered bases. Stuff like Armor Lockers, Containers and container-type furniture are still usable in a powered-off based. Even Elevator blocks and the Shower and Toilet are usable, believe it or not. But, it could be a huge hassle, especially on airless, cold, hot or radioactive worlds. I had forgotten that the doors in powered-off bases have to be manually opened and closed and they loose air. Being left off means they are dark inside, especially at night. I figure that, keeping SI (Structural Integrity) in mind, I might be able to build a powered base on top of my non-powered base, with a few lights on the bottom of the powered base and a glass roof on the other. Though, it does sound tricky...

    We are prevented from placing one blueprint base too close to another. Perhaps I could build a roof-less non-powered base underground, first, then build a powered "base" (or slab for lights) on top, then extend the walls around the powered base until they envelope the non-powered base? Maybe that would allow for air, lights and Automatic Doors?
     
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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  6. Nogitsune

    Nogitsune Captain

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    This is true in large part, although what comes to thrusters I think it makes sense they use some power even while running idle. They are still running even in standby mode, ready to activate at any time. If you fully turn them off, it should actually take a while for them to spin up. However like I've mentioned before, thrusters used to balance lift to counter gravity, should not use their full power load when they only operate at fraction of it. The on/off switch for thrusters is in control panel, so I've no complaints about that - although it would be nice if at some point in future we would be able to assign a key and/or draw the control panel switches to hotbar (and have multiple, switchable hotbars).

    Weapons eat 5kW, which is reasonable, and they can be turned off from control panel, I'm fine with that - but you're right it would be nice if we could have some kind of automation for that. I think that's a bit bigger thing though - currently turrets operate individually, I think at some point we should get some form of fire control system that could control the turrets. You wouldn't need to set up every individual turrets separately for targeting etc - and the fire control could turn them off when no targets are nearby.

    What is not fine however are the fixed weapons, and especially the fixed drills used in HVs. There is no way to turn them off, and while the energy use of regular fixed weapons is something of an annoyance, the drills are ridiculous drain on energy when not in use.

    Gravity generators as far as I know do nothing when you are within natural gravity, so I agree there - it would be nice if they didn't take up energy either, although since you can turn them on and off it's not such a big deal. I think for many devices (turrets, gravity generator, constructors, etc) the issue isn't so much their energy use, but rather a more sophisticated need to control them.

    Constructors for example: We can assign them to motion sensor, so they turn off once you leave the room - but that doesn't really work. We'd need a step beyond that.. able to somehow define logic that says: "when idle, the constructor should switch on/off based on motion sensor - however when processing, they should remain on as long as the processing is going on (unless manually switched off)". It's possible to accomplish this with combination of lever and motion sensor, but you'd need separate lever for each constructor - and with the (rather strange) energy use of each lever.. it becomes kind of pointless. Not to mention each lever takes 8 m^3 of space...

    Constructors by the way do use power when idle. Advanced constructor takes 3kW when idle. Food processors are free when idle though - go figure.

    O2 and medi stations along with levers/sensors are probably my biggest annoyances on CV. Stations are absolutely essential, use 20kW and 10kW when doing nothing, and no way to turn them off. Levers and sensors are in a way worse - because you generally place them in order to turn off energy waste - only they themselves waste disproportionate amount of energy. A switch that turns off a 1kW lamp to save energy.. but takes 1kW of power at all times. Wait what? :confused:

    I didn't realize LCD panels use that much power too.. that's kind of absurd. I guess I'll need to hook them to the motion sensors that control lights on each room, too.
     
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  7. Zaflis

    Zaflis Commander

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    I made a related suggestion earlier https://empyriononline.com/threads/ship-energy-consumption-stats-page.23842/
    The thing is that we don't actually know what is using power. Wouldn't it be vital to have some sort of stats page and graphs for power consumption?

    But on topic, my CV uses 2.5MW of power when it's idle, thrusters, turrets, signals and gravity off. Lights shave it to 2.45MW. Where does all that go, for heating sealed rooms perhaps? There are total 3 ventilators.

    Also i'm guessing blocks with emissive textures might be using power, but as said, all lights total contributed only 0.05MW.
     
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  8. Nogitsune

    Nogitsune Captain

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    All sensors 1kW each, constructors 3kW each, fixed weapons 5kW each, all O2 and fuel tanks 1kW each, all O2 stations(!!) 20 kW each, medi stations 10 kW each, all sorts of decorative stuff(!!) and scanners 1kW each. All cargo boxes(!!!) 1kW each, doors 1kW each. Armor lockers 5kW each. It piles up pretty fast.

    Also repair stations 150kW but you can turn them off, use motion sensor for them. I use motion sensor for every light on CV and base (not so much for power savings as for FPS since I use high shadows), and I hook repair stations to same motion sensors so they're off when no one is in the room to use them.

    Emissive textures are just textures, they don't use power.

    It's true though, it would be convenient if control panel listed energy use with more accuracy - perhaps it could be given per device group.
     
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  9. Nogitsune

    Nogitsune Captain

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    If you build the bases "on site" instead of using blueprints, it's possible to do all sorts of trickery.
    Place two cores side by side as close as you can, use one for "powered stuff" and other for "unpowered".

    It'll look a bit strange, and it's kind of a pain to do, but there's lots of possibilities. One thing I sometimes do is, I build a "base" without core, generators etc, as a "shell" that hides the "real" base - since PV won't be able to see the "empty shell", and also can't see through it. But since it's uncored, depending on server settings it's going to despawn under some conditions, and doesn't have owner - so it's only good for private servers (or SP). It can be useful trick though when you're just starting off.

    Also...
    connectto.jpg
     
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  10. Neal

    Neal Captain

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    ...you can always use signal logic to turn on/off thrusters and some other Energy consuming devices if you wish to.
    Just saying.
     
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  11. Thundercraft

    Thundercraft Lieutenant

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    Well, we can see how much power a base or vehicle is using from the Stats tab of the Control Panel. What I do is turn a device on or off or use the Multitool to deconstruct it. Yes, that's a hassle. It would be nice to have some sort graph and/or stats page on power usage. I don't know why the devs didn't just add a little indicator next to each item in the Devices tab to show how much each is currently using.

    Each Ventilator consumes 20 kW, so that's 60 kW right there (even if Oxygen is switched "Off"). Do you have multiple Medic Stations and/or O2 Stations? (Each is 20 kW.) Lots of signal devices and/or furniture? Passenger seats? Elevator blocks? You may be experiencing 'death by a thousand paper cuts'.

    AFAIK, turning "Signals" off does not decrease energy usage. All it seems to do is prevent Signal-type devices from doing anything.

    Turning off Thrusters (from Control Panel) does work as expected, though. They consume 0 kW then. And turning off Gravity Generators does stop them from using any power (0 kW). I've tested both. But, the Warp Drive can not be turned off. It always draws 5 kW idle.

    Emissive textures do not use power. Unfortunately, while emissive textures do appear to glow, they do not actually emit very much light - like, at all. A room's floor and ceiling can still be almost perfectly pitch black even if all the walls are the brightest emissive texture. (However, the walls can still be so intense as to be hard on the eyes!) They're mostly decorative.
     
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  12. Zaflis

    Zaflis Commander

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    So has anyone tested if if the heating of rooms cost power? It's not from ventilators, but the ship itself manages some sort of "life support system" to keep radiation out and 22C.

    Farming plots passive power drain?
     
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  13. Nogitsune

    Nogitsune Captain

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    As far as I understand this is sort of limitation of Unity engine itself - on how it handles light on scene and on dynamic objects. Emissive textures can still cast reflections on other blocks, so they can sort of let you see things around you based on those reflections, but aside from that they mostly just look cool. It does seem to me though that later builds on 7.x have had some optimizing done that has made using high shadow settings a lot less taxing.
     
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  14. Zaflis

    Zaflis Commander

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    I started stripping my CV and just now found the issue. Drill Turret has a passive 1 MW power drain, and my ship had 2 installed.

    A note, i can turn it off with signal and it drops energy use down.

    And again, if there was a power stats page as i suggested, i would have figured that out moments after first putting them in place.
     
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  15. Nogitsune

    Nogitsune Captain

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    *facepalm*
    I had forgotten that. I tried drill turret once, concluded it's useless and never looked back. But I remember now I had same issue - had to put it in group of it's own because drill turret isn't a turret. :confused: Doesn't turn off when you turn off turrets on control panel. Well given it's massive energy drain it's not a bad thing - since you generally don't want it to turn on when you turn on weapons. Of course it would make a lot more sense if it drained that huge power only when it's actually used to drill stuff. Same thing with multi turret.
     
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  16. Kaeser

    Kaeser Rear Admiral

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    Not a solution perse but more of a bug.... way around it.... at the moment,

    Group every piece of furniture under the same control panel group along with some devices that you can turn off, like a passenger seat or an armor locker.

    That group will have a off button that will turn off consumption for every item in the group, there are some exceptions of course like generators or fridges but used to be like that, can't confirm at the moment....

    After that you can assign the group to one of the control panel main page switches
     
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  17. LiftPizzas

    LiftPizzas Rear Admiral

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    The energy is needed for the faction detector and machinery that physically prevents you from using a bed or toilet.
     
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  18. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    There's no doubt that some aspects of the power system are questionable. One of the core issues is that the devs decided to use an 32-bit integer to store the power consumption/production of a device, in units of kW; consequently, the smallest amount of power a device can consume is 1 kW. Anything with the possibility for a lock code definitely should be consuming power, though one could argue that 1 kW is possibly too much just for that functionality. One could make the argument that most pieces of furniture probably have some kind of electronics built into them (if only to be self-cleaning), and hence they should consume some power.

    I'd much prefer things like drill turrets and energy weapons to draw large amounts of power (10s of MW, perhaps) from generators while in use, rather than always drawing power or requiring constructed ammo.
     
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  19. Nogitsune

    Nogitsune Captain

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    We have various kinds of devices that are used to generate access codes. They can be about the size of your thumb, and operate on internal battery almost forever. You type in a pin code, and it uses some internal function to calculate an access code which it prints on lcd display. Yeah, I'd say 1kW is "slightly" exaggerated. It might take a little bit of power for a brief moment when it's actually operating some mechanism to open/close the physical lock, but the electronics use an amount of power that's totally negligible.

    32 bits taken as positive integer is enough to represent values up to 4 billion. Even if you use watts instead of kilowatts, that would still be over 4000 MW of power, I think that should be sufficient for individual devices - although you'd still need to use 64 bits for calculating ship/base energy draw to be safe. Another possibility would be to use floats.
     
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  20. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    Well, I'm not entirely convinced that we might not see 4 GW generators in the future (after all, the T2 Large generator puts out 0.5 GW already). If Eleon wants to stick with 32-bit integers, they could always set the unit to 10 W, which would give us devices up to 40 GW. Anyway, I definitely agree that the ship's power generation/consumption numbers should be stored as 64-bit integers; should be easy enough to do.
     
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