Power requirments & turn Healing Station & other devices off/on

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Thundercraft, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. Thundercraft

    Thundercraft Captain

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    The Healing Station is something new to me. It sounds nice. But it does draw quite a bit of power, even while not being used. So... why can't we turn the Healing Station off and on, such as only when we need to use it? We can turn the Portable Constructor on and off, as well as Hover Engines, Thrusters, Weapons and a bunch of other devices. We can even turn the Ventilator on or off through the Oxygen general tab.

    Though, to be fair, there are some other devices that we are unable to turn off. The Armor Locker would be one example. It draws a not-significant 5 kPUs while seemingly doing nothing at all. (Is it automated to dry clean our spare suits and modules while storing them there? :confused:)

    To make things more balanced, I'd much prefer that Armor Lockers required power before we could access them - assuming they should require any power. Anyway, 5 kPUs sounds far too high. Should it be similar to the power requirement of storage containers (assuming those should require any power)?

    On a related subject: Lately, since I started building HVs for Alpha 9, I've noticed that they end up requiring many times more power than before.

    As an example: I redesigned an Alpha 8 HV for Alpha 9 to use the Modular Container system and it ended up requiring more than 4 times the power as before. It jumped from a power requirement of about 24 kPUs to 117 kPUs. Why? Mostly because I had replaced the 2 Harvest Boxes and one Cargo Box with 5 Cargo Controller Units (3 regular, 1 Ore & Wood and 1 Ammo) and 74 Cargo Expansion Units. Each Cargo Expansion Unit requires 1 kPU, which means those alone added 74 kPU to the 117 kPU total vehicle power consumption!

    Having 74 Cargo Expansion Units may sound like over-kill to those who have not played around with vehicles much in Alpha 9. But believe me when I say that 74 CEUs isn't really that much space. I felt that I needed at least 3 CEUs just to hold a couple thousand ammo because a Minigun Turret will go through hundreds of ammo in a short amount of time. And since this vehicle was designed primarily to harvest trees, it needed a decent amount of Ore & Wood cargo space.

    Point being: Vehicles in Alpha 9 require a lot more energy due to the Modular Cargo system and, thus, they consume fuel much faster. If Cargo Expansion Units did not require any energy, and Cargo Controller Units still did, vehicle energy requirements would be much closer to what they were in previous versions.
     
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  2. Inappropriate

    Inappropriate Lieutenant

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    In my opioun, any placed device should require some amount of power even while idling. As general rule: if the device is visible to the logistics system then the amount of idle power draw should be more then if its not visible to the logistics system. That said, EVERYTHING should have an on/off switch and be controllable using signal logic.


    It seems to me that the real issue here is that the base unit of power draw is measured in kPU instead of just PU. It seems fair to have the CCUs use any were between 1 to 5 kPU but the CEUs should be much lower then 1kPU. Maby 100 to 200 PU?

    Also the limiting factor for placing CCUs and CEUs really should be CPU and NOT the power output of a given structure.

    CCUs use more slightly more power then they do currently but less CPU then a CEU while CEUs should use much less power and marginally more CPU then a CCU
     
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  3. Thundercraft

    Thundercraft Captain

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    That does seem to be the biggest issue here, yes.

    That's certainly more reasonable. Though, I'd argue that 200 PU is still too much, considering that we need to place many dozens of CEUs to get anywhere even remotely close to the carrying capacity as before Alpha 9. And even with that change to CEUs, 5 kPU seems a bit too much for CCUs. I could maybe agree to 100 kPU for CEUs and 3 or 4 for CCUs, though.

    The amount of power any electrical device draws should be no more than a tiny fraction of the power draw while operating. Also, there are exceptions to most any rule.

    While it is true that many modern electronic appliances, such as modern televisions, do draw a small amount power on "standby", this is done for customer convenience. With old cathod-ray tube devices, it was partially powered to allow quickly turning it on without a warmup. But, mostly, this is done even to this day so that devices can be powered on remotely, either by an Internet or WiFi signal or by a remote control. Though, in the latter case and esp. with more modern devices, the power draw is less. To meet "Energy Star" compliance and other environmental pressures, the industry push is for more efficiency. (See "Standby Power" on Wikipedia for more.)

    Not all devices should require power even when they are not operating. It depends on how complex the device is and the intended purpose. For example, the Knife Switch has been around for well over a century and is the most simple electrical device ever invented. All it consists of is a lever which closes the gap between two electrical contacts. In terms of electronics, the invention of the Knife Switch is the equivalent to the invention of the wheel for automobiles.
    [​IMG]

    Can anyone with an electrical engineering background honestly tell me that a Knife Switch should draw any power at all, whether it is "on" or not? And if a Knife Switch does not draw power in real life, then why does the "Switch" in Empyrion draw 1 kW (or 1 kPU)?

    For that matter, why should a Harvest Module draw 10 kW (or 10 kPU) even when it is not be used to cut down a tree or attack a monster? Since it appears to be an electrical device, wouldn't it be a futuristic equivalent to a large lumber saw or an industrial-sized blender? I've never heard of a table saw or blender that drew power even while the switch was turned off.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
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  4. Inappropriate

    Inappropriate Lieutenant

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    I would agree if cargo and other similar containers were just ordinary containers that you (the player) manually puts things into. I think its safe to assume that there are numerous other systems at work when storing and extracting items from them. I choose to use this assumption to justify the power draw. Keep in mind its not just a question of realism but also a question of game balance. The current system is absolutely unbalanced (and completely unbelievable) but completely removing the requirement to power a device that is preforming some form of automation is also unbalance and breaks the suspension of disbelief just as much.

    I think is important to create game systems that encourage trade offs even if it is slight unrealistic.

    The idea behind having a CCU (Cargo Controller Units) require slightly more power then it does currently is that this is the part of the container that is responsible for routing the items (regardless if these items are physical or just a data representation of the item or however these actually work) both into and out of the container.

    This would allow for a substantial reduction (maybe 0.1 kPU or 100PU or about the same draw as a light bulb SHOULD be) or even elimination of draw form the CCUs.

    This in turn would allow the use of the new CPU stat to be the limiting factor in how much storage you can place on a given structure as opposed to how much power you have at your disposal.

    This is why I believe that (fully and properly) implementation the CPU system would for the most part solve this issue.


    Also I think your conflating a device being 'idle' with it 'doing nothing' or 'not operating'. But I do agree that actively using a device should draw more power then not actively using. It really just a question of how much that amount should be. And being able to switch devices fully off should obviously fully unpower it.
     
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  5. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    Idle power should generally be low for devices that don't have an obvious internal component that should draw continuous power (e.g. the furnace). Most devices should have much higher active power draw, including things like storage arrays. Active and idle CPU consumption states will also be needed for most devices that perform complex operations (again including storage arrays). And, in addition to the power consumption of the storage arrays themselves, I'd suggest that there be an energy charge per unit distance per unit mass transferred between storage arrays.

    Also, of course, power needs to be a floating point variable like mass and volume are.
     
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  6. Thundercraft

    Thundercraft Captain

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    Just now, I've been editing my Config.ecf in order to adjust the power consumption of various deco items and devices to fit my ideals. Among other things, I've completely removed the power consumption of not just the common "Switch" but also most deco items. Why? Because they're decorative. We can't actually do anything with most of them and they serve no in-game function besides looking pretty.

    For example, why should the Antenna consume a whopping 20 kW (or 20 kPU) when there is no benefit to the player? (What's more, an Antenna has BlastRadius: 3 and BlastDamage: 100! It seems having one on your vehicle or base is not only a drain on your fuel/power, but also functions as an explosive waiting to go off. Yikes!)

    I've also eliminated the power consumption of most deco furniture. The game has some variations of chairs, tables and beds to choose from. But while some consume power, others do not. Why is that? For that matter, why use the furniture that consumes power when there are alternatives that do not? I've also reduced the power consumption of a few devices purely because, currently, there is no possibility of disabling them when we want to.

    Agreed. But it's funny you should mention this. As I was editing Config.ecf, I took a look at the Harvest Module (Block Id: 669, Name: SawAttachment) because I had considered reducing the energy consumption a bit. (Again, we have no ability to turn it off.) Well... I was surprised by what I found:

    Code:
      EnergyIn: 10, type: int, display: true, formatter: Watt
      EnergyInIdle: 1, type: int, display: true, formatter: Watt
    I had been comparing the Alpha 9 Config_Example.ecf with the one for Alpha 7.6, so I happened to notice that the EnergyInIdle line underneath EnergyIn is something new.

    I jumped in an HV with a Harvest Module to test this out. But it is difficult to determine Harvester power usage because we are unable to click the fire button (engage the Harvester) while in the [P] Status menu to check actual power consumption. I tried to activate it and immediately jump to the Status tab, but I'm either not quick enough or it does not show there.

    However, while in the pilot seat, the game now has a small HUD with basic stats, including Power Usage. And by keeping the Harvest Module running I definitely saw my Power Usage climb from 1% to 2%. I even double-checked it a few times. So this definitely seems to be working.

    Checking the Config_Example.ecf, I also found "EnergyInIdle" mentioned for these:
    • Block Id: 320, Name: TurretDrillTemplate
    • Block Id: 322, Name: TurretMSToolRetract
    • Block Id: 683, Name: DrillAttachment
    • Block Id: 684, Name: TurretGVDrill
    • Block Id: 714, Name: ConstructorT2
    • Block Id: 960, Name: ConstructorT1V2
    • Block Id: 962, Name: FoodProcessorV2
    • Block Id: 1104, Name: TurretGVTool
    • Block Id: 1105, Name: TurretMSTool
    • Block Id: 1132, Name: Furnace
    • Block Id: 1236, Name: DrillAttachmentT2
    • Block Id: 1371, Name: Deconstructor
    • Block Id: 1446, Name: ConstructorSV
    • Block Id: 1447, Name: ConstructorHV
    • Block Id: 1582, Name: DrillAttachmentCV
    Happy day! :cool:
    (Incidentally, there is zero mention of "EnergyInIdle" in the Config_Example.ecf for Alpha 7.6.)
     
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  7. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    Yes, sometime in the middle of the 8.x series, explicit idle power values (no idea why the devs chose to call it EnergyIn instead of PowerIn, as it should be) were added for some devices.

    I'm working on a way to self-consistently compute power values (well, idle power at least) for devices, but it won't be useful until power is a float.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  8. Spirit_OK

    Spirit_OK Captain

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    Healing station doubles as a clone chamber. If you turn it off and die, there would be nobody to turn it back on.

    Consider it being an automated walk-in wardrobe that builds armor around the player from stored parts in the matter of seconds. This process is a serious power usage spike smoothed out by the internal capacitors that draw 5 kW constantly to recharge, for example.

    Well, technically, it is a conductor therefore it has resistance, and any resistance draws at least some smallish amount of power :)

    It all boils down to the lowest energy unit of 1 kW that was discussed a lot. If you're concerned about idle power consumption, try solar panels?
     
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  9. Thundercraft

    Thundercraft Captain

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    Even if turning it off meant that I could not use it as a respawn point, I'd want to have the choice to do this.

    This still doesn't explain why I can't turn it off. If I can completely turn off a BA, CA, SV or HV - with the Clone Chamber or Medic Station and all the other devices inside it - then I should be able to individually turn off a single device.

    Besides, turning off the power to a Clone Chamber does not prevent it from functioning as a respawn point... at least, I've never had an issue with this. Indeed, one does not even need a Clone Chamber to respawn. Upon death, a player still has a selection of spawn points to choose from, including the place that they died or the nearest friendly POI.

    All a Clone Chamber does is give the player an additional choice on where to respawn at.

    You're not joking, are you? Sounds like quite a stretch, to me. Besides, players can still use an Armor Locker to change armor or modules even in a base or vehicle that has been powered down. As such, requiring all that power seems rather pointless.

    Also, capacitors don't work like that, not even today, to say nothing of 25'th century technology. Considering the technology, I'm pretty sure they have superconductors. And a superconductor can function like the ultimate capacitor or battery, storing energy without loss.

    A switch, particularly a simply knife switch, has near infinite resistance when it is turned "off", meaning there is ZERO energy loss. And even when it is switched "on", it does not have any more resistance that the copper wire or whatever is used to connect the switch to the rest of the circuit. Even over stretches of wire measured in meters or yards - such as connecting an array of solar panels on a roof to batteries and an inverter - the power loss is unlikely to be more than 1%. (On the other hand, inverting the solar panels' DC into AC will lose a lot of that energy.)

    Last I heard, we can not place solar panels on a vehicle... Or has this changed?
     
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  10. Spirit_OK

    Spirit_OK Captain

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    No, I'm not, though it really is a stretch - there is no underlying lore at all to justify the need to power armor locker, and no drive from the devs to make those things consistent yet. And no, superconductors are great, but I was thinking about supercapacitors that can both store and quickly discharge energy.

    Sorry, I was under the influence you're talking about BA devices and deco. There was a thread somewhere on forums on enabling panels for vehicles via config.ecf.
     
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