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A guide to Energy

 
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A guide to Energy - 12/3/2011 10:14:25 PM   
Sylian


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Intro:

This my attempt of a guide to energy, fuel, power and everything connected to it in ship and base design in DS Legends. I hope to provide comprehensive information on this topic, as there seems to be a lot of confusion around and the galactopedia doesn't explain it in all details. All info here is based on my own experimentation - feel free to comment, correct or add to this guide.
And last but not least: I'm no native speaker, so please bear with my language

1.) Basics:
you may easily skip the first two parts if you want to know directly about energy and ship design

Energy is a quantity in physics which discribes how much work a system / object (e.g. a ship) can do. The energy of a system can be "hidden" in all kinds of properties like velocity (kinetic energy) its position in a potential field (gravity, electromagnetic attraction or repulsion - so called potential energy) in the chemical composition, i.e. in the electronic conficguraion of the atoms / molecules (e.g. reaction enthalpy) and in the atmic nucleus itself (fission and fusion).
According to the believe of modern physics, energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed from one form to another. This seems pretty intuitive but despite its called "law of conservation" its actually not something that is proven. In fact, the law of energy conservation is rooted in the invariance of the basic physics laws in time, which is actually quite in debate when it comes to times close to the "big bang". Also it is not known if the laws of physics are the same in all of the universe (its pretty big, you know). Well, lets just safely assume that energy is conserved in the scope of our galaxy and our game time....
Power is the rate at which energy is transformed, transfered or "used". So basicly how much work can be done per time

2.) In DS:
Elliot introduced basicly 3 types of energy sources. Caslon, Hydrogen and Light.
Caslon is a fictional gas that is introduced in the game. According to DS lore it is used in nuclear fisson, i.e. the caslon nuclei are "cleaved" by fast neutrons and form fission products (smaller nuclei) and additional neutrons, creating a chain reaction. The fission products collide with other atoms and thus deaccelerate and produce heat out of their kinetic energy. This heat is usually used to create steam out of water to drive a steam turbine, which will then provide electric energy. (Yes, a nuclear reacor is basicly a big dangerous oven)
Hydrogen is the lightest element in nature. It consists of only one proton and one electron. According to DS lore it is used in nuclear fusion. In fact one can only use deuterium (proton + neutron) and tritium (proton + 2 neutrons) in fusion effectively, because the helium nucleus consists of 2 protons and 2 neutrons, and 2 hydrogen nuclei provide only 2 protons. If one does it right fusion can supply heat (out of the fast moving fusion products) that can be used for steam turbines and so on.
Light consists of photons which have an frequency dependend energy. The source is the nuclear fusion inside stelar objects named "stars". Using semiconductors (e.g. silicon or Galium-Arsenide) one can directly convert these photons into electron - hole pairs, thus electical energy. From a thermodynamical view point 100% efficiency is theoretically possible, which is a significant difference from heat engines.


3.)The Energy Display in DS Legends Ship Design

The main energy window in the ship design screen:


the values shown in the top image are:
Energy Collection: this refers to energy obtained by the energy collector component. See my notes on energy collection at the end of the post
Reactor Power Output: the total power your reactor components provide in energy units per second
Static Energy Usage: the total static power requirements in energy units per second. This value does not include power demand of weapons, shields and propulsion. Typical components that use power are life support and hab modules, labs, plants, recreation and medical and others. This power is ALWAYS consumed.
Excess Energy Output: = Reactor Power Output - Static Energy Usage. Nothing more and nothing less. Basicly the energy you have to for everything else (weapons etc.)

Fuel Type: Caslon or Hydrogen, pretty selfexplanatory

Fuel Capacity: The fuel reserve of a ship / base. see also range considerations
Energy Storage: This is tied to your reactor components. Some sort of capacitor. (would be cool if it was a component on its own) Its mainly important for combat operation. see also energy balance in combat
x fuel units per 1000 energy units: The efficiency of you reactors. If a ship base uses 1000 energy per second, it will burn x units of fuel per second (without energy collectors). Note that unused excess energy does not consume fuel - the reactors are idle, so to speak. Only real used energy (static, propulsion, charging of the capacitor etc.) burns fuel.

4.)Energy Consumption for Propulsion and Range

the Movement window:


the important part for energy are the 4 numbers next to energy below Impulse, Cruise, Sprint and Hyper.
These energy values are consumed by the propulsion for the respective drive modes.
In my example above i use 4 proton thrusters. You will find the values when summing up the energy use of the thrusters



4*2=8 for cruise
4*5=20 for maximum thrust = sprint
The energy use for an impulse is always 0.25* cuise energy

The Hyperdrive uses a fixed amount of energy for operation


The basic Gerax HD uses 78 energy. See in my above examle that i do not supply enough energy for the hyperdrive. Only 54. (see also energy window - the 54 excess energy) This is why i do not reach max speed (12500) for this ship, only 8653. I fixed the problem by adding another reactor, supplying additional 60 energy: (i also removed 3 thrusters for no reason - dont let it confuse you)



Note: Your propulsion engines have for some reason no access to the capacitor (energy storage), i.e. if you do not supply enough energy the thrusters or the hyperdrive will not use up the stored energy in the capacitor to achieve maximum speed until the capacitor has run dry. They will just run at the maximum speed shown in the movement window.

Range:
The effective range of a ship depends on several things.
- reactor efficiency Reff
- energy consumption of the hyperdrive P_HD
- maximum velocity of the hyper drive v_HD
- fuel capacity FC
- the total static energy usage P_stat

the maximum range is

range = v_HD * (FC * 1000)/((P_HD + P_stat)* Reff )

example: Gerax HD: v_HD=12500, P_HD=78
2 standard fission reactors Reff=3.81
1 standard fuel cell: FC=60
static energy use P_stat=77

range = 12500 * (60*1000)/(3.81*(78+7)) = roughly 2.3 million space units

This number doesnt make much sense without some further knowledge:
A sector is 2 million space units wide. So the ship above has a range of 1.15 sectors.

range in sectors = v_HD * (FC * 1000)/((P_HD + P_stat)* Reff * 2000000 )


the range of a ship designed like the example



5.)Energy Balance in Combat

In combat adding to propulsion two new sources of energy demands appear. Weapon fire and shield regeneration.
The main difference between these two energy eaters and the others is there use of the stored energy (if available) in the capacitor.

Here a scheme how the flow is:
Reactors + Collectors excess power >>>> Capacitor energy >>>>> Weapons + Shields

the capacitor display



When the capacitor is empty, it is charged by excess power you have with exactly the rate of the excess power. (if you have 20 excess power, than the energy in the capacitor increases by 20 per second until its full) This process uses fuel according to the reactor efficiency (if you have no energy collection).

Lets start with shields as they are simple to understand:

the defense window:


important here is only the total shield recharge rate, which is the shield recharge rate of one shield component times the number of shield omponents

recharging 1 shield point costs 1 energy, so a recharge rate of 0.9 equals an energy consumption of 0,9 energy per second. This needs to be supplied by the capacitor. So assuming we have 0 excess energy but a full capacitor, then the stored energy in the capacitor would reduce by 0,9 per second.
If you have excess energy the capacitor is recharged in parallel. So if the capacitor recharge rate (excess power)is higher than the shield recharge rate you will not see any change in the capacitor energy. However fuel is consumed to provide the nevertheless used energy.
If the capacitor is empty and your shield recharge rate is higher than your capacitor recharge rate you can only recharge your shields at the rate you provide energy. For example your excess energy is 2, your shield recharge rate is 3. Shields will recharge at the rate of 3 until the capacitor is empty (the capacitor energy is reduced by 2-3=-1 per second). Once the capacitor is empty shields will only recharge by 2 per second and the capacitor stays empty. Once shields are recharged excess energy is used to recharge the capacitor at a rate of 2 per second.

Weapons

Weapons use energy out of the Capacitor per shot. To understand weapon energy usage you need to look at two values:
- weapon energy used
- fire rate



the maxos blaster for example uses 12 energy per shot and fires once every 1.24 seconds
so the energy use per second is 12/1.24 = 9.67 energy per second = approximately 10
this is the value you will see in the weapon window as "Maximum Weapons Energy use per second"



note that the exact values are used for this calculation as the example with 4 maxos blasters shows:
4*9.67 = 38.68 = approximately 39



As with shields the energy is first substracted from the capacitor. If you have higher excess energy than maximum weapon energy used you will see the energy of the capacitor shortly reduce for the amount needed for a shot. It is than quickly recharged. The total energy balance is positive, tha capacitor will stay almost filled on average. If the excess energy is too low, the capacitor energy will start to reduce because it is not recharged quickly enough. Once its almost empty a weapon will only fire if there is enough energy in the capacitor, thus limiting the fire rate effectively by the recharge rate of the capacitor.


Keep in mind that in a real battle a ship needs to move (sprint), recharge lost shields and fire weapons. All these energy demands have to be met by the excess energy to achieve optimal performance.


6.)Energy Collection

A good way to meet energy demands of stationary objects are energy collectors. Energy collectors only provide energy while standing still and in systems. On ships they are somewhat usefull to reduce the fuel consumption caused by the static energy demands (only while ships are parked in a system though).

The energy collector works essentially like a reactor. The energy it provides is added to the total produced energy, but is not displayed in the energy window. Collected energy is also used to charge the capacitor. In this way energy collectors may provide the energy needed for weapons and shields of stations. However the exact energy provided by one collector depends on the position in the system, i.e. the distance from the star.
The value given in the component description is probably a scaling factor (i didnt test that yet). The collected energy depends lineary on the distance from the star. Maximum collection rate is at the top of the star. At the system border (where the game shows the circle, when you select a system) the collection rate is 0. Different satrs provide different amounts of energy (see graph below). Strangely enough the main sequence star provides the least energy of all starts. The black hole provides energy even outside its borders (i'm not sure where the cutoff is located). Super Novae provide energy - i still investgate the details. Gas Clouds also provide energy like a normal star (i only testet the oxygen gas cloud though)

This image shows the collection rate for 1 normal energy collector (24 potential energy)



/physics rant on: This is not a proper physical model! The surface of a sphere increases with the distance squared. Therefore the energy collection rate should decrease as 1/(distance*distance), assuming isotropic light emission. I demand this to be corrected in future versions of the game!!! physics rant off


Conclusions

I hope this guide is somewhat helpful for everyone with "energy problems". Comments, critics and further contributions are welcome.
The only thing left is to wish you all happy ship designing.

regards Sylian



< Message edited by Sylian -- 12/4/2011 8:08:14 PM >


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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/3/2011 11:39:23 PM   
hein

 

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thanx a guide very interesting and complete

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 12:50:53 AM   
Paul Roberts

 

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Very helpful! Thanks for writing up this guide.

May I ask for some concrete examples? It would be good to see some ship designs that exhibit good and bad energy architecture.

For instance, what does a ship that can't recharge its shields in combat (due to too much energy eaten by weapons) look like? How do I know I've designed one? Likewise, how do I know when I'm not taking advantage of my energy capabilities? What are some common errors in ship design?

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 12:59:25 AM   
Evrett


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Can we nominate for a sticky! Answered my questions for sure! BTw who is Elliot?


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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 1:25:58 AM   
MasterChief


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Great job... Bravo Zulu

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 2:20:33 AM   
feelotraveller


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Good overview Sylian.

Your are wrong about energy collectors. They collect what they read on the label (24 for starting tech) when on a stationary object in a system (including in gas clouds, neutron stars, black holes, supernovae). Otherwise zero. Please feel free to confirm this with your own tests.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 2:59:43 AM   
Nedrear


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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller

(including in gas clouds, neutron stars, black holes, supernovae)


Though I won't test it if they give constant amounts...

I hope gas clouds (if then diminished for reduced radiation as they die down) and especially blackholes are NOT giving energy!
That the supernovae doesn't fry you because you got enough shields which are recharged by the collector is something I can accept.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 9:49:53 AM   
Sylian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller


Your are wrong about energy collectors. They collect what they read on the label (24 for starting tech) when on a stationary object in a system (including in gas clouds, neutron stars, black holes, supernovae). Otherwise zero. Please feel free to confirm this with your own tests.


This is NOT true.
A ran another test with my "Test Starbase". Here is the Design.
It has a lot of reactors to create a huge capacitor. But all reactor energy is consumed by static energy use. Thus the capacitor is only charged by the energy collector. (can be easily confirmed by removing the energy collector -> no energy build up in the capacitor)
Now i place the test base at two different points in the system. (main sequence star)
1.) Directly on top of the sun:
In this case the capacitor is fully charged in 7 seconds. Thus 1050/7 = 150 energy delivered by the energy collector module.

2.) System outskirts, where the game shows the bounday when selecting a system.
capacitor needs 85 seconds to charge up, so 1050/85 = 12.3 energy delivered by the energy collector

I didnt check different star types yet. But i guess they will also have an influence.

regards Sylian


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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 10:33:40 AM   
Sithuk

 

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Sylian: Forum posters have been trying to get Elliot to confirm the forumula for solar energy collector power generation since the orignal game launch. I'm sure you've already used the forum search feature. To date I have never seen the question answered conclusively. There is a definite uncertainty over how we should approach ship and base design using energy collectors.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 2:11:43 PM   
Sylian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sithuk

Sylian: Forum posters have been trying to get Elliot to confirm the forumula for solar energy collector power generation since the orignal game launch. I'm sure you've already used the forum search feature. To date I have never seen the question answered conclusively. There is a definite uncertainty over how we should approach ship and base design using energy collectors.


Fortunally i can now provide some more info on that.
See my updated post.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 2:21:12 PM   
feelotraveller


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Apologies. You are indeed right about this. I made some independent tests which confirm your observations.

The cut off for a black hole I saw was roughly half way between the pink system line and the shaded area for system visibility (which you see when you have explored the system but do not currently have any ship/base in the system. I didn't check Super Novae since I was thinking it was obvious that they would produce energy... I'll get back to the drawing board.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 2:50:51 PM   
feelotraveller


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For Super Novae the epicentre produces ludicrous amounts of energy. I'm sure you'll want to quantify it. It drops off pretty quickly from here only extending out about 1/4 to 1/3 of the radius of the system.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 2:56:04 PM   
Sylian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller

For Super Novae the epicentre produces ludicrous amounts of energy. I'm sure you'll want to quantify it. It drops off pretty quickly from here only extending out about 1/4 to 1/3 of the radius of the system.


I also thought so. But when i place a Nova with the editor it doesnt seem to be active. Maybe some time has to pass first? I will have a closer look into that later.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 4:44:21 PM   
Nedrear


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Seriously just giving black holes and gas clouds a energy collectors for "games sake" sucks. Take it away! I don't know one way to collect Hawking radiation on the top of a black hole storming out and I would not stand in it's way. Everything that can leave a black hole should be treated carefully...

And gas clouds are not really the best energy source...

And I support the "realistic decline" model. Squared please...

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 7:47:52 PM   
Malevolence


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quote:

ORIGINAL:  Malevolence

I notice that stars (or solar sized object like black holes, etc.) have an "Energy Attribute" that contains three parameters...

- Solar
- Microwave
- X-ray

These seem to vary based on the type star.

What impact do these values influence? I couldn't find them explained in the Galactopedia.

Do higher values in one of the attributes contribute the capability of Energy Collectors?

quote:

ORIGINAL:  elliotg
This is a legacy holdover from DW 0.1.  Way back in the mists of time I had anticipated having different types of energy collectors more attuned to different types of energy.

But as it turns out this made ship design too complicated, so the only value that matters is the total of all three types of energy. The individual values are not treated separately for energy collection.

You'll probably find though that the more exotic star types usually emit more total energy, because they often have high outputs of microwave and X-ray radiation.




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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/4/2011 9:25:22 PM   
MasterChief


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Malevolence

quote:

ORIGINAL:  Malevolence

I notice that stars (or solar sized object like black holes, etc.) have an "Energy Attribute" that contains three parameters...

- Solar
- Microwave
- X-ray

These seem to vary based on the type star.

What impact do these values influence? I couldn't find them explained in the Galactopedia.

Do higher values in one of the attributes contribute the capability of Energy Collectors?

quote:

ORIGINAL:  elliotg
This is a legacy holdover from DW 0.1.  Way back in the mists of time I had anticipated having different types of energy collectors more attuned to different types of energy.

But as it turns out this made ship design too complicated, so the only value that matters is the total of all three types of energy. The individual values are not treated separately for energy collection.

You'll probably find though that the more exotic star types usually emit more total energy, because they often have high outputs of microwave and X-ray radiation.




Wow I didn't realize this This games gets deeeper and deeper

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 3:23:06 AM   
feelotraveller


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Anyone been able to find the 'energy attribute' for gas clouds?

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 9:27:26 AM   
Sithuk

 

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Very useful research on the energy collection from solar collectors. We can collect energy from a gas cloud as well as from a main system star. Thanks for this.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 2:30:08 PM   
InaB77


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Longtime lurking, first time posting:

recently i kept wondering when a ship uses it's "sprint" mode ? or: should designs be optimized for at least 24 cruise speed or sprint speed ?

thanks for the informative post, makes designing ships a little more easy.

Ina

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 4:00:58 PM   
Data


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Hi Ina and welcome to the community. Sprint is most useful for combat and escaping but cruise is the regular speed so you can consider the tradeoff.
Hope this helps.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 5:38:47 PM   
w1p

 

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Sprint is only ever used when you issue the attack command, ships will sprint towards the target and engage. They never use sprint, even when you press escaping.... So cruise is quite important!

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 6:27:01 PM   
Grotius


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Thanks for this very helpful guide.

So what happens when I'm out of fuel and have no energy collectors? In my AAR thread, someone said my ships will still move at around 1/3 their top speed, even in hyperdrive. Is that true? Is the main downside of fuel-depletion that you can't recharge shields or fire weapons?

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 7:38:40 PM   
Sylian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grotius

Thanks for this very helpful guide.

So what happens when I'm out of fuel and have no energy collectors? In my AAR thread, someone said my ships will still move at around 1/3 their top speed, even in hyperdrive. Is that true? Is the main downside of fuel-depletion that you can't recharge shields or fire weapons?


I have to admit that i did not check that.
Weapons will certainly not fire and shields wont be regenerated. Ships do still move and use hyper drive when out of fuel, but have a reduced speed. How much is is reduced though i did not check (should be easy to find out)
More interesting would be if compnonents that use static energy cease to function (like recreation centers and so on) Maybe i will have a look into that in the future.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 7:42:55 PM   
Sylian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts

Very helpful! Thanks for writing up this guide.

May I ask for some concrete examples? It would be good to see some ship designs that exhibit good and bad energy architecture.

For instance, what does a ship that can't recharge its shields in combat (due to too much energy eaten by weapons) look like? How do I know I've designed one? Likewise, how do I know when I'm not taking advantage of my energy capabilities? What are some common errors in ship design?


Bad ship design is means you dont supply enough energy in sum for: cruise propulsion (maybe even sprint) + weapons + shield regen
If you lack energy, due to the mechanics of the capacitor your weapons fire rate will always suffer first. Shield regeneration and propulsion is only affected if you have a severe lack of energy supply (like when you got one of your reactors destroyed).


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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/5/2011 9:30:47 PM   
Das123

 

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Awesome post. Should be stickied. 

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/6/2011 3:50:13 PM   
Data


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High praise from you but this is indeed worth it, I second it.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/7/2011 12:43:38 PM   
Jeeves


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Definitely should be stickied. A lot of work here, and I have nothing to add, except that I always supply in excess of static requirements with solar collectors. As technology for solar improves this gives old designs excess enough to fire weapons, for example old armed mining stations. You also get some improvement by tech upgrades for reactors, but the only ship I ever shorted on warp speed was a small freighter design which had ALMOST enough energy for its warp drive. That extra reactor on most designs also comes in handy if your ship gets shot up...


Lonnie Courtney Clay


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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/13/2011 9:40:28 AM   
jpwrunyan


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Astronomy counter rant:
Blackholes may not directly emit light but there certainly is a great deal of radiation and light released by objects falling into one. Many large black holes also blast out jets of particles at relativistic speeds. We cant see black holes but we can certainly see their effects on the surrounding area. You know like where you built your research base.

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RE: A guide to Energy - 12/13/2011 10:18:15 AM   
Nedrear


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A valid point... leaves the mystically charging gas clouds though. Their energy spectrum is the lowest in the game which might be acceptable therefore. Still it should be nerfed a little more. The radiation of a slowly dying gas cloud is still too high.

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(in reply to jpwrunyan)
Post #: 29
RE: A guide to Energy - 12/13/2011 3:58:31 PM   
Sylian


Posts: 31
Joined: 12/1/2011
From: Germany
Status: offline
I think there is no point for seriously complaining about certain non physical game mechanics. It is a game after all, which has to follow certain rules to be fun.
There are countless features in this game which disobey physics:
- ships have a max speed, but there is vacuum in space, so there is no drag force whatsoever, so any constant propulsion is able to bring your speed close to light speed (which may take quite some time, but it is possible)
- black holes are scattered just all over the galaxy, which is just ridiculous
- although the game has already nice scaling, still the distances, star and planet sizes are far from real
- lasers shoot with some sort of particle (even if you use pulse lasers, the pulse will still travel at near light speed)
- there has yet to be found a physical phenomena which can create shields or forcefields or anything like that
- no use speaking about ftl travel
...

Just to make this clear. I do not want DW to try to simulate real world. It is fine at it is.

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(in reply to Nedrear)
Post #: 30
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