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collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 2:28:13 AM   
vmxa


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I have seen that many put collectors on ships to gather enough to offset that static usage.

The help seems to imply that they are of no value, unless you are parked near a sun. Not a likely thing for military ships that are on patrol or in fleet that tend to see lots of action.

If you can park a fleet in a system and not put it on patrol, ok. So what is the consensus, if any? Use them on ships or not? Caveats?
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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 2:32:37 AM   
ehsumrell1


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The Energy Collectors work in the system that has a star. As long as the ship remains
in the system they work. It does not have to be 'next' or near to the star. Same for Bases/Starports.

< Message edited by ehsumrell1 -- 6/9/2014 3:33:34 AM >


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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 4:52:05 AM   
vmxa


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I heard/read that as long as the ships are not stationary, they will burn fuel. The collector will not be collecting during that time. If you do a move to a planet and the ship has to stay there, no enemy to chase, then the collect will be used and fuel will be saved.

If that is correct, then I would expect that there are not going to be many instances of that type of usage. So rather than saving fuel and money, you waste resources and cash on installation of the collectors. The fuel saving and cost are probably not a huge consideration. The effort to "move ships/fleets" and not patrol them would seem like significant hassle.

Add in that some systems may not have a sun at all and I am wondering, if it better to not use collectors.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 6:50:35 AM   
Bingeling

 

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You can use collectors in all systems, but sometimes ships may end up parked outside if for instance chasing an escaping enemy. For "strategical" reasons it may be at some instances have ships meet up in dead space to.

It is possible that the AI controlled ships almost always run around with patrol and move to orders. In that case collectors are hardly important. Civilians often wait a bit after finishing a mission. At that time collectors help. My fleeted ships spend most of their time sitting around doing nothing, collectors help a lot.

All bases do of course benefit from collectors, not covering their static cost is a rather bad idea.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 6:55:10 AM   
ehsumrell1


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In my opinion VXMA, it's my belief you haven't yet had a fleet of your ships limp
home after a battle in another distant system and find either no fuel or all
available fuel in your system reserved for other ships. Then find that your
fleet has been followed back to your system by the enemy and your ships can't
fire because no fuel (OR COLLECTORS), no energy.

YES YOU NEED ENERGY COLLECTORS ON YOUR MILITARY SHIPS AND BASES!

< Message edited by ehsumrell1 -- 6/9/2014 7:56:59 AM >


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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 7:07:17 AM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

If that is correct, then I would expect that there are not going to be many instances of that type of usage. So rather than saving fuel and money, you waste resources and cash on installation of the collectors. The fuel saving and cost are probably not a huge consideration. The effort to "move ships/fleets" and not patrol them would seem like significant hassle.

I would say that energy collectors are the single most useful component for any ship design, aside perhaps from the hyperdrive. Almost all ships will spend a significant portion of their lifetime idling, and adding energy collectors to cover the static requirements means that they will not burn fuel during this period. Energy collectors extend effective ship range by allowing them to remain on station without burning fuel for their static requirements and they extend the time your ships can spend between refueling, which in turn increases your fleet's average combat readiness. I can station a fleet in some system and leave it there for a while, and as long as it doesn't see much combat, isn't automated, and is equipped with energy collectors, it will have about as much fuel the next time I check on it as it did when it arrived at the system. This is incredibly useful for your strategic flexibility, and is a significant boon when dealing with fuel shortages (which can be a frequent bane of your existence in the early game).

Beyond that, energy collectors are fairly cheap (~150 credits to buy, ~40 credits/year to maintain), and fuel isn't free (there's a line item in the budget for fuel costs to date for the current year; you can take a look at this to see what it is). Perhaps you should start two games on the same map, and play them concurrently and make the same decisions at the same points in the game, at least to the best of your ability, but with one difference - in one game, don't use any energy collectors on your ships, while in the other, include sufficient energy collectors to cover the static costs. Compare the fuel costs as you play each game, and then decide whether or not you think it's worth having energy collectors.

Also, about the patrol order: for the most part, patrol orders buy you nothing but unnecessary fuel expenditure. A fleet given a move order to a system or some location within a system will protect everything within that system about as well as a fleet which has been ordered to patrol the system, but will be able to remain on station longer because it isn't wasting all its fuel cruising around pointlessly. There is a slight advantage to patrolling, as your ships will spread out to cover valuable sites within the system, but it's not a big advantage especially once you get a decent hyperdrive (and by 'decent hyperdrive,' I mean anything that's not the Warp Bubble Generator).

quote:

Add in that some systems may not have a sun at all and I am wondering, if it better to not use collectors.

Energy collectors work in any system - gas clouds, black holes, supernova remnants, star systems, all of these provide enough radiation for the energy collectors to work. The only place that you need to worry about energy collectors not working is in deep space - i.e. that portion of the map that you're not going to bother with anyways because there's nothing there except for a small number of abandoned stations and story-related locations. Energy collectors are supposed to work with varying degrees of efficiency depending on the system type and your location within the system, but I've never noticed any problems with anything that's in a system of any kind (though I typically include at least 50% more energy collection than I need, just to be on the safe side). The only thread I know of which deals with energy collectors is A Guide to Energy (http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2970969), though it's kind of old and the mechanics may have changed since then.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 1:00:24 PM   
vmxa


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Thanks all for input. Just trying to learn what makes sense and what does not. I do use collectors, but have not played enough to get a good test.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 3:03:41 PM   
Tophat1812

 

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I research collectors as soon as possible myself. i have so few stations stuck in starless regions other than research and occasional gas mining station I've captured. Those stations I custom build anyway and don't include energy collectors. My ship or fleet actions in starless areas are probably less than 2% of my space combats if that. They consist of capture raids or destruction raids of enemy stations and are flybys/quick. Mainly my defensive forces hanging around stations or bases for defense or in best position to cover areas of my empire. Raids into enemy systems also see collectors as useful in helping to conserve fuel/extend endurance.

There have been many situations in games to numerous to recall where I wish I'd had energy collectors on ships. They are a must have for me. But experiment for yourself,try some ships with and some without and see what conclusions about their usefulness you come to.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 7:24:44 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

I research collectors as soon as possible myself. i have so few stations stuck in starless regions other than research and occasional gas mining station I've captured. Those stations I custom build anyway and don't include energy collectors.

Energy collectors will work anywhere that has resource deposits, including the various gas clouds. If there's some celestial body on the zoomed-out main map that you can select and your station falls within the pink selection circle (roughly), energy collectors will work, and since to the best of my knowledge there are no resource deposits which are not associated with a celestial body (unless you spawned them in with the editor, anyways) there is no point to maintaining special mining station designs which do not include energy collectors.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 8:11:01 PM   
deathnoise

 

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It doesn't matter if your ship is moving or not. The energy collectors always work.
I always pack 4x more energy collectors than the static cost on a specific ship (since the amount of energy that is being collected differs, depending on how far the ship is from the center of the star in a system)

Haven't got any problems with a need to refuel my ships that are defending the sectors, ever since.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/9/2014 10:01:45 PM   
ldog

 

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I'm not sure of the mechanics, since I've read conflicting things (in so far as moving/not moving, position in system...some ideas that never made it to the coding stage) but I do know they are useful, and I always put them on everything. Most ships get 1, maybe 2. Stations get extra.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/10/2014 4:48:00 PM   
feelotraveller


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http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2970969


In my experience energy collectors are useful on most ships, and all, or nearly all bases.

The exceptions for ships are those which are never going to be stationary (btw 'not moving' means not using engine, the ship can still be moving with a planet etc.) such as exploration surveyors/probes and usually, the way I play at least, my major fleets which rarely pause long between missions. For both of the above an extra fuel cell is more important than an energy collector which will see virtually no use.

The only exception for my bases are those in deep space, monitoring stations usually, where there is no energy collection possible.

As the thread linked above shows the amount of energy collected varies with distance from the source. Sometimes distant ice planets, for example, need up to 3 times the amount of 'rated' collectors. Careful observation has shown that the energy levels are not static either; for example moons passing behind planets see a temporary reduction in their energy collection whilst in the shadow. Usually this makes no difference but for moons around distant ice planets and frozen gas giants it can mean that the reactors need to fire up intermittently.

< Message edited by feelotraveller -- 6/10/2014 5:51:49 PM >

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/11/2014 1:46:45 AM   
ehsumrell1


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Thanks for reviving that link on energy research stats. I had forgotten that
was researched to that depth. I stand corrected on my earlier post that distance
from the star in a system doesn't matter. It will still collect energy at the outer
reaches, just not as much.

Dang...a human mistake, thought I was all Son'a inside. My bad!

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/11/2014 9:38:34 PM   
Hannable

 

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Useful information, thanks.

I've been playing with no collectors on my ships thinking they would be useless (and I removed collectors on AI designs). Now I know why I've been getting frustrated with fleets not having much staying power in a battle - always yelling at me that they're out of fuel. Must be that the fuel is being consumed by static requirements.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/11/2014 11:51:19 PM   
ehsumrell1


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Yes, it is.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/14/2014 11:50:56 PM   
BlueTemplar


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You're saying that collectors are cheap, while fuel isn't free...
so how much cheaper is collector maintenance compared to fuel usage to produce the same amount of energy?

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 12:36:45 AM   
Aeson

 

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Depends on which reactors we're talking about, how much static energy your designs use (and thus how many collectors your designs require), the cost of fuel, the cost of the resources which go into energy collectors, and how much time your ships spend idling. In my current game, energy collectors at the moment cost about 150 credits to purchase and about 38 credits to maintain, per collector; I assume, but am not certain, that the maintenance cost is annual. All of my ships have one or two energy collectors, depending on the static energy costs (my design point with energy collectors is to have energy collection of two to three times the static energy requirements).

Assuming fuel costs 0.8 credits per unit and you're using the first upgrade of the fission reactor (3.89 Caslon per 1000 energy), and that resource cost is in credits per unit rather than credits per X units, it costs you about 3.1 credits per thousand energy. If your ship design has a static energy requirement of 10, you use 1000 energy every 100 seconds and so 100 seconds of real time at normal speed costs you 310 credits for fuel (at higher game speeds, those 100 seconds of real time will cost you more). 20 seconds of playing at normal speed resulted in the game date advancing by 12 days, so it would appear that a game year takes about 608 seconds, implying that fuel costs for a ship with a static energy requirement of 10 are about 1860 credits per year, when the fuel cost is 0.8 (this is the minimum resource cost, but the actual costs can go much higher; I believe the cost cap for most resources is somewhere around two or three credits per unit, though I don't remember right now, while superluxuries are fixed at 100 credits per unit).

Adding energy collectors will not completely negate this unless they continue to work while ships move (and they won't function in deep space anyways, so hyperdrive trips cost a bit more fuel than just the hyperdrive energy usage would imply, regardless of whether or not collectors work in system while ships move), and I've seen conflicting statements on that subject but have never really bothered looking into it myself. Regardless, I think it's fair to assume that spending ~40 credits per year to negate some fraction of an ~1800 credit per year bill is not a bad idea even if it's just breaking even (and given the amount of time most of the ships in my games spend idling, I seriously doubt that that ~40 credit per year investment in energy collectors is merely breaking even; if a ship spends only 20 seconds real time idling - 12 days game time at normal speed - I've already more than recouped the cost of maintaining the energy collector on that ship, assuming I've done the math correctly).

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 1:14:56 AM   
Tophat1812

 

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Survey says energy collectors are useful.............research them and use them

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 10:00:13 AM   
BlueTemplar


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- The maintenance cost is annual.
- Considering that according to Sylian's chart a collector seems to provide from stars on average 5.2 times the energy (per second?) for each Potential Energy point, having 2.5 times Potential Energy Points the energy requirements seems a little bit overkill. Even in a main sequence star system, you would have to be farther than 90% of distance from the star for energy requirements for static energy usage to overtake collection rate.
- Are you sure that the state has to pay for the fuel if it comes from its own empire? What about the private sector? If yes, then where does that money go?
- Are we certain that the energy requirements are per second?
- I heard that Hydrogen could reach prices of 40 per unit (and more?) in times of shortage?
- Also, there are considerations of logistics, space and resources spent in building energy collectors compared to (gas mines + freighters + fuel storage) or resupply ships.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 10:50:27 AM   
Bingeling

 

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After the start, money is hardly an issue. Fuel could be an issue. If you have ever experienced something close to a local fuel problem, or discovered that your parked fleet you thought were full of fuel is at half fuel when you need them, you happily pay any collector maintenance fee.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 1:15:35 PM   
BlueTemplar


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IMHO when you reach the point where money is hardly an issue then you've already won.
If that happens soon after the start, then you're playing on settings that are too easy for you.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 2:56:11 PM   
Bingeling

 

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You must have high hopes for the difficulty of this game.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 5:34:03 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

- Are you sure that the state has to pay for the fuel if it comes from its own empire? What about the private sector? If yes, then where does that money go?

There's a line item for it in the empire budget. My current game's year to date state fuel costs are around 9000 credits in mid-July, and I seriously doubt that I've imported over 11,000 units of fuel for state ships and bases. The money goes to the same place that all the money used to buy resources goes, which is "who knows."

quote:

- Considering that according to Sylian's chart a collector seems to provide from stars on average 5.2 times the energy (per second?) for each Potential Energy point, having 2.5 times Potential Energy Points the energy requirements seems a little bit overkill. Even in a main sequence star system, you would have to be farther than 90% of distance from the star for energy requirements for static energy usage to overtake collection rate.

Can't say I care. At 40 credits per collector, even if I am putting too much energy collection in place it's only a few percent on the annual maintenance costs when the ship total is ~2000 or more credits to maintain. A collector or two doesn't take up too much space, either, and it's a number I can look at in game rather than a number I have to go look up online every time I decide to optimize with it.

quote:

- Are we certain that the energy requirements are per second?

The design screen lists weapon energy requirements in units of energy per second. This is presumably done to put weapon energy usage on the same units as reactor output, indicating that reactor output is listed as energy per second. Static energy costs are subtracted from total reactor output without modification, so presumably static energy use is also per second.

As for why I'm treating this as a real-world second rather than a game-world second: game world days pass in a matter of real world seconds, and there are 86,400 seconds per day (assuming that game world time units are the same as real world time units). If weapon energy per second were reported in game world seconds, combat would burn through your ship's fuel so rapidly that the only viable warship designs would dedicate incredibly large fractions of their internal space to fuel cells and carry barely any weapons whatsoever, as even a single Concussion missile requires about 7 energy per second, or 592,200 energy per day, which translates to 1184.4 units of fuel per day using the most efficient reactor available (Quameno NovaCore Reactors, 2 hydrogen per 1000 energy). This is clearly a ludicrous level of fuel consumption per game day for a single weapon (a highly energy-efficient weapon, at that; most weapons require more than twice the energy per second of a concussion missile).

quote:

- I heard that Hydrogen could reach prices of 40 per unit (and more?) in times of shortage?

Maybe it can. I thought that the cap on resource costs was around 2 or 3 credits per unit, but I could be mistaken.

quote:

- Also, there are considerations of logistics, space and resources spent in building energy collectors compared to (gas mines + freighters + fuel storage) or resupply ships.

Adding energy collectors reduces the need for such things. Reducing the need for these things reduces the overall infrastructure costs. Whether or not it does so to the point of making up for the cost of energy collectors, I could not say. I have never tried a game where I went without energy collectors on my ships for any extended period of time after I obtained them, because reducing the need to refuel strikes me as more valuable than reducing maintenance, particularly since it's unlikely that removing energy collectors from my designs will reduce maintenance so much as shift the maintenance costs from one component to another, especially on ships that I'm trying to pack to a size limit. Regardless, an energy collector or two makes a rather negligible contribution to the total maintenance costs of even fairly small ships; even if the maintenance cost of the ship is only 1000 credits (which is very low, in my opinion), an energy collector's ~40 upkeep is a mere 4% of that total. It's not something worth troubling yourself about once you have a reasonable economic base.


I am also somewhat disappointed to have to admit that I made a math error in my post on the costs of fuel. I seem to have multiplied the fuel costs by 100 for no reason apparent to me. A design with a static energy requirement of 10 using the first upgrade of the fission reactor will require 1000 energy or 3.89 fuel every 100 seconds, which translates to 3.1 credits per 100 seconds, not 310 credits per 100 seconds. I am somewhat disappointed that no one has pointed out this error yet, as the error resulted in two conflicting statements in my previous post, namely "it costs you about 3.1 credits per thousand energy" and "If your ship design has a static energy requirement of 10, you use 1000 energy every 100 seconds and so 100 seconds of real time at normal speed costs you 310 credits for fuel." Thus, the annual fuel cost to cover a static energy requirement of 10 would be about 19 credits per year, not 1860, when fuel costs the minimum 0.8 credits per unit. Energy collectors are thus somewhat more expensive than fuel when fuel is plentiful. Should a shortage occur which brings the cost of fuel up to 1.6 credits or more per unit, energy collectors become cheaper than fuel. It should nevertheless be noted that a ship that uses energy collectors to cover its static needs will not need to refuel nearly as often as a ship which does not cover its static needs with energy collectors, and that moving the ship to a fueling point can easily cost a hundred or more energy even if all it has to do is cruise over to a nearby station. I would tend to say that between not having the headache of constantly refueling ships and the fuel costs of moving the ship to go refuel (which is slight if there's a refueling point sufficiently close to the ship, costing perhaps one or two fuel), energy collectors are worthwhile.

< Message edited by Aeson -- 6/15/2014 6:34:48 PM >

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 6:08:21 PM   
Tophat1812

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BlueTemplar

IMHO when you reach the point where money is hardly an issue then you've already won.
If that happens soon after the start, then you're playing on settings that are too easy for you.



How many games have you played or are in process of playing? What are you seeing in your games regarding cash flow? Are you using energy collectors yet or are you working without them? Whats your experience with or without collectors in game?

Aeson,with respect to your math error and nobody correcting it a few reasons perhaps why:

First off I have been playing DW since it first came out and I know from experience energy collectors are useful. I feel no need to have to prove it with math of my own let alone checking someone else's numbers. I am not a numbers guy,there are those players here who are but none of them have chimed in.

Secondly,if people just play and experiment on their own they will see the usefulness of energy collectors themselves and will in so doing learn more about the game themselves.

Thirdly,we do have regulars on this forum who in various ways will point out errors. Some of them might do it in a pm to you or in a nice way show the error. We also have others that will go out of their way to make you feel like a moron for making an error. So don't be too disappointed with nobody having corrected you. I'm certain given time it will happen.

< Message edited by Tophat1812 -- 6/15/2014 7:21:35 PM >

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 6:40:25 PM   
BlueTemplar


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I actually barely started my first game, not counting a few games I've played when Distant Worlds was first released and about whose I pretty much forgot.

I'm just trying to make sense of how collectors work as I see conflicting information from some people that say that you should have your potential energy from collectors to be a little bit more or equal to your static energy expenditure and then the "guide to energy" thread saying they don't work like that at all.
I haven't myself reached the point in the game yet where I have energy collectors, but I do plan to test them out.

The part about money is a much more general statement : why bother even having the money mechanic in the game if it doesn't matter. I seem to remember seeing a thread on this subject :
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3032519&mpage=1&key=money�
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3086866&mpage=1&key=money�
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3338749&mpage=1&key=money�

I guess I'm lazy : I rarely check the math of others if it looks right on the surface...

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/15/2014 8:02:14 PM   
Bingeling

 

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I did a quick test on collectors. I redesigned a "high tech" mine to have the same static energy and energy collected (48 with 1 collector, 3 cloaking devises, scanner).

I built one at a barren moon reasonably close to a star, and saw its energy with no fuel provided fill up fast. I built another one at a moon of the outermost gas giant of a "big system", so pretty far from the star. For this one the energy bar did not move from 0.

The mystery is why it filled up at any of them, since energy filled up even if "collected = static", but I was more curious to confirm that there indeed is a difference. Which it must be from the above observation. Maybe the cloaking stuff is not working as I assumed, and having some fuel delivered would be better to watch the rate of fuel consumption to compensate for missing energy collection.

Feel free to check this ;-)

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/16/2014 12:45:29 AM   
ldog

 

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Aeson made a math mistake? OMFG! It's like th....happens to the best of us, lol.

The important thing is less refueling. Less time spent refuelling means more time pew pewing stuff. Money well spent.

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RE: collectors, useful? - 6/16/2014 3:43:06 PM   
BlueTemplar


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I propose to continue the specific discussion and testing about how much collectors extract energy on the "A guide to Energy" topic (where the subject has already been discussed and tested quite a lot):
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2970969

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