Author Topic: Power Generation  (Read 2332 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Power Generation
« on: January 30, 2019, 01:26:08 PM »
The question of power generation being added to the game was raised in the wealth thread. While I don't want to use power generation to replace wealth, I would consider adding it as a new function if it adds an interesting new dimension. This thread is to consider ideas about how that might work.

Different installations would require power to function and this power could come from a variety of potential sources. For example, nuclear (or Sorium-based) power stations, geothermal stations on worlds with high tectonics, solar power plants on worlds with high temperatures, hydro power on worlds with a lot of water, etc. Possibly power satellites that absorb solar energy from a star and beam it to the planet that needs it (with a suitable energy efficiency tech line).

I am open to comments on whether power should even be a consideration or is it assumed that each installation already includes its own power generation. If power generation is included, what form should it take? Can power be beamed from planet to planet? Can it be stored?

Comments welcome.
 

Offline Ranged66

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2019, 01:40:19 PM »
I really like the idea of power, would integrate well into the Power and Propulsion tech tree. A way to 'export' power, perhaps even between systems would be neat. Take a look at how the games of the X-series (X3 Albion Prelude and so on) do it. Some places are very well suited for power generation, and power is 'exported' by means of power cells as cargo.
 

Offline Scandinavian

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2019, 01:51:37 PM »
An easy way to make it meaningfully distinct from wealth and minerals would be to make it local and non-store-able. Each planet has its own supply, and it needs to keep pace with demand, or you have to start load shedding. This would also create an incentive to set up colony worlds with at least a few factories and a trickle supply of minerals, to avoid having to ship out new power plants as they grow, which can only be a good thing.

Power could come from reactors (low worker requirement per TWh, but burns Sorium or Fuel) or sustainable generation sources (solar, wind, hydro, tidal, etc., high worker requirement per TWh, but only burns Wealth). Possibility of building orbital installations of either type, similar to how terraformers work today (more expensive, easier to move around, easier to destroy because they aren't under the STO umbrella, uses Crew instead of Workers).
 
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Offline Sirce

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 02:27:35 PM »
I think Power Plants are a great way to provide a limit on manufacturing and researching power. However, I think the "infrastructure" should be simple, one is TN Power Plants, and the other is conventional (hydro, tectonic, volcanic, etc). Conventional while cheaper provides lower power, say 10 per unit but TN Power Plants are much higher cost, consumes Sorium and relies on Power & Propulsion tech, gated by current reactor technology provides 100 unit per factory. Each power reactor tech allows for more power per unit. Pressurised Heavy Water will allow for 10 PP (starting tech) but each one provides a 20 percent increase (12, 14, 16, 18, 20, etc).

The early game, you want to use conventional power but they do not scale as well as TN Power Plants but are much more costly.

Also, manpower requirements should be low for conventional versus TN Power Plants.

Afterwards, manufacturing and other facilities may require a power source of some kind in order to perform optimally. A lack of power should influence manufacturing efficiency or something to that effect.
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 02:29:25 PM »
It might be interesting? Honestly, one self imposed limitation I use on myself is a limit of how many mines I'll put on a single planet, so that I don't just run my entire empire with 10,000 auto-mines on a planet with 15 million tons of every mineral at .1 accessibility. Power could accomplish something similar and make for interesting choices.

OTOH, I think adding power would basically want to be combined with a large overhaul of the economic/industrial system. I'm sure Steve knows better than anyone, but I can't help but wonder if it might be better handled as a feature in a future version, especially as I gather the C# code to handle the economy is already written.

I think Power Plants are a great way to provide a limit on manufacturing and researching power. However, I think the "infrastructure" should be simple, one is TN Power Plants, and the other is conventional (hydro, tectonic, volcanic, etc). Conventional while cheaper provides lower power, say 10 per unit but TN Power Plants are much higher cost, consumes Sorium and relies on Power & Propulsion tech, gated by current reactor technology provides 100 unit per factory. Each power reactor tech allows for more power per unit. Pressurised Heavy Water will allow for 10 PP (starting tech) but each one provides a 20 percent increase (12, 14, 16, 18, 20, etc).

The early game, you want to use conventional power but they do not scale as well as TN Power Plants but are much more costly.

Also, manpower requirements should be low for conventional versus TN Power Plants.

Afterwards, manufacturing and other facilities may require a power source of some kind in order to perform optimally. A lack of power should influence manufacturing efficiency or something to that effect.

If power generation were added there'd definite need to be an automated option, for worlds with automated mines.
 
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Offline Iceranger

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2019, 02:33:22 PM »
Interesting...
 
Just throw out some ideas:

'Standard' power plants
  • Conventional power plants, non-TN tech, low energy/building, low cost/energy, high worker/energy, does not consume fuel. cannot be built, just as starting buildings (same as conventional factories)
  • Nuclear power plants, scale with reactor tech. High energy/building, moderate cost/energy, low worker/energy, consumes fuel/sorium?

Special power plants that are relevant to planet features, should have lower cost/energy than nuclear power plants (that can be built anywhere). Scales with a new tech line 'renewable power generation Lv X' and planetary features. Has a limit on how many can be built on each planet depending on planet size and features.
  • Geo Thermal plants, 2x power output on planets with high tectonics, 1x on normal, 0.5x on low, 0 on dead planets. At 1x multiplier, moderate energy/building, moderate cost/energy, moderate worker/energy
  • Tidal power plants, scale with the % of ocean surface of the planet, and the mass of the closest moon (relative to the planet). At 1x multiplier, low energy/building, moderate cost/energy, low worker/energy
  • (Ground) Solar power plants, scale with the distance from the planet to the sun, and the atmosphere thickness. At 1x multiplier, low energy/building, high cost/energy, very low worker/energy
  • Wind power plants, scale with atmosphere density and temperature difference? On tidal locked worlds it has a much higher mulitplier (where the temperature difference should produce constant winds). At 1x multiplier, very low energy/building, moderate cost/energy, low worker/energy.



« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 02:38:00 PM by Iceranger »
 

Offline Beersatron

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2019, 02:52:06 PM »
I am currently reading "Earth Song Cycle" by Mark Wandrey on kindle and the "wealth" in that universe is based on Energy. Everything runs on EPC batteries which come in different sizes and capacities so to keep your civilization running you need to keep on buying the EPCs. There is more to it than that, but that is the bottom line.
 

Offline misanthropope

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2019, 03:02:48 PM »
"choke" mechanisms aren't really intrinsically fun.  if you haven't got anything but "dance this little dance correctly and you can go back to playing aurora like it was vb6" honestly at some point it just becomes a hassle.

it also seems to fly in the face of the core assumption that TN societies find it trivial to generate *huge* amounts of energy.how many cubic meters per year of sorium fuel would it take to supply 21st century earth's power needs? a half billion people working with infinitely more efficient industrial technology dont seem like they should pose a drastic energy problem.
 
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Offline Hazard

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2019, 03:04:48 PM »
Sorry but no, I do not think power plants would make a meaningful addition to the game other than adding more micro. There's a reason grand strategy games don't consider power except as just another material resource that can be traded and stored.

It might be interesting as an additional civilian trade good, but that's it.
 
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Offline Bremen

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2019, 03:20:14 PM »
If I did power generation for buildings, I'd probably keep it simple.

Give each world a baseline power capacity. This is the combination of solar (based on distance from the sun, planet's surface area, and atmosphere) and any other "conventional" power like geothermal, and maybe tidal; wind is basically just solar power at a planetary level. This level of energy is "free" - if you have a colony on the planet it can draw on this power, maybe split for multiple colonies. You don't need to build solar/geothermal/etc plants because that would just be micromanagement. Maybe there could be a tech line, renewable power sources, that gives % increases.

If you want more buildings than the baseline power provides, you'd build sorium power plants - these wouldn't be too expensive, but would require refined sorium fuel to run, and would massively increase the available power. They could scale based on your reactor tech.

The end result of this would be more motivation to spread to other worlds, and not keep all your industry just on your homeworld (something I admit I tend to do). I think it could work out.
 
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Offline DEEPenergy

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2019, 03:20:45 PM »
I think adding power requirements for colonies, especially if the power plants required sorium, would drive players nuts. Trying to manage many colonies can already feel like spinning plates; now add onto it each one is constantly draining fuel and every construction factory shipped over or mine now also has to come with a requisite amount of power. It just doesn't feel like the gameplay benefit would match the hassle, though I have confidence someone here could make interesting.  :)
 
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Offline CheaterEater

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2019, 04:36:30 PM »
I don't see power as much of a gameplay enhancer. As others have said, if it's just a chokepoint without interesting decisions it will just be tedious. This would be the case if the decision is basically which powerplant type to build on which world.

I could see sorium power plants for large worlds as interesting. In that case, a developed world needs sorium shipped in, even if it's not a manufacturing planet. Then I as a player can decide how to acquire it and protect my sources, and I could blockade enemy planets to stop their sorium shipments. If the powerplants are entirely contained on a world, there isn't much gameplay, as you will just build enough to keep everything running and NPRs will too and you can't affect it.
 

Offline Zincat

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2019, 05:15:04 PM »
I like the idea of power being modeled by the game, however that really depends on how it is implemented.
If it becomes just more micro: build x power plants to power your stuff, with no meaningful decisions needed, then it is indeed just more micro, as some other people already mentioned. I would not like that.

If instead it adds some more possible interesting choices for the player, it might be good. I operate under the assumption that TN facilities consume huge amounts of power, and so that power generation needs to be MASSIVE. Several orders of magnitude beyond what we use today.

Let us say that power can be beamed into space to other colonies in the same system, and maybe even through stabilized jump points (this might or might not need specialized equipments, like ships at the gates or similar).
In this situation,  power generation does not need to be on the same planet where the power is used. So... some planets might become interesting colonization targets just because they allow for plentiful power generation.

That pressure cooker planet with impossibly strong winds might be a great target for wind power generation, even if normally you'd never consider it
That planet with very active tectonics might be great for geotermal power plants
And that scorched rock orbiting SO close to a large star, a wonderful candidate for solar power plants
Once again, this is assuming you need a HUGE amount of power, and so that normal power generation does not cut it. So you either colonize these worlds, just for the potential power they can generate.... Or you resort to Sorium powered plants, with the problem that they keep consuming a large amount of Sorium.

In my opinion this scenario is the only one which would be worth having if you track power. Because in this case, you actually have more planets that becomes colony candidates, and as always this has the potential to become a meaningful strategic choice. You then have to defend these planets and such.

Is this too much of an hassle to play around with? I don't know, I guess it depends on the person. Is this too bothersome to code? That's up to Steve. But something similar to this is the only scenario where I would like power generation to be tracked.
If instead it becomes just more mindless micro (build a plant every x other installations) then I'm not really interested.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 05:17:15 PM by Zincat »
 

Offline Graham

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2019, 05:31:09 PM »
I am in agreement with others that while power could be interesting, it would need a lot of depth and meaningful choice in order to function as anything more than an annoyance. What you suggested about different environments favouring different power generation is a good start to that, though it should be ensured that it doesn't become just picking one of 5 buildings that all do the same thing depending on what biome you are on. Given the necessary complexity, I think this would be best suited to a v1.X update later on where it could be integrated into a larger economics model upgrade, if the economic side of the game is something you want to expand. I certainly though don't think we have any urgent need for it.

I think that if it were to be added, then in order to differentiate it from the other systems we already have, it should probably at least face significant efficiency losses when moved between colonies.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Power Generation
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2019, 05:47:29 PM »
Thanks for all the comments everyone. In retrospect, I think power generation is probably going to add more micromanagement than additional game play, so I don't plan to implement it.
 
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