Author Topic: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?  (Read 238 times)

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Offline xenoscepter

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Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« on: March 11, 2019, 06:09:59 PM »
So, perhaps it is just me and how I design my ships, but I've  noticed something interesting about older engines.

The fact of the matter is, that the lower the technology of the engine; the less fuel it uses per HS.

Now; I'll preamble by saying I get that there is a MASSIVE discrepancy between the output of higher tech engines and lower tech ones, but that's not my point here.

I've finally sat down and begun to really learn the game, and this particular fact stuck out to me: You only need to go so fast to get so far when you are performing mundane tasks.

So, when considering HS with regards to deployment time, module weight and fuel storage; I noticed that Old Tech engines, Nuclear Pulse in particular, are simply "fast enough" for most mundane things like colony ships, fuel tankers, freighters, supply ships, shuttles, salvage craft, survey ships and even troop transports or picket ships. (although those last two are more a taste thing, but it's both doable AND useful)

So, what do you all think? I think Conventional Engines can even be useful in this way for really light craft. (Think a thousand tons or so)

It seems to me like a good weight saving measure since these ships don't need to go faster than "fast enough"
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 06:22:27 PM »
So, perhaps it is just me and how I design my ships, but I've  noticed something interesting about older engines.

The fact of the matter is, that the lower the technology of the engine; the less fuel it uses per HS.

Now; I'll preamble by saying I get that there is a MASSIVE discrepancy between the output of higher tech engines and lower tech ones, but that's not my point here.

I've finally sat down and begun to really learn the game, and this particular fact stuck out to me: You only need to go so fast to get so far when you are performing mundane tasks.

So, when considering HS with regards to deployment time, module weight and fuel storage; I noticed that Old Tech engines, Nuclear Pulse in particular, are simply "fast enough" for most mundane things like colony ships, fuel tankers, freighters, supply ships, shuttles, salvage craft, survey ships and even troop transports or picket ships. (although those last two are more a taste thing, but it's both doable AND useful)

So, what do you all think? I think Conventional Engines can even be useful in this way for really light craft. (Think a thousand tons or so)

It seems to me like a good weight saving measure since these ships don't need to go faster than "fast enough"

That is unfortunately not how it works. The engine use fuel per hour consumption which then translates to fuel used per km traversed. So an older engine with a worse fuel efficiency will use more fuel per distance traveled.

They might use less fuel per hour but they also is much slower so they still will use more fuel per distance traveled versus a faster engine with better fuel efficiency.

So... if you reduce the speed on a ship you don't reduce the fuel use when you count the distance traveled with a ship.
 

Offline xenoscepter

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Re: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 07:18:57 PM »
That's not how I meant it either.

You only need to go so far, so fast with ships that are doing certain tasks. Thus the absolute hull space needed for say 6 months of travel time is fixed. To put it another way, if I only have to go 3 million kilometers and how long it takes me to get there is a non-issue, then an absolute value exists with regards to how much Hull Space (or tonnage) I need to get there.

Or, put another way; if I just need to pop over to Venus, I only need X amount of speed in km/s to catch up and X amount of fuel to make the trip; let's say enough for a single round trip. Since both values for that trip to Venus are fixed values which don't need to be exceeded, my ship with a Nuclear Pulse Engine can make that speed for less fuel than my Magneto-Plasma version, because the Magneto-Plasma eats more fuel per Hull Space, requiring more Hull Space for fuel to create an amount of speed that is wasted on my little put-put over to Venus.

Basically, if I only need X speed and Y distance, where X and Y are fixed values which do not need to be exceeded, I could use Nuclear-Pulse, Ion or whatever "lower tech" engine in place of a higher tech one to save Hull Space since I don't need the speed of a better engine, nor do I need the range which it would afford me by the merit of said higher speed.

Yes, I know the argument can be made that a higher tech engine gives more of X and Y for less Hull Space by virtue of said speed, but a Cargo Module still weighs a fixed amount, as do Sorium Harvesters, Asteroid Miners, Salvage Modules, Jump Gate construction modules and so on and so forth. Which brings me to the second part of my OP, where the Hull Space itself has a certain fixed value by merit of it's role. A Sorium Harvester will always weigh AT LEAST as much as one Sorium Module; a Cargo Freighter will always weigh as much as at least one Small Cargo Module; etc.

So, with Engine Power Boost tech, and fuel consumption tech, as well as the lower tech engines being less fuel hungry per HS; I posit that it is useful to use lower tech engines for ships that have:

A - A role which demands a certain minimum tonnage which is non-negotiable. I.E. Cargo Modules, Cryo modules and others that don't benefit from size-reductions through tech like weapons, power plants, FCS, Sensors etc as being mandatory to accomplish their mission.

B - Only need to go a certain distance, presumably inter-system, but Jump Drive enabled is valid: so long as the ship is only operating within a certain number of km or time period.

C - Doesn't need to be there under a time crunch. One month or three doesn't REALLY matter for a Colony Ship. Although faster could be better, it doesn't HAVE to go faster to get the job done.

Just for some clarity, I was in the laundro-mat when composing the first piece.

So, in light of this, does my assumption have any merits to it at all?
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 07:38:26 PM »
No... but that is not how it work.

If you have an engine of say size 50 that is Nuclear Pulse like this one with a fuel consumption of 0.7...

Code: [Select]
Engine Power: 200     Fuel Use Per Hour: 12.38 Litres
Fuel Consumption per Engine Power Hour: 0.062 Litres
Engine Size: 50 HS    Engine HTK: 25
Thermal Signature: 200     Exp Chance: 5
Cost: 50    Crew: 25
Materials Required: 50x Gallicite
Commercial Engine

Then I get a new Ion Engine size 50 with a fuel consumption of 0.6...

Code: [Select]
Engine Power: 300     Fuel Use Per Hour: 15.9 Litres
Fuel Consumption per Engine Power Hour: 0.053 Litres
Engine Size: 50 HS    Engine HTK: 25
Thermal Signature: 300     Exp Chance: 5
Cost: 75    Crew: 25
Materials Required: 75x Gallicite
Commercial Engine

The Ion Engine will carry the same tonnage of load for less fuel, in addition to that it will also do it faster... the speed at which it carries the cargo does not matter since reducing the speed will never decrease the fuel spent over the same distance. So if the Ion Engine above had the same fuel consumption ratio at 0.7 it would use up exactly the same amount of fuel just deliver the cargo faster.

If you deliver something faster you also need less ships in general. You are going to burn the same amount of fuel but you can deliver the same amount of goods with less ships over the same amount of time.

Example
If you need to deliver 1.000.000 people to a new colony and you have two ships both of which can carry 50.000 people but one can deliver those twice as fast (including loading and unloading just for the sake the example). Both ships are the same size and burn the same amount of fuel per distance traveled (have the same fuel consumption ratio and same size engines). The faster ships can do it in half the time or you need twice the amount of slower ships to do it in the same amount of time.

Not caring about the time it takes to deliver a certain amount of goods is only important if you have more ships than you know what to do with.

Exchanging old engines for new ones is important. You want better fuel consumption ratios and you also can make ships with a lower power to size ratio to lower fuel consumption considerably but have overall speed remain roughly the same. This is because lower the amount of fuel that your commercial design use is very important. It is generally better to have more ships than less but faster that burn more fuel per tonnage of delivered goods.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 07:52:06 PM by Jorgen_CAB »
 
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Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 08:01:58 PM »
And this engine...

Code: [Select]
Engine Power: 210     Fuel Use Per Hour: 5.33 Litres
Fuel Consumption per Engine Power Hour: 0.025 Litres
Engine Size: 50 HS    Engine HTK: 25
Thermal Signature: 210     Exp Chance: 3
Cost: 36.75    Crew: 17
Materials Required: 36.75x Gallicite
Commercial Engine

Which has the same power as the older Nuclear Pulse engine but lower power to weight ratio to save more fuel is way better to use. It is done with the same 0.7 fuel consumption rate as the Nuclear Pulse above.

It will basically use up almost 60% less fuel than the Nuclear Pulse engine delivering the same amount of cargo. It also is much cheaper to build. So it is even worth scrapping the old engines just to build these ones instead for the resources you get back.
 
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Offline xenoscepter

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Re: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 09:02:29 PM »
Cool beans, thanks for the explanation!
 

Offline serger

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Re: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2019, 02:45:31 AM »
I use old engines for my training fighters, because it's cheaper and less TN-consumable, ans it's no need to have any performance with training wing. Cannot see any other purpose.
 
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Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2019, 03:11:56 AM »
Cool beans, thanks for the explanation!

It is not always straight forward when you start to delve into how the mechanic works.   :)

In general fuel economy is the most important thing to consider on commercial engines and ships. While it is important for military ships as well I would not redesign engines on military ships just for the purpose of fuel efficiency changes.

In essence I try to have speed remain roughly the same for commercial engines but continually reduce the fuel consumption on them. The speed at least rise very slowly for each tech level gained, instead I lower the power to weight ratio. This make the engines cheaper (faster to research, build and less resources).
Since lower power also mean cheaper engines you can often put an extra engine or two on the ships as you go along without increasing the overall cost of the ships but will increase speed.

For military engines you have other concerns...
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: Potential Advantages of Old Tech Engines?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2019, 05:29:00 AM »
Below 1.0, cost and crew requirement scale quadratically with power multiplier. Purpose-built low-power engines are much more attractive than obsolescent ones. This also means building new engines of the same performance and scrapping the old ones costs very little.

One strange case in which old tech may make a little sense is using engines as a damage sponge - 25HtK for 5BP (the minimum cost of an engine) is a bargain. But if you like bloated cheap ships, you probably want to research low-power multiplier until you can do it at your current engine concept.
 

 

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