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How would you like fuel to work in Limit Theory?

Bah. Energy drinks are all the fuel I need!
Total votes: 12 (9%)
While I like the concept as fuel as a resource to be gathered, made and sold, I still feel actually using fuel should not be a functional part of the game.
Total votes: 27 (21%)
"Fuel" is only needed in order to start the reactor that ships use for energy/propulsion. This gives fuel value for building ships without making it particularly functional ingame.
Total votes: 13 (10%)
Only larger ships should need to use fuel, as smaller ships should have far more efficient engines. Running out of fuel in distant space is a Game Over/Deadlock.
(No votes)
Only larger ships should need to use fuel, as smaller ships should have far more efficient engines. Running out of fuel in distant space means sending a distress message for help.
Total votes: 2 (2%)
Only smaller ships should need to use fuel, as larger ships should have far more efficient engines. Running out of fuel in distant space is a Game Over/Deadlock.
(No votes)
Only smaller ships should need to use fuel, as larger ships should have far more efficient engines. Running out of fuel in distant space means sending a distress message for help.
(No votes)
All ships use fuel. Running out is a Game Over/Deadlock.
Total votes: 3 (2%)
All ships use fuel. Running out means sending a distress message for help.
Total votes: 9 (7%)
Fuel requirements should be different depending on the type of engine/drive the ship uses. Merely as an example, one slow type of engine may not use fuel at all while a fast engine might. Running out of fuel in distant space is a Game Over/Deadlock.
Total votes: 1 (1%)
Fuel requirements should be different depending on the type of engine/drive the ship uses. Merely as an example, one slow type of engine may not use fuel at all while a fast engine might. Running out of fuel in distant space requires sending a distress signal for help.
Total votes: 30 (23%)
Fuel is a part of the game. When it runs out, ships can use some form of an emergency power source instead, which may make their ship slower and/or more vulnerable but allow play to continue.
Total votes: 17 (13%)
Full speed requires fuel but ships can limp along at half speed if they run out.
Total votes: 1 (1%)
Basic engines use fuel, but as they get more advanced fuel requirements drop until they perhaps eventually disappear if researched enough in the right way. Running out is a Game Over/deadlock.
Total votes: 3 (2%)
Basic engines use fuel, but as they get more advanced fuel requirements drop until they perhaps eventually disappear if researched enough in the right way. Running out means sending a distress call for help.
Total votes: 5 (4%)
Fuel is needed for scanning/weapons/mining. You can travel without it but can't really do anything.
Total votes: 1 (1%)
Other (Please specify!)
Total votes: 6 (5%)
Total votes: 130
Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#46
Compugasm wrote:Possibly, another price associated, is not having the ability to transport resources through the gate. Ships, people, equipment, all good; but you better have the resources on the other side of the gate before you jump. There is no rational explanation of why resources can't be jumped. It's a game limiting cost.
Trade = busted.
If you cannot transport wares through a wormhole, you cannot trade.

A mass restriction would be more logical.
If you do only have just enough jump chage to transport your ships mass, you cannot take the content of your cargo hold with you.

Same basic idea, no "because it is" explanation, trade still possible.

Compugasm wrote: The point is, there is fuel required in X3, and AI pilots can refuel it. The pilots get fuel in a min/max price range. This negates the concern about being screwed over on pricing. Simultaneously, this means that refueling will happen automatically too. Therefore, there is no need for a refuel button, which was the whole point of my argument.
You could have said that point with settable price ranges.
All you ever said was

if(docked())
{
Buy_fuel();
}

With settable prices i can accept the auto buy.
compugasm wrote: Either I can't explain this properly, or you guys are trolling me.
Mostly the first.

And a teeny weeny bit of the latter because you just asked for it with that sentence :ghost:
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Re: Fuel Part 2

#47
I was editing my last post when you replied. Reread it.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:Trade = busted.
Not true. What it means, is that the local economy is more stable and not as volatile. For example, look at the gas prices around your neighborhood. Do they fluctuate wildly, or are they all within a ten cent margin of each other? They're all close in price. Additionally, this means there are long chain profitable trade routes, because you can't simply jump res to to the highest selling market in the universe. It takes time to get there, you need the right ship, speed, capacity, and possibly escorts to get there. And since the economy is more localized, if someone gets to the station before you do, you aren't jumping across the galaxy again. There is going to be another nearby location that needs what you're transporting.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:If you cannot transport wares through a wormhole, you cannot trade.
Build a fuel depot on the other side of the gate then. Somehow, we're able to trade with China without having instantaneous gate travel. They load the crap on a barge and float it over here. It takes weeks.
Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#48
I dont see how this would and could affect price volatility...

But i misunderstood your claim about "no freight".
I did not recognise the implied conditional of "if you dont have jump charge then".

I thought you ment (to take your analogy) that you can move your chinese freighter around the world at will, but as soon as you load a single, half empty soda can as cargo you suddenly are not able anymore to get over the big pond
Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#49
I think I'll just re-iterate and expand on the opinion I had previously:

1. Fuel should totally be a thing;
2. Engines should be ridiculously efficient.
3. Engines are all essentially the same - they have magnetic nozzle that expels stuff.
4. Running out of fuel shouldn't be a death sentence, but rather a challenge to overcome.

I am uncertain whether the power plant should be decoupled from the engine or they should be one entity. Having separate reactors and engines opens up a lot of possibilities. I think they should be separate; it adds to management but if fuel is cheap it shouldn't be a problem to enable automatic refuelling on every station you visit.

So, if we have separate power plant and engine, we can have:

Fission, fusion and anti-matter reactors. - pretty straightforward, fission is the least and anti-matter is the most powerful and efficient.

Energy-independent engines - they may require power for ignition or fuel storage, but once they are on they don't consume energy. They can be of fusion type (cheap fuel; extremely efficient: quite big, quite heavy and quite expensive engines), fission (more expensive and less efficient fuel, but cheaper, smaller, more light-weight engines that require almost no energy for ignition), and anti-matter (insane fuel prices; insanely efficient; require some power for anti-matter containment but no energy for ignition). The most important thing about them is the absence of the cruise mode - you just accelerate and accelerate till you're capped to your maximum speed, with weapons remaining operational.

Energy-dependent engines - they use external power to run themselves. Their characteristics depend heavily on the power input.
Can be of ion/plasma/VASIMIR type - that is, they can use anything you can ionise and expel to produce thrust. Have some water in your cargo hold? Feed it into the engine. Have some mined ore? Feed it into the engine. Have an annoying sibling? You got the gist :) That way, if you're low on fuel you can always mine something. Efficiency should vary depending on what you feed into the engine; specialised fuel mixtures give you 100% efficiency, but with something like glass or unrefined ore you'll get much lower efficiency -> you'd go through your fuel reserves faster and spend more energy. And finally, the most advanced is a quantum vacuum plasma thruster - you don't need fuel for it as it extracts it from vacuum fluctuations, but it needs a lot of energy to run. Those engines can enter the cruise mode when weapons are off and all your energy goes into the engine, Freelancer-style.

That way, explorer's choice would clearly be a powerful fusion reactor with quantum vacuum plasma thruster (Q-thruster), and mining equipment to get some hydrogen or helium-3.

Let's talk a bit about what efficiency and other things actually mean.

Engine efficiency = specific impulse = how fast it eats through the fuel, if it has it. Q-thrusters are the most efficient since they don't need fuel.
Engine power = thrust = how fast you can accelerate to your maximum speed both in normal flight and in cruise mode. Antimatter, fusion and fission drives are the best and are an obvious choice for really big, massive capital ships; fighters, cruisers and transports will live perfectly fine with plasma or Q-thrusters.

I think combining several engine types on one ship would be fun.

And finally, every ship should have some sort of back-up power plant, for example a solar panel and/or a small fission reactor, that will kick in if your main reactor went out of fuel. This should be accompanied by an annoying 'low on reactor fuel' message, but should allow player enough room to get to the fuel depot. Solar panel+Q-thruster allows for indefinite flight at the cost of no power to weapons, low shields etc., and you're screwed if you're in the system with no star. For extreme cases, there should be an option for distress signal.

The most obvious thing for explorers (like me!) should be:

1. Get yourself a fusion reactor;
2. Get Q-thrusters or fusion engine or both;
3. Get some mining equipment;
4. Get a portable refinery to extract hydrogen from what you've mined;
5. Get both a back-up solar panel and a back-up fission reactor just in case.

That way, you'll be able to fly indefinitely with some mining/extraction on your way. Use of local resources to continue your journey is an integral part of exploration, folks!
Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#50
First of all, could you please use a smaller font size? it's a bit to 'shouting' for me :S

Second some remarks on your text:

fusion type engines would have the potential to be lighter than fission ones (due to much lighter fuel and the possibility that fusion reactors could have the same size as fission reactors), their fuel would probably also be cheaper (since Hydrogen is one of the most abundant molecules in the universe).
outlander4 wrote:specialised fuel mixtures give you 100% efficiency
:x time to get your laws of thermodynamics back in shape, there is NO such thing as a 100% efficient engine.

I also would like to state that injecting just random stuff in a engine that uses ionization would not work, you would need to grind in first or at least vaporize it, and then transport it to your ionization chamber, any particle that's to big would first need to be filtered out (to prevent a drastic drop in the amount of particles that will be ionized, thus preventing a stuttering engine), drastically reducing the efficiency of using those fuels. Best use for this would actually be gasses (like Argon gas).
Thus if you used a 'whatever' fuel you would a) reduce your efficiency drastically, b)you spend indeed a lot more energy c) specialized engines would be needed to ensure a fluently working engine.

About Q-thrusters: while they would be viable for small satellites to make orbital changes on relatively long periods of time, I doubt they would ever be able to produce enough trust to get you fly a fighter efficiently, next to that: solar panels wouldn't be the energy source of choice if you want to make interstellar flights with it (or if you want to go relatively far from the star where you are) since the light reaching the panels at such distances from the light sources wouldn't produce enough energy to make your drive work. The use of a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (the power source of curiosity) would be much better.

About the back up plant: I would never enter a ship that uses solar panels as back up power if that ship is ever going to go far of a star (see reasons stated above)
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Idiots. Idiots everywhere. ~Dr. Cha0zz
Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#52
Cornflakes_91 wrote:regarding q-thrusters:

from what i remember out of that NASA paper that i read have they actually higher thrust than ion engines at the same power levels.

0.06N/kW ion thruster vs 0.1N/kW q-thruster.

So if a q thruster is only suitable for station keeping, whats an ion thruster good for then :lol:
eh I never stated that they only would be able to be used for station keeping.
And I have the same doubts about the ability of ion engines being used as propulsion system for something like fighters (which would need to be able to make quick changes in direction).
Note that I'm not saying that they couldn't be used as a propulsion system, what I'm saying is that I doubt they can be used for making the quick orbital changes which would be required for fighters etc. because of the low acceleration that both ion and quantum thrusters produce.
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Idiots. Idiots everywhere. ~Dr. Cha0zz
Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#53
Cha0zz wrote:First of all, could you please use a smaller font size? it's a bit to 'shouting' for me :S
I used 'normal' and 'large'. It looked fine on my monitor, but yeah, I'll keep that in mind.
Cha0zz wrote:fusion type engines would have the potential to be lighter than fission ones (due to much lighter fuel and the possibility that fusion reactors could have the same size as fission reactors), their fuel would probably also be cheaper (since Hydrogen is one of the most abundant molecules in the universe).
I believe that due to all the electromagnets involved in containing, compressing and heating the plasma they'll be quite big. With fission engines you'll need something that stores your fuel divided into units with sub-critical mass and then mix two such units in the containment chamber. Fuel for fusion is indeed cheaper and lighter, as per my original post.
Cha0zz wrote:
outlander4 wrote:specialised fuel mixtures give you 100% efficiency
:x time to get your laws of thermodynamics back in shape, there is NO such thing as a 100% efficient engine.
Damn, meant to say 'relative efficiency'.
Cha0zz wrote:I also would like to state that injecting just random stuff in a engine that uses ionization would not work, you would need to grind in first or at least vaporize it, and then transport it to your ionization chamber, any particle that's to big would first need to be filtered out (to prevent a drastic drop in the amount of particles that will be ionized, thus preventing a stuttering engine), drastically reducing the efficiency of using those fuels. Best use for this would actually be gasses (like Argon gas).
Thus if you used a 'whatever' fuel you would a) reduce your efficiency drastically, b)you spend indeed a lot more energy c) specialized engines would be needed to ensure a fluently working engine.
Let's just assume that all machinery needed for that is included into the engine. And I told about the performance penalty; it's not about feeding anything into your engine, it's about being able to run it when out of normal fuel as opposed to being stranded.

Q-thrusters are rather theoretical at this point, but hey - LT doesn't aim at being an accurate representation of real space, so breaks from reality are acceptable as long as some general principles are there. So I'd like to assume that they can be powerful enough if provided with enough energy. Not that it can happen in real life, anyway :D

Solar panels are good up to the Jupiter's orbit in real life; of course, RTGs (or small fission reactors I've mentioned originally - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_p ... _Plant.jpg, and Russians made both bigger and smaller reactors) are both viable as back-up power.
Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#55
I believe that due to all the electromagnets involved in containing, compressing and heating the plasma they'll be quite big.
Well, there are different ways of doing fusion, some are big, others have the potential to be very small (if we ever be able to get them produce power off course)
Fusion with the use of lasers (Inertial containment fusion) for example wouldn't need an magnetic field for containment.
Another potential down scalable fusion reactor would be fusion based on Dense plasma focus.
And than we have fusors; the already small fusion reactors (the type of fusion reactors build by enthousiasts, they literally can be small enough to fit in your car :P, the potential for power production however is not really big, but who knows what could happen in the far future)
Spoiler:      SHOW
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It's not because the most promising type of fusion generator that would be able to produce power (tokamak reactors) are huge that other means of fusion reactors won't be able to be used in the future or maybe we could even downsize the tokamak design, who knows?
With fission engines you'll need something that stores your fuel divided into units with sub-critical mass and then mix two such units in the containment chamber.

yep, and preferably also a good safety mechanism (unless you want fire works :D)
Fuel for fusion is indeed cheaper and lighter, as per my original post.
Woops, misread that, sorry :oops:

Damn, meant to say 'relative efficiency'.
Phew, sounds a lot better :D
Let's just assume that all machinery needed for that is included into the engine. And I told about the performance penalty; it's not about feeding anything into your engine, it's about being able to run it when out of normal fuel as opposed to being stranded.
I'm fine with that.
Q-thrusters are rather theoretical at this point, but hey - LT doesn't aim at being an accurate representation of real space, so breaks from reality are acceptable as long as some general principles are there. So I'd like to assume that they can be powerful enough if provided with enough energy. Not that it can happen in real life, anyway :D
bit more than theoretical, but you're right when you say that LT won't be an accurate representation of the real world :P
EDIT: Just noticed that Cornflakes ninja'd me on that one :P
Solar panels are good up to the Jupiter's orbit in real life; of course, RTGs (or small fission reactors I've mentioned originally - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_p ... _Plant.jpg, and Russians made both bigger and smaller reactors) are both viable as back-up power.
Aye, I still wouldn't go in a ship (that's meant to be interstellar) that's only using solar panels as back-up (in the real world that is).
I agree with the smaller backup reactors, although given the size of ships in LT, larger ones would probably also do fine :P
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Idiots. Idiots everywhere. ~Dr. Cha0zz
Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#56
Cha0zz wrote: And than we have fusors; t
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Oh my God I want one! I totally want one to replace candles I use for romantic evenings! Will need to build a radiation protection cell, though. I actually hope that humanity will make compact fusion reactors one day, but as of now there's no breakthrough in sight. Even inertial confinement devices are huge as they need to house several lasers the size of a turbofan engine each. But hey, miniaturisation of the fusion reactors can be a valid research path in LT!
Aye, I still wouldn't go in a ship (that's meant to be interstellar) that's only using solar panels as back-up (in the real world that is).
I agree with the smaller backup reactors, although given the size of ships in LT, larger ones would probably also do fine :P
When it comes to exploration, it's true! I'd never leave civilised space without a back-up fusion reactor, fission reactor, isotope separation thingie to make RTG fuel out of fission waste, solar panels and a fuel cell and a good-old chemical generator. But what about transport ships that are never meant to be used outside of civilised space with trade lanes, jump gates and stations everywhere, running known routes and consuming known quantities of fuel in the process? For those, getting a small solar panel for back-up power is an achievement in OSHA compliance. Profit-hungry companies may built such ships with no back-up power of any sort except batteries just to decrease spending a little bit. And that will return to bite them in their corporate arses when pirates start actively targeting those transports because of how week they are.
Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: Fuel Part 2

#57
Oh my God I want one! I totally want one to replace candles I use for romantic evenings! Will need to build a radiation protection cell, though.
Nah, the amount of radiation produced by those tabletop fusors is quite small, and they don't run very long since they need quite a large amount of power to operate.
I actually hope that humanity will make compact fusion reactors one day, but as of now there's no breakthrough in sight. Even inertial confinement devices are huge as they need to house several lasers the size of a turbofan engine each. But hey, miniaturisation of the fusion reactors can be a valid research path in LT!
Well there is one guy who claims that a relatively small fusion reactor based on dense plasma focus is possible in the near future.
I'm however not sure what to think of this guy, the things he promises seem to good to be true (makes me think of those people who see conspiracy theories everywhere or suddenly find a way to create infinite energy) on the other hand, he does have papers published and his idea is reviewed by a committee who (surprisingly) didn't stated the whole idea as bullshit (however many aspects of the idea are based on what seem to be assumptions, but they should be relatively easy to test). And he has also received NASA funding for his research in the past.
But then again I don't really know what to think of the idea.

And the downscaling of lasers may be coming somewhat quicker with the investments the army is making in laser weapons.


When it comes to exploration, it's true! I'd never leave civilised space without a back-up fusion reactor, fission reactor, isotope separation thingie to make RTG fuel out of fission waste, solar panels and a fuel cell and a good-old chemical generator. But what about transport ships that are never meant to be used outside of civilised space with trade lanes, jump gates and stations everywhere, running known routes and consuming known quantities of fuel in the process? For those, getting a small solar panel for back-up power is an achievement in OSHA compliance. Profit-hungry companies may built such ships with no back-up power of any sort except batteries just to decrease spending a little bit. And that will return to bite them in their corporate arses when pirates start actively targeting those transports because of how week they are.
The way I see it, every ship would be equipped with solar cells, since they don't take that much space, but also every ship would have at least one other source of backup power, since transport could very well get far enough from it for solar cells to become inefficient (I'm thinking about planetary mining, astroids located further away from the sun, ...).
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Post

Re: Fuel Part 2

#58
Just checking into this thread again to note that I still like the idea of distinguishing between intra-system ("normal" space) drives and inter-system ("wormholes") drives... and that normal space drives don't need fuel but wormhole drives do.

The implication here is that you don't need fuel at all for tooling around within a system. If you're content to hang out in a particular system, you can fly anywhere for as long as you want for zero fuel cost.

It's only if a ship wants to transit to a different star system that they need fuel (or "charge" or whatever you want to call it) for making the transition into the wormhole that connects your current system to another one.

If it's just your ship, you can buy enough fuel for a couple of wormhole jaunts from any friendly starfaring civilization that has a fuel depot. (To support exploration, small-to-medium size ships would be able to buy extended fuel tanks at the expense of a lot of other systems, primarily weapons.)

If you have a fleet that you want to move between systems, you'll need to buy enough fuel for all of them. This will impose an important constraint on operations -- you can't just move giant fleets at zero cost wherever you want; you'll need to plan how to pay for that movement. That resource cost becomes a useful gameplay challenge.

And if you have dreams of large-scale conquest that involve you owning entire star systems, then you'll have the strategic challenge of creating your own fuel depots as you expand in order to support further expansion. Again, this is a valuable gameplay feature for the players who actually enjoy working out strategic challenges.

The one question I have in this is: how do you make wormhole fuel?

At the tactical level you don't need it, and at the operational level you can just buy it... but at the strategic level you'll want to be able to make your own go-juice. So the rules for that need to be designed properly. If it's too easy to crank out a lot of fuel quickly, then it's no longer a strategic resource that needs to be handled thoughtfully.

One possibility is that it's hard to collect but it can be made anywhere. That's pretty simple. Another possibility is that making wormhole fuel requires some special source material that is normally fairly rare. This is interesting because it means that you can peg inter-system expansion speeds to the distribution of this rare source material -- if there are some areas of space that don't have much of it, expansion from those regions will be slower than areas where it's relatively more common. That presents a more intriguing strategic challenge, but is a little more complicated in that the universe's resource generation algorithm would probably need to make sure that there aren't many areas devoid of the fuel-making material.

Just another take on the question.
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Re: Fuel Part 2

#59
Flatfingers wrote:Just checking into this thread again to note that I still like the idea of distinguishing between intra-system ("normal" space) drives and inter-system ("wormholes") drives... and that normal space drives don't need fuel but wormhole drives do.
Yeah, I find this the most attractive option.
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Re: Fuel Part 2

#60
Why not make fuel come from an abundant resource? Hydrogen for instance?
Ice asteroids are already a confirmed feature. So the ice coming from them should have a purpose.
Trace metals and minerals can be gotten from the ice, leaving pure water which can be split into oxygen (awesome oxidizer for industrial processes) and hydrogen for fuel.

There could be various ways at various efficiencies to purify this ice. But the process itself is really simple, so everybody can do it.
It could be a choice to install a module to process ice while in flight, or an extra weapon, inventory or fuel tank.
You allow for more specialization. For instance a carrier with a mobile fuel refinery that fuels its stationed ships. These ships would be designed for specific actions (bombing, interception) in relative small areas.

At the same time I don't really love the idea of getting stuck in space. So a 2nd way to power ships could perhaps be installed.
Ships equipped with a solar panel exchange some defensive plating for an always-working, albeit slow, energy collector. On a small ship this solar panel would be enough to let you fly at normal speed.

A good game, for me, lets the player encounter problems and give them the tools to solve them in various manners.
This is why I don't mind micromanagement in general, IF the game offers smart ways to automate these processes.
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