KwirkyJ

[1.1.3] JDiminishingRTG v1.4.0 : Realistic, configurable radioisotope decay! [8 Jul 2016]

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A smarter, shinier, better radioisotope module, now with more heat

Download HERE

auxiliary title: Quarter Life: Halfway to Dres-truction

 

  • An improvement on stock RTG behavior with its eternal power supply.
  • Implements a configurable, robust mechanism for Radioisotope decay and power generation.
  • Parts with ModuleDiminishingRTG will be able to configure their isotope fuel from within the VAB, a single input being reflected across all symmetry companions.
  • Parts should behave consistently between vessel docking/undocking.
  • Decay operates in background (all unfocused vessels).
  • Can be added to any part without interference... probably.
  • Inspired by "Realistic RTGs" plugin by Gribbleschnibit8 http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/96030/
  • ModuleManager redistributed under CC SA license.

 

 

In the VAB...

screenshot2_zps4o0cpdqm.png

Been in space a while, adjusting Duna orbit

screenshot3_zpsqgrsvrjo.png

Output (Ec/min) of 1 Unit (dL) of fuel over ten years, multiply by 7 for actual values --

Red is Krontium90

Green is Kyandere210

Blue is Kitsunium238

Yellow is Kuudite241

RTGcurvesV1.3a_zps883i1mkt.png

 

Installation instructions:

 

  • Extract all GameData contents into your KSP/GameData folder.

 

Known Issues:

 

  • Reverting to VAB (or loading craft from file) will not display output. Re-cycling the configuration will fix.
  • Adding symmetry companions will not share the setup of the original. Like above, re-cycling the configuration to the desired setting will fix. (To produce error, change setup on one RTG part, detach, reattach with new symmetry count.)
  • Part cost is not updated with change of resources. This is a failure with the part cost mechanic as provided by Squad, and I maintain that it is their duty to make it work properly.

 

Extenders/modders:

 

  • Look at provided configs for documentation.
  • Plugin and source available under LGPLv3 : You are free to run, modify, recompile, and redistribute with attribution and same license.
  • Assets (cfg files) made available under CC BY NC 4.0 : You may share and modify-and-share so long as credit is given and is not sold.
  • All RTGFUELCONFIG nodes ABSOLUTELY MUST have a resource definition of the same name.
  • Adding/removing RTGFUELCONFIG nodes may have a deleterious effect to .craft files and persistent saves -- modify with caution.
  • If more than one RTGFUELCONFIG has the same name, only one will be retained and order is undefined.

 

CHANGELOG

 

 
*** 8 Jul 2016 (v1.4.0)
    * KSP v1.1.3 update pre-release

*** 3 May 2015 (v1.3a)
    * Fixed failure to properly read global config node, resulting in undesired behaviors.

*** 2 May 2015 (v1.3)
    * Rebuilt on KSP v1.0.2
    * Added global settings configuration
    * Added thermal component

*** 28 Apr 2015 (v1.2)
    * Rebuilt on KSP v1.0
    * Adjusted half-lives to something for sane for improved decision-making in game context.

*** 19 Apr 2015 (v1.1)
    * Balance tweak of radioisotopes.
    * Removed debug lines from some code sections.
    * Enabled Ec/min display when output is low.
    * Fixed bug where output was function of mass of all resources in part -- craft built with the v1.0 dll will probably eat all Ec ever, or just about; can be corrected by editing the density field for each partmodule in the persistence file.
    * Fixed bug of mass being held constant as non-RTG fuels were added/removed.
    * Renamed displayed field from "Mass" to "RTG mass."
    * Added source files to release.

*** 18 Apr 2015 (v1.0)
    * Initial release (KSPv0.90.0)

 

Edited by KwirkyJ
JDimRTG v1.4.0 update

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Is there away to throttle the output ? Looks like a mix between Realistic RTGs by Gribbleschnibit8 and NearFuture plugin which is what, I use now for my RTG's and can throttle the output alittle.

EDIT- But sadly NearFuture doesn't work on unfocused vessels

Edited by Mecripp2

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Is there away to throttle the output?

There is not, by design. The output at launch is contingent on the amount and type of fuel (and thermocouple efficiency), and diminishes over time, proportional to 2^-t. The mod does one thing, and (presumably) does it well.

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Is there away to throttle the output ? Looks like a mix between Realistic RTGs by Gribbleschnibit8 and NearFuture plugin which is what, I use now for my RTG's and can throttle the output alittle.

If there's a throttle, it's not an RTG. (Maybe you want a small nuclear reactor instead?)

To make an RTG, you synthesize and purify a batch of RTG fuel (usually Pu-238) which by its very nature (an isotope with a particular half-life) decays over time at a known rate, releasing a useful amount of heat which is turned into electricity via thermocouple or Stirling engine or whatever. There's no "on" or "off" switch for the underlying reaction, and if you reduce the amount of energy used, you don't extend the life of the RTG.

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If I may ask, how is this different/better than "Realistic RTGs" plugin by Gribbleschnibit8, (Although it does look like he has stopped working on it about 4+ months ago)

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Do fuel types have an associated cost? Some real-life fuels are much cheaper than others (but have lower efficiency to counter that).

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Yay, someone actually finished this! Your bugs are some of the bugs I had that bogged me down and kept me from continuing because I'm a perfectionist o.o (also things like school took time away).

If I may ask, how is this different/better than "Realistic RTGs" plugin by Gribbleschnibit8, (Although it does look like he has stopped working on it about 4+ months ago)

If I had to guess, the fact that this got finished :)

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v1.1 RELEASED

Fixes a couple subtle bugs, major balance tweak. Should break nothing, but vessels in-flight will not update their behavior, and any vessels from .craft will have the old performance as well unless you refresh the part by cycling through the settings again craft built with the v1.0 dll will probably eat all Ec ever, or just about; can be corrected by editing the density field (and, if applicable, pep and the resource's maxAmount) for each partmodule in the persistence file.

- - - Updated - - -

If I may ask, how is this different/better than "Realistic RTGs" plugin by Gribbleschnibit8, (Although it does look like he has stopped working on it about 4+ months ago)

As noted by Gribbleschnibit, it is more complete, implementing most of "Realistic RTG's" design goals, with an aspect or two that may have been overlooked. This mod should be more stable, relying on "universal time" rather than vessel flight time (for those who dock/undock at all); it uses PartResources and an additional configuration file to determine the behavior, rather than being fully hard-coded into the part/partmodule; configurations can be tweaked in editor, a feature completely lacking from "R'RTG".

Do fuel types have an associated cost? Some real-life fuels are much cheaper than others (but have lower efficiency to counter that).

Technically, yes. However, as I am using the provided PartResource mechanic to rely on cost it does not in practice due to the 'subtractive resource costs,' that the part costs a set amount and the resources provided in the config add to it. (this leads so some interesting behavior with modded or dynamic parts… have had KSPI craft that pay billions of funds upon construction because of empty antimatter containers.) I could presumably remedy this for the plugin, but as it is more fundamentally a failure on Squad's part I am content to simply wait for them to fix things. Apologies for the inconvenienceâ€â€I will make note of it in 'known issues.'

Edited by KwirkyJ

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Could you give an explanation, or what to look up to learn about "pep"?

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Could you give an explanation, or what to look up to learn about "pep"?

Technically, it is analogous to Watts/gram of nuclear decay. The term one would probably explore would be power density of a given isotope (e.g., 0.54 W/g for 238Pu). At the time I got going, I couldn't find the exact term for it that was simple and informative, so I went with a colloquial term that suggested how 'vivacious' the material was in terms of its thermal output... thus, "pep." (One will note that my mod also uses the imaginary unit "Zolts" in place of Watts.) Really, it's a whimsical name, but I took a liking to it, keeping it 'gamey' in a spirit similar to KSP at large while not being wholly wrong.

I left comments in the configs that should suggest the nature of the units, but I seem to have been a bit too subtle. I'll revisit those, and may make some notes in the readme in the future.

Hope this answers your question.

Edited by KwirkyJ

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In your pictures it shows in Ec/s and in game it's Ec/min ?

EDIT- Think your RTG's are broke there not putting out no juice

Edited by Mecripp2

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In your pictures it shows in Ec/s and in game it's Ec/min ?

EDIT- Think your RTG's are broke there not putting out no juice

The pictures reflect an older setup, so are waaaaay overpowered as shown. The Ec/min output display, as opposed to fractional seconds, was added in 1.1, as noted in both initial post and readme. Will update images "soon," as I'm still dubious about balance.

As for the issue in your edit, all I can say without more information from you is "they work for me." What does the context menu report as output? Can you reproduce the apparent problem?

(Also, ach! There/they're and double-negative.)

Edited by KwirkyJ

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It was my bad the part, I was using used 30 ec/min and the RTG was only putting out 14 ec/min.

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Now updated with KSP 1.0 assemblies. Tweaked half-lives down, to make use more interesting and decisions a little more involved. Get it from the initial post!

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Finally, a decent (at least it's advertised as such) and completed RTG mod. I will test this thing ASAP.

One question - why such weird fuel names?

Shouldn't it be klutonium-238, kamericium-241, and kolonium-210? (You got it right with krontium-90, though.) I mean if you're going with k-names...

BTW, these should produce considerable amounts of heat, that's why RTGs have radiators.

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Do these produce heat? my experiments suggest the stock RTG does not produce heat which is just silly to me.
BTW, these should produce considerable amounts of heat, that's why RTGs have radiators.

The radiators exist to create a differential in heat between the hot and cold side of the thermocouples, which is how thermocouples work. The greater teh differential, the better their performance. That being said, the job of the radiators is to expel that excess heat when the RTG is done with it, and RTGs generate at best a negligible heat input into a ship. They are, in every case I've been able to find, mounted in such a way as to provide minimum contact to the ship, in the case of Voyager they're on the end of an extendable boom that holds them away from the ship. This was in part to keep the heat away and also to protect the ship from radiation.

My point is that RTGs really shouldn't add heat to a vessel because 1) If the RTG is a constant source of heat, how do you get rid of it if the RTG can't even get rid of its own heat and 2) RTGs are designed to meet a temperature differential that produces energy efficiently, and this requires dumping heat off the fins, keeping its heat load self-regulating.

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The radiators exist to create a differential in heat between the hot and cold side of the thermocouples, which is how thermocouples work. The greater teh differential, the better their performance. That being said, the job of the radiators is to expel that excess heat when the RTG is done with it, and RTGs generate at best a negligible heat input into a ship. They are, in every case I've been able to find, mounted in such a way as to provide minimum contact to the ship, in the case of Voyager they're on the end of an extendable boom that holds them away from the ship. This was in part to keep the heat away and also to protect the ship from radiation.
But what if you put them on a wrong part of the ship? ;)

That's what I mean, if they don't produce heat, what's to prevent us from not putting them out on a boom,

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That's what I mean, if they don't produce heat, what's to prevent us from not putting them out on a boom,

Even if they produce heat, the way I understand the stock system to work it would still eventually saturate the vessel unless/until we get some kind of radiator part (yes you can use solar panels, but if you've got those why have RTGs?). If it produces enough heat that a boom is necessary, saturation would happen eventually anyway, and if it doesn't eventually have that issue then what's the point?

Idk, this is only supposed to be realistic up to a point, after that it stops becoming fun. I'd just as soon disable the whole heat mechanic altogether. I don't mind managing rockets and fuel and even snacks, but add in heat, and a few more resources and it starts becoming too much. One reason I never finished my version was because even though I made it I wasn't going to use it o.o Yeah, I make mods I don't use all the time (for other games) just to prove it can be done. That's why I'm glad this got taken over by someone interested in finishing it :)

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Thank you. This mod has become part of my "must have" package.
This is among the highest praise a creator can receive -- thank you, I'm glad you like it.
One question - why such weird fuel names?

Shouldn't it be klutonium-238, kamericium-241, and kolonium-210? (You got it right with krontium-90, though.) I mean if you're going with k-names...

The reasoning behind 'weird names' is twofold: first, keeping it gamey and fun in line with the general whimsy and fictitious nature of KSP at large (the names themselves are something of easter eggs); second, as of 1.2 they have at best a tenuous connection to the real-world elements that they simulate, as the power densities and half-lives are congruent but minimally related to the realistic values. That being said, the mod is written in a way that allows (and encourages!) you do adjust things how you wish... the cfgs should be adequately documented, but I can expand on them.

(Possible feature for future update: configurable units, so one could list power density as true-to-real-life W/kg as opposed to "Zolts" [which should be "Zot!s" anyway"])

BTW, these should produce considerable amounts of heat, that's why RTGs have radiators.
Do these produce heat? my experiments suggest the stock RTG does not produce heat which is just silly to me.
There are a few ways this can be answered, so I will try to address them all (most of which simply rephrase Gribble -- thanks to zir for replying in my stead).

The more indirect and useful answer is a question to itself: for what reason would simulating the heat be important? In pure-stock, the only effect would be to (1) cause a part that explodes upon creation or very nearly, or (2) make other parts hotter so they either explode spontaneously or sooner upon re-entry. Neither add positively to game-play. If you are using mods, the only relevant interplay I can think of would be RealFuels, where heat can impact boil-off; the license is permissive, one is free to add this feature and patch it to RF if they wish -- I have no interest in doing so, the payoff is too little.

The more technical answer, as Gribble has provided, has two sides. On one, yes, they generate a fair bit of energy (heat), and it has to go somewhere and along the way we get useful work out of it. This means the the part gets a bit warm/hot, and that energy gets radiated out; the RTG parts have built-in radiators for this purpose (and, technically, the attachment part absorbs and radiates some...). On the other, because one can view it as resolving heat on its own, one can simplify matters by considering the part after it has radiated this heat -- in effect, the warmth of the part is of no relevance to the rest of the ship and thus not worth modelling. This ties in to reasons above, as there is quite literally no point. To be fair, the game should have mechanics in place to simulate the black-body and conductive radiation if one was so inclined, but I am not. (permissive license, yadda yadda.)

This is not at all meant to be demeaning or condescending, but rather as an explanation of my rationale. I built this plugin with the intent of adding to play, not simulating reality for the sake of being parochial or pedantic.

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They are, in every case I've been able to find, mounted in such a way as to provide minimum contact to the ship, in the case of Voyager they're on the end of an extendable boom that holds them away from the ship. This was in part to keep the heat away and also to protect the ship from radiation.

My point is that RTGs really shouldn't add heat to a vessel because 1) If the RTG is a constant source of heat, how do you get rid of it if the RTG can't even get rid of its own heat and 2) RTGs are designed to meet a temperature differential that produces energy efficiently, and this requires dumping heat off the fins, keeping its heat load self-regulating.

The exception, of course, being New Horizons, but even in that case, very little of the heat from the RTG is used on the spacecraft. Per the website:

At launch the fuel produced almost 4,000 watts of thermal power; of that, New Horizons used about 25 watts of the waste heat to warm the spacecraft. Electrical power output of the RTG was about 245 watts. Some of that electrical power (about 120 watts) is also reused after powering components to help heat the spacecraft. The rest of the RTG heat and any extra electrical power are radiated into space.

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I changed my mind regarding the heat, now that I have played a bit and figured out how it works...

The module now generates heat by default! Can to toggled by RTGFuelConfigs.cfg, "GenerateHeat = false"

Both Electricity and Heat can be tweaked there as well -- among other things -- for those who want to experiment.

Get it at the main page!

(and while you're at it, consider grabbing JSeebeckUtils to better capitalize on this heat business)

CHANGES:

2 May 2015 (v1.3)

* Rebuilt on KSP v1.0.2

* Added global settings configuration

* Added thermal component

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