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[1.11.x] Heat Control - More radiators! (Jan 19, 2020)


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I did some thermal testing with a multi-nuke tug, it seems to me that the radiators don't cool the entire craft at once, just the hottest part. If you have multiple equally hot parts the radiators cycle through them. The number to watch in the action menu is "Internal Flux", that's where the heat flow into the rads (and out of parts being drawn from by rads) is shown. It also looks like the rads quickly reach the temperature of the hottest part on the vessel, which is OK as they have a high heat tolerance.

Looks like the "kick threshold" for the radiators that Darth Lazarus mentioned is per-part, then. The radiator sees all parts of the vessel, but chooses to take heat only from those that exceed the threshold.

That of course leads to the question whether or not there is any priority order to the parts in a vessel... for example if you have two 8 MW heat sources, two more parts which are heated up by conduction from those heat sources, and one 12.5 MW radiator that manages the entire vessel, which parts get cooled first? Does the capacity get spread evenly all four parts, leaving both heat sources partially cooled but also protecting the ship? Does it cool each part it finds above the threshold by as much as it needs and then proceeds to the next, which could lead to one heat source fully cooled and the other only half? Does it intelligently identify heat producing parts to cool first, or does it just crawl the Unity part tree and grab whatever heat it finds in that exact order? Perhaps something else entirely? And if there are two parts above the threshold, but one is more above than the other, does the radiator take from both or only from the one with the highest temperature?

The vessel-global heat mitigation kind of removes a potential gameplay dimension... sure, it is convenient when you don't have to think about where to put the radiators, but at the same time, it means that radiators are "boring" parts. They have no gameplay in them. People just throw one on wherever because the LV-N forces them to, not because it's actually interesting to put radiators on spaceships. For some parts, like solar panels, that level of abstraction is okay. For other parts, like engines, not so much. You do want people to think at least a little about fuel flow in constructing their rockets, because it makes things more interesting. Similarly, if radiators are not vessel-global, then people will need to become invested in how heat flows through their vessel, and plan accordingly. The question is, should radiators be abstracted like solar panels, or not?

I suppose Nertea is going to have to decide (and possibly poll the players) on whether to go forward with radiators localized as they currently are for interesting gameplay reasons, or with vessel-global radiators like the stock models for convenience reasons. You can't really have both, they'll be mutually exclusive.

Balance is going to be problematic. Medium radiator pulls 12500, costs 2250 and has a mass of 0.25. That's twice the heat dissipation for 1/10 the cost and 1/4 the mass of my largest radiator. Grr....

Careful, that is not heat dissipation, that's just transfer... and in the stock radiator language, 'transfer' just means 'ability to equalize temperature'. The stock radiators have a harder time dissipating heat than your radiators, because they cannot exceed the hottest part's heat. And since the ability to reject heat is directly related (in a very much exponential relationship) to radiator temperature, that likely means your radiators will have noticably higher heat rejection ability per surface area. Mass can be tuned accordingly... but I also agree to some extend: the stock radiators seem a little bit too much a minimum-footprint band-aid in response to the LV-N heat, and not really an attempt to have an interesting gameplay system (which was probably beyond scope of what RoverDude was trying/allowed to do here). Just like the LV-N heating, isolated on its own, was a poorly thought-out thing. It amused a select few users with the engineering challenge, but only because they chose to intentionally trawl the part catalog for things with conveniently the right stats to emulate the gameplay system that Squad failed to properly include.

You know, the more I turn this over in my head and add more and more edits to this post, the less impressed I am with the stock radiators. Not to lessen Roverdude's effort and good intentions, but it just feels... I dunno. Like Squad hasn't really made their minds up on what to do with this super-complex thermodynamics simulation they added. First, 1.0 creates a problem with no gameplay mechanic to properly address; then, 1.0.3 adds a solution that's laid out to have as little gameplay in it as possible. It kind of doesn't make much of a difference to a LV-N that doesn't produce any heat in the first place. The amount of design consideration the player needs to put into their vessel is hardly different (and that's a lot of development effort indeed spent just to arrive back at this point!). And beyond the LV-N, the radiators are pretty much just cosmetic. Which is okay, there are other parts like that in KSP, and they're popular enough among creative builders. But all the same it's wasted potential. They could be looking interesting and have interesting gameplay in them. Heat Control proves that handily, doesn't it? :P

Edited by Streetwind
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First thought: hide stock radiators.

HC radiators can heat up more than parent part, which means they pump heat carrier through a circuit with pressure difference, like fridges. They draw power, but they are efficient.

Stock radiators are passive, but use trickery with heat routing and instant transfer.

Well, strip them of these tricks, beef up conductivity and emissivity, leave as high conductivity passive emissive radiators, increase mass and cost.

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I really think it's just a "new gameplay mechanic fresh out of the gate" type issue. Each time Squad has added a new mechanic (science/tech tree unlocking, career funds/rep, contracts, etc) they've gone back a few times to rework and tweak it to make it better. Not saying they don't know what they're doing, but they're human. And sometimes people, no matter how skilled in their profession, may overlook things that they hadn't anticipated. With so much "stuff" in KSP that interacts with each other since v1.0, I'm not surprised that things are still being patched, tweaked and balanced.

When you look at the products that the heavyweight modders like Nertea and Roverdude are putting out now versus a while ago, there are a lot of refinements and improvements that have been done (not saying the early ones were bad, mind you). No reason to think that Squad (or Roverdude) might not revisit the stock radiator system to refine it as well...Maybe they'll even ping Nertea for assistance. :wink:

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Interesting to hear that stock radiators pull heat from the hottest part first and only after a threshold is reached, instead of what DSEV/Cooldown did, which is to cool the whole vessel right from the start. I was also saddened to see no open-cycle cooling and no radiator glow- without the temperature gauges at least. And I agree, Nert's radiators just look awesome.

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The vessel-global heat mitigation kind of removes a potential gameplay dimension... sure, it is convenient when you don't have to think about where to put the radiators, but at the same time, it means that radiators are "boring" parts. They have no gameplay in them. People just throw one on wherever because the LV-N forces them to, not because it's actually interesting to put radiators on spaceships. For some parts, like solar panels, that level of abstraction is okay. For other parts, like engines, not so much. You do want people to think at least a little about fuel flow in constructing their rockets, because it makes things more interesting. Similarly, if radiators are not vessel-global, then people will need to become invested in how heat flows through their vessel, and plan accordingly. The question is, should radiators be abstracted like solar panels, or not?

There are a lot of parts in the game that are "vessel-global", because they aren't central to the game. Batteries, monoprop tanks, solar panels, control parts, reaction wheels. I don't see the stock radiators as any different. They're just abstracting the whole idea of running coolant lines from the hot parts to the radiators, the same way they abstract running fuel lines from the monoprop tanks to the RCS thrusters. I think there may be a subset of KSP players who want to micromanage their heat management, but I will bet the vast majority of them will be happier with the stock system.

I would say forge ahead with Heat Control as a granular heat management system that hides the stock radiators and lets the micromanagers micromanage, but put a MM file in the Extras folder that gives people the option of using Nertea's vastly superior radiator models with the stock heat management system.

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The following code will allow AutoPruner to prune the thermal parts, just put it into a file such as: thermal.prnl and run it:


pruner -prune thermal.prnl

File:


#
# Delete the new Squad radiators
#
Squad/Parts/Thermal

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-megasnip-

I suppose Nertea is going to have to decide (and possibly poll the players) on whether to go forward with radiators localized as they currently are for interesting gameplay reasons, or with vessel-global radiators like the stock models for convenience reasons. You can't really have both, they'll be mutually exclusive.

-megasnip-

I don't see why we cant keep both. With a proper balancing paradigm they could very easily coexist and provide a real, interesting gameplay decision for the player to make.

I suggest that we buff the conduction of Nertea's radiators some (not too much) and then whack that of the stock radiators to kingdom come. They should have less overall conduction to balance out their ability to draw heat from everywhere (the abstraction is that there's coolant pipes across the ship, but Nertea's radiators only have coolant pipes in the part they're on, so by layman's logic, Nertea's radiators would conduct heat quicker due to simpler, shorter, system).

Second, we adjust the mass somewhat so that stock radiators are still lighter than Nertea's, but Nertea's are more efficient in terms of heat rejection/mass & area.

Nertea's pretty much the only modder I know who really doesn't give a damn about stock balance, and thats what's made Near Future so great. That pack has NEVER been balanced to stock. Its always been built to work with its own support network, the NFE reactors, NF solar panels, Heat Control radiators, etc. When the stock balance threatened that, the knee jerk reaction wasn't to make NFP as overpowered as the stock changes, but to whack that little PB-ION with a nerf bat to relieve the threat to NFP balance. Nertea is the only modder who haphazardly throws stock balance to the wind in exchange for his own balance scheme which makes sense, works in the context of his mods as a whole, and is reasonable for both newcomers and vets alike. This is one of the many reasons the Nertea Suite of mods remains at the top of my must-have list.

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You know, you wouldn't even really have to hide the stock radiators, you could just use MM patches to modify them to use the HC heat management system and balance them against the HC radiators. Then if someone is really in love with them (there is no accounting for taste), or if someone has existing ships using them when they install HC then there will be no conflicts.

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I suggest that we buff the conduction of Nertea's radiators some (not too much) and then whack that of the stock radiators to kingdom come. They should have less overall conduction to balance out their ability to draw heat from everywhere (the abstraction is that there's coolant pipes across the ship, but Nertea's radiators only have coolant pipes in the part they're on, so by layman's logic, Nertea's radiators would conduct heat quicker due to simpler, shorter, system).

The stock deployable radiators already have pretty much no conductivity properties (set at 0.01), but conductivity doesn't mean what it used to. Conductivity now applies directly to internal temperature, so in the case of Nertea's radiators (if I recall correctly how they work) a high passive conductivity might not necessarily be a good thing since the radiators already draw heat off the ship via internal flux, which as you may have guessed, raises the internal temperature. This conducts to the skin eventually, but if the skin is the method of heat dissipation, then you want it to favor skin heating in the first place.

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The stock deployable radiators already have pretty much no conductivity properties (set at 0.01), but conductivity doesn't mean what it used to. Conductivity now applies directly to internal temperature, so in the case of Nertea's radiators (if I recall correctly how they work) a high passive conductivity might not necessarily be a good thing since the radiators already draw heat off the ship via internal flux, which as you may have guessed, raises the internal temperature. This conducts to the skin eventually, but if the skin is the method of heat dissipation, then you want it to favor skin heating in the first place.

I should have phrased it better. When I said conduction I was referring more generally to the radiator's ability to pull heat from other parts, not specifically conduction (which both stock and Nertea radiators have very low values for).

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I don't see why we cant keep both. With a proper balancing paradigm they could very easily coexist and provide a real, interesting gameplay decision for the player to make.

I suggest that we buff the conduction of Nertea's radiators some (not too much) and then whack that of the stock radiators to kingdom come. They should have less overall conduction to balance out their ability to draw heat from everywhere (the abstraction is that there's coolant pipes across the ship, but Nertea's radiators only have coolant pipes in the part they're on, so by layman's logic, Nertea's radiators would conduct heat quicker due to simpler, shorter, system).

Second, we adjust the mass somewhat so that stock radiators are still lighter than Nertea's, but Nertea's are more efficient in terms of heat rejection/mass & area.

Nertea's pretty much the only modder I know who really doesn't give a damn about stock balance, and thats what's made Near Future so great. That pack has NEVER been balanced to stock. Its always been built to work with its own support network, the NFE reactors, NF solar panels, Heat Control radiators, etc. When the stock balance threatened that, the knee jerk reaction wasn't to make NFP as overpowered as the stock changes, but to whack that little PB-ION with a nerf bat to relieve the threat to NFP balance. Nertea is the only modder who haphazardly throws stock balance to the wind in exchange for his own balance scheme which makes sense, works in the context of his mods as a whole, and is reasonable for both newcomers and vets alike. This is one of the many reasons the Nertea Suite of mods remains at the top of my must-have list.

Sorry Cap'n, but you got something wrong there... :s

Near Future as a whole has always been rather more "stockalike" than not, despite not super-obviously broadcasting it via the name. All the engines in NF Propulsion are balanced with an eye towards stock engines, particularly the LV-N and the Dawn ion engine. All the reactors in NF Electrical are balanced with an eye towards not redefining what 1 Ec means, so that they mesh well with stock. Everything Near Future does is meant to be done completely neutral towards a stock KSP instance. It's only when stock KSP makes completely bonkers changes, like buffing the ion engine by 800% out of the blue, that Nertea needs to go and step in with a tweak patch to prevent that change from destroying the mod completely. That's also a result to being closely stock-aligned: the mods are very sensitive to what Squad is doing.

These radiators have the potential to be another "bonkers" change that's really difficult to adjust to without a patch that nerfs them massively. See, the mass of the NF and HeatControl radiators isn't arbitrary; they have the mass they do because the NF Electrical reactors are tuned to specific performance targets, which include enough radiator mass to keep them at nominal temperature. If you suddenly have radiators available which weigh a quarter or even less, then that upsets the balance of the reactors, and that in turn upsets the balance of the entirety of NF Propulsion, because those engines are statted up with the reactors as reference power sources...

So nerfing the stock radiators isn't really a thing to be happy about. But it may be the necessary to keep Heat Control from losing all relevancy and NF Electrical from downright breaking. More testing is needed, though. We're going to need a 1.0.3 1.0.4 compatible test build so we can judge how well stock radiators handle Near Future items.

One thing that comes to mind, for instance, is that NF Electrical reactors rely on being kept rather very cool. If the stock radiators only match the hot part's temperature, then they may be unable to keep a reactor below nominal temperature simply by virtue of the radiator not having any significant radiating ability at those temperatures. To reject a lot of heat, you really want them to get extremely hot, that's how blackbody radiation works. On the other hand, of course, it appears that you can easily mount 4-8 times the amount of radiator area for less mass and even less cost, so maybe what temperature can't do, sheer area might. That's why we need testing.

Edited by Streetwind
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Well hmm, I gotta think about all of this quite heavily. Luckily I've got no time to mod until Saturday at the earliest, so by all means, keep discussing and I'll keep thinking too. The way I see it there's about four options at the moment:

A) Move HC/NFE completely to the stock system

B) Hide stock radiators and have HC/NFE continue as is

B1) Instead of hiding, rework stock radiators to work with HC/NFE modules

C) Some kind of horrific frankenstein hybrid? :P

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I did some thermal testing with a multi-nuke tug, it seems to me that the radiators don't cool the entire craft at once, just the hottest part. If you have multiple equally hot parts the radiators cycle through them. The number to watch in the action menu is "Internal Flux", that's where the heat flow into the rads (and out of parts being drawn from by rads) is shown. It also looks like the rads quickly reach the temperature of the hottest part on the vessel, which is OK as they have a high heat tolerance.

This strikes me as a good setup. I was thinking if rads were added they'd just take in heat by conduction and thus should be placed on the hottest parts that can take them (and some of the hottest parts don't allow surface attachment), making nuclear clusters trickier. This implementation means I hardly have to worry about where the rads are placed, they will always be pulling heat from the hotspots. Much more flexibility in design, both for aesthetics and making things fit into fairings.

Too much "flexibility" IMO. I would rather that the radiators only pull heat from the part they are attached to. Enough of the game is already dumbed down.

- - - Updated - - -

I say balance them to yours. I've always thought your parts are well balanced, so personally I think you should use your stats as a baseline.

I agree. Don't break your mod in order to balance to them. Handle it like you did the Dawn engine, and rebalance the stock parts. Or just delete them.

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Well hmm, I gotta think about all of this quite heavily. Luckily I've got no time to mod until Saturday at the earliest, so by all means, keep discussing and I'll keep thinking too. The way I see it there's about four options at the moment:

A) Move HC/NFE completely to the stock system

B) Hide stock radiators and have HC/NFE continue as is

B1) Instead of hiding, rework stock radiators to work with HC/NFE modules

C) Some kind of horrific frankenstein hybrid? :P

For whatever my opinion is worth, I'd say go with B (perhaps minus the hiding) and continue on your own path. The new radiators themselves are no cause for concern, and you can easily enough adjust/add the necessary values to your current parts to keep their function the same.

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Well hmm, I gotta think about all of this quite heavily. Luckily I've got no time to mod until Saturday at the earliest, so by all means, keep discussing and I'll keep thinking too. The way I see it there's about four options at the moment:

A) Move HC/NFE completely to the stock system

B) Hide stock radiators and have HC/NFE continue as is

B1) Instead of hiding, rework stock radiators to work with HC/NFE modules

C) Some kind of horrific frankenstein hybrid? :P

I think A and C are both more headache than they're worth, not to mention the function of stock radiators won't play well with NFE reactors as Streetwind said.

Honestly I endorse B in general but don't care if you go B or B1. Both will achieve a workable end without breaking your stuff or affecting most of us (I say this because anyone still using this pack post-stock-radiator is likely here because they want precision heat management).

EDIT: over 4k posts, wow.

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Nert, don't know if this will help but I moved DSEV radiators to stock system (seeing as how DSEV Cooldown was doing ship-wide cooling as stock now does), and I have to retune the fusion engine heat production to match the radiators new heat rejection ability. So far it is a lot of trial and error to figure out what works. Mostly error. I would expect that you'll have similar issues, compounded by the number of really neat engines you have. The plus side is that if you continue with HC, it would be the stock radiators that need adjusting, not yours.

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So nerfing the stock radiators isn't really a thing to be happy about. But it may be the necessary to keep Heat Control from losing all relevancy and NF Electrical from downright breaking. More testing is needed, though. We're going to need a 1.0.3 1.0.4 compatible test build so we can judge how well stock radiators handle Near Future items.

In a little bit of play with 1.0.3 and current HC bits last night it looked like the largest HC radiator (and, well, probably the rest of them, but it's the only one I tried) at the very least needs a tweak to let the radiator skin heat up and start radiating - the radiator core temperature went way up, but the skin didn't and they ended up exploding.

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Well hmm, I gotta think about all of this quite heavily. Luckily I've got no time to mod until Saturday at the earliest, so by all means, keep discussing and I'll keep thinking too. The way I see it there's about four options at the moment:

A) Move HC/NFE completely to the stock system

B) Hide stock radiators and have HC/NFE continue as is

B1) Instead of hiding, rework stock radiators to work with HC/NFE modules

C) Some kind of horrific frankenstein hybrid? :P

I always love a good Frankenstein film. :D

I would say B1 with a stock-compatible MM cfg in the Extras folder. I think that will give your mod the widest audience.

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B1, no fridge. Cheap, but without boost.

Radiators should have high skinInternalConductionMult to allow heat to pass through skin flawlessly.

It is strange: stock skin is not tweakable, but I see a wide range of skin mass ratios across parts.

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