Nertea

[1.7.x] Kerbal Atomics: fancy nuclear engines! (July 29)

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17 minutes ago, Nertea said:

The main difficulty I always have when I think about planning any FFT (heh) type mods is the sheer number of fuel types that you end up with that don't share many engines.

What if you split the current CryoTanks folder into its own separate mod which contained all the fuel tank for your various mods? Seems like that wouldn't require too much work and it would cut down on the dependency headaches.

23 minutes ago, Nertea said:

I like making models and the resulting visual differentiation, and wouldn't really accept a situation where I had a bunch of visually identical tanks that could fuelswitch to every possible tank, which more or less mean that I have to model a sufficiently large set of tanks (what that number is can be quite variable) for every fuel type that I include.

You could make a universal tank with fuelswitch for a temporary placeholder and make models as time allows. Roverdude has the Kontainers which you might be able to use, especially if you use the CRP to integrate with other mods.

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18 hours ago, Nertea said:

The main difficulty I always have when I think about planning any FFT (heh) type mods is the sheer number of fuel types that you end up with that don't share many engines. Every propulsion system tends to be highly optimized with a special fuel type or set of types, and that gets messy. I like making models and the resulting visual differentiation, and wouldn't really accept a situation where I had a bunch of visually identical tanks that could fuelswitch to every possible tank, which more or less mean that I have to model a sufficiently large set of tanks (what that number is can be quite variable) for every fuel type that I include. That can start to get scary looking. I mean what do we have? We have for futuristic fuels... in a very reduced list:

  • Antimatter - AIM, ACMF, Thermal AM (various core states)
  • Fusion fuel (D/T/He3) - thermal fusion (various core states)
  • Fusion fuel (pellets) - AIM, ICF
  • Nuclear Salt Water - NSWR
  • Lithium - MTF, MIF (already in NFP, would have to share = headache)
  • Hydrogen - Anything thermal (already in CryoTanks, split out already so not the biggest headache but still not great)

Some of those aren't too bad because they don't need to be in a lot of form factors for gameplay reasons (like AM), or perhaps because only one engine would ever use them (NSW) but it really is a lot of tank types! 

I would of course like to do it, I do have an AIM and an AMCF engine more or less modeled, but yeah... time... it takes about 3 hours modeling, 4 hours of unwrapping, 4-5 hours of texture work and 2 hours of miscellany to get a good engine model done. I don't have that much time :(.

I don't expect this to be done overnight, so take your time.

Also, maybe you can release them bit by bit. Start from the ones that takes the least headache to put together first, and kajigger the rest later.

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I finally made the transition from 1.0.5 to 1.1.3, and in the process made a huge leap in mods.  I'm now having trouble with Kerbal Atomics with the NFE patch.

In 1.0.5 (KerbalAtomics 0.1.2): thrust and ISP were based on core temperature.  Set power output to 100% to warm it up, then once you reach operating temperature, dial it back down to 10% to maintain temperature.  Or just always leave it at 10% and give yourself 15 minutes before the burn to warm up.  Power off the reactor when not in use for a long time to save reactor fuel.   Overall, a good balance of micromanagement versus utility, once I figured it out.

In 1.1.3 (KerbalAtomics 0.2.4): thrust and ISP are based on core temperature PLUS the Power Setting.  Even if Core Temperature is nominal (for example 6000K for the Liberator), if Power Setting is at 10%, so will your thrust and ISP be at 10% (82 kN instead of 820 kN, and 162 ISP instead of 1625!!).  Leaving it at 100% Power Setting only works when you're at full throttle; anything less than full throttle and you'll overheat.  The second the reactor goes offline due to overheating, you get zero thrust, even if the core is still warm, like 5999/6000 K.

I've tried adding enough radiators that I can run the Liberator at 100% even with no fuel flow, and that seems impossible.  5 large expandable Thermal Control Systems and 10 large Radiator Panels (all activated) aren't enough, and I can't fit any more on the test ship.

The only solution I've found is to reduce the Power Setting before I finish my burn, which aside from being ridiculous micromanagement, also means I lose thrust and efficiency.  It's horrible.

I see the change that seems to have added this.. but I don't understand why it was made.  Why should a 6000/6000k core produce 10% of the thrust if the power percentage is set to 10%?  Why should a 5999/6000k core produce absolutely zero thrust if the reactor is turned off?  In real life the core temperature is the only thing that would matter, no?

Is there something obvious I'm missing?  Is anyone else using Kerbal Atomic nukes with the NFE patch successfully?

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17 minutes ago, hab136 said:

I finally made the transition from 1.0.5 to 1.1.3, and in the process made a huge leap in mods.  I'm now having trouble with Kerbal Atomics with the NFE patch.

In 1.0.5 (KerbalAtomics 0.1.2): thrust and ISP were based on core temperature.  Set power output to 100% to warm it up, then once you reach operating temperature, dial it back down to 10% to maintain temperature.  Or just always leave it at 10% and give yourself 15 minutes before the burn to warm up.  Power off the reactor when not in use for a long time to save reactor fuel.   Overall, a good balance of micromanagement versus utility, once I figured it out.

In 1.1.3 (KerbalAtomics 0.2.4): thrust and ISP are based on core temperature PLUS the Power Setting.  Even if Core Temperature is nominal (for example 6000K for the Liberator), if Power Setting is at 10%, so will your thrust and ISP be at 10% (82 kN instead of 820 kN, and 162 ISP instead of 1625!!).  Leaving it at 100% Power Setting only works when you're at full throttle; anything less than full throttle and you'll overheat.  The second the reactor goes offline due to overheating, you get zero thrust, even if the core is still warm, like 5999/6000 K.

I've tried adding enough radiators that I can run the Liberator at 100% even with no fuel flow, and that seems impossible.  5 large expandable Thermal Control Systems and 10 large Radiator Panels (all activated) aren't enough, and I can't fit any more on the test ship.

The only solution I've found is to reduce the Power Setting before I finish my burn, which aside from being ridiculous micromanagement, also means I lose thrust and efficiency.  It's horrible.

I see the change that seems to have added this.. but I don't understand why it was made.  Why should a 6000/6000k core produce 10% of the thrust if the power percentage is set to 10%?  Why should a 5999/6000k core produce absolutely zero thrust if the reactor is turned off?  In real life the core temperature is the only thing that would matter, no?

Is there something obvious I'm missing?  Is anyone else using Kerbal Atomic nukes with the NFE patch successfully?

Like you mention,you could turn the reactor power down to 0% (to use no fuel) after heating up the reactor. This is pretty bad for balance, because it means the nuclear fuel requirement is effectively moot (what's the point of doing consumption otherwise?). In addition, in "reality" you would likely need to maintain full reactor power in order to heat the propellant consistently as mass flow of cryogenic hydrogen will steal heat very effectively. The radiator system does not allow heat "consumption" below target core temperature (in your case 6000K), so I can't (well I can, but this was tested exhaustively when building NFE for 1.0 with... poor... results), so the mass flow doesn't cool it down properly. 

I welcome ideas to make it better that don't make this exploit (or others) happen. 

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8 minutes ago, Nertea said:

Like you mention,you could turn the reactor power down to 0% (to use no fuel) after heating up the reactor. This is pretty bad for balance, because it means the nuclear fuel requirement is effectively moot (what's the point of doing consumption otherwise?). In addition, in "reality" you would likely need to maintain full reactor power in order to heat the propellant consistently as mass flow of cryogenic hydrogen will steal heat very effectively. The radiator system does not allow heat "consumption" below target core temperature (in your case 6000K), so I can't (well I can, but this was tested exhaustively when building NFE for 1.0 with... poor... results), so the mass flow doesn't cool it down properly. 

I welcome ideas to make it better that don't make this exploit (or others) happen. 

I didn't realize the fuel cooling wasn't properly modeled, so that does make sense as a workaround.  Thanks for the explanation.

Would it make sense to slave the power control to the throttle?  (Throttle = 80%, so Power Setting = 80%;  100% = 100%, 0% = 0%, etc)  That would eliminate the micromanagement while leaving the mechanic in place.

Or have the power plant look at both Power Setting and throttle percentage, and use whichever is greater for its Power Setting.  That would also eliminate the micromanagement, but let you leave Power Setting at some base value (for example if you leave it at 10% to use just as a power source).

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Is it intended to change the Nerv to only use Liquid Hydrogen? Sadly this breaks a lot of my existing ships that were, of course, carrying normal Liquid Fuel. I couldn't find anywhere in the original post where it talked about changing the existing engines, only about adding new ones.

If it is intended, is it possible to add Liquid Fuel back in as an option so it can use both?

Edited by Sandriell

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10 hours ago, Sandriell said:

Is it intended to change the Nerv to only use Liquid Hydrogen? Sadly this breaks a lot of my existing ships that were, of course, carrying normal Liquid Fuel. I couldn't find anywhere in the original post where it talked about changing the existing engines, only about adding new ones.

If it is intended, is it possible to add Liquid Fuel back in as an option so it can use both?

Inside the mod ZIP file, there's the GameData folder (the mod folder) and the Extras folder. Inside the latter, there are 2 folders containing MM patches: NearFutureElectricalNTRs make the nuclear engines behave like NFE's reactors (in that you can turn it on and off, and its ISP depends on core temperature), while NTRsUseLF changes the nuclear engine propellants back to LiquidFuel (obviously.) Drag either folders into KSP's GameData folder to use the patches.

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On 6/27/2016 at 7:41 AM, Domfluff said:

"Zubrin's Insanity Above" 

I think I may have found my next band name.

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On 6/30/2016 at 10:59 PM, hab136 said:

I didn't realize the fuel cooling wasn't properly modeled, so that does make sense as a workaround.  Thanks for the explanation.

Would it make sense to slave the power control to the throttle?  (Throttle = 80%, so Power Setting = 80%;  100% = 100%, 0% = 0%, etc)  That would eliminate the micromanagement while leaving the mechanic in place.

Or have the power plant look at both Power Setting and throttle percentage, and use whichever is greater for its Power Setting.  That would also eliminate the micromanagement, but let you leave Power Setting at some base value (for example if you leave it at 10% to use just as a power source).

So.. I did this.  Turns out that a straight 1:1 mapping of throttle to power output doesn't work; it will overheat every time.  I chose a much more conservative curve:

WUTcwWN.png

 

Only GUI change was to add an "actual" % to the reactor UI:

Y7iHF3W.png

 

Note the Power Setting is set to 4%, navball throttle is like 80%, and actual power setting is 37%.  Throttle and actual power only match at 0% and 100%.

Because the curve is *very* conservative, you'll still get better performance if you manually babysit the Power Setting at the same time as the throttle.

Importantly, this keeps the ISP/thrust relationship to power consumption.  You'll be burning lots of EnrichedUranium at 100%, and you'll still pay a penalty for operating the reactor at less than 100%.  You just won't have to manage two levers at once (throttle and Power Setting), and MechJeb can once again fly your ship without destroying it. :)

Here's the compiled DLL to test: https://github.com/henrybauer/NearFutureElectrical/releases/tag/throttle

And here's the pull requests: 

https://github.com/ChrisAdderley/NearFutureElectrical/pull/27

https://github.com/ChrisAdderley/KerbalAtomics/pull/11

What do you think?

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Just now, Deimos Rast said:

I think you're in the wrong thread maybe (this is Kerbal Atomics, do you want Near Future?). He'll see it either way probably.:)

Well, it's the interaction of the two that I want to change, and I started the conversation on this thread, so... :)

If you only have NFE, then my changes will do nothing.  You need NFE + Kerbal Atomics + the optional NFE patch to see any difference.

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@hab136 That looks pretty nice, I'll take it! Will test it for integration into the next release. 

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@Nertea

If you're looking at something else to add into the next update, maybe look at costs? Every single one of your engines clocks in at a low low $3500 (except the Liberator at a still low $9100, but that's a Size2), while the Size1 stock NERV is $10,000. If your engines were some bargain bin specials I wouldn't say anything, but your's are damn fancy with all sorts of bells and whistles (multimodal, sometimes fission-y, etc etc). All the unlock costs are the same as well ($23,000) except the Liberator again ($273,000), so I suspect that this area got skipped in the last balance pass or something.

Also, what's the reasoning behind dropping the mass of the engines when you add in the Fission patches? Just curious, in the broadest of senses; I would have thought it might increase it if anything (added hardware). I really have no opinion either way.

Cheers.

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Question that's sort of about both this mod and the cryo engines' LFO patch. Does that patch make it so that you can use liquid-fuel in place of liquid hydrogen at the cost of specific impulse when using LF instead of LH2?

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Small update, primarily with better handling of NFE integration.

  • NTR patch adjustment thanks to @hab136
  • Cost adjustments to all the parts.
On 7/12/2016 at 8:51 PM, StevieC said:

Question that's sort of about both this mod and the cryo engines' LFO patch. Does that patch make it so that you can use liquid-fuel in place of liquid hydrogen at the cost of specific impulse when using LF instead of LH2?

Yes.

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On 7/13/2016 at 0:13 AM, Deimos Rast said:

Also, what's the reasoning behind dropping the mass of the engines when you add in the Fission patches?

It's taking out the mass of the EnrichedUranium, since that will be added back in (as resource mass, not part mass).

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I wonder if you could help me, as I'm having a bit of trouble. I'm currently trying to use the stock NTRs, as altered by this mod. They show up in the NF Reactors control panel, but attempting to activate them seems to have no effect. In the NF Reactors control panel, even when they are on the heat output is listed as O.OkW. They are active, and have fuel.

 

In their right-click menus, the statuses for energy and heat output are blank, as opposed to reading zero or any other number. Do you know what perhaps I should look for?

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pmp4dz1elnt7klu/output_log.txt?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1zi52qv8hbpgaz2/persistent.sfs?dl=0

 

Oh, if it's helpful, the craft in question is "Kermes Drive Section"

Edited by Tokamak

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3 hours ago, Tokamak said:

I wonder if you could help me, as I'm having a bit of trouble. I'm currently trying to use the stock NTRs, as altered by this mod. They show up in the NF Reactors control panel, but attempting to activate them seems to have no effect. In their right-click menus, the statuses for energy and heat output are blank, as opposed to reading zero or any other number. Do you know what perhaps I should look for?

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pmp4dz1elnt7klu/output_log.txt?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1zi52qv8hbpgaz2/persistent.sfs?dl=0

 

Oh, if it's helpful, the craft in question is "Kermes Drive Section"

I had the same problem - it's mentioned earlier in the thread.

The solution seems to be to activate the engines via staging before trying to activate the reactors via the right click menu.

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7 hours ago, Free Trader Beowulf said:

I had the same problem - it's mentioned earlier in the thread.

The solution seems to be to activate the engines via staging before trying to activate the reactors via the right click menu.

Well, that was easy. Thank you!

Also, nice obscure reference username :)

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Quote

 

Hey there peeps.

I've been tinkering in the VAB on a LH2-fueled interplanetary transfer vehicle, and Cryogenic engines from Nertea's other pack always seem to outperform nuclear engines (be it from a D/v or TWR point of view), despite the nuke's higher ISP, which seems odd,. I haven't done any ''hand's on'' testing yet, I'm only looking at KER's reading.

Am I doing something wrong here?

Edited by 500Motels

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1 minute ago, 500Motels said:

Hey there peeps.

I've been tinkering in the VAB on a LH2-fueled interplanetary transfer vehicle, and Cryogenic engines from Nertea's other pack always seem to outperform nuclear engines (be it from a D/v or TWR point of view), despite the nuke's higher ISP, which seems odd,. I haven't done any ''hand's on'' testing yet, I'm only looking at KER's reading.

Am I doing something wrong here?

What are you using to compare?  If you're using the same size tank, I'm not surprised, because oxidizer is very dense compared to LH2.  I'd recommend trying to hold total vessel mass constant.

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1 hour ago, 500Motels said:

Hey there peeps.

I've been tinkering in the VAB on a LH2-fueled interplanetary transfer vehicle, and Cryogenic engines from Nertea's other pack always seem to outperform nuclear engines (be it from a D/v or TWR point of view), despite the nuke's higher ISP, which seems odd,. I haven't done any ''hand's on'' testing yet, I'm only looking at KER's reading.

Am I doing something wrong here?

This is also an effect of the low delta-v requirements to transfer between stock planets. As the dv needs go up, the propellant mass goes up too, then ratio of wet mass to dry mass becomes more important.

This is actually what pushed me over the edge to try an RSS game, in order to build to more realistic design constraints! 

 

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