Nertea

[WIP] Nert's Dev Thread - Current: Near Future Exploration (FFT on hold)

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16 hours ago, RedParadize said:

@Nertea Started to play with AM drive. I really wish we had on rail acceleration... I can't play with trust that low. How do you manage 1h long burn?

I might have a lot more patience for burns than the average player :P

13 hours ago, Captain Sierra said:

Now to @Nertea about the ablative engines. I've been working on some VAB numbers testing for balance

Considering how much I've changed the engines in the last couple days you might want to hold off on that.

Here's a list of changes with rationales so far. 

  • Increased thrust of Z-pinch fusion engine to 375 kN from 160 kN
  • Reduced constant power usage of both Z-Pinch engines by 50%, now 50/65 kW from 100/125 kW
    • Increases their attractiveness and useability without an aux power reactor
  • Reduced constant power usage of tokamak fusion engine from 125 to 75 kW
    • More attractive compared to lower-length versions of Fresnel
  • Reduced mass of magnetic ICF to 20 from 25 t, reduced heat generation by 2/3
    • More competitive vs AbICF
  • Reduced mass of Casaba to 11.5 from 15.82, increased Ablator to 8500
    • Compensate dry mass for propellant mass, realign the volume of Ablator between the two ablative engines
  • Tweaked propellant ratios of Casaba so that the consumption of all the Ablator requires exactly 1 full antimatter storage ring and 2 large full fission pellet tanks
    • Easier to calculate tank usage
  • Increased Isp of Microstar to 90950 from 60950, increased thrust to 150 kN from 60 kN
    • Thrust was super low, and AM wasn't giving great benefits in Isp
  • Tweaked propellant ratios of Microstar so that 1 full 3.75m fusion fuel tank takes very close to 1 full antimatter ring to consume
    • Again, easier planning
  • Tweaked Ablator use of ablative ICF so that the engine burns through exactly 1 full small pellet tank with its ablator supply
    • Usability improvement
  • Reduced dry mass of ablative ICF to 20 from 30 t, increased Ablator amount to 16000 from 15000
    • Need to compensate for fuel being part of the engine, wasn't accounted for before
  • Increased power usage of mirror cell fusion engine by 85 kW per segment
    • Highest length versions takes a dry mass hit 
  • Decreased specific impulse of NSWR to 5650 from 6730 
    • Small nerf, makes it a bit less great. More changes coming.

I haven't yet looked at 

  • The Dirac engine, which probably needs a bit of help competing with midrange fusion engines
  • The Cochrane, which seems fine in most cases 
  • More options for the Heinlein, which probably to some extent means increasing the fuel cost.

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As for those you haven't looked at ...

  • The Dirac seems fine in high density mode. When you swap it to medium density though, it consumes so much antimatter that it seems basically worthless. At that point in time the Cochrane becomes a much better option. If you ignore the med density mode entirely it seems like a fine engine.
  • Speaking of the Cochrane, it's actually pretty weak I've found in its 5 and 10 meter configuration. Often other engines will do the job better. However once it gets to 15 meter and larger it begins to come into its own and really become the inferno-spewing torch drive it's meant to be. As a disclaimer, my tests have been specifically building for 20,000 dV with 23.25 tons of payload mass. The small variants may not be suited to this specific task well.
  • Heinlein definitely needs nerfing into the ground. Realism aside, the thing offers so much power for so little effort that - although other engines can technically offer more power - it's easily the best choice for almost every reasonable use case.

Moving over to the engines you have addressed:

  • The Microstar did not seem like it needed that efficiency buff. The thrust increase is definitely welcome but its efficiency felt fine. When you say full 3.75m tank do you mean the flat-pack or the spherical?
  • I've automatically assumed all of these engines should be using an auxiliary reactor, even the Z-pinches. They also run a bit warm for having a lack of physical combustion chamber but I guess mini nuclear fireballs do that. Part of the Polaris' difficulty is how many pellet canisters you need. It may be worth an Isp buff too but worth further analysis with the updated build.
  • Magnetic ICF still has crap TWR ... like really crap. Given the size of the engine and the mass of the ships that will usually be using it ... a thrust buff here may be worth it since its thrust is just so pitiful compared to ablative.
  • That's actually a huge nerf to the Casaba antimatter consumption. Part of what made that engine attractive was how little antimatter it needed making it a really good entry level. Sure it means you're dragging a quarter-full tank around, but it was really nice. I'd consider adjusting that in the future, perhaps to 10u AM per large tank (which means one storage ring easily gets you 2 full usages of the engine)

As for holding off on a comprehensive assessment ... I'll definitely do a rework pass on all my test crafts before I compile a spreadsheet & offer a statistical breakdown. Are you going to continue tweaking before you ship or do you intend to ship those balance tweaks soon?

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Hi @Nertea 

About the Z-P and tokamak:

It does not sound right to power these thing with solar panel, I would rather having them being lighter and need a bigger reactor or maybe reducing their heat generation. Realistically none of these option make sense. A Z-P  would be slow, power drunk, heavy and hot like a nuclear cooker that it is. Still, invoking super strong material or superconductor that do not heat under electric currents sound less suspicious than a inexplicable reduction in energy requirement. Even if in reality its just as wrong, it sound a bit less wrong.

Just my grain of salt. Anyways, one day, we might end up convincing the laws of the universe that they do not need to be so picky.

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1 hour ago, RedParadize said:

Hi @Nertea 

About the Z-P and tokamak:

It does not sound right to power these thing with solar panel, I would rather having them being lighter and need a bigger reactor or maybe reducing their heat generation. Realistically none of these option make sense. A Z-P  would be slow, power drunk, heavy and hot like a nuclear cooker that it is. Still, invoking super strong material or superconductor that do not heat under electric currents sound less suspicious than a inexplicable reduction in energy requirement. Even if in reality its just as wrong, it sound a bit less wrong.

Just my grain of salt. Anyways, one day, we might end up convincing the laws of the universe that they do not need to be so picky.

i think that it is supposed to harvest energy from the reacton, using thermocouples or some sutch. (see http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist.php#id--Pulse--PuFF_Pulsed_Fission_Fusion )

@Nertea , many engines are missing tech tree nodes. have you not decided where to put them yet, or did you just forget?

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@toric5 I always have found the atomic website highly amusing. I am not quite sure we can call what described as a thermocouples. Regardless, if I look at the proposed spaceship it is powered by a SP-100 reactor, strangely enough, Nertea two smallest reactors look like it. SP-100 is rated at 10 kWe to 100 kWe. Looks like its not as magical as I trough it was...

+1 for Nertea and you!

Edited by RedParadize

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@RedParadize: Most of the engines that use the ChargeableEngine method are intended to be 'tap' engines, that is, they use some method (perhaps MHF backpush effects on the magnetic nozzle, perhaps heat collection from the radiation shield) to turn some of the engine energy into the power needed to run the engine. The smaller amount of power needed to maintain the engine's ancillary systems could easily be supplied by solar, with the delivery of the startup charge being the only very high power operation that needs to occur - and even then the system can be supplied by a trickle charge. 

 

 Lots of things yet to do, including setting the tech nodes.

On 8/6/2017 at 0:11 PM, Captain Sierra said:
  • Magnetic ICF still has crap TWR ... like really crap. Given the size of the engine and the mass of the ships that will usually be using it ... a thrust buff here may be worth it since its thrust is just so pitiful compared to ablative.

Cutting the heat by 2/3 and the actual mass by 1/4 is an effective buff by about 2.5x to the TWR.

On 8/6/2017 at 0:11 PM, Captain Sierra said:
  • That's actually a huge nerf to the Casaba antimatter consumption. Part of what made that engine attractive was how little antimatter it needed making it a really good entry level. Sure it means you're dragging a quarter-full tank around, but it was really nice. I'd consider adjusting that in the future, perhaps to 10u AM per large tank (which means one storage ring easily gets you 2 full usages of the engine)

I'll think about it but no promises.

On 8/6/2017 at 0:11 PM, Captain Sierra said:

As for holding off on a comprehensive assessment ... I'll definitely do a rework pass on all my test crafts before I compile a spreadsheet & offer a statistical breakdown. Are you going to continue tweaking before you ship or do you intend to ship those balance tweaks soon?

I am working on a first pass at the fusion reactor plugin, which might take a while, before I release it. 

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@Nertea I'm really keen on giving this one a try! As I'm currently only running a career game, I like to ask you where the FFT stuff appears for the first time in CTT? Thanks a lot for all your great and creative work!

Cheers SchottBot 

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I'm with @RedParadize on this one... there's certainly other options out there, and Nertea's been happily (and productively) working on stuff that's a little less common, as it's further down the road.

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4 hours ago, Bottle Rocketeer 500 said:

@Nertea After FFT, would you consider doing a mod about the Constellation Program and current Orion/SLS plans?

Absolutely not. That sounds hideously boring, and I've totally made all the interesting bits in my various mods.

As a rule I don't make replicas. You seem to request an awful lot of modders, why not learn and contribute instead of draining?

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1 hour ago, RedParadize said:

I hope I modders do not get that impression from me. I do ask allot of stuff.

You seem fine.

8 hours ago, SchrottBot said:

@Nertea I'm really keen on giving this one a try! As I'm currently only running a career game, I like to ask you where the FFT stuff appears for the first time in CTT? Thanks a lot for all your great and creative work!

 

It might not be the best idea to risk this in your career game right now. It's not very balanced, and may have nasty bugs. 

First pass at the fusion reactors seems pretty good. A reactor requires a startup charge that functions much like the chargeable engines. Once the reactor is on, it always generates full heat output, but scales its power usage and fuel consumption to whatever is needed by the ship. Fuel consumption will not drop below a 10% threshold though while the reactor is on (maintaining the reaction). No fuel in stored in the reactor, you must add fusion fuel tanks. Typically this low level consumption will get you ~1 year of reactor life on a small tank. If you turn off the reactor of course nothing will be generated, but you'll have to charge it up again.

Both reactors have two fusion modes, a low-efficiency one (Deuterium-Deuterium) that is about 40% efficient, and will get you similar power to mass ratios as the top-level NFE reactors. A high-efficiency mode using D-He3 is very expensive to run, but pushes that power to mass ratio to very nice levels, ~1.5-1.75x the best fission reactors. 

In general this means that fusion reactors are very good at providing a very high amount of power, particularly in a 'peaking' configuration. They are not so good for baseload though.

Edited by Nertea

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1 hour ago, Nertea said:

First pass at the fusion reactors seems pretty good. A reactor requires a startup charge that functions much like the chargeable engines. Once the reactor is on, it always generates full heat output, but scales its power usage and fuel consumption to whatever is needed by the ship. Fuel consumption will not drop below a 10% threshold though while the reactor is on (maintaining the reaction). No fuel in stored in the reactor, you must add fusion fuel tanks. Typically this low level consumption will get you ~1 year of reactor life on a small tank. If you turn off the reactor of course nothing will be generated, but you'll have to charge it up again.

Both reactors have two fusion modes, a low-efficiency one (Deuterium-Deuterium) that is about 40% efficient, and will get you similar power to mass ratios as the top-level NFE reactors. A high-efficiency mode using D-He3 is very expensive to run, but pushes that power to mass ratio to very nice levels, ~1.5-1.75x the best fission reactors. 

In general this means that fusion reactors are very good at providing a very high amount of power, particularly in a 'peaking' configuration. They are not so good for baseload though.

So, use fission or solar power (depending on your destination) for cruise and startup power for the fusion, but fusion power to power the engines... Sounds great!

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@Nertea Do you think it would be complicated to add a sound when capacitor are charging?Some kind of a "woooouuUUUIIIIII" whisper that get loud at the end.

Edited by RedParadize

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16 minutes ago, RedParadize said:

@Nertea Do you think it would be complicated to add a sound when capacitor are charging?Some kind of a "woooouuUUUIIIIII" whisper that get loud at the end.

Adding sound is not too hard, but I wouldn't really want to do it on that kind of basis (because capacitor charge time is so variable). If I did this I would do a simple "play sound when charged" thing. 

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@Nertea

Was wondering if you would be interested in doing a collaboration.  On another thread, there's been a discussion about launchpad lighting.  I dont' do modeling, was wondering if you would be interested in doing some models and I could do the code?  See below:

 

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1 hour ago, linuxgurugamer said:

@Nertea

Was wondering if you would be interested in doing a collaboration.  On another thread, there's been a discussion about launchpad lighting.  I dont' do modeling, was wondering if you would be interested in doing some models and I could do the code?  See below:

 

Unfortunately, I'm vary occupied with my overly large roster of projects at the moment and don't really have time to start another. Sorry!

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3 minutes ago, Nertea said:

Unfortunately, I'm vary occupied with my overly large roster of projects at the moment and don't really have time to start another. Sorry!

Oh well.  Do you lnow of any other modelers who might be interested?

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Field report time!

The new interface for the readings from ALICE and ZAP is really nice... the range selector, less so. ALICE is completely borked, with only 0 km and 10000 km being able to be selected (bottom and top of range, respectively). ZAP is a little better, being able to be selected in 10000 km increments, but that's still some rather drastic ranges in scale, making pinpoint ranging somewhat difficult.

If it's not too much trouble for future test releases, perhaps look into a separate GUI for those scanners that's a bit more flexible on ranging, or perhaps have a "Scale" selector to allow you to work at different orders of magnitude. If that's too complicated, I completely understand.

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As you're starting on the Fusion reactors' conceptual stages, I assume you will start making assets not too long from now. Seeing that no real-life fusion reactor usable as a generator yet exists, I'm really excited to see how you'll approach this; do you have any early ideas on what they'll look like? Any real life concept you intend to use as inspiration in mind?

And of course, will you provide tasty, tasty pictures of your creative process when you start? :D

Edited by GabrielG.A.B.Fonseca
Grammar & Clarity

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36 minutes ago, GabrielG.A.B.Fonseca said:

As you're starting on the Fusion reactors' conceptual stages, I assume you will start making assets not too long from now. Seeing that no real-life fusion reactor usable as a generator yet exists, I'm really excited to see how you'll approach this; do you have any early ideas on what they'll look like? Any real life concept you intend to use as inspiration in mind?

And of course, will you provide tasty, tasty pictures of your creative process when you start? :D

Not so much start as "already done them and will ship tomorrow"...

37 minutes ago, MaverickSawyer said:

Field report time!

The new interface for the readings from ALICE and ZAP is really nice... the range selector, less so. ALICE is completely borked, with only 0 km and 10000 km being able to be selected (bottom and top of range, respectively). ZAP is a little better, being able to be selected in 10000 km increments, but that's still some rather drastic ranges in scale, making pinpoint ranging somewhat difficult.

If it's not too much trouble for future test releases, perhaps look into a separate GUI for those scanners that's a bit more flexible on ranging, or perhaps have a "Scale" selector to allow you to work at different orders of magnitude. If that's too complicated, I completely understand.

This is the result of something I tweaked last minute without accounting for all the consequences, it's more a bug than anything else...

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1 hour ago, Nertea said:

This is the result of something I tweaked last minute without accounting for all the consequences, it's more a bug than anything else...

Hence why I felt a field report would be helpful. And since you know what caused it, I presume that means there will be a fix in the next test release?

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