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Rail Gun Launch System


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There are lot's of interesting rocket engines and the wonderful challenge is feeding them their unique requirements like steam, petroleum, oxylite, iron, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

Another "engine" with a unique requirement would be the rail gun launch system. In real life, rail guns are proposed as weapons and use pure electricity to fire projectiles. There is also some research into using them for space launches (but ultimately shown to be too expensive). They would be a lot of fun for ONI.

The engine itself is a rail gun armature and the graphics also include a giant magnetic rail scaffold in addition to the regular rocket scaffold. 

It's "fueled" by power. Lots and lots of power. I'm proposing 5kw/cycles just for the baseline worlds. So you need to charge the Rail with 5kW for a full cycle before it's ready to go just to the nearest world. And for every world beyond that another 5kw/cycle.

But you can set the charging rate. If you have a power grid that can deliver 50kw then you can set 50kw and the Rail will charge in 0.1 cycles. There are additional power taps so you can install extra 50kw lines and charge even faster. With a 200kW power plant you can charge in 0.025 cycles per world distance level.

This strongly encourages the research and design of super power systems. Just like how liquid hydrogen and oxygen encourage gas liquefaction technology.

As an extra incentive, the Rail Gun Launch System greatly increases the mass capabilities of the rocket. Much more cargo can be brought back if desired. 

I think such a feature would also go well with introducing new power sources (if that's on the road map). 

 

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So the engine itself would be a building that doesn`t launch with the rocket and is a super battery of sort that absorbs giant amounts of power. That`s a pretty interesting idea.

How about we make the thing based on supercoductors so it has to be ~50K to function. Each launch would produce alrge amounts of heat and you`d need to cool the thing back.

Another thing is how the rocket would land. Without any engine it wouldn`t make sense for it to just touchdown. Maybe it would require some extra fuel for maneovering.

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1 hour ago, Sasza22 said:

 

Another thing is how the rocket would land. Without any engine it wouldn`t make sense for it to just touchdown. Maybe it would require some extra fuel for maneovering.

 

To be fair a lot of ONI doesn't make sense. Like how does the dupe survive 30 cycles in deep space with no food or water.

 

Although i was thinking originally to have the Rail Gun launch system actually be a Rocket Silo type structure. You built an entire regular rocket inside of it. Complete with regular engine. The Rail Gun Launch System instead is like a super powerful booster.

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Here's something that might make it even more interesting. 

Maybe when it launches you need not one but two mega rocket-silo structures. One that shoots it into space, and one that acts as the mechanism that catches it. Perhaps a building could be added that can construct and deconstruct buildings similar to the robominer, so it can deconstruct the landing rocket and transport it via rails to the launch silo.

This would likely be hard to implement, and overly engineered, but it'd be an interesting construction challenge.

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The problem with a rail gun is, its just an electric cannon. While standard cannons use a propellant charge to accelerate the projectile of any kind, thw work is done by magnetic fields inside of a rail gun. So, if you can use a rail gun, you could also use a normal cannon. Its just a matter of what the projectile itself has to bring to the party.

Given that, we already encounter the major problem of a rail gun. It accelerates the projectile (or in this case the rocket) just inside the guns tube. Beyond that, its done. No more engery can be applied to the unit coming out. 

This means, 100% of the force you need has to be applied at the first half second, and the rocket would have to leave the railgun at the max speed it needs. This would result in crushing the dupe to a flat thing on the back of the command capsule, and the whole structure would probably collapse because of the stress. 

To use a magnetic accelerator, you would need a gigantic thing, much larger then the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, to slowly accelerate the unit, in a perfect vacuum and when the needed speed is reached, the unit can be released. 

So far for the reason, we dont use such a thing in real life. Its just not possible. 

In terms of a game mechanic... Sure it would be doable. Dupes dont care of inertia. Materials are only heat sensitive. 

But what i´d like to see rather than a magnetic catapult, would be a ion-drive or something. Powered by a generator, using a tank of hydrogen for repulsion. Such a drive is waaaaaay slower than an actutal burning engine, but it would stay active for far linger. So trips to the outer destinations would cost less, but take longer.

 

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