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Nuclear Power Concept


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I think most players agree that ONI is at its best when it requires one to design multi-component systems to solve problems. As such, any addition of nuclear reactors should  require more than just plopping down a building that gives insane power. Here’s a concept for a deep, rich nuclear power system. It’s made of several components:

-Fuel rods - made from nuclear ore that must be refined in some way (requiring dupe involvement and thus addressing radiation concerns. 1x1 building, free floating

-control rods - automation input allows their actuation. 1x1 building, free floating 

-high throughput steam turbine. Current one is too wimpy in its output for this application. Not sure what this design looks like, but it needs to have some disadvantages to offset its higher power output in a compact package. 

Idea here is that we introduce the concept of reactivity. More fuel rods close together = more reactivity. Nearby, Activated control rods = less reactivity. Probably need to have some delay on the response to complicate control. As reactivity increases, so does heat generation (and fuel consumption). Use existing mechanics to remove heat (whatever temp exchange medium you want- figure out what’s best!) But... fuel cells have a melting temp. And if you don’t control reactivity or remove the heat we’ll enough, they will melt down. Molten fuel material still maintains reactivity calculations, but since they (probably) don’t have control rods anymore, it’s going to spike. And it keeps generating heat until it burns through its fuel. Nuclear lava anyone?

fuel rods would periodically dump their spent fuel and require reloading. This would require either dupe or sweeper intervention. To keep things tricky they would not have capacity for spare fuel, so in between the spent fuel dropping and reloading they would stop contributing to reactivity (so your reactor control system would need to accommodate this)

So many design decisions (how to lay it out, how to automate your control rods, how to transfer heat...) So many crazy possibilities (containing a nuclear meltdown in Insulted Insultion, and using it to power crazy high temperature processes. 
 

it’s the kind of tool that would launch a storm of great crazy Oni-engineering. 
 

Now we just need something to use all that power for...

 

Expanding on reactivity: Rather than just a static formula based on nearby fuel rods, something more dynamic could tie it in to the current reactivity of itself and its neighbors. Thus you would see the feedback loops that can make nuclear power hard to control (and such that if your control scheme is too slow, the reactivity could rise too high for your control rods to modulate)

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I like your ideas in general @caffeinated21, I have some doubts but for the most part your points are solid (btw, you played factorio didn't you?).

However, there is one thing that kind of struck me - have you heard about the deep vs complex conversation?  [as someone who shows some understanding in game design you most lucky have].

The thing is, introducing the radiation part to the game is quite a big of an addition ( = more complexity). It makes a lot of sense if there are multiple game systems involved with it ( = more depth) but not as much if its just evolved around one concept (which would be the nuclear reactor - which isn't even a core thing if you think about it).

There would also be the (smaller) problem of adding UI cluster. Adding a new percentage % bar like the ones we have for stress and diseases would just add another thing to the screen. However this is very minor and could be handled, my main point is fear from adding complexity without depth.

I am not saying this is a game breaking problem, and the game sure could function even with it as it is presented here, word for word. But maybe we can think of ways to go around it? (as to somehow avoid adding 'complexity' while adding the 'depth')

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At my earlier playthroughs, I experienced a disaster in the form of aqua-turbines getting out of control. I have just learnt about the aquaturbine but wouldnt have a proper insulation in the area and also wouldn't have proper placements for atmo suits

This led to a hilarious colony death by heat, as the cooling system kept cooling a cool steam vent and the turbine itself, while making the whole area extremely hot. sending dupes there would quickly send them back to the medical cats with severe wounds.

Even after cutting the electricity cord it kept spreading heat up to the doors of the base itself. It was the most chernobyl-like expirience I had in ONI.

This leads me to the question - can we somehow make a radiation-like system in the game based on what we currently have (which is heat, pressure and light)? what if we change how heat works? if we change how light work?

I dont have any solutions, Im just trying to provide some things to think about.

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Thanks for the feedback!

i have played factorio (a bit), but I kinda lost interest in it. 

I am familiar re: complexity vs depth, but I think a concept as big as radiation deserves some mechanics unique to it. If not, you could probably just use the germ overlay (as others have proposed in the past).

i thought my proposal scored quite well in depth vs complexity: you’re adding a couple relatively simply buildings, but they can combine and interact across many systems. 

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