Usage of metric units for mass

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One thing I find constantly tripping me up is the inconsistant useage of metric units. While I am very familar with the usage of kg, g and mg, the usage of all three makes text difficult to read quickly.

I once heard from one of my teachers that you just convert everything to kg if you're a physicist, g if you're a chemist and mg if your a biologist

Given that you are typically using dealing with large quantities, expressing mass only in terms of kg might be an idea to consider. The useage of anything smaller than a gram could be simply be expressed as '< 0.001 kg' (or for dupes / objects emitting small amounts of mass over time, use kg / min or kg / hr instead of mg / s).

I just wanted to hear what anyone else thought on this matter, so I've posted this in General Discussion.

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I didn't notice until you mentioned the inconsistencies, but yes It looks like gas is measured in g and solids are measured in kg. Also I noticed a tooltip typo where solids on the ground are measured in Kg capital k.

Personally I would like it if the units adapted to the amount of mass involved. So things over 1000 grams would be in kg and masses less than 1g would be measured in mg.

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It already works like this i think, it's not dependant on the state of the object. Once something has more than 4000g mass, it switches to kg, under that it will be in g, and under 4g it will be in mg i think (to check it just watch the algae produced by the distiller fill up, and how gas is measured when it firs tries to fill a vacuum area.

another thing that is weird is that constructions costs just tell you a raw number without any unit.

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If you are a physicist, biologist or a chemist you use kg, g, mg, µg and even ng it just depends on which one is more logical to use in the case and what accuracy is desired/achieved, or they use the scientific notation where 2 grams = 2*10^0 g and 1 kg is noted as 1*10^3 g. Large scale science like rocket science might use the notation of <0.001 kg, because the difference between a gram and a milligram of matter at that point becomes less of a concern when you are measuring everything else in metric tonnes(also when working with newtons it tends to be easier to work with kg). But nearly fields of science with smaller scales will use the most logical notation(for the ease of reading, since 0.001 kg is harder to read than 1 g), or the scientific notation(which is a bit harder to read than the logical connotation, but makes accuracy a lot easier to manage and removes converting from the equation).

Also I find it funny that that teacher(probably a physics teacher) made that remark, when in all actuality in chemistry you use mg pretty much all the time and in biology you use µg a lot. So the only place where the statement is correct is physics and even then it's faulty since physics is home to the fields of science that uses the least mass(particle physics and quantum physics) and the highest mass(astrology), and you can bet your ass they don't work in kg.

But to get back to the point mg/s is the most logical notation, since everything else is measured per second. Trust me, it's easier to convert between mg, g and kg than to convert between s, min and h. Also making it kg/min would make anything that emits less than 17 g/s harder to read, since it would become a number smaller than 1, the same would be true with kg/h for anything emitting less than 0.28 g/s. Not to mention I'd rather have the exact amount emitted rather than an abstracted >0.001 kg.

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@terrachronos: just to be clear, the story of my teacher was meant to be tongue-in-cheek rather than actual instructions  You were quite right in that it was my physics teacher who told me that joke

The point I wanted to discuss was whether it would be easier to read tooltips if they all use the same unit notation for mass (the actual unit used is unimportant), or if people don't mind the use of multiple units

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11 hours ago, ImpactedTooth said:

Personally I would like it if the units adapted to the amount of mass involved. So things over 1000 grams would be in kg and masses less than 1g would be measured in mg.

Which I believe is what we currently see in game. I agree, for me it's easier to read that way, instead of having everything in kg or g, making it quickier to read ("oh I have already stored Y kg of this, while I only have X grams of that..." etc.)