# Lets address the elephant in the room... electrical wires

## Recommended Posts

The way that electricity works in game currently is very non-intuitive and goes flat against any form of realism which is strange as the gas/fluid motion, conversion etc does seem to have some basis in actual science. It might not work like it should but at least it's somewhat realistic. Electricity however is apparently black magic to the developers as the way it's implement shows a severe lack of understanding of how it works and the physics behind it.

I'll present some solutions that are easy to implement and while still being abstracted will exhibit a closer approach to realism. The solutions are not mutually exclusive but could be implemented in steps.

So first of all. Wires are apparently super conductors as there's no resistance specification. That is not in itself a bad thing as water and air pipes work in a similar way even though they should also exhibit flow resistance over distance. You could however simulate it to some degree by having the max wattage rating depend of material electrical conductivity.

1) Materials have vastly different electrical conductivity ratings. Let wattage rating reflect that.

Another little more complex solution would be for the load on each piece of wire being calculated separately instead of the load on every piece of wire being the full current load on the whole circuit.

2) Calculate load separately for each section of wire.

Currently the only difference between normal wires and power cables is the watt rating. And it's ridiculously low when you take material cost into consideration. 200kg per 1m section of wire would make cables that could withstand gigawatts. The simple solution is to up the power rating (and then combine it with material properties to limit it). The more complex solution is to make normal wires and power cables as different as air and liquid pipes. Essentially that they are akin to being DC and AC circuits respectively. And then introduce a new building: Fuse Box that are a connection point from normal wires to power cables. Power cables cannot be connected directly to anything that produces or uses power. Normal wires and power cables can occupy the same square. The Fuse Box is connected to the circuit the same way as switches. Place over a power cable and the socket on it becomes active for connecting with normal wire. It occupies a 1x1 square.

3a) Have normal wires take eg. 1200W and power cables take eg. 8000W. Assume this is for copper wire and adjust this by electrical conductivity co-efficient, eg. gold amalgam has x7.5 lower electrical conductivity than copper so max power rating should be 160W for a normal wire and 1066.6(6)W for a power cable.

3b) Have separate circuit types for normal wires and power cables with a new building: Fuse Box, to connect the two.

That sums up my humble suggestions for a simple to implement and yet at least have some abstract realism to how electricity could be handled in the game. I'll just finish of with this statement to the developers:

Microgram = µg (ug), never ever mcg. If you want to use SI units then at least use the correct abbreviations.

##### Share on other sites

You're not alone addressing this elephant, many did so before. I hope devs have noticed.

28 minutes ago, Saturnus said:

1) Materials have vastly different electrical conductivity ratings.

I would consider that unnecessary complication of the gameplay. Wires have load limits but have no resistance in current implementation.

29 minutes ago, Saturnus said:

2) Calculate load separately for each section of wire.

That's unfortunately exceedingly complicated to calculate if the circuit contains loops (and actually impossible with zero resistance wires) . A solution would be to only support non-looped circuits, e.g. rendering any looped circuits as "short-circuited" and nonfunctional until the player disconnects any loops on it. Which I would consider very acceptable solution though.

38 minutes ago, Saturnus said:

3b) Have separate circuit types for normal wires and power cables with a new building: Fuse Box, to connect the two.

I already proposed a solution along these lines some time ago:

##### Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, Kasuha said:

I already proposed a solution along these lines some time ago:

I did not see that, and it does in my opinion have the major flaw of being downstream only.

##### Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Saturnus said:

in my opinion have the major flaw of being downstream only.

Well it's there to make things implementable. But that's how power distribution works in real world too. Local grids only draw power, don't act as source.

##### Share on other sites

Honestly, am I the only one here that sees the wire changes as an intentional game mechanics designed to make you break up your power system into multiple separate systems?  ONI is essentially a multi layered puzzle game.  I see the wires the same way I see the decision to not allow you to rotate structures for  better pipe connections.  The wires give a challenge of you needing to setup your power in such a way that you don't blow a circuit.  If you're putting too much load in an area, you may need to create a separate system.

They similarly reduces pipes to cause state changes to break pipes.  Forcing people to think more creatively, if they want to accomplish things like boiling contaminated water, or freezing contaminated oxygen.

While these mechanic changes may not strictly represent real world logic, they offer new methods of challenging the player.  As long as the mechanics are consistent within the world, it not reflecting real world isn't really a bad thing.

##### Share on other sites

Ya, look at the front page of ONI and you'll notice something interesting.

The pipes use to be separated and color coded and odds are wiring was the same design. Early on I imagine they discovered an issue which could be the lack of buildings in the game in it's current form. It makes the game to easy if you allow these colored multi-layer pipes in the game. It becomes a trivial process to design pipe/wiring because you can easily separate the wire/pipes you want with 0 consequence.

it is possible that later on they may add more depth to resources, but I imagine in it's current form they want to make sure everything is working before they considered making a complex resource system in which iron wiring is better or different from copper wiring and other variables like that. Since a lot of resources have different names with the same function, it's very possible that this is because they are just setting the biomes/resources and plan to go back in later to add more depth to materials.

##### Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Ecu said:

Honestly, am I the only one here that sees the wire changes as an intentional game mechanics designed to make you break up your power system into multiple separate systems?

I think their motivation was more realism in game. Limit of naximum power transferred through a wire is a realistic constraint. Dividing the power grid into small parts is not realistic, that's not how it's done in real world. I believe that's byproduct of the implementation rather than intent.

##### Share on other sites

Just now, Kasuha said:

I think their motivation was more realism in game. Limit of naximum power transferred through a wire is a realistic constraint. Dividing the power grid into small parts is not realistic, that's not how it's done in real world. I believe that's byproduct of the implementation rather than intent.

I'm not sure realism is the primary focus of ONI, to be completely honest.  On one of the developer streams they stated that the reason they did not allow flipping things like pumps, showers, etc. (stuff that connects to pipes/ducts), is because it is more challenging to have to deal with the connections as they are.

I think they wanted to limit users from using a single power system as well as allow for damaging of wires, since damaging mechanics were something universally added to things in this update.  It doesn't really feel like a desire specifically for more realism, but instead to create the gameplay they wanted.