The physics of fluids in pipes in ONI are really weird, in a way that was super frustrating to me when starting out.
Basically, pipes don't work anything like you'd expect from general knowledge of how liquid works. Here are some specifics:
- A single pump can push an infinite amount of fluid.
- Splitting and then re-joining a pipe will cause the fluid to try to go in circles, even if there is only one source of pressure.
- It's really hard to understand why fluid does what it does, particularly when it become stuck or goes somewhere unexpected.
- Passive buildings, like pipe bridges, can somehow "suck" liquid out of pipes without expending energy.
- Fluid in a pipe can move without any motive force (perpetual motion machine).
- Fluid in a pipe can "sense" an obstacle far away from it and stop moving.
- Fluid in a pipe is unaffected by gravity.
- [nerd complaint] Pressure is measured in mass units rather than force per unit area (?????).
- [nerd complaint] The energy consumed by a pump (120W) is not nearly enough to move even one "packet" of water at any reasonable speed.
The only mental image I have that explains all this is that pumps actually stuff liquids into small, self-propelled carts which are then loaded into a pipe. Somehow these carts then move through the pipe (with no source of energy) until they reach their destination, at which point the liquid is unboxed and released.
Why is this a problem? Because users will do what I did: build a branching pipe network to deliver water from the reservoir. When this doesn't work, there is no guidance in the game as to how to fix it. Simple tasks like merging two pipe streams took me dozens of attempts to get right, even consulting online guides.
I think it would be really interesting to see a game like this implement semi-realistic physics for its fluids. But if that isn't in scope for your plans, the frustration level would IMO be greatly reduced if the system was more understandable and clearly NOT physical -- either by providing more buildings with well defined functions (eg, a set of junctions that define priority so that merging and splitting pipe streams is simpler), or by providing more insight into the decisions made by water as it travels around.
(1) Be new to the game. (2) Try to build pipes. (3) Get super confused.
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