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So how should a Heat mechanic actually work in SE?

Discussion in 'General' started by SirConnery, May 14, 2019.

  1. SirConnery Apprentice Engineer

    (wall of text alert)

    Opening thoughts

    How should the obvious mechanic that SE is currently missing, called Heat work in the game?

    I think these are the ground rules to get started.
    1. It is a simple mechanic (not adding much cpu overhead)
    2. Uses existing blocks (in addition to adding new ones)

    Heat is a mechanic that this game could truly benefit from. Firstly to balance Reactors which at the moment give ridicilous amounts of power with little management. Now if they also produced a lot of heat that would suddenly be a much more balanced way of producing power. Maybe also add cooling when producing energy with Hydrogen Generator, making them a better option.

    The ways of dispensing heat would allow for some obvious gameplay mechanics
    1. Cooling via conveyors with ice (making ice a more valuable resource)
    2. Cooling via exterior air vents
    3. Adding heatsinks in the game (may not be a good idea)

    What the Heat mechanic should not become is just slapping a few more pieces of "Coolers" into your grid and being done with it. That's certainly simple, but not desirable.
    But you also don't want the game to do "local area" heat calculations since cpu power in the game is already limited.


    So, what I'm proposing is this.
    1. There is only overheating, no "too cold" mechanic
    2. Heat is by block basis, overall heat produced by grid does not matter
    3. Heat is produced by certain blocks. That Heat is then also "radiated" to blocks in the vicinity by calculating if he block is right next to it or 2 blocks away etc. The further blocks away, the lower the heat radiated.
    4. All blocks have a "heat resistance value", after that threshold is passed the block shuts down (turned off) until cooled.
    5. Heat produced significantly lowers in Pressurized conditions
    6. Some blocks still create immense amounts of heat regardless (namely Reactor)
    7. Add heat multipliers to heat produced by per planet basis

    This does a few things.
    - Makes you build your massively heat dispersing units away from other heat dispersing units. Which on stations doesn't matter that much but on ships is a big deal since it will take space to do that.
    - It balances Reactors slightly since you will have to have external cooling, either by ice, heatsinks etc. to make it produce all that crazy amount of power. And you will have to "quarantine" it far away from the other blocks that can't take heat so well.
    - Will make planets more varied, on Europa you could run high amounts of power without any heat management, while on Mars you will need lots of cooling
    - Will give more use to the pressurization mechanic and hopefully also make air vents have another use (heat dispersion)

    What may be negative effects
    - I'm not sure how much calculation power this very simple calculation would take from cpu, since it is calculating a lot of blocks
    - Small grids shouldn't need to use "ice cooling" or anything of the sort imo, since this would mean them bulking up in size. So for this theoretical heat mechanic small grids are unaffected for now.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. domingo Trainee Engineer

    - each tick each block tries to spread its heat to surrounding blocks based on how much it has and how good it transfers heat (main CPU hog)
    - some blocks will generate heat (reactors, engines, thrusters ...), other can "destroy" heat - some kind of radiators - new block, working 100% in vacuum, with decreased efficiency in atmosphere
    - also blocks can transfer the heat to environment (and get some from it)
    - none in vacuum, heat must be radiated
    - when connected to asteroid, some heat can be transferred to it (or other connected grid)
    - to/from planetary atmosphere - each could have it's resting atmosphere heat, plus positional differences (cooler in polar regions) plus day/night cycles
    - blocks will take damage when they store too much heat
    - when cooling reactors with ice: ability to engineer steam turbine as additional power source from reactor
  3. Lord Grey Apprentice Engineer

    Well, we had that topic already and it was alway said, there will be no heat dynamic in the game. I would like it because heat is one of the most underrated or missunderstanded problems in fictional space travel.
    I would generate an overall heat value for the whole grid, each block's heat generation is added up, so you have a store like a battery or a tank. If a certain level is reached, Blocks start to shut down. I would propose two new blocks: Radiators and Thermal Absorbers. Thermal Absorbers can puffer a certain amount of heat, like Batteries handle power. The radiator is simmiliar to the solar panels, except it's most effective if it's not hit by sunlight, but needs a free line of sight to the skybox to be working, and efficienc is raised exponential if exposed to athmosphere. Ice to cool down while generating H2 and O2 is a nice idea. Maybe the Lithium curtain cooler would make a nice addition, but most probably the physiks to dificult to simulate. It has to stay clean and simple.

    And someone was faster withing an answer...
  4. mojomann71 Senior Engineer

    There is/was a mod that added heat on re-entry. Currently at work cant go searching for it at the moment to provide a link. The last I knew it was working but with all the changes to the game, the mod may be broken.
  5. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    This discussion is really cool! I can already tell that heat mechanics is a hot subject.
    • Funny Funny x 3
  6. Stardriver907 Senior Engineer

    Cool your jets, Spiff.
  7. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    You say that, but now I'm hot under the collar! :mad:
  8. Terminal_6 Trainee Engineer

    I like the idea of heat as a limiting factor on megaships with 20 large reactors and 1,000,000 turrets, among other things. It could be another use for ice, which could be used to absorb heat, then ejected into space for immense rapid cooling. And we could contrive some super-emissive radiator block the same way jump drives and grav gens were contrived for low-end cooling. Then maybe instead of oxygen and hydrogen tanks, we could make them generic pressure vessels that can be filled with anything, and then, and then, and then... I need to learn to mod.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. May Rears Apprentice Engineer

    Far from it, that mod has been updated 3rd May this year: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=571920453

    There is also a mod that adds thermodynamics to your designs here https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1425468243
  10. SirConnery Apprentice Engineer

    The heat on re-entry is kind of a silly addition to otherwise a decent mod. Tried, it and yeah. If you like Monty Python you'll probably enjoy it.

    Thermal Mechanics mod may be good in the future but right now it's pretty much a "slap these cooling blocks on your ship" mod. And if you don't your whole ship lights on fire.
  11. mojomann71 Senior Engineer

    @May Rears good to see the mod is still functional. :)
    I never tried it myself, so that is why I was not sure if it was still working. :)
  12. Roxette Senior Engineer

    Really ? Is the game not already a thermal problem in itself with it's insane CPU/GPU usage ? Do you really think that adding another processor-intensive feature to the game which already has an insanely high demand on computer system resources is a good plan ? I think there are already too many badly-implemented "features", another one is not needed thanks.
  13. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    You sound steamed. I doubt KSH will be cooking up new thermal features any time soon.
  14. SirConnery Apprentice Engineer

    That's why it should be a simple mechanic to not tax the cpu. Heat in an engineering space game is definitely needed. When I first started the game I expected heat to be a central mechanic, only to find out it's not even there.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. Stardriver907 Senior Engineer

    That's a fair point. Whenever a feature gets brought up, many people tend to jump straight to the version that does everything. Sounds like people want something to happen when they're going fast in atmosphere and maybe a mechanic that makes reactors require cooling?

    When you are attempting a landing, run out of fuel, and start dropping faster than the speed limit, there should be smoke and fire because you're doomed anyway. I guess hot reactors would damage all the blocks they're connected to and eventually become a separate grid loose inside your ship.

    What else has to happen?
  16. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    We could have reactor meltdown mechanics. Or maybe bad bearing wind turbine failure mechanics. Or maybe hydrogen engine carbon monoxide death mechanics. The possibilities are simply endless!
  17. Lord Grey Apprentice Engineer

    Maybe the truster damage mechanics can be utilized for this?
  18. SirConnery Apprentice Engineer

    I think it's mainly the reactors that should have something offset their crazy power gains. I guess just having a simple mod that required having ice on cargo and then the reactors consuming it to keep working would be fine as a compromise for me right now.

    But an actual heat mechanic is definitely needed at some point, no matter how simple.
  19. Stardriver907 Senior Engineer

    But... but some people don't wanna have to worry about heat :(
  20. Lord Grey Apprentice Engineer

    Earthworms. Real Spacers don't have Problems with heat dissipation
  21. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    If this is something we want as a group... we probably need to keep the mechanic simple with as few new variables as possible. Information that can be derived or gleaned from an existing game mechanic will go a long way.

    Heat should be attributed to an individual grid, not a block. Heat build-up should be a variable that's generated by block activity. These points should then be divided by some sort of constant related to the grid, such as the dry mass of the grid. Larger grids should be able to absorb a greater amount of caloric heat as there is more mass to dissipate heat into. However, having lots of heat generating blocks on the grid versus non-generating would quickly create some issues for the player.

    The amount of heat a block creates could be derived on the amount of energy its requiring or in the case of power sources... the amount of energy its producing. We already have a mechanic for power usage/generation per block... so the information is already there.

    So what happens when the grid gets too hot? In terms of game mechanics what should we do? Now that we have temperature for the player character to worry about, extreme levels of heat could cause damage/death to the player character, especially if the space suit is open or being overwhelmed with heat. But the issue is determining whether or not the player is inside of or outside of the grid. We have pressurization, so heat build-up in a pressurized (filled with gas) environment would be logical. If a player is in contact with the grid (walking) then conduction heat would be a factor... there's a mechanic where the game knows that the player is in contact via gravity, using a ladder, sitting in a seat/cryochamber, or mag boots with the grid else we'd have no cue for walking animations.

    As far as the grid is concerned... a simple thermal shutdown of the grid would suffice. It would also be possible for certain blocks to be damaged due to heat stress of the components. Frying the computer components and motors might work well... or simply certain blocks exploding like production blocks or jump drives if they are on.

    Cooling. Keep it simple. Two types of radiators: active and passive. Active radiators require power and a supply of ice. They work the fastest. Passive radiators require no power but they work very slowly. Having no radiators works the slowest of all. If the temperature rises to an extreme level, active radiators fail until the temperature falls under a certain threshold.

    Static grids connected to voxels radiate their temperature through the voxels and don't require radiators. So creating a refining base would be a lot less problematic than a big refining ship.

    On planets with atmospheres I would do away with the mechanic. There's a flag for atmospheres so that can be tapped for information. However, heat build-up on a planet due to variations in planetary temperatures might be fun as well. Visiting a volcanic planet that has a high temperature set in its definition would be interesting... it could affect ships and static grids. If the character is outside of a cockpit or pressurized area... they could take damage based on the extreme nature of the heat overpowering the suit. That might be fun to play in with an extremely hot planet that's loaded with resources, but requires a lot of thought regarding exploiting due to heat.

    After mulling this over... I think it would be a fantastic option to create some new gameplay dynamics and a sense of exploration/danger to the game. Of course, there should be an option to turn off the heat mechanic as well as multiply/divide the severity of heat build up the same way we can alter the rate welding, grinding storage in game settings.
    • Like Like x 3
  22. SirConnery Apprentice Engineer

    Is there some reason why it should be by grid basis instead of by heat generating block basis? It could be possible to make quite a simple non-cpu taxing mechanic by block basis as well. Let's take a reactor.

    1. Check reactor heat level
    2. Check nearby blocks heat resistance
    3. If nearby block heat resistance is lower than reactor heat divided by distance to block > shut down block.

    The benefit of having a heat mechanic should be to make create more engineering problems. Not having every power generator clumped up together and having to put things with less heat resistance (in this hypothetical, programmable blocks for example) further away from the heat generating devices. To keep it simple planets can just apply a multiplier to the heat generating blocks.

    The problem with calculating heat by grid basis is that it quickly becomes just a game of "slap enough coolers in the grid", which is less than ideal.
  23. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    So every tick of the game we have calculate not only heat-points generated but also consider what blocks are near the heat generating block. How will you determine "nearby heat resistance?" So we'll have to do multiple searches of a grid, determine the structural make-up of that grid and then make a determination. Part of your heat mechanic would also be the build up of thermal energy too, right? What happens when two thermal generating blocks are in proximity of each other? That's going to get a bit more intense to model for every single grid in the world.

    A heavy grid (say one with lots of heavy armor on it) is going to act as a heat sync for any thermal activity. So if you sparingly have thermal generating blocks, heat's not going to be much of an issue. A densely packed grid is going to have a high heat generation to mass ratio when using a lot of power and require some sort of cooling or the heat-points on that grid are going to keep rising. As they rise they will go past the thermal limits of certain blocks and they will shut down.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  24. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    While this is one of the better put together request for a heat mechanic I've seen, this still strikes me as a feature that should have been added near the start of the game, or at least with planets, if they were going to do something of this scale. If done correctly something like this could be an interesting mechanic, but if done poorly would be more trouble than it's worth. There are several issues I see here.

    CPU/GPU resources: This one has already been addressed for the most part by other folks. If you're doing a per block calculation for the heat, this is going to add up fast, even with a "lighter" version of the mechanic. If you do a per block calculation for all blocks on the grid, then take the resources it would take to calculate for a single block, and multiply that number by the amount of blocks on the grid. If for example you say it takes one unit of computing power per block to check it and there are 300 blocks on the grid, you're essentially using 300 units of computing power every time you check for the heat calculations. That's not including any other checks that may need to be performed such as, are the blocks moving, and if so what direction/speed are they going. To continue with the analogy CPU and GPU only have a finite amount of computing units they can bring to bear before you start running into massive issues with lag and so on. If you do a calculation per grid, this significantly reduces needed computing power, but still adds significant calculations to the already heavy CPU/GPU demands of the game.

    In this instance I think Ronin1973 sums it up rather well when he asks the questions about how you would handle some of the various reactions of different thermal blocks and their placement. The issue of heat resistance could be solved simply enough by saying "Each block now has X Y Z for their heat resistance." The higher the resistance to heat, the better that block can handle heat and the longer it takes to heat up, but also cool down. The downside to this though is that it introduces another variable into the calculations. Now it would have to calculate different variables for the different blocks based on their heat resistance. Some blocks would heat up faster and cool off faster than others. All that opens an entirely new can of worms as far as calculations go.

    New build limitations: This would also introduce new limitations that could be extremely taxing on alot of builds. As Ronin pointed out, assuming you have sufficient cooling, having your thermal generating blocks a bit more spaced out would make heat less of an issue for builds that have the room to spread out. However at the same time, what of the builds that don't have that luxury of alot of space? There are times when a build has to be more compact due to various demands. This could be because there's not much space to start with, it needs to present a smaller target area or so on. I get the idea of wanting to present new challenges, however the way you've set it up I see it as being much more of a limitation with little value then presenting new ways of building. This also goes back to the resource issue, with the tighter builds how would multiple thermal generating blocks in close proximity interact with each other, especially if they have different heat resistance values?

    Coolant: This goes towards the idea of using ice as a coolant. In addition to it being used by the oxygen generators to produce oxygen for air, and hydrogen for fuel, it would now also function as a coolant. What gets priority here or are they all treated equally? Would oxygen and hydrogen generation take priority, or would cooling be given priority as far as division of the ice goes in terms of automation? In other words as just one hypothetical, would you do a 60/40 split in favor of fuel and air generation, or would you give more priority to cooling? Or would you simply treat them equally and try to divide it as evenly as possible? This also raises the question, how much coolant on average would be needed for each type of block? Let's suppose a large reactor produces 1000 units of heat every minute, are we going to need 1000 units of ice to counteract that 1000 units of heat, would we need 2000 units, 3000 units, or what would we need? That question would need to be answered for every thermal generating block in game. Obviously this means more ice would be needed to produce air/fuel and now act as coolant, greatly increasing potential demands on the ship. To be perfectly blunt its easy enough to piss through your ice as is, especially if hydrogen thrusters are involved at the default vanilla values. This would make hydrogen even more impractical to run than it already can be now. Another type of coolant could be introduced but then you're back to asking, where do you get it, how much to use and so on.

    You would want to find a balance between how much heat is generated and how much coolant would be required for each block. You want it to be high enough that people are aware of it, but at the same time not take so much coolant that mining the entire moon of Europa would only keep a grid cool for 5 minutes if you catch my drift.

    Radiators and cooling blocks: A concern you had mentioned is that you wouldn't want it to be simply a case of "slap this many coolers on and you're good", but personally I don't see how it could be anything but exactly that without limiting the range of the cooling blocks. Even if you limited the range of the blocks, you would still have that same "slap this many on and you're good" type of problem, only this time the location of the blocks would have changed. This would be the same principle whether it's calculated on a block by block basis or a by grid basis. Save in the block by block version you're using many many more calculations than before.

    Years ago the Chromehounds game had a heat mechanic that was fairly decent and had to be taken into account. Naturally things like your generators and similar blocks would produce heat. Save in their case if too much heat was produced the block itself could explode. Radiators could be applied to help take care of this issue, but God help you if the radiator was destroyed or you ran out of fuel because then you were up the creek without a paddle if your hound generated alot of heat. Even then it was simply a case of having enough cooling to keep things under control. The only value this added to the game was the ability to spot enemy hounds via thermal vision. Spotting someone via thermal vision was a cool thing sure, but in terms of actual combat value didn't provide that much varied gameplay or value. If your hound was too hot then you could easily be picked up, get it too cold and you were easily picked perhaps even easier than running hot. it became more of a balancing act than anything and was more annoying than anything else.

    If done RIGHT perhaps this could be interesting an mechanic, but I think you have alot more questions and things to iron out first that you would need to take care of first.
  25. SirConnery Apprentice Engineer

    Alright, I do notice the issues with per block calculations now that some of the calculation problems were highlighted. Actually before we get any further, let's just have a go at one of the premises of this thread. And that is that that Heat could be a good gameplay mechanic. So, if we can discuss the potential upsides of a perfectly executed Heat mechanic first before we get to the technical's of the execution.

    What are the benefits of having a Heat mechanic in Space Engineers?

    Ideally, I'd like it to do a few things.

    1. Balance reactor output with a downside (hopefully engineering related)
    2. Make large grid ship/station designs (require) have a purpose for engine rooms
    3. Make pressurization feature have more use
    4. Make planets differ more, in colder planets you could easily run huge power installations
    5. Make Ice even more needed (may not actually be good in everybody's opinion)

    Other thoughts:

    I just came up with this, I haven't really thought it through yet. How about if heat was calculated by per room basis? The game already calculates room size for air vents right? So the formula would be " (room size : heat generation in room by blocks) - coolers " .

    Obvious problem starts right away from when you don't have a sealed room, how is heat calculated. Anyway, food for thought.
    --- Automerge ---
    I have made a new thread for particularly Reactor balancing since otherwise I keep derailing my own thread here. https://forum.keenswh.com/threads/is-the-reactor-balanced.7403147/ .
  26. Stardriver907 Senior Engineer

    It seems, at least to me, that problems develop when we start talking about calculating accumulated heat buildup and then calculating which blocks are getting damaged, and then calculating how much damage individual blocks can take, and then deciding what happens to which blocks when they exceed the threshold. All this calculating screams lag. Remember, we're not talking about a mod here. This will be the vanilla game. They've only just recently gotten a handle on not taxing the CPU and we can assume it won't take much to overwhelm it again. So whatever happens, it has to be simple to calculate and needs as few calculations as possible. It would be nice if it didn't require a new block.

    Since reactor balancing is now the topic of another thread I'll just talk about the standard (vanilla) reactors and ignore how many you may or may not need to power your ship. @SirConnery's concern seems to be that it is relatively easy, even in survival, to build reactors that create vast amounts of power for long periods of time, enabling players to engage in extraordinary activities without risk. Current balancing efforts have been to adjust power output and adjust uranium availability. These efforts increase the number of reactors you need to build and also increase the time it takes to find and refine fuel. Eventually, though, a determined player will overcome these obstacles. SirConnery has concluded, therefore, that if reactors were more risky, that might deter players from having too many (Balance reactor output with an engineering related downside).

    So, in this case, what's the least CPU intensive way to create an engineering-related solution to a problem that does not currently exist?

    Well, let's start with the current standard reactor. It's a relatively simple block. Build it anywhere and see to it that it gets more uranium when it runs out. Hydrogen thrusters, on the other hand, need to be on the conveyor system, or at least attached to a gas generator, so you can't just build hydrogen thrusters and get them to work. You need to build a complementary block and create a system. Off the top of my head I can think of two solutions. Keen could create a "reactor cooling" block that needs to be conveyored to a reactor or the reactor will not work. The other solution would be to give that ability to the o2/h2 generator. The thing is that the overall cost of building reactors would be higher, and a bit of system engineering would be required. For purposes of the standard game, I believe the worst thing that should happen to a reactor that looses coolant is shutdown. That's the "heat mechanic". Reactors that get disconnected from the conveyor system or run out of coolant get hot. Hot reactors shut down.

    Should hot reactors damage adjacent blocks? My short answer would be, no. The reactors in SE are supposedly "off-the-shelf" items that have a long record of proven reliability under "normal use". Loss of coolant would probably be the most engineered feature of such a reactor. The possibility of a non-nuclear explosion as the result of damage from some other source should exist and might also influence where player put their reactors.

    So now, in the standard game, we have reactors that will require some thought when placed, are more costly to spam, and have consequences for mismanagement and/or damage. All without a lot of calculations. If players require more complication they can use a mod.

    Now, it would be real easy to make things more complicated at this point, and that's where discussions like these bog down. Getting it better than this will require more than the game might be able to deliver. The important thing to remember is that SE is not a simulation. There are a LOT of things missing from the game that don't, necessarily, make it less fun. Sure, there's no orbital mechanics. Doesn't stop me from playing. However, I agree that some things should be fundamental, like air and pressurization, which changed the way most people designed their builds forever.

    A true "heat mechanic" would check every block at all times for circumstances that would trigger some damage and perhaps a particle effect, and then other things would happen. With my solution, a reactor that loses coolant shuts down, and a hot reactor that gets damaged might explode (non-nuclear). I don't believe the standard game would require more than that.
    • Like Like x 1
  27. SirConnery Apprentice Engineer

    Your solution is a fine one. But it's essentially a reactor mechanic. That is in my opinion something that should be done regardless (balancing the reactor), whether or not a more extensive heat mechanic is introduced.

    I'm hoping someone confirms whether calculating heat by per room basis would require intensive calculations (as per my previous post). As I understand room size is already calculated in the game because of Air Vents.
  28. Dax23333 Junior Engineer

    If you had the heat as a per-grid variable kind of like power is now (grids with more mass storing more heat energy) as has been suggested earlier I do think some quite interesting things could be done. Say that you had two blocks available for cooling, and grids cooled down naturally (albiet slowly, boosted on planets due to atmosphere) over time. As has been mentioned before you might have a rapid cooler that used ice as 'fuel' to dump heat into space by evaporating the ice. Fast and can get rid of a lot of heat quick, but requires ice to work. Then you'd have the radiators which boost passive cooling, more suitable for something like a station. I don't think any per block things need to be done, assuming heat is distributed across the whole grid would be fine I think. Its all steel, and steel is reasonably good at conducting heat.

    Say heat is produced by generating blocks. I think this could be made interesting by varying how much heat is produced by various kinds of generator available. Wind turbines and solar could generate very little (or zero) heat, as they are fairly low power things. Batteries could produce heat both while charging and discharging. Reactors on the other hand, they could produce little heat when thier output is constant but large amounts when the output varies. This could possibly be balanced so that you'd want both reactors and batteries on a ship so that the batteries can take the burst power and reactors provide a steady flow into the batteries. A station or ship mainly for production might be ok with entirely reactors as it would have a mostly steady power draw. A fast and nimble ship could want just batteries to take advantage of thier low heat when rapidly varying thier power output, with the option for adding a heavy reactor for extended flight duration. And yes for this to work how power is drawn from things would need to have the priority reworked, so your reactor would tend towards an average power draw while the batteries rapidly varied thiers.

    Could add a heat ray as a 3rd method of active cooling, which would charge up from your hot grid to fire a big burst of heat at an enemy ship. Possible new neiche of deliberatly inefficent ships to make better use of this weapon?
  29. domingo Trainee Engineer

    Most of the time there is no reason to compute heat every tick for every block.
    Unless the reactor isn't cooled properly, then it will melt ... but that will be fast ;-)
    Or badly placed thruster ... wait, it might replace current thruster damage mechanic ...
  30. captainbladej52 Apprentice Engineer

    Since reactor balance discussion has sort of split off from here I'll leave the bulk of my thoughts on their balance in that thread. In regards to the discussion here I honestly don't see how this would become anything else but a "slap these blocks on and forget it" type of feature. With oxygen blocks and hydrogen blocks you now had a means of creating a life support system and also having access to hydrogen that can be used for fuel. Afterall you need to be able to breath while you're on that ship or station, and will need some type of fuel. My other concern is that if this is tied into ice, and it's not balanced properly, it would tax demands for ice to a near breaking point. I understand ice would be the most logical choice without having to add a completely new material into the game. At the same time it's already easy enough to piss through your ice like Niagara Falls, especially when hydrogen thrusters enter the mix. Not everything needs to have a massive downside to it. If something like this were implemented I would want to see something else with it so it's not just a pure downside for the sake of having a downside. In other words a reason beyond just "slap these on to keep your stuff from shutting off or exploding." For example a reactor with sufficient cooling could be a bit more efficient (within reason of course) than a reactor nearing automatic shutdown. This could be done for most heat generating blocks. Say a 5% increase in efficiency when they've got more than enough cooling, the standard rate we have now if the cooling is simple adequate, and a slight inefficiency if not enough cooling is present. At least then it would be something more than simply a "slap this on and forget it" or a "slap this on to keep that block from turning off" type of deal.

    As for connections to the reactors, I would think most folks would have them connected to their conveyor network anyways, unless it's some kind of reserve reactor or something being used to kickstart the rest of your power grid. Even then you could cycle it back and forth between a battery backup and that reserve reactor. Reactors already have the massive downside of needing to farm their fuel in space and they already are expensive to produce. Adding a few additional components that use more rare materials could be something for folks that want there to be more of a downside to them. If folks want to make a giant wall of reactors personally it doesn't bother me but to each their own.

    For me I would definitely say the block needs to simply shutoff instead of outright explode since the reactors in SE are said to be super reliable. I would find it hard to believe they wouldn't have several redundancies to prevent the thing from exploding. For that matter I would assume that the computers built into the reactor itself would trigger some sort of automatic shutdown if a leak was detected.

    I guess what I'm saying is I'm concerned that this doesn't appear to have been as thought out as I would like. I would also want to see something beyond simply a "slap this on and forget it" type of thing as that would seem boring to me.