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STU Science Team: GravDrives

Discussion in 'General' started by RaptorMonkey, Feb 26, 2017.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. RaptorMonkey Trainee Engineer

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    9
    In the first public report done by the Solar Trade Union: Science Team we look at the usage of Gravity Drives in Space Engineers today. The main project goal was to try and get a vanilla ship to reach half light speed in 17 days with the assistance of Midspace's Unlimited Speed Mod. However we were restrained by an unforeseen factor.

    We made several interesting discoveries in the properties of Gravity Propelled Ships, check out the full report below...


    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7iQ0oD09VAGd1BiS2x4c3BsLXc/view?usp=sharing

    Or check out the flight recording here...
    (note there isn't really any sound, the report goes over the results of the flight)


    If you have any enquires or questions about the report, the future of the project or want to join the team please feel free to join us on our discord server.
    https://discord.gg/4M5azRK

    I hope you find our report informative,

    Happy Engineering!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  2. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,866
    Well; for all intents and purposes you're utilizing a glitch; an unintended side effect, an exploit that was never intended to be used this way. In addition, the game simply isn't - and never will - be able to deal with the kind of speeds you're trying to reach. There's a reason the vanilla speed limit is a mere 100m/s...

    No offense, but I'm one of those who keeps hoping this nonsense will be patched out. The basic issue that allows for the gravdrive is the cause of other problematic issues as well, such as losing a single steel plate on a nonstatic platform with gravity causing it to spin out of control.
     
    • Agree Agree x 10
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  3. ShadedMJ Apprentice Engineer

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    269
    Agreed, though it might be humorous if the fix just means your ship gets damaged and may implode (instead of explode).

    I made a crummy concept build, didn't bother to balance it, but it moved. I saw its best potential as a single axis acceleration/deceleration assist for capital ships.
     
  4. RaptorMonkey Trainee Engineer

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    9
    I never really saw it as a glitch, I was unaware it was an exploit... Which makes me curious, what are the mass blocks meant for?, I never really see any use for them.

    I was also well aware we weren't going to reach those speeds, it was just a big goal to see how fast we could go more then anything, I was just fascinated by the fact that in the calculations it seemed plausible, no harm in trying I always say.
     
  5. GrindyGears Senior Engineer

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    1,787
    Providing an insane power/thrust to weight ratio with negligible power consumption (relative to same thrust using thrusters) in a fairly small area? How could it not be considered to be an exploit?

    Afaik the mass blocks were originally created to allow people to make wheeled vehicles on stations and asteroids. Or have something like cargo be held down so it doesn't float away.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  6. gchristopher Apprentice Engineer

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    132
    Maybe grav drives should be better balanced, but their existence is a bright point of the SE game. SE needs many more things like grav drives!

    You achieve an in-game effect by compounding the use of different blocks, actually BUILDING something! Instead of "here's a Lego thruster brick, it goes forward, durr" you are actually called on to put different blocks near each other and then they do something in combination.

    Grav drives point the way to a far more interesting, fulfilling, and rewarding way to build ships.

    I see how their relative power and (unless you believe NASA has made a reactionless EM drive) being possibly more fiction-ey than scienc-ey leads to hurt feels, but as a game mechanic, they're one of the best, most interesting, fun features of SE to build around.

    SE could use a lot more grav-drive like ship structures. The more, the better, to help set Space ENGINEERS apart from Minecraft.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Disagree Disagree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  7. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

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    1,551
    The problem is.... Grav Drives are just way overpowered. If they were massively toned down, then I wouldn't have an issue ... but as it stands, 9 mass blocks plus 9 grav generators on a smallish vessel hits the vanilla speed cap in an instant.

    If it was a bit more 'sensible' then it would be more in keepign with everything else. That and giving mass blokcs a much higher energy usage
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  8. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    684
    Last time I checked out gravity drives I found you had to balance things properly otherwise you wouldn't be able to fly straight. I really like that about them for a few reasons. First was already mentioned in that it requires engineering. Second is that if you take combat damage it can really throw off your balance and ability to steer which gives them a unique disadvantage.
     
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    • Like Like x 1
  9. Malware Master Engineer

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    9,866
    I don't disagree with the engineering factor of them. I agree more combo engineering would be nice. I'm one of those people who wish thruster balancing was a thing, and that thrusters oriented your ships, and that the gyro was but a measuring device (at least for the larger ships). I disagree with their balance - combat isn't a major point in this game, it can easily be completely ignored (I do) but mostly is the underlying bug that enables the drive that is the problem, the bug that causes nonsensical movement where it's not intended, for something as simple as accidentally dropping a steel plate.

    Also the pull-myself-with-a-magnet thing hurts my head...
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  10. RaptorMonkey Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    9
    I like the idea of GravDrives because of this, it adds so many unusual and unpredictable behaviors in the system. All of which can be researched and brought to light and engineered to either be taken advantage of, or worked around. I wouldn't call it so much as a bug but an unintentional use of the two blocks.

    Why wait for this functionality to be brought in when we have it in the form of gravdrives?,(in my opinion) it makes flying, building and combat so much more interesting.

    That been said there definitely should be some balancing done with the power consumption, they use ridiculously small amounts of power.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

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    1,551
    Interesting.... I state grav drives are way overpowered .... and you click the disagree button. Then state exactly the same thing.

    Grav drives ARE way overpowered, and do need balancing. The effect is too strong and the energy requirements are too low.

    Mass blocks should use HUGE amounts of energy if Einstein is even partially correct with his theory of Special Relativity. If E does equal M*C*C ..... then M=E/(C*C) meaning the amount of mass created from energy is divided by the square of the speed of light. E has to have a colossal value to make a kilo of mass by conversion from energy. Even applying game hocum pseudo science, creating mass should require a lot of energy. Then Grav drives make sense...and becomes more balanced... if it's energy requirements mean you need to build more reactors to have it work.

    I use grav drives as a 'cruise' drive, not as a complete solution....and have been combining grav drive with railguns to use the same generators to move and shoot....
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. RaptorMonkey Trainee Engineer

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    9
    I apologize for that, I'll change that now.

    I agree they use way to little power and I like your point about E=mc^2 but I feel like that those kind of energy requirements are to far the other way. I feel it would be better in the middle somewhere
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
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  13. Malware Master Engineer

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    9,866
     
  14. RaptorMonkey Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    9
    But arent Mass blocks meant to have a force acting on them provided there is a gravity generator nearby and the mass block is in range? Im not sure I quite get what you mean
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  15. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,866
    If they're not connected to the same grid.
    Try this for yourself. Create a new ship, place no thrusters or gyros, just a generator and a gravgen. Then drop a single steel plate at the edge of the grid and see what happens. This is the very bug that lets gravity drives exist. It has nothing to do with the mass blocks.

    It's also equivalent to blowing on a sail to make your ship go while you're sitting in it. It's cartoon physics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Forcedminer Senior Engineer

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    2,227
    They're fun to make but extremely dangerous....

    like try not get crushed to death under the force of all that gravity in survival.
    and try chase after the ship when you get thrown away from it in survival mode.

    any time i see grav drives i think of this.....
    [​IMG]

    not sorry.

    I've a rotten feeling if they ever do something to fix it it'll be a gravity generator can't have a functioning mass block on the same grid. at the same time.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

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    1,551
    No worries....I was just a bit confused :)

    I have not tried Malware's test in those terms, but I will as soon as I get in from work. I expect a spectacular display of destruction, or I want my money back :)

    I also suspect Forcedminer to be right about how this will end.
     
  18. odizzido Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    684
    I would love it if thrusters behaved this way. What would be cool is if there were a checkbox for realistic thrusters/gyro. The code seems to be in the game already so it should be relatively easy to implement?
     
  19. Forcedminer Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    2,227

    not gonna lie I've a feeling a whole lot of players would not like that though. :/

    like it'd be awesome but having to spend extra time balancing your ships thrusters so it doesn't drift in a direction.

    i get the sort of feeling..........its like..............
    its easier this way and alot more players will be happy with that
    versus
    a feature that makes the game harder that only some players would enjoy.

    hopefully it could become say a mod on the workshop so players could give it a shot and add it for servers for a trial run sort of thing.
     
  20. halipatsui Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,253
    Could gravdrives be balanced by having gravity generator energy condumption scale up the more mass it is tryin to move?
    Would this kind of feature be hard/costly performance vicr to apply?
    It would nerf gravdrives, but would not destroy using gravity for comforts such as ship artificial gravity.
    On the other hand gravoty guns would be nerfed too
     
  21. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,551
    Thruster balancing would be hell for lots of people. Hence the automatic 'inertial dampers'. Actually trying to stay still when you have to control the thrusters in all directions is not easy at all!

    Nerfing of gravity guns is not a major issue as they have limited use anyway with the current speed cap. I only employ them against stations as anything flying is very hard to hit. You also have the issue of what happens when you are travelling along at the speed cap and try to fire.....Rather than launching a missile, you just drop a loose wrecking ball in the gun barrel. But I agree .... the solution is not to nerf gravity generators, but to make the energy requirements of mass blocks a whole lot bigger, so you can make a gravity drive.....but it's not the cheap source of power it currently is. That's better balance.
     
  22. Taemien Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    468
    The only 'fix' I'd apply to grav gens is to have them NOT affect Mass on grids they are attached to (including piston/rotors).

    Cause any nerf to them is a nerf to grav gen weapons. Railguns ought to work if made correctly.
     
  23. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,551
    I did this.

    If you drop it on the grid, it lands and stays put. Like it ought.
    If it hits the edge it bounces off, and falls.......forever. Well...probably not forever, but for as long as I could be botherered to follow it and certainly outside of the gravity bubble of the generator.

    The artificial gravity has accelerated the item, then it has exited the other side with nothing to slow it....so it follows Newtons first law and keeps going. The 'bug' issue is that this acceleration due to artificial gravity can be applied to the grid the generator is on. Mass blocks are the only block artificial gravity directly affects ( presumably to avoid even worse issues ) but the grav gen cannot differentiate between blocks on it's own grid, and those off it. If it only affected ones NOT attached to itself, physics would be less abused.
     
  24. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,866
    What are you talking about? If you drop a steel plate on a grid like that the grid is pushed... I did that a few days ago, and it pushed my relatively large testing platform. One single steel plate. Added rotational and motional vectors.

    [Edit] Ok, I stand corrected, it wasn't one steel plate, it was a stack of 150. My bad. But the point still stands.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  25. gchristopher Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    132
    Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn't, and NASA is investigating that question right now. While I'm personally skeptical of the EM drive, the fact that it's a matter of serious inquiry drives home the point that there's a lot of interesting and potentially applicable physics that even the foremost experts don't understand, have a hard time testing, and take truly exotic, inaccessible maths to even talk about intelligently. Almost certainly no one here is qualified to say what is or isn't possible in the (still fictional) far future of Space Engineering.

    There's a lot of physics that offends Newtonian sensibilities. That this game is Science Fiction gives Keen even more license to create effects in the name of making a better game. Especially since the engine already imposes an absolute frame of reference and a comically slow max speed that means things like orbits and intercepts will never be part of the game. Complaining about grav drives being an impossible sail is ignoring the fact that you're sailing on an ocean made of molasses. It's a game, and gamelike mechanisms are just fine.

    Does that argue for mass-drives to be so much better than Stupid Lego Thrusters? No, why would anyone build a thruster in the future if there was always a better option.

    But should composite constructions using multiple different blocks create more powerful, varied, and harder-to-control effects like the grav drive? YES! Absolutely, that's wonderful, and in a perfect world, Keen would let us have more ways to engineer things and have a game with more emergent behaviors in the gameplay.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  26. Malware Master Engineer

    Messages:
    9,866


    This is my problem with it. This is the bug that makes gravdrives possible.

    @gchristopher For me that is utterly irrelevant. Until someone tells me the 3rd law is bust, and can come up with tangible evidence, I will continue to call it cartoon physics. I don't expect to hear anything within my lifetime.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  27. gchristopher Apprentice Engineer

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    132
    Fair, I can respect that perspective. I don't like sensationalized news-physics.

    But at least be honest and level the same criticism at the tiny stationary planets, the meaningless asteroid distribution, the goofy terminal velocity in space, everything being a rigid body with 0 deformation because it's a cellular model, air that has no resistance, air resistance being meaningless because of speed limits anyway, the existence of absolute coordinates, etc, etc etc.

    In the face of all of those things, in the context that it's a science fiction video game, a grav drive is not significantly more cartoony than much of the rest of the game.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  28. RaptorMonkey Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    9
    Ah I see what you mean now, thats a fair point.

    I would just really like to see keen add some form of "advanced thrusters" where players do have to worry about the balancing and properties of the thrusters, instead of a linearly accelerating thruster that does auto balancing.

    The more I think about it the more I realize thats what I liked about the GravDrive.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  29. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,551
    Tried again with 100 plates...and got the platform spinning. Whilst he platform is not affected by gravity....it is affected by things that are. Inertia causing a spin....but the plates don't fall off. The grav gen has 'created' potential energy in direct violation of the laws of physics.
     
  30. RaptorMonkey Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    9
    But hasnt energy been converted from radiation to electrical from the reactor, which is then used to create a gravitational field using electricity (which for these purposes we will say its possible to warp the fabric of space easily) of which then gives the plates gravitational potential energy. All of which is just a conversion of energy, nothing was created or destroyed as that kinetic energy is then transfered to the platform from the plates as they hit it.

    Unless I've missed something out

    (edit) I realized I made a mistake above: the fact it continues to accelerate after it hits is creating energy that shouldn't be there, the initial behavior is fine, its after thats the problem
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
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