I plan on expanding the nuclear reactor in GT6 to be a bit more interesting and nuanced.
My goals are as follows:
- Allow measuring a reactor
- Make measuring a reactor useful:
- Critical fuels, fuels with a rising neutron count
- Breeding, new “crafting” system of bombarding material with neutrons
- Allowing non-critical fuels to go critical:
- Moderation, raising neutron count, but making neutrons unusable for breeding
I want to get some feedback on some of the changes I’m planning, before I implement them.
The measuring part is the easiest to archive, I’ve even got it working already and made a pull request, so there is a good chance you’ll be able to use it yourself soon.
Critical fuels require the most changes to implement, so they are probably the most debatable change. Critical fuels are fuels which neutron count doesn’t simply stabilize at some neutron value, but exponentially increases over time if left untouched.
I’ve decided it would be best to stick with the current system, fuels of a factor greater than 1/4 are critical. The big drawback of this is, that critical fuels will have no randomness, so measuring the
neutron count of them is kinda irrelevant, you just need to shut them on and off constantly to archive
stability at the current neutron count. But since archiving the intended neutron count requires
measuring and most people probably want to build a safe reactor, I think randomness wouldn’t
change much, if anything at all for players.
No matter what, the way durability works on reactor rods needs to be changed making it not tick down with time but be reduced by the number of neutrons emitted. This is because with criticality comes the option to run fuel rods at almost infinitely high neutron outputs, making it possible to extract almost infinite amounts of power from one rod.
This would also mean that the current way of how efficiency works would no longer apply, so a new way needs to be added. Having fuel consume less durability when outputting more neutrons would probably not be sufficient, as that heavily encourages reactor designs with a single fuel rod running at very high neutron outputs, because the max efficiency is infinite. It’d be better to have an “optimal neutron count” stat for each fuel, rising efficiency the closer to that value the neutron count is. Because the efficiency is finite, highest when exactly at the value, having more fuel rods is encouraged for getting higher energy outputs.
Sadly the current reactor designs will probably not be compatible in most cases, because I’ll edit existing fuels into critical ones and probably generally rebalance them to fit the new durability system.
To make controlling a critical reactor not a flickery mess, I’ve decided it would be best to only update neutron counts every second. I also plan to change it, so neutrons don’t get immediately wiped when a fuel rod is toggled off, but slowly decay (but not heating the coolant, so no worries).
Implementing a breeding system will however be very easy and will not conflict with anything. The basic plan is to have neutrons fill the durability bar of the breeding rod, basically the material absorbing the neutrons. The neutrons on the breeding rod would generate less heat and there will be some extra durability gained from having larger amounts of neutrons on the rod.
For moderator rods, my simple idea is a rod that just outputs as many neutrons on each side as it has. The moderator would not heat the coolant. Rods effected by a moderator can’t be used to breed. Maybe to make it not a too overpowered version of the reflector, it should also reduce the heat output of neutrons.
Other ideas I have:
Combined rods (reflector-absorber, moderator-absorber), which would enable higher efficiency, but can’t be shut of, but switch rod type to absorber if off.
New coolants (distilled water, heavy water, liquid metal, etc.) with unique properties that synergy with certain reactor types (or are just cheap but dangerous).
Any feedback and ideas are welcome