[0.58b] Dust storm doesn't affect charge rate of equipped portable solar panel

Mr. Fusion 3 years ago updated 3 years ago 6

The portable solar panel recharges the suit in the densest storm as if it was a clear day, while the efficiency of the Hab system solar panels is at 0% even during daytime.

(On the other hand, if not even the portable solar panel was charging under these conditions, there would be no way to surive a storm lasting more than maybe 2 sols. At the moment I'm not quite convinced it's possible even with this "exploit".)


I have fixed the portable solar panel charge rate during a storm, but I think your other point is also worth addressing.

The best course of action during a dust storm would be to travel to one of the other three habitats that isn't directly in the path of the storm.

The next best thing would be to hot swap around any RTG units you might have that could power the exterior modules during the storm.

If you don't have any RTGs then you can try to just power down the exterior modules that are least important for your immediate survival in order to reduce the strain on your reserve battery.

I will admit that I haven't fully tested every possible permutation of power management during a 0% visibility storm. If the "Big Storm" survival scenario is indeed actually impossible to survive (I threw it in last minute just as a way to ensure that testers could guarantee a dust storm encounter) then I may include an easy-to-find RTG from the start or larger starting reserves of battery, oxygen, water, etc.

If solar panel output would never drop to 0%, only to a reasonably low level, even in the densest storm, then it should be possible to survive even when you are in the only Hab available to you and without an RTG (pretty much the Big Storm scenario, unless you chance upon an excavation tool AND a buried RTG).

I did surive it, but only by way of shutting down every system, and standing outside in front of the Hab with the portable panel equipped all day long for two sols, feeding the Hab battery with the "exploited" charge of the suit so that I can generate oxygen from the reserve water I had (turning on the Reoxygenator for a few hours only) and run the Heater for short periods. Without the portable panel working, it would not have been possible. It was actually fun to figure it out, except for the part where I had to use this bug of the portable panel to pull it off.

However, if there was a way to get at least some power even in the densests storm, then it would be possible to survive. The only change needed is that the power generation never drops to 0%, only get reduced to, 10-15%, maybe. Then what you could do, for example, is filling all 5 mounts of the electrical system with the highest capacity panels available to you (eg. moving over the best ones from the other systems) to gather as much charge as possible during the day, while the rest of the systems would be turned on only for short periods as needed.

By "overfilling" the electrical system with panels to the level which normally would mean up to 250% power generation (of which the excess 150% would be lost) with the output severely reduced but not completely shut down by the storm, you'd still get some power collected (eg, if you had 5 large panels installed on the electrical system, and the storm would reduce panel efficiency to 10%, you'd still get 25% charge). This would also require the electrical system not to consider itself offline unless it has at least 100% power input, but be online wherever there's non-zero power from the panels.

I don't think adding items only to ensure survival (eg. making sure an RTG is available) in an unfortunate situation is desirable as it would go against the "be creative and come up with a solution" gameplay element the game should aim for. Instead of adding such artificial survival aids, opportunities should be created which, when spotted and used right, combined with some adaptation to temporarily changed conditions, would make it possible to barely surive, but survive. The current complete denial of power generation for several sols is not something the player can work around by any gameplay means (which do not rely on random luck, that is), so it's not an optimal approach.

I really liked this idea along and implemented it along with a change to the electrical module that you alluded to in your other report about it being "offline" at night.

So two things:

1) The electrical module no longer requires 100% power to charge the reserve battery. It will simply charge at a rate relative to the total solar power connected to it, but with a max charge rate of 100%. So during dawn/dusk you can still charge the reserve battery at a slower rate. It will still show as "offline" when there is literally no sunlight to produce a charge. This effectively extends the daylight hours in which the unit is operational.

2) During a dust storm the minimum charge rate is now 15% of total. So, in your scenario of 5 large solar panels connected to the electrical module, it would provide 37.5% (normally 100% + 150% "overcharge") power at the worst point of the storm (which is basically just providing charge to your reserve battery at 1/3rd the normal rate during the day). Same goes for portable solar panels deployed during an EVA. They will charge your suit battery reduced to a minimum of 15% of their normal rate during the worst of a dust storm.

Increasing the capacity of the reserve battery, without increasing the charge rate of the electrical system, or even slightly reducing it so that during a normal day it recharges just a little more than what the systems need for a single night, would also give means to counter the effects of a storm. Actively managing power use in the days prior to a storm by turning systems off to allow Electrical to build up more reserves than needed for a just single night, the player could prepare for an outage. Then once the storm has arrived, they'd have to ration the reserves by again turning system on only for as long as absolutely necessary.

This would, however, eliminate the "trickle charging" of the suit while inside once the Hab reserve is filled, as it could never get filled.

I got an email notice about the portable solar panel charge rate still not being correct in a dust storm. Was that comment deleted? Just checking in case I do need to investigate that.

Yes, sorry, I posted about it, then I decided to delete it (temporarily?) as later on I was getting inconclusive/conflicting results, so I felt it would need more testing and observation to get a better picture.

Close to the center of the storm (when/where hab power was also heavily affected), the portable panel recharge rate was also low as expected. But earlier in another area, with very visible storm activity and a nearby (within a few hundred meters) WayStat reporting 20%-ish visibility, recharge rate seemed to be close to clear weather daytime levels. That's when I originally posted about it, but then it seemed to work once the stom had hit the hab where I was so I wasn't sure anymore.

Maybe it's just the rate not getting affected as heavily as the environment/WayStat reports would suggest when at a larger distance (non-linear function with too steep drop off at a very short distance threshold?), only when you are really close to the center.