Powerlines: Observations, Rules, Guide and Fun
Dinkelsen Graz Join Date: 2015-10-05 Member: 208309Members
edited February 2016 in Subnautica General Discussion
I was playing around with powerlines in my last game as I used them for a purpose they were probably never meant for - it resulted in a series of very long power lines - there more to that part at the end of the post. But I made a few observations and thought, I'd put together a post about power lines.
Power Line Rules
Powerlines follow a set of rules when they are created by generators and power relays
These are the rules I managed to observe:
- Power supply lines are created at a generator and "hop" to the the next reachable taget.
- The next reachable target can be a power relay or a base.
- A power line ends at a base but a power relay "activated" by a generator will try to transmit its power to its next available target. This is how long power lines are created.
- The "next availlable target" is always the one that has the least distance to the source - it is not necessarily the one that makes the most sense.
- A power line will not connect to a power transmitter that is part of its own power line. So, power lines will not go backwards in their own path or in circles. (this also applied to connected power lines)
- The maximum distance that power can be transmitted is 100m for power relays and 15m for power generators.
- If a generator or an active power relay cannot find any available target the power transmission line stops there. (But if a power transmitter or a base is built it will check if the power line can be extended further)
- Terrain is completely ignored when constructing power lines. You can build a power transmission line that goes right through solid rock, no problem at all.
- A power line seems to be able go over any amount of power relays (tested a maximum amount of 57 power relays)
- There does not seem to be a maximum distance for segmented power lines (built a 3000m line from mountain cave to Blood Kelp zone)
If you look at the image above you can see power lines forming from the right to the left. Every link is created by connecting to the nearest power relay. This way a meander is formed instead of simply bypassing unnecessary power relays. There is also a connection in the image which brings us to a very interesting topic:
It is possible to connect two (or even more) power lines under certain circumstances. There can only be a Y-connection that connects muiltiple sources to one target. It is not possible to have a single source transmit power to multiple targets.
Y-Connections can be tricky. The trickyness isn't necessarily setting up the power lines, but setting them up in a manner that they will survive loading a savegame. Power lines themselves are not saved, only the generators and the power relays (and of course, the bases...) The lines themselves are then created in the first seconds of gameplay. If you start a game next to a complex powerline intersection, you can watch it reconnect (if you are fast enough)
I have put together two images to make it clear:
The setup is that two solar panels are supposed to power the base "Base A". In this image the "good" case is illustrated. It was taken right after loading a saveame and it shows Base A powered by the two solar panels. Base B is only there to illustrate what happens in the failed case, but more to that later.
Note that the distance A in the "good" case is shorter than the dinstance B. This is important as when reconstructing the powerline the direction of the powerline needs to take a "left" turn "from the solar panel in the middle. Remembering the rules how powerlines form this can only be achieved by making distance A shorter than distance B. I could not find an exact rule in what order the power lines are reconstructed but I tried around 7-8 loaded savegames and in these the power line originating from the central solar panel always reached the connection point before the powerline originating from the right solar panel. So I had to make sure that it took the "right" turn.
(Usually the distances between the power relays are much larger but its impossible to take a picture of that...)
This image shows the "bad" case where the powerline from the central solar panel takes the "wrong" turn and turned right because distance B is shorter than distance A. In this direction the powerline can only reach the other solar panel. In this setup the powerline can find a valid target from where the two powerlines meet and create a connection - Base B - so it connects to it. But in other cases, when the distances are large the power line might not find a valid target and then it can look as if both solar panels are connected by a powerline, but the base is not connected and there was a bug. (I had exactly that case, distance B was like 90m and distance A like 95m - took me a while to figure that out.)
Fun with Power Lines: So this was the use I had in mind when I abused the power line system: I wanted a navigation system that connected my bases and tried to use as little beacons as possible. Back when the beaons could not be hidden they tended to ruin my screenshots but I still wanted a way to find my bases especially when they were in dark, hidden places.
It works well although it can be difficult to follow a line in the Cyclops especially if you are descending - visibility issues all the way.