Craftable utility lights


You CAN use a hacksaw to do it as well


Classic derail…
I like your idea of putting it on the Rivtech book, makes sense they’d have a fairly easy to build atomic worklight in there too. Is the plan to still make it portable? That’s a lot of investment in skill gains and exploration to get the recipe, it’d be a shame to have it stuck in one place.
edit: not to mention the plutonium, which is much harder to get in mainline…
edit2: Thanks @DrakeDragon8 for pointing out what I’d overlooked. One of the dangers of speedskimming is overlooking the details, but damn theres just soo much to read.


It’s perfectly reasonable to not catch all of the details ESPECIALLY when some are actually not related at all -sorry not sorry


Just to interject some realness

Tl;dr RTGs that produce 100s of watts like you want for a floodlight weigh hundreds to thousands of kilos.

Theres a reason they’re so rarely used.


… Then we just need to add some new rarer mid-late game material from another dimension :3 after all it’s the cataclysm. Anything is possible.


We don’t need to do anything.
There are totally resonable solutions for this kind of thing that don’t require making things up.


See Construction recipe: Build utility light.


To start, I’d assume we’re not using incandescent bulbs, so that’s about 20W using an LED floodlight. This is the 2040s, and even now it’s trivial to get low power led lights.

There are numerous ~20W RTGs used in aerospace that run in the 10-40kg range in the article you listed… The terrestrial ones listed are huge because they’re all obsolete, antique Soviet designs used in remote lighthouses. Not exactly a reasonable comparison.

That said, there’s no reason this thing has to be compact. I’d be perfectly happy with it being 200kg.


Me either.

Wat, no, a serious LED floodlight is still going to be in the neighborhood of 100W.

No, it isn’t, it’s present day.

That’s not just aerospace, it’s space travel, which is code for, “you’re not building it”.

No, they’re huge because it keeps costs down. There’s not that much you can do to improve efficiency without also making them much more expensive to build.


That’s the point, if you need a light, you’ll have to find a solution, i.e. build solar panels/alternator and attach them to a floodlight. If you have a problem, you should solve it.

RTG is a complex and dangerous device made with precise equipment, and I doubt a survivor would be able to construct one.


What about finding one?

Well really i don’t care what is done.

Just that i don’t have to go through a load of bull to get my bunker i dug out lit up.

If whats in the game atm is made better then thats fine.


What about if its using a betavoltaic device to power it, rather than an RTG? I always figured something like this was what the plutonium cells were in the first place, and what the smaller atomic powered things were using, like the atomic coffee maker.

The only reason they aren’t more widely used is that lithium ion batteries were invented. They can be made compact enough that they were being used to run pacemakers in the 70’s. There are also versions which run off of charged alpha particles (aka helium nuclei).

A recent one had an energy density of 3.3 KwH/kg and a half life of 100 years. For comparison, a lithium ion battery has an energy density of 11.6 KwH/kg.

It isn’t something you would make yourself, but it is something you could find or remove from some piece of equipment and repurpose.


My heart’s not really in it for a prolonged argument about whether or not compact nuclear cells would be available in a world where we can create weapons-grade laser beams the size of a finger and surgically install them using a small AI driven robot (with no visible power supply mind you) available in any medium sized hospital and several civilian basements, with no risk of infection or rejection.

My point is that by mid-game, the systems needed to get decent lighting underground stop being a fun challenge, and starts being an onerous nuisance. Eventually we could fix this with better power grids, but there are tools in game to make a believable long-term light source. If you’re dead set on leaving it annoying, I’m done arguing about it, I’ll just change my own game and be done.


I have no problems with this and if an alternative is needed use something biological it might help a bit more with realism… maybe? I just like this idea as it would be very useful to have at any point.


That’s good, because there’s no winning that argument, it’s built on a pile of fallacies.

I don’t have a problem fixing that, but making a unrealistically cheap power supply isn’t an option.

There are, but it’s a 100+kg RTG that requires ~50 plutonium cells to build, not a 10kg one that takes a handful of cells. The investment just doesn’t make sense.

On the other hand, it seems like the real issue is a lack of convenience and some features related to getting power transfer working between levels, which should be fixable even in the short term.

Your source doesn’t have any references for large-scale Betavoltaic devices, only tiny ones.


With all the arguments against player built setups like this it just makes me wonder about the atomic lamp. How is it supposed to operate? Magic?

I do think making a foldable utility light level thing is probably outside the realm of what the player should be able to do without tapping into vehicle use, and tossing more plutonium at it doesn’t inherently balance it.


Out of curiosity, Kevin, what are you picturing when I say utility light? Because I’ve got a light that runs on a small Li battery for hours and lights up my entire backyard quite nicely. It’s what I’m picturing, albeit much bulkier and clunkier when rigged up by a survivor. It puts out like 2600 lumens on an 18v battery and lasts for hours. I think it’s 15W.

I get the impression you think I’m talking about a giant daylight array like they use to light up industrial sites at night.


Here is a patent for a betavoltaic device that can recharge a cell phone. This type of technology is very scaleable, its just currently expensive and kind of niche compared to lithium ion batteries.

Since you don’t want to do the utility light thing, this would still be worthy of further review for implementation elsewhere. Maybe as a reward for a lab. A small perpetual power supply mod for tools, or a trickle charge bionic power supply or something.


You know after playing some ss13 and coming back to this, a fun alternative might be some bio-luminescent fungus or other such things… which might be good for wilderness characters… fireflies in jars… capturing glowing creatures… seems like fun


Like a glowing blob in a jar. I can see it now:

“This is a small glowing blob sealed inside a glass jar. It seems to glow angrily at its confinement”.