Solar cars and "isolated sci-fi elements"

Cataclysm is now supposed to be Present Day / Very Near Future with isolated sci-fi elements.

Do ubiquitous solar cars violate this design concept?

If so, I think we should keep solar cars as a very rare spawn (isolated sci-fi stuff, rather than every other block sci-fi stuff), add non-solar electric cars, and add some low tech recipes for wind, hydro, and muscle-power generators built out of simple machines rigged to automobile alternators to recharge things.

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Depends on the efficiency of Solar Panels.
I once read that the Quantum Solar Panel was 6 times stronger than a Normal Solar Panel and 3 times stronger than an Upgraded one.

Assuming a Quantum Solar Panel is 90% efficient (read: Almost twice as efficient as the solar panels used IRL on the International Space Station, meaning it’s REALLY ADVANCED), that makes a normal one 15% efficient and an upgraded one 30%, both of which are fairly reasonable by IRL standards.

Personally, what I want to see is more Gas-based generators.

EDIT: To add my two cents, I don’t think that Solar Panels should be nerfed any further. You need a ton just to run a minifridge and break even, and I don’t think the Luxury RV can actually support itself on solar power.

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To be clear, I think solar panels are fine, should remain in the game, and should remain able to be attached to vehicles. Solar cars as a frequent spawn, as opposed to an obscure rarity, is what I’m trying to call into question.

Hydro or wind generators would be a nice addition I think.

While I like the idea of hydro/wind/geothermal generators, solar is by far the most common and by the time period in question seems to be the main source of power for anything mobile, considering it’s a component in turrets and pretty much all robots. Solar cars in game are decently rare (I tend to find 2-3 per reasonably sized city) and it makes sense to have the only source of renewable power ingame be fairly accessible.

Since we don’t have a definite answer for the size of a tile, we can’t really determine how realistic the output is, but I personally buff every panel to twice their vanilla output, which makes them just a bit more useful.

If I’m not mistaken, the idea is that the vehicle system lets you make your own generators. What I don’t understand is why the 7.5kw generator is so damn rare. Also, it would kind of make sense to occasionally find little gas generators next to cabins, inside hospitals, near military bases, stuff like that.

Tech level for things you find lying around are present day, which the solar panels are. They’ve already been nerfed a lot due to desired game balance and realism agreeing that they were too efficient previously.

Stationary wind turbines or water wheels are certainly something we could add, though they’d mostly be improvised, since refurbishing large-scale power generators seems like a stretch… actually wind generators are pretty reasonable to get working if you can find some, though they’d be on a big flat area where their motion could he seen for miles and attract monsters, muahaha.

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A lot of tall city buildings have fairly large (but not huge) wind generators on top which could probably be gotten working again easily enough. Office/apartment towers seem like the obvious choice if they actually had multiple levels and a roof. Summoning enemy hordes could be fun, but it would require some fiddly mechanics to make sure it doesn’t just turn it into a tower defense game.

Generators are so simple it couldn’t be too difficult to get a hydro plant or something going if you had the time and tools. What a survivor is going to do with a couple megawatts of power I don’t know though. Maybe an endgame quest to start up a sustainable survivor town?

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@kevin.granade So (some if not all) things that aren’t found in present day New England, but logically could be if there was a market for them, are considered appropriate content?

Wind seems like it would be the easiest to implement, since the game already tracks wind intensity. Hydro would need some way to identify water speed, or at least differentiate between river tiles and pond or swamp tiles. Maybe some “rapids” tiles could spawn along the edges of rivers, and improvized hydro generators would build on them?

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The easiest way to prevent use in swamps would probably be either limiting them to only producing power if you have 3-4 in a row, or somehow having it check if there are more than a certain number of water tiles in a certain area. Neither of those make any difference to trying to use one in a lake or something though.

Something that would be worth discussing is how will these actually work? Will they just act as a normal vehicle part, perhaps with an excessively high weight to try to prevent them from being mobile? If they’re a construction, is there any way for them to actually produce usable power?

One thing I suggested in another thread was the inclusion of a concrete base as a vehicle part. It could make the attached vehicle immobile, but would provide stability for much larger parts to attach to it, things like waterwheels or wind turbines comes to mind, but there are probably other things too.

If I was trying to build one of these off the top of my head, my doomed first try would be something like this:

Pier or felled tree out into a fast stream, with the back half of a bicycle lashed or clamped to it. The pedals unscrewed and a small sheet metal and pipe paddlewheel bolted on where they go, and the back wheel stripped to the hub to run a belt to a car alternator. Run wires to the shore. Check with voltmeter, and load with a car battery if we get 13-15 V.

That’s not a bad idea at all, I quite like it. Personally I’d probably go for a more traditional bigger wooden wheel, preferably attached to a fairly large (probably homemade) generator. That’s assuming I had something to take the voltage a bigger generator would provide. And a decent sized river to turn the thing. Ideally probably a waterfall with a small paddlewheel going, possibly geared up and hooked to a larger generator so as not to have to deal with cooling/friction as much.

Backload might kill this idea, but you might be able to just stack ten-ish alternators in series, add an inverter, and run your TV on 120V AC.

Multiple alternators is a good idea, but I was thinking just run everything into a big battery, let that act as a buffer before going into whatever you’re powering.

Car battery will boil if you go past 15V, iirc.

Sounds about right. Car batteries are usually shallow cycle anyway, you’d want something bigger, like people use for their home solar panels.

I guess you could load your alternators in parallel at 14V with a car battery stack and then use the stack and a transformer for your emf before passing it through the inverter.

What about batteries for hybrid automobiles? All [correction, 3/4] the buses in my city are hybrids, I bet their batteries are huge, and a lot easier to find than household solar.

Dang, hybrid busses? That’s pretty cool…

I live in a rural area, and half the houses around have solar. That’s a lot of bigass batteries.

Can DDA check to see what kind of overmap square you’re in before it lets you construct something? If you had to build on a River overmap, I think that would take care of hydroelectric ponds and marshes.

Interesting article about exactly this idea that includes some factors that I overlooked.

Huh. That’s interesting.