The State of Infrastructure

So what societal infrastructures still remain.?

I understand that fresh water and electricity is no longer available. Renewables are still present and I assume there are plans for the windmills to be able to be hacked into the player’s own grid or perhaps a larger grid.

Hub 01 apparently has wifi, but I’m not sure if the Internet could ever be accessible again.

Does cell signal no longer exist? The towers are all still up and the satellites should all be untouched. I assume there’s an issue somewhere, in the process, but not sure where. My guess is electricity is still required at some central location. Could it be as simple as lighting up a few cell towers?

Obviously roads, sewers, buildings are going to begin to rot and need only a little push from either mycus or triffids to be completely useless.

Anything else?

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Cell signal is shot for certain. Satellite wouldn’t save anything - The orbitals themselves are fine, but they just relay signal to ground stations that would be offline, so no satellite phones or internet. Cell Towers don’t generally talk to each other, just phones - the tower itself is then connected to the internet (or the phone grid in real old school connections, but its generally all VOIP now) and works from there. Long range communication at this point is likely restricted to HAM radio and such, as its not dependent on any backbone past a decent generator.

Internet as we know it would be dead, DNS and routing tables would be shot from the massive holes in the network and destroyed or powered off data centers. However, it would not be hard to salvage the required equipment and set up local networks and servers like Hub 01 does, you’d just need a survivor with some basic computer skills. Its possible to then interlink these communities, but they’d have to know about each other, and have the requisite equipment and experience. The CDDA internet would resemble many small islands, not a continuous whole.

I wouldn’t rely on industrial scale renewables actually being operable or interactable. Wind farms and solar farms are actually monstrously complex systems and difficult to keep maintained, and they’re configured to run on grid scale output and can only turn themselves down so far. The current model of CDDA power grids doesn’t really model frequency, but if you wanted to bring in proper power plants, you’d have to. The likely result would be your survivor community catching fire as your local ramshackle power system fails to handle the sheer input. The limited knowledge pool and industrial capabilities of survivor communities would be far better served salvaging the existing sites and building lower output, lower complexity stuff that they could actually keep running.

Can’t speak to sewers, but roads and buildings would actually fair decently well. You’re not gonna be doing 140kph on the interstate anytime soon, but with traffic based erosion basically irrelevant, you’re looking at natural erosion and disasters hitting them. Roads will be “driveable enough” for quite a while. Any steel and concrete buildings will similarly be “useable enough” for a long time. Drywall and wooden homes will start decaying, and they won’t likely be safe to live in between warping timber and mold, but they’ll be recognizeable as homes for decades. You’ll have skeletal ribs of office towers sticking up, navigable as the emergency stairs and floors are concrete. All it’d take is a bit of effort to put up new walls where the glass and drywall has failed, and the first few floors would probably be as safe as any cataclysm structure could reasonably be.

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Regarding the wind farms, I’m referencing the lone windmills that the player can climb. Would the input on a single one still be far too much for salvaged batteries to handle? I don’t really know what a “large storage battery” or “very large storage battery” is comparable to, but it seems possible that at a certain point you could feasibly contain the power, assuming wind isn’t always going.

You may be able to get a lone windmill gridded in - Its not a matter of battery capacity in of itself, but keeping the power grid in question at a stable and useable frequency. Grid Frequency or Electrical Frequency is all about keeping the total draw on the grid matched with the grid supply, to keep everything working in its designed frequency range. When you’re using small scale electrical systems, like trickle charging into a battery bank and then drawing off the batteries, there’s usually electrical management systems in the batteries to safely draw and charge while keeping the frequency useable. CDDA mostly abstracts this away, which is fine at the current scale of our power systems. Portable generators will usually handle the frequency of their output power as well to make sure its all fine.

But when you start to scale up to grid level generators, particularly multiple ones and renewable ones, it becomes a difficult balancing act, as you can’t easily scale back the output of a wind turbine (that power has got to go somewhere) or solar panel.

If that frequency deviates by more than a very small margin, it can lead to damaging the attached devices. Atop of that, the sudden loss of attached devices as things shut down or die pushes the balance even more out of alignment, which causes the next most tolerant set of devices to fail, until eventually you hit the stuff with no protections that just explode, and the grid completely shuts down. Coming back online from a complete grid collapse is extremely difficult, because you need to coordinate putting draw in place for any production your starting back up, otherwise it’ll just blow out again. This is why losing one power line can black out a huge area even if there are other feeds into most of it - losing that draw threw it out of wack enough that a whole section ends up failing off the grid.

Power engineering is very complex, and while our abstraction of “There’s probably small management systems in the batteries/solar panels/Generators” works well enough at small scale, that’s not an option at large scales.

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One interesting piece of infastructure is things like dykes and coastal defenses. Many would hold for a time but after a while as they degrade they would start failing one by one. Places that where historically swamps and later drained are protected by dykes. When these dykes would break the water would come back and these areaś would return to being swamps. The sea might also swallow or erode large amounts of the coast or cities or turn them into tidal zones when coastal defenses break.

All this means that when these pieces of infrasturcture fail it could potentially transform large pieces of the worldmap. The consicuenses of such a failure could also be catastrofic for the player if they are at the wrong place at the wrong time or their base just got washed away.

I think a guide to what would happen to overall infrastructure would be that series “Life After Peiple”. For those who haven’t heard of / seen it, the premise is for whatever reason, humans simply dissapear. What’s left behind - buildings, roadways, power/communication systems, dams, etc. are all left to the ravages of time, weather and lack of maintenance.

Each episode starts off a day after people are simply gone, then a few days, a few weeks, years, decades and so on. Rust begins to weaken buildings, grasses & trees slowly overtake urban areas, satelites lose their orbits and fall back to earth, animals move back into areas people once occupied.

It’s sort of bleak and depressing, but it was also kind of fascinating how nature would eventually reclaim everything. Sometimes it was a matter of years, sometimes it might take centuries, but eventually pretty much all signs of people ever existing were wiped completely away.

This game reminded me of that show, except with various factions like the blob & triffids that are just speeding the whole process along.

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Well, Pripyat (if I get the spelling right) is a real world example of a fairly large area where people have just left (after the Chernobyl disaster, for those who need a reference to it).