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Power Management Guidance

posted Dec 23, 2012 18:02:52 by xavierwise.tsn
Hello all,

I am in the process of adding to the Officer's Handbook and have been grappling with the best way to present best practise for managing power distribution. I am interested in any comments people have on the matter.

I am putting a lot of thought into how to present best practise for the role engineering. initially I thought I could just devise a series of presets that people could use, however I have steered away from this idea because I don't think there is a "right" set of presets that everyone should use. Everyone will have their own preferences. Instead I am going along the lines of "guidance" information. Standard guidelines that mean you aren't constrained by what is seen as right or wrong, but also ones that give you an idea of what to do and what not to do (like not cutting power for shields to 0%!)

I have written some "Standard Operational Settings and Procedures" already detailing minimum levels and stating reasons why and I would like some feedback on them. I'm sure I can justify all my comments and reasons to people, but this is a kind of test beyond me questioning myself i.e. you guys questioning me!

I'll add a second post with extracts for what I have already written for you to comment on and debate. I am willing to change things if people can convince me their ideas are better (and I am open to advice and comments and changing the content!), but I'm not going to change it simply because someone disagrees because it isn't the way they do it. You need sound reasons and justification!
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19 replies
xavierwise.tsn said Dec 23, 2012 18:18:07
Power Management
Managing the distribution of power to the systems aboard your ship is the most important duty you must fulfil. Power management is a continual and active process, which requires an engineer to not only react to a situation, but work to pre-empt which systems will be needed as a situation develops.

Standard Operational Settings and Procedures
In a hostile environment, the ship must be able to protect itself immediately should it be threatened. Even in a powered down state, no system should be cut to below 20% unless direct orders are given by the captain. This minimum power will allow every system to still function but will reduce energy consumption enough for the ships core to recharge the ships energy levels.

Although a minimum is given, many systems should still be kept powered above this to allow the ship to function effectively. Cutting all power to torpedo tubes, for example, eliminates energy drain; however it also makes it impossible for the Tactical officer to effectively prepare for combat, preparing salvoes of torpedoes or managing munitions stocks. For this reason, it is recommended that systems are kept at around 50% power during situations out of combat to allow the ship to function properly, without major impact.

Combat Procedures
In a combat situation it is recommended that no system is set below 80% power. Below this 80% threshold, the speed and efficiency that systems work at becomes compromised; in a combat situation it is important that all systems are working at a minimum efficiency.

The primary defensive and offensive capability of the ship is its speed and manoeuvrability. Whether the ship is turning to bring weapons to bear, manoeuvring in to firing range, turning to present a stronger shield arc or falling back to a safe distance or location, power to manoeuvring systems is vital. In combat, these systems should not be cut to below 100% as any compromise on performance of these systems compromises the safety and security of the whole ship.
[Last edited Dec 23, 2012 18:59:06]
Charlie said Dec 24, 2012 02:07:39
Hey Xavier, here's what has been our approach.

These our our Primary Settings
1/Battle Setting: Beams 175/3 Torp 155/2 Sens 100/0 Man 145/3 Imp 100/0 Warp 100/0 FS 10/00 RS 100/0
3/ Minimal: Beams 20/2 Torp 10/0 Sens 90/0 Man 180/6 Imp 100/0 Warp 100/0 FS 15/0 RS 15/0

This is for close range beam attacks using two settings and alternating as ones systems start to over heat
5 Point Blank: Beams 270/2 Torp 100/0 Sens 100/0 Man 100/0 Imp 100/0 Warp 100/0 FS 220/6 RS 100/0
6/ Beams 100/0 Torp 100/0 Sens 100/0 Man 155/3 Imp 100/0 Warp 100/0 FS 200/4 RS 145/1

With Minimal Settings Engineer can quickly lower maneuver and impulse, boost coolant and energy to warp and expend very little energy in warp speed.

Capt FutileChas
Artemis 1701

[Last edited Dec 24, 2012 02:08:20]
Mike_Substelny said Dec 26, 2012 17:07:06
Xavier, Charlie's numbers would work well for some ships and situations, but consider making different charts for different ships. For instance:

A battleship in combat needs more power in beams.
A missile cruiser in combat needs more power in torpedoes.
Dreadnoughts have poor maneuverability. A dreadnought fighting Torgoths needs more power in beams to shoot down drones with the rear beam.
A dreadnought fighting non-Torgoths might want more power in torpedoes, since they bear in all weapons arcs.
[Last edited Dec 27, 2012 05:49:32]
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
Charlie said Dec 27, 2012 00:40:36
consider making different charts for different ships

Or consider a baseline recommendation for beginner crews. Our ship functions well with these settings but as I said, we are constantly learning and it doesn't surprise us to pick up on something new.
xavierwise.tsn said Dec 27, 2012 11:35:17
Thank you for the comments

So far I have been writing guidelines rather than giving set values for each power level. Mike, your quite right that different ship types need different power settings. I think I am going to go through the different types and detail ideas and recommendations of what settings should be, rather than give specific values for each power level. I'm hoping that this information will appeal to both experienced crews who want to improve as well as guidelines for new players. I have written up base standards and procedures that would give the captain the comfort of knowing what the engineer is probably doing, or will be doing, but still allow the engineer the freedom to operate their console to maximum effect.

I have been in games where there have been shouts of "Engineering, why is there no power to tubes?!" or similar calls. I'm hoping to eliminate this problem by giving engineering minimum power levels, so that there will always be a set minimum in systems to keep them operational (and more provided during combat). I have been focusing on how to balance keeping the ship operational with managing energy drain.
AndersHall said Dec 28, 2012 21:30:33
Minimum power levels are important, of course, but there's not a big distinction between them and just defining presets. In particular I'll break that rule when we're out of combat and I need systems to cool off. Charlie hit on switching presets for heat management - if you're really pushing what the station can do, you're not just a hotkey monkey, you're constantly adapting to the situation. Fighters on the way? Rear shields 250%. Fighters dead? Rear shields 20%. Turning? Maneuver 300%. You can even put beams at 300% just when firing since that moment is when recharge time is calculated (you may have taught me that, xavier). Regardless, engineers skilled enough to receive your advice may find a collection of tips and tricks more valuable than guidelines. My 2 cents - keep up the good work.
xavierwise.tsn said Dec 29, 2012 20:30:49
I have set out to give guidelines within which presets can be defined and power levels tweaked. An engineer should be constantly tweaking power levels in my opinion, far beyond just selecting a particular preset. Like you said in the examples, they should be increasing and decreasing particular power levels at key times during a combat. What I'm trying to encourage however, is keeping systems at an effective operational level during particular times, such as minimum levels for all systems in combat. Of course, most of your presets would most likely have power settings higher than this. Below is a summary of the guidelines I currently have written in the handbook. These may change however.

•Never cut power below 20% unless ordered
•In combat all systems must be kept at a minimum level of 75%
•Never increase power to over 225% unless ordered
•Reduce power levels to 30% or less on all systems to initiate battery recharge
•In normal running mode, keep all systems at 50% or greater
•In combat manoeuvre and impulse must be kept at 100% minimum
•Even a small boost to a system (e.g. 150%) can provide benefits
•Coolant levels are not sufficient to keep multiple systems running at levels such as 200% for long periods
•Cutting a system back to 100% rather than letting it overheat is better than keeping it high and causing damage to systems


I have just been adding to the handbook and I have been thinking about your ideas on tips and tricks for engineering. I must admit, I don't think it was I who taught you about putting beams to 300% right on the point they fire. I do know the trick and know many people do, but I am afraid I disagree with using it. As an Engineer, if I am focusing on timing my boosts of power with beams firing, then I could be neglecting other systems. Engineering is a complex role and you have to manage many different elements simultaneously. You have to have on ear open listening to all the captains orders not just ones directed at you, so you know if tactical needs more power to torpedoes, or if you should give it to helm instead for manoeuvring; you have to keep a careful eye on energy use and shield strength; you have to make sure damage control teams are working to repair essential systems; and then you have multiple sliders to adjust and manage so that power levels are what you need, when you need and energy isn't wasted. All too often I have been on a ship where the captain has ordered a high energy turn, but engineering has missed it, reacting too late or not at all, and the HET is affected, sometimes with serious consequences. In training an engineer, I would never advocate such a focus on one system. Of course, I always view combat as being a very dynamic action, however I have seen it played all too often in a very static manner (sitting face to face with an enemy and just fighting it out with beams).
[Last edited Dec 30, 2012 15:38:02]
xavierwise.tsn said Dec 30, 2012 21:51:02
I have completed a handbook for engineering. It is named the TSN Officer's Handbook; Engineering. Mike, your suggestion of detailing each ship is one that I have taken and included within the handbook. I have detailed each ship and how power levels need to be adapted for the way a particular ship type operates.

I have also talked about presets, but have taken the stance that they are only there as an {i}aid; power management is done by the engineer continually adjusting different settings rather than just hitting a button (you're "not just a hotkey monkey" as Andershall put it).

As for tips and tricks like the 300% power to beams, I have left these out. There were too many questions to me about how effective they actually were, and too many reasons that it would hinder as much as help (see my blog for my thinking on the 300% tip in specific).

I have posted in the "Development" section of these forums about the handbook. If you have any comments or questions, please post there, or email me direct on I am always open to discussion and debate or to hearing of new ideas.
AndersHall said Dec 31, 2012 01:41:59
Everything you put up are excellent guidelines! Lot of fun going through and thinking about how to handle different situations. The main MO: Keep levels reasonable, boost power when you need it. I don't use or advocate the beam trick (or shield trick), it was just a (cheesy) example of how far a good engineer can take things. In a broader sense that micromanagement is real-time adaptation of a particular hotkey arrangement for the situation. Obviously your macromanagement and communication has to be rock-solid first. Your handbook will be an awesome help for that!
James said Jan 04, 2013 20:03:40
I agree that "max power for just an instant" tricks should be completely left out. They break immersion and are simply exploits, no different from the Javelin glitch from Modern Warfare 2 (Javelin_Exploit).

Though I haven't played much, what I worried about most as the engineer was screwing with impulse and warp (and to a lesser extent, maneuvering). I wanted to help the Helm out without waiting for specific requests, but as I changed the power levels, our speed changed with it, potentially screwing up his sense of timing.

The helmsman player never complained or brought it up, but it just weighed on me moreso that changing beams, shields, etc. at will.
Charlie said Jan 05, 2013 03:20:02
My team functions differently. I call "Peak Maneuver" if we need a quick turn. This is typically a few second boost, I think I prefer it to "Boost Maneuver" and the engineer says "I can't do that captain, bad etiquette", that would break immersion for us. What else is engineering for? Personally I'd prefer if Helm had a warp button and not the choice for warp 1 thru 4, if the ship needs "Max" warp I'd like Engineer to boost warp power to achieve it. And boosting Shields for a few seconds means the difference from leaving an engagement with 50% shields or a damaged ship. I didn't use these "tricks" till recently and was surprised at the effectiveness. I hate to regress but I like the game so much I'll take it any way it comes. I could go for an incremental delay on any system boost but I don't know if it's worth the effort. Thom's a smart man I like everything he's done thus far but as far as exploits I'd like to see the enemy avoid the Black Holes. Even I feel "cheap" to lure enemies into them far before I'd consider boosting a system a "cheap" trick. But "all is fair in love and war" so they say.
GregoryWalek said Jan 13, 2013 00:37:08
What you're talking about and what they're talking about are two different things.
What you're asking your engineer to do is normal for his role.

Charlie said Jan 13, 2013 07:04:21
I gotcha, I wasn't sure all the tricks that might be used by boosting things. I wasn't exactly being serious with the engineer example, I just wasn't sure what I might adopt as strategies that are "exploits". I do, as engineer on jump drive, boost energy when helm is engaging "jump" if we need a quicker escape. Things like that.
TheoBrinkman said Jan 14, 2013 02:53:52
Using the emergency jump out of combat as an example, the 'exploit' is to literally only boost power to the jump drive, just long enough for Helm to click the Jump & Confirm buttons, then dropping all power from the Jump drive. Since the game only checks the power levels when a command is *started*, you get the near-immediate jump without having to sacrifice anything else or risk damage from overheating.
Mike_Substelny said Jan 14, 2013 14:38:49
I believe the exploit only breaks immersion when using Jump drive. I also believe that Thom is planning to flesh out Jump Drive a lot in Artemis 2.0. Expect this to be fixed.
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
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