Suggestion: Circuit breaker

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DrNoid
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby DrNoid » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:28 pm

xander wrote:
Dichotomy wrote:I do not believe we should ever limit ourselves to colloquial language when the technical term is readily available.

Under many circumstances, I would agree, however I think that the fact that a bunch of people who seem to know the technical jargon cannot agree on what we should call the thing. From a lay perspective, when a circuit gets "overloaded" (i.e. too many devices are plugged into one outlet, it is short circuited by a puddle of water, or whatever) a "circuit breaker" in the "breaker box" cuts the power.

Funnily, that functionality is already in the game. When the power draw is too high, the generator shuts down.
This is also something that can not easily be put in a switch, because then you'd have to configure each switch for exactly how much power is allowed to go through that switch. You'd have to say "this switch has a 16 amp fuse, that one a 32 amp one". This would be quite a lot of micro management, that would still not completely save you from drawing too much power from the generator and shutting it down. This type of device will not protect your workers or inmates from being electrocuted to death if the power draw through them is not enough to trip the device.

Earth leakage circuit breaker (old) and Residual current circuit breaker (modern) detect when power doesn't go through the wires any more, but directly to the earth (optionally through a person). This is not a fuse.
They do not protect against short-circuits!
They do not stop you from overloading your generator!
They can easily be build into every switch so that it switches off the part that causes the problem.

Since these two groups of devices have fundamentally different roles, they would have to be implemented as separate functions. Both could be implemented in a switch. One would just work, the other would need a maximum current configuration screen.
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paktsardines
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby paktsardines » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:59 pm

I think, at least in terms of gameplay, a circuit breaker = a fuse = earth leakage circuit breaker = residual current circuit breaker.
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby Gondlar » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:18 pm

paktsardines wrote:I think, at least in terms of gameplay, a circuit breaker = a fuse = earth leakage circuit breaker = residual current circuit breaker.

No, even in terms of gameplay the two are different:
  • A fuse protects your generator from "exploding" when you connect too many devices. This functionality is already embedded in the generator and I'm not sure whether we need switches with that functionality.
  • A residual current device protects you workers from being electrifies after your prisoners kicked off in the laundry and broke the washing machine. This functionality is currently not in the game and imho we either need this or a way to stop workers from walking in there.
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby xander » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:21 pm

DrNoid wrote:Earth leakage circuit breaker (old) and Residual current circuit breaker (modern) detect when power doesn't go through the wires any more, but directly to the earth (optionally through a person). This is not a fuse.
They do not protect against short-circuits!
They do not stop you from overloading your generator!
They can easily be build into every switch so that it switches off the part that causes the problem.

So, in other words, an earth leakage circuit breaker is not the technical device for something that would interrupt the power if there were a short circuit (say, a puddle caused by a leaky washer). Great. All of this technical debate about what the correct name for the device should be, yet very little discussion of how it should work as a gameplay mechanic.

Here is what I am asking for: a device (I really honestly don't care what you want to call it---I like the already existing "switch") which sits between the generator and powered devices which interrupts the supply of power when certain things happen. These certain things include (but are perhaps not limited to) (1) a short circuit caused by water (say a broken washer; a metal detector next to a broken toilet; a workshop saw in the shower; &c.), (2) a powered device being damaged / destroyed in a riot (for instance, if a cooker is damaged, the switch would cut power---objects that are not hooked directly into the grid would not trigger the switch), or (3) the generator being overloaded (in this case, all of the switches would shut off, perhaps keeping certain parts of the prison powered, and giving the player the option to turn on some areas but not others---this functionality is most decidedly not in the game).

Rather than debating what we should call this magic box, can we please discuss how it behaves in terms of gameplay mechanics?

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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby air805ronin » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:25 pm

[current method] Prison door on the laundry room set to be locked shut till power is off, switch outside the laundry on power line to shut off power so its safe to fix the equipment. Safe working conditions for all? Requires lots of micromanagement.

What is being proposed - Essentially what I would called a GFI (Ground Fault Indicator) outlet for the washer. Automatically shut off power to the room/appliance so it can be safely worked on. No micromanagement.

Would be nice if workers were smart enough to shut off power to an area before working on equipment, but I guess the pros don't do electricity the way I do in my house.
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby Gondlar » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:59 pm

xander wrote:Rather than debating what we should call this magic box, can we please discuss how it behaves in terms of gameplay mechanics


Well... my (personal) idea was adding the functionality of a RCD to the switch (meaning point 1 & 2 from you post), but not the functionality of a fuse (meaning your point 3), hence the discussion on the terms. I don't think switches turning off when you build too many electrical devices is just unnecessary clicking to turn them on again and no actual gameplay. If a player wants to get electricity up again fast he can manually turn one switch off before turning on the generator.
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby user42 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:07 pm

Oh my god, what have I done? Everybody's arguing about the difference between ELCB, OCCB and manual CBs! (the latter is what we have now btw) Point is, some kind of "electrical damage simulation" would be nice, but we shouldn't get to the point where one needs an engineering degree to work ones prison. (I have a senior-apprentice equivalent EE certificate btw.)

All I was saying is, the current "head through the wall" approach is not the bees knees. We cannot have workmen dying like flea with every electrical damage. That's what circuit breakers are for, after all. If in the end of the day we get ELCB or OCCB or a combination of both doesn't really matter, aamof in the real world, all concepts work if skillfully applied. Since we don't really have "circuits" in PA anyways but merely segments, it really doesn't matter. It would even work by modifying the current switch, since what is an automatic circuit breaker but a glorified switch?

The way I envision it, when an electrical damage occurs, a damage signal moves up-current towards the generator along all possible paths. If it reaches a circuit breaker, that breaker trips and the signal is consumed in that cell and not passed on to adjacent cells. If by any path it can reach the generator, the generator goes off. That would encourage proper electrical cutout design in a prison.
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby air805ronin » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:30 pm

If I may be so bold, as opposed to adding a completely new piece of utility equipment to the mix, couldn't we make workers immune to electricity to show that they have the knowledge of neutralizing it before commencing repair work? Just have this ability be implied for the professional we hire to do such work?
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby xander » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:30 pm

Gondlar wrote:Well... my (personal) idea was adding the functionality of a RCD to the switch (meaning point 1 & 2 from you post), but not the functionality of a fuse (meaning your point 3), hence the discussion on the terms. I don't think switches turning off when you build too many electrical devices is just unnecessary clicking to turn them on again and no actual gameplay. If a player wants to get electricity up again fast he can manually turn one switch off before turning on the generator.

Ah! Thank you for responding in terms of gameplay mechanics.

So, here's why I want point 3 (and why I think it should matter, even though it wouldn't now): currently, all electrical and water systems can be turned on with the click of a mouse. In that context, it is no more difficult to turn off a single switch then turn on the power station than it is to turn off a few switches (assuming that the power station is still running). My point 3 would be tedious micro-management in the current context. However, suppose that a worker has to be tasked to changing the state of a switch. That takes time. In that context, it would be better if the power station kept running (and providing power to some portion of the prison) and the switches all cut out (giving the player the option/task of deciding which parts of the prison really need power soon, and which parts can wait a bit longer).

xander

EDIT: air805ronin: I don't think that I am advocating for a new piece of equipment, but rather a change the the functionality of current equipment. And even if the workers are smart enough to avoid dangerous situations, there still isn't really a mechanic in the game for allowing them to do so (they either need to be granted the ability to flip switches themselves, or the switches automatically need to cut out in the appropriate situations).
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby air805ronin » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:42 pm

xander wrote:EDIT: air805ronin: I don't think that I am advocating for a new piece of equipment, but rather a change the the functionality of current equipment. And even if the workers are smart enough to avoid dangerous situations, there still isn't really a mechanic in the game for allowing them to do so (they either need to be granted the ability to flip switches themselves, or the switches automatically need to cut out in the appropriate situations).


Xander: Agreed. I actually don't even bother using the current switch as it is because i have to toggle it, and I'm generally not that big of a micromanagement guy. If the switches had some sort of Ground detection I may start using them to stop accidental deaths and preserve power to the rest of the prison. In the Air Force we had breaker panels for every communication rack. In every workplace I've ever worked there were breaker panels for every floor/building. A prison, I'd imagine, would have one for every building with a breaker for every room or electrical circuit. I'm not really trying to say this is a bad idea at all.

However in the realm of working on a washer, which is the case presented in this thread, anyone working on it would have "unplug the machine" as step 1 on the process. This could be handled with workers not being affected by electric.
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby user42 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:44 pm

air805ronin wrote:couldn't we make workers immune to electricity to show that they have the knowledge of neutralizing it before commencing repair work?
I presume that would be theoretically possible, but it would be a step backwards. The idea is to _add_ logic to the game, not _remove_ it.
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby air805ronin » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:13 pm

user42 wrote:
air805ronin wrote:couldn't we make workers immune to electricity to show that they have the knowledge of neutralizing it before commencing repair work?
I presume that would be theoretically possible, but it would be a step backwards. The idea is to _add_ logic to the game, not _remove_ it.


I understand why you would think it would be a step backwards but I think it would be representative of the skills of a worker. It would be using logic to protect a class that should be able to fix such a problem.

More complex does not always mean better. Sometimes the simple fix is the more logical to protect the workers, while a "circuit breaker" would need to be used to protect the general prison populace. For instance a broken washer would leak water in an ever expanding puddle (not unlike a shower) and if a prisoner or guard walked into it they could be electrocuted.

This is at once simpler, to protect the workers, and more complex to protect the rest of the prison populace. The fix has to be logical and a worker electrocuting himself by working on a washer with a power source attached completely lacks logic. Also lacking logic is the idea of turning on electricity to an entire laundry room to fix one washing machine.
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby xander » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:09 pm

I don't think that the way to think of this is in terms of simpler vs more complex. Rather, we need to look at the individual solutions proposed.

air805ronin: Your idea is, basically, that workers should be immune to damage from electricity, while other units are not. This represents the idea that the workers are well-trained and competent. It isn't a bad solution at first blush, but I can see a couple of problems. The biggest is that even competent people are not perfect. Suppose that a worker is installing an ironing board and a riot breaks out. The laundry floods and everyone gets electrocuted. The worker should not be immune in this circumstance. Things beyond his control killed him off. That is as it should be. More generally, you say that workers would unplug the washer before working on it. Okay... but what if the washer is across a large puddle of electrified water? How are they going to turn it off? If they are simply immune, they walk across the puddle, which also defies logic. Finally, on a purely aesthetic note, I don't like the idea of giving any unit the super power "Electricity Proof!" Electricity and water don't mix, and when they do mix, they cause death. Aesthetically, I find that pleasing.

So, we agree that workers should be smart enough not to get electrocuted, but we disagree on the particular solution. It seems that the use of switches is a better solution. Under the current setup, a competent electrician should simply refuse to set foot on a square that has electrified water on it. Sure, the washer won't get fixed, but the worker will not die, either. This would require the player to manually turn off a switch somewhere or, lacking such a switch, to turn off the generator. Problem solved.

The solution that I have proposed is that switches are automatically thrown when washers (and other items break), cutting off power to that part of the prison. If there is no switch, then the generator shuts down (perhaps). This protects both workers and prisoners. Once the problem has been fixed, a worker can be sent to turn the switch back on.

Either solution makes logical sense, either solution protects workers, and neither solution grants any super powers to any units. What is there to object to?

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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby henke37 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:19 am

There is one difference in the solutions: npcs ending up in the water by accident. If the power is on then they should be zapped.

And there is the matter of when a protection should trip. Just when someone is getting injured? At the instant stuff breaks?
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Re: Suggestion: Circuit breaker

Postby xander » Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:06 pm

henke37 wrote:There is one difference in the solutions: npcs ending up in the water by accident. If the power is on then they should be zapped.

I totally agree.

henke37 wrote:And there is the matter of when a protection should trip. Just when someone is getting injured? At the instant stuff breaks?

I would say that this depends on how the mechanic is implemented. Under the current regime, where workers will keep walking into puddles and dying, and where switches power on and off instantly, they should trip automatically. Make the workers smarter (avoid the water), and they should be manual. My dream is that the switches trip automatically when a machine hooked directly to the grid receives a certain amount of damage (say 50%, to pull a number out of my ass), but that workers are required to turn the circuit back on, and the power stations never go off by themselves (so if a broken washer is hooked up directly to the power station, workers cannot get to it).

xander

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