Engineering

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The Basics

Engineering is rather complex, but in itself teaches you many of the game's core mechanics. Even a new player, who can pick up and empty a toolbox is able to become a good engineer. If you're a completely new player however, you should first take a glance at the starter guide.

The Engine, Solars and Power

Generating Power

The primary purpose of engineering is to maintain the station's power. To do this, you will need to start the engine. The linked guide should show you how to do that.

The solars are the next thing you need to worry about. As starting the singularity can be a bit risky, you should watch others do it before you attempt it alone. In the mean time, you can do the wiring of the solars. To do this you will need the RIG suit as well as internals (oxygen tank and gas mask), all of which can be found in engineering. Note that it is a good idea to return the RIG suit once you're done. More on wiring solars can be found here.

Wiring

If a part of the station loses power it is likely wires have been cut somewhere. To search for cut wires under floors you will need a T-Ray Scanner. To cut wires, use the wirecutters and to place new ones click on the floor where you'd like them to be placed. The wire will be placed on the targeted tile from the tile you're standing on. You can also place wires on the tile you're currently on by clicking the tile. the wire will be placed in the direction you're currently facing. To place smooth wires, click on the red dot (end point) of an existing wire with more wire in your hand.

Wiring intersections demand special mention. Making an intersection requires all the wire pieces to be end-points. If you make a smooth wire going south to north and place a half-wire going east, they will not be connected. To connect them you have to remove the smooth wire and replace it with two half-wires. Once all of them are placed, if you right click the tile you should see three wire pieces, all of which meet in the center. In case of a knot, just cut the wire, and then hit the knot.

Power Monitoring and Distribution

APCs

An Area Power Controller (or APC) is located in every room. It is usually locked, but you can unlock it by swiping your ID on it. Functioning APCs contain a power cell. You can shut off a room's power or disable or enable lighting, equipment, or atmospheric systems with it. Every room can have only one APC. The guide to their construction and deconstruction can be found in the guide to construction. APC's can also be hacked; it's good practice to know how to hack into APCs in a pinch. However, avoid practicing hacking techniques on APCs in sensitive areas, like the Engine Room.

Power Grid Layout

File:Torch power grid.png
Schematic view of the Torch power grid

The Torch power grid is primarily composed of power sources that feed into the main grid (red) and Substations that take power from the main grid and feed it into subgrids. Most subgrids are fed from a substation, that is, a combination of SMES and Breaker Box. There are some specialised subgrids without breakers.

Some notes about the power grid:

  • By default, Substation SMES have barely enough throughput capacity to power their subgrids without big consumers like shields enabled.
  • Most of the power distribution, i.e. SMES settings and breakers, can be manipulated remotely using RCON.
  • Altogether, there is enough throughput capacity from the engine and solar SMES to fully power the station in most circumstances as long as no power sources break. However, the engine has vastly more output capacity than the 1000kW throughput capacity of the engine SMES.
  • You can upgrade the SMES.


Power Monitoring

An engineer should be having a look at the ship's power grid at all times. Power outages can have catastrophic consequences and ruin a round quickly.

There are three main tools to help with this, the Supermatter Monitor, Power Monitor, and RCON.

Supermatter Monitor

The Supermatter Monitor has readouts of important measurements of the Engine Core: Energy Density (EER), Core Temperature, and Core Pressure (EPR). Please read the Engine Guide for details about the operation of the Supermatter, including emergency response.

The maximum safe EER depends on the temperature-carrying ability of the engine coolant gas. The engine startup guide has a table for that. EER will rise when the supermatter is excited (this generally happens through energy weapons being fired at it, e.g. the Engine Emitter), and slowly drop over time as the Supermatter dissipates its internal energy as heat. EER excursions are usually caused by accidential or malicious activation of the emitter and result in radiation and temperature problems.

The Core Temperature must be kept below 4000K. If the engine has been excited beyond the capacity of the engine coolant to keep the core temperature under 4000K, emergency cooling must be undertaken.

The EPR should be kept between 1 and 2.5 for optimal engine performance.

Power Monitor

The Power Monitor monitors data from all powernets that have powernet sensors. It shows the load of the power grid (Ratio of power requested by consumers to power available) and its security status (whether any APCs are being tinkered with).

If a power grid is overloaded, that means there is not enough power available from power sources (SMES in a subgrid, engine/solars in a power production grid) to power all consumers (APCs in a subgrid, SMES in a power production grid). The Engine Output Grid will always be overloaded when the Main SMES isn't fully charged, since the Main SMES will be trying to take all available power.

The Engine Output Grid being overloaded is not technically a problem, nothing will break because of it, but maybe it can be a nice opportunity for RP to adjust the Main SMES so it will only charge at 90% of the engine capacity.

RCON

The RCON is an incredibly powerful tool since it allows you to monitor and configure all SMES units. The most important SMES is the Engine Core SMES. It should always be kept fully charged, and you should always monitor its power output for fluctuations.

You should also use the RCON to isolate subgrids from the main grid and power them through the substations. This makes diagnosing power failures easier and saves people from being electrocuted by touching live wires (e.g. electrifid airlocks).

Station Structural Integrity

An educated word which basically means wall repairs.

Walls

Walls come in two forms: Regular and reinforced. Walls reinforced with plasteel are much stronger than regular walls and take much longer to get through using regular tools. See the Guide to Construction#Walls for how to construct them.

Note that only fully built walls will prevent air from escaping freely through them.

Walls can be damaged by the Blob, by mischievous players, or other unfortunate events. Repair them using a Welding tool.

Pretty Glass

Notice how most of the glass around the station is built as a double pane, which surrounds a grille. Making this by hand can be a bit tricky at first, but is simple once you get the hang of it. To build such a wall, you'll need 4 sheets of glass and 3 sheets of metal, alternatively you can have 6 sets of rods. You'll also need a screwdriver and crowbar, though having wirecutters and a welder with you is a good idea, as you'll likely get it wrong the first time and will need those to dismantle the grille.

First you have to prepare your materials. Use the metal on itself and create 6 sets of rods (2 are made each time). Now pick the rods up (you can stack them, but don't click too quickly or the game might think you wanted to build a grille). After this, use 4 of the rods on 4 sheets of glass to create 4 sheets of reinforced glass. Now pick up all your tools (put them on your utility belt if you have one or in your backpack) and pick up the remaining two rods in one hand and the 4 sheets of reinforced glass in your other (remember, you can stack glass too). Now stand where you'd like the glass to be. Use the rods on themselves and this will create a grille. DO NOT MOVE! Now use the glass on itself 4 times and create a single paned glass every time. Right click on the glass to rotate it until you have 3 of the 4 sides covered. The remaining side is your escape route. use the combination of screwdriver - crowbar - screwdriver on each of the 3 panes which are already in place to secure them. Now move out of the grille and rotate the last window so it covers the last side. Fasten that with the same screwdriver - crowbar - screwdriver combination. Congratulations. You've just made a proper window. You're already better at construction than most.

For more on construction see the Guide to Construction.

Shield Generators

To avoid having to do too much repair, turning on the Shield Generators will be very useful. There is one "Advanced Shield Generator" on every deck in hilariously mislabeled rooms.

These Shield Generators can consume huge amounts of power, so ideally should be wired into the main grid, which of course they are not. If you want to run them off substations, better upgrade those SMES.

You can run a single Shield Generator to cover the whole Ship by enabling "Multidimensional Field Warp". This is fine for most threats, but certainly not good if the SolGov pilot flies you right smack into the middle of a meteorite shower.

Shield Generators can be upgraded by taking them apart and replacing the normal superconducting coil with a superconducting capacitance coil.

Robots, Artificial Intelligence, and Computers

As an engineer, it is required of you to understand how most computers are operated, how they work and how they're created, dismantled, and repaired. You're also the best equipped station employee to prevent the AI from taking a life of it's own.

Computers

Computers are everywhere on SS13. Engineering has a power monitoring computer, several solar computers and a general alerts computer. Almost everything you can control is done through a computer. Making them is described in the guide to construction, as is their dissasembly (for those which can be deconstructed). To learn how to operate different computer you'll need to start using them and find out how they work while doing so. There are too many to explain them all here.

Incident Response

It's your job to save lives when they cry out for help.

Hull Breaches

The person whose duty it is to watch the alarms in the monitoring room, or alternatively poor souls getting sucked into the void, will call out to inform engineers of atmosphere breaches.

In most cases the automatic emergency shutters will seal the breached section. Your checklist to respond to a breach should be similar to the following:

  1. Find out where exactly the breach is
  2. Find out if there is any chance someone has gone overboard - saving that person is your first priority then, and someone skilled will have to EVA immediately.
  3. Suit up!
  4. Gather construction materials and inflatables
  5. Find the breach
  6. Repair the breach
  7. Repressurize

Things to keep in mind:

  • Construct ghetto airlocks using inflatable doors to avoid spacing yourself after getting knocked out by a flying microwave due to air rushing out.
  • You can use engineering tape and hazard cones to rope off areas.
  • If Atmos is on their game, you can repressurize areas very quickly without excessive air pump hauling.

Firefighting

Engineers get access to maintenance hallways, which contain several firesuits and extinguishers. If a fire breaks out somewhere, put it out. Firesuits allow you to walk in almost any fire. Extinguishers have a limited capacity. Refill them with water tanks, which can be found all around the station.

Physical Rescue

If someone cries that he can't get out of somewhere and no one can get him out, then it's your job to do so. Hacking airlocks, deconstructing walls; basically whatever it takes to get to them. I don't need to point out that you should never put others or yourself at risk in doing so!