Dev Blog #2 – It’s Getting Hot in Here! Pt.2

Hey, welcome back. Last time we talked about how heat affects your station, and how to get rid of it when you have too much. Today we’re going to dive down into the details of how that heat moves around your station, and how quickly your radiators can carry it away.

Every module of your station will generate heat, but not every module will have radiators attached. If they did, you wouldn’t have any room for solar panels, [REDACTED], and other exterior equipment.

modules

In order for heat from these modules to leave your station via a radiator, it first needs to move into a module that has a radiator attached. How does it do this? It moves through the air.

Just like with the different rooms of a house, air and the heat it contains can freely flow around your station. Adjacent modules at different temperatures will naturally come to equilibrium – or at least attempt to. Heat can only move from one module to another at a certain rate, and if one module and the equipment within it are generating heat too quickly, that module will begin to overheat if you don’t do something about it!

So what does this look like, and what can you do to prevent it? Let’s take a look at a simple station with a single radiator.

modules2
For simplicity, all astronauts and interior equipment have been removed.

Looks fine, right? Well, it is. For now. We can get a better idea of what’s going on by enabling the Thermal Overlay.

overlay1
The Thermal Overlay shifts the interior lighting of a module more red as it becomes hotter.

Each of these modules is only generating a small amount of heat, so the Thermal Overlay is subtle, but you might be able to see that the left-most module (the one furthest from the radiator) is tinted ever-so-slightly more red than the others. So what happens if that module suddenly starts to generate more heat?

It’s heating up quickly. Very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that the heat can’t transfer into the adjacent module or the lone radiator fast enough. This causes the whole station to begin overheating. If this happens to your station, you’ll see equipment shutting down and breaking, scientific payloads spoiling or dying, and astronauts becoming uncomfortable and heading for the escape pods.
To avoid this situation, you can do a few different things:
  • Launch more radiators
  • Launch bigger radiators (requires research)
  • Launch better radiators (requires research)

You can also go around manually turning heat-generating equipment on and off to let your radiators catch up, but you’re a Space Station Administrator, you’ve got better things to do!

Tune in next week for another update!