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Heat mechanics

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Heatsinks group.png
A collection of heatsinks
Heat mechanics

Heat is a byproduct of the operation of many devices and machines, and must be dissipated to maintain peak efficiency. It is created primarily during the operation of generators and mounted weapons, and can be stored in a heatsink, dissipated with radiators, or (in the case of generators) rapidly nullified with coolant cells. Devices are also capable of dispersing some small amount of heat by themselves, though it should not be relied upon as a viable thermal control for a ship.

Production of Heat

Currently, only generators and mounted weapons produce heat that must be dispersed, the former of which produces a quantity of heat that is generally proportional to the amount of electricity it is producing (for example, tier 3 generator units produce both the highest amount of electricity and heat per unit as compared to other tiers of generator units).

Effects of Proximity on Heat

For generator units, adjacency is an important consideration for a well-balanced system. Each device in an assembled generator (fuel chambers, enhancers, or even other generator units) will not only add its own heat to the equation, but will also insulate connected devices. This 'insulation' will increase the amount of heat that each directly adjacent device produces, proportional to the number of the devices that are contributing to the insulating effect. A well-designed generator assembly must take this into consideration, as densely packed generators will produce exponentially more heat per device when compared to those with isolated devices.

Heat Tokens

The maximum amount of heat that any one device can produce is contingent upon a symbolic representation of data known as a Heat Token: The more of these tokens that a device has associated with it, the higher the limit for maximum heat is raised, by a value that is specific to each device. Generators and fuel chambers will add a heat token to each device which it is connected to, thus raising the heat-producing potential of the system. Though a single device could conceivably have dozens of these heat tokens, it will only pass one on to each adjacent device.

Each component has a technical maximum of heat tokens which it can obtain, which is naturally proportional to the number of modular interfaces it has - however, enhancers will apply numerous heat tokens to the device. It is important to consider the placement of generator modules, as the effect of heat tokens increases exponentially with quantity (displayed below).

Heat Token Count and the Associated Increase in Potential Heat
Heat Token Count Effect on Maximum Heat Output
1 +25
2 +55
3 +95
4 +145
5 +205
6 +275
7 +355
8 +445
9 +545
10 +655
11 +775
12 +905
13 +1,045
14 +1,195
15 +1,355
16 +1,525
17 +1,705
18 +1,895
19 +2,095
20 +2,305
21 +2,525
22 +2,755
23 +2,995
24 +3,245
25 +3,505


Enhancers are used to quickly boost the rate of production of electricity in a generator unit by increasing the efficiency with which they utilize fuel, and can be easily turned on and off with YOLOL. However, while a generator unit with an attached and activated enhancer unit will produce significantly more electricity, it will also suffer an exponential increase in heat output. While an enhancer can be used to maximize power output (for as long as the cooling performance can keep up), it can also be used to boost efficiency at lower generation states, allowing the production of power at a comparatively lower fuel cost -- though, this will still generate extra heat. Enhancers affect the generation of heat by adding to the quantity of heat tokens held by the device to which they are attached.

It should be noted that, though enhancers increase the heat potential of a generator system, enhancers themselves are unaffected by heat.

Enhancer Effects
Enhancer Tier Heat Tokens Electricity Production Tokens
Tier 1 +3 +1
Tier 2 +4 +2
Tier 3 +5 +3

The number of electricity production tokens a generator unit has directly affects the boost applied to its output, as shown below:

Electricity Production Tokens
Electricity Production Tokens Electrical Output
1 +500
2 +750
3 +1,000

  • Note: Enhancers have traditionally been used on fuel rod chambers. However, when these mechanics are added to the live universe, enhancers will no longer have any effect when applied to fuel rod chambers. They will instead affect only generator units.

Dispersion of Heat

All heat-producing devices have a specific heat capacity which allows it to buffer heat generated from itself or adjacent devices, much like a battery can store electricity. These devices can also radiate some small amount of heat on their own, providing a constant passive cooling rate. Though this effect is constant, heat must be managed via the ship's pipe network, and be transferred to a heatsink, radiator, or cooling cell in order to be effectively dissipated. However, these devices can only transfer a small portion of their generated heat directly to a radiator, after which point the heat will begin to accumulate in the device's heat capacity. A heatsink must instead be utilized to capture the excess heat, as these devices have both a very high heat capacity as well as the ability to transfer vastly more thermal energy to a radiator than any other device could. After heat has been transferred (whether it be directly or via a heatsink), it can be dissipated extremely quickly by the radiator.

Thermal Soak

As mentioned before, all devices have a certain capacity for heat, which can be filled up by its own operation or by the operation of devices connected to it. Once this capacity has been saturated, the device will overheat and shutdown until the heat stored within it has been managed. Since all heat-producing devices can dissipate some amount of heat on their own and have this specific amount of heat capacity, many devices can be operated without being dependent on a dedicated cooling system. However, this naturally comes at the caveat of putting an extreme limitation on the usage of the device in question: Generators will only be able to produce electricity at a fraction of their normal operating capacity, and weapons will only be able to fire periodically (if at all).


All devices that produce heat have device fields to monitor properties such as thermal load and storage. YOLOL plays a key role in the management of heat, as it can be used not only to monitor the generation and storage of heat in any particular device, but also to finely modulate the transfer of heat itself, be that by adjusting the transfer rate to or from a heatsink or radiator or by adjusting coolant flow from a coolant cell. With the proper YOLOL, all generator characteristics pertaining to heat management can be automatically maintained.

Heat-related Devices

Producing Heat

Power Generation

Device Heat Production
(maximum, per second)
Heat Storage Heat Dissipation
(per second)
Transfer Rate
(to radiator, per second)
Transfer Rate
(to heatsink, per second)
Generator Unit (Tier 1) 80 1,500 5 75 1,500
Generator Unit (Tier 2) 90 1,500 5 75 1,500
Generator Unit (Tier 3) 100 1,500 5 75 1,500
Fuel Chamber (Tier 1) 95 1,500 5 30 1,500
Fuel Chamber (Tier 2) 95 1,500 5 30 1,500
Fuel Chamber (Tier 3) 80 1,500 5 30 1,500

Ship Weapons

Device Heat Production
(per shot)
Heat Production
(sustained fire, per second)
Electricity Consumption
(per shot)
Electricity Consumption
(sustained fire, per second)
Heat Storage Heat Dissipation
(per second)
Transfer Rate
(to radiator, per second)
Transfer Rate
(to heatsink, per second)
Autocannon 125 1,000 94 1,002 1,000 10 50 1,000
Laser Cannon 80 500 440 3,000 1,000 10 50 1,000
Plasma Cannon 800 941 2,000 2,603 1,000 10 50 1,000
Rail Cannon 600 336 20,000 12,700 1,000 10 50 1,000

Dissipating Heat

Device Heat Storage Heat Dissipation
(max, per second)
Transfer Rate
(to radiator, per second)
Coolant Capacity Coolant Transfer
(to generator, per second)
Recharge Rate
Heat Sink, Beam Type 15,000 50 750
Heat Sink, Cube Type 15,000 50 750
Heat Sink, Plate Type 15,000 50 750
Radiator Base 1,500 1,500
Radiator Extension 1,500 750
Cooling Rack 25,000 [1] 10,000 * 3 5,000 1 / 15 [2]
  1. Calculated total at maximum flow rate
  2. Small coolant cells will recharge on their own at a rate of 1 per second. However, when used with a coolant recharge rack, this is boosted to 15 per second

External Tools

Listed below are several community made tools which may be useful for calculating heat and designing a generator.

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