Illyrian engine crazy fuel useage

So, I just got far enough in the game to get my first ship equipment upgrade, and chose to upgrade my engine. I mean, faster is better, right?

Yeah, no. Suddenly it takes me 1 fuel to go from London to Mutton Chop Island. For a mere +200 engine power, my fuel useage has more than doubled. Cripes. Using 2% of a barrel of fuel per tic seems really really wrong. Please tell me this is a bug. Otherwise I’m never upgrading my engines ever again.

Yes engine upgrades do that.

EDIT: Although I just checked and I think you are exaggerating the effect, considering the starting ship + engine takes about 1.2 barrels of fuel to reach mutton island if you leave your lights on.
edited by WormApotheote on 2/24/2015

No, fuel usage (minus the cost of leaving the light on) scales linearly to engine power. It will, in fact, use 25% more fuel than the base engine, and will NOT make up for it in speed (on the base ship), but the difference is much more likely between leaving your light on (which, even with the engine OFF, takes 1% fuel per tick).

I’m yet to come up with a satisfying quantification of the relationship between engine power, weight, and speed, but it seems that lighter ships receive less benefit from stronger engines than heavier ships. For, say, a Dreadnaught, going from 1000 power to 2000 power will (I think) increase speed by 25%, all the way up to speed being doubled at 5000 power. A Cutter, however, will only be going ~85% faster with the same increase in power. Plus, lighter ships have faster base speeds anyway - not to mention smaller crews, and thus slower supply usage, and thus less need to get places in a hurry.

Well they’ve said the lights are heated glim lamps, so to heat the glim you’re still burning coal.

Has anyone done the math on Weight versus engine power yet? I checked the wiki, but the relationship is very vague.

I still think one of the issues is how the game sells the rate of speed increase. Going up an engine class tends to not result in much noticeable difference.

You can see it better with the later game engines, but it still often feels pretty slow, and the fuel rate consumption starts to feel out of control.

As strange as it seems large ships are usually faster than small ships, because they have the room for larger engines. In WWII when cruise ships were refitted to be troop transports they could easily outrun the main line Battleships, sometimes to an embarrassing degree.

Swapable modular engines are a neat game mechanic, but the devs may be trying to reflect some reality with the size of the ship alowing for a greater top speed.

It’s still pretty arcane to me.

People have figured out the impact on fuel consumption engine power has (1% of barrel spent per second per 1000 power, plus 1% if lamp is on), but not the relationship with weight.

All I have to contribute is my personal experience: I went from an 800-power starter steamer to a 1900-power Frigate (1500 engine plus 250+150 from WE ARE CLAY and Maybe’s Rival). Despite the tripling of tonnage, my current command is now somewhat faster than my previous vessel. Not too much, but noticeably so.

While I understand your point, I’m pretty sure WWII-era cruise ships were smaller than mainline battleships…


This feels like a bug to me, or at least poor design. If the developers really wanted to make the basic engine the most efficient in the game (which is crazy, but whatever) and basically make upgrading moot for vast majority of new players who are just scraping by, then that should be presented upfront and spelled out clearly in the item descriptions or the tutorial.

Same goes with lamp fuel consumption… This game is so well written, it boggles my mind that important stuff like this get left out of the game.

There should just be a fuel usage/sec written in plain sight next to the fuel meter so people can intelligently manage their fuel instead of all of this guesswork.

When discussing speed, it’s probably not valid to compare battleships and cruise liners and conclude that bigger = faster. Battleships were slower than cruise liners primarily because battleships carried a lot of extra weight in the form of armor. For example, Titanic (completed 1912) had a hull that was 3/4&quot at its thickest (probably a bad idea in hindsight) whereas the battleship Queen Elizabeth (completed 1914) had belt armor 13&quot thick, and most critical systems had armor between 4-11&quot thick. That’s a lot of extra weight. Accordingly, Titanic - a much larger vessel than Queen Elizabeth - was able to achieve a speed of 24 knots with engines generating 55,000 shp (shaft horse power), whereas Queen Elizabeth had engines generating 75,000 shp, but had the same top speed of 24 knots.

On the other hand, battlecruisers were basically battleships that sacrificed armor for increased speed. Thus, the battlecruiser HMS Lion (completed 1912) was able to achieve a speed of 28 knots with engines generating 70,000 shp. The Lion was also much smaller than the Titanic; it was about the same size as the Queen Elizabeth. So bigger ship does not necessarily = faster.

Anyway, in Sunless Sea, more powerful engines use up much more fuel for somewhat modest gains in speed. You can find people who’ve done the math, but, IIRC, the engine Compulsion will use about 4x the fuel as the starting engine and get you there in about 60% of the time. The downside is that, even though the gains in speed are modest, it’s hard to go back to a slower engine once you’ve tasted them. The TM’s engine is, of course, an exception.
edited by Jascob on 2/24/2015

To clarify, fuel usage is 0.1% of total engine power * fuel efficiency at full speed.

If you have 2000 engine power, fuel usage is 2% per second. If you have the impeller (50%), milebreaker(10%) and tireless (5%), you’ll have 5000 engine power, 65% reduction, so 1.75 per tick without a light. It tracks fractions of percentages.

Lamp is 1% per second, all ships, all lamps.

Full Power = 2x fuel consumption for 1.75x speed.

It appears that all ships have a soft top speed, after which additional power adds very little benefit. Still not sure how (or even if) weight factors into this. I suspect it’s more for a guideline, indicating you’ll want a bigger engine. Those calculations don’t appear to be in the readable game files.

[quote=Iodine]This feels like a bug to me, or at least poor design. If the developers really wanted to make the basic engine the most efficient in the game (which is crazy, but whatever) and basically make upgrading moot for vast majority of new players who are just scraping by, then that should be presented upfront and spelled out clearly in the item descriptions or the tutorial.

Same goes with lamp fuel consumption… This game is so well written, it boggles my mind that important stuff like this get left out of the game.

There should just be a fuel usage/sec written in plain sight next to the fuel meter so people can intelligently manage their fuel instead of all of this guesswork.[/quote]

I sent a big ol’ bug report the other day with like 17 bugs in it.

I also mentioned in a feedback section how I felt the lamp burning fuel was REALLY unclear as a first time player who didn’t even know the game was kickstarted and waited until it hit release to buy in. It was mentioned in the pitch video and in a few other sources, but as far as I know, the burning of fuel for the lamp is actually mentioned nowhere in the tutorials or in tooltips or anything. Hell, the loading screen hint text that talks of lamps mentions that they reduce terror gain, but NOT that they burn fuel (saw it the other day).

When I first started I thought the player just lost fuel while idling and turning. Took me way to long to realize it was my lamp.

One of the tooltips mentions it. Something like &quotsave fuel by turning off your light&quot.

But, also, remember these guys come from building Fallen London. They’ve excelled at the story part. I don’t know if you’ve done Saviour’s Rocks yet, but that whole story is incredibly cleverly designed within the limits of the systems they have, and epic to boot. The real strength of the game is how the writing suggests everything, but rarely spells it out explicitly.

But I think we can all agree that this doesn’t translate well into explaining game mechanics. Those should be written out in stone, and new players trained on them repeatedly until they’re burned into their memory. A tutorial mode where you play your own scion and you’re on our father’s ship (which is big with many guns and a fast engine), limited terror, and he slowly gives you more and more control of the ship, which is a basic run through of how the concepts work, would be hugely useful. Then your father leaves you at port, and word comes he’s died at zee, and here’s your inheritance - just enough to buy a new ship. And you’re off.

Also, they’re stumbling just a little over the real-time elements. I mean that with the greatest respect in the world - this game has literally owned me for a few weeks, but there are definitely things that are poor game design outside the story, and the optimisation is severely lacking. Things like frame-rate affecting turning speed. Anyway, you get my point.
edited by SporksAreGoodForYou on 2/24/2015

Totally get your point and pretty much agree on all fronts.

I’ve been sucked into this game for the last couple of weeks (enough even that I’m trying to shove in some playtime in most spare moments), and I didn’t even start 'til after launch. But while I am enthralled with it and love every ounce of effort put into it, primarily by the story and the setting, I’ve also run into myriad frustrations with how these elements mesh with the active sailing aspects, which feel comparatively undercooked.

That tutorial idea is beyond excellent. Totally have my support. I spent a good long while on my first couple captains bumbling bad with rookie mistakes and dying horribly. I knew that this was sort of the point so it didn’t bother me much, but there was a LOT of stuff that was very unclear that feels like it shouldn’t have been. A simple short tutorial mode like you describe would solve this, but then of course, there would be the issue of it perhaps being at cross themes with the whole &quotYour first captain WILL die&quot idea.

The only thing I felt I HAD to look up on the wiki though because it was so confusing in game was how you obtain vital information. I had no idea you could even &quotuse&quot items in your hold in active ways not having played Fallen London yet. Considering how few items do this (I found one other one in the game so far) it just never occurred to me, even though I would collect multiple strategic information items because I knew from looking at the admiralty’s tooltip descriptions that this was part of the puzzle. (I’m hoping they add the ability to do this to the study as well, because that would make the whole thing a lot clearer for new players and fit the whole idea of the study nicely).

But that’s another example of something that seems so obvious now, but at the time, was super unclear to me.

Not if the tutorial ends with that captain dying at zee with all hands, except for you (you get rescued, return to London and have just enough money for a Tramp Steamer.) Or alternatively everyone dies and the tutorial teaches you about the Legacy system.

Ah. Maybe that’s why I was able to figure this one out on my own. I guess the coloured border == interactable thing is very Fallen Londony, and new players might need it explained to them.

Someone mentioned on one of my videos that you could “use” strat infos. I later picked up a mountain-sherd (because I had cash, and no idea what one might do) and saw the green border, and put two and two together. But yeah. That being said, it says on the tooltip that “right click to use”, so I think I would have gotten there eventually, when poring over things in my hold.

Both of those are a really nice way to handle it, too. I especially like the idea of showing that death is merely a bump in the road, although you could do that without you dying on board - in the same way it asks you about your past, it could ask you about your legacy. And it’s a nice way to make the search for your father’s bones more of a relevant thing.


Say no to obliviousness! Stop stumbling and guessing when you could be counting and thinking!

It’s been bothering me. Most of the complaints about having information in-game is just sticking their point on unrealism of some knowledge. But in this case it’s NOT having this knowledge that’s unrealistic.

I mean are we playing the only captain in the whole zee? Do the rest of them use different engines? Or do they have access to limitless fuel?
Well realistically - no, no and no. Then why the heck does the game behave like nobody in the whole world of fallen London ever bothered about measuring the fuel consumption rate of the MASS PRODUCED ENGINES?

On second thought that’d scare all the customers away, but, jokes aside, it’s common sense and a standard practice in RL to get that information, to share it, and to use it when selecting preferable model.

It’s like the more expensive engines in the neath just get bigger not actually getting better.

“Look here, the new engine, 3x times the size, 3x the fuel, 1.2x the speed!”

So yeah, shops sharing info will probably make them bankrupt.

And &quotstrictly speaking shouldn’t be sold to civilians&quot because it’d be a scam. :)