Thursday, June 14, 2012

Game mechanics mimicking real life

I learnt a bit about synchronizing turbines today, reminded me of the cryptology tool used in Hydrophobia. That was actually quite fun, believable and somewhat scientific. I imagine if I wasn’t trying to hack the system I would have a frequency lock of 2 numbers for each waveform, amplitude and frequency, Possibly stored as a single hexadecimal string. the phase of the waveform changes with respect to time, otherwise the game mechanic would be too easy.

For the actual hacking you are presented with a complex waveform. You can then, using the mouse, adjust the amplitude of your sine wave, and its frequency. When your wave approximates the computers projection (±0.5%) that waveform is cancelled. Then the software zooms you into the next waveform where you repeat the process.


When synchronizing a turbine you need to match all the characteristics of your turbine to that of the rest of the system. There are three instruments to determine when this is the case.
The Synchroscope indicates the phase or the alternators wavelengths with respect to the reference point. The net result is either positive or negative. When the synchroscope reads zero the two energy sources are in phase.
The Voltammeter indicates the energy being produced by the alternator.
Then there is a frequency analyzer which indicates the Hz of each of the waveforms.

The energy waveform of the rest of the system will fluctuate slightly depending on the load and supply of that part of the system but it should be relatively stable and is the reference point for synchronization.

To bring the alternator online only requires closing the breaker, thus connecting the two electrical circuits. But if the two systems are not in sync then the generator will likely explode, this is not preferable.


To adjust the alternator you can use the governor to supply more mechanical energy and also alter the field strength. When the governor is not changing increasing the field strength will increase the voltage potential of the generator. This is dependent on the shaft speed so if the governor is in a state of flux, the voltage will be as well.
Changing the governor will change the rotation speed of the alternator shaft. This changes the frequency of the generated wave. The phase can only be changed indirectly by altering the frequency. Increasing the frequency can get the wave to start at the same amplitude, and then reducing the frequency so that it matches the reference will get the phase to be the same. Except that the governor doesn’t change instantly, so there is a delay between increasing the steam/water/diesel and the shaft speed actually changing.


So there are two settings that need to be adjusted (governor & field strength) to bring the three variables in line with each other (Frequency, Phase and Amplitude) then when they match to within the tolerance limits the breaker can safely be closed.

If successful the synchroscope will bounce to zero, where it will remain as long as the two systems are connected. Further changing of the governor will not adjust the Phase or frequency, but will adjust the torque of the alternator. This is where energy is produced.
I don’t know what happens if you alter the field strength when the alternator is online.


I wonder if there are any games out there that copy this mechanic. Possibly you need to connect the power to proceed or just close the beraker to break something?