Space Station Manager Demo

Relax and build your own manned space station with Space Station Manager. Updated version 1.1.2 with much improved in-game help and several minor improvements.

Space Station Manager - Manual

version 1.1.2

The most recent version can always be found online at:

http://www.mistaril.com/ssm/docs/SSMContents.html

Titlescreen

Introduction

Since the space revolution began in 1957 humanity has taken larger and

larger steps away from our beloved planet. The boundless horizons of

this new frontier, coupled with a steady stream of scientific

understanding, has kept space in the heart of us who feel the winds of

adventure in our soul. The quest is among the most noble a sentient

being can take, the quest to understand the world one is born into.

Space Station Manager is our humble contribution to this spirit of

exploration. It enables you to step into the shoes of a station

manager running the one of our primary outposts, a manned space

station in Low Earth Orbit. It lets you see, hear and feel the

structure and surroundings of these complex organisms. It lets you

touch and marvel at the growth and developement. And our sincerest

wish, lets you for a moment be present.

Thank you for sharing the voyage with us,

The Mistaril Crew

Intro screen

Basics

Your task is to build and expand a Low Earth Orbit space station. By

completing mission objectives you gain access to new technology that

further expands your possibilities.

Starting new game, loading and saving

Game Menu

Open the game manu by clicking on menu in the left top corner. The

center of the screen shows the save slots available. The left side

buttons save to a specific slot while the right side buttons load the

game from the slot.

Moving the camera

All movement of the camera are done by pressing and holding a mouse

button or keyboard key and moving the mouse. You can also quick zoom

and center on a specific module by double left clicking on it.

* Rotating - left mouse button

* Zooming - right mouse button

* Moving rotation center - shift key or middle mouse button

Time control

Time control buttons

The simulation starts paused by default. You can build freely in

paused mode and it is recomended to stop time every time you start

doing larger changes. However, for research projects to progress you

have to start the simulation. The downside is that your running costs

start taking their toll as well. You can control time either by

clicking on pause or play in the time control panel or pressing the

space key to toggle between modes.

Building

Creating the structure

Your main tools for modifying the station structure are adding new

modules, repositioning existing modules and rotating modules in place.

While adding new modules costs credits, repositioning and rotating are

free of costs.

Build mode general controls

Building interface

Info panel

The info panel gives you a short summary of the curren status of your

station. This includes module count and summary information for all

resources.

Layer control

The layer control is used for selecting the current display mode for

the station. The buttons stand for (from top to botton): Visual,

Energy, Thermal and Life-Support.

New module selector

To start adding modules to your layout select one of the available

modules from the bottom selector.

Available docking port

The green squares represent docking ports on the main station that are

available for docking the new module to. To add the selected module to

a specific port on the station click on the handle for the port.

Repositioning modules

Reposition interface

Modules that are only connected at on point can be repositioned,

rotated and recycled. When you select such a module by left clicking

on it the following user interface elements appear:

* Reposition handle

The blue reposition handle indicates ports that are suitable for

reposition the currently selected module. To reposition a module

click on the handle for the port you want to reposition to. If the

selected module has many ports clicking on one of its own ports

will realign that port to be the one docked to the rest of the

station.

* Rotate handle

By pressing and holding the left mouse button over the rotation

handle you activate module rotation. Move the mouse until the

desired rotation angle is attained and release the left mouse

button. The module will automatically align itself in 45 degree

increments.

Rotation interface

* Recycle selected

Pressing the recycle button will remove the current module

permanently from the layout giving you a small percentage of the

initial cost as a refund. You can also recycle the current module

by pressing the Delete key.

Resources

To keep your station running smoothly you need a deep understanding of

the resources available and how they are produced, consumed and

transported in your layouts. There are two main categories of

resources: flow and non-local. Flow resources all require you to build

a grid to support them while non-local resources can connect supply to

demand without needing more work from you.

Flow resources

* Energy

Energy production has to be at self sufficient levels in a

orbiting space station. The main source for energy is through

solar panels converting solar radiation into electricity. There

are however also other sources of energy relying on fuel imported

to the station. All energy sources produce electricity into the

station wide electricity grid. Many station components require

energy production and are then connected to the grid at their

respective point of usage. Of all flow resources energy is the

easiest to transport around the station.

* Thermal

Thermal control is of outmost importance on space stations. As

most orbits expose the station to heavy solar radiation

alternating with a very cold outer space environment the task of

the thermal control system is to keep the station at the same

temperature. Waste heat is also produced by many appliances aboard

the station thus much of the thermal control system is panels

radiating heat back to space. The thermal grid is a pressurized

multi-loop system where coolant fluid is cycled through different

station parts. Thermal control is present in almost all system

aboard the station. Because of the fluid flow required it is more

difficult to transport than energy.

* Life-Support

Enviromental Control and Life Support Systems represent a major

part of the payload for manned missions. The integrated system

includes circulation of air, food, water and different waste. The

transport system is composed of multiple redundant loops to guard

against accidents and breakage. Traditional methods of providing

life support rely heavily on importing material to the station

while next generation solutions try to maximize the recycling

levels for all different components. Because of the large amount

of mass to transport Life-Support is the most difficult to create

flow networks for.

Non-local resources

* Credits

Some modules require importing of supplies from the outside,

signified by their requirement for a steady stream of credits each

month. A few modules also produce income on a regular basis

* Crew

Crew space is a premium resource on orbital platforms. Crew is

required for the operation of many different modules, most notably

all research modules. Habitation modules also require high levels

of Energy, Thermal and Life-Support to work, increasing their

total cost in means of infrastructure.

* Factory space

Factories have high requirements on infrastructure but produce

significant gains in credits and manufacturing. They lower the

cost of new modules and increase the returns gained from recycling

old ones.

Inspecting individual modules

Info bracket

Selecting a module by clicking on it opens up a info bracket with

vital statistics. The information is grouped around the bracket into

four distinctive groups. The most important indicator is the online

indicator right under the module name. Online signifies that all

demands are fullfilled and the module is operating normally, Offline

denotes a problem with the station.

* Top - General information

Here you can read the module type, if the module is online,

non-local resources produced or required.

* Left - Production

What does this module produce currently and what is the max

capacity of production.

* Right - Consumption

Requirements for this module so that it can operate at full

capacity.

* Bottom - Flow

The amount of flow currently routed through this module.

Using layers and troubleshooting flow

Warning sign

Sometimes problems creep up with your design and the most prominent

indicator is the warning sign appearing at the bottom of the screen.

The warning sign tell you that one of your modules is offline, meaning

that it has shortage of some specific resoure. Repeatedly clicking on

the warning sign or pressing Tab will cycle through all the offline

modules. When you have located the module and found what it is missing

the next step is to start troubleshooting the resource.

Layers

Energy layers

Thermal layers

Life-support layers

Layers change the visual appearance of the station to show information

about a single specific resource. Modules that produce the resource

for the selected layer are rendered normally. Modules that either

consume of have transport capacity for the resource are rendered with

the base color. The base colors are yellow, blue and green for Energy,

Thermal and Life-Support respectively. Modules having shortage of the

resource are rendered as bright red, bottlenecks with a more

yeallowish hue. Non relevant modules are white.

The active layer can be selected by clicking on the layer selectors or

pressing the numeric keys 1-4. You can add modules normally while in

layer mode.

How to troubleshoot offline modules

The general principle in solving all offline problems is to solve one

resource at a time. The correct sequence is Thermal, Energy and

Life-Support.

For each resource you should start by checking if there is enough

production stationwide of the resource in question. You can see this

from the info panel in the left, bottom corner. If there is enough

production and there is a Routing warning besides the resource you

have a flow problem to solve.

Flow problems may require you to add more production nearer the site

of shortage or modifying you layout to accomodate larger flow

capacities. Use the layers to find out bottlenecks and rearrange until

problem spots have disapeared.

Tips for great playing

* Use all three dimensions

Use nodes and truss nodes to branch the station out into all

dimensions to avoid congestion or running out of suitable docking

ports.

* Place supply near demand

You can solve a lot of flow problems by placing production of a

resource near the consumption point for the same resource. An

example would be to place radiator panels near an RTG.

* Look at flow values when building your keel

Many station layouts are based on a keel, a high flow capacity

spinal cord that runs through the middle of the design. If you

need to transfer Life-Support the obvious choice is the Keel

module. For Energy and Thermal structure the truss is the primary

choice.

* Chain similar producers

Sometimes the producer of one resource also has much higher

capacity to transfer the same resource. For example, when building

using the Life Support module you can chain many of these

together. They have much higher flow capacity than normal modules.

* Flow problems can be far from the shortage

When troubleshooting a shortage of resources on one module it is

many times usefull to use the layer tool for viewing the whole

flow system. With larger layouts the actual bottleneck can be very

distant from the module with shortage.

* A great grid can save the day

A heavy duty flow grid can be a lifesaver when building larger

station layouts. By constantly keeping your grid running well

withing its capacity you can save many troubles with flow in the

long run.

Contact information

The design and development of Space Station Manager was made by

Kai-Peter B├Ąckman.

More information about the game can be found at:

Mistaril website

This manual is Copyright by Mistaril in 2003. All rights reserved.