OK, so the crew of the Raven were experimenting more with the energy consumption. Rather than giving infinite energy to ships, the artemis.ini file was altered to make particular systems more efficient. Below, I have included a list of the systems and the changes made:
energyUseCoeff – originally 1, now set to 0.3
energyCoeffBeams – originally 3, now set to 8
energyCoeffTubes – originally 1, now set to 8
energyCoeffTactical (sensors) – originally 1, now set to 3
energyCoeffManeuver – originally 2, now set to 1
energyCoeffImpulse – originally 4, now set to 1
energyCoeffWarp – originally 6, now set to 1
With these settings, we were able to transit through multiple systems with ease. We engaged enemies and found that after a couple of combats, we’d still have to stop to collect some fuel as the recharge rate was still quite low. Transit at warp 1 used so little energy it was negligible. Warp 4 could be maintained for extended periods, though drained at rate which meant you’d need to refuel after crossing a couple of sectors. Warp 3 made an excellent cruise speed, draining energy equivalent to moving at boosted warp 1/ warp 2.
Conclusions – in the TSN Sandbox we could use even heavy ships effectively in combat (first patrol was run with a battlecruiser, second was run with a dreadnought). We still needed fuel collectors, as multiple combats would take their toll and deplete the energy reserves (the recharge rate was still at normal levels). The engineer also commented that there was less ‘down time’ – time spent during fuel collection to cool systems, repair shields and repair damage – impact their job and how they carried it out.
Further tests are needed though to find out what impact there would be on the standard solo and coop modes. Personally, I think cooperation between ships would be enhanced as ships wouldn’t be falling back at different times to refuel (often one ship is ready and the other needs to refuel).