The Tower of Awesome Forums
The History of the Railcraft Boiler Calculator - Printable Version

+- The Tower of Awesome Forums (//
+-- Forum: Websites (//
+--- Forum: The Boiler Calculator (//
+--- Thread: The History of the Railcraft Boiler Calculator (/showthread.php?tid=3)

The History of the Railcraft Boiler Calculator - Forecaster - 09-25-2016

All the images in this post can be fully viewed by right-clicking them and selecting "view image" (or your browser equivalent) or by going to this Imgur Album

The Railcraft Boiler Calculator was initially conceived 2013-02-22 (Time of initial release) when someone asked about the math behind the boilers and wanted to use the formulas to calculate fuel use. That gave me the idea to create a web application to allow people to easily calculate how much fuel they would need to run their boilers.

The initial version looked like this:
[Image: T0IejBL.png]
Very simple, barely does anything. Just outputs the base fuel usage per tick for the number of tanks and boiler type you specify, as well as the fuel usage per tick adjusted for the specified heat level.

I pretty quickly refined the interface and added some more features. Only the next day I expanded it into an actual simulator of the in-game boiler. It then looked like this:

[Image: 8TY2py2.png]
Now capable of actually running a simulation of the heat-up of a boiler and report the amount of time it took and how much fuel it used it's much more useful. It could even output a tick-by-tick report of the heat increase and fuel usage.

In the next step I expanded the functionality further within a few days resulting in this:

[Image: 0zWj0yh.png]
As you can see it now fully simulates the boiler, telling you how long heat-up took and how much fuel was used, then how long the boiler ran with the remaining fuel, how long it took to cool down, and finally  the total run time (not including the cool-down) and how much steam (energy) was produced.

In the next stage of development a few months later we end up with this:
[Image: mpFjddp.png]
The interface is turning into a bit of a mess unfortunately, but there's a few new features. Most notably the three different modes that have remained until the current version (although with different names). The first one, "Full Sim", is basically the previous version. You set the parameters for the boiler such as size and fuel and run it and it simulates the entire process and produces a report with times and fuel usage percentages.
[Image: CurRQoa.png]
As seen above.

The "Heatup & Run" mode instead allows you to give it a time. It will then simulate the boiler for this time and then tell you how much fuel would be required to run the boiler for this time, as well as how much of that heat-up used.
[Image: mB8TOk9.png]
Not a lot of information, but pretty much what you asked for running this mode.

The last mode, "Heatup Only" is pretty self-explanatory. It's the "Heatup & Run" mode but only runs the heatup part and then reports the fuel use and time.

And now, the final destination, the current version the boiler calculator. I no longer like the design really. The code is garbage and pretty much everything could be done much better, except some core bits I rewrote fairly recently due to changes in how boilers works in Railcraft. Some day I'd like to do a complete re-write to get a better interface for it, and maybe it'll happen eventually. For now this is the current face of the calculator.

You can give it a spin by going here!

And here's a screenshot of the current interface for archival purposes (and in case you don't want to follow the link)

[Image: OOsip9F.png]