Guide to the Supermatter
The Supermatter Crystal is the primary power source in most stations. A Supermatter Shard can be ordered from Cargo, which works the same way, but can be moved around. Its primary features are emitting tons of radiation, making everyone who could theoretically see it hallucinate, releasing hot oxygen and plasma, heating the air around, and exploding or creating singularity/tesla if you screw up. It begins inert but being hit by an object or projectile will activate it and it'll start producing huge amounts of radiation, which can be converted to power with the radiation collectors.
Do NOT run into the Supermatter to commit suicide! You will be banned.
- 1 Words of Warning
- 2 Mechanics
- 3 Box- and MetaStation Setup
- 4 Delta station setup
- 5 Troubleshooting AKA Oh god it's on fire what do I do!?
- 6 Sabotaging the supermatter
- 7 Cold gas, a glowy crystal, some lasers, and you: A deeper dive into the Supermatter Engine
Words of Warning
- The Supermatter is VERY DANGEROUS. Activating the Supermatter should be the last step in setting up any form of Supermatter based power! If you ordered it from cargo the crate should stay LOCKED AND SECURED until everything is ready.
- You require safety gear. A full radiation suit AND meson scanners.
- Most of "setting up the Supermatter" involves a gas loop that is designed to cool down the Supermatter chamber. While not required, please have some knowledge of gasses, or atmospheric properties.
- Anything that bumps into the Supermatter is fundamentally annihilated. Don't touch it. This means weld, and ask the AI to bolt the door to the Supermatter .
- The engineering hardsuit has 75% radiation protection. CE's hardsuit has 90%. Atmos hardsuit has 25%. RD's and CMO's have 60%. If working near an active Supermatter Engine, use a radiation suit instead.
The supermatter is an extremely unstable crystal with particular properties. Here's how it behaves:
The crystal's power determines how much energy is produced each tick, and also the range and amount of radiation and hallucinations generated. (a 'tick' usually takes around 1-5 seconds depending on lag)
- Power decays over time.
- Hitting the crystal with a non-physical bullet (usually emitters) will increase its power.
- Power is increased every tick depending on the gas mix. This scales with the gas' temperature.
- Consuming an object or mob will increase the power by a significant amount, independently from the object's size.
- Power decay can be lowered or even completely prevented with CO2.
- Too much power will result in dangerous sideeffects, like arcs of lightning or anomalies.
The crystal must be kept stable if you don't want it to explode.
- Stability does not change by itself.
- The crystal grows unstable if the gas mix is hotter than 310K. It will instead stabilize when it is cooler than 310K.
- Physical bullets will destabilize the crystal, depending on the damage they do.
- Large amounts of power will destabilize the crystal.
- Large amounts of moles will not only destabilize the crystal but also prevent the stabilizing effect of cold gases.
Each gas has a different effect when it surrounds the supermatter crystal. The strength of each effect depends on the percentage of it in the gasmix in the supermatter chamber.
Freon is a good emergency gas. It cools down all other gases in the loop and slowly dissipates away into nothing.
It is not suitable for producing power though, because it severely lowers the power transmission rate.
As of 10-27-17, Freon has been removed.
N2 is a good safety gas. It actively lowers the temperature and the amount of waste gases that the supermatter crystal produces.
Precooled N2 is good to have around for emergencies.
N2O reinforces the heat resistance of the supermatter crystal, allowing for much hotter setups than usual.
Oxygen is the gas with the best power/danger ratio. It provides a boost to power transmission without actively increasing the waste gas amount or temperature.
Pretty risky to use, as any disruption of the cooling loop will soon cause a plasma fire in the crystal chamber. Even just a high concentration of O2 will activate and continuously power the crystal.
If you're badass enough to run an O2 setup: Always precool it before flooding the Supermatter chamber.
Plasma Safety: Very dangerous
Plasma is very similar to Oxygen but provides a much higher power boost as well as waste and heat penalty. The extreme pressures and volumes of gas produced by this gas are very likely to clog pipes.
WARNING: The roundstart setup can not handle pure plasma setups.
CO2 is a very dangerous gas - in low concentrations, it will increase the crystal's power generation and can be used to produce Pluoxium as well.
In high concentrations however, it will raise the crystal's energy to extremely high levels. This causes catastrophic side effects (electric arcs and anomalies) until it eventually explodes into a Tesla ball.
Only for the brave!
The crystal produces plasma and oxygen while it's active.
- Plasma and Oxygen burn if they're hot enough. This will heavily increase the temperature and reduce the oxygen percentage; if not kept under control this can end up destabilizing the crystal.
- The amount and temperature of the produced gas is determined by the current crystal power.
- The amount of oxygen is proportional to the temperature of the absorbed gases. Very cold gas input will result in very little oxygen.
The crystal will affect nearby mobs while it's active.
- The range and power is determined by the current power. Being further away from the crystal also mitigates the effect.
- The crystal will cause hallucinations to nearby mobs if they're not wearing meson scanners or equivalents.
- The crystal will irradiate nearby mobs. A radsuit or other protective clothing can negate this effect.
Anything that touches the crystal will be consumed and turned into dust. No exceptions. The only way to "safely" transport a shard is to pull it, being careful to not be pushed back into it by someone else.
If the crystal reaches 100% instability, it will delaminate. There are several different events that may happen when the crystal delaminates and they all depend on the state of the crystal during delamination.
- A crystal in a heavily pressurized gas environment with large amounts of moles will always collapse into a singularity.
- A crystal that has excessive amounts of power stored inside it will cause an explosion and release several tesla energy balls.
- A crystal that is neither heavily overpressurized or overcharged will simply explode.
Box- and MetaStation Setup
The supermatter engine on Box and Meta can be set up in many different ways and experienced engineers are encouraged to experiment. The less experienced engineers can refer to the safe guide below.
The safe setup
This is a simple setup, easy to maintain, will almost always last the entire round, and almost always generates enough power for the entire station.
There is a video setup guide here.
Step one: Safety
- Put on an optical meson scanner (Engineering scanner goggles work too, if changed to meson mode) and a radiation suit in case someone prematurely activates the supermatter crystal.
- Why: Meson Scanners protect from hallucinations, while the suit protect from radiation. Once the engine starts, it will start emitting both.
Step two: Prepare the gas loop
- Your first step should be wrenching the N2 canisters in place. Then start turning pipes on or off according to the picture on the right. Red circled pumps should be set on and to max pressure. Turn the ones without a circle in the image off, including the one that is circled blue.
- Why: When the crystal is generating power it produces plasma and oxygen and heats up the air surrounding it immensely, thus it needs to be properly ventilated. We start by making the gas loop push N2 counter-clockwise around the loop, cooling it on the left side with the coldness of space before re-entering the engine room again from the right side.
- Make sure that the top filter (green circle) is set on, with max pressure. Set the bottom filters to filter (from left to right) "Nitrogen", "Nitrous Oxide", "None", "None". Turn them all on and set them to max pressure as well.
- Why: The bottom filters separate the gases produced by the supermatter crystal to keep the gasmix constant.
- Proceed to the air alarm next to the crystal room and take a look inside the chamber. Open the air alarm menu (on most maps it will start unlocked) and set the vents to external 5000 (External will tell the air alarm to check the air outside of the vents and stop pumping if it exceeds this amount, too much gas can damage the crystal and nullify the effects of beneficial gases, regardless of temperature) and the scrubbers to siphon and Expanded Range. You don't need to change any of the settings besides the mode, on siphon, everything gets pulled in at the same rate. The scrubbers will show an animation if they are set up to siphon correctly. Do NOT set operating mode to "panic siphon" as that's not the same thing as the scrubber option "siphon".
- Why: The air alarm controls the chamber's vents (which puts gas in on the right) and scrubbers (which take gas away on the left). This step makes sure they're active and gases are moving in the chamber as fast as possible.
With these all done, the nitrogen should be cycling through the system and getting nice and cool.
Step three: Starting the radiation collectors
- Obtain six plasma tanks. One can be found by the radiation collectors, and up to ten more can be taken from the tank dispenser.
- Insert each plasma tank into a radiation collector , then turn each on by clicking it with an empty hand. Lock them with your ID card when you are done.
- It's worth pointing out that you also used to have to fill the plasma tanks with extra plasma from a canister. This is not currently the case, but many people still do this out of habit or misinformation.
The engine is now ready to produce power.
Final step: Start the engine!
- Double-check to ensure the cooling loop is active, you don't want to have an active supermatter with a pump still set to 101kPa or the vents/scrubbers inactive!
- Align the reflectors so that the emitter beams are deflected towards the supermatter crystal
- Head into the emitter chamber. It is on the right side of the picture above. Just click each emitter with an empty hand to turn them on. Don't stand in front of them unless you want some serious laser burns!
Congratulations! The supermatter engine is set! You can now continue to set up the SMES so the power is provided to the rest of the station.
Beyond the safety
Here are some pointers and hints on how to get more power out of this engine:
- Coordinate with other engineers. Don't just silently adjust gases and pumps or you might end up causing accidents or decreasing efficiency.
- Higher temperatures generate more energy.
- Higher amounts of oxygen moles result in more power.
- You can pump gas from the atmos mixing loop directly into the engine by using the orange pipe.
- The supermatter crystal will glow in a distinct orange color if the gas composition and pressure levels in the chamber are ideal. This will reduce the impact of heat on the generation of power.
- Consider setting the first filter of the loop to plasma. The supermatter produces plasma, which can be collected and used to refill the radiation collectors if the round goes on for too long.
- The gas loop isn't that efficient at roundstart! Consider tuning it to run better by replacing some of the pumps with volume pumps or adding better cooling.
- Gasses leaving the SM go straight to the heat exchangers then to the filters, this means you cool all your gasses and then remove gasses. If you filter first you can get improved cooling (since you don't waste energy cooling unused gas) allowing for more dangerous gasses to be used easier.
- Plasma is terrible inside of the SM, potentially worse than Carbon Dioxide. Despite being terrible inside the chamber, you can use it on the outside as a coolant.
- Producing loads of power sounds great, but as soon as you go over 5000 MeV/cm³ anomalies will start forming rapidly and the SM will likely delaminate.
- You can place 2 heat exchange pipes on one tile as long as one is horizontal and one is vertical, double the cooling power!
But I don't want to experiment!
- Grab N2O canisters from atmospherics
- Input the N2O into the cooling loop
- Add more reflectors
- Add more emitters
Delta station setup
FIRST OFF, WEAR A GODDAMN RADSUIT AND MESONS WHILE IN THE SUPERMATTER ENGINE ROOM
- See those pumps in the red circles? Crank them to max (4500 kPa) and turn them on. Five in total.
- See those filters circled in blue? Same deal, turn those on and max their output. Set the one labeled 1 to filter
plasmapluoxium (the supermatter naturally generates pluoxium) and 2 to nitrogen. WRENCH A WASTE CANISTER TO THE END SO THAT PLUOXIUM DOESN'T COLLECT IN THE PIPES AND EXPLODE.
- Now go fetch some nitrogen canisters. Take them to the connectors circled in green and have the gas pumps empty them out into the loop. I use four in total.
- Let the loop run for a while to get it nice and cool. In the meantime, get a plasma canister (Either fill one up at atmos or get one from engineering's secure storage) and fill six plasma tanks up. Slap those tanks into these collectors circled in white, then click them to turn them on. If you need to retrieve a tank, turn it off and apply crowbar.
- The loop should be all cooled off by now. But before doing anything else, TURN OFF THE GAS PUMP CIRCLED IN GREEN.
- See that air alarm circled in yellow? Swipe an atmos id to unlock it or just click it if you're a sillycon.
- Click on Vent Controls
- Scroll down the list until you see Atmospherics Engine vent pump #5, #6, and #7.
- Click both pressure regulator buttons so that internal is highlighted green and external is blue.
- Now go back and go to the scrubber controls.
- Set Atmospherics Engine air scrubber #3, #4, and #6 to siphoning, click the button that says Mode: Scrubbing to do that.
- Lock it or not, your choice. There's easier ways for a traitor to sabotage the engine if they want.
- Align the reflectors so that the emitter beams are deflected towards the supermatter crystal
- Fire the engine up! Click click those emitters circled in pink up top and don't stand on those green tiles to the right. Or you'll die and the observers will laugh at you.
- Once it's going, go to the SMES units (Follow the red arrow) and configure those. Max out input, set output to reasonable (or not) levels, simple.
BONUS: You know that pluoxium filter you set up at the start? If the round lasts long enough, it'll fill up the waste canister with super-cooled pluoxium, which can be used for more efficient internals. Make sure to replace the waste canister so that pluoxiium doesn't clog the pipes. (and explode)
Omega Station Setup
The supermatter setup for Deltastation and Omegastation are relatively similar. The color codes for this image is the exact same as the image above. Follow those steps. The difference being, there is only a single emitter and the nitrogen canisters are already there, ready to be wrenched. Set the single blue filter to filter nitrogen.
Troubleshooting AKA Oh god it's on fire what do I do!?
The supermatter's in trouble! You should be able to locate where the issue is from the screenshot alone. Here's the answer.
First and foremost
Inspect the gas loop to confirm it is intact and operational.
Check the meters to quickly ascertain where a problem may lie.
If any of the meters report an unusually high or low amount of gas, then you're close to finding the issue!
Common gas loop failures include:
- Gas pumps offline.
- Gas pumps left on default pressure. (Crank them up to 4500kpa!)
- Gas filters offline. Remember! Filters do not allow ANY gas to pass through if they're turned off! If you don't wish to filter anything, leave them online but set to filter nothing
- Gas filters left on default pressure.
- Gas filters no longer set to filter coolant back into the loop. Just set filters back to filter in the coolant and add more coolant to the loop (Most of the coolant is likely injected into space by this point.)
- Supermatter chamber vents improperly configured.
- Supermatter chamber scrubbers not siphoning.
- Heat exchange pipes broken. Space dust can slip through the defenses on occasion. Or a traitor may detach a section.
- Too much gas! If a section has too high of pressure, the gas pumps cannot push anything more into it!
If the gas temperature is too high to stabilize with the cooling loop alone - hope that Atmos have a canister of precooled N2 or even Hyper-Noblium around.
If the supermatter is delaminating and the gas loop is operational, use an analyzer to check for problem gases in the loop. Someone may have slipped in some carbon dioxide. Double-check the filters to see if they're getting rid of unwanted gases.
If all else failed, pray that an Atmosian elder investigates and finds the problem before it's too late.
Sabotaging the supermatter
Want to sabotage the crystal but can't figure out how to pull it off? Here are some pointers and hints:
- You can break the APC of the room to stop all pipes and scrubbers from working.
- Disable the telecomms APC with the CE console to prevent the supermatter from anouncing its status.
- Cut cameras near the engine.
- Instead of turning off pumps and filters, you can just set them to extremely low values instead. They'll still appear to be working.
- Taking out all the engineers before attempting a delamination helps a lot.
- Opening a canister of plasma in engineering and igniting it will make it a lot harder for people to fix your sabotage. Even more effective if the radiation levels are high.
- Keep a flash or EMP on hand. The AI and its borgs are pretty much guaranteed to try and intervene to prevent harm.
- Stay around and pretend to be helping so you can undo all the repair attempts by other people.
These are the easiest to pull off and require no special conditions. You'll want to keep the supermatter chamber very hot and full of plasma or CO2.
- Use the filters near the emitter room to filter out N2 and N2O while keeping Plasma, Oxygen and CO2 in the loop.
- Pump in pure plasma or burn mix from atmos.
- Disable or break the cooling array. Deconstructing a single piece of the heat exchanger can be enough.
- Shooting guns at the crystal is extremely effective, but it's likely that you'll end up in the blast.
- Disable the scrubbers once the chamber is hot enough.
This kind of delamination requires careful gas management but is faster, far more destructive and there's a good chance it will irridiate, burn and shock the engineers who are trying to fix it.
- Ensure that only CO2 is in the supermatter chamber at all times. Filter all other gases and keep the scrubbers running.
- Keep the emitters online and firing if you can.
- Get as much CO2 into the chamber as possible. Larger amounts of CO2 can even compensate for the oxygen and plasma waste.
- Wear as much radiation protection as you can. Consider bringing some charcoal aswell.
- Try to keep radiation suits away from engineers, they won't be able to get near the overcharged engine without one.
- Make sure you are wearing insulated gloves to protect yourself from the lightning arcs.
- Disabling the cooling is not required. In fact, keeping the chamber cool might help you get more power.
- The anomalies, gravity pulses and lightning arcs will quickly turn the engine room into a deathtrap. Make sure you have everything set up correctly before this starts happening.
Critical mass delamination
This is by far the most difficult but also the simplest one.
- Pump in as much gas as possible into the chamber. The easiest way to do this is to disable the pressure checks on the vent air alarms.
- Reverse the scrubber pump. It's a subtle alteration that might get overlooked in the heat of the moment and will prevent the excess gas from being pumped out.
- Make sure no gas leaves the chamber. Put up walls, deconstruct scrubber pipes, do whatever possible to keep the gas inside.
Cold gas, a glowy crystal, some lasers, and you: A deeper dive into the Supermatter Engine
Note: This extension assumes you have SOME knowledge of Atmospherics, it will be relatively verbose, but even so, some idea on Atmospherics may be required to understand the things being said. Furthermore, this is very rambly, but useful information will be given throughout. If you just want the conclusion on a whole lot of theory, skim read the bulk of it but pay attention at the end.
A horror story of pumps and hot gas
First things first. Gas does not work like you think it does. Pipes do not clog, period. Filters clog, pumps clog, scrubbers clog, vents clog (depending on settings), pipes however, do not. There is no upper limit on the pressure of pipes, however, there is an upper limit on what pressure pumps, filters, and scrubbers can get into pipes. This may sound similar, but it has large consequences.
To the right you'll find an image used earlier in this guide, but, it is updated to show the seperate pipenetworks the roundstart Supermatter has on Box station. In Atmospherics, gas is always everywhere in a pipe, instantly. If there is a pipe connected to another pipe, without anything in between, then at any one moment the amount of gas in them will be the same, the pressure will be the same, the temperature will be the same. What is referred to here as a pipenetwork is simply all connected pipes that do not have a device of sorts between them (valves and heat exchange pipes not counting).
But dear Mr. Guide Writer, why does this matter, at all? Why show me just how many pipenetworks exist in the round start setup, what does it matter? The essence of the answer lies in two things, pumps, filters and mixers do not efficiently pump connected pipenetworks at all, and the fact that gas is always evenly spread through a pipenetwork, without direction to it.
Let's start with the first thing, pumps. All types of pumps (not filters and mixers and the like) have 200L volume in the small bit of pipe before them, and 200L in the small bit of pipe after them. As such, a volume pump pumps all the gas that is in that node to the other side of the pump, per second (the maximum pump rate for volume pumps is 200L/s). As such, if a pipe network has 2000L of volume, connected to a volume pump that is pumping at its max rate, it will pump 1/10th of all gas in the network, per second. However, you also have to take into account that it's always 1/10th of the gas that is in the pipes, as such, pumps will pump less moles of gas per second as there is less and less gas in the network before the pump. That... doesn't sound too amazing anymore, does it? But wait, there's ANOTHER reason why pumps are poor practice.
Pumps have an upper pressure limit, same for filters and mixers. For the gas pump, and the others, the pressure limit is plain to see, 4500 kPa. However, the volume pump also has a pressure limit, rated at 9000 kPa. Scrubbers in fact also have a pressure limit, sitting around 5200 kPa. Gas pumps, filters and mixers are especially poor, as their pumping slows down the closer they get to their pressure limit. What does this mean for the Supermatter, especially in case of delamination? Well, the room is probably on fire, so, the gas is very much so expanded and pressurised. First, the scrubbers work their butt off to get to their pressure limit, the gas is hot, so that doesn't take very much. While this happens, a gas pump takes the tiny amount of moles in the pipenetwork the scrubbers are connected to, and shoves a small amount of it into the pipenetwork beyond it. Slowing down even further, as the gas is so hot it easily reaches the pressure limit. This then reaches the filter, which again tries to pump the small amount of moles beyond it, with another case of pressure limit slowness and the fact not all gas is available for pumping at any moment. And so on and so on, add to this the fact that the Supermatter produces plasma and oxygen, which are reacting with each other and burning in the pipes, likely pushing the pressure above the limits of what the pumps can handle and... well you got the point right? This is what people refer to as clogged pipes, extremely slowly circulating gas, caused by how gas and pumps work.
Well, that all sounded horrid, how can we prevent this?
How removing pumps made me a billionaire
The title gives it away, really. You want to replace most pumps you can find with either straight pipes, or with valves to allow for easier modification and changing where gas goes on the fly. ESPECIALLY THE FILTER NEEDS TO EITHER BE REMOVED OR UTILISED PROPERLY IN THE CASE OF A DELAMINATION OR WHEN OPTIMISING. Now, to explain why this is the proper option in most cases. As I mentioned before, gas in a network is always, always evenly spread through all connected pipes, it's always the same ratio of gasses, it's always the same temperature. An added tid bit, pipes do not actually leak even when there are open spaces for pipes, 4-way manifolds do not spill all gas in them when gas is added to them. With these two bits of knowledge combined, you can make the cooling loop nearly sabotage immune. If you went ahead and replaced the pumps with open valves, or with pipes, there's always a great deal of gas in the heat exchanging pipes, in space. This means that the whole pipenetwork is constantly being cooled down, as it's connected directly to pipes that are heat exchanging with space. If somebody tries to lazily sabotage by removing a single heat exchanging pipe, it doesn't matter, as all the other pipes are still connected to the rest of the network. The gas that was specifically in the heat exchanger that was unwrenched is lost, but that's also a very small loss, because the volume of the pipenetwork is rather large.
Second biggest benefit, and most relevant to active delaminations, by replacing some pumps and filters you increase the volume by a lot, and you constantly cool down the pipenetwork. Both of these things mean that the scrubbers work a lot faster, as the gas will cool down faster, lowering the pressure, and the volume is larger, also lowering pressure. This means that overall, the scrubbers will scrub much faster, and the big bad hot gas is quickly removed from the chamber.
Lastly, though only vaguely related, keep your vents on internal 0, not on external 5000. Vents do not actually have a pressure limit at all. They can continue to add pressure constantly, however, they do work faster if the chamber they are connected to is lower pressure, and the gas they're pumping is cold, but this is always true. Essentially, vents pump a static amount of pressure when they're at maximum speed. If nothing very, very strange is happening, the gas that the vents are attempting to pump in is colder than what is in the chamber, as it already went through the cooling part of the pipes. As such, having the vents on internal 0, and with it, always pumping the hardest they can, they are adding gas that is colder than what is currently in the chamber itself. This contributes to the cooling down of the chamber, and as such, works to stop the delamination progress faster. External 5000 suffers from the same issues as a pump does, vents will completely stop pumping in gas when the room it is trying to pump into is 5000 kPa or above, which happens fairly quickly in a small room that is white hot. So remember, internal 0, unless there is too much gas in the room (see singularity delamination).
Breaking the laws of thermodynamics and a final word
Freezers. That is all. Freezers are magical machines that break the laws of thermodynamics by even existing, and work to extremely quickly heat or cool gas to the temperature they are set at. They are much, much quicker than space could ever hope to be when upgraded, and even colder. Space, at its coldest, is about 26K. Freezers can go as low as 2.7K when fully upgraded, and are much quicker at cooling. A word of warning, however. Freezers will attempt to change the temperature of the gas that is in them to the temperature it is set at, this seems obvious, but that also means it can heat gas. As space is around 26K, and unupgraded freezers only go to 73.15K, I strongly advise you to not use unupgraded freezers, they will actually actively increase the temperature of your gasses.
If you somehow read through all that, I very strongly applaud you, and I applaud you on likely becoming an engineer that is a few times less clueless. Despite all the things you now may know, there is a lot to experiment with, and lots of ways left to mess up in spectacular ways. Try to keep learning more and more as you go, and good luck in your attempts to not blow up the station.