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Guide to Atmospherics

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Atmospherics.png
Atmospherics
Connects to   Aft Hallway, Engineering, Southern Maintenance, Space.
Located   South, adjacent to Engineering
Used By   Atmospheric Technicians
Access(es) Needed   Atmospheric Access
Contains   Pipes, gas miners and the distribution system that makes the station habitable.
Full Map


Atmospherics (or Atmosia) is the land of pipes and air, a peaceful place often left to its automatic work. To the untrained eye, it might appear to be entirely impenetrable and useless, just a mess of pipes that should be left alone to do their own work while the Atmospheric Technicians goof off in the break room. But this is far from the truth.


Understanding Atmosphere

Properties of Gases

Every pipeline and tile on Space Station 13 contains some properties of gas, including space.

By using an Atmospheric Analyzer, found in any PDA or part of your Atmospheric Technician locker, you will found that all pipelines and tiles have the following properties:

  • Pressure measured in kPa.
  • Temperature measured in both Kelvin and Celcius.
  • Volume separated by each gas, measured in Mols. Space contains none, of course.
  • A percentage of each gas type adding up to a total of 100%, or none at all in the case of space.

Note: A percentage of 0% typically means that the gas was present at some point and is now gone, or is such a small percentage that it is rounded to 0. Mols are a more reliable way to know if a gas is present or not.

Tiles Versus Pipelines

A pipeline shares all the above values at all points along the pipeline. If a pipeline is connected to a thermal plate or heat exchange pipe, the entire pipeline will transfer heat without any necessity for pumps. This also means you don't need more than one meter along an entire pipeline, as it will all be the same no matter where the meter is.

To summarize - the gas in a pipeline does not flow, it is all affected simultaneously by everything acting on it, whether that be devices like pumps and vents, or specific pipes like heat exchange pipes. It's also worth noting that this happens proportionally - the longer your heat exchange pipe is, for example, the more effective it will be in transferring heat. Consequentially, if your heat exchange pipe is very short, it will have little affect on the pipeline it is attached to.

A tile in Space Station 13 can be affected by a number of sources since it is 'open air'. Typically, a room is considered one tile to simplify atmospheric readings - however, the interactions between tiles is still done tile-by-tile. Tiles are affected by the ones adjacent to them so long as there is nothing solid between them (like a firelock or wall, for example). This is why if you open a window into space, the entire room and any adjacent rooms with a clear path to the opening will be vented.

The only exception to these rules is space - space cannot have it's properties affected by adjacent tiles, however it can affect adjacent tiles and devices that are secured in space. Space is infinitely cold, and essentially 'destroys' any gas that is released into it, so use that to your advantage when cooling or scrubbing gasses.

Existing Pipelines

To help aid you in repairing or examining pipelines across the station, all existing pipelines are color-coded. Each station contains these five pipe sections:

Distribution Pipe-simple-supply-visible.png Sends mixed air to all the vents on the station, and is primarily fed by the cyan loop. The orange loop feeds into this too, for easy plasmafloods mixing, but is always off by default.
Waste Pipe-simple-scrubbers-visible.png Contains waste gas from the station's scrubbers to be vented or filtered. Volume Pumps are placed inside Atmos to drain the gas from other the pipelines in case of an emergency or 'accident'. This also connects to the Portable Scrubbers and their ports outside Atmos.
Mixed Air 50px Takes gas out of the O2 and N2 holding tanks, and mixes them in the Air Mix chamber. It then feeds mixed air (roughly 80% N2, 20% O2) into the Distribution Loop, and the external Portable Air Pumps, and their connectors.
Waste Filter 50px Exclusive to Atmos, filters gasses from the waste loop and injects them into the gas holding tanks. Toggled by the digital T-valve near the end of the waste loop. This has been depreciated and is dangerous since it dumps hot and/or cold gasses back into distribution, so it's best left off.
Custom Mix 50px Exclusive to Atmospherics, used for custom gas mixes. It is attached by digital valve to every gas holding tank. Note that O2 and N2 are also connected to the Mixed Air loop in this manner.

Keep in mind that this is only a guideline, you will find pipes with similar colours around the station for various other purposes. If you're not sure what a pipe contains, a good rule of thumb is the colour of the pipe will match the colour of the canister the gas would be stored in.

The Gases

Knowing your gasses can mean the difference between destroying the station and saving someone's life. Each gas has certain properties that make it more effective in certain scenarios, and deadlier in others. Remember to wear a gas mask and hardsuit when working with dangerous gasses, and to always have your internals on or ready.

N2 N/A One of the components of the Air mix. Nitrogen has a low heat capacity and is inert, making it efficient for cooling. Typical air contains roughly 80%. Vox breathe this, NOT N2O!
O2 N/A Humans breath this. Running out of O2 will cause a slow death by suffocation. It is also required for a fire to start and hold. Air typically contains at least 20% of this, but currently there is no maximum. 100% Oxygen is just as breathable for humans so long as the pressure is 16kPa or higher. Also useful in cooling, but is more volatile.
CO2 N/A An invisible, heavy gas, CO2 is one of the first and fastest gases the scrubbers suck out of the air. Produced mainly by fires it chokes people effectively, and being invisible makes it hard to detect without Air Alarms or Analyzers. At low levels, people will start gasping.
N2O N2O effect.gif A white-flecked gas. Makes you laugh at low doses and at higher ones puts you to sleep. Scrubbers don't deal with it too well and portable scrubbers just choke on it. If using this as a sleep gas mix do not forget to mix in some O2, at least 16 kPa worth, or people will suffocate.
Plasma PlasmaEffect.gif The one truly flammable gas on the station; plasma is pink, highly toxic, and obviously EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. Anything that sparks or emits an open flame will ignite even the smallest trace of plasma. Also note in the presence of any oxygen, Plasma pumped into the air can and will spontaneously ignite at high pressures. Plasma on it's own will cause acid burns and stick to exposed flesh and clothing, so be sure to wash those off if you're ever caught in a plasmaflood.

A Note on Breathable Air and Non-Humans

Every race aside from Skeletons require their own gas to survive. While humans can safely breath the Oxygen provided on station, Vox and Plasmamen require their own gasses (being pure Nitrogren and Plasma respectively) to breath properly. Any other environment is toxic to breath for them! The minimum required pressure of gas (be it from internals or the surrounding air) for all races is 16kPa.


The Tools Of the Trade

As an Atmos Tech, you are supplied with several tools to help you maintain pipes and pipelines. You can find most of these items in the Atmospheric's locker room, or within Atmospherics itself. Remember that some of these tools are not replaceable, so take care not to lose them.

Analyzer.png Atmospheric Analyzer - Usable in open areas or directly on pipes. Displays the properties of an area or pipe at the time of use. Hazardous conditions will be noted in red, based on human-breathable conditions.

Gas mask.png Gas Mask - Scattered all over the station. Can be used instead of a breath mask for internals, and also protects your face from plasma burns, fires and acid splashes. Does not filter gas as the name suggests, so do not use it without an oxygen tank.

Wrench.png30pxWrench or Socket Wrench - Used to attach devices and pipes to each other. The socket wrench will also allow you to unwrench overpressurized pipes by releasing their contents into the air (so be careful), and doubles as a normal wrench. Socket wrenches are only found in Atmospherics.

Atmospherics Hardsuit.pngAtmospherics Hardsuit Helmet.pngMagboots.pngHardsuit and Magboots -

A standard Atmospheric Hardsuit. Space capable, radiation and damage resistant. Offers more protection from heat and plasma than the standard Engineering Hardsuit, but not completely. Magboots will keep you upright when dealing with over or under pressured areas, and prevent you from being flung around by sudden changes in pressure.

T-ray.gifT-Ray Scanner Lets you see pipes and wires underneath floors. Handy for locating pipes without tearing up floor tiles. Toggles on and off, and will continue working so long as it's on you.

Rpd.pngRPD (Rapid Piping Device) - The primary tool of Atmospherics. Lets you fabricate an infinite amount of pipes and pipe devices on the go. Can also 'eat' (destroy) non-wrenched pipes and devices, and create disposal pipes.

FireExtinguisher.pngFoam/Fire Extinguishers - Helps you control and contain inevitable fires. Foam Extinguishers create a barrier that can be walked through but gases cannot pass over, while Fire Extinguishers only put out flames. Both cool the air down when used, so use it after the fire dies down. Also doubles as an emergency jetpack.

Canister.pngCanisters and AirTank.pngOxygenTank.pngTanks - Used to store and transport gasses safely. Opening the valve in a Canister without connecting an internal tank will cause the gas to release into the air, so be careful!

Understanding and Making Pipelines

Turning Pipelines into Networks

Now as a proper Atmosian one important thing to consider is how you separate your pipelines in such a way that you can work on them properly. You want to keep your pipelines separate if you are working with hazardous materials like N2O or plasma, otherwise you could introduce plasma into the station's air supply.

Here are the main devices you can use to separate pipelines. Note that each device will have a red line or some indicator to show which direction it is transferring gas.

  • Pump.pngGas pumps - A gas pump allows you to put a specific pressure of gas into the attached pipeline. Note that the first pipeline can have a lower pressure, and the pump will build up that pressure in the second line until it hits the desired value.
  • Volumetric Pump.pngVolume pumps - A volume pump allows you to maximize volume in the attached pipeline. A volume pump will build pressure in another pipeline indefinitely, and allows you to move a very large amount of gas at once. Be sure to have your pipes laid out before turning it on, as the overpressure will make the pipeline impossible to work with without releasing the gas within first.
  • Manual Valve.pngDigital Valve.pngManual/Digital Valves - These function as an on/off switch between two pipelines, keeping them apart or merging them together. Turning one on will cause the pipelines to merge and average their properties between them.
  • Manual/Digital T-Valves - These allow you to swap the merging of one pipeline between a second or third line. You cannot stop or restrict the merging like a straight valve, you can only choose which pipelines are merging.
  • Passive Gate.pngPassive gate - Functions much like a gas pump, but only lets a certain amount of pressure through. You cannot pressurize the output pipeline more than the input pipeline. Can let up to 4500 kPa pressure through.

Basic Pipes

Before we get to the more complicated part of atmospherics, let's do a basic rundown of the types pipes.

  • Pipe.png Straight pipes - A pipe spanning left to right or top to bottom.
  • Bent pipe.png Bent Pipes - A pipe bent at 90 degrees.
  • Pipe Manifold1.png Manifolds - A T-shaped pipe that connects in three directions.
  • Pipe Manifold2.png 4-Way Manifolds - A cross-shaped pipe that connects in all four directions.


  • HE Pipes.png H/E pipes - A pipe that exchanges heat inside the pipe with the surrounding environment. Useful for cooling AND heating. Comes in the same shapes as regular pipes.
  • HE Junction.png H/E Junctions - This junction joins H/E pipe sections with regular pipes.


  • Insulated Pipe.png Insulated pipes - Comes in the same shapes as normal pipes. Were once used to isolate pipes from their surrounding atmosphere, and could also hold more pressure than normal pipes, but have since be depreciated.
  • DisposalPipe.pngDisposal Pipe3.pngDisposal Pipe2.pngDisposal Pipes - Also comes in the same shapes as normal pipes, and is used to shuttle objects between disposal bins and launchers. While not normally used in Atmospherics, you do have access to them via your RPD.

Devices and You!

Devices are what give function to your pipe networks, manipulating the gas in various ways to help accomplish your goals. Many of them fill differing purposes, so be sure to use the right one for the job.

Environment Exchangers

The purpose of these devices is to interact with the environment outside the pipeline in some way. There are a number of ways you can use them both with an AAC (Automated Air Controller) and an Air Alarm, so be inventive!

  • Vent Port.pngPassive vent - These vents will allow the environment they are in and the pipeline they are connected with to interact and come into equilibrium. If placed in space this will effectively vent the pipeline. These cannot be disabled without unwrenching them, but also do not require power.
  • Vent Port.png Unary vent - A unary vent acts as a combination vent and gas pump. It has the functionality of being able to either suck or blow gas into or out of the pipeline (blowing by default) to achieve a certain pressure internally or externally, as set by an Air Alarm or other atmospheric computer. It can be set up to a pressure of 5066.25kpa. They will glow blue when blowing, and red when sucking.
  • Air Injector.pngInjector - An injector acts as a combination of a vent and volume pump. This device is one way, and will only inject gases into the environment. It works up to 200L/s, the same as a volume pump. It has no pressure limit, so it will continue filling up a room to maximum pressure until it's turned off or runs out of available gas. Only usable via the AAC.
  • Scrubber.pngScrubber - A scrubber is the opposite of a vent, designed to pull gasses out of the air and force them into a pipeline. It will take gasses from the environment at about 120L/s, and has the unique ability to 'scrub' gases from the air, letting you pick and choose which gasses you want removed. Useful for accidental gas releases, fires, and suffocation. Scrubbers in syphon mode show a highly visible, green animation, where as a plain green icon means that it is filtering air to create a non-human atmosphere.

Pipeline Devices

These devices are attached to pipelines to fulfill specific purposes.

  • Connector Port.pngConnector - Used to attach canisters, portable pumps or scrubbers to a pipe network. When connected to a pipeline these act as a pipe with their very own volume, so even if you detach it, don't think this is an empty pipe section! One other thing to note is that anything attached to a connector is in equilibrium only, like an open valve. If you want to force a canister to fill or empty from or into the pipeline, you must use a pump before the connector.
  • Meter.pngMeter - This device is put on top of a pipeline and wrenched down. You can then examine it (shift-click) from within a 4 tile range and get the pressure and temperature reading of the gases in your pipeline. Note that it does not display data on specific gasses, but an overall reading of the gas within the pipe.
  • Gas Filter.pngGas Filter - A filter that takes gases in from one side, and filters one gas out perpendicularly and lets the rest pass. Ceases to function if either output reaches 4500kPa. Note that the output pressure you set only applies to the non-filtered gasses.
  • Gas Mixer.pngGas Mixer - Takes in gases from its two inputs, and outputs the mixture at the set pressure. Input 1 is parallel to the output, input 2 is perpendicular. Ceases to function if either input is empty.
  • Heat Exchanger.png Heat Exchanger - Similar to heat exchange pipes, these allow you to have two pipelines of gas exchange heat without mixing the gasses. Simply place one in each pipeline network, and have them face directly at and beside each other.

Air Alarms

Air alarms are a centralized tool for simultaneously controlling the vents and scrubbers in a room. They will also heat or cool a room if the thermostat temperature is more than 2 degrees off from the room temperature, and finally can be set with different thresholds for temperature, pressure, and gas types to activate alerts. Above or below average conditions will make it flash yellow, and dangerous conditions will make it flash red and lower the room's firelocks.


Activate Panic Syphon: This handy button activates a preset that turns all vents off and set all scrubbers to syphon mode, and also activates the local firelocks. However it should be activated sparingly as it creates a vacuum, and is very slow. It also drains all gasses equally, making it slower than filtering when a single gas is flooded. Make sure you turn off the panic syphon when the room is safe again!


Vent Settings:

  • On/Off: Turns the vent on or off.
  • Blowing/Sucking: Toggle. Switch between blowing or sucking modes. Sucking mode disables the External/Internal buttons.
  • External: On/Off toggle. Used to match pressure outside the vent with the set pressure, using gasses inside the attached pipe. (Default 101.3 kPa)
  • Internal: On/Off toggle. Used to match the pressure inside the vent's attached pipe with the pressure outside the vent.

Turning both External and Internal on at the same time effectively does nothing!


Scrubber Settings: you can also control scrubbers through the air alarm. These are the following settings:

  • On/Off: Turns the scrubber on or off
  • Filtering/Syphoning: Toggle. Switch between filtering gasses (set below) out of the area, or syphoning all gasses. Syphoning disables the filter buttons.
  • Filter buttons: One for each gas. Toggles whether to filter a specified gas or not. Disabled in Syphon mode.

Modes: There are several modes to quickly manipulate a room's atmosphere:

  • Filtering: The default mode. Filters harmful gasses out, and puts air in.
  • Replace Air: Syphons all gasses out of the room while replacing it at the same time.
  • Panic: Panic Syphon mode. Turns off vents, and sets all scrubbers to Syphoning mode.
  • Cycle: Syphons all gasses out of the room completely, then replaces with air.
  • Fill: Turns off scrubbers. Designed to fill a room quickly without filtering harmful gasses.
  • Off: Shuts off all vents and scrubbers.

System Presets are for setting up a room for an unusual environment, or making a usually uninhabitable environment into something more tolerable. The presets are as follows:

  • Human: Checks for 16kPa Oxygen, and any amount of Nitrogen
  • Vox: Checks only for 16kPa Nitrogen.
  • Coldroom: Keeps room at lowest temperature possible. Useful for server and telecommunications rooms.


Thresholds:

This is where you can manually set the thresholds for the Air Alarm. MIN denotes the minimum level required to turn the alarm off, while MAX is the maximum allowed before the alarm arms. Min/Max 1 is warning (orange), while Min/Max 2 is danger (red). Do not change these settings if you don't know what you're doing!


Advanced Atmospherics

Layering

Using a Pipe Planner or RPD (both located in the Atmos Tech lockers), you can put pipes that normally would not be able to occupy the same tile by using layering. Layering is done by selecting the layer you wish to use build on (denoted by 5 pipes in a row in the RPD menu), then placing the pipe. The pipe will be slightly shifted to one side to show that it is on another 'level' of the tile. There are up to 5 layers you can place pipes on, the middle being the default. This is not limited to just pipes either; you can place several vents on the same tile, for example!

To connect these pipes into existing pipelines, one can use the Layer Manifold. This pipe has one fitting on one end, and five on the other - one for each layer. You can use this to attach the default middle layer to your devices or pipes on other layers. You can even hook two manifolds together if you so wish, but keep in mind that pipes and devices cannot share the same space as the manifold itself, since it spans all layers. Also note that any gasses moving from the single end to the five port end will have it's volume and pressure divided equally - likewise, all 5 pipes will average their properties into the single pipe end.

The AAC and Multitool

The Automated Air Controller (or AAC for short) is a computer system that uses basic logic statements to control and manipulate devices attached to it. The AAC only works with devices with the same frequency, which you can set by clicking on a device with the multitool, and setting their name.

Once you have your devices connected, you can then add scripts to manage your devices. Each part of the script will have spots to fill in devices and actions as you deem appropriate. For example, you can make an IF statement that turns off an injector once a gas sensor hits a certain pressure.

A guide to the AAC can be found here: Guide to AAC (Coming Soon)

You'll find these computers in Atmospherics (controlling each holding tank's input and output), and in various parts of Engineering, most notably in the Supermatter Engine Room.


HOW TO BE A TRAITOROUS BASTARD

  • 1) Open valves connected to harmful gas you want to add to the distribution loop.
  • 2) Set filters to not filter harmful gasses you want to add to the station.
  • 3) Open valves/turn on pumps from the custom mix loop to distribution.
  • 4) Wait for vents to slowly kick out your deathgas mix as normal air drains out. (Alternatively, turn off the pressure checks on all the air alarms to make this process faster).
  • 5) If you need to kill someone for your objective, and you want to be more proactive, the Fire Axe mounted in the wall is surprisingly effective.
  • 6) There are many deadly and not so deadly gasses stored in canisters around engineering. Opening the internal valve on one will release the gasses into the surrounding area; just be sure you're wearing internals before you do so, unless you want to die a glorious death. They are also used in making bombs.

Malf AIs and their Borg underlings (or subverted Borgs) can do most of the above without even being seen, since all station Air Alarms and Digital Valves/Pumps within their line of sight can be accessed remotely. However, keep in mind that if you don't change any of the Thresholds, Air Alarms will still activate along with their firelocks.

Likewise, crafty Atmos Tech traitors will want to cut cameras, replace pumps with pipes, and use tricky pipe configurations (such as Manual Valves) to avoid the AI, Borgs, or other Engineers/Atmos Techs interfering. You can also play with the Thresholds in the Air Alarms of a room to make a deadly room look safe.


HOLY SHIT THE STATION IS ON FIRE

Starting and stopping a fire are both things a good Atmos Tech will know, and is something you will end up being affected one way or another. Here are some tips to help bring a raging plasmafire to a halt - or to start your own.


Firefighting 101

The key thing to know about a fire (and particularly, plasmafires) is that it produces a lot of pressure and heat. Your only protection against heat is anything that thermally insulates you - such as a firesuit, or a hardsuit. Atmos hardsuits or a Firefighting Ripley are the best, as they provide enhanced pressure and heat resistance - but don't think that any of these will make you impervious, they only make you heat up slower.

Your main tools are fire and foam extinguishers, both handheld and mech variants. Each handheld unit can hold up to 50 units of liquid, and at 5 units per spray, can drain very quickly. Mech units have more liquid storage. Make sure you have a supply of water nearby (water tanks or a sink) when fighting fires.

Fire extinguishers will immediately extinguish any flames the spray touches, but only for a couple of moments if a flame and flammable gas are still present. You will have to use several at once to combat a large fire, which is why a foam extinguisher is by far the better choice; not only does it extinguish flames, it also makes a barrier that you can walk through, but the fire and gas cannot spread through. You can effectively isolate and contain even large fires with just a few well-placed sprays.

Once the fire itself is put out, you still have a few problems to deal with. If the fire lasted a long time, you will need to cool down any affected areas first to make them safe to work in. If there is a risk of the fire starting again, you may want to remove the contaminates first - typically Plasma and CO2 - before cooling the room. Either way, you will need to do both before the area is habitable again. Fire extinguishers can quickly cool down an area, so use them liberally after a fire, and scrubbers will filter out contaminates so long as the Air Alarm is powered and configured correctly.


But what if I just want to watch the world burn?

Plasmafires are deceptively easy to start. All that is required is O2 and Plasma, plenty of which is located in Engineering and Atmospherics. You can also find them in Science's Toxin division.

To start a fire, introduce O2 and plasma into a contained area, ideally wherever you want to start the fire (such as the TEG burn chamber). If you're looking to engulf the station in flames, releasing plasma into the open air will do - however, doing so without being an Antagonist is a surefire way to get banned. Use your judgement and make sure you're certain you want to do this! You ideally want to have substantially more (2:1 or higher) plasma to O2 in your mixture - plasma is your fuel, O2 is just used to start it. Simply light your mixture (a welder or remote igniter will do), and watch the flames rise!


To keep your reaction from burning itself out, make sure you remove the CO2 byproduct and introduce more plasma to the mixture. To find out more about what you can do with heat, see the following guide on the Thermoelectric Generator.


Guides of /vg/station 13
New Player Guides
General Help - The Basics - Rules - A Crash Course In Roleplaying - Guide to Construction - Guide to Combat - Terminology - Shortcuts - Troubleshooting
Service Guides
Guide to Cargo Orders - Guide to Food and Drinks - Guide to Hydroponics - Guide to Beekeeping - Guide to Xenobotany - Guide to Vox Hydroponics - Guide to Cash Registers
Medical Guides
Guide to Medicine - Guide to Surgery/Autopsy - Guide to Chemistry - Guide to Virology - Guide to Genetics - Guide to Cloning
Scientific Research Guides
Guide to Research and Development - Guide to Robotics - Guide to Toxins - Guide to Telescience - Guide to Mechanic - Guide to Xenobiology - Guide To Xenoarchaeology
Engineer Guides
Guide to Engineering - Guide to Wiring - Guide to Construction - Guide to Advanced Construction - Guide to Singularity Engine - Guide to Atmospherics - Guide to Solars - Guide to Antimatter Engine (AME) - Guide to Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) - Guide to Supermatter Engine (SME) - Guide to R-UST - Guide to Space Pods - Guide to Telecommunications - Guide to Hacking - Guide to Assemblies
Security and Command Guides
Space Law - Standard Operating Procedure - Guide to Security - Guide to Forensics - Guide to Command - Chain of Command - Guide to Silicon Laws
Antagonist Guides
Guide to Traitor - Guide to Nuclear Operations - Guide to Revolution - Guide to Xenomorph - Guide to Cult of Nar-Sie - Guide to AI Malfunction - Illicit Access - Random Events
Misc Guides
Guide to Hypothermia - Makeshift weapons - Guide to Ghetto Chemistry - Races - Creatures - Guide to Paperwork - List of Pastebins specific to /vg/station - Reading Material - NTSL (Nanotrasen Scripting Language)
Admin and Coder Guides
Guide to Admin Tools - Understanding SS13 Code - Guide to Git CLI - SS13 for Experienced Programmers - Guide to Spriting - Guide to Mapping - Guide to GitHub/Merging Upstream Changes - Getting Your Pull Accepted - DM/BYOND: Undocumented Stuff