The Heat is On

Something I enjoyed a lot in Battletech games was handling overheat. A well aimed CPP shot could blow a mech up in a blink. CPPs, however, raised your mech’s heat a lot, and an overheated mech would switch off for a while. Installing enough heat sinks allowed you to control heat, but also standing knee deep in water or fighting on icy regions.

Mechwarrior 4
Standing knee deep in a river of PEWPEWPEW!

We wanted something like that, so we created the Heat component & system. Entities that may overheat and malfunction have a Heat component to keep track of their temperature. Laser weapons, for instance.

Heat components store an entity’s current temperature in a simplified way, with values ranging from 0 (operating temperature) to 1 (maximum operating temperature). Their dissipation rate is used by the Heat system to lower temperatures constantly. Any system that may increase the entity’s temperature will do so by adding an operating heat when used. External factors like flying close to a star can increase temperatures too.

We tested it with laser weapons. When triggered they increase the current temperature by their operating heat. If heat raises above 1 the laser weapon is jammed until temperature falls down back to zero.

We also added the LaserWeaponGunner component&system, which are able to shoot laser weapons when certain conditions are met: there is a locked target in the Entity Targeter Component and temperature is low enough in the Heat component. In this example the gunner ignores temperature and jams the laser weapon.

Laser weapon gunner and overheat

And so we have defense satellites!