Guide for Stormworks: Build and Rescue – Basic Ejection Seat Design
This guide will go over the design challenges of making ejection seats in Stormworks, followed by three reference designs. Feel free to adapt any of these design for your own craft.
The primary purpose of an ejection seat it to get the occupant(s) of a vehicle out and away, as fast as possible. In order to accomplish this in Stormworks, we will need a seat that
- Is on a different grid than the main vehicle
- Has a free path in any direction to clear the vehicle (usually upwards)
- Can connect to the main grid to transmit control inputs
- Is secured to the main grid when not in use
Seats in air vehicles are often enclosed with either a canopy or fuselage. To facilitate ejection, these need to open up via mechanical action or contact with the ejection seat. The demonstrators further on in this guide lack a canopy or fuselage, but incorporating those into the ejection sequence is generally as easy as linking the ejection hotkey or button to a robotic pivot that opens the canopy or a hatch in the fuselage.
In real life only a handful of helicopters are equipped with ejection seats since the rotor blades form a massive hazard to anyone ejection in the usual upwards direction. Helicopters that do come with ejection seats use an explosive charge to jettison the main rotor blades before ejecting the crew. To that end, helicopters in Stormworks should be fitted with a downward firing ejection seat. The advantage here is that the seat can be flush with the floor, so no hatch is needed to eject.
As of January 2021, players don’t take fall damage while in a seat. Ejection seats may incorporate vehicle parachutes for aesthetic purposes, but they can safely be omitted to reduce design complexity.
To solve the connection problem mentioned in the list above, one can use connectors. The demonstrators below use two small connectors for stability and one electric connector for power and data transfer.
Dropdown Ejection Seat
The major advantage of this design is its simplicity. There’s no booster, springs or hatches that can fail. This simplicity is also the biggest downside of this design. It will only work in level flight, since there is not thrust to get the occupant clear of the vehicle at oblique attitudes where gravity would not pull the chair free of the vehicle.
For this reason dropdown ejection seats are best suited to helicopters, where you rarely have to worry about being inverted. The advantage here is that you also don’t have to deal with the rotor blades smacking you in the head as you eject.
Spring-loaded Ejection Seat
This design uses a high-speed robotic pivot that is continuously applying force to a seat that is held in place by three connectors. When the connectors release, the pivot will fling the seat free of the craft. This is a very simple design, but not very accurate. There’s almost no way this will go through a hatch matching the shape of the seat if not assisted by a linear track.
Considering this design needs a rather large hatch, or a completely open cockpit to function consistently, it it best suited to large airliners or even ground vehicles.
Booster Ejection Seat
The final design is what most people will think of when they imagine an ejection seat: a rocket powered seat that rapidly thrusts the occupant clear of the vehicle. These are very well suited to high speed vehicles and larger seats, such as the HOTAS pilot seat. The fact that you can add multiple solid rocket boosters to balance the ejection and increase the speed allows integration of this design into many types of vehicles, even ones with smaller hatches.
Dealing with canopies and fuselages
Once you have selected one the above designs, you may have to deal with canopy or fuselage in the way of your ejection route. For canopies the obvious answer is opening them by their normal hinge, preferably set to the highest possible speed and lower gear ratio (1:1 or 1:4). The workshop item below shows a modestly sized airliner mockup (diameter of 3.25m) with a hatch that clears the path of ejection in less than half a second.
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