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The space station modules available in Space Station Designer have an associated ‘maintenance factor’, which is proportional to their complexities. The maintenance factor is represented by the following icon:

Which can be found in the purchase screen:

And in the pop-ups shown when double-clicking on a space station module in the main screen:

As I’ve briefly mentioned in a previous blog post, astronauts have an associated ‘Engineering Skill’ level, which is represented by the following icon:

Astronauts on a mission can be assigned to maintenance duties. All their ‘enginering skill’ levels are added up together and, collectively, they are known as the ‘maintenance capability’, which is represented by the following icon:

The sum of all the maintenance factors from all the modules that belong to the space station is called the ‘required maintenance’, and is represented by the following icon:

To keep the station in good health, players must ensure that the ‘maintenance capability’ is equal or higher than the ‘required maintenance’. Astronauts can be assigned to maintenance duties by visiting the maintenance screen, which can be accessed by using the following button, located in the right hand side panel of the space station screen:

The screen shows a scrollable list of available astronauts on the right and another list of assigned astronauts on the left:

Players can drag astronauts from the right panel to the left and immediately see the updated stats:

The first two fields are ‘maintenance capability’ and ‘required maintenance’, which have already been discussed. The third field is used to represent the ‘maintenance level’ and the ‘maintenance trend’. The ‘maintenance level’ is a value between 0% and 100% that impacts the probability of the station suffering a malfunction and it’s represented by the following icon:

Ideally, players would like to keep this value at 100% at all times, though sometimes that might not be possible!

At the end of every week, the ‘maintenance level’ is updated according to the ‘maintenance trend’. The ‘maintenance trend’ is a value that is a function of the ‘maintenance capability’ and the ‘required maintenance’ and determines whether the ‘maintenance level’ goes up, goes down or stays the same. For example, if the player has fewer astronauts assigned to maintenance than required (i.e., the ‘maintenance capability’ is lower than the ‘required maintenance’), the ‘maintenance trend’ will be negative and, as weeks go by, the ‘maintenance level’ will become lower and lower. Which in turn will increase the chances of having a malfunction in the station. In the in-game screenshot shown above, the ‘maintenance level’ is already at 0% and, since not enough astronauts are being assigned to maintenance duties, the ‘maintenance trend’ is negative, which is depicted by an arrow going downwards.

In order to recover from a poor ‘maintenance level’ value, players will have to assign multiple astronauts to maintenance duties in order to maximize the ‘maintenance trend’ value. Once a ‘maintenance level’ of 100% is reached, players will probably want to remove astronauts from maintenance duties and just leave the minimum amount required in order to satisfy the ‘required maintenance’ value in order to keep the ‘maintenance level’ stable.

Module failures will be handled via a mini-game where the player needs to assign astronauts in order to fix the module, we’ll cover that mechanic in a future blog post. Do you have any feedback about this feature? Let us know via the comments, the contact form right at the bottom of the ‘Space Station Designer’ webpage or twitter!