Wednesday, October 30, 2013

7 Days Later

It is one week since we launched Space Engineers on Steam Early Access, a time for some recapitulation.

On Friday we managed to do our first post-launch update – adding the Workshop integration, some small improvements and new languages.

However, the most important story of the last seven days is the response of the players. We expected that the players will start creating works, but not in this amount and quality. There’s so much creativity in you. One week and there’s already more content than we can actually observe. We have seen awesome things that we would never expect players to create.

Every day we see so many surprising creations – it’s amazing: the best thing on Space Engineers is its Community.

These are currently our most favorite internet places:

Then there are various suggestion & idea threads that we try to read, to get a better understanding of what the players want.

We plan to keep making frequent updates for small improvements – every week or two. Larger updates will come less frequently, please be patient.

After all that has happened in the last week, we are now 100% sure that the idea of Space Engineers is good, viable and has high potential. We are going to expand our team – just a little, we still want a small and effective team – a sandbox game such as Space Engineers requires this type of development.

Thank you.


Please keep posting your feedback and suggestions to our FB page or our forum at

We can’t reply to every comment, but we try to read as many as we can. In future we plan to launch a voting system for ideas.


Thanks for reading this!

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and you will be notified on all updates.

Warning: Space Engineers is still in development. Everything in the game is subject to change.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Development update for 9-10/2013

A quick summary of the development during the last two months: September and October 2013.

“Early access” to the Early Access

A week ago we realized that Space Engineers is in a good shape and so we decided to make it available for purchase during two 3-hour and 24-hour windows. This allowed us to make some people happy and to perform a large scale testing.

We were very surprised and pleased by the response of the players. Not only the interest was 10x bigger than what we hoped for, but also the community “got the game” surprisingly quick and started to create amazing works and post screenshots and videos. The response was really great. You can’t see this from the outside but I can assure you that the already good morale of our team has increased 10 times.

The other positive outcome was the feedback that we started to receive. It appears that 95% of the community suggestions are already in some form in our project plan. This is a good sign because it means that our taste is very similar to what our community wants.

What’s next

We are preparing the integration of Steam Workshop. I hope it will be available within a few days after Oct 23.

Then we want to look on the max speed of the jet-packs (probably just a temporary hack since we want to do it properly later and with regard to “realism”). We also did some tricks to increase memory limits (also, just a temporary solution).

There are tens of other features that are in progress – the most important is multi-player. We have an internal deadline when we want to release it, unfortunately this is a big and hard-to-estimate feature, so I don’t want to disappoint you if something gets in our way.

Of course, then there’s the manual building, inventory, drilling and harvesting – all is done, we just have to un-disable it, test it, polish it and give it to you.


We have set up a crowd-localization project and during the weekend the community managed to translate 8 languages, while 10 more are in good progress.  It’s very likely that we will add most of them to the release on October 23. Thank you very much!


We didn’t have a “full game” optimization phase but we already performed tens of intermediary and very specific optimizations. Mostly during implementing a new feature - we knew that some algorithm will be performance or memory demanding and so we didn’t waste time naively with a brute-force approach. Instead we implemented it with optimization in mind. Sometimes it’s better to implement a new feature already optimized than to postpone it and do it later (when you have forgotten most of the details already).

The players say that they were expecting the game to run poorly but instead it runs very well. This makes us programmers very happy.

Anyway, there are many opportunities for more optimizations in the future.


October 1 was the “feature freeze day” (we stopped adding new features and worked only on the important polishing and bug fixing tasks). From that moment on, we focused entirely on making sure that the game is stable and bug free and that Oct 23 won’t be a fiasco.

Testers created a list of testing scenarios: various HW and OS configurations (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 32-bit/64-bit, different language packs), alt-tab, sleep or hibernate computer while game is running, CPU from Intel and AMD, GPU from NVIDIA, ATI, Intel, multi-monitor settings, load tests, game-play tests, etc.

We also ordered some testing at a HW lab – – where they performed tests on even more HW configurations. I can only praise these guys, great professionals.

During this phase, we caught many HW incompatibilities and so I am glad we did it. If we were testing this on the players, it would be a shame.

BTW, we have an “automatic testing tool” for Space Engineers – we capture mouse and keyboard events while doing something in the game and then we can replay it automatically. This allows us to automate “boring” moments of testing.


I want to thank each and every one of my colleagues, without them we couldn’t get Space Engineers to the stage it is now. Together, we were able to meet all milestones on time and with the expected quality.

I also want to thank our growing community which provides great feedback and gives us more reasons to continue making Space Engineers what it deserves to be.


Please keep posting your feedback and suggestions to our FB page or our forum at

We can’t reply to every comment, but I can assure you that we read all of them and they will influence how Space Engineers develops. Corrections: actually, after the explosion of interest it’s very hard to keep track of all comments :-)


Thanks for reading this!

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and you will be notified on all updates.

Warning: Space Engineers is still in development. Everything in the game is subject to change.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Every “space engineer” should see Gravity in IMAX

This Saturday, our team went to IMAX to watch Gravity -

I was looking forward to this movie since I read about it years ago. It was better than I expected. Gravity is a great technical, visual and audio experience! Some of us are so thrilled that we are going for a second rep with colleagues who couldn’t join us the first time.

The film’s title is Gravity, but it’s actually about the absence of gravity in space. It shows how even the simplest moves can become impossible if you lose a steady ground.

The authors adhered to the laws of physics, avoided fantasy elements and story-shortcuts and created a compelling and believable story.

For example, there’s no sound in space. And so in this film the only sounds you can hear is radio communication, the heartbeat and vibrations on the astronaut’s body. If something happens outside of the astronaut’s suit and she isn’t touching that surface, we don’t hear that sound because vibrations can’t transfer. The lack of sound effects would decrease the emotional energy of the film and so they “fixed it” by having music score that resembles those sounds.

The film opens with a continuous shot that lasts 17-minutes, without cinematic cuts. The camera flies through space, spins around the actors, zooms in and out and there’s no single cut. The whole film has only 156 shots. I truly admire this type of craftsmanship. The process they achieved is interesting as well: an actor was strapped inside a 6 meter tall box that had 4096 LEDs on its sides, where simulated scenery and lighting was projected. A computer-controlled camera was the only element that moved inside this box and did all those fly-bys.

I have never seen a camera transition from third-person to first-person with such smoothness. There’s one scene where the camera gets close to the astronaut helmet, enters the helmet, turns around so we can watch from the astronaut’s point of view, then we see the HUD on her helmet, we see her face and all emotions she is experiencing, then the camera spins again and flies away. Amazing!

You can see part of it in this trailer:

Real astronauts were impressed by the film as well. Buzz Aldrin (the second person to walk on the Moon) says: "Going through the space station was done just the way that I've seen people do it in reality". Mr. Aldrin has noted one defect: "This movie gave great clarity to looking down and seeing the features of Earth … but there weren't enough clouds, and maybe there was too precise a delineation from space".

Here is an article if you want to read a more elaborate analysis of what’s right and wrong on Gravity:

I recommend watching this film in IMAX. Not just because of the 3D, but also for the big screen and excellent acoustics. You will feel like you are there, in space with zero gravity.

Gravity seems to be a commercial success as well, grossing $82mil in the opening weekend. I am glad that people like these types of films.

Go see Gravity while they screen it in IMAX and let me know how you liked it.


Thanks for reading this!

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and you will be notified on all updates.

Warning: Space Engineers is still in development. Everything in the game is subject to change.