Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Keen Software House is moving and expanding: new Prague and Brno offices

Today I’m happy to report that we’re taking the next step in our plans to expand the Keen Software House teams. We’re growing very rapidly and planning to grow even more – at the moment we have about 30 people working on the games team and roughly 20 on the AI team. We just signed the contracts to open a second office in Brno, and it has been up and running for about one week.

The Prague teams have moved to a new 500m2 office in the Danube House. This office is only temporary. Our old Dejvice offices were just too small, and since our new offices in the Nile House won't be ready for three months, we jumped at the chance to spend a few months in the Danube House.

Keen SWH’s new Prague home – the Danube House
Karolinská 650/1, Prague

Our permanent home will be a 1200m2 office in the Nile House in Prague, just next door to the Danube House. This office will be luxurious and spacey, and will be able to hold us even when our teams are 100+ people all together. It will have a large presentation room, relaxation spaces, a sound room, and more. It’s the most high tech office complex in Prague, and we’re very happy to call it home.

Future permanent home of KeenSWH in Prague – the Nile House
Karolinská 654, Prague

The new Brno office is for AI researchers, SW engineers and game programmers who can’t relocate to Prague. This is our first experiment in opening a remote office.

The location of our new Brno office: Veveří 2581/102, Brno
Once we get used to the challenge of having some people work outside of Prague, we will be able to open other remote offices in the near future. We expect that our next offices will be in Bratislava, Slovakia, and then in other parts of Europe or even around the world.

Positions which can be done from/in Brno (or other remote offices):
- AI Researchers
- SW engineers for AI project
- Game Programmers
We’re always hiring, so if you’re interested in joining our Prague or Brno teams (or even working from another location), check out our jobs page here:

This is all a part of our long term plan to reach talent that can’t move to Prague. We have the resources to expand and we believe this is the most effective way to find the best people to work on our AI project and games.

Thanks for reading!
Marek Rosa

If you want to follow our AI project, please follow me on twitter!/marek_rosa or keep checking my blog:

For the latest news on our games, follow us on Facebook or on Twitter.

Medieval Engineers on Facebook:
Medieval Engineers on Twitter:
Space Engineers on Facebook:
Space Engineers on Twitter:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Guest post by Dusan Andras - Space Engineers: Planets!

Hello Engineers! I am Dusan Andras and for those who don’t know me I am the main programmer who is working on the development of the planets for Space Engineers.

So planets… This has been one of the most demanded features by the community since we released the game on Steam Early Access. Players have been asking for it constantly and we promised to deliver. My colleague Ondrej Petrzilka already shared the first batch of info in his previous blog-post and there have been lots of things implemented since then. Planets are getting even closer to release! At this moment, we are still not 100% sure when we will be able to release them, since it is one of the biggest features we have ever developed and we hope that you understand that this update needs proper testing before we add it in the game – even if they look complete and amazing in the screenshots. I would like to give you a sneak preview for each of the planet’s properties and also some nice screenshots that we took during development.

Planet size
This is always a question of FUN vs REALITY. I can imagine that many players would like to have real life-sized planets, but for the sake of gameplay, time, and engine possibilities we decided to use a 30-50 km diameter for planets and an 8-10 km diameter for moons. Yes, some generated planets could have 0-3 moons accompanying them.

This is a 50 km planet that is 50 km away from you.

This is an 8 km moon from the planet surface. You can see another planet on the horizon

More planets!

Planets and moons will have “natural” gravity that will affect ships, players and floating objects near them. The gravity will be scaled to the planet’s size and will decrease the further away you are from them.

There will be two types of atmosphere around the planet surfaces for now: one “hostile,” without any plants or life and one for “organic” planets with flora. Organic planets will have an atmosphere full of oxygen that you can breathe and supply your ships with and will have a blueish color like earth. Hostile planets will be without oxygen and with different colors of the atmosphere.

Vegetation (trees, bushes, grass)
We added new “organic” material types for planets. It’s only on planets with an oxygen atmosphere and existing flora. In the future you will be able to harvest this organic material – but probably not in the first planetary update. The flora (trees and bushes) has been borrowed from Medieval Engineers. The flora won't be visible from space, but will appear only when the player or ship gets closer to the planet and can be configured / disabled via the world settings.

Organic planet from space

Flora at sunset

Flora during the day

To simulate the day and night cycles we decided to rotate the sun around the planets/ world. The user will be able to configure the day duration from 1 minute to 24 hours or disable the rotation to keep the current static sun.

Different day cycles from the same planet:

Station voxel support
Because of the planetary gravity, we added a new option for station grids: the Station voxel support. By enabling this option, a station will be static only when touching the voxel (one block build “inside it”). So when you cut some part of the station away it will become a dynamic object and fall.

Note: Please keep in mind that everything that has been written and presented in this blog post can be changed until this feature is released.

Thank you for reading this and we hope that you liked what you’ve seen. We can’t wait to give you planets and start playing with them!

Dusan Andras


For the latest news on our games, follow us on Facebook or on Twitter.

Space Engineers on Facebook:
Space Engineers on Twitter:
Medieval Engineers on Facebook:
Medieval Engineers on Twitter:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

USA Road Trip: DARPA Robotics Challenge, the Future of Life Institute, MIRI and the Exponential Finance Conference

Those of you following me on Twitter probably noticed that I’ve spent the past 3+ weeks in and around NYC, Boston, and now the big cities of California.  Several people suggested that I note down some of my experiences in a travel blog, so here is the first installment. This blog will cover

- the DARPA Robotics Challenge
- my meeting with the Future of Life Institute (FLI)
- my meeting with the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI)
- the Exponential Finance Conference (don’t worry – I’m not transitioning into finance)
- my visit to Tony Soprano’s house, plus other American adventures

DARPA is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense which invests in robotics research and development, and which holds a robotics competition every few years. The robots have to complete a variety of tasks in the shortest amount of time in order to win. The DoD aims to send robots to disaster zones which are too dangerous for humans – they will basically act as first responders and save lives where human capabilities are limited.

For the 2015 challenge, the robots faced 8 difficult tasks. After being placed in a car by their human team, the robots had to drive a car through a course. They were then required to exit the car, open and pass through a door, open a valve by rotating its circular handle 360°, use a drill to cut a large hole in drywall, cross over a great deal of rubble (this is where many bipedal robots crashed), and finally walk up a set of stairs. During this time, the robots had to carry their own source of energy with them. Human teams could only communicate wirelessly with the robots, but were allowed to help the robots get back on their feet after a fall - at the cost of having a penalty minute added to their final times.

Here’s a great clip of the winning robot’s moment of victory:

The DARPA Robotics Challenge was 10x better than I had imagined, and I was really positively surprised by the results. While many of the robots moved by rolling on wheels of some sort, most of this year’s contenders could walk on two “feet.” Even though these walking robots had some problems completing tasks, I was so impressed with the progress companies have made in the past couple of years. I also really enjoyed the expo section that was full of robots and other inventions – and I even got a few close-ups.

I have to say that it’s great that DARPA puts together this competition and supports robotics. I can’t wait for a future challenge where I would like to send an AI brain developed by our team, implemented in a third-party robot. I’d like to see our AI brain in a robot that isn’t just preprogrammed for specific tasks and the body it uses – I want to compete with an AI brain that can be put into any robot body, learn how to control it, and do any task we put in front of it.

A second highlight of my trip (so far) was meeting with people from the Future of Life Institute. FLI recognizes that technology might present risks to humanity in the future, and is committed to protecting human life and being optimistic about what’s to come. I think that FLI representatives were glad to learn that our AI company is serious about pursuing general AI technology safely. I’m happy to say that we share the same values, and I’m looking forward to future cooperation with this organization. 

I was also able to connect with the Machine Intelligence Research Institute and make a small donation to the organization while in the Bay Area. Their team is incredibly smart, and it’s obvious that they’ve thought for a long time about creating a positive future for humanity alongside AI. I like that their thinking is so carefully reasoned and highly structured, and I’m happy to say that we’re planning to cooperate with them in the future. MIRI believes, like me, that cooperation will always win out over competition when it comes to humans and artificial intelligence. 

If you’re interested in AI safety, keep an eye out for my upcoming blog post on the topic!

The Exponential Finance Conference in NYC, a fourth exciting moment on this trip, was all about how technology is impacting businesses today. It was amazing to see the way that the speakers look into the future and try to discover trends and patterns. I’d like to see more business leaders thinking this way in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Peter Diamandis, founder of Singularity University, on stage at Exponential Finance
And here’s a glimpse into some of the fun I’ve been having between conferences, meetings, and interviews:

My view of the Statue of Liberty from a helicopter
A quick stop at the Museum of Natural History in NYC
Tony Soprano’s house!


If you’d like to see future updates on the progress of my U.S. road trip, you can follow me on Twitter at!/marek_rosa or keep checking my blog:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Guest post by Ondrej Petrzilka - Medieval Engineers: Castle siege, Survival, Clans

Hello, I am Ondrej Petrzilka (lead developer for Space and Medieval Engineers). In this blog post I would like to shed some light on our current and future plans with Medieval Engineers. Currently we’re working on three big things: castle siege (that has just been released), survival, and clans.

Before I continue, let me emphasize that everything I say in this blog post is subject to change. The process of game development at our studio goes through multiple stages (idea, concept, development, testing, feedback, more development…) and during the later stages it’s likely that some of the earlier stages will get changed due to the feedback and experience that we will gain later.

Castle Siege

The original idea was to create a game mode where players can easily test their castle and siege weapon designs. This is the first iteration of this feature and we will be working on it during the upcoming weeks. We plan to add more weapons, armor, and a better combat system including ranged weapons. We’re also considering enabling some survival features in castle siege.

In castle siege mode, there are two teams: attackers and defenders. Defenders choose a map with a castle, and attackers choose siege weapons and one of the predefined positions where they would like to start an attack. The goal for attackers is to destroy the king statue within a pre-set time limit. The statue is hidden somewhere in the castle.

Attackers can use different approaches to destroy the statue. They can attack with siege weapons and destroy the statue directly, they can use ladders to go over walls, they can destroy walls with siege weapons and then run inside, or they can dig under the castle.

For more info watch the tutorial video:

Castle Siege development screenshots:


It was clear after our last survey that the majority of our players would like us to focus on survival mode. We have been working on several features for a long time now and for the next weeks/months survival will be our priority. You can see the results of the survey here:

Character stats
We plan to introduce health, stamina, and food, and maybe water later on. Stamina will be used for sprinting, combat and hard labor. Stamina will regenerate automatically, but when a character is low on food, stamina regeneration will be limited. Food will provide a temporary stamina regeneration boost, and different food will have different boosts. Health will regenerate automatically very slowly, but during sleep it will regenerate fast. Some food and items (e.g. bandages) will have a health regeneration effect. Food will be automatically reduced over time, and characters will have to eat. Otherwise, they will be weak and eventually die.

We plan to add an inventory which will allow players to carry items like food, construction components (nails, wooden spikes) and other small items and components we’ll introduce in the future.

Players will have to obtain food to survive, so we plan to add several food sources into the game. Players will be able to go into the woods and gather berries, mushrooms and roots; some of them will respawn in their original place, and some will respawn randomly. Another food source we plan to add is wildlife. Players will be able to hunt deer for food and later other animals including dangerous ones (like bears and wolf packs). In later stages of the game, players will be able to farm and raise cattle.

We plan to add seasons to make survival more interesting and entertaining. The game will start during spring and players will have 3 seasons to prepare for winter and obtain enough food, because during winter food sources will be scarce. We’re also thinking about introducing a new stat: heat. Players would have to get warm cloth and firewood for winter. With seasons, farming will become more interesting. It will be necessary to sow crops in spring and harvest them during late summer or autumn; crops will get destroyed during winter.  During winter, pastures will be covered with snow and players will have to feed the cattle with hay, otherwise they will die of hunger.

We plan to release the first version of the building very soon. To build any large block, players will have to obtain components first. Currently, the only components are wooden timbers, scrap wood and stone. Players will be able to build simple houses in the first version. It won’t be necessary to carry all the components from the inventory to build something, but the components will have to be placed next to the character.

After this point we’ll continuously add more blocks. Later, we’ll introduce new materials and ways of obtaining them. We’re planning to add hay, in order to make hay roofs and feed cattle in winter. We will also introduce clay for making roofs, wooden walls, dishes and basic furnaces, and iron ore, to make iron weapons, armor, nails and mechanisms. We will also add limestone to make grout, sandstone as lightweight stone, and materials for cloth.

Players will be able to craft items in three different ways. The first way will be through a toolbar, where the player will simply put an item he wants to craft on the toolbar and then place it. Crafting will consume certain materials and the crafted item will appear in front of the player. This way, the player will be able to craft only very simple things. A second way of crafting will be through a craft table or forge; in this way the player will be able to craft furniture, barrels, chests, mechanisms, weapons and armor. The last way of crafting will be through a furnace. This will be an unattended way of crafting, where the player will put ore and firewood into the furnace and after some time will get ingots.

We would like to add fully simulated water, but we’re not sure if it’s going to be possible because of performance. First we’ll add simple planar water. At ‘sea level’ there will be always water. This will allow us to make lakes, wells and also fake rivers. Even though this has limited potential, it will still be interesting for players.We plan to transport water in buckets and barrels and use it for drinking, cooking and farming. It can be also used to extinguish fires and to power mechanical blocks.

Mechanical blocks
We plan to start adding mechanical blocks when there’s basic survival. Players will use mechanical blocks to power lifts and automated hammers in forges. In the future, there will be more uses for them.


Clans will come additionally with the survival gameplay. The idea is that a player or multiple players will have their clan and they will try to survive. Players will be able to play as any member of the clan, and the rest of the clan members will be controlled by an AI. Players will be able to switch between clan members. AI-controlled clan members will be able to do simple tasks like farming, gathering food or raw materials, manufacturing items in a workshop, helping to build structures, or patrol castle walls and alert others in case of danger. We would like the player to do interesting and entertaining things in the game, while simple and repetitive tasks can be done by AI-controlled clan members.

When a clan member dies either of old age or when it gets killed, it won’t respawn - it will be lost permanently. New clan members can be born when there are men and women at a reproductive age. We’re already working on new character models: a female, an old lady, and an old man and a child. Old characters won’t be as efficient in manual work, but they will have the advantage of experience so they can be utilized in workshops or kitchens. Children won’t be able to do any work on their own, but they will follow adult clan members and help them (giving them a bonus).


These features are among the largest and most complex that we are planning to implement in Medieval Engineers and their development will be a long-term procedure. Please feel free to post your suggestions and ideas either under this blog post or, more preferably, at our Suggestions sub-forum here: Your feedback is valuable!

Ondrej Petrzilka

Thank you for reading this! For the latest news on our games, follow us on Facebook or on Twitter.

Medieval Engineers on Facebook:
Medieval Engineers on Twitter:
Space Engineers on Facebook:
Space Engineers on Twitter:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Fan meetup in LA - June 16

EDIT 06/10/2015:

Dear fans,

I was really excited about meeting up with you on Tuesday, and I was happy to see that so many people were interested. Unfortunately, I really underestimated the amount of time I would have before E3 to hold necessary business meetings while here in the U.S., so I’m afraid I have to cancel our meetup. I’m looking forward to my next visit to LA and I hope I’ll have a chance to meet you then.

Thank you very much for your understanding.

Marek Rosa


Dear Engineers!

I’ve been waiting for a chance to meet you in person and I think I found the right occasion.  I am going to be in Los Angeles attending E3 and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to organize a small fan meetup on June 16th for our US fans where you will have the chance to meet and ask me questions about anything you wish! As you know, we are an EU based studio so this is one of the rare occasions when I am visiting the US, so we hope you will take advantage of it.

Before we start preparing, we need some more information about who is interested in the meetup and where it should be held. So we would appreciate if you could fill in the survey below and help us organize the meetup.

Thank you for answering and I am looking forward to meeting you all!

Marek Rosa