Friday, February 26, 2016

Space Engineers News: Full Source Code Access with Planets + DX9 Changes

Today I’m happy to make an important announcement to our modders and community. We are updating the Space Engineers source code on GitHub so that you have complete access to the current Space Engineers’ source code, including Planets. Everything is ready for you in our GitHub repository.

You might remember that back in May we released the full source code for Space Engineers. Releasing the updated source code that now includes Planets builds on that decision to give more freedom to modders and the community.

Modders can now work on Planets and Space Engineers just like our developers at Keen Software House do – but rest assured, our own developers will keep working harder than ever.

Please don’t confuse this release with “open source” or “free software.” While we’re giving everyone the chance to alter Planets and the game, we’re not making the game free. The rules are the same as with the original source code release – if you’re interested, you can read the legal details on my previous blog post or our EULA.

Just like when we released the full source code of Space Engineers, revealing the updated source code that includes Planets – our biggest and most-requested feature yet - is an experiment that someone has to try. The chance that it will benefit Space Engineers is very high, and it’s worth taking the risk.

  • Total conversions made possible
  • More and better content created by modders
  • Allowing people to have more fun with our game through modding while we keep adding core features and updates 
  • Modders can contribute to Planets and the game core development if they want to

Cons (exactly the same as the original Space Engineers full source code release):
  • "Competitors” can steal our ideas and algorithms for Planets and the game
  • Some people will think we’re going open source and abandoning the development of Space Engineers

For me, the pros clearly outweigh the cons. We released Space Engineers’ source code nine months ago and so far, we’ve only seen awesome mods and no negative impacts. We’re just as committed now to keeping Space Engineers fun and playable as we were then, and we will never turn away from the community. And if our competitors see our code, it will only push us to create something 10x bigger and even more game-changing than Planets.

How does it work?

Go to GitHub, download and unpack the source code, open it in Visual Studio Community Edition (free), modify the source code, and launch the game! See this video guide:

GitHub link:

Support for DirectX 9 + 32-Bit Windows Changes

Space Engineers’ development is entering its third year and we’re starting preparations to leave Early Access. You can read about our short and long term plans in our recently published roadmap, but today I want to tell you more about the next 30 days.

Over the past two years, Space Engineers has grown so much and so quickly that old systems – namely DirectX 9,  32-bit Windows, and Windows XP – are slowing down our development process and preventing us from delivering a product you really deserve.

Essentially, DirectX 9, 32-bit Windows, and Windows XP versions take up time that our developers could otherwise invest in making Space Engineers the game we always dreamed of creating. For this reason, and though we do not take it lightly, we have decided to stop developing the 32-bit and DX9 version of Space Engineers. We will also stop developing for Windows XP.

We will focus exclusively on developing DirectX 11 and 64-bit Windows. This change will affect only 0.15% of players and will happen by the end of March. 

By doing so, our production pipeline will be able to focus all efforts on only one development branch. In other words, we will have more time to do great things - more time for polishing, more time for creating a new art, and more time for building new assets. We want Space Engineers to be enjoyable for players with the latest technology and the best features available.

For those who want to keep playing Space Engineers on Windows XP, 32-bit Windows and the DirectX 9 configuration, you can still enjoy the game by accessing your copy on Steam. There will be a message box when starting the game that asks you to change to supported hardware settings. If your system is not compatible with these settings, you will be asked to switch to a different branch that runs on DX9 or XP.

Just follow these steps:

1. Launch the Steam client

2. Go to your library
3. Choose Space Engineers - right click

4. Choose "Properties"

5. This box will open - then go to the "BETAS" tab, and click on the drop-down menu
6. Choose the DirectX 9 or 32-bit version

Basically, players who are running the game on a DX9, 32-bit and/or XP system will be able to play the game without any issues, but without new content added from the end of March.


Thanks for reading, and many thanks for your understanding about the DirectX 9 and 32-bit Windows changes. I know this will enable us to take Space Engineers out of Early Access in a way that both the community and the game deserve.

And I can’t wait to see what modders do with our updated source code – especially Planets!

Marek Rosa
Keen Software House
CEO and Founder

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Introducing Karel Antonín, Keen Software House & GoodAI Composer

This is a special post to give you a little more insight into a talented person I greatly admire: our very own Karel Antonín, composer of all soundtracks for Space Engineers, Medieval Engineers, Miner Wars, and GoodAI, my company of 30 researchers working to build human-level artificial intelligence.

Yes – GoodAI has a soundtrack. This post will also reveal a bit more about why we decided to become the only general AI development company with its own OST. We can only hope that others will follow in our footsteps :-)

We’re bringing you a full week of music from GoodAI, releasing five tracks per day for free over the next seven days. Enjoy the first set here!

And with that, I’m devoting the rest of this post to an interview with Karel, so he can tell you more in his own words.

Karel Antonín

What inspired you to make a GoodAI soundtrack?
Marek wanted to capture the aims and goals of GoodAI in a musical sense – he wanted to let people feel (through music) the amazing, positive future GoodAI is building under his leadership. Marek’s vision was the starting point for the whole project.

The music had to sound unique - very different from Medieval Engineers and Space Engineers. I composed the tracks without any orchestra, so everything was done purely through software synthesis. My musical inspiration included the works of Jean Michel Jarre, and generally a lot of other works incorporating sound design and unique digital sounds into music.

What emotions and future visions did you want to convey?
Emotion-wise, the aim of the soundtrack is rooted in Marek’s creative idea: to evoke positive feelings, especially the feeling of hope, and to evoke an endless universe of possibilities opening up before the listener. It should make you feel that there's something unique and groundbreaking approaching - since, in reality, that's exactly what is happening right now in GoodAI. Marek and I wanted the audience to get a clear vision of the emotional essence of GoodAI, even if they don't know anything about it, just by listening to the music.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a music composer?
I didn’t realize it until I was 16, actually. But I remember being very young and watching movies because I really liked the music - movies like Con Air, The Rock, Drop Zone, and others. The movies aren’t the best but I still really like the music. It took me a number of years to learn the software and technical side of things, and since about age 20 I’ve been composing music almost every day.

Do you have any formal education in music?
No, I don't. I am self-taught for the most part through lots of practice, though there are bits and pieces of knowledge I’ve grasped by reading a book or two.

Can you tell us a few basic facts about yourself?
I was born in Brno, Czech Republic. Now I’m 27 years old, currently living in Prague. I am planning to move to London sometime in the next three years. And then who knows? Maybe Los Angeles?

Do you play any instruments? Do you sing?
When I was very young I participated in children’s choirs – now I play the piano and guitar. I really enjoy playing every instrument I can get my hands on - even if, for the most part, it's just to make a proper racket :)

What projects are you working on at the moment?
Most recently I was working on Space Engineers (the new hour of music for Planets), and before that I was composing the score for GoodAI. My newest projects are the feature movies Taxi 121, Montenegro, XMas Cuts, and a motivational movie called Gravitation.

What does your work schedule look like?
My usual schedule starts with waking up around 9 a.m. - by 10:00 I’m sitting in front of my computer, working. I work until around 3 p.m., when I take a break for an hour to clear my head a bit. After that I continue to work until 7 p.m. or so. Of course, that’s usually not the end – especially when there's a tight deadline. There are some long work days without much sleep - but that's also part of the process that I love.

Do you play video games?
I played a lot of video games when I was younger and I still play some from time to time. If I don’t count Space Engineers or Medieval Engineers, I most recently played Metal Gear Solid 5. I also can't wait to play Detroit.

Do you work exclusively on music for video games (and now GoodAI)?
Now I compose mostly for video games, but also for movies and commercials. I try not to focus on just one project at time, because it’s actually better for me and the projects I work on to have some variety. I don’t want to get stuck in the same patterns when I’m composing.

What do you think music can contribute to a video game? How does the music affect the game-play experience?
It really depends on the project. But in all cases, the music should complement the project – it should portray things that cannot be elegantly said without it - by visuals or through dialogue and sounds.

Where do you get the ideas for the soundtracks you make for GoodAI and Keen Software House?
For me, composing for anything is mostly about finding the “heart” of the project – the one simple emotion that is the centerpiece of all other emotional qualities of the project. In order to do that, I get ideas mainly from talking with Marek about his vision, from seeing artwork, hearing the sound design, and also from talking with the team. The more information I get, the better.

Which musicians and/or composers most inspire you?
Oh, that would be a very long list. From top of my head it would be John Williams, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, and John Powell. When I’m not composing, I’m listening to music. As soon as I leave this interview I’ll have headphones on and I’ll be listening to something. On my way here I was listening to Run All Night from Tom Holkenborg. And I still haven’t mentioned some important inspirations, including Ennio Morricone, Mark Mancina, Harry Gregson-Williams, Basil Poledouris, David Arnold, Bear McCreary, Lorne Balfe, and so many others.

Is there one project / track / song that you’re most proud of? Why?
Yes, I am definitely proud of my work for GoodAI. The idea of composing a soundtrack for artificial intelligence is something that was never really done before and that in itself is very intriguing. When you combine it with the treat of working with a very creative and focused team, it was an absolutely rewarding and great experience.

Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to add?
It’s always a pleasure working with both the Keen Software House and GoodAI teams – I can’t wait to see what they do next so I can make the music to go alongside it.


Thanks to all for reading! And many thanks to Karel Antonín for the interview.

Feel free to post more questions for me or Karel in the comments section, and don’t forget to keep following GoodAI and Keen Software House on social media!

Marek Rosa
CEO, CTO & Founder
GoodAI, Keen Software House

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Abundance 360 Conference Takeaways

Some of you may have heard that I spent the last few days in Los Angeles attending the Abundance 360 conference. Organized by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, my favorite guest was futurist Ray Kurzweil, who spoke about his systematic methodology for predicting the future.

Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil on stage at A360

It was my impression that most attendees were entrepreneurs who don’t closely follow exponential technologies. In fact, 95% of them run businesses outside of IT, AI, or science. 30% alone work in real estate, which quite surprised me. The majority of attendees were age 40 or older.

Since I’m in the business of general AI and futuristic technologies, I didn’t learn much about my field from the conference – but I don’t mean this in a negative sense.  I actually found it quite useful to connect with business people working outside the sciences, because they have a different point of view and tend to notice different things than my colleagues.

There were a number of interesting questions asked, including “What technology may disrupt your business in 1-3 years?” and “What will not change in the next 20 years?”

I also saw that there’s a community of successful, wealthy, experienced people following Peter Diamandis. This was a positive surprise for me, and I realized that if I need such a community in the future, it won’t be necessary to build it myself from scratch. Going forward, it will be sufficient to connect with others who have already established this network of support and thinkers.

Finally, it became clear that most exponential technologies and businesses discussed will be obsolete when we develop a truly general, human-level AI. For me, it’s critical to think about where to invest or not, given that many investments won’t be valuable 20 years from now. It’s also interesting to note how certain exponential technologies are in competition with one another – if we have great VR in the coming years, it may eliminate the need for a Hyperloop, as people will travel less.

I’d like to hear more about your favorite exponential technologies and how they will perform in the next decades – please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments.

Many thanks for reading!

Marek Rosa
CEO, CTO & Founder
GoodAI, Keen Software House

Twitter: @GoodAIdev