Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Changes to Space Engineers release system



SUMMARY:
  • Changes to the update release system: make it simpler and involve the community more
  • New HUD and polished GUI


Space Engineers has come a long way. We were one of the first Early Access games and we are still one of the most successful Early Access games on the market. We transformed a small indie project into a huge sandbox game containing many features and possibilities. The tremendous scale of the game is clearly evident by the fact that Space Engineers has one of the largest workshops on Steam, with a huge amount of individual items available.


All of these facts lead to the conclusion that we still need to update and improve our approaches for both development and management. We need to keep backward compatibility for thousands of mods out there as well as continue to push development forward. Even one small innocent change can lead to broken gameplay and enormous negative feedback. The requirements for game testing are exponentially higher than ever before and also, due to the increasing number of competing products, players demands are increasing too.

All of us here at Keen Software House love Space Engineers. In the beginning, there was only four people in the team (Petr Minarik, Ondrej Petrzilka, Tomas Rampas and me) and because all of us have a lot of passion for space, technology and freedom, it was the main design for the game. We still try to keep our game on top by supporting the community and fighting with Clang, performance issues, hardware configurations, negative feedback and many technical problems. Even though some issues can be very frustrating, we still enjoy playing the game and creating new possibilities. When compared to many other early access games, we still continue doing our best and we never give up trying to create the best space sandbox game on market.

To be able to continue with development and game quality of the highest standards, we have decided to change the release system to be simpler and involve the community more. We expect more stable builds, fewer bugs and more polished features. The main change is that we are removing Develop branch from the game. There will be only one branch and updates will be tagged as Minor or Major. We will still patch the game every week with Minor updates, but Major updates will not be scheduled with strict dates in advance but rather will be released only when everything is completely tested, fixed and approved by a closed testing group to ensure the build is ok.

Please note the difference between Minor and Major updates. Minor updates will contain critical fixes, crash fixes and content polish, which will allow us to focus more on creating new, stable features for Major releases. To give an example from our recent update history, lens flares and properly mirrored wheels should be considered Minor updates.

What kind of Major releases can you expect in near future? Many of you already know that we are working on new HUD and polished GUI. This is something we’ve really focused on and we expect the new HUD to greatly increase gameplay immersion. Additionally, a nice addition to the new HUD is that it is fully moddable and can be customized per cockpit or helmet. We are also working hard on improving the survival experience, making things easier for new players, having objective driven scenarios and also multiplayer dedicated scenarios. There is also a large amount of work going into game optimizations. We are aware of bad performance in certain areas of the game and plan to focus on these situations, as well as loading times, peaks, lag, etc.




I’m personally looking forward to all changes we are preparing. We already proved that we’re able to create unique features never seen in games before, defining new boundaries. We certainly don’t plan to stop! :)

Thank you for reading!

Marek Rosa
CEO and Founder of Keen Software House
CEO, CTO of GoodAI


For more news:
General AI Challenge: www.general-ai-challenge.org
AI Roadmap Institute: www.roadmapinstitute.org
GoodAI: www.goodai.com
Space Engineers: www.spaceengineersgame.com
Medieval Engineers: www.medievalengineers.com


Personal bio: Marek Rosa is the CEO and CTO of GoodAI, a general artificial intelligence R&D company, and the CEO and founder of Keen Software House, an independent game development studio best known for their best-seller Space Engineers (2mil+ copies sold). Both companies are based in Prague, Czech Republic. Marek has been interested in artificial intelligence since childhood. Marek started his career as a programmer but later transitioned to a leadership role. After the success of the Keen Software House titles, Marek was able to personally fund GoodAI, his new general AI research company building human-level artificial intelligence, with $10mil. GoodAI started in January 2014 and has grown to an international team of 20 researchers.

32 comments:

  1. I still am as exited for the future of SE as I was on the day we got our first warheads. :)

    Great job Keen, Stay awesome!

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  2. I still am as exited for the future of SE as I was on the day we got our first warheads. :)

    Great job Keen, Stay awesome!

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  3. I think it is better to Put Oxygen Bar and Hydrogen Bar above each other like: Health, Energy, Oxygen, Hydrogen. I hope you can unlock the Glass Windows for Small Ships and the Standard Door too für small Ships to craft SHUTTLE PODS with Pressurized Room, That is logical in the case and the ability to fly onto planets without landing a large ship in Lord Clang Style is simplified. Cause...with a simple hack it is possible to Mount large grids on small grids in Vanilla and if you have seen this, you will get in mind that block and grid limits are obsolete. but...very awesome Game I love it since 4 years with 5481 hours and it never stops and if you need the strong Community to get the next gen Havok for Multicore, it will be possible that our strong SE Community will donate to help you.

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  4. Why cant you fix connectors and merge blocks? Everytime I use them in multiplayer they throw my ships into each other. Why? Do you not know about this problem? Don't care?

    You guys should roll back to before you broke everything.

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    Replies
    1. you know, there's a feature called Connector strength. you can adjust the pull of connectors to be weaker.
      Don't go slinging mud at Marek because you neglected to take the time to understand a new feature.
      Honestly.

      Delete
    2. Connector Strength isn't even a new feature, its been there for ages now, so that person complaining is just dumb.

      Delete
  5. Fussion between large grip and small grip. it's basic Marek. Great job

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  6. Awesome, now can you please make a game out of it? i have been waiting years.

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  7. New HUD looks great! a few minor things, like maybe a bit of colour to the more critical things, like O2, Energy and Health. And maybe a bit of blurr on the edge of the screen to make it appear more like you're wearing a helmet.

    As for the overall progress of the game; it's great to hear you're still trying new ways to improve the development. Your plans for more scenarios is also good news, as well as plans for improving survival.

    I have been playing space engineers for more than 1800hrs. I love this game, because it's more than a game. It's a tool that has allowed my creative expression to run wild in all sorts of insane ways.... so thank you, and I will always look forward to Thursday!

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  8. New HUD looks great! a few minor things, like maybe a bit of colour to the more critical things, like O2, Energy and Health. And maybe a bit of blurr on the edge of the screen to make it appear more like you're wearing a helmet.

    As for the overall progress of the game; it's great to hear you're still trying new ways to improve the development. Your plans for more scenarios is also good news, as well as plans for improving survival.

    I have been playing space engineers for more than 1800hrs. I love this game, because it's more than a game. It's a tool that has allowed my creative expression to run wild in all sorts of insane ways.... so thank you, and I will always look forward to Thursday!

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  9. Good work with the new HUD; it feels modern and clean. :)

    The branch unification (with increased testing) is a good idea generally, because none of the branches were satisfactory: the dev was often annoyingly buggy, and on the stable it was annoying that we can't see the improvements for weeks.

    But I hope you realize that with this you'll break dedicated servers even more, because their version handling is disastrous. When I tried SE's Dev branch on dedicated servers for a few months, that was the worst multiplayer experience I ever had. After each update, the server version was out of sync with the client often for days, making it completely impossible to join with updated clients. Huge number of dev servers were completely empty because of this - nobody could possibly join, until the admin happened to update the server.

    Of course I’m not sure I’d play multiplayer again even with proper version handling. No server I tried was stable for more than two-three weeks – after that, planet wipes, full wipes, aggressive cleaning of grids… The only servers that can work well for longer periods are the ones which employ draconian rules about what you can’t do (can’t dig a lot; can’t use large number of conveyors, refineries or grinders; can’t use programming blocks, etc…). I think there are some serious degradation issues, particularly about voxels, that make any sort of properly persistent multiplayer game completely hopeless.

    If you'd finally manage to hire good multiplayer programmers, and would develop and publish a separate, proper multiplayer version of the game (like Don't Starve Together), I'd gladly buy it.

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  10. Keep it up guys, can't wait to see what else you come out with!

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  11. Great work guys. There will always be issues here and there, but overall it's been a fun ride. I've been playing since before hydrogen and planets and the game has come a long ways. I'mean excited to see where it goes in the future. I only have 2 requests... Make the multi-player awesome.. I would love to set up a server with friends, this is too cool a game not to share with buds. 2, Joystick support would be really cool. I would love to use my joystick and throttle setup to have thrust increments available. Keep up the good work!

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  12. Looks great! I hope for two things that can some how be added or modded in.

    A roller ball similar to that in kerbal space program for artificial horizon.

    The ability to only show certain elements as scripted. For example, only showing oxygen if its getting low.

    Will it be possible to mod a shader in the HUD so we can have HUDs with reflections similar to that in Hellion?

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  13. You guys are doing great! Now if you could only let us have the ability to blow up planets...... mwuahahahahahaaa! :)

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  14. I'm excited that the HUD will be ship configurable. The radar and other information needs to be funneled through ship apparatus to increase realism and promote the building of networks. Establishing a net of information dominance over an area makes venturing out of that area more frontier-like.

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  15. Fix wheels so they are usable on planets and also wheels are round not square. Thanks!

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  16. HUD needs altimeter, but is generally awesome :3

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  17. Some constructive criticism:
    If keen want to make a mmorpg game give attention to the dedicated servers. It can not be that after years there is no a simple system of ships concealment. There is no jump between servers (in order to divide the map into sectors and release the load) (which would only be a palliative fix because what the game really need a lot is a readjustment in the physics calculations (some are exaggerated and are not necessary) and also multi thread in this physics. I see how many people end up frustrating in the multiplayer experience and quit the game. I say it as admin of a server that was for 2 years online (space engineers latino)

    Another thing,(for example) keen have been looking for a "SENIOR MULTIPLAYER PROGRAMMER" for some time and i suppose that announcement is still there because they do not find it, and i suppose that it is because they only want to take people who work physically in the offices of keen. In my opinion this is causing them to lose a lot of time and opportunities to get very capable people. We are in 2017 and it is logical that some positions in the company are of people working from other countries.

    Marek, I'm sorry if I sound harsh. Some are conjectures of mine, in which i may be wrong or not, or not fully see how things really are. It is not my intention to be unpleasant, I love the game, I have more than 1400 hours and I just want to give an opinion to help in somehow.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carlos

      we actually solved the multiplayer thing internally - there was a prize challenge in our team for delivering the best multiplayer core.

      This happened in the end of 2016 and the winning team solved it. We are still continuing on improvements to the multiplayer, but not the core anymore - that one is done well.

      We are still looking for senior programmers, or multiplayer programmers, but not for the same reasons as before.

      Best regards
      Marek

      Delete
  18. With the artificial horizon in the new HUD, will the artificial horizon on the cockpits be modified/removed?
    Also, with the new HUD will there be a guide for what everything is and what the symbols mean?

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  19. ...love the game Guys, and gals. Wish you all would make the avatar more complex, like a sims 4 avatar. Where you have to sleep eat, and relieve yourself. Now, that would put the game over the top. And think of all the new objects you could add to the game. Toilets, kitchens, and bedroom sets.

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  20. New HUD looks amazing. Only thing is that hydrogen says H^2 when it should really be H subscript 2.

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    Replies
    1. And the Oxygen, that should also have a subscript 2. I kind of wish that ice was processed properly, where oxygen and hydrogen could be produced at the same time, and not at the expense of the other. Also, hydrogen doesn't burn on it's own, and with everything set to 1× (inventory, etc) the mass of ice is all wrong (1L should be roughly 1kg). It's probably too late in development to fix the ice, it just bugs me a little.

      Delete
  21. The stretched textures on the 2 by 1 by 1 corner blocks look a little crap, and 2 by 2 by 2 corner blocks would help immensely in ship building. I hope that some more options for armour blocks are added (I'm aware of the mods)

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  22. very good desing for the new hud, continue working on the game, i guess we need more weapons for the ships

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  23. You guys are. Amazing. I've always dreamed of sailing through the vast ocean of stars, and with space engineers, I can curb my appetite for exploration until I can realize my dream. I've been following the progress of this game ever since I saw Arron from LastStandGamers first review it. I was hooked then and recently dropped $2.5k on a new pc just to be able to play. Keep up the amazing work.

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  24. CGS noneuno on steam 4165hr 4year player. still love this game and wood like to see in the game. is scenarios be a random encounter option from the workshop to keep the game fun, when you have a lot of hr's building stuffs. the uploader would have the option of 1. "planet encounter?" 2. "space encounter?" 3. "re-start menu server?" and 4. "just for workshop"..
    also maybe a small hr xp tree for the hand tools that is linked to steam achievements? like on the hr'S for each level of tool set.
    thanks for all your time and the team for making my mind free to build. :D

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  25. If any of the Developers happen to stumble across my post I have a suggestion to offer.

    I am wondering if it is possible to add a handheld refinery and assembler to the tool list.
    Of course, they would have limited capacity and need the suit power to operate.

    This would make for a scenario where you start with the base tier welder, grinder, and drill with the small refinery and assembler, to begin with.

    It would make survival more of a challenge and fun. At least in my opinion.

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  26. Hello Mark,
    Loving how polished the game is becoming!
    quick suggestion from a fellow dev
    currently space engineers feels a bit janky moving and looking around.
    I believe this is due to the camera being parented to the head bone of the character? (could be wrong)
    it definitely has that distinct animation reliant input lag feeling to it.

    if you were to make the camera ignore the animations entirely this would make the game far more playable imo.

    the nicest feeling first person games are ones where there's zero head bobbing/animation lag

    Thanks for reading.
    keep up the great work!

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