Monday, June 6, 2022

Space Engineers Future News

 SUMMARY:

  • News & Updates
  • Community Spotlight
  • Submit Community Guides
  • DLC Price Change
  • Grid AI - upcoming major update


Hello, Engineers!

We hope you are enjoying the “Most Wanted” update, news about VRAGE3 (more “Tech Talks” are on the way!), and the new “Community Edition” of Medieval Engineers. As you can see, we have been busy, and this is only the beginning.

Check my last blog post if you would like to get up to speed!

We have been working on a number of important updates and changes, and continued our focus building on our partnership with the community. Exciting news is on the horizon and we wanted to offer a preview of what's next as well as an update on important changes coming to the Steam Store and elsewhere.


News & Updates

Our latest release “Most Wanted” was community inspired and released as a free update.

All our releases are heavily inspired by you, our community. We are reviewing your feedback and from it, we prepare updates based on your requests. 

Our next release is no exception. Grid AI has been often requested, so, our current focus is a full release centered entirely around this concept. You can find more info about the upcoming release below. 

There is other news we’d like to share with you. We’re very happy with the Community Spotlights where we promote your creations and spread the word about your masterpieces. Additionally, we have issued a call for Community Guides & Resources!

With that, we would like to thank you for all of the suggestions, bug reports, and feedback submitted to our support portal.


Community Spotlight

We have been reviewing your amazing creations and spotlighting our favorites. 

We are focused on mods and blueprints that catch our eye and have the potential to make your time in Space Engineers unique or add interest. We are fans, as well as developers, and love to see creations that are jaw-dropping, pretty, or simply hilarious.


Community Guides

Modding & Scripting can be hard and it's sometimes easy to feel discouraged. Even the most ardent modder or scripter can run into challenges when completing a design. 

We want to help ensure that you have the resources you need and remove any barriers for aspiring creators!

Our community has created an extensive collection of resources, however, many resources can be a challenge to find, or it can be hard to know which one to use, or even what is up-to-date. Our goal is to gather and curate these resources, all in one place, and make it easier to find and use these tools, guides, and resources.

What are we looking for? Scripting, Modding, Building, Gameplay, or anything Space Engineers focused.  We would love to help spread the word and share your guide, tool, tutorial, or resource with the rest of the community.

You can make submissions through our Community email address.

Resource Submission: Community@Keenswh.com


DLC Price change

Starting on July 7th, 2022 prices will receive their first increase in 3 years.

DLC content will have its price adjusted to $4.99 USD from $3.99 USD (or your regional equivalent).

This price change will NOT impact the base game price.

Before we make this price adjustment we would like to provide every Space Engineer one final opportunity to collect any DLC they may be missing. Starting today (June 6th), with the release of this blog post, we will be running the “Last Chance” sale.

In order to guarantee that as many Space Engineers as possible are able to take advantage of our sale and get caught up on DLC, this sale will last the entire month (June 6th - July 7th, 2022). So, from June 6th until July 7th, all DLCs will be on sale for a 30% discount for PC. 

Unfortunately, we are unable to have the month-long sale on XBOX. The XBOX players will have the opportunity to get the DLCs at the discounted price from June 21st to June 27th.  


Grid AI

That’s right. It's coming.

The time to “build your friends” is on the horizon. Coming later this year we will explore a future full of automated and animated allies and enemies. Our end goal for this Major update is to completely change what a “grid” is and redefine the “enemy” and “AI” experience.

We are currently in the process of creating tools that will empower your creativity like never before. We believe this may be one of the most impactful updates we have ever released and we cannot wait to see the workshop come ALIVE with new creations.

This update will not only reshape many major elements of gameplay, but it will also serve as a basis for continued exploration of the “NPC” concept. These powerful new mechanics will create new engineering opportunities and serve as a foundation for future upgrades and improvements to the existing PvE content.

It is still early in development, so stay tuned for more information as we get closer to release!


What’s next?

We have a roadmap for the continued development of Space Engineers for both PC and Xbox platforms, so I’m sure there is a lot you can look forward to.  

Our “Major” releases for PC & Xbox are aligned so that all Engineers get all content, on the same day, regardless of platform. We will also continue our focus on further performance improvements and optimizations on both platforms.



Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I provide feedback?
A: Please contact us with your bugs, and feedback here: https://support.keenswh.com

Q: Why are you increasing the DLC prices?
A: This is the first price increase of Space Engineers DLCs in the last three years. We are not increasing the price of the Space Engineers base game, but we feel that with continuous support of the game, we need to adjust the DLC prices simply because each new DLC is bigger than the previous one.
We are continuously adding new content to our existing DLC, so these DLC owners will receive new content, for free.


Follow our social media to get the latest news!

We are always impressed by the innovation of our modding community! We would like to thank the Space Engineers community for continuing to inspire us through their ideas, suggestions, and hard work.

Hiring

If you’re interested in working on awesome games like Space Engineers, we’d love to hear from you!
Check out the open positions at Keen Software House and don’t forget to send us your English CV/resume and cover letter.

Remote collaboration is possible!

Our team is global.

Finding the best candidates to join Keen Software House means exploring every possible solution, including remote work. While we strive to provide team members with the best possible work-life balance here in Prague at our incredible Oranzerie offices, we understand that it is not always possible to transition, therefore we are very remote friendly. Here’s a map of where our teammates live.

 

Thank you for reading this blog!

 

Best,
Marek Rosa
CEO, Creative Director, Founder at Keen Software House
CEO, CTO, Founder at GoodAI

 

For more news:
Space Engineers: www.SpaceEngineersGame.com
Keen Software House: www.keenswh.com
Vrage Engine: www.keenswh.com/vrage/
Medieval Engineers: www.MedievalEngineers.com
GoodAI: www.GoodAI.com
General AI Challenge: www.General-AI-Challenge.org

 

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 its best-seller Space Engineers (4 million copies sold). Both companies are based in Prague, Czech Republic.

Marek has been interested in artificial intelligence since childhood. He 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.

GoodAI was founded in January 2014, with a $10 Million investment from Marek, it now has over 30 research scientists, engineers, and consultants working across its divisions.

At this time, Marek is developing Space Engineers, as well as leading daily research and development on recursive self-improvement based general AI architecture - Badger.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Space Engineers: Most Wanted

 SUMMARY:

  • Free, Community inspired update
  • New blocks: Plushie Engineer, Ladder Shaft, Conveyor Convertor, and more!
  • Updated DLC Blocks (free): Railing Variants, Neon Tube variants, and Grated catwalk variants, and more!
  • New skins: Weldless Armor Skin, Corrugated Armor Skin
  • Quality of Life & Bug Fixes: New Camera Skin, Targeting corrects for gravity, and of course a host of bug fixes.
  • Major update & “Free-LC”
     


Hello, Engineers!

Our newest release is here! YOU, our community, are the inspiration for this release. We have reviewed your feedback and from it, created a collection of new additions based on your requests.

We would like to start by thanking you for all of the suggestions, bug reports, and feedback submitted to our support portal. Over the past year (2022) You have helped us to identify and resolve over 345 bugs and crashes, and given us insight into your vision for the future of Space Engineers. We hope this update contains some of the many items we have seen on wishlists and the support portal. This update contains several highly requested blocks, fixes, and improvements.

While all Major updates are free, many include a premium (DLC) component. This “Community” update is completely free and contains no DLC. On top of this it includes new content for existing DLCs (this means an additional free update for everyone who owns these DLC’s). Our focus in the Community update is on blocks the community may consider missing, and on important fixes across Space Engineers.

This update will be just that, an update that focuses solely on community requested content.

We will not be releasing any premium content or DLC with this update.

Our focus in this update was to identify community requested content. Typically, with a major update that also includes premium content, we have a theme or vision and create cosmetics that help realize that vision. This time, the theme, the vision, was simply to review requests and answer as many as possible!

While we certainly didn't get to every community request (there are many) we focused on realizing as many as possible from the most commonly requested items.

New blocks added to the base game:

  • New Armor shapes (S + L grid, Light + Heavy, 10 shapes, 40 blocks total)
  • T Junction Conveyor (S + L grid, 2 blocks total)
  • Round Windows (S + L grid, 4 shapes, 16 blocks total)
  • Small advanced rotor (S grid, 1 block)
  • Conveyor Converter (S grid, 1 block)
  • Half Cover Wall Mirror (L grid, 1 block)
  • Plushie Engineer (S grid, 1 block)
  • Ladder Shaft (L grid, 1 block)
  • Reinforced Conveyors (S + L grid, 3 shapes, 6 blocks total)

New Armor Skins added to the base game:

  • Weldless Armor Skin
  • Corrugated Metal Armor Skin

We are also adding the new, and much requested Camera Overlay, as well as some quality of life changes. Lead Indicator is now working in Gravity, we have tweaked explosion values for Explosive Ammo and added center variable for block mirroring.

FREE content is also being added to some of the Existing DLC’s:


 Inverted Corner Desks (L grid, 2 blocks total)

 


Grated Catwalk Variants (L grid, 4 blocks total)
Railing Variants (L grid, 3 blocks total)

 

Neon Tubes (L grid got 3 new shapes, S grid got 8 new shapes, 11 blocks total)



Diagonal Window Wall (L grid, 2 blocks total)
 
 
 
Industrial conveyor T-junction 


Diagonal Bridge Window Inverted (L grid, 1 block)

 


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can we expect more mechanical and QOL changes, not just cosmetics?
A: Yes. We hear you and we have big changes, updates, and additions planned for 2022 and beyond.

Q: How do I provide feedback?
A: Please contact us with your bugs, and feedback here: https://support.keenswh.com

Q: Do you plan to release another DLC in the future?
A: DLCs give us the opportunity to explore new ideas and provide more unique content the community wants. We plan to release more thematic-based DLCs, those releases will be combined with free content, updates and fixes.

Q: Can we expect some special promotions in the future?
A: We are always looking at new ways to bring Space Engineers to a wider audience. Special promotions are good opportunities for this. We have a number of exciting promotions planned for the future, which include both game and DLC content!



Recent news

A lot has happened over the last few months and would like to share some highlights, in case you missed it. From our game changing Warfare 2 update to our very first VRAGE Tech Talk, and Community Driven ME development, we have a lot going on!

Warfare 2: “Broadside”
The Warfare 2 update released in February and has been one of our most successful releases to date. The community immediately outfitted builds, baddies, and bases with the newest weaponry! From artillery to assault cannons, War will never be the same.

Developer Tech Talk “Volumetric Water”
Our Engine Team has been busy with a host of research projects, developing the next generation of our VRAGE engine, VRAGE 3. Our first Developer Tech Talk covers our current progress researching the realistic simulation of water across a broad range of scenarios, from a droplet, to an ocean.

 

Medieval Engineers: Community Edition
Medieval Engineers has returned! In partnership with our community, we have created a framework for continued, community-led, development. We are committed to supporting our volunteers and to providing them freedom to pursue their passion for Medieval Engineers in this new “Community Edition”. We feel very fortunate to be able to work so closely with our community.


Follow our social media to get the latest news!

We are always impressed by the innovation of our modding community! We would like to thank the Space Engineers community for continuing to inspire us through their ideas, suggestions, and hard work.

Hiring

If you’re interested in working on awesome games like Space Engineers, we’d love to hear from you!
Check out the open positions at Keen Software House and don’t forget to send us your English CV/resume and cover letter.

Remote collaboration is possible!

Our team is global.

Finding the best candidates to join Keen Software House means exploring every possible solution, including remote work. While we strive to provide team members with the best possible work-life balance here in Prague at our incredible Oranzerie offices, we understand that it is not always possible to transition, therefore we are very remote friendly. Here’s a map of where our teammates live.

 

Thank you for reading this blog!

 

Best,
Marek Rosa
CEO, Creative Director, Founder at Keen Software House
CEO, CTO, Founder at GoodAI

 

For more news:
Space Engineers: www.SpaceEngineersGame.com
Keen Software House: www.keenswh.com
Vrage Engine: www.keenswh.com/vrage/
Medieval Engineers: www.MedievalEngineers.com
GoodAI: www.GoodAI.com
General AI Challenge: www.General-AI-Challenge.org

 

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 its best-seller Space Engineers (4 million copies sold). Both companies are based in Prague, Czech Republic.

Marek has been interested in artificial intelligence since childhood. He 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.

GoodAI was founded in January 2014, with a $10 Million investment from Marek, it now has over 30 research scientists, engineers, and consultants working across its divisions.

At this time, Marek is developing Space Engineers, as well as leading daily research and development on recursive self-improvement based general AI architecture - Badger.

Monday, April 25, 2022

VRAGE: Volumetric Water

 SUMMARY:

  • Research on our new VRAGE 3 engine has started
  • VRAGE Water
    • Planetary scale (or small pond)
    • Volumetric 3D (no 2D plane or height field)
    • Flow simulation, arbitrary gravity
    • Buoyancy, pressure, surface tension and more
  • Overview of existing technologies 
  • Examples of work-in-progress experiments & next steps


Guest post by Petr Minařík, Senior Lead Programmer at Keen Software House

Hello, Engineers!

VRAGE™ is an in-house game engine developed by Keen Software House. VRAGE stands for “volumetric rage” and/or “voxel rage”.

VRAGE’s core feature is volumetricity within the environment. Volumetric objects are structures composed from block-like modules interlocked in a grid.

Volumetric objects behave like real physical objects with mass, inertia and velocity. Individual modules have real volume and storage capacity and can be assembled, disassembled, deformed and destroyed.

For our next generation of the VRAGE engine (VRAGE 3.0) we have started research of water and its simulation. Our expectation is that water will become a major part of available gameplay features in our future games. Our current research goal is to support the realistic behavior of volumetric water, while maintaining good performance and visual quality.

For a more detailed look at our research on VRAGE “Volumetric Water”, please watch the video below:


Feature requirements

Any kind of simplification like plane or sphere approximation is a no go for us. Any simplification like that reduces player possibilities of interactivity.

Volumetric water must be simulated with all possible natural phenomena, on planetary scale, creating flows like rivers and waterfalls, all while still being interactive and allowing players to to fully interact with and manipulate it.

These are the features we consider as a top priority:

  • Volumetricity - fully 3D simulation, no 2D planes or height fields
  • Flow simulation - with an arbitrary gravity, throughput based on hole size, mass conservation
  • Buoyancy - Archimedes principle, hole detection, ship sailing
  • Scale - from a small pond to a water planet
  • Pressure - level equalization, high hydrostatic pressure at high depths
  • Surface tension - water creates globules in zero gravity

There are many features we might consider, like air pressure simulation, inner flows, vortices, viscosity, water color, gas / air tightness, lava, acids, moving sands, siphoning, AI simulation, and many others.

Existing technologies

There are basically two main approaches used for liquid/fluid simulation. Both of them attempt to simulate water based on famous Navier-Stokes equations describing flow of incompressible liquids.

Smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH)

Based on simulation of a high amount of small particles. By their interaction with each other the effect of flowing liquid is created.

Source: Github - SPlisHSPlasH

Pros:
  • Physical behavior (velocity, gravity, collisions)
  • Realistic visuals
  • Lots of existing GPU implementations
  • Better suited for exact simulations

Cons:
  • Computationally extensive
  • Unstable - more sensitive attributes
  • Difficult to scale
  • Surface tracking



Cellular automatas (CA)

Grid based simulation where there is a mass and physical properties in every cell. Every cell interacts with its direct neighbors and this creates the effect of a “flow”. 

Source:.jgallant - 2d-liquid-simulator-with-cellular-automaton-in-unity

Pros:
  • Fast & simple, stable
  • Easy to parallelize
  • Already used in games (Minecraft, Ylands)

Cons:
  • Axis aligned - Water surface & vertical gravity immutable
  • Sand like issues - “Water piling”
  • Complicated collisions with dynamic objects


Combinations of particle and grid based approach

Unfortunately, all the above research tends to simulate either fast limited fluids, or slow high-quality simulations. Although they look great, they focus on offline rendering (movies, static images) and a limited scale of simulation (basins, aquariums). Large scale simulations are simulated with approximation approaches like height cells or shallow water simulation. 
  • PIC - Particle in cell
  • FLIP - Fluid implicit particle
  • MAC - Marker and cell grid
  • MLS MPM - Moving Least Squares Material Point Method
Source: Redsharknews

Source: UCLA Mathematics

VRAGE Water - Our solution

We would like to present you our solution, which is based on ongoing research and prototypes we have created. It is far from a final implementation but it already contains some expected behavior and it is even fun to play with.

Combination of particle and grid based approach

We use Center of mass (COM) in every cell, which can also be seen as one particle per cell. These are main properties of our system:
  • Grid based simulation
  • Velocity introduced to the cells to increase realism
  • Center of mass (COM) introduced to avoid unwanted diffusion
  • Compatible with voxel approach used in current VRAGE engine 

Every cell has these physical properties:
  • Mass
  • Velocity (calculated from forces)
  • Center of mass (COM)
We found this technique to be so far the great compromise between features we need and a performance of the algorithm.

Example: Cells with indicated center of mass and velocity

Fluid simulation forced to behave as liquid

These principles are similar to those used in fluid simulation. We use proper forces to keep the “fluid” liquid and simulate water behaviors.
  • Gravity + tension forces can keep the fluid in a liquid state
  • Pressure forces adjust water compression (Water Pressure)
  • Surface tension to create nice globules
  • Constant expansion/diffusion. If not limited, liquid can spread around.
  • No maximum mass cell limit

To be able to correctly simulate surface equalization with pressure, we had to make our water compressible. That means the deeper the cell is, more water is stored in the cell.

Basic algorithm steps

First cell velocities are calculated from forces applied to cells. Then an advection step is executed where diffusion for every cell is applied. After these calculations, new values are copied to the content buffer.


VRAGE Water - Forces

To simulate the basic natural phenomenons we use these forces:
  • Gravity 
  • Pressure
  • Surface tension
There is an indefinite amount of other forces possible, like friction/viscosity, thruster forces, wind, pumps, turbines.. Each of them adds more immersivity and natural behavior to the water, on the other hand it increases the performance cost of the algorithm.

Example: Interaction with mouse cursor - attracting and distracting force

Gravity

Gravity is a point centric force with different direction per cell. We need to consider all special cases which can appear in our games, thus our requirements for gravity are very similar to natural force.
  • Gravity is dynamic and is different at different positions in the world
  • It is non-linear and not aligned to any axis
  • There can be no gravity at all
  • Gravity center can be inside of a water pool
Example: Water follows gravity center and creates a globule around it

Example: Velocities aligned along gravity force

Pressure

Pressure force determines water volume distribution, it tries to keep the amount of water in every cell the same. The result of this force is that water is not squeezed into several cells and it fills empty spaces much quicker, including situations like U-bend etc.
  • Pressure distributes liquid in cells to keep same threshold
  • Pressure helps liquid to get into places where water should naturally flow
  • If there is no pressure, all water is compressed into several cells
  • This force is not a hydrostatic pressure
  • Air pressure is not considered
  • Our water is compressible
    • + it gets to proper level very fast
    • - it takes a huge amount of water in depth
Example: Water equalization in an U-bend

Surface tension

Surface tension is a force pushing against the water surface to keep the water in the globule shape. This effect is the most visible in zero gravity, where it creates nice dynamic blobs.

Source: NASA

With surface tension the behavior can sometimes also mimic water blobs on the window glass.

Example: Surface tension creating globules in zero gravity

Example: Velocities aligned to surface tension force

VRAGE Water - Diffusion

Thanks to grid based algorithm it is very easy to find neighbors to every cell. Every iteration the water is spread to these neighbors by an amount given by diffusion radius. With diffusion we can easily simulate phenomenons like mist, steam or gas. The principles of diffusion are:

4 Directions (Up, Down, Left, Right)
If not limited, water always evaporates into mist
Expansion only to direct neighbors
Amount is determined by diffusion radius

Example: Diffusion with no velocity

The spread area center is given by COM and the cell velocity, where COM is the start of the vector and the end of the vector is the center of diffusion area.

Example: Diffusion with velocity

Example: Water drop expands to empty area, as no forces are applied

VRAGE Water - Work in progress

All presented content is work in progress and subject to change. Currently our goal is to scale up water simulation to planetary level. For the prototype we use accelerated octree structure for solids and manual level of details (LOD) for the water.

Example: Comparison scale on planetary level

Example: Manula water LOD switching

During the development there are also some unexpected situations where you introduce not planned behavior. Check out the most interesting ones!

Example: Viscous water - lava, honey, melted iron...

Example: Boiling water

VRAGE Water - Next steps

We continue improving large scale water simulation, which includes more sophisticated methods of LOD switching, arbitrary grid resolution etc. It is possible to combine more water optimization techniques together. Next priorities for us are:
  • Lodding, large scale simulation, concealment
  • Surface generation / marching cubes
  • Buoyancy
  • Moving to 3D space

Follow our social media to get the latest news!

We are always impressed by the innovation of our modding community! We would like to thank the Space Engineers community for continuing to inspire us through their ideas, suggestions, and hard work.

Hiring

If you’re interested in working on awesome games like Space Engineers, we’d love to hear from you!
Check out the open positions at Keen Software House and don’t forget to send us your English CV/resume and cover letter.

Remote collaboration is possible!

Our team is global.

Finding the best candidates to join Keen Software House means exploring every possible solution, including remote work. While we strive to provide team members with the best possible work-life balance here in Prague at our incredible Oranzerie offices, we understand that it is not always possible to transition, therefore we are very remote friendly. Here’s a map of where our teammates live.

 

Thank you for reading this blog!


Best,
Petr Minařík
Lead Programmer at Keen Software House


For more news:
Vrage Engine: www.keenswh.com/vrage/
Space Engineers: www.SpaceEngineersGame.com
Keen Software House: www.keenswh.com
Medieval Engineers: www.MedievalEngineers.com
GoodAI: www.GoodAI.com
General AI Challenge: www.General-AI-Challenge.org


Personal bio:

Petr Minařík is lead programmer at Keen Software House, an independent game development studio best known for its best-seller Space Engineers (over 4 million copies sold). Petr is a former leader of the team who successfully developed and released Space Engineers, and who developed the most important parts of its codebase.
 
Petr has been interested in programming since his childhood, when he earned money by gathering old paper and bought Didaktik Gama, national clone of ZX Spectrum. He spent three years in 2K Czech working on Mafia 2 at various programming positions until the game was released. Then he started to work in Keen Software House with Marek Rosa on his game Miner Wars and during the last 11 years he has helped make Space Engineers unforgettable and the company famous. Petr loves solving challenging problems, especially those which everyone says it is impossible to solve.
 
At this time, Petr is working on the next generation of VRAGE engine, focused on liquid and fluid simulation.