Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Space Engineers: Airtightness & In-game Help

SUMMARY:
  • 5-year anniversary of Space Engineers released on Early Access!
  • New in-game help - for better onboarding of new players
  • Major overhaul of airtightness and oxygen
  • Major overhaul of asteroid clusters
  • Good.bot - an AI chatbot from our sister company GoodAI Applied
  • Relative inertial dampeners
  • Support for mods bigger than 2GB
  • Many features moved out of experimental mode -> becoming official features


Hello, Engineers!

It’s time for another major update! Coincidentally, it’s also the fifth anniversary of Space Engineers being released in Early Access! A MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has supported us since we launched the game and welcome to all of the new Engineers.

I’m happy to share a lot of exciting news and updates about several things we’ve been working on during the past three months. This update is much bigger than I expected and is focusing on better player experience and it’s also addressing a lot of requests we received from you, our great community! Without any further delay, here are the things we’re bringing you.


New In-Game Help

Space Engineers is a very complex game, and we understand that it can be quite difficult for new players to learn how to play it. To smooth this learning curve, we’ve worked on the new in-game help and contextual text which explain basic functionality, features and provides descriptions about blocks and tools. For example, after a new player selects a block for the first time, in-game help text will appear on the screen via Good.bot, and teach the player the basics of building. Once the player has successfully completed these basic building tasks, the in-game help text will disappear. We have designed more than 30 simple objectives. Additionally, players will be able to access in-game help in multiplayer by asking Good.bot questions through typed messages. I hope you will find it useful and easy to use, as we’re trying to make Space Engineers more enjoyable for everyone.


The reason we are adding in-game help now is due to the fact we wanted to make sure that the game features are finished, fully tested and fine-tuned before we start adding in-game help for them. It also takes time to align features into our long-term vision for Space Engineers, because as you know, we change things here and there from time to time :) And the in-game help was one of the steps that needed to happen once we were happy with what we have in the game.

Airtightness

Airtightness has been the top voted and the most frequently discussed feature at our Space Engineers support site. With several additions, performance improvements and adjustments to this feature, we are making it an official, fully developed, tested and optimized part of the game. With that, we are of course moving it out of the experimental mode.


We also introduce some small features and rebalances to complement the renewed airtightness.


Your suit oxygen will now automatically refill whenever you are in oxygenated environment. This means that your suit will replenish oxygen when the player enters a pressurized environment or while dwelling on a planet with a breathable atmosphere.

This was done to give more incentives to preparation, building pressurized environments and to generally let oxygen be a more significant and exciting game play element then it used to be.

Asteroid Clusters

Another feature we are adding into the game are naturally generated asteroid clusters, which were part of our game roadmap! Asteroids will now spawn either as lone asteroids or together in clusters. This was done to get more varied results and create unique environments for players to explore and settle in. We are adding more than 100 types of asteroids. Fractal generated asteroids have been replaced with prefab asteroids, which go through a add / subtract merge generator to alter their shapes by creating caverns and adding debris. 51 new prefab asteroids have been added to ensure variety and many asteroids are now riddled with naturally occurring caves and tunnels.

New asteroids are implemented for all new games since the release date. Old, saved games will not have this feature enabled.

No more space donuts!



Good.bot

We’d like to welcome our new AI friend, Good.bot to Space Engineers! Good.bot will help with answering basic questions about the game, such as queries regarding blocks, tools, resources and movement in Space Engineers. We have fine-tuned Good.bot’s knowledge of the game and we will continue to improve its ability to help answer players’ questions and offer hints and tips to make them proficient Engineers. We hope that this will improve your overall experience with Space Engineers.

Good.bot has been developed in our sister company GoodAI Applied --- which is also a sister company of our another sister company GoodAI 😉 --- and is currently being deployed in many banks and telco operators around the globe.


Relative Inertial Dampeners

We have reworked the functionality of relative inertial dampeners. Now, with the updated relative dampeners, you will keep the same speed as the speed of the moving grid you’re connected to. This helps especially in cases when you’re working on a moving ship, or an asteroid, so you don’t need to manually adjust your dampeners.


Other new features to check out

Support for Mods bigger than 2GB: in cooperation with one of our very active modders, Sektan, we have changed the size of the mods which can be downloaded from the Steam Workshop. Now you can enjoy huge worlds and creations which were not possible to be downloaded before. This also opens the doors for all moders to unleash their creativity and upload crazy things currently gathering dust in their drawers :)

Render Optimization:
our team also worked on some interesting render optimizations. The campaign performance improvements include better threading, voxel peaks optimization and the improvements of occlusion culling. We have discovered special paths in execution that can be compressed and done with less computation. This process is always incremental, basically you add optimizations on top of your existing optimizations, always trying to get more out of your hardware. We have  achieved significant performance improvements that you’ll be able to experience in the game. I’d like to mention:
  • Incremental culling which was improved by up to +15% 
  • Occlusion culling in shadow cascades up to +25% 
  • Regression of Red Ship rendering improved by up to +60% 
  • Skip unused shadow cascades was improved by up to +270% (2,7x)

i5 @ 3,2GHz, 4 cores Before After
Mission 4 7,8ms 3,14ms (248%)
16 Red ships, flying 27,8ms 11,1ms (250%)
16 Red ships, inside 30,3ms 2,75ms (1100%)

Moved from experimental mode:
After the last major release (Major Overhaul of Multiplayer, July 2018) we have received a lot of questions and requests to move some game features from the experimental mode. I’m happy to share with you several features we’re moving from experimental mode, and they are becoming official game features. These are:
  • Lobby
  • Realistic sounds
  • Workshop worlds
  • FOV slider being available in safe mode

What’s next?

I have already mentioned our plans in the Multiplayer overhaul blog post and I will repeat it here. With this release - we have updated the game to be more accessible for new and existing players (user intuitiveness). The next release for Space Engineers is going to focus on balancing and consolidating various game systems (how you respawn, resources, etc). We still believe there can be other things accomplished, but this is only the beginning of our work in this area.

Space Engineers has been in early access for five years now; we know it’s time to get the game out. We are very close. We want to make sure that the game will be fantastic when it goes out of early access.

As Space Engineers nears the completion of its first installment, we are focusing on polishing, optimizing and fixing existing features.

This first installment of Space Engineers was always about bringing up the building blocks in order to lay down the structure for physical volumetric engineering in an open world and open ended setting - player sets his/her own challenges and objectives. We are basically there. The next steps that will come in future installments, will focus on other aspects of gameplay, new game modes, new challenges and objectives, as well as pushing the technology further.

In the long-term, we plan to extend the game and the whole engineering genre into new pioneering directions - just like we did in October 2013 and since then. However, this is still far off and too soon to talk about it now.

Feedback & Bug Reports

If you have any questions or requests, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will do our best to solve your issues. Our Community Manager, Jesse Baule, will address all your questions and comments as quickly as possible. Feel free to use our support portal: https://support.keenswh.com/

Conclusion

The same as with many our previous major releases, I am super happy with the work our team has done and super excited to share it with you all!

I would like to thank everyone who stood with us patiently for all these years, who kept supporting Space Engineers, who helped with public tests, modders, YouTubers, people running their dedicated servers, people creating new content, people who helped other players to get into Space Engineers and people who believed in our team.

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

Thank you for reading and we look forward to hearing your feedback on this update. For full list of new features and improvements continue to the full update changelog.

We would be also very happy if you can submit your feedback at our Space Engineers Steam store page and encourage us to do better. We welcome both positive and negative comments, as it helps us to create a better game for you!
https://store.steampowered.com/app/244850/Space_Engineers/

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

For more news:
Space Engineers: www.SpaceEngineersGame.com
Medieval Engineers: www.MedievalEngineers.com
General AI Challenge: www.General-AI-Challenge.org
AI Roadmap Institute: www.RoadmapInstitute.org
GoodAI: www.GoodAI.com
Keen Software House: www.keenswh.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 (2.5mil+ 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 started in January 2014 and has over 30 research scientists, engineers and consultants working across its Research and Applied teams.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Reflections on the Human-Level AI Conference 2018

SUMMARY

  • This month GoodAI organized the Human-Level AI Conference in Prague. 
  • Over 500 people attended to see over 40 speakers. 
  • I met some great people and had some excellent discussions and would like to thank everyone involved.


GoodAI team, conference chair Tarek Besold and the AI Safety panel share the stage at the end of the conference.

This month over 500 people attended the Human-Level AI Conference in Prague, which was organised by the team at GoodAI. The attendees got the opportunity to see over 40 experts in the AI field covering a wide range of topics.

The conference was a combination of three established conferences AGI, BICA and NeSy, as well as an extra Future of AI Track aimed at a wider audience.

The range of issues discussed was extremely impressive, from detailed research on human-level AI to issues such as AI safety, societal impacts and investment.

The conference truly exceeded my expectations. The quality of the keynote talks was fantastic, the media coverage (see a few examples in Czech and English below) was extremely wide and the atmosphere was very warm and welcoming. Both participants and speakers seemed to enjoy themselves very much! 

Dileep George (Vicarious) delivering a keynote at HLAI 2018
One of the highlights for me was welcoming the finalists of our Solving the AI Race round of the General AI Challenge to take part in the AI Race and Societal Impacts panel. You can read about some of the discussions surrounding whether to publish an evil AI in Futurism


One of the things that made the sessions, and the conference as a whole, so interesting was the diverse group of contributors sharing their different approaches to general AI or human-level AI. We had representatives from some of the top tech companies (Microsoft, Google DeepMind, Uber AI Labs, Facebook AI Research and more), from the top global academic institutes (University of Cambridge, Harvard, John Hopkins, University of New York, UCL and more), from international organisations (United Nations, DARPA, Aspen Institute and more) and from exciting private sector organisations (ARAYA, Vicarious, SingularityNET, Zeroth.AI to name a few).


It was this diversity and representation from across the world that added real value to the lively discussions. However, it was not just in the official sessions that I found such thought-provoking people. We were lucky to have a brilliant selection of volunteers helping us coordinate the conference and the participants too were extremely interesting. I had many fascinating conversations and my only regret is that I did not have time to talk more with all of our friends and participants.

The Investing in AGI panel
Throughout the conference I felt like I was constantly exchanging ideas and learning, from the sessions and the social activities. It was inspirational to see so many people with a genuine interest in general AI / human-level AI.

AI enthusiasts enjoying Hybernia Theatre

I would like to send a huge thank you out to everyone involved in this conference. I would like to thank my team at GoodAI, especially Olga Afanasjeva, Daria Hvizdalova, Will Millership, Marek Havrda, Tomas Strouhal and Lucie Krestova, who all worked tirelessly putting it together. My big thanks also belongs to Tarek Besold, the conference chair, who did an excellent job of making people feel at home. I would also like to thank the speakers who flew in from around the world, our volunteers, our sponsors, community partners and media partners, everyone at AGI, BICA and NeSy, and finally all the AI enthusiasts who visited the conference!


You can now watch all keynotes and AGI sessions as well as a selection of videos from the AI Race & Societal Impacts session.

Thanks for reading,

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

For more news:

Space Engineers: www.SpaceEngineersGame.com
Medieval Engineers: www.MedievalEngineers.com
General AI Challenge: www.General-AI-Challenge.org
AI Roadmap Institute: www.RoadmapInstitute.org
GoodAI: www.GoodAI.com
Keen Software House: www.keenswh.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 (2.5mil+ 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. 



GoodAI started in January 2014 and has grown to an international team of 20 researchers. At this time, Marek is developing both Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers as well as daily research and development on recursive self-improvement based general AI architecture.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Medieval Engineers Update 0.6.4: Major Overhaul of Combat


SUMMARY:
  • Major Combat Overhaul
  • HUD and Chat Improvements
  • New Sounds and Environmental Ambience


Hello, Engineers!

Medieval history has countless examples of conflict and war. For this reason, combat has always been part of my plan for Medieval Engineers. In this update, we are creating combat mechanics to make fighting more intense and exciting for players. In the future, we will polish it even further with the introduction of more decals and enticing particle effects!



Improved Combat System


I want to start talking about the combat system by saying there are a few core ideas that are driving our design.

“Combat shouldn’t take away from engineering.”
This is the primary idea that is reinforced by all of the other ideas. I see engineering as the core of our gameplay because it’s what makes engineers games different from similar games.

“Combat should be easy to learn.”
There shouldn’t be new controls, purposefully difficult timings, or combination moves to make fighting harder than it has to be. You should understand it well enough after only a few minutes of practice.

“Combat should rely mostly on skill to win.”

Winning should always be possible if you are more skilled than your opponent.

“Combat should be short.”
You shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time on combat if you don’t want to.

The only advantages that you can bring into combat are better equipment and more health.


The combat system is still based on attacking and blocking but it is enhanced to provide a greater variety of attacks and blocks. There are three zones around each character that can be attacked and defended, which creates a directional approach to combat. There are two kinds of attack: standard and charged. Charged attacks are more powerful than standard ones but they are also slower because you have to spend time charging them. You can defend two of your zones at once using a shield. This makes defense easier, but shields take damage quickly and they can block your vision of the enemy...


Combat makes use of the stats system introduced in our last update. Attacking or successfully blocking will use stamina similar to how it did before, but now there is an additional adrenaline effect. When you are fighting you will hear your heart beating and your vision will narrow. This is the adrenaline effect which makes your attacks and blocks faster than usual. If you build up more adrenaline than your enemy you will be faster, but it will fade quickly if there’s a break in the fight.

The part of combat that makes zones possible is target-locking. Since our goal was to keep the controls simple there is no button to lock onto a target. Equipping a weapon, attacking someone, or being attacked will cause you to go into a combat mode. In this combat mode you will be able to lock onto anyone you look at. This is a ‘soft lock’, meaning that you can break it easily by looking away or by moving out of range. While you are locked your character and camera will track the enemy and you will be able to aim attacks and blocks. You can also strafe to the left and the right and remain locked onto your target.


HUD and Chat Improvements

All of these combat changes touch on many other parts of the game, which we have been improving at the same time. Our barbarian AI had to be updated to use the combat system, so we took the opportunity to streamline the barbarian behavior. They now focus much more on players and less on attacking blocks. You will want to make sure that you protect your spawn points because the barbarians won’t give up.

Parts of the HUD are being updated to display the new combat reticle. I want the HUD to look good and be easy to read, so we are also updating the quest and chat displays with larger text and dark backgrounds to to make them easier to read. The chat is also being upgraded with a movable and resizable window, a scrollable history, and new channels for local, house, and private messages.


...and more!

I’m always paying attention to how the game looks and feels, which is why I wanted new combat animations and sounds. While we were making them we had to develop some new options for our animation controller and some new ways to define how sounds are used. This gave us the foundation we need so that we can add environmental-based sounds and music. This means biome-specific background sounds and even combat music!

We are giving you additional features for server admins, things like a remote API to monitor your servers similar to the one in Space Engineers, chat logging and offline chat to keep up with players, and a message of the day to announce rules and events.  For modders we have updates to subparts, new definitions for biomes, and updated entity effects. The new chat channels are moddable and all of the new combat related features are available for use in your mods.

List of New Features:
  • New combat system
  • Resources rebalanced for faster gathering and building
  • HUD improvements for chat and readability
  • Toolbar behavior improvements
For Modders:
  • Updated subpart system
  • New biome definition format
  • New chat system with moddable channels
  • New entity effects
For Server Admins:
  • Message of the Day
  • Chat logging
  • Remote API and VRage Remote Client
Read the full list of new features at http://news.medievalengineers.com/update_0_6_4/patch_0
Purchase your copy

New Support Community

We welcome all feedback from our community and that’s why we have decided to launch a new support portal. This is where you can provide feedback and find support for all our games in one place. The portal should be a single destination for all your ideas, issues, and technical support needs. You can find it at: https://support.keenswh.com/


Medieval Engineers is still in development. Everything in the game is subject to change.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/244850/Space_Engineers/

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

For more news:
Space Engineers: www.SpaceEngineersGame.com
Medieval Engineers: www.MedievalEngineers.com
General AI Challenge: www.General-AI-Challenge.org
AI Roadmap Institute: www.RoadmapInstitute.org
GoodAI: www.GoodAI.com
Keen Software House: www.keenswh.com

Personal bio:
Marek Rosa is the CEO and CTO of GoodAI, a general artificial intelligence company, and the CEO and founder of Keen Software House, an independent game development studio best known for their best-seller Space Engineers (2.5mil+ 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.

GoodAI started in January 2014 and has grown to an international team of 20 researchers. At this time, Marek is developing both Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers as well as daily research and development on recursive self-improvement based general AI architecture.