Thursday, February 14, 2019

Medieval Engineers: Update 0.7.1 - Major Overhaul of Audio, Visuals, & Blocks


Hello, Engineers!
We’re thrilled to announce that the 0.7 update has arrived and it’s filled to the brim with tons of exciting new features and enhancements! Whether you’re looking for updated block visuals, new blueprint building in survival, improvements to multiplayer or modding tools, there are plenty of fantastic new additions to experience in Medieval Engineers!

We are extremely proud of the work that has gone into the design of 0.7. The models -- and many aspects of building in the game -- have been redesigned from the ground up. Today we unveil this, and leave 0.6 behind. We recognize that with such a huge change, there will still be bugs, errors, imbalances. But given that Medieval Engineers is still in Early Access, we wanted you to jump in, see how it works, and help find the things that don't work right. If it ever becomes too much, you can switch back to the stable 0.6 branch as always!


WHAT HAVE WE UPDATED?

Block Visuals:
We have remodeled and retextured almost everything when it comes to blocks. You’ll notice that there are no longer any hard edges. We have introduced parallax shading to bring more depth to the blocks without increasing the triangle count, ensuring the performance does not degrade. Additionally, we re-added some old blocks that got lost (wall with double-window with a pillar, etc.).


Updated Trees:
The trees in Medieval Engineers also got a makeover. There are new pines, new spruces, and oak trees!
Tree cutting has also been tweaked, so go check out those new oaks and don’t forget to yell timber when you cut them down! ;)


Female Engineer:
The female engineer is looking better than ever, as we’ve incorporated some of the features from the Space Engineers female engineer. Likewise, her body proportions look much more realistic.



Grids:
The grids in Medieval Engineers have received a lot of updates, as we overhauled the entire grid codebase, removed multiblocks, optimized adding and removing blocks (grid splits and merges) on very large grids, simplified many systems, fixed small grids not sticking to large grids, improved block placement along with structural integrity and stabilized physical constraints (ropes, catch blocks, etc.).


MULTIPLAYER
We have upgraded the multiplayer behavior, especially with regards to the grids, to ensure they are sent over the network quicker, and fully connected, to prevent grid desynchronization, ropes getting cut, and other horrible scenarios that would cause clients to freak out. Serialization is now much faster in multiplayer. There is also better entity grouping to ensure grids load in together, which combined with lots of minor fixes, should significantly improve bandwidth.

WHAT’S NEW?

Blueprint Building to Survival:
With the simple click of a button and a few swings with your trusty mallet, players can now add large buildings, such as castles to a survival world, as well as small constructions, including catapults, which are ready for action! Plus ropes and connections are now saved in blueprints. Blueprints now automatically store, and display, which mods are required, so you can always see what you may be missing when you place a blueprint. It also checks for research, shows you the resources needed to build it, and provides an easy way to check your progress. You can now work together with your friends in building your town!


World Chunking
World chunking is a new system that unloads objects that are very far from players. By doing this, we managed to vastly accelerate world loads, particularly for really large worlds. Dedicated servers should also see a reduction in memory usage. On top of this, it removed the need for abandoned grid decay, abandoned grids are usually not loaded into the scene, and thus do not consume any performance anymore. You can go explore servers and discover all kinds of ruins and structures left behind by people!
This vastly accelerates world loads, saves and unloads entities that have no players nearby, thereby reducing memory usage and performance loading. It also removes the need for abandoned grid decay; abandoned grids no longer take up any performance.

WHAT HAVE WE OVERHAULED?

GUI:
Be sure to check out the new main menu, blueprints screen, crafting screen and medieval master screen. Every other aspect of GUI has been retouched to fit this new style for the game. It’s not only visual, every screen also had careful thought put into it about what we want to show, in order to improve the flow of user interaction.


Audio:
Medieval Engineers has never sounded so good! Lots of places that were missing sound now have sounds. We also improved the sound quality in many instances, and we added effects and filters, such as reverb and low-pass filters.

NEW ENGINE FEATURES:
Under “the hood” of Medieval Engineers, there are rendering Performance improvements and GPU particles. There are also better visuals for sunsets and sunrises, and improved logging behavior to help us catch more bugs.

FOR MODDERS
For our amazing community of modders, we have a nice list of new tools for you:
-Crafting system refactored to support world chunking and more, see this guide for more info:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SmAHtGy1YwGOt6XF9SOSooIimcZQnFt4aamiZA-RK5U/
-ModAPI dialogs
-Dynamic environment system access
-Added support for underground and inside checks to environment rules
-Programmable animation layers (thanks to Equinox)
-Navigation mesh session component (thanks to Equinox)
-Seedbags now support seeding on non-farming voxels and can plant non-farmable items.
While we are working out the kinks in 0.7, it may be worth creating 0.6-based copies of your mod so servers that want to remain on 0.6 for a while longer are able to continue playing without too much disruption.

OTHER NOTEWORTHY FEATURES
Last, but certainly not least, we have a voxel hand that obeys landscaping stakes. This was a highly requested feature from the community to fix trouble spots when landscaping.
We hope you enjoy all of these new additions to Medieval Engineers, as we know that we’ll enjoy seeing what you create with them. :)

Thanks for reading!

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
GoodAI Applied: https://www.goodai.com/goodai-applied

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 (3 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 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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Reflection on the First Public Test for the Major Overhaul of Survival

Hello Engineers!

As we started this year with the finalization of our next major release, the Survival overhaul, we kicked off the public tests with our community. You can see my blog post about it here: Public Tests for the Major Overhaul of Survival. The first public test ran on 17th of January, 2019 and today, I’d like to reflect back on this first test.

We have received over 1000 responses from you, our players during this first test. Taking into consideration that the test ran only for 24 hours, it’s great to see this high number. Our team has reviewed your feedback and made several important changes. Let me focus on the changes we introduced based upon the feedback we received during the first public test. These changes are already implemented in the new build, which is going to be available for tomorrow’s public test.

  • We have added shared progression in the faction so it’s more user friendly and easy to understand.
  • We have rebalanced the Hydrogen Engine and we have increased the internal hydrogen capacity.
  • The general Progression Tree has also been improved.
  • New Progression UI has been put into the game.
  • The spawn system toggle for new features has been added to the world settings.
  • We made some changes to the anti-griefing. This includes putting the rifle and 3 x magazines to all drop pods' cargos, updating the weapon shot distance (removing random distance and make better guns shoot on better range)
  • We reintroduced the ragdoll for astronaut
  • We reworked the Cargo / Encounter PCUs having its own pool and the setup in world settings
  • We worked on the overall Survival rebalance
  • We added new voxel trash removal tool for admins
  • We unified functional colors for all blocks (powered, not-powered etc.)

The second test is planned to start tomorrow, January 31st, 2019 at 10am (UTC). We are extending the testing window until Monday, February 4th, 10am (UTC), so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the new build and give us your feedback.


The main reason for running the public tests is the feedback we’d like to get. It’s crucial for us to know if the changes we made are good and if you see them as improvements. You can provide us with feedback through an in-game survey that will be available at the end of the tests. You can also provide us with any additional suggestions you may have here:
https://support.keenswh.com/spaceengineers/publictest

If you are interested in our review of 2018 and plans for 2019, you can read my recent blog post.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope you’ll enjoy new features!


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
GoodAI Applied: https://www.goodai.com/goodai-applied

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 (3 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 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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Space Engineers: Public tests for the Major Overhaul of Survival

Hello, Engineers!
Welcome to Space Engineers in 2019! A lot of new and exciting things will come to light this year.


We are starting the year with the Steam Awards 2018, where Space Engineers was nominated for the Most Fun with a Machine category. Our game was chosen out of 26,000 games on Steam (according to SteamSpy), so I’d like to say a big thank you to all of our fans, for showing your appreciation.

But more importantly, we are starting this year with the finalization of our next major release, the Survival overhaul. The Survival overhaul has been one of our top priorities, so it was specifically planned to be released after we had other key things finished. Over the last 6 years, we have carefully executed our original vision, which hasn’t changed. Moving step by step towards our vision, the survival overhaul is one of those steps. In addition to survival, many new features have been designed to help new players to be introduced to the game and are not specifically focused on existing players.

Survival overhaul is one of the biggest overhauls because until now our main priority was making sure the sandbox elements work properly. We needed to make sure that the physics are stable, multiplayer is reliable, the destruction is working, and so on. With this update, we are evolving from sandbox towards a game. This update is a real game-changer :-)

I’m happy to share that the Survival update is almost ready for release, but before it will go live, we’d like to run public tests with our community. The public tests are planned to start on the 17th of January, 2019 (which is coincidentally my 40th birthday ☺), and will continue until you, and we, are satisfied with the results. The final moment will be the official release of the Major Overhaul of Survival.

We plan to run three or more public tests and we ask you to give us candid feedback about the changes we have implemented in Space Engineers. Our team has been working on this release since July last year, so there are a number of new features, adjustments, and tweaks.

We have touched almost every survival element. There are new blocks such as the Hydrogen Engine, Wind Turbine, Survival Kit, and Small Battery being introduced into the game. I’m happy to say that they are ready for testing.


Apart from new blocks, there are other changes I’d like to highlight. We are renaming the Blast Furnace to Basic Refinery and we are adding a new spawning system, where we tried to eliminate the death traveling, which was very often misused in Space Engineers.

Spawn options will now appear for each planet in the world. New spawn ships have been made to add new challenges and players will now respawn at their last used or nearest medical room or survival kit. We will be adding a world option for those who prefer the old respawn system.

We have also added a progression tree to help new players get familiar with the game. The progression tree enables blocks in G-Screen depending on which blocks are already built. This feature is designed to prevent new players from being overwhelmed by options. The essential blocks are enabled from the start, the inaccessible blocks are greyed out. The groups of blocks can be unlocked when any of the required blocks are built by a player. The progression tree is enabled only for Survival mode, the Creative mode or space master disables progression tree.

We have also updated the planetary and asteroid voxel textures to look more realistic (ore veins and blending with surrounding material), together with trees and vegetation, rebalanced locations and quantity of resources (ore) and updated in-game help.


One specific area I’m really happy with is the introduction of new scenarios, which will give you new goals and objectives, as well as help new players learn more about the game. There are two polished scenarios, Learning to Survive and Never Surrender, which will give you some challenging tasks and I hope you’ll enjoy playing them.

Besides new scenarios, we made updates to Cargo Ships and Encounters. We are also adjusting the game advanced settings, we are improving the localization system and Steam workshop integration. Additionally, there are small updates to PCU changes, game chat, building changes, and a new voxel generation system which helps to display voxels properly and make the LOD transitions smoother.

With the new scenarios being introduced to Space engineers, the game now has new goals and challenges for players to explore. These scenarios are designed to help players progress through their Space Engineers career and challenge themselves once they feel confident enough to do so. They can be used to start new games and played repeatedly to test different strategies. These scenarios are nonlinear and how you approach them is up to you or your friends!

We have also improved the Visual Script tool, which has fresh new icons and many features have been made much more user-friendly. With the Visual Script tool, players can create their own scenarios, their own appealing goals, and share them on the Steam Workshop. All of our scenarios are created in the Visual script tool, so they can serve as great resources to learn from.

For all of the things I’ve just mentioned, you can see, that there was really a huge amount of work done by the team. The main reason for running the public tests is the feedback we’d like to get. It’s crucial for us to know if the changes we made are good and if you see them as improvements. You can provide us with feedback through an in-game survey that will be available at the end of the tests. You can also provide us with any additional suggestions you may have here:
https://support.keenswh.com/spaceengineers/general

The Survival release is going to be another huge step for Space Engineers.

If you are interested in our review of 2018 and plans for 2019, you can read my recent blog post.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope you’ll enjoy new features!

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
GoodAI Applied: https://www.goodai.com/goodai-applied 

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 (3 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 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.