Today’s “survival mode” update is the biggest since Space Engineers launched on Early Access. Even the multi-player update didn’t bring so many changes.
We chose to name it “survival mode” and not “realistic mode” as we originally planned. Everyone seems to have a good understanding of “survival games” these days – it’s a common term for describing a gameplay mode where players have to harvest and process resources, craft and build things and watch their stats to survive.
Survival mode comes in three variants:
Differences between creative mode and survival mode:
Block integrity – this parameter defines the level of completeness or damage of a block
Blocks are built from layers of components – each component is installed on top of the previous component.
When building a block (using welder) – you are actually adding components to block and welding them together – which increases block’s integrity as well.
When deconstructing a block (using grinder) – you are actually separating components, layer by layer, and putting them to your backpack, therefore the integrity decreases (it can get decreased by damage as well, e.g. explosions, collisions, etc.) Please note that non-armor blocks don’t display damage yet – if they get zero integrity they just disappear.
When block integrity drops under a certain level (each type of block has a different threshold), the block will stop functioning. Blocks that have a computer component usually stop working once integrity gets below the computer layer. Another example is reactor – it wouldn’t do its reactor-job if it had only one steel plate installed and 5% integrity.
Damaged components are turned to scrap metal, which can be recycled in the refinery to iron ingots. Last-moment change: please note that this will be added in a later update, we didn’t make it for the first survival update.
Last-moment change: block repairs may not be very intuitive in this first version of survival – if you don’t see a block damaged or deformed and only its internal parameter “Integrity” is bellow 100%, you may easily miss it. We are working on this.
There’s a limit on how many freely floating objects are allowed in the world (ingots, components, ore, etc.). When the limit is reached, the game will erase the “oldest object” – like a FIFO buffer. I understand that some of you will not like this but every object requires physics calculations and if we allow infinite numbers, your computers wouldn’t be able to simulate the game. On the bright side, there’s a new parameter in the “Custom World” screen where you can set this limit up to 1024. This limit doesn’t apply to asteroids and grids (ships and stations). Also, items in your inventory and cargo containers won’t get removed as well.
Thrusters now inflict damage on objects (your days of thrusters installed one behind another are over!). Though, the effective distance of damage is limited, so you can still put thrusters inside interiors – if you leave some empty space in the discharge area. Last-moment change: please note that this will be added in a later update, we didn’t make it for the first survival update.
Hand drill has a low-distance ore detector which is activated every time you use it. Medium-distance ore detector is available on your small ship (as a distinct block type) and long-distance detector on large ships.
The “Toolbar Config” screen now shows what components are required to build each type of block.
We have modified the world generator code to produce higher amounts of iron ore – it’s more realistic and also block components are made mostly from iron.
Inserting a new object into the world has been reworked as well. For example now when you click on “New Small Ship”, the game will display a landing gear positioned in front of you (it moves as you move). If you move it close to some other surface, magnets will snap and the landing gear will get attached. This small change should improve the process of building new ships – they will appear more solid and will not fly away in case you suddenly bump to them.
There’s no oxygen, food or water. Your engineer has only two stats: energy and health. We have chosen this direction because we believe that Space Engineers should be about the things you create and not about your body functions.
I enjoy playing the survival mode very much – the building process feels natural and rewarding. Sounds are not final yet, but they already emphasize the process. I hope you will like it too.
The development of survival mode started at the end of summer 2013 (you can see the welder in our first Space Engineers trailer). We kept working on it alongside with other features such as multi-player and all those weekly updates.
We have approx. 300 new 3D models because each block needs 2 to 7 models for its construction phases, there are small and large blocks and we needed floating objects such as components, ingots, ore, etc.
We produced some new animations as well: welding, grinding, etc.
We decided to finish multi-player first and only then do the finishing touches on survival, mostly because multi-player is a feature that spans throughout the whole source code, every little thing has to be considered in terms of network synchronization, packet updates and authority.
The development of survival mode will continue and it’s the area where we will focus our attention in the upcoming weeks. We need to polish it, make it more intuitive and easier to use. We wanted to release it rather sooner than later, so we can play-test and balance it together with you. Please let us know what you think – what parts are annoying and boring, what parts are hard to understand and last but not least: what do you enjoy.
Once this first phase of survival mode is completed, we will work on dedicated server support, factions (very needed for survival multi-player!), wireless communications, etc.
You can find all our previous updates at http://forums.keenswh.com/?forum=326211
We can’t reply to every comment, but I can assure you that we try to read as much as possible and your comments will influence how Space Engineers develops.
Warning: Space Engineers is still in development. Everything in the game is subject to change.