June 18
Hello Engineers! I am Dusan Andras and for those who don’t know me I am the main programmer who is working on the development of the planets for Space Engineers.
So planets… This has been one of the most demanded features by the community since we released the game on Steam Early Access. Players have been asking for it constantly and we promised to deliver. My colleague Ondrej Petrzilka already shared the first batch of info in his previous blog-post and there have been lots of things implemented since then. Planets are getting even closer to release! At this moment, we are still not 100% sure when we will be able to release them, since it is one of the biggest features we have ever developed and we hope that you understand that this update needs proper testing before we add it in the game – even if they look complete and amazing in the screenshots. I would like to give you a sneak preview for each of the planet’s properties and also some nice screenshots that we took during development.

Planet size

This is always a question of FUN vs REALITY. I can imagine that many players would like to have real life-sized planets, but for the sake of gameplay, time, and engine possibilities we decided to use a 30-50 km diameter for planets and an 8-10 km diameter for moons. Yes, some generated planets could have 0-3 moons accompanying them.

This is a 50 km planet that is 50 km away from you.

This is an 8 km moon from the planet surface. You can see another planet on the horizon
More planets!

Planets and moons will have “natural” gravity that will affect ships, players and floating objects near them. The gravity will be scaled to the planet’s size and will decrease the further away you are from them.
There will be two types of atmosphere around the planet surfaces for now: one “hostile,” without any plants or life and one for “organic” planets with flora. Organic planets will have an atmosphere full of oxygen that you can breathe and supply your ships with and will have a blueish color like earth. Hostile planets will be without oxygen and with different colors of the atmosphere.
Vegetation (trees, bushes, grass)
We added new “organic” material types for planets. It’s only on planets with an oxygen atmosphere and existing flora. In the future you will be able to harvest this organic material – but probably not in the first planetary update. The flora (trees and bushes) has been borrowed from Medieval Engineers. The flora won’t be visible from space, but will appear only when the player or ship gets closer to the planet and can be configured / disabled via the world settings.

Organic planet from space
Flora at sunset
Flora during the day

To simulate the day and night cycles we decided to rotate the sun around the planets/ world. The user will be able to configure the day duration from 1 minute to 24 hours or disable the rotation to keep the current static sun.
Different day cycles from the same planet:

Station voxel support
Because of the planetary gravity, we added a new option for station grids: the Station voxel support. By enabling this option, a station will be static only when touching the voxel (one block build “inside it”). So when you cut some part of the station away it will become a dynamic object and fall.
Note: Please keep in mind that everything that has been written and presented in this blog post can be changed until this feature is released.
Thank you for reading this and we hope that you liked what you’ve seen. We can’t wait to give you planets and start playing with them!
Dusan Andras
For the latest news on our games, follow us on Facebook or on Twitter.
Space Engineers on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpaceEngineers
Space Engineers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpaceEngineersG
Medieval Engineers on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MedievalEngineers
Medieval Engineers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MedievalEng

    1. Indeed! I have one question though when it's night time do you see your skybox and when it's daytime do you see the atmosphere and cant observe anything outside of the planet?

    2. I know there trying to balance fun and reality but can you burn up entering the atmosphere. If you can't that's not Realy fair. As soon as I thought about this I started planning a space elevator. Pull a ship in, seal it up, suck out the atmosphere than launch.

    3. ''Indeed'' indeed! Rovers will have an actual use! Also, if we can explore planets, why not add easter eggs like statues, abandoned colonies, ect.

      ''we decided to rotate the sun around the planets'' how… did you managed to… compact… SUCH mass… in one planet without it falling into a singularity state… DOCTOR!!!

      – future I-//('ENGINEER')\-I

    4. Well, I'm hyped too, but the only thing that I'm disappointed with is that the moons of the planet will look like there tidally locked and in a stationary orbit at the same time because of the game being voxel based. It will kinda look odd because of that if your moving around on the planetary surface.But then again, that's just what I think will happen.

    5. will meteors burn up in the atmosphere or will we still need base defenses?? And will we ever be able t customise what type of space suits we can wear

    6. You know on tht topic if the put so much mass in one spot it would create a black hole which would be cool to see planets,stars,and astroids become black holes or even worm holes.

    7. I know this is a bit of a stupid and ignorant question ( sorry if i'm completely blind)
      but how will skyboxes from the steam workshop work exactly? like the ones with massive planets portrayed in them.

  1. awesome!!!!! next week plis! i got holidays then 6 weeks of playing on planets plis!!!

    1. I don't think they'll be able to do it THAT fast, but maybe some time during your holiday? Idk. But I think you wouldn't want a buggy update that makes your game crash every minute, do you?

    2. I would just like to know any kind of news on the Xbox One version.

  2. How will stations/etc function on a planet? Since gravity is spherical and station voxels are perfect cubes how will that translate to large structures? Will building things such as globally spanning tracks be impossible?

    1. I think they will make very very slight adjustments to the voxel grid at very close and regular intervals to that by the time the starting point and end point meet, a full circle has been made.

    2. They have made station rotation possible when placing the first block so I don't think this is a problem. The planets is kinda big

    3. Good luck with making a structure that is about 37698 blocks long (single line of blocks around a 30 km planetoid) 😉
      My guess is that the block wont wrap around, that would produce weird stuff if you build up to high or down to the core.
      Btw. you wouldn't notice a big difference until building ~2300 blocks in one direction

    4. imagine leveling dirt to build on a hill, that's basically what they do outward from the center point of the building. your station grid is not morphed, the voxels are brought up to meet the station blocks( if you use the leveling voxel hand)

    5. @ECC spherical gravity would work as it does here on Earth. By using the center of mass of the square grid to the origin of the spherical gravity field. Yes, I know it isn't 100% accurate but it is close enough. As to a straight verses curved surface,the station would separate from the surface. Which would cause a couple of things like structural integrity to fail on really long creations, and for people to break their designs into smaller settlements.

    6. I was wondering the same thing.

      It's not just about gravity, or building stations that would circle the planet, but about how the blocks orient to different parts of the planet. If tried to build a block at 45 degrees latitude, would my station be at a 45 degree angle compared to the ground?

      When the whole universe is defined via a Cartesian grid, how do you make specific regions of that grid have a spherical coordinate system.

    1. I think they said that there will be (not positive!!!!). I do know they said they needed to add 5-10 more engines to the "Red" ship to get out of orbit, so there's definitely something going on.

    2. That would be so awesome!! But you also have to think, it would be useless to have entry/re-entry heating if the normal armor blocks could stand up to that kind of heat. They would also have to add wings and some way of making rotors less bugy, because someone will definitely make fold out wings on their ship. Some people might say," re-entry heating is for the people who put reactors, and other things like that on the outside of their ships", well if that is so, I can see a game breaking problem, you could just fly a ginormous war ship into the atmosphere with no negative effects at all, so for re-entry heating (if they do implement it) there will need to be specialized blocks, like on the actual space shuttles. The real life space shuttles use specialized heavy duty ceramic tiles on their space planes/ shuttles to disperse the heat efficiently, so if KeenSWH does implement it, ore grade will also probably be implemented as well, because the tiles only work because of the pure material they are made out of.

      ( sorry about the long reply, i love this type of thing :D)

    3. The only reason for re-entry heating is the speed at which objects in space enter the atmosphere. Usually spacecraft are traveling thousands of mph upon re-entry, and the friction with the atmosphere causes the heat. Right now, objects in the game do not move nearly fast enough to create the kind of heat usually associated with re-entry.

      As for aerodynamics, it would be really cool to have some kind of "wing" or "airfoil" block that produces a certain amount of lift while traveling through the atmosphere. This would produce a whole new dimension to starship/aircraft design in the game

    4. Dusan just explained that the Sun revolves around the planet. That means that the planet is not moving, therefore, no entry heating. That being said, I don't know orbiting the planet will work. Maybe the satellites orbiting the planet will move around on rails like in KSP. Once you leave the "sphere of influence" of the planet, you will be freed from the rails.

    5. There will be reentry heating. As long as anything has an atmosphere and a significant amount of gravity similar to or slightly less than that of the Earth's, you will get reentry heating. The thicker the atmosphere and the more gravity, the more reentry heating.

    6. Technically the entry into these atmospheres would not cause the kind of heat that we see on conventional aircraft simply because the velocity is too slow. At 100 m/s air is barely compressible, let alone at the stage where it'll change to plasma.

      I think we'll see a basic friction equation or a drop in output thrust while in atmosphere to stimulate atmosphere. Real aerodynamics would be far too complicated for any computer running this game.

      Also, the mention of the red shop needing extra thrusters is simply a matter of overcoming gravity. That's why all of my ships can accelerate at at least 1.5g (anticipation!). You either need enough thrust to directly override gravity or to build up enough perpendicular velocity to put you in an orbit.

    7. For the sake of realism/fun I think KeenSWH will add re-entry heating just because so many people want to see it.

    8. I would make it so that it only graphically heats up, like in KSP, to not add to much complications and:"oh, great. another thing to do that takes forever just to get on a frikin PLANET!

  3. i wonder if (hope for) there will be a "random" option for day/night setting (as ALL planets rotate at different speed = different day/night length)…

    1. But the skybox rotates around all planets at the same time. If you stay longer on a planet it would be strange if the daycycle always changed.

    1. I think that they mean land formations, not creatures. Formations aren't as big of a thing to worry about yet in this stage of development, as rather just making the planet work and actually have atmosphere and all would be important. Tat is stuff you worry about after you have the foundation done.

  4. Will there be planets that have a lot of flora that would, for example, look like rain forests? From what I can see from the screen shots, the plant life doesn't seem to be thick. I know this is early in development, just wondering. Also, will there be planets that have entirely water or are mostly water? Will there be water at all on the planets?

    1. I'm sure there will be hundreds of content mods on Steam for flora not long after it is released.

    1. You're obviously not a pro programmer… Or at least not one that that's worked in a decently sized outfit. Please don't insult our industry by pretending to be one.

    2. Well if they must rotate the sun around the world to make those planets have a night day cycle it means the code is not suitable for their project.

      Rewrite Vrage.

    3. Rewriting 2 years of work would cost a fortune. Sure they can do that, but is it cost effective? I'm now willing to wait another 2 years and pay a few hundred dollars for a game with rotating planets if I can have non-rotating planets for a lot less.

    4. Or you could, you know, consider fact, that there were supposed to be no planets at all at the beginning when they were upgrading the engine code. But people wanted planets, so they did everything possible to create planets at this stage. It's actually pretty anoying seeing how many people think you can rewrite code (especially whole engine code) just like that…

    5. This is all very amazing. Largely trollish behavior by some angry nitpicky youth. Don't forget game reviews are very positive and you are loved by many.
      The effect of the skybox rotating is fantastic when compared to having nothing instead; or waiting years for something more "realistic".
      Moments like these are always a magnet for those that like to rain on parades.
      Keep up the amazing work.

    6. I code myself and I think planets are a waste of time, unless they are going to make the game into minecraft with spaceships (although the devs would make tonnes of money off 12 year olds if they did) planets are useless and planets in general are just a response to a bunch of kids whining about not having them

    7. I agree with Marek Cabak, I once wrote a Celsius to Fahrenheit converter and it took me nearly half a day. it was a nice converter though. 😀

  5. I dont think that a rotating sun would be a good idea. it just would be unrealistic.

    even if it would be more difficult, i think making the planets rotate would be more fun with making them rotate at a fixed speed, rather slow, and the closer you get to the planet, the more your ships movement will be adjusted to the rotation speed of the planet in a fading way.

    or you can change in your cockpit from space/planet mode where your "zero-movement" will be the movement of the planet.

    1. Centurys ago, the Man thought the sun was rotating around earth, that was an illusion created by His own eyes. I believe you won't notice the difference in the planet. Out of the planet it's different, i imagine it can be noticed, but u gotta think, the planet is the one who rotates around the sun, and you/ship/station are at the same speed of the planet, creating the ilusion of the sun rotationg..XD

    2. There is an implication in the above posts/replies that flight near the planets will handle differently due to high gravity (red ship could not escape orbit). If that is true, then I guess stationary planets makes sense gameplay-wise. It seems quite hard to account for planet rotation and movement, just eyeballing for the place you want to land on…

    3. I agree with you completely, for instance, if you stay on a planet for a couple in-game days, you would leave the planet to see that your station is really far away, if the planets are stationary, that would not happen. However, on the other end of the spectrum there is the problem that the max speed of the game would never be able to match the speed of a planets orbit, unless they make reservations for that. Back to the other end of the spectrum, there is the small problem that if you were to leave the planet flying toward one of the moons, when you leave it might not be there but on the other side of the planet, this could be fixed relatively easily though.

    4. Just imagine the whole universe is orbiting around one humongous star, like a galactic center

    5. Kerbal Space program has no problem with objects on the moving/rotating planets.

    6. Mark,

      At the distances that would make the game playable, a station would probably be caught in the orbit of the planet and wouldn't fall behind the planet's orbit.

    7. Mathias: Kerbal Space Program doesn't have voxel physics and grids and things like that.

    8. if you want a decent game with planetary re-entry and other stuff like that try out ksp or rodina. Rodina is not like space engineers but its a really good game if you want some kind of physics and like story action games.

    9. I could certainly live with the skybox revolving around a planet, but what I'm concerned about is whether or not the skybox will still be rotating once you're in space. I haven't seen any questions about that. I have spent most of my time in creative but I would think it would be very annoying for anyone using solar panels in survival to have to rotate them consistently with the sun for the panels to be efficient. Maybe they could make it so that the skybox only rotates when you're on a planet and then remains stationary once you break the gravitational field???

    10. Whichever "Anonymous" responded to my last comment,
      They talked about the speed cap once before, if the ships go faster than around 100 m/s, glitches start to appear, such as rubber banding and things like that, so if you did get caught in the orbit of a planet, you would still fall behind (assuming that the speed cap doesn't affect planets) because your ship in SE physically cannot go any faster.

  6. Marek, see if you can hook the players up with the latest working build of Planets that you have in anticipation of the full release (unless of course the full release is slated for the next week or two). Would be wonderful to have a bit of play time with whatever you guys currently have, even if it's incredibly glitchy/unpolished.

  7. Many consider that the rotation skybox is a bad idea. You are in space, not in Medieval surround!

    1. There are 2 ways of simulating a day/night cycle. The realistic one is "stationary" sun and rotating planets. The other is rotating skybox and stationary planets. The first would be almost impossible to implement without breaking the game, imagine creating a station next to a mountain then being smashed by it due to rotation. Mining a planet would be impossible. The second gets the job done without breaking the game and you wouldnt even tell the difference without paralax. Its easy to understand their decision. If only people could be as amazed as I am for implementing this feature instead of expecting them to magically code every single aspect of our realistic universe into a game.

  8. what effect will the planets have on the games preformance,will they kill the frame rate or anything

    1. Hopefully they will add an option to turn planets on or off in the game creation settings.

  9. will you be able to fire weapons from the planets?
    forinstance if i were to buils a super cannon will its payload reach space? will its payload be affected by gravity? I MUST BE ABLE TO MAKE A SUPAH CANNON!!!

    1. (its totallt the real reason people want planet in the first place)

    2. No,you should have railguns that you fire from space onto an enemy planet hoping to hit their base 😉

    3. That would be amazing to!! SE has become HALO, imagine glassing a planet from orbit like the covenant. People would make plasma weapon mods like crazy.

    4. Oh imagine ordering an Exterminatus after building a giant fleet and stuff that would be awesome!! 😀

  10. I'm rather disappointed there is no planetary rotation, though I suppose there is no way to really do that without major changes to the way the physics simulation works.

    1. the problem isn't the physic, the problem is the million of blocks (voxels) having to rotate in unison as a planet.

      Space Engineer's can do planetary physic just fine.

      But if you build giant spaceship the size of a planet and try to rotate it, your CPU will cry and the game became unplayable.

  11. Looks rather impressive.. I hope that planet's day/night cycle, as well as atmosphere, natural resources, etc will be based on the planet itself and not just the same all around. Having larger and smaller planets with the same cycle length wouldn't really make much sense. I also hope planetary atmospheres have different thicknesses based on the environment so some planets may be more difficult to enter than others due to the atmosphere and the heat caused by re-entry, weather would also be nice planet based as well as to be able to mine collect and use resources such as water and oxygen.

    Looks good so far.

    1. This blog post is about future updates obviously, like in real life you collect water by pumping it and storing in a tank, which in turn, can be split or converted into other resources such as Oxygen.

    2. that makes sence
      but only if they make an oxygen generator for water
      or a freezer for making ice

    3. Well ice exists in space naturally, as it's cold in space, ice can be melted and turned into water, which can then again be converted to resources. Collecting water, is basically the same concept, except without the melting part. They probably will considering they said they will offer the ability to use resources on the planet.

    4. thatll be awesome
      but wont water like kill the games already "iffy" preformance

    5. It would only affect the engine if it's dynamic water, which is impossible as even unreal wasn't able to achieve such a thing without destroying performance. They pump water through non-transparent pipes into a tank, basically you never see the water itself being pumped but the volume in the tank increases as the resource is being collected. Kind of like Minecraft where you collect water using
      the technic pack, except without the transparent pipes.

      Ice though would melt, but something like ice particles or w/e would fix that.

    6. However that water gun mod could probably be done using water particles or something, someone is probably going to make one when water gets added..if it does that is.. just maybe. I've wanted to make mods but all the polygons and unoptimised world is doing a number on my rig.

    7. i have wanted to do mods my self but i dont have the softwareplus im adhd so spending hours making stuff look perfect would be impossible

    8. ill friend you on steam so i can make a planet pool party and invite you
      my name is COMPOSITE whats yours

    9. You don't need to finish a mod in one day, you can work on it once in a while. I used to write C# which is the language used for the mods, gave up on it years ago. Anyway you can use Visual C# 2012 or which ever to write the code in, it's free to install and use. You just need to follow the instructions on getting the mod to function in-game.

    10. my profile pic is an anime guy with a cigar ,a white suit ,and orange hair


    12. You guys are hilarious. And I want in on the party. I'm "DranKof".

    1. of course not but its the thing im looking forward to the most on space engineers planets imean imagine it you could have different countrys on servers CAN YOU SAY AWESOME VIRTUAL POLITICS

    2. just imagine the planets on servers would become more than just a place to show of your new phalic spaceship they would become a battle ground, a place to hide a, place to search a place to EXPERIENCE

  12. Orbits would be a pain to achieve without some specialized computer added to the game to calculate the Apoapsis and the Periapsis, and execute the needed adjustments with Maneuvering Thrusters.

    1. I was just thinking the same thing, it would be almost impossible to get a stable orbit manually.

      Maybe they can implement a "gravitational override" to the inertia dampeners which will compensate for the velocity due to real gavity.

    2. could programming blocks do this? or is that far too advanced for programming blocks?

    3. Mikee Rock,
      There is almost nothing to complicated for a programming block as long as you can code it and run it without significant lag. I had the same idea as I was writing that post.

  13. Will there be an option to disable oxygen farms/generators, as a means to force the player to locate habitable planets and use those to collect oxygen?

    1. i have to admit the oxygen farms make no sence in my opinion they should do away with them altogether

    2. There are plants inside the generator that are in the process of photosynthesis, that's why they need to face the sun

      I dunno for sure but that's my guess :/

    3. The size of the farms are way to small to successfully keep one person alive, the amount they produce is way to much for the minuscule space they have and the lack of other important particles such as CO2 would kill the plants rendering the farm useless and no O2 being produced. if you want realistic look towards the release of StarCitizens. just like Minecraft, SE strives to make a fun game listening to the communities advice. if we snag and try to make every thing logical then you might as well be a Vulcan. use your imagination, its what makes games fun. Please forgive me SE devs for mentioning two other games here i hate to do it but alot of these comments urk me.

    4. I think oxygen gens might make sense on a planet w/ oxygen as a means of stocking tanks to then load ships. not so much for their current application of magically creating it in space though… that should be disabled when planets are released imo.

  14. Planets look cool and all, but what are the incentives to visit one?

    WIth all the restrictions like strong thrusters for the natural gravity, long flight times, restriction to gravity I feel we need a really good reason to go there. I really hope that we'll get alien looking planets, with exceptional flora (maybe some tentacle plants, jungles, …), shattered, broken planets crusts with ravines (some structures like on the colorado plateau) and the kind.

    I feel like the strongest incentive should not be some arbitrarily rare ore (maybe an abundance of regular ores), but the urge to explore the planet itself.

    1. With "restriction to gravity" I meant wheel based vehicles. Mountaneous planets would also be nice, I hope they won't be flat in the later versions

    2. i know what you mean, but if worst comes to worst you can just use creative mode and make some mountain with the voxel hands
      also dont forget themoment they release plantets the workshop wil be overrun with custom terrainsthe people make

    3. I assume an incentive to go to a planet is:
      a.) Large amount of materials/resources
      b.) infinite oxygen = save ALOT of time on survival.
      c.) Sight seeing, lets be honest even having a moon base would be aesthetically pleasing.
      Of course I don't know how gravity will work, but I assume many people will create space elevators which makes it easy to travel within the planets surface to orbit.

    4. Mikee Rock,
      A space elevator sounds awesome, but if they implement natural disasters on planets, we are faced with the same problems of building one as in real life. Also it would take quite a bit of resources to make a shaft, or cable long enough. And even then if you used a cable, how would you string it? Unwind it from orbit? how will you get it where it needs to go. With the elevator shaft problem, if they decide to implement weight based structural integrity like ME, then an elevator shaft would crush itself.

    5. But then mark, if you think about it, you have gravity generators which by placing upside down can act to aleviate the weight of such a super structure essentially holding it in place,

      for such designs my first instinct would be to build a track within which i can run a wheeled vehicle with enough grav gens to be weightless, im sure with sensors and programming blocks that could be made automated….

      cause i could be talking about things i don't understand and there fore my idea fails the first hurdle

    6. I tried to make a elevator. I found a massive problem. It is very hard to make it stable. Trying to make it go up and down makes it wobble side to side and explode. I need help any ideas? Gravity doesn't stay straight and thrusters are too bulky.

  15. Rorating Sun (skybox)? Sounds like Meteor Madness to me hahah

    Wouldn't it be possible to create a new type of "grid", a planet grid? Perhaps sort of the same way of an asteroid, but not static. I think this approach would allow for a whole new lot of possibilities such as individual planetary day/night cycles. And perhaps make way for more features in the future.

    I think it would be great, assuming it's doable. 🙂

    1. That would probably require major changes to the physics code, not as much as other ways, sure, but to do it without unbearable amounts of lag, that is what would take the most coding time.

  16. I hope they add different terrains like forest or canine shaped planet and of course desert XD for spectacular crash landings 😀

    The most important thing that they must add it that those planet can not be empty – some ruins of stations or crashed ships (maybe aliens) and the exploration mode will be amazing.


    2. *FacePalm*
      also they said the smallest moons would be 8 km wide at least, so no visiting King Kai. D:

  17. Just to save you from the miniscule chance that you forgot, make sure that gravity under the planets surface is not still calculated purely based on the distance from the center. You would end up with gravity getting much stronger as you drill towards the core, as opposed to how it works for earth where you get a maximum of about 110% of surface gravity due to so much of earth's mass being above you at that point. And of course the core would have infinite gravity, so even more reason to avoit it.

    You should probably also consider giving planets a maximum range for their gravity if you haven't already. Would be anoying to have your ships slowly drift away from your base while you're not looking. Then again, it might add some incentive to propperly dock your ships, rather than just leaving them floating around your base.

    1. I'm still convinced that auto save only exists to save your mistakes after you made them at the worst possible moment so that you learn from them. But seriously, who plays with auto saves? I just save every half an hour or when I actually accomplish something.

  18. Rotating skybox…simple, clever idea to simulate day/night. however, in space, it will be very disorienting as the sun is the most visible thing to orient yourself with. Also, would you have to constantly adjust your solar panels?

    1. I was thinking about that; the rotating station block thingy was put in so we could get perfect alignment to the sun. However, if the sun is going to be chaning positions all the time, You'll need rotors and great big gantries to keep the panels pointed into the sun once again.

      Also, if that is the case; please make sure that the sensor block can sense the suns direction. That way we don't have to do any timing shenanigans with the rotors and the panels. 😀

    2. The rotating station update was actually so that you could align them to the surface of the planets when they come out. The solar panel alignment was just a positive side effect of this.

    3. My guess is they would make some kind of "sun sensor" and make it so that you could use the programmable blocks to code a way for the sensor to control the rotors holding the solar panels, yes we will have to use rotors again.

  19. You guys should take a serious look at a mod for Kerbal Space Program called, Distant Object Enhancement. The method in which it "renders" distant objects might be just what you guys need to provide a performance boost. Even if it was just a toggle in the options for admins to save some bandwidth. Just a thought. I hope it helps somehow.

  20. "To simulate the day and night cycles we decided to rotate the sun around the planets/ world."
    Yes, there is the question of Fun vs. Reality. But refering to day/night cycles, there is none. Guys, you CAN'T let a star rotate around the planet. C'mon, seriously??

    1. Planets rotate by themselves.

      Choose ONE absolute realism, or half realism half fun.
      and it isn't just a matter of "Lets make this as realistic as possible!" it is almost an impossibility to run those kind of calculations on a household PC. A supercomputer, like NASA's would be able to.

      (Imagine playing SE on the NASA supercomputer! :D)

    2. "Planets rotate by themselves." Thank you professor, didn't know that.

      SE always found a nice compromise between realism and fun. For me, rotating the skybox is out of the discussion. It would mean that while flying straight through the space the stars move around. Imagine that.

  21. "To simulate the day and night cycles we decided to rotate the sun around the planets/ world. The user will be able to configure the day duration from 1 minute to 24 hours or disable the rotation to keep the current static sun."

    Come again?!

    Just stop right there plz…

    Stop for a second, and apply this :

    1 Planets rotate by them selfs
    2 Dont waste time puting options and creating code to change day/night cicles just apply how they are and that's it.

    Sun roating really… that will afect when you are in space the sun rotate arrownd you LoL!
    Shit just dont make sense.

    And stop adding stupid stuff like race cenarios and stuff and focus first in bugs with mechanic blocks that lock the game play "Engenering" mod

    Otherwise this game will be a pile of shit for kids u just want blow shit up and build unlogical stupid stuff and ofcorse giant things then again to blow shit up and be tired after a week of experimenting with this "Simulation" game based in "Real Phisics" i will shut up now…

    Btw i played 2 weeks and left just follow the development hoping in good things but really maybe this will be only for my 5 years son.

    1. 1 Rotating planets would take way more work
      2 Don't hate … A rotating sun gives the perspective that the your whole world is orbiting it instead … have some perspective.

    2. That stupid stuff you mentioned is pretty fun to me. Cant be realistic in a game where your ships are made of blocks. The physics are pretty realistic for a game of this type so you don't know what your talking about with no obvious understanding of mathematics and coding. Look at Star citizens if you want pure uncensored realism. I am happy with the direction this game is going and it does not feel like a massive set back with the idea that my super ship could be easily mostly lost from a high speed collision with the planet. in fact that's the first thing I'm going to do now when these are released.

      thanks for another fun and entertaining idea on what to do!

    3. the sun "orbiting you" is a realistic idea since it would seem you are orbiting it like you do in real life. the only issue is, it would 365 days for night and day on the planet, not a few hours, making it again, unrealistic.

      Also, if you look at star citizen, it's just a broken mess with fucked up graphics. And it's not realistic at all, other than the "ship handling"

    4. We are talking about a skybox it is not for physics it is for lighting and scenery. It's rotating and creating the illusion of a day night cycle. It is far better than having nothing instead. No effect at all and much more stale. Make all the planets and moons suddenly be able to orbit? see you in some years from now. It's a skybox and it would seem that many of you don't even know what that is.

    5. "have some perspective" That is easy to understand, my point was when you leave planet and you are in space you will see the sun rotating arrond you , also if you have moons and asteroids and again sun rotating arrond everything lol.. also if you have some kind of vision from planat to space like see a moon or an asteroid then you will see also the static moon and other things and guess what the day and night cycle happening by magic.

      "That stupid stuff you mentioned is pretty fun to me"
      Of course it is, that's why i mention you in my first comment (Player Kind)
      and about this "mathematics and coding" your the one u speak to much 🙂
      I will not defend my self on this because i dont need.
      Star citizens?? where and why are you talking about this game, we are talking about Space Engineers man to be an Engineer dude 😛
      "if you want pure uncensored realism" I dont ask for this i ask for correcting bugs related to pistons rotors etc that lock the Engineering Mod , but i get it you dont worry..

      "We are talking about a skybox" where did i mention a skybox?
      I mention what happens if the developers proced with this and wast time and code creation on this what will happen after you will be able to enter and exit from a plaent and what happens inside of it, if the sun rotates. And then you comment that maybe i dont even know what a skybox is lol…

      One other thing, if you guys are to comment against community opinions trying to racionalize this opinions you are going to fall big time i at least hope that they pay you well fuking RPs

    6. So you're angry that instead of causing massive amounts of lag by rotating planets and moons they are just going to rotate the sun around you? The effect should be almost the same but with reduced performance issues.

      I agree that stationary moons will look odd but tbh I can live with that if it doesn't melt my computer.

      (different guy to the one you were talking too in case you were wondering)

    7. The thing is static moon are actually possible if a moon where to have the same velocity as the rotation of the planet the moon would appear static to the perspective of the planets residents because the moons orbit would be geosynchronous the idea just seem weird to us because that not the case here on earth but for other plantes in other solar systems that may actually be the case

    8. Jesus..
      "The thing is static moon are actually possible if a moon where to have the same velocity as the rotation of the planet the moon would appear static to the perspective of the planets residents because the moons orbit would be geosynchronous"
      Really? No Shit !
      For that to happen the rotation of planets needs to be normal, arrond the sun other wise that will not happen and its not a valid point. howver if rotation was normal that could be some planets with there moons with that situation its just a matter of the respective creation/intetntion of that planet and moon/s.

      Again the only point that matters is you in space, if there are planets now , cool you are facing a planet and you will see your sun rotating arrond you as your in a planet but your in space.. you are mining an asteroind and you will feel you are in a planet. e mean what if you have 2 planets that you see one from an other or from space? what developers to create that will just push out the usn back to rotate everything insde that area (Skybox)

      There is to many things that will not have any sense!
      I Would prefer to have planets Yes without the day/Night Cycle or even developers to wast time devoloping Options for that matter and the respective feature. and later on have one or 2 guys creating a strategy to do that correctly.

    9. Even tough rotating skybox is a good idea, do we have to start rotating our solar panels on a space stations?

    10. Okay people use some common sense here. If the sun will rotate around you it will look the same as if you rotate around it, If you were to stair at the sun [Don't do that in real life] in space thin after some time it will go from in front of you to behind you due to orbiting, Unless you keep your eyes on were it is at all times your just rotating with it. Now if the sun orbits around you it will do the same thing it will look like it is just spinning around you. Now if anyway will disagree with me please go watch some videos on space physics and orbiting or play KSP. After that thin i might listen to what you have to say. As for why the developers use this system it is to save power on your computer for other things like rendering blocks and running code. Also so you can have meteor storms bomb you from all sides of the planet, And for skybox mods to look awesome.

  22. Wait does that mean we need to know proper orbital mechanics now to achieve stable orbits around planets?

  23. This looks fantastic … One thing that bothers me a little is how harsh the shadows are on planets even during the day … I think if you work a bit with your lighting, you can make the effect of an atmosphere diffusing the light coming in.

  24. For pretty much everyone that's commented about the skybox issue so far:
    Rotating – Spinning around an axis
    Revolving – Moving around something; like orbiting

  25. Just something to take into account:
    If a space station is in orbit around a planet and a piece of it breaks off, both parts will continue to orbit unless one is pushed out of orbit. There is no "anchor point", the whole station orbits as one piece. So if a part of your station comes off while you are close to a planet, it shouldn't fall down unless it is pushed.

    1. Or unless the way it came off happened to throw it into an unstable orbit, like an explosion.

  26. For everyone asking for full rotating, and particularly revolving, planets. There are quite a few problems with letting planets revolve around a central sun instead of just letting the skybox rotate. They are not unsolvable but it is an unnecessary amount of work.

    1. Planets revolve – stations and ships stay in one place. Suddenly you have, very large, very solid planets flying around, quite likely to hit things you prefer they wouldn't. For lower year lengths (e.g. 1 minute*number of days in year at the minimum, but even anything up to quite a bit higher than that) these planets would be moving very, very fast. Other games (like KSP) don't have this issue since they model orbits in their entirety. SE shows no indications of wanting to go that way (though it would be neat).

    2. The distances between planets will vary between close to impossibly far. You will also probably not be able to actually catch up to a moving planet either if you miss it on your first try, which sounds very frustrating.

    3. A central sun means the devs need to actually model a sun, which is a very different beast to a planet. This would have to be very large and quite far away. If it's not large enough it's hardly authentic, but the larger it is the further planets have to be without the sun looking strange in the sky. This ties into point 2, I could easily see a journey from one side of the system to another taking half a dozen hours, and at that point the other planet would have moved anyway.

    4. At what point do you switch reference frames? While flying over the surface you probably don't want the planet to be moving toward / away from you (since it is actually revolving around the sun), but once you fly out into space at some point it would start moving toward / away you while you sit still in space. If you aren't careful, considering how fast these things would be moving, the moment you switch from the "planet" reference frame to the "solar system" reference frame the planet would come right up behind you and "drag you back down". If you then switch back to the planet reference frame you would start to "bouce" between the two as you try to escape. That's not even mentioning planet rotation either.

    IF the devs ever decide to do an overhaul of the planets and go with proper orbital mechanics then moving planets might be possible, but that would be a very different game to what SE appears to want to be. At the moment stationary planets are absolutely fine.

    That said though, purely rotating planets, as long as the day length was capped at a good minimum, may be more viable. I imagine it's the grid building system that is breaking this, and I obviously have no idea what complexities lie behind that, but it seems that a different type of grid tied only to planets that follows planets around then the separate space building grid with a dead zone between them where building is not allowed *might* be the way to go? That said, Keen are professionals, if it's not possible I'll bet they gave it their best shot anyway :p

    1. This sums up most of the problems with orbiting and rotational planets, that I would've posted myself!

      Though I'd add the fact that the GPS implementation would become obsolete or a major hindrance if coords were updated frequently (yay more data being transmitted that probably doesn't have to!).

      I for one, would love to visit planets in a reasonable amount of time, without the painstaking hours of missing that hohmann transfer, finding out that I went the wrong way on my grav turn, or losing a spacebase/station/ship many hours later because I didn't know it was in a planet/moon/asteroid's orbital path.

      As it says in the about section of SE, it's a sandbox GAME about engineering, construction and maintenance of space works! I am still excited for planets nonetheless, but I'm not looking for insane amounts of realism either. Having a rotating skybox works well into their game's objective and me not frustratingly trying to reach my "home planet".

    2. 1. I agree (LOL)
      2. Very true, but those distances would be shortened for the sake of gameplay, i expect.
      3. Completely agree with what was said on this, but maybe make the sun a bit smaller, and make it so that you can't get close enough to it to spot the difference, use something like, getting vaporized by the intense heat.
      4. You change reference points gradually, once you enter the sphere of influence, the planet's own gravity will help you change your reference point, but i personally think that you should change reference points completely once you enter the atmosphere.
      The grid system, the best and worst part of SE.

  27. How will moons work if the they can't orbit the planet. And if they do get a orbit added into the game you could risk a huge ship hitting it and the moon crashing into the planet. That's when you will start to lag and get gameplay issues.

  28. I can just Imagine your reactors overheating and you and your ship go crashing down onto the planets surface in a huge fireball! Hehe this is gonna be fun 😛

    1. You can already orbit things in space engineers! It's not practical, but it's certainly possible, all you need is a spherical gravity generator, and then just send a space-ball fast enough an at the right angle, and BOOM! Orbit!

      As the planet's gravity will affect ships, it should be entirely possible to do the same with a ship, and probably a 500 m/s speed cap mod!

  29. do you plan to add different form of terrain like grass snow and water?, also do the planets have mountains and uneven terrain?

  30. This is going to be awesome! All I want now is to see re-entry effects/damages! Then we will be set!

  31. So can there be more than one planet on a map?
    I get why the "sun" orbits around the planet. Basically none of the planets and asteroids move and the skybox just rotates "Minecraft" style. You're not modeling orbital mechanics for an entire solar system. But is the sun going to be constantly in motion when not near a planet?
    Can our ship orbit or if we get too close, does it just fall to the planets surface?

  32. Thank you for sharing with us information about the development of future resources of Space Engineers.
    Congratulations for the excellent work you have done.
    Many people who criticize the work of you, seem to forget that Space Engineers is still in development.
    I consider a great privilege to accompany the creation of a game like this.
    And I eagerly look forward, every Thursday, for updates. And the news is always very good!
    Continue keeping us informed. Who likes what you are doing is very pleased with this.

  33. To all those asking about rotating/orbiting planets, the fact is that it is truly impossible for the vrage engine to do this is in it's current state (without some immensely creative, ridiculously roundabout fix – almost like… using a birdhouse as a bug-catcher. Yes, you could do it, but why on earth would you?) Vrage has trouble with calculating physical interactions between high-speed objects. Why do you think vanilla SE is limited to 104m/s? Cause funky, unrealistic stuff starts to happen when you go beyond that (and rotating/orbiting planets go way beyond that number).

    The devs chose a rotating skybox because (as far as I know) that is the best possible way to simulate day/night without throwing away years of work and starting the game from scratch. Don't like it? Turn it off. Many real planets have such long cycles that it would take days to notice any such movement anyway.

    Apologies to anyone I missed who had answered in detail already.

    1. Every planet will have the same length of day night cycle. The sky box is around one no matter where one is. and will appear to rotate around every planet the same no matter the location … Its the skybox…

  34. Very nice ! Only disapointing thing is how dark day-time looks, but I hope you'll improve that someday.

  35. I sympathize with the devs for the difficulty introduced by planets. But for those of you complaining about the rotating skyboxes, consider that the best solution would be to have a rotating skybox AND a rotating planets. This would create representation that our, currently square, game space is actually a "sector" of the solar system revolving around the star and that everything in our game space is at the same relative distance away. Then a stationary ship/station/asteroid could simply all be explained as having the same relative speed to one another. Granted this take several liberties into account like ignoring individual gravitational field effects and smaller orbits, but it's still a fun thought exercise.

    Still I want to say how impressed I am with the devs for going through with the effort to implement this amazing feature. Love your game guys and keep up the great work!

  36. What I want to know is how will orbiting be implemented into space engineers? Will there be a game mechanic to help us put a ship into orbit or will we simply have to crunch the numbers and put a ship into orbit ourselves? Or will the gravity field of a planet be small enough to were we won't really have to worry about orbits since our ships will be floating stationary a few km away? Whatever the solution is I just really want to be able to park a massive warship outside my planet and then fly back and forth with a shuttle 🙂

  37. In the first moment i also could not understand why the sun should rotate arround planets. it is not realistic and in case of all objects (ships and spacestations) where are in space their shadow changes and thats really strange. But the Point is generally, not to programm/simulate realism in games. The way or art is, to programm that Illusion to get a realism freeling as good as possible. (sorry bad english). Anyway, to rotate a planet arround sun means that all objects on planet rotates also and that is at least also a performance question and i think thats really hardcore.

    maybee a planet skybox that rotates and simulate the day/night? is that no option?

  38. Question, is is been thought through regarding building on planets? will always blocks snap to the ground and rather shape itself to the blocks next to it? I take it since the planets are that "small" they will "bend" more per block than it would in an actual world, thereof would be harder to make straight buldings.

  39. The necessity for rotating a light source around a planet may sound odd, but imagine how much easier it is to change a single light source, than to continuously update and re-transform the coordinates of EVERY point on the planet's surface (including structures) in order to simply have "rotating planets". The suggestions I'm reading that rotating a light source around planets is deemed insufficient… these suggestions are ludicrous, and made by those with no concept of the work and design involved.

    Keen, you guys are doing a stellar job, and those of us with any appreciation for programming and the tasks you're facing; we salute you!

  40. Great. Hopefully modders will do hostile animals so player will not be in absolutely safe on planet surface.

  41. "So planets… This has been one of the most demanded features by the community since we released the game on Steam Early Access."
    Don't be ridiculous, planets are least expected thing in SE.
    The MOST important thing is new multiplayer with "clusters" and WORKING synchronization between players and server. Then are repairing of projectors/rotors/pistons/spotlights on DS. And then may be planets.

    1. Speak for yourself. I couldn't care less about multiplayer when the game is in alpha. When it's released few years from now than I might try multiplayer. Better they add features now and polish the features when it hits beta.

      If you seriously think that this game can ever be something like 64 players fighting against each other with fleets of huge ships I would look for another game.

  42. Can you send me development version please. (My e-mail: dimgusch@gmail.com)

    1. ████──█────███──████──███──███

    2. ╔═══╗╔╗──╔═══╗╔══╗╔══╗╔═══╗

  43. Since you're reusing the flora from Medieval Engineers – could you re-use everything from Medieval Engineers? In other words, maybe, just maybe, somewhere in the Space Engineers universe, there's a planet with a human population whose technological progress puts them squarely in the medieval era…

  44. That is a very reasonable system for day/night considering trying to do a realistic version with moving orbits would be brutality cpu expansive. The only other option would be to have a planet grid that rotates. But while you are on that grid it would be static, and entry /exit points would have to be calculated as a player /ship traversed grids. It's doable but a lot of extra work.

    As to the size of the planets. Marek had mentioned that they would be server configurable. Is that still going to be the case? If so, would there be server limitations for making a planets bigger? In some cases could planets be smaller but have a more dense composition of materials?

    Thanks, and keep up the awesome work!

  45. It really irks me to see people wanting to add aliens into a game that's supposed to be hard science fiction. I mean, it's not unreasonable, but it would ruin the immersion for a lot of people. Now, NPC astronauts would be fun to have. Perhaps some more outfits other than just the spacesuit, and a female model. That'd make things a lot better.

  46. Interesting… so the sun rotates, not the entire skybox? I suppose that's realistic from an orbital perspective, though it might be a bit odd for a day/night cycle…

  47. I'm so anciois about planets, I can't wait for them!! But in my opinion rotaiting the skybox might be the worst thing you can do to the game because of solar panels and it doesn't make sense. Why you don't change the skybos once the player enter the atmosphere, you would have to do this anyway if you want to see a blue sky. And another thing, would there be some kind of orbit? Or how are you plannig for a ship to "fly" near a planet? Because it would be awesome to do all the renderbeouz thingy like in ksp to get to a space station or to your mother ship. I apologise for my bad english

  48. I am really hoping you can fire things out of the atmosphere, so I can make a giant hoth-like Ion Cannon!

  49. I just got my refund for this crap game. I'm never buying from this developer again. A year of problems, and not a single one even looked at to be fixed, and yet they keep adding more and more stuff on top of it, and trying to make on XBox as well, which will bankrupt them.

    1. Well hope you learned to not buy EARLY ACCESS games then.

      Who am I kidding here, you propably didn't even know this game was in EARLY ACCESS and what that means…

    2. Blame Steam for that. Steam should make much more of an effort of separating the "in development" projects from the real entertainment products called video-games. The problem is they market this game as a finished product too much. It's like selling someone a super car without mentioning an engine for it doesn't exist.

    3. you think this is bad??? you should have tried starforge………. people said exactly the same thing……then went and bought Reign of kings…..

  50. I don't car about the planets, what's the point if the game don't work.. fix the collision, fix the useless items like pistons and rotors that fall apart when you move your ship. fix the bug that makes your character big every time you get out of your cockpit, so big I cant get through a door

    1. Call the waaambulance. Lovin the game, excited for planets 38,452 reviews very positive. =P

  51. Okay, honestly. From my side, the planets don't look "that" good. The atmosphere from space looks really, really weird.

    This is how a sunset looks like, not some orange crap.

    The trees are far too apart on the planet, it looks like someone else landed on the planet, cut all of them down and still left some behind by mistake.

    I really hope there will be some deserts and snow regions too, not just grass and trees. For the record, fix your sun. It looks like a white dwarf (a dead sun) that is extremely close..

    1. I also would like some other landscapes, or at least variable usages of those types of flora that is actually there, e.g. as plains, forrests, mountains, kind of it looks in medieval engineers. I agree with you that those trees there stand a bit lonely and seperated around on the picture, but that are optic changes that might come when the physics work as they should. However, I like how they managed all those problems until yet and I think also this will get a great peace of work.

    2. Don't forget it is still alpha matey. I think Devs are doing great job and Even with "some orange crap" it will be great. Give them time to Perfect this baby and I believe patience will be rewarded with much better colour pallet.

      For time being it will be time to test this feature when released.

    3. Ur a fucking dumbass. Theyre not done making the planets. Calm down cuz theyre not fucking done yet, dipshit

    4. Actually the sun in space lloks white, watch some pictures of it and you will see.

    1. Me neither! In view on this short time of development they look really great! Only critical point I would agree with the further comments is that daytime looks a bit dark. Go on with your amazing work!

  52. question..how will the gravity generator affect the ship blocks if they add gravity effects on the blocks ?…i was thinking you could use the gravity generator and set to negative g's to counter the gravity of the planet resulting in much less thrust needed for planet going.. but going back into 0 g's what effect will the gravity gen have on the blocks? because a force will be exerted on the blocks that will create motion in the direction of the gravity… best way i could think of was for the gravity generators just to effect the person witch doesn't really makes sense… Just curious sorry for the long post but very exited 🙂

  53. 30 Km diameter planets? Nice! I'll be able to drill it for some weeks to get thru 😀 let those simspeeds cry a lil bit 😀

  54. saw the title of this "planets!" and freaked out in excitement but it was not to be but one day soon it shall be

  55. I hate to add another comment here, but my biggest question is what will the meteors do if the skybox rotates? Will that mean that meteors come from (over a period of time) many directions? Also, will solar panels have to rotate continuously?

  56. Well with flora in mind i hope they add rocks as well, Like just rocks that you can get blown up running into at high speed, And tons of them on dead moons with no air.

  57. Great Guys. I think 50 km diameter is enough since it would give you more than 300 square km of surface to play on. Especially that not everyone have top end PC.

    Cant wait, Cant wait indeed.

  58. Those planets look great! The pine trees however, are less impressive (maybe because I got pine trees just like that outside my windows XD ).

    As someone already wrote, NPC astronauts that the player could interact with would be nr:1 on my wishlist.

  59. Cool, but what about the performance?
    You can't just throw in features that require a massive amount of processing power out of the blue and expect your player base to have extremely powerful and expensive computers.
    I would see if the minimum requirements and/or the recommended requirements were still high before (like Medieval Engineers), but this is like Minecraft suddenly bumping its requirements from a dinosaur of a computer to a top of the line powerhouse.

  60. I just have a few questions:
    1) is planet gravity, though decreasing, going to have a range? please add this in.
    2) "planets are 30-50km in diameter" how will this affect worlds with a 10km limit? (i think it's that…)
    3) my computer can barely handle space engineers. is there going to be anything to prevent planets from crashing/lagging?

    otherwise this is the best news i've had! keep it coming devs!


    1. A while back they did a live Q&A with the players.
      1) I'm sure they did say, yes to that question. More power is needed to take-off from surface.
      2) i guess it will be either planets + endless or no planets + 10km maps
      3) Stuff you don't look at is being unloaded. It only loads the parts you can see.. Even if the planet is 1000x1000km it shouldn't be slower.

  61. Why do rotors and pistons still count as their own ships, why can't it count as on big ship?

  62. No matter how good it looks this game is too lonely. Imagine being the last person on earth.
    Ok, thats quite a horrific thought. Now Imagine being alone in the universe. Alone no mater how many planets you visit. That's how SE feels when you play it.
    I've bought 4 copies for friend but nobody wants to come back unless PVE is added. What's the point of having an interstellar ship if you can't visit other worlds with it.
    So far it's all just a bunch of rocks. SE would be a 1000 times more popular if it had PVE. Right now it just has you, and that guy you barely know who enjoys having a giggle sabotaging your ships which took you 200 hours of experimenting and iterating to finish. That's one hell of a horrible place to be tbh.

    1. I agree, there has to be some live, some where, hostile, nutral and friendly with difrent technologies.

  63. Will there be any ocean or desert on the planets surface? I think the landscape form medieval engineers looks a little bit boring.

  64. Will there be live on planets? And how long will it take for the (first) planet update to come, like 1 month, 2 months or half a year??

  65. Where can I donate to the devs? These guys actually listen, and they deserve the rewards.

    1. I 100% agree, if you fall down the planet, the jetpack should only be able to slow u down from your fall, but never be allowed to let you fly out if you pulled into the low orbit, but only if you are in the middle orbit and feel the planet gravity pull, then action can be taken to stop yourself from falling to maintain the orbit your in to either build your space station or repairing ship etc..

  66. I have been with ya'll since Early Acces Release and quite frankly..
    You guys.
    May just be.
    The greatest developers of All Time. Don't let this go to your heads now your humility and honorable methods are what make it so.

  67. If only they combined the games, imagine dropping onto a planet that was "Mediievil Engineers"

  68. Can the planets be mined for resources and if so is it possible to mine a planet so much that you cause it to collapse in on its self?

  69. How will planets effect game performance? Will the the system requirements for planet games be higher? Basically will systems who have to run the game on low settings in order to play be able to play with planets?

  70. Yikes, this is months old… Oh well.
    I just wanted to suggest that the speed of the rotation of the skybox be directly proportional to the gravitational force (of a planet) acting on the player. Still unrealistic, but better than constant rotation, right? And you're already implementing gravity wells, so it shouldn't really cost anything more than the current idea. I reckon it would satisfy the realism/fun of SE.
    Thank you for your time and effort.

    P.S. wondering about re-entry damage (yay!) and a molten core (possible a ball of pure thruster damage?), not to mention liquid water.