Monday, November 30, 2015

GoodAI is heading to North America: NIPS 2015 Montreal & SF Bay Area

I’m gearing up for a trip to North America this week, and I’m happy to announce that 4 of my colleagues will join me!

Our traveling team of 5: Me with our COO, Olga Afanasjeva, and 3 GoodAI senior researchers: Dusan, Honza, and Jarda

Our first stop will be Montreal, Quebec for the week-long Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2015) December 7-12. We’re looking forward to hearing from and connecting with top people in the field of machine learning and computational neuroscience (aka our heroes), and meeting up with a few friends we last saw at the AGI-15 conference in Berlin.

There are two main purposes for this trip. We want to:
  1. Better understand how other researchers tackle challenges in machine learning and computational neuroscience, since many of these ideas can be applied to our AGI research
  2. Grow trust in the AI community, especially among AI developers and AI safety researchers, through informal meetings.
I met with Nick Bostrom in Oxford a few weeks ago, and our conversation strengthened my commitment for building relationships in the AI community. He also gently reminded me that AGI development is not something to be taken lightly :-)

BTW, Nick's book is one of the best on the topics of AI safety, ethics, future outcomes, and more.

Nick Bostrom’s note: “Big responsibility!”
Keeping in touch with other researchers and organizations working towards AI is extremely important for us. Doing so helps us accelerate towards developing general AI as soon as possible, and allows the AI community to see that we’re not interested in developing this technology in secret. We want to be as open as possible, finding ways to cooperate and come together, so we can increase the chance that AGI will be created in our lifetime and that it will be a safe, valuable tool for humankind.

The second leg of our trip will be in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we will open more conversations with people dedicated to AGI and AI safety. Of course, we’ll also work in some time for fun, including the RoboUniverse conference in San Diego, where I’ll appear as a panelist on December 16. There are a number of connections I see between AI and robotics, so I’m really looking forward to contributing to this discussion.

Keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts about our trip, and be sure to follow me on Twitter for regular updates:

Thanks for reading!

Marek Rosa
CEO, CTO & Founder of GoodAI & Keen Software House

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Twitter: @GoodAIdev

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Planets! Because you wanted them

Today is an important day in Space Engineers history. I am very happy to present the biggest and most challenging addition we have ever made: Planets!

Space Engineers now has the largest, fully destructible, volumetric and persistent planets in the universe!

Since day one planets occupied the top spot among the most requested features by community, but we didn’t have them in our initial roadmap. The decision to add planets came almost a year ago and back then, I knew it was going to be a very complex and difficult task that would test the limits of how far we could go and how hard we could push.

The vision for Space Engineers was always to provide a realistic and almost infinite environment where everything you see is real, can be touched, used, shaped or recreated. Sacrificing the volumetricity of our game world wasn't an option.

We knew we were explorers and we wanted this fight at the highest volume! The extreme scale of planets not only tested our abilities but also pushed us further,  to a point where no other game developer has ever wandered.

During the development we had our ups and downs, we sacrificed our free time, pulled long hours, reached our programming and artistic limits and then pushed them further. And then again and then some more. The task wasn’t easy, but the team boldly took the challenge and put blood, tears and sweat into accomplishing it.

We never forgot that if we don’t give up, if we keep pushing in spite of all the difficulties  and unpredictability that lies in front of us, eventually, one day, we would give you the Planets and everything that will come.

Today I am proud to introduce you to our Planet Creators: (in a random order) Tomas Psenicka, Tomas Rampas, Petr Minarik, Ondrej Petrzilka, Jan Nekvapil, Čestmír Houska, Marko Korhonen, Daniel Ilha, Greg Zadroga, Lukas Jandik, Adam Williams, Dusan Repík, Jan Veberšík, George Mamakos, Pavol Buday, Joel Wilcox, Marketa Jarosova, Ales Kozak, Simon Leška, Michal Zavadák, Marek Obršal, Dušan Andráš, Charles Winters, Michal Wrobel, Anton Bauer, Natiq Aghayev, Rene Roder, Jan Golmic, Nikita Suharicevs, Dušan Ragančik, Lukáš Tvrdoň, Karel Antonín, Adam Sadlon, Vaclav Novotny and myself.

These are the folks who can one day say to their grandchildren: I was there when Planets were added to Space Engineers. I am a Planet Creator!

Planets are fully destructible, volumetric and persistent. You can drill a hole from one pole to the other, but you will have to put a lot hours into it. Planets have up to 120 km in diameter, which is a surface of 45 238,93421 km2! Even with planets this huge we had to apply smart visual tricks so they appear nice and round from afar. That’s why mountain ranges goes flat once you hit a critical distance from the planet.

Every object on a planet surface is affected by its gravity, which is why we added a new option for station grids - the Station voxel. By enabling this option a station will be static only when touching the voxel (one block build “inside of it”). When you cut some parts of the station away it will become a dynamic object and could break apart. And since you will be building stations on a spherical surface from now on, buildings can't be axis-aligned, but you can orientate the block so that it’s aligned with the landscape surface.

In the Planetary release you can find three planets (up to 120 km in diameter inspired by Earth, Mars and an alien world), three moons (up to 19 km in diameter, inspired by the earth’s moon, Europa and Titan), each one with its unique flora and fauna.

Planets and moons can have either Earth-like, hostile or no atmosphere (the engineer need to keep his helmet on). And if you are looking for more, with modding tools you can create your own planets (we are preparing a detailed modding guide from planets that will be released within the next days).

The surface area for all the planets spans about 140,000 km2 and that is more than any other game (e.g. Skyrim). In the case of Space Engineers, this landscape is also fully volumetric and destructible.

I want to share also two fun facts: planets don’t orbit around the sun, but the sun orbits around the solar system instead, and planets and moons have natural gravity as in real life.

To support Planets as you know them now, we had to optimize many parts of our game engine. This includes physics (collision detection between ships and planets), rendering large scale planetary environments with various materials, flora zones that support fast and seamless movement without any preloading, atmosphere and gravity, etc... We will keep optimizing and supporting the game and planetary features with future updates and additional content to make the experience better and better.

Lastly, to bring the best possible experience without compromises we had to change the hardware requirements, therefore Planets are possible only on hardware supporting DirectX 11. You can find the updated hardware requirements at

Have fun building on planets!


Marek Rosa
CEO, CTO, Founder
Keen Software House


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