Thursday, February 28, 2019

Space Engineers: Major Overhaul of Survival, Ladders, Leaving Early Access, What’s next?

SUMMARY:
  • Survival
  • Leaving Early Access
  • Ladders are back!
  • New price
  • Need to create
  • What’s next?
  • Xbox One
  • The Team


Hello, Engineers!

February 28, 2019 is the day for all Space Engineers. Today, we are moving Space Engineers out of Early Access. As I mentioned in my last blog post, getting Space Engineers out of Early Access has been planned for a long time. We have worked on it basically since 2016/2017, when the game entered beta. It was our goal to release the game in the state we consider to fulfill our original vision, including all planned features and core game components. Moreover, the game includes a lot of things that were not planned at the beginning of development (solar panels, planets, rotors, pistons, wheels, and many more features).

Space Engineers was one of the first Early Access games on Steam and one of the few titles to be successfully released after several years of passionate development. We keep our promises.



Survival


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 since. 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 a sandbox experience, towards a game with many unique single and multiplayer features.

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, ragdoll mechanics are coming back, loading times of even very large wolds are now extremely reduced, and a new Progression system has been integrated into Space Engineers

There are many other game elements that were changed in this overhaul, which have a significant impact on Space Engineers. You can read about all the changes here.


Out of Early Access


Space Engineers has been in Early Access for 5+ years, and during this period we developed the game from a proof-of-concept to a feature complete space engineering sandbox. We sold more than 3 million copies and we have more than 200,000 monthly active players.

We went through more than 200 updates, which include major game changes such as:

  • planets
  • new HUD and game UI
  • skins, parachutes, wheels
  • more than 200 blocks
  • reworked and updated the character animations several times
  • improved the multithreaded physics, but also physics itself
  • implemented super-large worlds
  • a lot of game optimizations during this entire period
  • went through the massive updates of the game’s visuals and audio
  • we spent a significant amount of time on improving the multiplayer, air tightness and oxygen
  • survival mode
  • programmable blocks, modding support, antennas, landing gears, solar panels, cargo ships, meteorites, encounters, asteroid clusters, visual scripting, realistic mode audio, in-game help, and more.

You can view all the updates in chronological order here. However, I’d like to highlight the most significant updates for us:
    • April 2013 - started full-time development on Space Engineers prototype
    • October 23, 2013 - Space Engineers was released to Early Access
    • November 2015 - we added planets
    • November 2017 - Physics Overhaul was released
    • July 2018 - Multiplayer Overhaul was released
    • February 2019 - we are releasing the Survival Overhaul and the game is going out of Early Access
Because Space Engineers development was open, you were able to see what’s happening under the hood. Contrary to other products, where you see the final product, but don’t see how the project has been developed and changed over time, and what challenges the development team had to overcome.

I’d like to share our key videos that were released during the Early Access. The first one is the first ever video where we showed and teased Space Engineers.


The second one is our Alpha


and one of our latest videos from the Major Overhaul of Visuals, Audio, and Wheels.


All who want to play the first release of Space Engineers, from 2013, can buy the Space Engineers Deluxe edition. It’s game archeology.

Our mottos:
“From creators to creators”
&
“Need to create”

We always listened to our community and used a lot of this feedback to improve the game where we could. It has been a rewarding and productive cooperation, which we really enjoyed! And something that we will continue to enjoy in the future. The Space Engineers community is strong, growing, and present.

During all these years, there were other things that Keen Software House has been working on. We increased the team from five to almost twenty five people, we established the team working on Medieval Engineers, we started GoodAI Research in order to build general AI, to help humanity and understand the universe, we started GoodAI Applied to better fund the research, stay closer to real-world application, and to prepare the infrastructure for general AI deployment once we have it. We accidentally started a new religion - Clang :)  and of course, we got many new colleagues who helped us to shape and fulfill my vision.

You can imagine that there were many funny moments along the road, here is just one example:


New Price


With this update, we are also setting a new price for Space Engineers == $19.99. According to our analysis and tests, this price better suits the majority of Space Engineers fans. This change also brings all regional prices on Steam to match countries specifications and regional differences.

This step will enable the Space Engineers community to grow even bigger, which is great news for everyone because Space Engineers always benefited from the huge pool of player creations, and this can only work if we have a large player-base.


It is quite an unusual move to decrease the price when the game leaves Early Access, but we believe it’s a good gift to the community and will better support the future of Space Engineers.


Ladders


Ladders are a special thing for all Space Engineers. We had them in the early builds of the game, but then removed them due to the complexity involved in having them work properly (omni-directional gravity, colliding ships, animations, you name it).


However, we always knew we wanted to bring them back and the best moment to do this would be today - when the game leaves Early Access.

The ladders are back, with new visuals, new animations, and new features - you can jump off the ladder, you can jump from ladder to ladder, ladders work in multiplayer, multiple players can climb on the same ladder, and much more.


What Others Say


Simon Sicko
CEO Pixel Federation
“Space Engineers is a unique game. The concept of the sandbox gameplay offers endless fun. It’s great that Keen developers see their game as a service for players and they have taken care of it  for more than 5 years.”

***

Pavel Barak
Chairman of the Czech Game Developers Association
“I remember the Space Engineers release back in 2013 when the game was released as a small project in Early Access. It was more of a prototype, which was very successful from the very beginning. It’s unbelievable how the game has evolved since then. In the name of Czech Game Developers Association, which maps the gaming business in Czech Republic, I can confirm that Space Engineers is one of the most successful games ever developed in the Czech Republic.”

***

Milos Endrle
CEO Geewa
“Space Engineers shows how the community, which love a particular game, can shape and move the game these days. It also shows what a developer can achieve even before the public release. I hope that Space Engineers will get millions more players on top the millions already playing it while in Early Access. Great job Keen! Congratulations!"

***

Jakub Dvorsky
Founder Amanita Design
“If I wouldn’t need to take care of the company and two kids, I would spend all nights welding the spaceships in Space Engineers.”

***

SE player
“This game is the largest sandbox ever made, with realistic physics and full modding support, and it’s still receiving consistent updates.”

***

Xero
Space Engineers CTG Moderator
"I first saw Space Engineers at e3 in 2015, and instantly just had to have this game, There are many other games out there to fly ships around space and fight with other players, but none of them can you build your own ship, design it the way you want it to look, and explore the world how you want to explore. After 4 years and almost 5000 hours of gameplay, I can honestly say i've enjoyed every minute of it. I want to say thank you to Keen Software House for this amazing game. I can't wait to see what the near future holds for Space Engineers. "

***
"Space Engineers has come a long way since I first installed the alpha back in 2013. Then it only featured single-player and creative mode. With each update adding more features and improving the game as a whole, I hope that Keen continues on this strong path with the future of the game."

***

"To say I'm excited about this update is an understatement, especially for the PVE content that seems to be coming."

***

”Space Engineers has had an amazing development journey since its launch; with each update I’ve been impressed at what the game and its playerbase can do. I hope the future still holds many exciting adventures ahead.”

***

Need to Create


Our team’s motto is “Need to create” and it perfectly describes the fire that is burning inside of us.

We believe that one of the strongest forces in the universe is the “need to create”. Every time we build something out of nothing, every time we give shape and organization to something that had no structure – we are creating a miracle.

We need to create. We are made to create. We can’t stop creating.

We derive purpose from being creative. Creating is our destiny, it is why we were put into this universe. There's nothing we can't create!

What is even better is that we share this need with our community of Space Engineers who managed to create thousands of creations in the last 5 years, and pushed the boundaries what even we thought is possible beyond, and then more.


What’s Next?


Space Engineers is not finished. We already have a lot of plans to expand the Space Engineers franchise with new features, blocks, and scenarios. We’re going to take Space Engineers to exciting places when it comes to gameplay, immersion, and challenges!

In the short term, these expansions will bring more decorative blocks, new in-game economy (trading, currency, but no MMO scale yet), new weapons, and we also plan to look at combat specific scenarios.


We will continue to monitor our support site for bug reports, questions, concerns and suggested features.

We are also working on an Xbox One port for Space Engineers.

We are moving into the new era of Space Engineers and I’m sure that we all have many reasons to look forward to it.

Thanks for reading this blog!


The Team


While Keen Software House developed Space Engineers, we also developed our team. I am grateful to everyone who has worked on the game throughout the years, and I’m also grateful for all of the hard work our current team has done on Space Engineers, as they were fully prepared to take Space Engineers to the next level!

This is something that is not as visible as shiny trailers and screenshots. The fact that we have solid, well-coordinated, intelligent and creative people at Keen Software House, helps our team to work like a well-oiled machine, and it enabled us to deliver Space Engineers. Having this team is invaluable.


Thank You


We couldn't have made it this far without the amazing support of our community! Special thanks to our dedicated CTG (Closed Testing Group), which provided us with fantastic feedback that helped us to shape the game the right way. Thank you all!

Best,
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.

19 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I've been playing on and off for a few years and always come back to check out the latest improvements. Can't wait to dust off the new 'Gold' version and climb a ladder or two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mat! We hope you're having a great time with Space Engineers!

      Delete
  2. Well done Mark and team! Looking forward to spinning up a server - been quietly setting aside hardware for this. It's been a long time coming! Bravo Zulu!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers, Adam! It means a lot to everyone on the Space Engineers Team. :)

      Delete
  3. The first time i saw this game was 4 years ago when i only had a crappy laptop to run it on, and i knew i immediately had to have it. Over the last few years me and my brothers have spent countless hours challenging ourselves to do things better and arrange things more efficiently, while racing each other to different objectives. I hope the game keeps managing to challenge us in the next few years, as this update will certainly keep us busy for a while. Thank you guys so much for continuing to support this game

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! That's amazing! And we're definitely committed to keep supporting Space Engineers. Take care.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Hi, Unknown. We're currently working on an Xbox One version of Space Engineers, and although we don't have any plans to bring our game to the PlayStation 4, you never know what the future holds.

      Delete
  5. What an interesting and exciting journey ;D I discovered SE back in early 2014 and HAD to have it - it was an amazing game back then! For me at least, finally being able to build a working spaceship - the block system provided enough freedom to fuel creativity. During it's long development - a lot of unexpected things happened and I'm rather surprised that KSH stayed that long and that dedicated - it's very refreshing to see a company plow through roadblocks, remain honest and steadfast in their vision until the end. I'm very happy with SE today. With a mere 1,4k hrs in my Steam account I got way more than expected for my money and I CANNOT wait to see what KSH is doing next. Congratulations =) You really made something special & unique. Now, onward! ^-^

    ReplyDelete
  6. To go beyond what I said that was written above, Space Engineers has been my favourite game since I bought it all those years ago. I've created crazy contraptions, movies, boobie traps, medieval style weaponry and jousted with warheads. There's no other game that allows you to build and destroy your creations with quite the same level of style that you can in Space Engineers.

    Marek and everyone at Keen have made something amazing, engaging and most of all fun. Congratulations on the release, I can't wait to see what you bring to the game now that the foundations are set :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Splitsie for doing all your great videos!

      Delete
  7. Congrats guys! Been here all along and watching this game grow has been am epic journey.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Верните все обратно!!! Баллоны не заправить!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've spent a few hours on the new scenario yesterday, and it feels great. It's mostly quite intuitive, with a bit of room for creativity, even at the beginning. Well done.

    Also, I can read between the lines here, and see that the next step will be to start releasing DLC's, among other things. Normally I'd be against this, but no doubt that's what it will take to keep development going at this point. Looking forward to whatever you've got planned next (:

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thx guys! You created great game.
    But we need a Radar or something. We can't find any players in the game =(
    We want to fight, we want to see another players. But we can't.

    ReplyDelete
  11. why is it not on steam with this version?

    ReplyDelete
  12. So when do we see some of AI research in-game, beyond a chatbot?

    ReplyDelete
  13. SE really needs some new stuff in terms of endgame and resource gathering/scouting. here are my ideas.

    Resource Generation>
    Mining in early game: small ships with ore scanners for planets to find cobalt & other nessecities in rocks

    Mining in mid game: Small outposts on planets with hydrogen or other limited AFK generation on specific places easily findable with some kind of scanner. Raiding should be viable, grids should stick around as 'resource points' built by players.

    Mining in late-game: larger stations around high-value asteroids producing good amounts of resources over time, but eventually (60-120 hours IRL) the asteroid dries up. Asteroids are rare but easily findable once exploited (Players fighting over them)
    Raiding mid-tier outposts on planets.


    Endgame Content>
    Singleplayer / Multiplayer Low-Pop
    AI pirate raids while player is active & nearby. (Strength based on resources in cargo? )
    Medbay invincible during raid to prevent loss of many hours, but respawn time to compensate.
    pirates take out turrets and power generators, but take from cargo instead of destroying everything (probably needs adv. targeting)

    High-pop multiplayer
    Guide players toward each other with scanners revealing places that resources are being generated at a similar tier or power level
    Players in all tiers who arent very involved with raiding will be raided by AI

    These are my ideas, because SE's late game boredom is probably why the active players are mostly in creative, because survival gets boring fast.
    The game has a super solid foundation now, its a wonderful engine and game, but its just not interesting because too much focus is on farming in the early game and not so much on late game and fighting people near your power level. It's either wiping small outposts of newbies or getting wiped by huge carriers when youre just starting.

    ReplyDelete
  14. When is Space Engineers coming to ps4? I'm really hyped about the game and really want to play it!!

    ReplyDelete