Monday, April 8, 2019

Space Engineers Update: Customizable LCD Screens, Replay Tool, and Decorative Pack

SUMMARY:
  • This is the first update since Space Engineers left Early Access
  • Replay tool
  • Customizable LCD screens
  • Steam trading cards, badges and background
  • Decorative blocks to enrich your gameplay experience
  • Reasons why investing into the future of Space Engineers is important
  • Merchandising
  • What’s ahead of us


Hello, Engineers!

It’s time for another exciting update for Space Engineers. After our out of Early Access release, we are now bringing you another big change. Keeping in mind, that we want to make the Space Engineers game more fun and closer to your desires, we are introducing new game elements to Space Engineers. But let’s start from the beginning.

The most obvious change is the fact that with this release we are bringing both free and premium content to the game. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy new things, but also the chance to support the further development of Space Engineers, if you are willing to do so.

I explain the reasons for these steps below in more detail. One thing I’d like to mention at the beginning is that the content is not “pay to win” and the owner of the package has no advantage against other players. If you decide not to purchase the Decorative Pack, but you want to play with friends or other players who did buy the Decorative Pack, you will still be able to join a multiplayer game or server with them and enjoy the game. In this case, you will be able to view these new blocks, but you won’t be able to build or interact with them. 


If you decide to not buy the Decorative Pack, you are still getting a free update from us!


So What’s Included in the New Update?


All players will get new functional cockpit LCDs with customizable screens, replay tool, which can be used for setting up various animated scenes, brand new random Encounters, Steam trading cards, badges and backgrounds, and all bug fixes, optimizations, and smaller improvements for free.

Players who already own the Deluxe Edition will also get three new music tracks based on the music from this trailer for free.

For players who wish to support further development of Space Engineers, we have created a bulk of decorative blocks, which you can use for various decorations on your spaceships, vehicles and space stations. The price is $3.99 USD, or your regional Steam equivalent. You can purchase the Decorative Pack here. We’ll be more than happy if you will send us the screenshots of how you used these new blocks. We will post the most creative ones on our social media.

Free Update for Everyone


Cockpit LCD With Customizable Screens


We reworked most of the display-like surfaces in game to act the same as an LCD panel, to be able to display texts and images. This includes cockpits, programmable block and new console block. This advanced feature will also give you the ability to render textures and texts at arbitrary positions onto LCD screens. You may either use Programmable Block, MOD API or select one of the integrated scripts. Integrated scripts can display Velocity, Energy / Hydrogen, Gravity, Digital or Analog clock. It is prepared for both single and multiplayer. Every mission is different, and customizable LCDs allow Space Engineers to tailor these displays for specific tasks.

We will host a livestream where our programmers will explain how to use programmable blocks and customizable LCD screens. Tune into Keen Community Network for Tuesday, April 9, 6PM UTC.



Replay Tool

After many requests, we have decided to release our internal Replay Tool that we use to create our trailers. It allows you to record the movement and actions of multiple characters in the same world. You can use your video recording software of choice to capture these moments for cinematic purposes! It’s also super useful for epic screenshot creation. The tool allows you to be the director of your own Space Engineers film where you can carefully position and time different engineers with their own specific roles. We are extremely excited to see what the community will create with this!

Important: because it’s an internal tool, it has a very basic user interface and required advanced users to be used. We believe this is OK, because most video creators who would want to use it to create epic cinematic Space Engineers videos are advanced users.




Encounters - we added a whole bunch of new random encounters and upgraded several existing ones as well. These new encounters will now include and showcase the new DLC blocks.



Three new music tracks for the Deluxe Edition


Steam Trading Cards, Badges and Background

There are now Steam trading cards to collect for Space Engineers! Collect a full set of cards to earn items that help you customize your Steam profile including backgrounds and badges.

For more information on Steam trading cards,  badges and backgrounds, see this FAQ

Space Engineers Steam Profile Background Image (example)

Space Engineers Steam Profile Badges

Space Engineers Steam Trading Cards (examples)

Decorative Pack (paid)


There are fourteen new decorative blocks for people who want to buy them and support the development of Space Engineers, which are available on the Space Engineers Steam Store page. Within the package you will get following new blocks:

Beds can preserve characters’ inventory and toolbar while they're offline and keeps them alive as long as there is oxygen available. Is considered to be the same as the Cryo Chamber Block, except oxygen is used from the environment. Space Engineers don’t work from nine to five, they work whenever they’re needed: day or night, during peace and war. But when it’s time to call it a day, every engineer looks forward to resting in these beds.


Standard and Corner Desks can be used as seats, which allow players to sit on the chair attached to it. Combine these blocks to produce various designs and sizes, creativity has no limitation. Whether designing new schematics or charting a fresh course to another world, desks are essential for any engineer looking to get some work done.


Kitchens are purely decorative. The kitchens in Space Engineers come well-equipped and include stunning visual details. Space Engineers overcome challenges everyday when they’re working on new planets or among the stars.


Planters are purely decorative, but they make outer space a bit warmer by housing  life in a special glass container.  Build your own garden on the space station. Planters not only help to liven up spaces, but the flora housed inside these capsules also remind many engineers of the homes they’ve left behind in order to explore the universe.


Couches can be used as seats, so take your time to relax and take a break. You don’t need to always run, fly or work, you can enjoy your cozy room and enjoy the view. The last thing anyone would ever call a Space Engineer is ‘couch potato’, but who wouldn’t like to relax after a hard day’s work on this comfy furniture?


Armory and Armory Lockers can be used to decorate interiors and store weapons, ammunition, tools and bottles; both are small storages (400L), where you can keep your equipment. Space Engineers use lockers in order to ensure that keepsakes from home, toiletries and other items are kept safe.


Lockers, storage is 1000L where little doors can be pointed at.


Toilets can be used as a seat. The latest and greatest interstellar lavatory technology has made many earth dwellers jealous of the facilities enjoyed by Space Engineers.

Toilet Seat that can be used as a seat and is fit for the creator of the legendary Red Ship; most engineers don’t want to get up after ‘taking care of business’.


Industrial Cockpits are used to control your ships. This industrial cockpit in both small and large grid versions will make your creations look much better. Offering unmatched visibility, the industrial cockpit enables engineers to experience stunning vistas while traversing landscapes and space.




Console blocks project blueprints for downscaled ships and stations, as well as display pictograms or customizable text. They are fantastic functional LCD panels where you can project your creations and show them to your friends. The sleek and crystal clear picture offered by this console allows Space Engineers to display designs and other important information.




Small grid cryo pods - we are still going to add this block to the game, but we are in the process of testing it and fine tuning it.

*Note to modders: When modding the decorative blocks, copy the current settings and then do the change on top of that. The mod will also include the DLC tag:
<DLC>DecorativeBlocks</DLC>

Why Income is Important & Investing in the future


Keen Software House needs to stay profitable in order to continue development and support of Space Engineers, and to take risks, to invest into experiments that may not pay off in the short term, and to develop innovative concepts.

We have been very lucky in being profitable since 2013. We are still very profitable. But we don’t want to just rest on one's laurels.

Sometimes we have to invest in people, teams, or projects, without knowing if they will work out. You need to give them time. And if you want to have a high bar for innovation, expecting novel things, you need to take the risk.

Examples of high-risk but high-reward features from the past:
  • Planets
  • Multi-player (very challenging to do in highly dynamic environments such as in Space Engineers)
  • Wheel, rotors, jump drive, ladders, and tens of other functional blocks

Example of future high-risk but high-reward features:
  • Water for our game engine VRAGE
  • Rewrite our game engine VRAGE with parallelism in mind, being more asynchronous in its nature (parallelism by design), more data-oriented.
  • General AI for our games (NPCs, living worlds)

Why are they high-risk? Because they are hard to do, and usually it takes many iterations until we figure out the right way to do it. It usually takes a few iterations to perfect it. This means that doing water can take a few weeks (if we get it right from the start) or a few years (if we need to experiment, iterate, throw away past experiments, look for specialists in this area, etc). Same for the engine rewrite and AI / living worlds for our games.

Please see the above as a very open explanation of why income is important, and how it fuels future improvements of our games.


What Others Say




FAQ


Q: Are all future updates going to be paid?
A: Actually, even this update isn’t paid. The major part of this update (LCD screens, Replay Tool, new music tracks, smaller improvements) is free for everyone. Only the smaller and not mandatory part is paid - Decorative Pack, which you can purchase here.

Q: Aren’t you going to split the community - people who don’t own the Decorative Pack won’t be able to play with people who own it?
A: The way we designed this is that even people who don’t purchase the Decorative Pack can play on servers with people who own the Decorative Pack. Players who don’t own the Decorative Pack won’t be able to build with these new blocks, nor interact with them, but they will be able to view them in-game.

Q: Where is all this money going?
A: To support future development of Space Engineers and other leading-edge projects we plan to work on at Keen Software House. Players kept asking us for something they could buy to support the development of Space Engineers, and the Decorative Pack is a great option for them.

Q: When did you start working on Decorative Pack?
A: Right after Space Engineers left early access and all hot issues were resolved. Most of the work was done by the Art team, the rest of the developers is working on other long-term updates.

Q: Why haven’t you increased the price of Space Engineers and include the Decorative Pack in it, or why it’s not part of the Deluxe Edition?
A: We want more people to play Space Engineers, which means we must lower the barrier of entry. When the Space Engineers community grows, everyone benefits from this - more content on Workshop, more mods, more new ideas, more people to play with. This means that all non-mandatory features should be optional, so only those who really want them can pay for them. That’s why we decreased the price of Space Engineers, and made the Decorative Pack an optional purchase.

Q: We asked you for volumetric water, compound blocks, new goals, more optimizations, etc, and instead you are giving us a toilet block?
A: Hehe, if you put it this way, it sounds kind of funny. But the reality is that decorative blocks are low-hanging fruit, not a bottleneck towards those other mentioned future features. Additionally, the decorative pack can bring added profit and make the mentioned things happen.

Merchandising


We have fantastic Space Engineers merchandise available at the Keen Software House E-shop.



Our shop has many designs to choose from and it’s easy to use.

What’s Ahead of Us?

This update is being released soon after the game moved out of Early Access. Our team really enjoyed working on it, because it was not about some back end changes that only a few people will notice, but it was about things that are visible to everyone. I hope you’ll also enjoy all of the new things in Space Engineers. 

If you enjoy this update, please consider writing a review on the Space Engineers Steam Store Page.

Looking at our upcoming plans, I can say that we are going to work on another package similar to this one. It’s not a secret that we want to bring you more things you asked for in the past, such as new skins, new weapons, new economy system etc. 

If you want to let me know your feedback on our decision to release paid Decorative Pack, please get in touch via my personal email address marek.rosa@keenswh.com. I welcome every feedback and we will use it to learn and provide better service.

Thank You


Thank you for reading this blog!

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.

38 comments:

  1. Bad move, spliting content like this dont help the game grow, sorry keen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, brandonbrb. The Decorative Pack DLC is designed to not split the Space Engineers community. Additionally, it is not “pay to win” and the owner of the package has no advantage against other players. If you decide not to purchase the Decorative Pack, but you want to play with friends or other players who did buy the Decorative Pack, you will still be able to join a multiplayer game or server with them and enjoy the game. In this case, you will be able to view these blocks, but you won’t be able to build or interact with them. Cheers!

      Delete
    2. Q: Aren’t you going to split the community - people who don’t own the Decorative Pack won’t be able to play with people who own it?
      A: The way we designed this is that even people who don’t purchase the Decorative Pack can play on servers with people who own the Decorative Pack. Players who don’t own the Decorative Pack won’t be able to build with these new blocks, nor interact with them, but they will be able to view them in-game.

      You can't build them you can't use them only look at them how is that not splitting ?

      Delete
    3. It looks like Keen thinks this will not split the comminity since the paid block only contain decorative stuff not effecting gameplay ... call me nitpicky, but this proves not to be true:

      The cockpit is in fact not decorative, it is a functional Block. A cannot enter or use ships build with this kind of block, limiting acces only to paying players.

      There is also the point of differnt placement possibilities and such, but that seem to be short of my argument above.

      Delete
    4. Increasing the revenue stream with COSMETICS is a nice thing. They just have to remain such.

      Delete
    5. Yeah, If only it was cosmetic, This cockpit has better visibility and health, It also contains different components so it can't be swapped out easily in PVP, It gives you a fundamental advantage over other players.

      Delete
    6. Yeah, I'd agree if this pack actually contained only cosmetics like you say.

      Except this cockpit has the heightened advantage of better visibility and not only that but it has more health and takes different components from the original cockpit thus giving you a fundemental advantage in PVP as players can't swap the cockpit easily or even get in to fly.

      Delete
  2. I LOVED this upgrade, and will have a LOT of fun with the Decorative PAck!

    P.S.: the future high-risks are thrilling! O.ô !

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awh Marek.. I did fully translate all the game to spanish and you guys didn't included it in the patch :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're continuing to update translations for Space Engineers. Thanks for all of your hard work! :)

      Delete
  4. Gotta say its sad to see so many hateful comments about this DLC, personally I like the idea of decorative DLC as I have puored over 900 hours in SE, for 20€, now thats a bargain! Only iF in the future more deco blocks that cannot be interacted would be released and sold, thus preventing issues that some players who hasn't bought DLC cant interact with majority of ships.

    Will be thrilled to see your future progress Marek & co.

    Aros

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much obliged for the feedback, Aros!

      Delete
    2. I agree, However i would have MUCH rather seen new Blocks for building..
      this game has very little in ways of building a nice looking ship. more block shapes, and more shapes that fit to connect other shapes together would be (imo) one of the best things you could do for Future community driven content.

      Delete
  5. "Water for our game engine VRAGE" <3 <3
    Seeing ships (even small) in ME O.O it will be awesome! or maybe underwater base in SE O.O!

    I will be cheering for you KEEN! Also new cockpit is worth twice as much as whole dlc XD it's my favorite block right know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're super happy to hear that you're enjoying the DLC. :)

      Delete
  6. Hello Marek.

    One thing that I have been waiting for years to be implemented is reload animation / reload mechanics for the player held weapons, could this please be something that is finally implemented into the game.

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    Replies
    1. We may or may not be working on this as we speak, but no promises. Cheers! ; )

      Delete
    2. Cool :>

      I typed the same message twice because it didn't show up when I clicked submit the first time xD

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. great work as always, would love to have DLC player models and different faces for characters

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be fantastic! We'll see what the future holds.

      Delete
  9. Shut up and take my money!!!!
    First ever DLC I truly willing to buy!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Shut up and take my money!!!!
    First ever DLC I truly willing to buy!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This update got me hyped, love it. However for some reason the kitchen is not showing up in my blocks menu but all the others are there. Lastly where do I go to make update/future suggestions? The two part ramp blocks are missing their triangular corner companions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Icon. We're sorry to hear that you're experiencing issues with the kitchen block. Please message us via https://support.keenswh.com/spaceengineers/general so we can assist you with this. Additionally, you can submit feedback via this website. Cheers!

      Delete
  12. I LOVE how the new blocks look! My only concern is the lack of functionality of the new blocks for non-DLC owners.

    For things like PVP servers where ship hijacking is concerned, if you don't own the DLC, it would be quite a bit harder to hijack a ship with the new industrial cockpit vs one with a vanilla cockpit. Instead of simply grinding it down to the hack line, you'd have to grind it off completely and replace it with a vanilla cockpit, a process which could result in loss of connector functionality or ship splitting.

    Another issue one might encounter in a PVP setting is with the lockers. Again, you'd have to grind them down completely instead of just to the hack line, which will result in spilled contents that could potentially get scattered/lost, or erased by server cleanup.

    And of course, in any cooperative/PVE settings, ships with the new cockpit will be unusable for the group if even just one member doesn't own the DLC. As will any lockers.

    IMO, they should still allow the functionality of all the new blocks (or at the very least the new cockpit and lockers) for non-owners, but not the building/placement of them.

    Other than this, love the new update, and keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for the in-depth feedback, Bob. We're always happy to hear from our players and we'll definitely take your suggestions into consideration. :)

      Delete
    2. I'm in agreement about being able to use DLC blocks whether one owns them or not.
      I can see that there might be concerns about players gaming the system in order to acquire them without owning the DLC- e.g. pasting from the clipboard or workshop- and I imagine that you don't want to split the workshop by making some of its content DLC-owners-only.
      There are, however, big issues with not being able to use the blocks at all- they were covered fantastically by Bob above. On top of the issues presented in a PvP setting, I worry that I cannot use a locker or Industrial Cockpit on a ship or station that I share with a friend in multiplayer, if they are not able to use them. This issue is compounded by the fact that lockers don't seem to have conveyor functionality- if I place an item in a locker, it is then completely out of reach for any non-DLC players.

      I don't mean to complain, however; overall, the update and the DLC are completely stunning. The new LCD functionality blows me away, and I can't wait to see how I can use it. I would like to be able to use the decorative background from the 'Scripts' tab with custom text and images, but everything is working perfectly so far.
      Wonderful job on the update, and best of wishes!

      Delete
  13. Guys what about Câmeras on LCD?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I do not think the chosen content for the dlc of payment is very good ... they are things that veterans have been waiting for a long time and that now limit only to their obtaining and use by payment, even though there is no advantage for those who obtain it. that is an incentive for those who like me have always supported the game with effort with other means than economics. Let's see that now that the game begins to be nourished with content it will only be for people who have a portfolio to obtain it. Sincerely there are other content that can be used to support the game and would not affect the same way ... so this will only get differences between detailed creations for those who pay and creations "empty" for those who can not or do not want do what. Very bad play after 6 years is the first time I see my stay in the space engineers jeopardized. This content of payment takes a lot of time waiting for the community without having to resort to the annoying mods.

    forgive my english I use google translator.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The blocks look great, nothing against that.
    Supporting the SE team, nothing against that.
    Supporting them for water, NPCs etc, absolutely nothing against that.

    My problem is that i don't feel this is the best way to support you guys.

    I'd rather see you guys removing the (free) lootboxes and selling those skins outright instead of blocks.

    Or things that have absolutely 0 inpact on other people's game, like skyboxes or something.
    These blocks are not pay to win (although i did read one comment saying the cockpit did have a tiny bit of extra health? dunno), but not being able to interact with them is still impacting people who do not buy it.

    I cannot fly my friend's ship if he uses that cockpit.
    And while not statistically better, the much better visibility of the cockpit is pretty valuable.
    I cant log out safely if my friend uses the beds instead of cryopods.
    I cannot use the various seats to access the grid's control panel. (or recharge?)

    I'm telling you, ditch this and sell skins to let us support you guys.

    I don't mind supporting you guys, but this is not the way, I would gladly buy a skin or 2, but blocks, i just cant support you in this way.

    ReplyDelete
  16. If you just made it where the new cockpit can be interacted with by all players, I am sure that this will alleviate a large portion of the negative reactions to the new content.

    Leave the decorative blocks the way they are, but don't block use of utility blocks.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have bugged tree branches in my hangar after this update, no chance to take them down, including warhead :(

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  18. I really like the Decorative Pack. Would it be possible to add a free-standing version of the desk chairs without the desks, and chair-free versions of the desks?

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  19. I would just like to mention that the pirate ships do not go away when cargo ships and encounters and drones are off I have nearly been smashed by an enemy ship all I am doing is minding my own business. and this is not just on planet but in space I have enough trouble trying to survive let alone dodge enemy ships.

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  20. Woah, neat! ;D
    What's also super cool is the incredible value of the paid pack - I mean, c'mon guys - it's a frickin Big Mac. Except this one you can enjoy for way, WAY longer!

    ReplyDelete