Thursday, April 13, 2023

Space Engineers: Automatons


  • New blocks in the base game: Event Controller, AI Offensive & Defensive, AI Basic & Recorder, AI Flight
  • Quality of life changes, combat and UI improvements
  • New Premium content: Emotion Controller, Saddle Cockpits, Decorative signs, walls and more

"A machine that performs a function according to a predetermined set of coded instructions, especially one capable of a range of programmed responses to different circumstances.”

Hello, Engineers!

This update will not only reshape automation, but it will also serve as a basis for continued exploration of the “NPC” concept. Automation has never been so easy! Complex mechanized systems can now be more easily realized through use of the new “Event Controller”. Airlocks, docking clamps, loading bays, and mecha controls are now simpler than ever. The event controller not only provides new functionality, but delivers this functionality in an easy to use and easy to understand block. These powerful new mechanics will create new engineering opportunities and serve as a foundation for future upgrades and improvements to the existing PvE content.

From flight control to combat maneuvers, the AI series of blocks delivers a completely new way to automate every aspect of your Space Engineers experience. Taxi service from space station to planetary surface? Guardian drone to patrol the perimeter while you are away? Perhaps you would like a helper to follow you while mining, or working, and shoulder the load. All of this and so much more is easily accomplished!

Explore a future full of automated and animated allies and enemies. For this Major update we have provided you with the tools you need to define a new era in automation. These new blocks empower your creativity like never before. We cannot wait to see the workshop come ALIVE with new creations.

Free Content

AI Blocks

The AI blocks give you the creative tools to completely change what a “grid” is and custom tailor your own automated creation. These tools can empower your creativity like never before! AI blocks have been added to the base game and allow the easy creation of truly autonomous drones.

This is only the beginning as we continue our exploration of the autonomous.

  • AI Flight (Move) - 1 block, S + L grid
    • Designed for flight control in both space and atmosphere. The Flight block enables complex behaviors in-flight as well as detailed control of how your grid will move in both space and atmosphere.
  • AI Basic (Task) - 1 block, S + L grid
    • An extended version of the Remote Control block that provides complex functions such as following the player, traveling to a “Home” destination, and of course Autopilot, as well as the original basic behaviors.
  • AI Recorder (Task) - 1 block, S + L grid
    • A precision flight path recorder. The recorder can not only log and follow a selection of waypoints, but it is also able to record and replay hotbar actions that trigger on waypoints.
  • AI Defensive (Combat) - 1 block, S + L grid
    • Allows for the easy automation of complex defensive behaviors such as when (and how) to flee combat, as well as what locations to fall back to. Additionally, the defensive AI can determine what weapons to use when returning fire, and how to identify a possible threat.
  • AI Offensive (Combat) - 1 block, S + L grid
    • The Offensive block is a highly level AI block. Able to perform extremely complex tasks including target identification, targeting priority, and execution of complex attack patterns. 
Each block comes in 1x1x1 size with both Large and Small grids variants. Players can build more than one of each Type block on a grid, to create extremely complex and nuanced drones and drone behaviors. Of each Type, only 1 block can be active at the same time.

The Event Controller
(1 block, S + L grid)

You asked, we delivered. Often requested in a myriad of different imagined forms, the concept of tracking a change in the state of one block, and taking an action based on that change, is something we have long wanted to tackle. We are very proud to deliver on this concept in what we feel is a comprehensive, but still easy to master, “Event Controller”.

The Event Controller can monitor various block states and trigger toolbar Actions when those values change. This can be used in conjunction with other automation blocks to create logic systems on grids.

The event controller is a powerhouse addition to existing Space Engineers mechanical blocks. The concept of action, reaction, may seem simple on the surface, but when coupled with existing SE solutions, it has the power to simplify the complex, or add much needed functionality to simplistic design.

Willis Ducts
(8 blocks, L grid)

Maintenance Ducts large enough for an engineer to crawl through.

Conveyor Cap
(3 blocks, S + L grid)

Decorative pipe cap for conveyor tubes and cargo ports. 

Centered Armor Panels
(2 blocks S + L grid - light & heavy)

An offset armor panel version.

Air Vent
(1 block S + L grid)

A full sized air vent block with conveyor ports on 5 of 6 sides.

2x2 Wheels
(2 blocks, S + L grid)

A 2x2 “vanilla” wheel variant of both large and small grid size.

QOL Change - Small Ship Connector
Small grid “Ejector” block has been changed to Small Connector (including Connector functionality). This is another long-requested item we are happy to deliver.

QOL Change - Turret Controller
Custom Turret Controller now has the much requested “Sun Tracking” option!

QOL Change - Landing Gear lock
Locked Landing Gear no longer takes control of the grids they are attached to.

QOL Change - Weapon Names
Various weapons + corresponding ammo names have been changed for consistency and ease of discovery via the search bar. You can find a full list of all the impacted weapons in the changelog.

Combat Improvements

  • Updated Combat Guide:
  • The "Forget Target" and "Copy Target" actions have been removed
  • New action: Focus Locked Target (replacing Copy target)
    When triggering this action, turrets will prioritize the target that is currently fully target locked by the player
  • Target Lock Improvement
    Turrets are now capable of seeing and engaging targets that are fully target locked by the player passively, as long as that target is within each turret's maximum range and Line of Sight. This means turrets will now automatically engage a locked target if it is within the turret’s max range and LoS, and the turret is not already engaging another target.
  • Added Grey Lead Indicator + "Out of weapon range" text indicator when you are out of range for the selected weapon
  • Increased Target Locking distance by 500m, totaling 2500m
  • Turrets: cycle subsystem in toolbar now shows the name of currently selected subsystem
  • UI improvements: New overlay when manually controlling turrets

Free DLC Content Additions

2x2 Off-road Wheels
(2 blocks, S + L grid), Added to the Wasteland Pack

A Wasteland version of the new 2x2 wheels.

Conveyor Pipe Cap
(L grid), Added to the Heavy Industry Pack

Decorative rounded pipe caps added to the Heavy Industry Pack. 

Automatons Pack

Similar to our previous major releases, we hope you will take this opportunity to support the continued development of Space Engineers. This DLC pack consists of cosmetic items that enrich your game visually. None of the features in this package provide any advantage to players who purchase this DLC. 

The price of the Automatons Pack is $4.99 USD or your regional equivalent. Show your continued support for Space Engineers and check out the Automatons Pack.

This package includes:

Emotion Controller & 16 Emotions
(1 block, S + L grid)

Machines can be expressive too! The Emotion Controller allows easy communication of grid states through the event controller. Keep your ships happy.

Saddle Cockpit, Compact Saddle Cockpit
(2 blocks, S grid)

Speed through the landscape on a motorcycle style cockpit. Comes in a 3x3x3 and slightly more compact 3x3x2 version.

Robot Helmet Skin
A new helmet skin with a robotic face.

Plastic Armor Skin
A new “plastic” style armor skin.

Warning Signs 
(13 variants L grid, 13 variants S grid)

A sign for every occasion. A collection of warning message signs to adorn your ship, and prevent disaster!

Top Mounted Camera
(1 block, S + L grid)

A larger, armored reskin of the traditional camera block.

Angled Interior Wall 
(2 blocks, L grid)

An interior wall angled variant. Used to construct interesting and detailed looking corridors, tunnels or interiors. 

Inset Light Block
(1 block, S + L grid)

An Interior wall with an integrated light. Add lights in a tight corridor or when space is at a premium.

Pipework Block
(2 blocks, L grid)

A new decorative pipework block, for added visual appeal.

Access Panels
(4 blocks, S + L grid)

Control panel block, with access hatch.

Air Vent Fan
(2 blocks, S + L grid)

A massive industrial fan variant of the air vent. Includes half-block and full block versions.

Automaton Programmable Block
(1 block, S+L grid)

“Server rack” style Programmable Block variant with a console and LCD panel.

Automaton Timer Block
(1 block, S+L grid)

Following the Programmable Block theme, a “server rack” style timer block.

Automaton Sensor
(1 block, S + L grid)

A larger, armored reskin of the sensor block.

What's Next - "Bring the world to life"

This is only the beginning! As we continue our exploration of Automation we have some very important items that didn't make it into this update. Breaking with tradition, we would like to share with you some of what's next and what you can expect from future updates. 

Room for improvement

We are always looking forward to how we can improve existing systems, and the current pathing and collision detection of drones and Automaton systems are no exception. Not every change we wanted to include could be a part of this update so expect improvements to path-finding and collision detection in the future.

New PvP scenario - Combat Evolved

Soon we will be releasing a new PVP scenario (player versus player scenario)! This will be a very special scenario as our approach to its development will be quite unique. Rather than a single, static release, we would like to evolve this PVP scenario over time, using your feedback to help fine-tune, or even make major overhauls, and develop a PVP scenario that delivers the best possible experience. 


“Your team has managed to acquire an encrypted data container that could hold the key to gaining an upper hand in this endless conflict. Unfortunately, your enemy is resourceful and has acquired the same encrypted data from an unscrupulous seller. Now, the race is on! 

Join The Red team or Blue team, prepare your defenses, and make sure your data container is well defended during decryption. Launch your assault and destroy the enemies data container before they manage to decrypt its secrets!

Choose carefully between fortifying your compound, building up a jump-capable strike force, and infiltration of the enemy base. The enemy’s data container must be destroyed!”

Your feedback will play a pivotal role in its evolution and I am looking forward to play this scenario together with you (or against you)! I will be joining the servers and playing alongside other Space Engineers players.

Why is this PvP scenario so important to me?

One part of my original vision for Space Engineers was to make a game where players create warmachines and then test them in battles against other players. The goal was to merge building and fighting / creation and destruction. Nothing like this is possible in other games. Space Engineers has dynamic and destructible environment, only you have control over how you build your fortification and defense, and only you have control over what offensive machines you build. The number of combinations a match can evolve are limitless.

However, the cost of building is disproportionately high when compared to destruction (which is typically easy and cheap).

An important principle is that the battles should be based on the “Vanilla” Space Engineers experience - nothing that works in the default game should be disabled (e.g. we will not disable welding, we won’t make indestructible voxels or grids, we won’t disable jetpack). 

The challenge for players is to use your engineering skills to prepare excellent defenses, and at the same time, to prepare surprises for your enemies.

Naturally, I would like to seek a balance between creation & destruction.

Two steps of my plan:

1) My first step is to create a balanced PvP scenario where both teams have the option of either offense or defense. Both teams should have the same objectives and tools, like a chess match. We cannot expect a competitor to allocate much time to building (it's too time consuming). The first release of the PvP scenario will focus on this stage.

2) The second step will come in a later update and will enable players to spawn grids (blueprints) into the PvP scenario. This empowers competitors to “pre-game” and offsets the cost of creation. Time invested in customization and optimization of designs can be invested outside of a PVP battle, much like it is in survival. Players can then bring these optimized designs directly to the battlefield “on demand” and without slowing play.

We are currently reviewing these concepts. Enabling players to spawn their blueprints in this or future PvP scenario would be an ideal result. We see huge potential in the ability to design and build your ships in creative mode, and at your leisure. Without the stress and time constraints of combat you can refine a design and bring it to “trial by fire” in this evolving PvP scenario.

The gameplay shouldn’t just end with one match. It should extend beyond it. Practically right after the match ends (no matter if your team won or lost), you should start thinking about improving your strategy and preparing for the next match, where you will experiment with different defenses and offenses.

This naturally leads to meta arms-race loop, and should provide a lot of replayability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can we expect more mechanics and QOL changes, not just cosmetics?
A: Yes. We hear you and we have big changes, updates, and additions planned for 2023 and beyond.

Q: How do I provide feedback?
A: Please contact us with your bugs, and feedback here:

Q: Can we expect some special promotions in the future?
A: We are always looking at new ways to bring Space Engineers to a wider audience. Special promotions are good opportunities for this. We have a number of exciting promotions planned for the future, which include both game and DLC content!

Q: Are you planning to expand the Automatons update later, add new AI blocks?
A: We have ideas for more and we're looking into it.

Q: My drone does not do what I want? Why has it stopped working?
A: New Grid AI blocks are complex to set up, sometimes it's hard to debug and understand what is happening or not happening. Checking the block’s console is always a great first step to understanding AI block behavior. Learn more about our new AI blocks here.

Space Engineers available to preorder on PlayStation!

Keen Software House is joining forces with Sony to deliver Space Engineers to PlayStation in 2023. 

We feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to share our “Need to Create” and cannot wait to see what new creations are realized with this release.

Space Engineers is now available to preorder on PlayStation!


If you’re interested in working on awesome games like Space Engineers or our in-house game engine VRAGE3, and love solving unique challenges, we’d love to hear from you! Check out the open positions at Keen Software House and don’t forget to send us your English CV/resume and cover letter. 

Remote collaboration is possible!

Our team is global.

Finding the best candidates to join Keen Software House means exploring every possible solution, including remote work. While we strive to provide team members with the best possible work-life balance here in Prague at our incredible Oranzerie offices, we understand that it is not always possible to transition, therefore we are very remote-friendly. Here’s a map of where our teammates live.

Follow our social media to get the latest news!

We are always impressed by the innovation of our modding community! We would like to thank the Space Engineers community for continuing to inspire us through their ideas, suggestions, and hard work. 

If you want to let me know your feedback, please get in touch via my personal email address, or use our Keen Software House support site. I welcome all of the feedback we receive and we will use it to learn and provide better services to our players.

Thank you for reading this blog!


Marek Rosa
CEO, Creative Director, Founder at Keen Software House
CEO, CTO, Founder at GoodAI


For more news:
Space Engineers:
Keen Software House:
VRAGE Engine:


Personal bio:

Marek Rosa is the founder and CEO of GoodAI, a general artificial intelligence R&D company, and Keen Software House, an independent game development studio, started in 2010, and best known for its best-seller Space Engineers (nearing 5 million copies sold). Space Engineers has the 4th largest Workshop on Steam with over 500K mods, ships, stations, worlds, and more!

Marek has been interested in game development and artificial intelligence since childhood. He started his career as a programmer and later transitioned to a leadership role. After the success of Keen Software House titles, Marek was able to fund GoodAI in 2014 with a $10 Million personal investment.

Both companies now have over 100 engineers, researchers, artists, and game developers.

Marek's primary focus is the development of Space Engineers, VRAGE3 engine, AI Game, and Memetic Badger.

GoodAI's mission is to develop AGI - as fast as possible - to help humanity and understand the universe. One of the commercial stepping stones is the "AI game," which features LLM-driven NPCs grounded in the game world with developing personalities and long-term memory. GoodAI also works on autonomous agents that can self-improve and solve any task that a human can.


  1. Extremely excited about the PvP concept you outlined coming up. Being able to jump into battle with a blueprint into a server optimized for battles would be absolutely amazing! Especially since you could battle in either space, moons, or planets. I always thought even just from a ground battle perspective that SE could give Crossout a run for their money. Crossout also have a great game mode where players take smaller vehicles into battle against one HUGE player-made enemy (Leviathins). SE could do a similar thing of small grids attacking one large grid. Or one player ("commander") on each team could be allowed to spawn in a large grid battle ship and all other players can only spawn in small grid fighters.

    Also with the ability to make custom stations/buildings/maps it would be great to see some sort of feature that goes after the Halo Forge crowd. Being able to launch a custom 16v16 match on a custom scenario would be really cool. It would allow people to make (for example) a large space station which engineers fight internally for control of with the goal of securing control or wiping all tickets from the enemy team. There could even be custom worlds made for these modes which take place in a more limited area to make it easier to load (if that's even a concern)

    There truly is A LOT to explore in this area. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you! I am really happy that you see the vision of PvPscenario!

      This quick battle test was exactly where I am aiming.

  2. Can ya'll create a functional conveyor cap that acts like a system access point, so I can withdraw from the grid connected storage without a container at the access point? it would be great for using junction blocks as access points.

  3. I am disappointed that there is still no support for land/rover AI. All this time wheels have been available to rovers and no out-of-the-box AI would even recognize them. Are there any plans to improve this?

  4. The concept of PvP in a small restricted area with pre built ship is amazing. It would allow to test my ships in a real combat situation without the need to create everything from scratch every time. Is a way to mix creative mode and survival that takes the best from both modalities

  5. The PvP-focused update is excellent news, if only to act as a public laboratory to test scripts that can later be used in a PvE-focused update. I long for an (possibly scalable) actively hostile opponent/world, with a game of cat and mouse between PC and pirate faction(s!), objectives to complete (even if they simply serve as game achievements), and better use of economy (if only to purchase zone chips to keep your stationary base secured from NPC attacks). I expect PvP scenarios will bring the necessary experimentation and data to make this possible, and I hope PvE is also in the mid-term plans of Keen. The game gets significantly more enjoyable with each update, good job!

  6. I just wish the AI blocks actually worked, precision mode being on apparently breaks the ability of the recorder block to go to its waypoints and precision mode being off breaks the ability to lock to a connector with anything resembling an acceptable success rate. So out of 200 minimal block build drones for testing and trying to get a working set up to put on actual builds all I came up with was either the drone can follow it's path or it can lock to the connector, make your choice.

  7. When you fix clang?