Space Engineers ‘Crash Test’ Footage Looks Smashing

By Nathan Grayson on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:00 am.

Oh Space Engineers, let me count the ways. For one, you’re a hyper-ambitious extraterrestrial builder rooted in near-future NASA technology, but also, you’re not going to Kickstarter. Not that I have anything against crowdfunding drives per se, but it’s nice when a game doesn’t thrust its clanking cup in our direction from time-to-time. But yes, the game looks quite excellent, with a physics engine that takes me back to my days as a starry eyed tot playing with toy rockets. “RrrrrrrmmmmmKABLLLOOOOOMMMMMSPLRRRSSSSHH,” I’d snarl as I set countless imaginary pilots on collision courses with certain doom. Space Engineers “Crash Test” video is just like that, only it looks even better than these things did in my head.

Those physics. Mmmmmmmmm. They are scrumptious. Space Engineers is technically about building stuff, but I kind of just want to crash ships all day. Does that make me immature? Probably.

When last we checked in on these men of science, action, and rampant juvenile delinquency, word was that the game would be on Steam Early Access “soon.” Now, however, it has a date: October 23rd. That is very good news. Less good, meanwhile, is the fact that Space Engineers comes from the makers of the rather not-great Miner Wars 2081. It’s improved since launch (and, in a very admirable move, released its source code), but the core game was – in its best moments – painfully mediocre. Here’s hoping that Space Engineers will rocket past it in every respect.

We’ll get to find out if it’s on the right track very soon. Until then, are you liking the look of this one as much as I am?


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  1. Bull0 says:

    Presumably you don’t need to go to Kickstarter when you sell pre-orders for games and then don’t make those games

    • razgon says:

      At least you get the chance to purchase this as well!

    • Max Planck says:

      That certainly was a clever trick. Industrious con artists like that really deserves free advertising on RPS.
      By the way, would anybody like to buy my upcoming game? It is an mmo, it has all the features and it comes out a year from now. Only 20$. If I decide not to make it after all, you are screwed though. Ha-ha.

      See, I can do it too!

    • slerbal says:

      Can someone fill me on on what happened there? It’s not something I am familiar with, but I am curious about this game but not if the developers are shady.

      • Max Planck says:

        While developing ‘Miner Wars 2081′, Keen Software announced that they would make an MMO as well using the same universe and gameplay as Miner Wars. It was scheduled for an public beta by Q4 2012. They sold preorders for this game here . After a while they completely stopped talking about this, and questions regarding it was censored from their forums or ignored. In a recent announcement they revealed that the mmo is not currently in active development and that they are working on a different product instead (Space Engineer). They also won’t give a refund or, even, access to their new product instead (

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          That’s pretty bad. Nathan could’ve thrown a line in regarding that, I feel.

        • slerbal says:

          Wow that does sound pretty shady! Thanks for sharing that – that was exactly the kind of summary/explanation I was after and puts all the negative comments into a more understandable context.

        • snake13 says:

          I don’t get the same feeling as you do my friend… what i understand from what they say is that these guys are changing a bit directions and want to use space engineers as the tool for developing the MMO or any other game they may have in their plans. It is a very honest answer for me. And the general feeling is that this is a positive change of plans that will benefit both players, new and old ones, plus the devs.

          • Max Planck says:

            Well, imagine this:
            You and I agree on a transaction concerning one item (burrito) going your way tomorrow and 5 quid going my way today. After receiving the moolah I completely refuse to talk to you, and furthermore I close my burrito shop and pull down the blinds.
            For a week.
            “Where’s my fucking burrito”, you frantically yell through the mail slot.
            “Leave me alone, I’m making pasta salad” I calmly respond, adding: “I might start on your wrap when this is done, but no promises”.

            So tell me, would you buy my pasta salad?

  2. LionsPhil says:

    Now watching: the balletic slow-motion collisions of penis-craft in space.

    October makes me think there’s not going to be much more to it than that, though. This would be a great starting point for an interesting game if it picked up more stuff from Corneroids (like having actual ship systems to wire together, so when that blue one got torn in half by the red one, the bridge would find its power out, and its control severed from the engine thrusters*) and SS13 (I know atmospheric simulation is hard and computationally expensive, but the threat of having holes ripped in your ship just doesn’t mean much if everyone’s always in EVA suits).

    And then give it something to do other than just build and PvP.

    * In Corneroids, these also apply actual physical forces, so that shuttle with a front thruster snapped off would be in for a fun piloting challenge. (For the Dwarf Fortress definition of “fun”.)

  3. Chalky says:

    There’s something off about the collisions. It’s difficult to put my finger on it, I think the models stop suddenly when they hit something before the damage applies. If you look at an actual crash of something like a car, the vehicle continues on it’s trajectory, slowing down as the deformation takes the energy out of its movement.

    This is early alpha footage so I guess this sort of thing could easily be something they tweak, but unfortunately it made it all look a bit odd to me.

    • Detocroix says:

      Yeah, also the ships don’t seem to give any kind of impact force to the asteroids. I’m not sure if that’s “physically correct” but the ships feel like they’re made from that fake glass sugar thing.

      • Jp1138 says:

        I was going to coment the same thing regarding asteroids. Sure, some seem very big compared to the ships crashing on them, but even the little ones are fixed in the space with no reaction to the hits :(

        • LionsPhil says:

          That’s another thing this kind of game needs to learn from Corneroids: in that, you can make a ship by taking an existing asteroid and strapping enough thrusters to it. Because, hey, they’re all just masses in space, right?

        • Gap Gen says:

          Unless the asteroids are way way heavier than the ships, yeah, they should make them move slightly.

          One thing seems to be that the components are connected fairly rigidly, so while individual components crumple there’s no bending over the ship, which you see sometimes if you watch car crash tests. As a result when the ships collide the whole thing turns like a solid body. In some ways this is fair enough – the spring equations are annoying to calculate for objects that are mostly but not completely rigid because the timestep is so small, unless there’s some clever way to do it. It might be nice to see shocks from impacts damage the ships beyond the impact zone crumpling. I suppose. It’s still some very nice tech.

      • Cim says:

        I’d say it looks like they are made of Lego. They don’t seem to have all that much weight to them (probably a lot due to the asteroid thing) and on impact you just end up with a bunch of pieces.

      • dagudman says:

        I was just going to comment that they seem to only be hitting big asteroids in order to avoid the fact that they made the asteroids into immovable objects, otherwise they would have shown it as a big feature.

    • Danny252 says:

      I think it’s just that everything is far too rigid, and there’s too little momentum – it’s more like smashing pieces of Lego together, rather than thousands of tons of spaceship.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Even automobiles crumple more than these spaceships do. If you take one jumbojet and collide it with another jumbojet at 200 KPH, do you think they’ll bounce off each other like that?

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Oh look, yet another game that doesn`t ever check the math. I do sincerely hope the physics will be improved, because these things look and feel like they`re made of polystyrene. Now, I`m sure there was a lot of work put into the engine and all that, but seeing a pair of terran battlecruisers slam into each other at a kilometer per second and bounce off with a bit of scuffed paint work as the most serious damage is quite weird to say the least.

  4. razgon says:

    Don’t they have another game to finish first?

  5. Skyhigh says:

    I think the guy who is trying to land the spaceship on the asteroid space station, is going a bit too fast.

  6. Didden says:

    That will buff out.

  7. Gap Gen says:

    I like the idea that in an era of interplanetary flight an effective battle tactic is still to ram your ship into someone else.

  8. FullMetalMonkey says:

    I don’t know why but the ship designs remind me of Lego for some reason.

  9. c-Row says:

    GTA meets Star Citizen

  10. PopeRatzo says:

    A company chooses not to go the Kickstarter route, so of course, the article has to mention Kickstarter.

    If it’s nice not to have developers thrusting clanking cans in your direction, you might start by not making every article about clanking cans.

  11. Tei says:

    Space Crashlicious. Ships made of sugar. Like all of it. I wold add explosiona in here somewhere.

    What is the networking model? This looks like a lan game for 4 players.

  12. Zekiel says:

    A quick glance at the top picture convinced me this was a post about a new Transformers: X of Cybertron game. There is something extremely Optimus Prime-y about the big spaceship (or is it two spaceships colliding? Can’t be bothered to watch the video)

  13. SuicideKing says:

    Imagine this stuff in FreeSpace 2 working with capital beams!

  14. frightlever says:

    Deja vu.

  15. Sc0r says:

    While I totally like the idea and can’t even express my gratitude towards those devs.. The physics aren’t really that great.. Looks like, if you made a 1 mm stick and 100 meters to the back huge thrusters and 100meters to the front the pilot section and stuff… If you crash it at the front, I fear, pilot section will crumble, but the stick is undamaged, because I didn’t really see material stress like in bridge builder games or red faction.

  16. Senex says:

    I suppose alpha and beta means nothing anymore, but bashing and whining at the first opportunity certainly do, sadly enough.

  17. Dozer says:

    I love the collidable spaceships!

    What are the physics like then? Does it apply forces from attitude-control rockets and gyros to position the craft? I’d like to think, after smashing off part of the ship, it should fly really weirdly until the centre-of-gravity datum is moved in the attitude control system. Which could be done manually, or by an automatic system which takes a little while to recalibrate. So you’d be only marginally in control after “a significant redistribution of mass” / massive collision.

  18. DarkFarmer says:

    Space Engineers looking awesome. I really like the idea of a proc gen world that isn’t all terrain’ed up- that is rather built up by players. I enjoy the sensation of exploring things other people have built rather than just perlin generated fractals*. (*MATHEMATIC TERMS UTTERLY BUTCHERED FOR LITERARY EFFECT)

  19. Stimpack says:

    It’s like EVE Online! Oh, wait, no it’s not. No, it’s not at all. Because EVE Online decides to continue using that completely idiotic “push” mechanic!

  20. Artist says:

    Looks like Blockaderunner done right.

  21. MrGoat says:

    @ screenshot: Optimus Prime, what have they done to you?

  22. snake13 says:

    Burnout in space!!!!

  23. Bfox says:

    I’d love to know how much of this game was inspired by playing Spacebuild in Garrysmod : )

  24. o-danny-o says:

    the picture looks like a flying dinosaur head eating a ship while the hero’s in the little ship where dramatically late to save them.

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