Start Your Engines: Space Engineers On Early Access

Come. Joooooooooin usssssssss.

Do you want to be an engineer? I can understand if you don’t really feel like it’s your cup of tea – especially if you’d rather be a professional tea brewer. But what about a space engineer? Well of course you’re saying yes now. Space makes everything better, except breathing. Happily, Space Engineers would rather suck the life from your lungs via the good old-fashioned method: time. It wants all of your hours, and it looks like it could well offer some pretty tantalizing reasons to hand them over. But skepticism is still healthy, especially in the wake of developer Keen Software House’s lackluster Miner Wars 2081. Steam Early Access, then, offers a chance to see if Space Engineers is really on the right track.

The playground of NASA-inspired science and rock-’em-sock-’em-crash-’em physics porn is now available on Steam Early Access for $14.99. It’s currently in alpha, so beware of creepy crawly space bugs.

“Space Engineers is in alpha stage of development – this means that the game is still under development and will be improved on a regular basis through updates that add and polish features and content, optimizations and bug fixes.”

“This initial release on Early Access focuses on core mechanics: building in creative mode, physics simulations and destruction. Additional features will be released in following updates.”

Features like multiplayer, sound effects, weapons, survival mode, and much improved animations are planned for the future. For now, however, it’s a bit barebones.

If you’re still interested in suiting up and diving in, Keen’s released a tutorial video to help get you off the ground. You can already build ships and stations, which is more than can be said for most other games. Or real life. Unless you’re an actual space engineer, in which case why are you eyeing a game about your career? Get some other hobbies! Diversity is the spice of life. Take up space tennis or space knitting or space drug addiction or something. Don’t be afraid to explore.


  1. Leb says:

    It’s pretty fun to mess around in, just gimme MP to mess around with friends!

    • Mctittles says:

      I’m curious. If this isn’t multiplayer, then who is flying the ship in the trailer?

      • Behrditz says:

        It is just the state of the alpha so far. Multiplayer is getting added during the process. Same with weapons

  2. Leb says:

    Keen software is pretty open on the steam forums to communicate with, you can ask them stuff directly, add them as a friend, etc.

    The only posts I saw them delete were anything that were unconstructive, e.g. people going “I HAVEN’T BOUGHT THIS GAME BUT IT IS HORRIBLE.” and the mods were completely transparent in the deletion.

    Looks fine to me tbh

    • Bull0 says:

      They’re deleting everything even moderately critical.

      Alpha funding/early accessing a Keen game should be the last thing anyone wants to do given their track record.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      I’ve no idea if these claims are true, but in general if you’re the moderator of a forum, yes you have to delete posts sometimes. Troll posts and people that start fifty threads titled “I hate this game” are good candidates, along with racial hatred and other nasty stuff.

      I my experience a politely worded opinion, even negative, rarely gets deleted on any forum. Of course what you describe does happen sometimes.

      But can you prove us you’re not a troll or a disgruntled hater who got banned for his bad manners and is now badmouthing the game/company?

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        You must not have looked at the Steam forums lately. Locking and deleting “reasonable” posts or threads has become so common now that it’s quickly taking on epidemic proportions. It seems like that kind of behavior on the part of developer mods has really ramped up since the whole WarZ controversy.

        Consumers are increasingly tired of getting ripped off, and they’re making their displeasure known in one of the few ways that really gets any attention in this always-online world. Devs and publishers obviously don’t like seeing an overabundance of negative opinions about their products, so they resort to censorship. Valve don’t actively encourage this kind of behavior by guest moderators, but they’re doing little to curtail it.

        I can’t verify whether or not what Bull0 and flang are describing is actually taking place at the Space Engineers forums, but it is certainly happening at other game forums in the Steam Community.

      • smb says:

        The kind of crap spewed all over the Steam forums is simply unhelpful most of the time, with thread titles like “You expect me to pay money for this game?!” or “I demand a refund or you’ll hear from my lawyer!” or “This is a Minecraft ripoff lol” I’ve seen these threads take over just about every game forum I’ve visited. *sigh* I’d rather see the forums used for discussing info about PLAYING the darn games, optimization tips, discovering new mods. NOT sifting through the entitled ramblings of eight year-olds.

  3. razgon says:

    I’m still waiting for the MMO I bought from them… I’d be VERY wary before you guys purchase anything from them, since they tend to screw their costumers over.

  4. Tei says:

    I like the way you build stuff. Looks clever :D
    I think I am wait a bit more for this, until I see some multiplayer madness :D

  5. Cam says:

    The alpha build is pretty solid as far as the game-engine goes; the physics and destruction work really well and the game plays smoothly.(at least on my computer; others may have issues on older processors though)
    They released this alpha version because it’s relatively bug-free as far as myself and others have seen in the week that some of us had access to it early.

    For now, the only thing you can really do is build ships/stations and crash them to pieces(and only in singleplayer); they haven’t added any of the other gameplay features like resource gathering, oxygen management, or weapons yet, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt since what they HAVE enabled so far has impressed me.

    It could take a while before they have all the gameplay stuff in, since I’m guessing they want to do things a little at a time to keep bugs to a minimum, but it’s expected with alpha releases.

    I would say don’t buy it yet if you want all the game-play soon; but, if you’re like me and have a love of building(and crashing) things, then go ahead and get it.

  6. GamesInquirer says:

    My comments keep getting marked as spam. They’re no different to the formatting of my post about The Girl and the Robot or others I’ve pimped before. I don’t know what sets the system off, I’ve tried with and without links. I wanted to pimp NeonXSZ in the space game topics. Even though it’s not in open space.

  7. JiminyJickers says:

    There is not much to do yet, but it is fun. Can’t wait for them to add more features.

  8. stoner says:

    I’ve been playing for about a week. Having fun building stuff. Keen updates the game every few days.

  9. Stromko says:

    Had to comment on this, “But skepticism is still healthy, especially in the wake of developer Keen Software House’s lackluster Miner Wars 2081. Steam Early Access, then, offers a chance to see if Space Engineers is really on the right track.”

    Seems like a contradiction, or at least a bad idea.. He essentially states that a lot of people who have given the developer money for games pre-release have been disappointed that the games haven’t been as good as they like, but to find out how THIS game is turning out, we can give them another 15$. Then again Nathan never said we should, just that we could if we wanted to.

    I guess the difference is that the alpha/beta whatever is available right now, rather than just being delayed forever.

    • Stromko says:

      Actually upon rereading what I quoted, I didn’t really need to say anything. I only reiterated what Nathan wrote with a bit more skepticism tacked on.

    • wu wei says:

      Features like multiplayer, sound effects, weapons, survival mode, and much improved animations are planned for the future.

      Just as many such features were planned for Miner Wars when it was in alpha, and then never materialised. It’ll be a cold day in hell before I’m suckered in by anything Keen promise again.

  10. bongosabbath says:

    Finally, a spaceship building simulator with physics. This is brilliant! *throws money at screen*

  11. Boffin says:

    As far as skepticism goes, it’s also troubling that under the “Reviews” section of the greenlight page they have two quotes from people saying that a video of the game looks cool. Not necessarily dodgy, but it’s pointless at best, imo.

  12. Noise says:

    Do video games actually get a release these days? I think betas and early access have replaced final versions completely and now we are all just playing unfinished products.

    I don’t even see the point of playing a game before its finished anyway, it’d be like watching a rough-cut to a movie before its released or reading a messy draft of the next GRRM book.

    • Panda Powered says:

      Your comparison makes sense if the early access and alpha funding games are based on linear narrative but most (if not all?) of them tend to be sandbox games.

  13. Eery Petrol says:

    Absolute rest frame? Not in my space game.

  14. hemmingjay says:

    Keen are nothing short of criminal and have shown that they have a complete lack of respect for their customers at every opportunity to do some good. You definitely not trust them at all.

    Knowing this, I still bought this alpha because I am happy to explore the early mechanics that are in the game now even if they never finish. In this case, they have already delivered more of what was promised for Miner Wars than that completed game ever gave me. Also, to the best of my understanding, this is a partially separate team, with only a couple of members from the previous team plus a few new ones. The hope for me is that management is improved as well.

    I am having fun monkeying around with the crude offering so far but do not recommend buying anything from them. In fact, my only recommendation is to throw an egg at Keen developers at any conference they show their faces at.

  15. Charlie05 says:

    Fun game, even at this alpha stage. Stay away from the official forums, they don’t like people from the USA, use the steam forums and hopefully it wont get deleted by the time someone answers!