Planets In Space Engineers Sound/Look Pretty Awesome

I haven’t played anything like enough of sandbox building/exploration game Space Engineers [official site], but the recent addition of explorable planets looks like a solid gold reason to. They arrived back in November, but this new video makes a strong case for why they demand more attention.

For starters, these things are big enough that it’ll take something like an hour to drive across them – which means you’re not exactly going to run out of space to build stuff. But getting to that point involves landing on the planet first, and that’s a process which involves building three different types of vehicle. I like the idea of a planetary landing being a big deal, not the magic button-push of something like Mass Effect. There’s also some lovely real world-inspired science, such as space stations crashing through the atmosphere because they spent too long on the dark side of a planet and so ran out of solar power, as happened to poor old Philae.

Here’s one of the devs, who appears to work in giant glass future-palace, talking about how it all works, how the game’s planets get made and showing off some lovely, LEGO-does-3D-Proteus footage too.

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31 Comments

  1. Lord Byte says:

    I’ve gradually stopped playing because a lot of the new changes are more busywork than anything else, half of it is broken and the framerates have been tanking steadily. Planets just made it worse. Even monster computers have issues reaching 30fps let alone comfortably staying there.
    And to top it off, you either start with planets or none will spawn in your galaxy. And no matter how far you travel, only the ones that you spawn next to will be there.
    No planet-hopping, no asteroid belts, a few planets or no planets.

    • Hyperion says:

      Space Engineers was coded to not limit the player in world size or complexity except what his own computer is capable of running. I would not worry about planet scenarios currently being so simple and not providing any randomly generated vast stellar systems, as it’s most probably going to improve in the future since there is no reason not to.

      But I think it would be wiser if they firstly implemented real stars, together with heat mechanics perhaps, and made planets able to orbit around them and rotate on their own, because currently the sun of each world/save is travelling across the starry sky, which does not permit having anyhow realistic star systems with multiple planets with a star sitting in the middle.

      • NephilimNexus says:

        Funny you should mention stars, because the way SE handles them would make Copernicus turn over in his grave. Simply put, no matter what type of game you play, the star orbits your skybox. Which is especially funny because the speed of that orbit is such that a “year” in Space Engineers goes buy in about an hour or less or real time. So you’re either looking at tidal effects that would shred everything and then crush it into a pancake before you started, or a star that somehow generates enough gravity to keep planets in orbit, be visible and generate energy… while in itself being about the size of a small dog.

        • Artist says:

          Im always baffled when people play the “not realistc”-card in a computer game. Its a mindset totally beyond my grasp. Whats the reason of such argumentation? I mean everybody knows that theres differences between game- and real-world mechanics…

          • Morgan Joylighter says:

            In this case the entire conceit of the game is physical realism, so the gaps between reality and the gameworld are more jarring than usual.

        • tuoret says:

          They talked about this before the release of planes. Basically their engine (or rather the players’ computers) simply couldn’t handle actually moving and rotating the planets around a sun, so they had to choose between rotating the skybox and not having any sort of day/night system at all.

          I think it’s an acceptable compromise, especially since you can turn it off easily if you don’t like it. Although I wish there was an option to automatically pause the rotation when you fly to space (in singleplayer, anyway).

      • Sinner_D says:

        I dunno what you guys are/aren’t doing but I run the latest steam version of SE at 1920x1080res as maxed as the graphical settings will go, DX11 on an unlimited normal density world with random AI, all planets, random encounters via space and planets, plus a 50km view distance, and while I’m capped 60fps(seems to run more stable capped at 60fps)I only slightly flux down to 45ish fps sometimes. Mind you I run a heavily modded save as well, which usually includes speed of light mod(when its working) along with tons of parts mods.

        To those who bought pre-built…theres your problem right there. I spent roughly $1000 on my newegg sales parted machine, and have no issues what so ever system side. Obviously the games not perfect, multiplayer could still use some work, but even then most my issues arise from server moderators dumb hotfix attempts to overcome pitfalls only lower end rigs trying to out do themselves witness, I personally don’t witness without said hotfixes any issues with SE apart from the periodic crash here n there which is quite normal in gaming, especially steam gaming.

        Aside from the noticeably increased load times when firing up a saved world, All is good on my SE.

        i5 4690k, GTx 970, 8gb DDR5, MSI z97 G5, standard 1tb HDD(hopefully upgrading to SSD soon.) Running Win7u

    • gi_ty says:

      I have a fx8350 and an r9280x with 8 gb ram. I have no problems running this game at 1920×1080 with the view range at 10 km. There are some drops when the it need to render a large complex object but it always speeds back up. That is not abnormal for games that allows player made content and often many that don’t. I find planets awesome due to the challenges that come with them. Building a wheeled excavator for mining in gravity was a hugely fun and rewarding challenge. Moving into building a reliable transport to zero gravity where I could construct a asteroid mining station was quite a challenge as well. If you looking for exploration of tons of planets you could play Elite. Space Engineers is a construction game more akin to Kerbal Space Program its about the journey rather than the destination.

  2. Captain Deadlock says:

    Uninstalled last month to make room for actual games. Unplayable broken non-game. Perpetual motion merchants. Games made by shrill democracy suck every time.

  3. El_Kabong says:

    Agreed. My son who really loved this game saved and scrimped to buy a new computer so he could play planets when it was released. $1000 dollars spent on a new Dell XPS gaming rig apparently isnt enough. Still getting terrible framerates with everything set on minimum. Pathetic.

  4. Crocobutt says:

    These people have no direction in what they’re doing. Yet.. they are obviously making great bank. Say what you want, money in their pockets talks quite loud.
    For the record, I fruitlessly tried having fun with the game, but it’s just an absolute slogging sandbox.

  5. brucethemoose says:

    Starmade is like the game Space Engineers should have been… Without the graphics.

    Empyrion might shape up to be the middle ground in the future, but it’s too early to tell.

  6. atc84 says:

    All the comments before me have no proper perception of the awesome capabilities of Space Engineers. Most of the comments are about lag… I run it on a pretty standard PC and it runs fine, you know why? I turned down the resolution and graphics settings. Its a very minor setback compared to what the game has to offer. Compare it to minecraft, where its brick-like graphics fall infinitely short of SE, but millions of people play it because of the content.

    They also do weekly patches that do a great job of fixing problems that the community notices, and adds more gameplay. I mean seriously, for an early release game on steam, its worth every penny.

    • El_Kabong says:

      Sorry, but my comment was not about lag. It was about framerates. The game is a hog, and a much fatter, lazier hog since they added planets. As i said above, i have the graphics set on minimum with the smallest worlds and its still terrible FPS. Don’t take offense, its nothing personal. The game will die if they don’t change this.

      • atc84 says:

        Fair enough, I get low frame rates also. I tend to prefer content over graphics, i can deal with low res and frames if the game is interesting enough. They should make changes to make the game run more smoothly, but i would be surprised since it seems like it runs off of a pretty intense engine.

  7. Renton says:

    To top off everything the other comments said, the planets in Space Engineers a lot like Oblivion. You know how once you left the sewers and you looked around, it looked great for about 10 minutes, but then just by having looked around, you basically saw all you had to see? Space Engineers is like that, but at a many many times larger scale and without any of the actual spots to visit.

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      Cvnk says:

      This is the problem with all of these games touting vast quantities of procedurally-generated locations (e.g. Starbound, Elite, No Man’s Sky, Stellar Overload). None of it will be interesting. I’m all for a game that randomly generates the setting that you’ll be playing in but don’t make the mistake of thinking I want to roam around visiting tiresome variations of it.

      • Renton says:

        Well in both Elite and Starbound there were spots to go to and see even if they got fairly repetitive; so I would really love it if the game could point me in any direction at all, maybe throw some proc-gen ruins or stations in there à la Minecraft’s dungeons and towns.

        Although just finding a cool looking valley and building stations and cars and drones have been keeping me fairly occupied in the game (despite the weird limitations of the mechanical blocks), I would love it if there would be a point to building any of the stuff that I do build other than “maybe it’ll look cool as a silhouette at dawn” (the switch to DX11 did really wonders for the lighting in the game).

      • Razumen says:

        Well, it also depends on How they procedurally generate everything, sure if they use the same algorithm for every planet it’s going to be boring, but mixing it up can keep things interesting.

  8. Artist says:

    I really dont get how this guys wanted to make an MMO with their voxel engine! The multiplayer performance is abysmal and now that they focus on the Xbone release you can be sure there will be no proper enhancement for multiplayer on PC. Regardless of their “roadmap”.
    A pal once said “SE multiplayer is absolutly awesome! …until another player joins…!”

    And then whats about bulding a physics-based game thats understandingly heavily hitting on the CPUs without even a slight attempt to add proper multi-core support? Yep, SE is a single-core game. In 2016! How horrible can a project management fail?

    SE is mostly smoke and mirrors. They know how to “play the Early Access Game” properly by feeding candy to the monkey and everybody is happy. But behind the scene SE is a trash heap.

  9. mtomto says:

    I get ~5 fps on a 780ti :)

    … on a good day. I imagine that you need some kind of unholy pc monster with octo GPUs cooled by blood.

    TLDR: It is vaporware on life support. Gotta love early access.

  10. Davie says:

    Did they ever add a way to go faster than 100m/s or whatever the hard limit was? I was excited when they first added planets, but then I built a ship and it took me like half an hour just to fly to one, and then another ten minutes just to get down through the atmosphere. Planets somehow just highlight the absurdity of spacecraft that can’t move faster than a sports car.

    • Razumen says:

      If I recall correctly the speed limit was a changeable setting.

  11. uzihead says:

    I had Space Engineers for a few years now. I never touched it. It was just not there yet, too rough, too crazy and lacking any information. But then the Planets came. Best approach I have seen in a game, ever. And I am an E:D player, of all Elite series actually.

    Now I have managed to put into game over 200 hours, in 1 month of gaming over winter holidays. It is really amazing. It has the same charming imperfections like Minecraft in alpha, when people were using game bugs as features doing crazy things with them.
    The way this game managed to actually get me passionate… It only happened for me a few times in the past, in the what people talk these days of being “retro” era.
    All this is not because it is realistic or done or perfect. I actually has the one of steepest learning curve I’ve seen, well, not comparable with Eve Online, but still… The game has its own rules which you need to learn. You know, like any game.

    SE pretty much blows your mind with what you can actually do. It is a Minecraft on steroids, a version that is specifically dedicated to those like to engineer things. Minecraft unlocked some of that potential in people too with redstone, but SE is very specialized on that particular aspect. I mean, just watch that dude making a production line for combat vehicles, without using any mods or enhancements (link to youtube.com).

    Example:
    It took me 2 weeks to understand how to build a rocket, to tune it and to leave the planet. The game has its own rule when it comes on how you handle speed and mass. Since speed is limited to max 100 m/s, you cannot think “realistically” like in Kerbal Space Program, you need a different approach. You can’t really achieve escape velocity, you just need to keep that maximum speed constant. The “realistic” mass rule still applies though. If your mass is too high, you cannot really fly. Also hydrogen engines are the best for this particular thing, begin very powerful, only that they burn fuel very fast. And the fuel is ice, which has mass. The equation between mass, meaning how much ice you can carry, the generation rate of the hydrogen fuel from ice, which lowers the mass over time, burn rate, to maintain the velocity, and time becomes one that will keep you mind occupied in a very exciting way… If you like these sort of things.

    Like in real engineering, I failed, made new designs, tried again, failed again etc. It was awesome!

    Performance wise… Yes, all the complains are fair. I run this on two identical configurations when it comes to processor and memory, but the difference is in the video card. The GTX 650Ti gives me 12 frames, the GTX 980 gives me 60 in full wonder. I run my own dedicated server which works decently, most of the time. I have learned to deal with it, I know its gimmicks, I know how to avoid them.
    The game is moving forward pretty fast. Last two patches gave a 20-30% boost in frame-rate, which actually made it playable on my work computer, the one with GTX 650Ti.

    In the end, it is a matter of taste and how much time you want to put in your favorite game to make it work and to play. I dismissed SE for having problems for a long time and now I am just happy that I took a few days to deal with it. This is how Minecraft worked in alpha and beta. No regrets there either.

    • brucethemoose says:

      You clearly haven’t discovered modded Minecraft yet :P. Go on a good server, get ready for your mind to be blown.

      • uzihead says:

        I have actually run my own mod dedicated server for almost a year with a my own custom mod pack – 169 mods, with RPG stuff, flying machines, infinite Myst-like paralleled universes, shielded bases, nuclear reactors, in-game lua programming for reactors maintenance, weapons and, of course, singularity bombs that in the end crashed the server forever. You can still download it from Technic Platform here – link to technicpack.net

  12. Morgan Joylighter says:

    “the devs, who appears to work in giant glass future-palace”

    I think this is Exhibit A in “why not to participate in crowdfunding unless you really, really trust the devs, or else literally don’t care what happens to your money.”

  13. WFK says:

    Game is crap, but I love it, lots of bugs. I play survival 600+ h save, autosave turned off and if I do something- cut or weld or move then I save copy of a save. I have 20-30 saves and sometimes I lose 5h or 8h. it makes me really angry when I must built same stuff 1-4 times again and again because I forgot to save and bug destroys something. but I have played this game 700+ hours and I still play it… I love it and I hate it. NO LAG. i7 3770k/gtx 970/12gb ram/SSD.

  14. WFK says:

    and you don´t need 900 USD i7 with 8 cores to run it faster, u need 4+ GHz CPU with 2-4 cores.