Block

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In Space Engineers, any piece built as part of a ship or station is known as a Block. Blocks can vary from basic structural entities (such as the Light Armor Block) to standalone, functional facilities (such as the Refinery) to pieces that only offer a functionality useful to a complete whole (such as the Cockpit). Blocks are constructed by welding Components together: see Building for details on how to do so.

Block Properties

Large and Small Blocks

Blocks in Space Engineers can either be constructed Small, and so intended to be used on Small Ships, or Large and so intended to be used on Large Ships and Stations. Most (but not all) blocks can be built in either size, and so have two completely different sets of weights, volumes, and build recipes depending on which size is ultimately created. It is thus important to know what context you are looking to use a particular block in, or you might find your required Components to be off by a factor of 100!

Certain Blocks, such as the Medium Cargo Container, cannot be built on Large Ships or Stations. Others, such as the Refinery, cannot be built on Small Ships.

Blocks as Measurement

When speaking of "blocks", one can either be referring to the items listed on this page, or one might instead be referring to units of distance. A single Large Block has an edge length of 2.5 meter and thus a volume of 15.625 m³, while a single Small Block has an edge length of 0.5 meter and thus a volume of 0.125 m³ (the Engineer avatar is about 1.8 meters tall, for reference).[1] This means that measurement changes based on context; a ship being 10 blocks long might be puny if a small ship (at 5 meters long, it's a large bathtub) but if referring to a large ship, 10 blocks is 25 meters long and is much more metal to worry about.

Rendering

The less polygons your display card needs to deal with, the faster it will render. Modern display cards are capable of rendering thousands upon thousands of polygon without much effort. However, if you have an older card, you'll feel the impact more than with a newer card.

There are two different kinds of blocks: Armor blocks and non-armor blocks (entity blocks - Gyroscopes, Cockpits, Refineries etc). The entity blocks are the ones that has LODs (Level Of Detail).

The Armor blocks do not have LODs, they consist of "sides". These sides are actually removed as you create larger pieces, meaning that only the visible portions are rendered. Consider if you place two cubes against each other; two faces would be hidden. These faces are removed by the game. Which means armor blocks are in general a lot more efficiently rendered. They consist of a lot less polygons to begin with obviously, being cube-derived.

As you move away from an armor or entity block, it's graphical representation is periodically replaced with a simpler model, so that the game doesn't have to render as many polygons. How many LOD levels there are depends on each individual model.

  • It should be noted however in the early stages of development, that the majority of blocks currently in the game as of Update 01.141 are still placeholders.

Performance

When speaking of performance, most of SE's performance issues has less to do with rendering and more to do with the game logic. In other words, background processing and calculating the game does.

Armor blocks have the least impact to overall performance, for two reasons: Polygon count and logic. Armor blocks have no logic assigned to them what so ever. Some entity blocks, like the Refinery for example, has game logic that changes Ore into Ingots. This requires CPU power, albeit not much. But if you have for example, a hundred refineries, chances are you're gonna see the impact of it. Rendering wise the refinery obviously has more polygons than the equivalent number of armor blocks.

It should also be noted, that distance from the player(s) has no real meaningful impact when it comes to logics being used in the background. In other words, if you have a refinery, no matter how far away you fly away from it, the actual conversation of ore to ingots will still impact you. However, the rendering of the entity obviously won't.

Much of the performance issues can centralize on directly to how many things are in your world.

To expand on this further ... if we imagine one large ship and several small ones. If we assume the number and types of blocks of the large ship equal the total number of the smaller ones, the performance impact of the larger ship is actually smaller than several small ones: The large ship is a single physics entity, the small ones each have their individual ones. Hence, the multiple small ones should be heavier on the engine than the single large one, because there's less to compute.

List of Blocks

Both Large-grid and Small-grid blocks are listed here.

Armor (Light)

Light Armor Block Icon.png
Light Armor Slope Icon.png
Light Armor Corner Icon.png
Light Armor Inverted Corner Icon.png
Light Round Armor Slope Icon.png
Light Round Armor Corner Icon.png
Light Round Armor Inv Corner Icon.png
Light Slope 2x1x1 Base Icon.png
Light Slope 2x1x1 Tip Icon.png
Light Armor Corner 2x1x1 Base Icon.png
Light Armor Corner 2x1x1 Tip Icon.png
Light Inv Corner 2x1x1 Base Icon.png
Light Inv Corner 2x1x1 Tip Icon.png
Half Light Armor Block Icon.png
Half Slope Light Armor Block Icon.png

Armor (Heavy)

Heavy Armor Block Icon.png
Heavy Armor Slope Icon.png
Heavy Armor Corner Icon.png
Heavy Armor Inverted Corner Icon.png
Heavy Round Armor Slope Icon.png
Heavy Round Armor Corner Icon.png
Heavy Round Armor Inv Corner Icon.png
Heavy Slope 2x1x1 Base Icon.png
Heavy Slope 2x1x1 Tip Icon.png
Heavy Corner 2x1x1 Base Icon.png
Heavy Corner 2x1x1 Tip Icon.png
Heavy Inv Corner 2x1x1 Base Icon.png
Heavy Inv Corner 2x1x1 Tip Icon.png
Half Heavy Armor Block Icon.png
Half Slope Heavy Armor Block Icon.png

Automation

Programmable Block Icon.png
Sensor Icon.png
Sound Block Icon.png
Button Panel Icon.png
Timer Block Icon.png

Conveyor / Cargo

Oxygen Tank Icon.png
Hydrogen Tank Icon.png
Large Hydrogen Tank Icon.png
Air Vent Icon.png
Large Cargo Container Icon.png
Medium Cargo Container Icon.png
Small Cargo Container Icon.png
Conveyor Junction Icon.png
Small Conveyor Icon.png
Conveyor Tube Icon.png
Small Conveyor Tube Icon.png
Conveyor Frame Icon.png
Curved Conveyor Tube Icon.png
Small Curved Conveyor Tube Icon.png
Conveyor Sorter Icon.png
Conveyor Sorter Small Icon.png
Connector Icon.png
Ejector Icon.png
Collector Icon.png

Cockpit / Control

Flight Seat Icon.png
Control Station Icon.png
Cockpit Icon.png
Passenger Seat Icon.png
Fighter Cockpit Icon.png
Control Seat Icon.png
Control Panel Icon.png
Gyroscope Icon.png

Communications

Antenna Icon.png
Beacon Icon.png
Remote Control Icon.png
Laser Antenna Icon.png

Decorative Blocks DLC

Bed Icon.png
Desk Icon.png
Desk Corner Icon.png
Chairless Desk Icon.png
Chairless Desk Corner Icon.png
Couch Icon.png
Corner Couch Icon.png
Kitchen Icon.png
Planters Icon.png
Armory Icon.png
Armory Lockers Icon.png
Lockers Icon.png
Toilet Icon.png
Bathroom Icon.png
Toilet Seat Icon.png
Console Block Icon.png
LargeCockpitIndustrial Icon.png

Decorative Blocks 2 DLC

Dispenser Icon.png
Jukebox Icon.png
Lab Equipment Icon.png
Lab Equipment Icon.png
Window Wall Icon.png
Window Wall Left Icon.png
Window Wall Right Icon.png
Medical Station Icon.png
Transparent LCD Icon.png
Transparent LCD Icon.png
Grated Catwalk Icon.png
Grated Catwalk Corner Icon.png
Grated Catwalk Straight Icon.png
Grated Catwalk Wall Icon.png
Grated Catwalk End Icon.png
Grated Catwalk Half Right Icon.png
Grated Catwalk Half Left Icon.png
Grated stairs Icon.png
Grated half stairs Icon.png
Grated half stairs mirrored Icon.png
Railing Straight Icon.png
Railing Double Icon.png
Railing Corner Icon.png
Railing Diagonal Icon.png
Railing Half Right Icon.png
Railing Half Left Icon.png
Rotating Light Icon.png
Freight 1 Icon.png
Freight 2 Icon.png
Freight 3 Icon.png

Doors

Door Icon.png
Airtight Hangar Door Icon.png
Sliding Door Icon.png
Blast Door Icon.png
Blast Door Corner Icon.png
Blast Door Inverted Icon.png
Blast Door Edge Icon.png

Economy

Store Icon.png
Contracts Icon.png
Vending Machine Icon.png
ATM Icon.png
Safe Zone Icon.png

Frostbite DLC

Antenna Dish Icon.png
Gate Icon.png
Offset Door Icon.png
Dead Engineer 1 Icon.png
Dead Engineer 2 Icon.png
Dead Engineer 3 Icon.png
Dead Engineer 4 Icon.png
Dead Engineer 5 Icon.png
Dead Engineer 6 Icon.png

Gravity

Gravity Generator Icon.png
Spherical Gravity Generator Icon.png
Artificial Mass Icon.png
Space Ball Icon.png

Interiors

Passage Icon.png
Stairs Icon.png
Ramp Icon.png
Steel Catwalk Icon.png
Steel Catwalk Two Sides Icon.png
Steel Catwalk Corner Icon.png
Steel Catwalk Plate Icon.png
Full Cover Wall Icon.png
Half Cover Wall Icon.png
Interior Wall Icon.png
Interior Pillar Icon.png
Ladder Icon.png

LCD Panels

Text Panel Icon.png
Wide LCD Panel Icon.png
LCD Panel Icon.png
Corner LCD Top Icon.png
Corner LCD Bottom Icon.png
Corner LCD Flat Top Icon.png
Corner LCD Flat Bottom Icon.png

Lights

Spotlight Icon.png
Interior Light Icon.png
Corner Light Icon.png
Corner Light Double Icon.png

Mechanical

Piston Base Icon.png
Piston Top Icon.png
Rotor Icon.png
Rotor Part Icon.png
Advanced Rotor Icon.png
Advanced Rotor Part Icon.png

Medical

Medical Room Icon.png
Cryo Chamber Icon.png

Production

Refinery Icon.png
Arc Furnace Icon.png
Basic Assembler Icon.png
Assembler Icon.png
Projector Icon.png
Survival Kit Small Icon.png
Oxygen Generator Icon.png
Oxygen Farm Icon.png
Productivity Upgrade Module Icon.png
Effectiveness Upgrade Module Icon.png
Power Efficiency Upgrade Module Icon.png

Power

Battery Icon.png
Small Battery Icon.png
Large Reactor Icon.png
Small Reactor Icon.png
Solar Panel Icon.png
Wind Turbine Icon.png
Hydrogen Engine Icon.png

Tools

Grinder (Ship) Icon.png
Welder (Ship) Icon.png
Drill Icon.png
Ore Detector Icon.png

Thrusters

Small Thruster Icon.png
Large Thruster Icon.png
Large Hydrogen Thruster Icon.png
Small Hydrogen Thruster Icon.png
Large Atmospheric Thruster Icon.png
Small Atmospheric Thruster Icon.png

Utility

Landing Gear Icon.png
Jump drive Icon.png
Camera Icon.png
Merge Block Icon.png
Parachute Hatch Icon.png

Weapons

Warhead Icon.png
Decoy Icon.png
Interior Turret Icon.png
Gatling Turret Icon.png
Missile Turret Icon.png
Gatling Gun Icon.png
Rocket Launcher Icon.png
Reloadable Rocket Launcher Icon.png

Wheels

Wheel Suspension 1x1 Icon.png
Wheel Suspension 3x3 Icon.png
Wheel Suspension 5x5 Icon.png
Wheel 1x1 Icon.png
Wheel 3x3 Icon.png
Wheel 5x5 Icon.png

Windows

Diagonal Window Icon.png
Vertical Window Icon.png
Window 1x1 Face Icon.png
Window 1x1 Flat Icon.png
Window 1x1 Flat Inv Icon.png
Window 1x1 Face Icon.png
Window 1x1 Side Icon.png
Window 1x1 Slope Icon.png
Window 1x2 Face Icon.png
Window 1x2 Flat Icon.png
Window 1x2 Flat Inv Icon.png
Window 1x2 Face Icon.png
Window 1x2 Side Left Icon.png
Window 1x2 Side Right Icon.png
Window 1x2 Slope Icon.png
Window 2x3 Flat Icon.png
Window 2x3 Flat Inv Icon.png
Window 3x3 Flat Icon.png
Window 3x3 Flat Inv Icon.png

References

  1. http://steamcommunity.com/app/244850/discussions/0/810939351168363653/