About Space Engineers

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Development Details

From the Official Website:

Space Engineers is a sandbox game about engineering, construction and maintenance of space works. Players build space ships and space stations of various sizes and utilization (civil and military), pilot ships and perform asteroid mining. Space Engineers utilizes a realistic volumetric-based physics engine: all objects can be assembled, disassembled, damaged and destroyed.

Release date: October 23, 2013[1] on Steam Early Access.


There has been some minor debate over the delivery system for early access to Space Engineers. Marek Rosa explains why they chose Steam:

We, the developers, like Steam mostly because it's a good distribution platform:
  • it simplifies the install and update process. A lot. Just run a script that builds the game and uploads it in within few minutes. No manual work.
  • internet bandwidth is great (download and upload) and we don't pay for it
  • multiplayer API (matchmaking, P2P relaying...)
  • Steam Guides
  • Steam Workshop
All of these benefits save our development time, so we can spend it on other important things: new and more polished game features. [2]

VRAGE Engine

Space Engineers is based on a proprietary graphics engine developed in-house by Keen Software. The Graphics engine is known as VRage 2.0. VRAGE 2.0 is built upon it's successor used in Miner Wars 2081.

The engine focuses on volumetric objects and structures which are composed from cube-like modules and fitted together on a grid (similar in some aspects to Minecraft). However, there appears to be a more sophisticated take on objects and how they act when force or inertia is exerted on them. Terrain is voxel-based and fully destructible and deformable. First person and 3rd person cameras are supported.


Information about artificial gravity can be found here.


Information about computer performance can be found here. Although it's to be expected, there are some limitations on the amount of objects in a game environment versus computational hardware requirements. Alpha build specifics that impact computer performance are outlined as the following:

  • Armor blocks are cheap on performance. Other block types are a bit more expensive, especially blocks that have some sort of functionality and require electricity. In other words, a simple mother ship made of armor only is better for performance than the same mother ship with hundreds of reactors, thrusters, doors and other objects.
  • Interior lights are better than reflector lights (they don’t cast shadows).
  • Reflector lights are expensive on performance and should be used moderately.
  • Blocks that are “under development” (they look like scaffolding) – are less performance friendly than fully constructed blocks (they have more polygons and the game can’t do visibility optimizations).
  • Crashes, penetrations and deformations – the performance will depend on the type of objects colliding. Armors do well but other blocks are more expensive. The shape of the object and its interior impacts performance as well (e.g. a group of small ships parked inside a mother ship that crashed to an asteroid will require some heavy computations).
  • Think about it this way: when two objects collide, they usually collide at multiple collision points. More collision points mean more computations.
  • Don’t build mother ships and stations using small blocks. That would be inefficient. Use small blocks for small ships, and large blocks for mother ships and space stations.
  • A static, immovable grid requires a lot less computation that a dynamic space ship grid.

Other Information




  1. http://www.spaceengineersgame.com/buy.html
  2. http://forums.keenswh.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1279665219&postcount=20