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SpaceEngine capabilities

  • All types of celestial objects are represented: galaxies, nebulae, stars and star clusters, planets and moons, comets and asteroids.
  • Known celestial objects are represented using data from the catalogs: galaxies (NGC/IC), stars (HIPPARCOS), star clusters, nebulae, planets (our Solar system data and known extrasolar planets).
  • Uncharted regions of space feature procedurally generated objects: galaxies, stars, star clusters, nebulae and planetary systems.
  • The observer is free to move around the universe. Transition between any celestial body and any scale occurs seamlessly.
  • The observer can move around in space using the WASD keys, like in First Person Shooters. Movement with inertia is made possible in Spacecraft mode or Aircraft mode.\"Select and fly" autopilot: just click on any object with the mouse and hit the 'G' key to automatically go directly to the object.
  • Automatic binding of the observer to a moving object and automatic selection of optimum flight speed.
  • Search for celestial objects by name. Search for stars in a radius around you. Scalable map of the Universe and a planetary system browser. Saving locations and autopilot's journal.
  • Built-in wiki system with descriptions of many known objects and ability to extend by user. Possibility of renaming and describing of any object, including procedural ones.
  • The orbital motion of planets and stars is calculated in real time, with the ability to accelerate, decelerate, or reverse the flow of time.
  • Display of orbital paths of celestial objects, their rotation and motion vectors, labels and markers, celestial grid, current selection pointer and user velocity vector.
  • Volumetric 3D models of galaxies and nebulae with interstellar dust clouds.
  • 3D landscapes of planets and stars: for many solar system bodies actual data from space probes is used; for uncharted and procedural planets the surface is generated procedurally on the GPU.
  • The exact model of the Earth's atmosphere (code by Eric Bruneton), adapted for the other planets.
  • Lighting effects: lens flares, solar eclipses, shadows of planetary rings. Celestial objects cast light and shadows onto each other.
  • Controllable space ships (alpha).
  • Original background music with context-dependent switching of tracks.
  • Localization to many languages, with the ability to add new ones.
  • Ability to import user addons: models, textures, catalogs.
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A lot has happened since the last time anything was posted on this page. Version - a patch for - was released, which had the following major updates:

  • Fixed Windows XP compatibility issue
  • Oculus Rift DK2 support: positional tracking and Direct mode
  • Shadows on planetary rings from other planets and moons
  • Fixed texture tiling on planets
  • Updated the exoplanets catalog; unconfirmed Kepler candidates are included in a separate file (more than 5000 planets total)
  • Added many binary and multiple star systems, including all with discovered exoplanets
  • Implemented an interface skin system with controllable from the Player menu can be downloaded here. Remember, this is a PATCH for, not a full standalone version, so you must have installed before installing on top of it.

After was released, work started on version, which has been available during development as an open beta test. I'll summarize the work that's been done so far below, and you can read the full changelog and download the beta here.

Version will be the next major version, and will add numerous new features and fix a wide array of bugs. I'll highlight some of these features and bugfixes in the list below. Remember, you can see the full list and get the beta version at the link in the previous paragraph.

New Features

  • Added aurora quality switch to the Graphics settings
  • Added faint (Jupiter-like) rings generation with probability parameters in universe.cfg
  • Smooth switching of many rendering options (labels, eclipse shadows, clouds etc)
  • Added loader time slider to the Graphics settings menu (configures how many milliseconds per frame are allowed for loading landscape textures)
  • Raytraced ship engine exhaust rendering
  • Smooth camera movement for ships
  • Space ships are now rendered in interstellar space
  • Space ships are now showed in the Wiki
  • Implemented a simple ship editor (mostly for editing and debugging models)
  • Updated default ships with new engine exhaust
  • Implemented Wiki database description editor, with support for standard shortcuts like Ctrl-Left, Ctrl-Shift-PgDn etc., text selection, and copy/paste
  • Optimized GUI rendering
  • Optimized labels and markers rendering
  • Newly built ships spawn with the same speed as the currently selected one
  • Ship autopilot "Sync velocity" button now works
  • Equirectangular spherical projection rendering (allows recording of 360° videos)
  • Alien vegetation on titans with terrestrial life
  • Random global reddish tints for planets (to produce worlds like Pluto and Sedna)
  • Polar caps on cold selenas and iceworlds (Ganymede-like and Pluto-like thin frost deposit)
  • Implemented animated dithering to fix banding artefacts
  • Improved quality of elliptical galaxies rendering
  • Improved ship manager
  • "Pack" and "Faction" filters for ships
  • All shaders are moved to OpenGL 3.3 core profile
  • Separate files for saving default and user locations
  • Restored possibility of selection of the reference body for ship
  • Sync velocity command works with target ships
  • Upgraded ship controls and HUD
  • After collision with a planet, ships become fixed on the surface (can now land ships)
  • Docking functionality for space ships
  • Implemented reversed floating point z-buffer:
    - Rendering orbital paths with proper order with planets and ships
    - Fixed z-fighting issues on water and clouds
    - Allows camera placement up to a few centimeters from a planet's surface or space ship
  • Improved stability at extreme screen resolutions
  • New physically accurate rendering of black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs with accretion disks
  • Added Y-class brown dwarfs
  • Implemented correct orientation of extrasolar systems (RefPlane "Extrasolar" for inclination and ascending node)
  • Improved rendering of late M-dwarfs
  • Smoother sunspots
  • Added new atmosphere model "Pluto"
  • Atmosphere models are included in the memory manager
  • Added exoplanet names approved by IAU
  • Integrated some community shader mods
  • New object selection method in Oculus Rift

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed planetary rings brightness in the "real planet brightness" mode
  • Fixed holes in planetary surface where lava flows should be
  • Fixed wrong terrain LOD calculation on small screens
  • Fixed Pluto system orientation
  • Fixed some bugs in planet script exporting
  • Fixed black stain artifact on a planet surface
  • Reduced cyclone cutting probability
  • Fixed lags when changing FOV
  • Fixed clouds lighting in thin atmospheres
  • Fixed change of the display mode and refresh rate at SE startup
  • Fixed climate smoothing on a planets with a thick atmosphere
  • Fixed a lot of stars with wrong/error stellar class in the catalog
  • Fixed camera velocity indicator
  • Fixed star motion blur when changing distance with left + right mouse drag
  • Fixed star motion blur for ships in hyperspace
  • Fixed some bugs with automatic ships hyperjump
  • Wiki descriptions display tabulations
  • Fixed specular spot on ships
  • Fixed atmosphere height on tidally heated worlds
  • Fixed sudden stopping of ship rotation when changing orbital orientation mode
  • Fixed visual artifacts with atmosphere and water on oceanias
  • Fixed blinking LOD of a planet when Wiki for it is opened
  • Fixed Overbright slider initialization in the Magnitude/brightness settings menu
  • Fixed blurring of slider handles
  • Fixed bug with invisible velocity pointer text
  • Fixed too small height of atmospheres of gas giants
  • Fixed crash on opening Chart mode for the not currently visible system
  • Fixed wrong animation of the currently followed planet in the Chart mode
  • Fixed continuous execution of ship's autopilot command "Retrograde"
  • Hyperbolic orbits of ships are now displayed
  • Fixed render of orbits in the Map mode
  • Fixed bug with infinite radius of black holes, neutron stars and white dwarves
  • Fixed wrong camera positioning at program startup
  • Fixed artifacts with black hole and ship warp effect in stereo modes
  • Fixed wrong calculation of orbital period of catalog binary stars
  • Fixed interstellar ships magnitude calculation
  • Fixed crash on building a ship in interstellar space
  • Fixed sprites rendering order in nebulae
  • Fixed pushing camera up while loading location on a planet by disabling collision detection for some amount of time
  • Fixed crash on rebuilding the pak files data cache
  • Fixed ship hyperjump to galaxy, star cluster or nebula
  • Fixed extreme apparent magnitude of a comet nucleus if camera or ship is close to it
  • Fixed joystick throttle and correction engines control
  • Fixed switching ship's behind camera when planet is selected
  • Fixed smooth fade in of the selection pointer
  • Fixed orientation of the ship's orbit relative to moons
  • Fixed ship's orbital position calculation
  • Fixed selected object's info table in Oculus Rift
  • Fixed ship's "Horizon" orientation command
  • Fixed bug with phase calculation for planets and ships
  • Fixed inability to change ship's hyperfactor if engines are off
  • Fixed autopilot warp to stars
  • Fixed "rotate to ship" command
  • Fixed ship's gravity acceleration display
  • Fixed procedural stars generation in dwarf galaxies
  • Fixed rings blending with clouds and atmosphere
  • Fixed seam artifact in rings
  • Fixed star sprite in barycenters
  • Fixed star density in Milky Way
  • Fixed inability to select a deepspace object as a refbody/target for a ship using GUI buttons
  • Fixed bug with star particle visible through black hole
  • Fixed various rendering bugs in the Map Mode
  • Fixed planet particles rendering in front of water/clouds
  • Fixed foreground labels rendering in front of planets
  • Fixed instability in hyperbolic orbits solver
  • Fixed bug with sun shining through ocean
  • Fixed camera pushing when landing on planet with Left+Right mouse drag
  • Fixed too many cloud layers on planets with thin atmosphere
  • Fixed localization change in the Chart Mode
  • Fixed offsetting of a landed ship when time flow is accelerated
  • Fixed bug with camera velocity display
  • Fixed bug with sudden camera rotation when collide with terrain
  • Fixed specular spot on Oceanias

Whew! That was a mouthful! Development of this version is still ongoing, and there will be more features added as it gets closer to release. After that, the next big event is the Steam release (finally)! Version will be the first version of SpaceEngine to release on Steam.

Look for more updates in the coming weeks and months. Until then, happy exploring!

SpaceEngine crowdfunding reached $15,000

SpaceEngine crowdfunding reached $15,000

News 0 comments

Great news! SpaceEngine's funding has reached its first major milestone - $15,000 - allowing development to be accelerated.

SpaceEngine has been Greenlit!

SpaceEngine has been Greenlit!

News 0 comments

After we reached #10 spot on greenlight, Valve has decided to add SpaceEngine to Steam! Thanks to everyone who voted!!



News 1 comment

SpaceEngine now has a Steam Greenlight page! Everyone please go and vote!

SpaceEngine released!

SpaceEngine released!

News 7 comments

SpaceEngine was released on December 25, 2013.



Full Version 4 comments

SpaceEngine - a free space simulation program that lets you explore the universe in three dimensions, from planet Earth to the most distant galaxies...

SHW Ship Lights Mod

SHW Ship Lights Mod

Vehicle Skin 0 comments

Changes radiator color and removes a couple of lights for ships using SHW's modules.

more nebulas

more nebulas

Skin Pack 0 comments

explore the universe with more nebulas. en.Spaceengine.org

Carl Sagan's Spaceship of the Imagination

Carl Sagan's Spaceship of the Imagination

Vehicle Model 0 comments

Fly around in SpaceEngine with the Spaceship of the Imagination from Carl Sagan's Cosmos series!



Full Version 36 comments

SpaceEngine - a free space simulation program that lets you explore the universe in three dimensions, from planet Earth to the most distant galaxies...

Comments  (0 - 10 of 19)

Magnifique, just put me in something I can fly in it I can blow up, (even down to the planets surface would be nice.

Perhaps remove a whole star even maybe even planet through wanten bloodlust or sheer boredom of other space game's none of which have that feature no matter how interactive they say their universe is.

Imagine taking out a whole star system by taking out all the player's in it's solar systems sun! ER great idea! wow even! Not just one players planet destroyed or captured at a time, but their whole solar system. You could have players defending their star sun even, because what ever weapon destroys it only works on sun / stars because of star chemical makeup in sich.

If that's not politically correct enough you could have artificial sun makers and sich.. to make it all better again, but the players in that solar system would lose tech or planet development infrastructure damage etc..

Oh one other thing these pesky human beings are so vein, see if you can manage player to upload their own player profile picture. or even paste it over their space craft or ship! Of course all for a nominal fee.


Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Maggy_ Online

Why would i want to destroy stars and planets?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes

You guys rock so hard! This is one of best things (yes things) i have ever downloaded! Thank you very much. Donation will follow!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes

When I go to the center of the milky way there is a black hole that I can see from the distance but when I zoom in I cant select it or take a close look at it. I would really like to see it. Any advice? have they even programmed a black hole?

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that kind of games really open the mind on all great things out there that is a part of us after all

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes

Superb !

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes

Hello everyone. If you love space and space engine even more join Space Engine fans group and share your images and videos here! www.moddb.com/groups/space-engine-fans-group

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes

Definitely going to try this out! All the best, guys!

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Highest Rated (7 agree) 10/10

This is by far the best universe simulator out there!

Jan 3 2014 by Antza2

Single Player

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Merry Christmas! SpaceEngine 0.972 has been released! En.spaceengine.org T.co

Dec 26 2014

SpaceEngine pre-release trailer: Youtu.be Thanks to Solaris!

Nov 26 2014

20 minutes playing SE in Oculus Rift Youtube.com

Nov 21 2014

Quickly made feature - planet chart. WIP, still have some bugs. Youtube.com

Nov 7 2014

SpaceEngine now supports joysticks and gamepads, up to 16 devices simultaneously. En.spaceengine.org

May 24 2014

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