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Planets! Because you wanted them
Today is an important day in Space Engineers history. I am very happy to present the biggest and most challenging addition we have ever made: Planets!
Space Engineers now has the largest, fully destructible, volumetric and persistent planets in the universe!
Since day one planets occupied the top spot among the most requested features by community, but we didn’t have them in our initial roadmap. The decision to add planets came almost a year ago and back then, I knew it was going to be a very complex and difficult task that would test the limits of how far we could go and how hard we could push.
The vision for Space Engineers was always to provide a realistic and almost infinite environment where everything you see is real, can be touched, used, shaped or recreated. Sacrificing the volumetricity of our game world wasn't an option.
We knew we were explorers and we wanted this fight at the highest volume! The extreme scale of planets not only tested our abilities but also pushed us further, to a point where no other game developer has ever wandered.
During the development we had our ups and downs, we sacrificed our free time, pulled long hours, reached our programming and artistic limits and then pushed them further. And then again and then some more. The task wasn’t easy, but the team boldly took the challenge and put blood, tears and sweat into accomplishing it.
We never forgot that if we don’t give up, if we keep pushing in spite of all the difficulties and unpredictability that lies in front of us, eventually, one day, we would give you the Planets and everything that will come.
Today I am proud to introduce you to our Planet Creators: (in a random order) Tomas Psenicka, Tomas Rampas, Petr Minarik, Ondrej Petrzilka, Jan Nekvapil, Čestmír Houska, Marko Korhonen, Daniel Ilha, Greg Zadroga, Lukas Jandik, Adam Williams, Dusan Repík, Jan Veberšík, George Mamakos, Pavol Buday, Joel Wilcox, Marketa Jarosova, Ales Kozak, Simon Leška, Michal Zavadák, Marek Obršal, Dušan Andráš, Charles Winters, Michal Wrobel, Anton Bauer, Natiq Aghayev, Rene Roder, Jan Golmic, Nikita Suharicevs, Dušan Ragančik, Lukáš Tvrdoň, Karel Antonín, Adam Sadlon, Vaclav Novotny and myself.
These are the folks who can one day say to their grandchildren: I was there when Planets were added to Space Engineers. I am a Planet Creator!
Planets are fully destructible, volumetric and persistent. You can drill a hole from one pole to the other, but you will have to put a lot hours into it. Planets have up to 120 km in diameter, which is a surface of 45 238,93421 km2! Even with planets this huge we had to apply smart visual tricks so they appear nice and round from afar. That’s why mountain ranges goes flat once you hit a critical distance from the planet.
Every object on a planet surface is affected by its gravity, which is why we added a new option for station grids - the Station voxel. By enabling this option a station will be static only when touching the voxel (one block build “inside of it”). When you cut some parts of the station away it will become a dynamic object and could break apart. And since you will be building stations on a spherical surface from now on, buildings can't be axis-aligned, but you can orientate the block so that it’s aligned with the landscape surface.
In the Planetary release you can find three planets (up to 120 km in diameter inspired by Earth, Mars and an alien world), three moons (up to 19 km in diameter, inspired by the earth’s moon, Europa and Titan), each one with its unique flora and fauna.
Planets and moons can have either Earth-like, hostile or no atmosphere (the engineer need to keep his helmet on). And if you are looking for more, with modding tools you can create your own planets (we are preparing a detailed modding guide from planets that will be released within the next days).
The surface area for all the planets spans about 140,000 km2 and that is more than any other game (e.g. Skyrim). In the case of Space Engineers, this landscape is also fully volumetric and destructible.
I want to share also two fun facts: planets don’t orbit around the sun, but the sun orbits around the solar system instead, and planets and moons have natural gravity as in real life.
To support Planets as you know them now, we had to optimize many parts of our game engine. This includes physics (collision detection between ships and planets), rendering large scale planetary environments with various materials, flora zones that support fast and seamless movement without any preloading, atmosphere and gravity, etc... We will keep optimizing and supporting the game and planetary features with future updates and additional content to make the experience better and better.
Lastly, to bring the best possible experience without compromises we had to change the hardware requirements, therefore Planets are possible only on hardware supporting DirectX 11. You can find the updated hardware requirements at Store.steampowered.com
Have fun building on planets!
CEO, CTO, Founder
Keen Software House
Full list of new features and fixes: Forum.keenswh.com