Practically Infinite Space Engineers A Possibility

A feeling that left me quite quickly when reviewing Space Engineers (here) was the feeling of discovery. Yes there were ample things to make, repair and mine but the environment itself, besides the odd light effect on a twirling rock, stopped inspiring me to go forward. This is hopefully set to change as Marek Rosa has posted something which I found quite exciting on the Dev blog.

Space Engineers Screenshot

Keen Software House intends to add exploration to Space Engineers, which would entail super-large worlds and procedurally generated asteroid fields with new ships/space stations to discover. I will admit, the phrase “Minecraft in space” ran through my head. Of course, this kind of addition would present a number of challenges: the computing power needed and the content displayed. To this, Marek has gone into a little of the detail of how it might be done:

Because the game world will now contain millions of ships (of course, you will be able to observe and visit only a fraction of them), exploration had to be implemented in a CPU/RAM friendly way, so these ships will be inserted and removed to/from the game world as you get closer/further. In other words, only a fraction of all these millions of ships will be subject to physics simulation at any given moment.  This way, ships are procedurally spawned and don’t consume RAM. Only altered ships are stored persistently (e.g. damaging a ship, entering a cockpit, changing values in the terminal). You can fly for a long period of time and your RAM usage shouldn’t change. Of course, if you spot a ship but don’t touch it, then fly away (it gets removed from the RAM), then fly back, exactly the same ship will get added at that location. You won’t notice any difference. For you, all ships will appear persistent.

He adds that the ships will not have AI as of yet but that they might in the future. Marek then goes into the other conundrum, where should the ships come from? The favourite answer seems to be that they could use community created ships as this would add a great deal of variety to the game and give the creators an entry in the game credits. He wants opinions from the Space Engineers community and there is a survey that can be answered here. You can read his full blog post here too.

Nothing seems set in stone as of yet but I really hope Space Engineers moves in this direction as it will add a layer to the game that can only seem to enhance the other aspects that Space Engineers already does so well.

Source: PCGamer.com / Marekrosa.org
GS Blogger: Casey Douglass

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