SpaceEngine


#1

I find it strange that this “game” hasn’t been mentioned in these forums around.

Ever heard of “SpaceEngine”?

It is a procedural generated simulation of the universe (for real though), based on physics, astronomical observation as well as NASA data about real space objects. So, what does really exist is being simulated and the rest is being procedurally generated.

The program has been in development for several years (I think development began in 2005), with its first release in 2010. It should be mentioned that is being developed by one guy only.

To put it simply, it is like No Man’s Sky on god mode, without flora or fauna and no gameplay mechanics, but with proper physics. You can roam freely in the entire universe (visit every planet, moon or asteroid in every system of all 13 quintillion galaxies that there are) and adjust time to your content. It also features ships you can spawn and fly around with them, but the flight mechanics are very complex.

Here’s a preview of the current version available, 0.9.8.0:

And here’s a preview of the version that will follow, 0.9.9.0, which also will be available on Steam:

So if you like exploring the wonders of the universe, you should definitely give it a try, since it is freeware.

Like No Man’s Sky, I’ve put hundreds of hours into that program.


No Man’s Sky—v1.3 Screenshots & Art
#2

Thanks for sharing this :slight_smile: I remember playing this a long time ago but couldn’t remember it’s name when looking for it again later, search results would only yield universe sandbox by then, so I just got that instead. Its a fun little astrophysics simulation that has added some very cool collision features etc lately and let’s you mess around with celestial bodies and stuff.

Can’t wait to download this later and sink in :smiley:


#3

The trouble with realistic universe simulators is that to the best of our knowledge, we’re its only occupants.

Whatcha got?

We got rocks.

That it?

No, we got gas, too.

OK, rocks and gas. Anything else?

We got hot and cold. You know, hot rocks, cold rocks. Hot gas, cold gas.

Riiight. So apart from the rocks and gas… Animals? People? Plants? Bacteria? Machines? Aliens? Cities?

Nope. Just the rocks and gas.


#4

Well, it’s mostly due to the problem of handling procedurally generated flora and fauna, let alone cities and civilizations. The bigger the procedurally generated universe is, the harder it is to generate varied and meaningful content.

Currently, SpaceEngine aims to improve terrain generation - news posts on their website shows extremely detailed textures which will be implemented in the next version.

Of course, flora and fauna are an entirely different matter … it might take several years to implement those in SpaceEngine. Especially since it’s only one developer.


#5

I agree, it’s difficult. My point is, though, that once you put in the interesting stuff, it ceases to be realistic, and turns into speculative fantasy. Realistic is what’s real - what we know to be true. And so far, the only occupants of the universe we know of are the inhabitants of Earth.

Anything else is unrealistic.


#6

This really is beautiful to watch.

Therefore I am in awe at what HelloGames has achieved already with their procedurally generated contents.
And what we are promised…


#7

I find the music in the first video slightly irritating. For some reason I constantly feel like there should be a troop of heroes traveling through Arcadia on an epic quest rather than astronomical imagery.

In any case, yes, I’ve known about space engine for a long time. Never mentioned it because I kind of assumed everyone knew about it. I even know its less successful contemporary, the now discontinued spaceway that featured less spectacular visuals but full newtonian mechanics. And fits an infinite procedural universe on a 3.5" floppy, if anyone still knows what that is…
Heck, I even used the texture generator of Spaceway to try to shoehorn a procedural galaxy into the orbiter spaceflight simulator, which kind of succeeded, but with some drawbacks that made the project kind of pointless.
I still remember the time when the first NMS trailer hit, the developer of spaceway and me both were like “yeah, that looks cool, but will they succeed at putting an actual game in it?”.
At the end HG succeeded less well than I had hoped, but a lot better than I feared.
I do have to say though that I would appreciate some atmosphereless, crater-ladden rocks with a more realistic ambiente in NMS. But the voxel engine has its own limitations, and I don’t think that it can do cliffs a thousand meters high or other extreme features. Without which that kind of planets would be a bit pointless, honestly.


#8

In my opinion, the epic music perfectly fits the extreme scale and beauty of the universe, leaving us in awe and astonishment. It might be just a tad too strong at some parts, but for the most time, I think it’s just fine.

It’s a mistake to think that SpaceEngine is that well known, since it still struggles with is funding. The fact that it’s free might be actually a thing that keeps people from trying it, for they believe - since it’s free - it won’t be worth their time. I could be wrong about it here, but being free is always some kind of double edged sword.

The moment I heard about No Man’s Sky, I kinda knew that it would attempt to do what SpaceEngine does, in its own unique way. But I also knew just how hard it would be to pull this off in a way to satisfy most of the people. The initial failure of HelloGames to meet people’s (unrealistic) expectations was not a surprise to me, so I waited for a better time to get NMS and the confirmation that they’d keep working on it - which they did, against - being honest here - my expcectation.

I hope, that one day, maybe even that one particular day during the summer this year, No Man’s Sky can really compete with SpaceEngine in its aesthetics, which right now, sad as it may be, isn’t the case for me.


#9

I been following space engine for a long long long long time.
I check them out about once a quarter.
do any of ya have the api?


#10

Thanks for the reminder! I downloaded this years ago and never really got around to playing with it.

The creator of SpaceEngine is not only an amazing programmer, but his self-composed music makes my soul soar, too!

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –
Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.
Hov’ring there I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand,
and touched the face of God.

“High Flight” --John Gillespie Magee, Jr

And now to go download the latest version of SpaceEngine, as a fall-back, if the coming 1.5 (?) NMS update this summer destroys my journey again. I won’t go through that agony a second time.


#11

It is nice to see ObsidianAnt covering the topic of SpaceEngine again, this time him showing footage from the upcoming 0.9.9.0 version.

Sigh … I can’t quite tell what I’m more excited for. No Man’s Sky Next or SpaceEngine 0.9.9.0 … well, I guess both equally.

Especially since 0.9.9.0 will be available via Steam as well, making SpaceEngine available to a much larger audience than now. I have high hopes that this will make it much more famous and popular.

EDIT: I know I haven’t posted anything for quite some time, right now I’m trying to catch up with the latest WakingTitan events, since I’ve been off the Internet for a week. I hope to be able to comment on some WT stuff as well, but right now I’m in the process of catching up. Which … is quite a lot.