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Development of Space Engineers
From an idea to Early Access in 7 months
Marek Rosa
Keen Software House
Introduction
• April to October
• How we designed, developed and launched the game
• Why we did it this way
• Dig into the...
What is Space Engineers
• Sandbox game
• Construction
• Realistic volumetric-based physics
Plan
• New game in 2013 -> 10/2013
• Sub-milestones: announcement, feature freeze, testing
• Early Access & MVP – validate...
Initial idea
• Sequel to Miner Wars
• Traveling, missions, economy,
• Winner: construction & physics
• Added astronaut (no...
VRAGE 2.0
• C#
• Havok
• Flexible
• We understand it
• We can optimize it
Design phase
• 1.5 months
• Design documents, lists, GUI, HUD
• LEGO
• NASA
• Generic sandbox – no story
• Engineering gam...
Design rules
• Object oriented game design – new features can be
integrated easily (hacking, landing gears)
• Strong sandb...
Design rules 2
• No decorative elements (e.g. doors on cockpit, astronaut
computer)
• New features – only if required
• Re...
Schematic colors (number 7)
Texture patterns
Avoid voxel-look & Object scales
Astronaut / Engineer
• Functional
• NASA look
• Iterations
First-person vs. third-person
• Acceleration & Animations
Deformations & Destructions
• We didn’t plan it
• Risks
• Vertexes, Splitting
• Physics
• Advantages of flexible sandbox d...
Gravity
• One directional
• Only astronauts
• When enabled on small & large ships…
• Future plans
Limits
• No size or count limits
• Only memory limits
• 64-bit version
• Impact on performance (lights and shadows)
Creative mode
• Unlimited resources
• Instant building
• Available now
Manual mode
• Drilling and harvesting
• Refinery
• Assembler
• Inventory (backpack, cargo containers)
• Welder & Grinder
Name of the game
• Multiple options
• Winner: generic name
• Decided one month before the announcement
Logo
• Multiple options
• No retro
• No space-agency look
Testing
• Different HW, OS
• Testing lab
• Play-testers (first 3 minutes were critical)
• Test scenarios
• Automatic testi...
Community
• Players got the game (workshop, modding, controls)
• Simple interface (GUI, HUD, game mechanics)
• Works as ex...
History - April
History - May 2013
History - May 2013
History - May 2013
History – June 2013
History – July 2013
History – July 2013
Public Relations
• Focusing on players only
• No superb words
• Not revealing future plans
• Imperfections and work in pro...
Milestones
• April
– Plan
– Design phase
– Dates and Steam
• August 15 - announcement video
• Sep 9 - Announcement
• Oct 1...
Effective development
• Deadlines & Features & Quality
• Estimations – not important, but if you need
them: multiply by 3
...
Effective development
• Be careful on what you decide to implement
(you will have less time for other things)
• Minimize r...
Effective development
• Deadlines – are your friends
• Focus on your strong points
• Don’t do things that you can’t delive...
Summary
• Balanced team
• Prioritization
• Planning
• Discipline
• Goal oriented
• MVP
• Focus on the player
• You can do ...
Questions?
www.keenswh.com
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Space Engineers - From an idea to Early Access in 7 months_Marek Rosa_GDS_2013

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Marek Rosa, CEO of Keen Software House and developer of the sandbox videogame Space Engineers, showcases in his presentation in the GDS 2013, the story behind the development of Space Engineers and how it became from an idea to Early Access in 7 months.

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Space Engineers - From an idea to Early Access in 7 months_Marek Rosa_GDS_2013

  1. 1. Development of Space Engineers From an idea to Early Access in 7 months Marek Rosa Keen Software House
  2. 2. Introduction • April to October • How we designed, developed and launched the game • Why we did it this way • Dig into the details
  3. 3. What is Space Engineers • Sandbox game • Construction • Realistic volumetric-based physics
  4. 4. Plan • New game in 2013 -> 10/2013 • Sub-milestones: announcement, feature freeze, testing • Early Access & MVP – validate with the community and then continue • Playable game at any moment
  5. 5. Initial idea • Sequel to Miner Wars • Traveling, missions, economy, • Winner: construction & physics • Added astronaut (no more “ships only”)
  6. 6. VRAGE 2.0 • C# • Havok • Flexible • We understand it • We can optimize it
  7. 7. Design phase • 1.5 months • Design documents, lists, GUI, HUD • LEGO • NASA • Generic sandbox – no story • Engineering game – no man-to-man combat
  8. 8. Design rules • Object oriented game design – new features can be integrated easily (hacking, landing gears) • Strong sandbox and physics foundation • Everything must make sense
  9. 9. Design rules 2 • No decorative elements (e.g. doors on cockpit, astronaut computer) • New features – only if required • Realism leads the design – don’t hack the reality (e.g. max object speed, resources, …)
  10. 10. Schematic colors (number 7)
  11. 11. Texture patterns
  12. 12. Avoid voxel-look & Object scales
  13. 13. Astronaut / Engineer • Functional • NASA look • Iterations
  14. 14. First-person vs. third-person • Acceleration & Animations
  15. 15. Deformations & Destructions • We didn’t plan it • Risks • Vertexes, Splitting • Physics • Advantages of flexible sandbox design
  16. 16. Gravity • One directional • Only astronauts • When enabled on small & large ships… • Future plans
  17. 17. Limits • No size or count limits • Only memory limits • 64-bit version • Impact on performance (lights and shadows)
  18. 18. Creative mode • Unlimited resources • Instant building • Available now
  19. 19. Manual mode • Drilling and harvesting • Refinery • Assembler • Inventory (backpack, cargo containers) • Welder & Grinder
  20. 20. Name of the game • Multiple options • Winner: generic name • Decided one month before the announcement
  21. 21. Logo • Multiple options • No retro • No space-agency look
  22. 22. Testing • Different HW, OS • Testing lab • Play-testers (first 3 minutes were critical) • Test scenarios • Automatic testing • If you don’t test => there will be bugs
  23. 23. Community • Players got the game (workshop, modding, controls) • Simple interface (GUI, HUD, game mechanics) • Works as expected • Minimize steps required to accomplish a goal
  24. 24. History - April
  25. 25. History - May 2013
  26. 26. History - May 2013
  27. 27. History - May 2013
  28. 28. History – June 2013
  29. 29. History – July 2013
  30. 30. History – July 2013
  31. 31. Public Relations • Focusing on players only • No superb words • Not revealing future plans • Imperfections and work in progress • Everything is subject to change
  32. 32. Milestones • April – Plan – Design phase – Dates and Steam • August 15 - announcement video • Sep 9 - Announcement • Oct 1 - Feature freeze & Testing – 3-hour & 24-hour window -> community exploded • Oct 23 - Launch • Post-launch – Localization – Workshop – Landing gears – Community feedback and response • What’s next – Multi-player and manual mode is the priority – Small updates every 1-2 weeks – Bigger updates – when possible
  33. 33. Effective development • Deadlines & Features & Quality • Estimations – not important, but if you need them: multiply by 3 • Prioritization – sort by importance (and risk factor, dependencies, etc.) • Expect the unexpected • Deciding what doesn’t get implemented is important too (e.g. character customization, animated GUI, post-processing, more weapons…)
  34. 34. Effective development • Be careful on what you decide to implement (you will have less time for other things) • Minimize risks (too complex, hard to maintain) • Detail planning - prepare in advance • Pessimistic approach (e.g. low poly, risky features in advance) • Team – balanced, aligned
  35. 35. Effective development • Deadlines – are your friends • Focus on your strong points • Don’t do things that you can’t deliver on 100% • Follow the vision, ignore random ideas (e.g. things already done in other games) • Space Engineers is designed by programmers (optimizations, low-hanging fruits)
  36. 36. Summary • Balanced team • Prioritization • Planning • Discipline • Goal oriented • MVP • Focus on the player • You can do it!
  37. 37. Questions? www.keenswh.com

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