Saturday, September 13, 2014

Now Playing, Space Engineers

Good weekend folks, hows it going?

During my haitus last month+ I wasn't in some coma or trapped under my car or anything, I was definitely gaming and Space Engineers was my obsession for the most part. This game... omg. Ok first some back story. I picked it up about a year back, early access (still is) and loaded up the then only map available. Lost and confused I closed, uninstalled and returned to what ever else I was playing. Probably minecraft or kerbal space prgoram, who knows. Six months later I loaded the game up again on a whim after readying an article about it somewhere. Lost and confused I closed, uninstalled and again returned to what ever had my attention.

Fast foward to three weeks ago when I notice my little sister playing it. We start talking and I install, get lost and confused and was about to close it when she said "You know, you can wreck those big ships in to eachother and the wrecks are awesome!" I gave it an attempt, saw one wreck and was hooked. She then said "You know, you can even fix the damage afterwards." I wrecked the ships four, five, six more times heh. Decided then and there that I was going to figure this damn game out. And I've been playing it since.

I now have a dedicated server up for my siblings and I, friends are welcome should they decide to give it a whirl and get on my damn steam friends list.

I'm really enjoying the developer interaction with this title. There is a update every single thursday which is always a blend of what we asked for and what they intended for the game. Friday always follows up with a patch update to fix any serious bugs that creep in from the thursday update. Saturday has an update, if the friday patch broke things. Their very sociable on the various forums too. Oh and workshop functionality is implemented!

Hrm, I've been rambling and havent even mentioned what this game is. Its at its most simple description, Minecraft in Space. But thats the surface description. You can mine and refine ores. Assemble components that you use to build things. There is a semi realistic level of requirement here. Need a reactor to power everything. Need gravity generators for obvious reasons. Need thrusters on ships. Need pilots seats to steer (not since this thursday, remote control ftw!). Lighting because space is rather dark. Medical bays, assembly bays, conveyor lines to stream line the processes, etc, etc, etc. Oh yea, unlike minecraft anything you build in this game that is catagorized as a 'ship' and has engines, you can fly around in. Put guns on it, shoot npcs, shoot fellow players, crash, explode, repair, god this game is entertaining :)

The interfaces are a bit rough at the moment, some steps kinda overlap and the damn game dosent remember your ingame settings from play session to play session but its a quick learn so no worries.

Photo time, good stories in most :)

Base numbero uno. Its the default thing you start with on a survival map (survival maps require resources, your suit has energy levels, etc). I installed the gun there because I had random meteor storms turned on and meteors do real damage! Of course, right after the gun got up and running the reactor for the platform ran out of energy (uranium) and everything powered down. With no power I couldn't refine uranium ore in to ingots and without ingots I couldn't power the damn base. Note, I hadn't discovered the backspace suicide button that lets you respawn with a selection of starter ships, one of which has a refinery, assembly and everything heh. Started over, focused on uranium this time, lost afew chunks of the platform to random meteors but the second attempt was a 'success'.

My first ship design, quite proud of it. Mined well enough though it was definitely all over the place when doing so. I hadn't quite got the grasp on engine placement, etc. Mined for afew and then decided to try aggressive mining, ie engaging a npc ship with mining drills. Don't ask, just know I respawned afew minutes later one ship less.

Around this time I decided to google up on dedicated server hosting since I'm not in posession of a dedicated computer that can stay at home running 24/7. is the one I settled in on after bouncing around abit. Having a dedicated server is interesting. Its up all the time, very nice. But the current rough interface in game makes it damn near impossible to find your server so I actually have a desktop url short cut that direct launches the game with it pointed to auto connect to my server. It works.

Once we got the server up and figured out enough to hold our own we started playing. I got a gun up and uranium flowing to keep us in one piece, the little sister showed up in that above mentioned starter ship that has all the necessary machines for doing everything. She declared it hers but unfortunately the way starter ships work is they vanish once you log out or hop in another ship. So... we did the only thing we could do. Piece by piece we tore her starter ship down rebuilding it right next to itself. This made it no longer a starter ship, now hers. She still owns it to this day despite a meteor strike to its forehead, a few collisions with asteroids and a little brother chasing it with a grinder.

Shortly after this we decided that it was less maintenance to not have to deal with the meteors but I hadn't figured out how to turn the damn things off so instead I grabbed a starter ship like hers, found a big hollow asteroid and tore down the starter ship tile by tile building a platform and all the production devices the ship had on board. Took this opportunity to learn how conveyors worked since the ship also had a basic system in place connecting the cargo container, collectors, refinery and assembly together.

The starter base can be seen in the photo above along with a basic hangar deck and my second or third or fourth (who knows) mining frigate. I am a stickler for realism as you'll see in the photos that follow throughout this article heh. Ramps, walls, roofs, etc, etc.

The little sister found my new base, brought 'bumblebee' in and docked it... oddly heheh. I still call it the yellow submarine.

This particular miner hung with us for a real long time. Ended up painted yellow and the sister would land it on top her ship and use it as her personal miner. I don't... exactly recall when we lost this one. Pretty sure it involved the little brother :P

Ship designs continue to evolve, that frigate there was my replacement for the one the little sister claimed as her own. In this photo you can see me figuring out how to use the collector (yellow lipped block below frigate) to auto collect ores I mined thus saving the hassle of manually moving ore mined from frigate to refinery My miners have gotten steadily slimmer at this point as the lower its profile the easier it is to dig deep in to asteroids without damaging the frigate.

Good shots of the base coming along along with the little sisters 'bumblebee' and some our mining ships. All the framework around bumblebee was to help guide her in parking, at this point she had a habit of knocking panels out of the hangar deck on approach :P Note her yellow ship compared to all my grey works to date? I hadn't learned how to color panels yet.

Gonna call this post a wrap here. Part 2 of my experiences with SE so far will follow and in it expect a massive base overhaul, discovering how to use the workshop, the little sister moving out to her own asteroid, project 1.0 and project 2.0 (hint, think BIG ships, so big they didnt fit inside my asteroid...)... oh and we shall not forget to look over Bertha.


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