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Video Game / Space Engineers

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"A space engineer is a professional practitioner who uses scientific knowledge, mathematics, physics, astronomy, propulsion technology, materials science, structural analysis, manufacturing and ingenuity to solve practical problems in space."

Space Engineers is a survival-crafting physics sandbox developed by KEEN Software House. Players assume the role of astronaut engineers building structures and vehicles in the depths of space, using resources mined from asteroids and small planets.

Originally debuting via Steam's Early Access program in October 2013, Space Engineers saw a full release in February 2019, and a port for the Xbox One in April 2020.


Space Engineers provides examples of:

  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Any Large Ship with enough atmospheric thrusters to keep it aloft and dockable secondary vehicles counts. Such a design requires a prodigious amount of power though, and is impractical unless one has access to lots of uranium or lets it spend more time recharging on land than it does in the air.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • The Rescue Ship that players can respawn with is heavily dented, not even fully built and slow as molasses. However, it does have a very space-efficient design and carries everything the player needs. Cars with wheels have a tendency to violently lose their wheels when doing sweet jumps or even just turning if the wheel arches are too small.
    • All those beautifully constructed titans in the workshop might not be the most functional. The well designed ones tend not to look as pretty, and you'd prefer them to play with in Survival. But in Creative, you can mess with all the really cool ones, and if they break horribly you can easily paste them back in for tweaking.
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  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Rockets and bullets will cut off after a certain distance.
  • Art Evolution: Originally, ship components adhered to a quasi-Everything Is An I Pod In The Future aesthetic, with smooth plates, rounded edges and the default color being very pale grey. Update 01.165 instead made everything closer to a Standard Human Spaceship in appearance, though still retaining the soft default colors.
  • The Artifact:
    • The Passage block; originally it was meant to be a ladder block for large ships, but when ladders were found to be buggy they were removed and replaced with an area that the players would need to use their jetpacks to ride up through. This is slightly less than useless considering that the block requires resources to make, whereas not putting any blocks into a column does not. Their only value is to add, however little, to the structural integrity of the ship's corridors.
      • As of the 1.0 release, with ladders added back to the game, the Passage block has its original use restored. Ladders aren't necessarily limited to being built inside Passage blocks, but they do have a niche when engineers want to build narrow pressurized human-traversal passages that don't have a lot of armor blocks surrounding them.
    • The example Space Fighter present in the Easy Start maps, being one of the first ships designed for the game, has numerous idiosyncrasies even after several updates — In particular, the purposeless ejector blocks on the flanks were originally intended to jettison an unused shell debris item generated by the gatling guns.
  • Artificial Gravity: Provided by Gravity Generators on Large Ships and Stations. There are two types: the standard model that makes an adjustable cuboid field, and a spherical generator that has itself as the centre of gravity. Natural gravity subtracts from artificial gravity, so on a 0.25g moon an artificial gravity of 1g is weakened to 0.75g; this prevents the usage of the extremely powerful gravity drives to take off from heavy worlds.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Turrets will gleefully attempt to fire at enemy contacts regardless of what is in the way. They do stop firing when their target gets part of the ship the turret is mounted on, but they have no consideration for anything attached to the ship via pistons or rotors, which are technically speaking separate entities. Large Ship rovers on worlds inhabited by saberoids are especially prone to turrets blowing off their own wheels in an attempt to kill the giant spiders.
  • Asteroid Miners: The players themselves, since the majority of resources are acquired by mining nearby asteroids and refining the raw materials. Subverted if asteroids are disabled in world generation, leaving players entirely dependent on the (still plentiful) resources of planets and their moons.
  • Asteroid Thicket: In the beta, the standard maps were focused on tight clusters of asteroids, easily reachable with just the jetpack on the space suit. Subverted once the world's asteroids were made procedurally-generated and adjustable - The asteroids are spaced quite far apart, and travel between them can take several minutes if the map is set to the lowest available density.
  • Attack Drone: Drone ships can be created through the application of a remote control block and an antenna array, allowing you to command the ship via your suit's broadcast system or another friendly antenna nearby. A Camera is also recommended, so you can fly the drone in first-person.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The largest and/or flashiest of spaceships tend to be this, even without atmosphere or other considerations getting in the way. Either the ship is too fragile (making it easily wrecked), too heavy and bulky (effectively turning it into a Mighty Glacier that requires tons of power to accelerate and maneuver properly), or simply so huge and complex that it creates a mountain of lag.
    • User-created weapons, such as large caliber gravity powered cannons or missiles, can also fall into this category, due to being overly complex to build and each projectile needing to be made separately, and the general complexity of the weapons being a pain in the ass if repairs need to be done. A good example is the Terminal Gravity Torpedo. Sure, it can punch through even the thickest of armor using only a couple gravity generators and a rock, but the torpedo itself is almost as big as a small ship, you have to craft each one individually, and to fire it, you have to accelerate your ship up to max speed, release, then slam on the brakes before you crash into the enemy ship along with your warhead, and then, if you pray hard enough, the enemy ship may just let itself be hit by the incredibly slow torpedo. Even if it's far more effective against, say, fixed targets such as asteroid bases or stations (which can't dodge), it's still so slow that an enemy can relatively easily deflect the strike or shoot down the weapon.
  • Baby Planet: Downplayed. Planets do have visible curvature when one is standing on high ground, but they are still dozens to hundreds of kilometers in diameter and can take hours to travel across.
  • Base on Wheels : A Large Ship on wheels can very easily be this, but it risks being too heavy to move properly.
  • The Battlestar: Large Ships, particularly the bigger ones, are commonly fitted with hangar bays and Connectors for carrying and maintaining Small Ships. They may even have Welders and Projectors that allow them to manufacture those ships inside themselves.
  • Beautiful Void:
    • Any map that has all NPCs and random encounters disabled will result in the player being utterly alone in the depths of space. You can even subvert the "beautiful" aspect by starting the Empty World map and turning off asteroids in worldgen, leaving the player floating in an endless void with absolutely nothing in it.
    • The thee-planet solar system. Vast and diverse Baby Planets for you to explore, mine and build upon, but aside from trees, grass and hostile NPCs on two of them (which can be turned off in worldgen), they're completely devoid of life and feature no pre-existing structures.
  • BFG: Rocket Launchers can be mounted on Large Ships, and they're the biggest conventional weapons in the game.
  • Big, Bulky Bomb: Full-size Warheads are the same scale as other Large Ship pieces. Naturally, they produce the biggest and most destructive explosion in the game.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: A race of predatory creatures called Saberoids are a threat on the "Alien" planet. They move fast, are able to burrow underground, and are strong enough to tear most light-armor blocks to pieces.
  • Bigger Is Better: At least in regards to Large ships. As you build a ship larger and larger, you have more and more space to put in larger gravity drives, which can become so stupidly powerful that they can accelerate a ship to the engine speed limit almost instantaneously. A larger ship also gives you more room for turrets, armor, etc. Inverted with Small ships, which are best when their size is minimized - Lightweight ships need fewer gyroscopes to maneuver and require less thrust to accelerate/brake, while a smaller size makes them easier to store in a hangar bay.
  • Blind Jump: Jump Drives can be used without coordinates, and doing so will teleport their structure to a random location within the range of a single jump, roughly in the direction the vessel was pointed.
  • Booby Trap: Warheads are designed with this in mind - Players can arm them to explode after a set timer, wire them to Sensors to explode upon being tripped, or simply leave them as free-floating Space Mines that explode upon hard collision.
    • In older builds of the game, unmanned cargo ships could be encountered that were booby-trapped with armed warheads placed in the path of hidden reverse-thrusters - A player that hijacked the vessel and attempted to force a hard stop would scorch the warheads with the brakes and thus destroy the entire ship, along with its valuable cargo.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Ships designed for function over fashion tend to be very simple - in the most extreme cases, the hull can be little more than a skeletal frame holding the necessary pieces together.
    • The Rescue Ship. Players are given one when they start a game on the 'Asteroids' map-type, when they join a new multiplayer server, or if they die without having a Medical Room to respawn at. It's not much to look at, but it's decked out with everything a player needs - a Medical Room, Refinery and Assembler are all onboard and ready to use, and keeping it running is a simple matter of finding a uranium deposit somewhere, or a large enough quantity of silicon to build enough solar panels and oxygen farms.
    • The Jet Pack on your spacesuit. The maximum speed of those little thrusters is higher than any ship, with decent acceleration to boot.
    • On the subject of improvised weapons, the Kinetic Torpedo: essentially a rod of blocks mounted on a 3x3 or 5x5 cross as its own entity, to launch one simply accelerates their ship, slams the brakes and releases it as a quick, easy way to do some damage. Need more power? Mount a warhead on it for extra boom. Need even more power? Use a combination of gravity generators and artificial mass blocks to build all-but-undodgable gravity-drive torpedoes.
    • Moonbases might not be as interesting as planetary bases, but there's plenty of ice around the caps for generating oxygen and the lower gravity makes it easy for ships to take off, maneuver and land.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Weapons fire continuously, and when a given magazine/ammunition container runs dry the weapon just switches to the next available one without needing a physical reload.
  • Building Is Welding: All construction is performed with welding torches. Even when computer chips and panes of glass are involved.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: You can switch between first- and third-person perspective at will. If you're in a cockpit during first-person, you'll be treated to a pilot's-eye view of the cockpit interior as you fly around. There is an option where this may be disabled, however, locking the player into first-person perspective.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The resources that can be mined from asteroids are represented by distinctive colored patches on the surrounding rock.
    • The running lights present on many ship components will change between green, yellow and red based on their operational status.
  • Combining Mecha: Merge Blocks can be used to connect two or more ships; the ships can form a larger "super ship" or make a booster for one of the ships. Be careful on the arrangement of components or the ships and/or stations become semi-permanently merged, forcing you to deconstruct or destroy components to detach them from each other.
  • Construction Is Awesome: The prime selling point of Space Engineers is the ability to design your own spaceships and space stations from scratch, and then destroy them with detailed damage physics. In Survival mode, blocks aren't instantly placed: You spawn a simple skeleton-frame, and then use a welding tool to add on its component parts and gradually piece it together. Even the simplest ship designs take some time to build.
  • Continuous Decompression: Averted. Atmosphere will drain out of your ship from an open hole with an impressive spray of particles, but it stops quickly within seconds.
  • Cool Car:
    • Through the application of wheels and Artificial Mass blocks, ships of any size can be built into ground-based vehicles that can drive around while within a gravity field.
    • Creative use of sensors and triggered thrusters can make hovercars that skim just over an asteroid's surface.
  • Cool Starship: A given ship could be bristling with sentry turrets and solar panels, equipped with a teleportation drive or an internal manufacturing system, capable of limited transformation with moving components, or armed with a hangar bay for carrying smaller ships inside itself. It could be a Starship Luxurious in scale, or merely a personal yacht or compact Space Fighter. It could be practical gunmetal grey, or any combination of garish colors your heart desires. The only true limit to construction is the PCU cost of the blocks involved, which can be set to hundreds-of-thousands in worldgen.
    • With the DLC packs, you can use multiple alternative textures while painting the hull and install cosmetic props throughout the interior, allowing for an even more intricate appearance.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Subverted. Reaching the maximum volume of your inventory doesn't stop you from moving or slow you down while on foot, but it does make you heavier, which means you'll need more thrust to move around and stay airborne. Ships carrying heavy loads in cargo containers can also have their center-of-mass destabilized, depending where the container is, which can be troublesome during atmospheric trips.
  • Crosshair Aware: Turrets show a square reticule over whatever they're firing at. Player-operated weapons on ships employ laser sights for aiming, which are visible to other players as small red dots.
  • Death from Above: Meteor showers are an optional environmental hazard, with individual meteors capable of dealing significant damage to structures. The frequency and severity of showers can be selected in a new world's setup; the highest level also sets the meteors on fire.
  • Dramatic Space Drifting: Aside from totally-static terrain voxels, anything that lacks sufficient engines and gyroscopes (or the power to keep them working) can be sent into an aimless drift with enough force. The aftermath of a spaceship's destruction tends to leave plenty of ruined hull fragments quietly spinning away into the void.
  • Easy Logistics: Every component on a structure capable of sending or receiving some resource can be connected to others via conveyor ports and tubes. This conveyor system transports everything from metal ingots to explosive missiles to the pilot's air supply, without the need for separate conveyor paths. Its entirely possible for a mining drill to transport its collected ore and rock through the ship's cockpit, oxygen tank and reactor core to reach a distant storage crate or refinery. There are some limits for small ships, however - items are distinguished between 'large' (like ammo boxes) and 'small' (like rocks) sizes, and the compact 'small' conveyors available to small-grid ships cannot transport 'large' items.
  • Enormous Engine:
  • Everything Breaks: From the terrain to the structures and ships you build.
  • Everything Fades:
    • If there are too many loose objects, the game starts deleting them in a first-in-first-out method. How many is "too many" can be adjusted during worldgen. This limit doesn't apply to stations or ships, though.
    • Corpses will disappear when the player in question respawns, although they were updated to stick around for a bit so you can grab all that loot you invariably lost prior to the update. Doesn't work with crashes though. Keep hitting that save button!
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: Ship systems originally featured soft edges, minimalistic details and occasionally brightly-colored lights; aided by the fact that the default color for everything is a very light grey with darker grey detailing. This was eventually subverted with Update 01.165, which completely redesigned all blocks in a more detailed and realistic style.
  • Explosions in Space: We've got missiles and mines as weapons, while Hydrogen Tanks, Batteries and Large Reactors will explode when destroyed. Subverted with everything else, as hull blocks gradually shatter and deform instead, while other ship systems simply suffer a Critical Existence Failure.
  • The Faceless: The player-character engineers have opaque black visors that completely hide their faces. Justified because real-life astronauts use black tinted visors to prevent their faces from being burned by unfiltered sunlight.
    • Subverted by the Oxygen update, which gave players the ability to retract their visors with the push of a button. Without his helmet, the player-character engineer strongly resembles the one from Medieval Engineers.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: As of update 1.090, FTL of the "jump" variety is made possible by the aptly named Jump Drive block. It requires ten seconds to spin up before any jump, several minutes to recharge, has a minimum safe distance of five kilometers and draws a large amount of power, this in exchange for a maximum jump range (not accounting for additional transit mass) of two thousand kilometers per drive. It should also be noted that the drive's precision is anything but pin-point, and misjumps in excess of one kilometer off target are common. It also can't be used in a natural gravity well.
  • Game Mod: The game allows players to easily install mods via the Steam Workshop; alternate skyboxes, spacesuit skins, animation sets, building block sets (both cosmetic and functional), and scenarios with objectives.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Gravity Generators stand out as being very out-of-place in the otherwise Mundane Dogmatic game. They are present primarily for ease-of-navigation in ships without having the clumsiness of flying in tight spaces.
    • The Sound Block. Nothing says 'realistic' like rigging up an exterior speaker system to blast the Halo theme as you fly through the vacuum of space. Later, audible sounds outside of pressured environments were made optional, but are active by default.
    • The Jump Drive is an outright teleportation device, standing in very stark contrast to the relatively grounded tech found everywhere else. In this case it's another Acceptable Break From Reality, as the maximum speed of any object without mods is little over a hundred meters per-second; without the Jump Drive, long-distance travel could take hours of uninterrupted flight, which already carries the risk of accidentally crashing into objects like asteroids if you aren't paying attention.
  • Gatling Good: The Gatling Gun on Small Ships, and the Gatling Turret. Their high rate of fire and fast projectiles make them perfect for fending off meteorites and shooting down Small Ships, but low damage makes them largely ineffective against structures and heavy armor. Gatling guns are especially cost-effective against atmospheric flying craft, due to heavy armor impeding their ability to stay airborne.
  • Gravity Screw:
    • The orientation of any Artificial Gravity field is determined by the orientation of the Gravity Generator itself - Whatever surface you build it on becomes the 'floor', so it's possible to build a generator upside down and walk across the roof of your ship.
    • When two differently-orientated gravity fields overlap. At best, you can expect to have to walk at a weird, slanted angle. At worst, items and players will be suspended in a mid-air 'freefall'.
  • Gravity Sucks: The simulation doesn't model actual orbital mechanics, anything above a planet will simply fall toward that planet, absent a countervailing force, unless it is anchored to something that has a fixed position in space (i.e any terrain voxel). This gravity effect diminishes with distance, so if a ship runs out of thrust above a planet it will slowly begin falling toward it, accelerating gradually as it does so, until it impacts the surface.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: Possible, if you have the co-ordinates of your intended target and get lucky enough to jump in from behind or at a similarly opportune angle. Since neither is a given by any means, this is Cool, but Inefficient.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Provided you can survive for ten seconds while everyone nearby can hear your ship spooling up, a Jump Drive can be used to teleport away from danger. Be sure to disable antenna broadcasting and beacon transmitters (or jump out of broadcasting range) lest your enemies simply give chase.
  • Improvised Weapon: Gravity cannons. Essentially a coilgun using gravity generators as the magnet stages. Since gravity fields can be shaped, you can build this into anything without screwing up the other gravity fields. The only problem is the game's maximum speed on anything is 111.5 m/s or 145.5 m/s for gravity acceleration (Subject to change). But even a small projectile using artificial mass can do some serious damage. The thing is, prior to the activation of the official in game weapons, such as the Gatling Gun and Rocket Launcher or the turrets, these were the first sort of damaging weapons, short of ramming, that players devised, firing rocks with devastating effect. They still can tear through over 20 layers of heavy armor or can be used to launch torpedoes.
    • To get a sense of how much energy is in a single, small artificial mass being launched at maximum speed: it's 15,200 times more energetic than a .50 BMG round, which is considered to be one of the most powerful man-fired rounds. It can also easily over-penetrate a layer of heavy armor (which is about 2.5 meters thick), although the projectiles tend to be destroyed on impact.
  • Inertial Dampening: Present as a game mechanic, though it has little to do with G-forces; Ships of all kinds require engines on every facing (forward, back, top, bottom and sides) alongside gyroscopes in order to turn, slow down and keep the ship from drifting uncontrollably from the slightest tap on the hull. The dampeners will fire thrusters to keep the ship's movement vector aligned with the user's directional controls. Inertial dampening can be toggled, allowing a sort of 'autopilot' function by letting you cruise along at current speed while saving on power. This is especially important on Survival mode, where fuel is naturally limited. You can still turn and use the engines while inertia dampening is off, which - among other things - allows Small Ships to perform the Viper Flip. note 
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: Strongly averted. Like real astronaut helms, the visor is completely opaque.
  • Jet Pack: The engineers have tiny thrusters built into their suits, allowing for flight.
  • Laser Sight: Present on spaceship weapons to help you aim, because - depending on where you install them - the projectiles won't necessarily line up with your crosshair. The laser sights are not visible along their lengths, but all players can see the small neon-red dots that show where the weapon is aiming.
  • The Little Detecto: The Ore Detector block does Exactly What It Says on the Tin - It detects nearby valuable ores embedded in terrain. It'll also helpfully pinpoint roughly where the ore is and identify what kind of ore it is, while the findings can be broadcast to nearby players through an Antenna on the same ship. The hand-carried drill available to players has a weaker ore detector built into it, for ease of use.
  • Ludicrous Speed: By using mods, it's possible to increase the speed limit beyond its vanilla 100 metres/second (just under 224 miles an hour). However, it quickly becomes clear that the physics engine struggles to keep up with velocities beyond that. Get beyond 500-1000 m/s (Mach 1.45 to Mach 2.91) and you/your craft will start to phase through solid matter. Get to 750,000 m/s (Mach 977.4 or 0.11% the speed of light) and the game will simply crash. The only way to achieve "faster-than-light" travel is with Jump Drives, which act more like a teleporter with fancy visual effects.
  • Mega-Maw Maneuver: It's entirely possible with a big enough ship, though you'll likely just damage yourself in the process if you aren't careful.
  • Mobile Factory: Any Large Ship equipped with Refineries and Assemblers. Bonus points if the ship is equipped with welders and hologram projectors, so it can actively build new structures using the materials it creates.
  • Mohs Scale of Sci-Fi Hardness: Zig-zagged. Word of God states that the developers want the game to be as realistic as possible, so 'soft' technology like Deflector Shields and Frickin' Laser Beams are unlikely to make an appearancenote . However, we still get traditional Artificial Gravity generators, and Sound In Space (while optional) is present by default.
  • Not the Intended Use: Artificial Mass allows grids in space to be influenced by Artificial Gravity, which they usually defy. This was intended to allow players to build and use wheeled vehicles in space. Instead, players discovered that orienting a gravity generator to the prow of a grid equipped with artificial mass could launch a ship into a horizontal free-fall, endlessly building momentum until they broke the game's speed limit. A later patch rectified this somewhat by preventing any free-falling object from passing the speed limit, but "gravity drives" remain a popular way for spaceships to rapidly accelerate while saving on power and fuel.
  • No Warping Zone: Warp Drives do not work within the gravitational field of planets, or within 1 kilometer of other constructs. The gravity drive exploit is also useless on a planet's surface, since natural gravity negates an equal amount of artificial gravity.
  • Old-School Dogfight: Small Ships generally fight like this. While they can mount weak turrets, their most effective weapons are single-facing, and they can otherwise move fast enough to evade attacks.
  • One-Way Visor: Much like with Real Life space suits, the visor doesn't show the face of the wearer, but presumably allows the space engineer to see out of it.
  • Point Defenseless: Soundly averted. While they are easily distracted by Decoy Blocks, turrets are aggressive and very accurate.
  • Ramming Always Works: Until the weapons were implemented, the only real way to damage other spaceships was to ram into them at top speed. Of course, this generally leaves both ships equally mangled unless some serious hull-reinforcement is installed at the ramming point. To show off the destruction mechanics, nearly every gameplay trailer invokes this by showing at least one big ship ramming into another.
  • Reactionless Drive: Despite producing a damaging plume, Ion Thrusters are effectively reactionless. They require no fuel source and can produce an infinite level of thrust so long as a power source exists somewhere on the same ship, be it a battery, reactor or solar panel. Averted with Hydrogen Thrusters, which need to be connected by the conveyor system to bulky storage tanks filled with hydrogen.
  • Recoil Boost: Small Ship Gatling guns and the handheld assault rifle will the send the user flying backwards with sustained fire. For some reason, though, Rocket Launchers don't do the same.
  • Resources Management Gameplay:
    • Managing your stockpiles of ice and uranium. Refined uranium is needed so reactors can provide power to your machines, ice needs to be processed to create oxygen and hydrogen, and neither resource can be 'recycled' afterwards like other mined ores can be.
    • Your spacesuit needs power, oxygen and hydrogen simultaneously in order to function properly. Without hydrogen, you can't fly; without oxygen, you can't breathe; and without power your jetpack, tools and life support won't function at all.
  • Salvage Pirates:
    • Scuttling abandoned or ruined structures is a good way to get ready-made crafting materials; though some players, armed with weapons, are perfectly happy to gun down fellow engineers before proceeding to loot their ships.
    • Invoked with the Cargo Ships — Unmanned ships of varying sizes spawned randomly that are laden with components and materials, which currently only exist for players to hijack and loot; provided they can circumvent the Booby Trap and armaments most of them have.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have...
    • No Sense of Distance: Planets are extremely close to each other compared to real life; the Earth-like world and its moon are only a few thousand kilometers apart, whereas the real Moon is a hundred times more distant. Planets are far smaller than they should be, though the excessively curved horizon is only noticeable from a high vantage point. Courtesy of the Arbitrary Maximum Range of both rendering and ship weapons, the absolute maximum engagement range against ships with conventional weapons is under 3 kilometers, which the USS Texas battleship could triple in 1892. Physicalized weapons (i.e. Railguns, torpedos) have a much longer range, but their accuracy is garbage against moving targets thanks to their top speed of 104m/s
    • No Sense of Velocity: By default, ships have a top speed of 104 m/s, roughly equal to the top speed of an older supercar. A space shuttle orbits at 7800 m/s. The agonizingly slow speed limit makes the Jump Drive an absolute necessity for interplanetary travel. It's possible to increase the speed limit, but it has dire effects on collision detection and rotors/pistons; a ship traveling at 400+ m/s will simply phase through ships and asteroids until the game realizes its location with unfortunate results.
  • Selective Gravity: Zig-zagged. The Artificial Gravity provided by gravity generators doesn't effect standard blocks unless an artificial mass block is attached to the grid, but the natural gravity found on planets and moons affects everything. Natural gravity also cancels out artificial gravity, so ships with gravity generators won't drag themselves down under the combined gravitational pull.
  • Sentry Gun: Available in three flavors: Gatling and Missile Turrets to protect the exterior hull, and a much smaller Interior Turret designed to fit inside buildings. They can be individually programmed by their owner to fire upon meteors, missiles, derelict junk and other players.
  • Serial Escalation: Originally, the game world was just a small cluster of three/seven/sixteen asteroids with nothing around them; then came the procedurally-generated worlds that were filled with unlimited asteroids; and now there is a map featuring three planets and their moons, which are larger than anything seen before, making even the proudest player-built ship look like a speck in comparison.
  • Series Mascot: Aside from the generic player-character astronaut, the developer-built Large Ships Red 1 and Blue 2 are featured in almost every major trailer and official gameplay video. The unnamed Blue Fighter is also prominent.
  • Shiny-Looking Spaceships: The Economy Deluxe DLC adds a number of glamorous and shiny alternate textures for hull blocks, including a chrome-like metal polish, gem-encrusted paneling, and even disco-ball facet plating.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Destroying the cockpit is the easiest way to disable fighter craft, though it's more difficult on large ships due to them often being buried deep in armor. With third-person view (or plenty of camera blocks), they don't even need windows to see.
  • Solar Sail: The Solar Panel is commonly used to invoke this, though on their own they provide no thrust. Since it generates a decent level of energy (while facing the sun, obviously), it's somewhat common to find Small Ships and some lightweight Large Ships using masses of solar panels to power their engines while conserving valuable uranium and hydrogen.
  • Space Fighter: The Small Ship block class is designed for this.
  • Space Friction: None. There is nothing to stop a crippled drifting ship besides grabbing it with another ship; it'll drift endlessly until it hits something. However, there is a slight drag effect against rotational motion, though with dramatically reduced magnitude as the rotational velocity slows. Bizarrely, there's also no atmospheric friction; with no drag from air resistance, vehicles handle completely identically in or out of an atmosphere, bar the gravity acceleration from planets.
  • Space Is Noisy:
    • Quite a few things are fully audible in the void, especially explosions and weapons fire. The Sound Block even allows you to broadcast effects like sirens or music in the vacuum of space.
    • Averted with an update introducing the option to use realistic sounds, now everything has an incredibly muffled, quiet sound if you're even touching them, otherwise it's completely silent. The realistic transition of sound is noticeable when you approach a ship or station airlock, once your feet touch the hull, you can hear the very faint hum of equipment, once you get inside and it's pressurized, the sounds become much more clear and distinguished, then once you open your helmet, the sound returns to what you were used to. Otherwise all you hear is just your breathing and the sound of your jetpack when not touching anything.
  • Space Marine: An assault rifle is among the hand-tools available to players, so man-to-man firefights are possible.
  • Space Mines: Warheads can be used for this purpose, since they explode from any hard contact or weapon/thruster damage upon being armed.
  • Space Station: These can be built using Large blocks, either floating in open space or attached to an asteroid. Doing the latter will make the station totally static and immovable unless severed from whatever voxel mass it's tethered to. Making a station's position fixed (either by building it into a fixed-position voxel like an asteroid or by manually telling the game it's a station) will make any such thing entirely immobile, but the positive trade off is a gain in CPU performance, allowing for larger and more elaborate construction without bogging down the player's computer.
  • Splash Damage Abuse: Explosives used to bypass armor entirely, leading to situations where fighters would have their reactors and gyros gutted by damage while their hull looked almost undamaged. Explosions were later made volumetric, preventing them from bypassing objects.
  • Standard Human Spaceship: All armor blocks are made up of steel plates fitted together, which are by default colored a plain gunmetal gray, and generally have hard edges. Several of the dev-built ships avert the color aspect, though, as they are often painted in bright primary colors for easy visual identification.
  • Sticky Shoes: The boots of your spacesuit are magnetic, in a manner similar to the Landing Gear block, allowing you to walk and even run on any constructed surface and transition between angles when your jetpack is turned off. However, due to the magnet being by necessity relatively weak, any gravity field will overpower the boots' magnetism.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Missile launchers are the most predominant, available in two sizes and types. Small Ships get regular one-missile-at-a-time launchers that you need to manually load and re-loadable rocket launchers that uses the conveyor system; Large Ships get a hefty missile pod capable of firing full-auto. Also, Space Mines.
  • Tank Goodness: Tanks are a popular creation subject on the Workshop; either on wheels, improvised treads, or - for the adventurous - thruster/gravity propulsion systems.
  • Telefrag: Defied, as Warp Drives cannot be used to leave or enter a location too close to a planet, an asteroid or another ship, preventing accidental collisions... Though this won't stop you from accidentally warping into the path of a moving ship.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Warp Drives function this way, by quickly teleporting ships across vast distances.
  • Telescoping Robot: Concealing weapons underneath ship armor is very popular. On the other hand, the ship actually needs the internal space to fit the weapons and the mechanism to deploy them. It's also liable to end in disaster if the pistons or rotors jam, which can cause rockets to misfire straight into the delicate internals of the ships. The trailer for the Xbox One port has a space station with turrets that rise out from hidden ports.
  • Terrain Sculpting: In Creative Mode, terrain voxels can be instantly sculpted using a variety of tools.
  • This Is a Drill: Available as a hand-tool for players and as a system for Small and Large Ships. Though the hand-drill, despite being referred to as such, is clearly a jackhammer.
  • Too Fast to Stop:
    • Inertia dampeners require propulsion on every side of your ship in order to brake properly. If you're going at full-speed, you'd better hope your opposing thrusters are strong and/or numerous enough to slow you down before you hit something, or that you can turn your ship around and use your main thrusters to slow down.
    • If you had something anchored down and the anchor no longer works, you can expect that something to fling off the ship if you change the vector. And you can also say goodbye to it if the ship was going at maximum speed.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Very possible, given the players involved, and some of the ships available on the Steam Workshop are replicas of famous sci-fi ships, including the Normandy SR-2, Mother of Invention, Serenity and Voyager
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Plenty of it (see Ramming Always Works above) but the first example many first-time Survival players find is that mining an asteroid is a very fiddly job when you have to chase those resource nuggets through the gravity-less void on a regular basis. A gravity generator makes things a lot easier.
  • Used Future: The spirit of the trope can be invoked through the right use of colors and superficial hull damage, but the Style Pack DLC adds an alternate hull texture overgrown with green moss, useful for adding that "reclaimed by the elements" appearance to a terrestrial structure or ruined ship.
  • Water Is Blue: Or ice is, at least. Patches of ice can be found on asteroids and moons, and the Earth-like planet features entire lakes of shiny blue ice.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Ion and Hydrogen engines cause damage to anything in the path of their thrust, burning holes through the obstructing armor blocks. Exhaust damage can be turned off in world settings.
    • In previous builds, this feature was exploited by cargo ships. The ships in question were unmanned, but rigged with high-yield explosives that would be detonated by hidden thrusters if the ship was ever forced to slow down normally, making hijacking attempts rather tricky.
    • The Steam-Workshop-modded Titan Engine block is perhaps the most triumphant example. Its exhaust path at full power is over forty block-lengths long, and strong enough to obliterate most Small Ships instantly.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Mods that raise the game's speed limit can inadvertently cause this. Physics are calculated every tick, but if a ship is moving fast enough it can phase through another ship before the game realizes it and subsequently vaporizes a significant portion of both ships. Sadly, the jump drive won't fire if its target destination has any objects within a certain radius, preventing players from teleporting bombs into enemy ships.
  • Weird Sun: Rather than stay in place, the sun actually orbits the game world, while asteroids and planets stay completely rooted in place. The time it takes for the sun to complete a full orbit can be tweaked in world generation, and can be set so fast that days and weeks go by in minutes.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Aside from player-created scenarios and a limited campaign mode, the game has no objectives of any sort beyond survival, and you can build nearly any sort of spaceship or structure you want.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The Rescue Ship starts in inexplicably poor condition - the exterior hull is always heavily dented, and several blocks are incomplete. However, as listed above in Boring, but Practical, the Rescue Ship is a surprisingly useful vessel.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The release of Planets was long awaited, due to the game-changing effects of natural gravity and the sheer distances involved in travel, both on the planet and between them. One of the first things many people did when the update was released was to simply look over the planet from orbit, or head for a mountaintop and take in the surrounding landscape.
  • Zip Mode: Jump Drives. Provided that you've saved a set of co-ordinates at the desired location, you can use a Jump Drive (or several, depending on distance) to teleport there, saving you potentially hours of travel time.


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