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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are you going to implement XXX feature in the future?
A: If it is something that exists and is known to modern astronomy, then yes it will be added eventually. You can read about implemented and planned features here.
Q: When is the next release coming out?
A: There is no release date. It will be out when it's done.
Q: Will there be a version for Mac and Linux?
A: Yes, this is planned for in the near future.
Q: How many developers are there?
A: Just one! Vladimir Romanyuk (SpaceEngineer) is the sole developer of the program, though smaller contributions such as models and textures have been made by many members of the community. Click here for a list of contributions.
Q: Is this project open source?
A: No. SpaceEngine is proprietary closed-source software, and there are no current plans to make the source code available.
Q: What engine does SpaceEngine use?
A: SpaceEngine does not use any pre-existing engine, everything was created from scratch.
Q: What language is SpaceEngine written in?
A: The core program is written in C++ and the shaders are written in GLSL.
Q: Is there a SpaceEngine SDK? Can I use the engine to make my own game?
A: Not currently. The engine is still very much in development and will require a lot of work before it is completed. However, after the engine is completed it will be possible to use it for your own project.
Q: Are procedural detailed textures and landscapes planned for Solar system planets?
Q: How many real objects are there in SpaceEngine, and how many are generated by the program?
A: The entire Hipparcos catalog of stars, as well as all known extrasolar planets, over ten thousand galaxies, and all of the most prominent objects in our Solar system are included. This adds up to over 130 000 objects. As for procedural objects, there are more galaxies and star systems in SE than exist in reality in all of the observable universe.
Q: May I make a video with SpaceEngine or use screenshots or skyboxes made with SE for my own use?
A: Yes, you may use SpaceEngine products for non-commercial use as long as you cite SpaceEngine as the source for those assets. Please see the license page for full details.
Q: This program is awesome! Are you accepting donations?
A: Yes! Please visit this page to make a donation and see the current funding goals.
Q: Why are there some gigantic dwarf stars, and small giant stars?
A: The Hipparcos-based star catalog that SpaceEngine uses contains some errors and missing data. If you find a real star which seems to have erroneous data, please post its name in this thread, this will make it much easier to fix the stars in the future.
Q: Why is Vega binary, but 40 Eridani is solitary? Is it a bug?
A: This is not a bug. SpaceEngine currently has an incomplete catalog of binary stars, so it makes some real stars binary and multiple automatically (procedurally). You can disable this by setting parameter StarProcBifurcation in universe.cfg to false.
Q: Why do stars like Eta Carinae and Deneb have such low luminosities?
A: Most of the light from these stars is blocked by interstellar dust before it reaches Earth, so these stars do not look as bright as they really are. When these stars are put into SpaceEngine using their apparent magnitudes, it gives them low luminosities. Unfortunately, SE cannot simulate interstellar extinction, so it is impossible to have their luminosities be correct without making them look unrealistically bright in the sky.
Q: How can an Ice Giant be "Hot"? This makes no sense. Is it a bug?
A: "Ice Giant" is a scientific term for a planet that has a mass between 10 and 50-70 Earth masses and composed primarily of water, ammonia and methane. These substances in the planet's interior are in the form of a high pressure high-temperature modification of ice, so the planet is called an "Ice Giant". Surface temperature doesn't matter.
Q: How can an Oceania be "Hot"? This makes no sense. Is it a bug?
A: "Oceania" is a scientific term for a planet up to 10 Earth masses and composed primarily of water. Surface temperature doesn't matter. On a hot oceania, water in the upper atmosphere is in the form of hot vapor, but farther down it smoothly transitions into a liquid state under high pressure. Even deeper it turns into a solid state called ice VII.
Q: How do I find Earth?
A: Hit [F3], type "Earth", and press [Go to]. Alternatively, press [Shift]-[H] several times (this will select Milky Way, the Sun, Earth), and hit [G] key.
Q: How do I move?
A: Press [W], [A], [S], [D], [R], [F] or arrow keys.
Q: How do I change velocity?
A: Rotate mouse wheel or press [+] or [-] keys. Hold [Ctrl] to switch between default velocity presets.
Q: Why does the camera always reset when I release the middle mouse button?
A: The Middle Mouse Button is for "looking around" without changing the camera's fixed aim or inertia. Use the Left Mouse Button to rotate the camera.
Q: How do I go to an object?
A: Select it with a left-click and press [G].
Q: How do I go to an object faster?
A: Select it with a left-click and press [G] twice.
Q: How do I land on a planet?
A: Select a planet with a left-click and press [Shift]-[G] or [Ctrl]-[G].
Q: How do I control space ships?
A: Read the readme_eng.txt located in the SpaceEngine\docs\ folder.
Q: My space ship won't move.
A: Time is paused. Unpause it with the [Space] key.
Q: How do I remove text info from the screen?
A: Press [Ctrl]+[~]. Press it again to restore the text.
Q: Is there a way to change settings and use menus without using keyboard commands?
A: Yes, SpaceEngine has a graphical main menu interface, as well as toolbars on the lower left and lower right of the screen. To open a toolbar, mouse over the edge of the screen that the toolbar is located at. To lock the toolbar open, press the pin icon. Hold the mouse over a button to learn its function.
Q: Is there a way to prevent dim stars and planets from showing when bright objects are shown on screen?
A: Yes. Press [V] to toggle autoexposure. Alternately, you can toggle it in the graphics menu.
Q: Is there a framerate counter? How can I activate it?
A: Yes. Open the console by pressing [~], type "FPS", and press [Enter]. This will enable the framerate counter.
Q: Is there any way to change the light settings, so that I can change the camera exposure or compare the relative illumination of different planets?
A: Yes. Press [Ctrl]+[F4] to open the graphics menu. "Real planet brightness" allows you to compare how much illumination different planets receive from their suns. "Real sun brightness" allows you to compare the relative brightness of different suns in a system. The magnitude and brightness menu [F7] allows you to change the camera's exposure, the ambient light level, and magnitude limit settings.
Q: I have other questions about controls.
A: Look at the readme file (readme_eng.txt) located in the SpaceEngine\docs\ folder, it contains a list of all controls in the program. Alternately, you can view and modify the controls in the in-game controls menu, accessible by going to Main Menu > Settings > Controls.
Q: How can I add my own objects to SpaceEngine, or modify existing ones?
A: Please look at the tutorial threads in the modding forum.
Q: How can I translate SpaceEngine into my language?
A: Making translations for SpaceEngine is simple. See here for instructions, and here for a list of languages already completed. Once you finish your translation and release it, it will be incorporated into the next release of SpaceEngine and be available for everyone by default!
Q: I'm having problems running SpaceEngine. What should I do?
A: Please read the Troubleshooting thread. It contains solutions to a large number of common problems.
Q: I read the thread and tried all the suggestions, but SpaceEngine still doesn't work.
A: Post about your problem in the Troubleshooting thread, and please include your se.log file (see the top of the thread for instructions).
Q: Planets are flat and blurry.
A: You are probably on Earth, Mars or some other Solar system planet. Go to another star system and look for its procedural planets.
Q: Why are Solar system planets flat and blurry?
A: This is not a bug. They use real photo textures with limited resolution, so when viewed from a close distance they look blurry. To increase quality, download hi-res texture add-ons. But even then procedural planets will have a much greater level of detail.
Q: Space ships are not visible in interstellar space.
A: This is not a bug. Space ships are a beta feature, they are not completed yet.
Q: I still have questions.
A: Ask any other questions you may have in this forum thread, and someone will try to answer them.