Update 0.990.39.1760 introduces Steam Workshop, native support of Valve Index and WMR controllers, and some VR improvements. The update is available in the beta branch, and will be released to the default branch soon.

Changelog:

– Shorter cache file paths
– Fixed broken rendering/style settings after starting SE by clicking on se:// url
– Russian localization: changed names of planet temperature classes to better match the English localization
– Removed Chthonia planet class from the Star browser (this class is not implemented in the engine anyway)
– Changed atmosphere generator so it produces more blue Earth-like atmosphere models
– Fixed crash on updating atmosphere model
– Added models of (486958) Arrokoth/2014 MU69 (ex Ultima Thule), (25143) Itokawa and (433) Eros (by Mosfet)
– Fixed blurry nebulae and galaxies on skybox export
– Fixed blurry nebulae and galaxies on video capture when “Set graphics to maximum” is chosen
– Fixed initialization of the the video capture tool with incorrect screenshot file format listed
– SteamVR Input (native support of Valve Index and other controllers)
– Default binding configuration for HTC Vive, Valve Index, WMR and Oculus Touch controllers
– Pressing menu button on VR controller brings up side screen toolbars instead of opening the main menu
– Main menu VR help texture changes based on the currently active VR controllers
– Smoothed VR laser ray movement to reduce shaking and increase selection precision
– Added travel time counter when using the “Go to” command
– “Go to” in VR quickly rotates view so that target object is centered
– Import localizations from CSV format (needed for online translation services)
– Added Turkish localization

Steam Workshop

The SpaceEngine Workshop is now available. The Workshop is a place where you can find add-ons and mods for SpaceEngine. To download an item from the workshop, subscribe to it, and Steam will automatically download and install it for you. After downloading, it will be available in SpaceEngine the next time you start the program.

In addition to downloading items created by others, you may create your own mods and add-ons and upload them to the Workshop to share with the community! If you have followed SE development for a long time, you probably know where to find the addon creation instructions. They are a bit obsolete (they were written for version 0.980), but I have started updating them. The scripting instructions were updated yesterday.

After you have created, tested, and packed your addon, it’s time to upload it to the Workshop. To help with this, we created a special tool. Meet SpaceEngine’s LaunchPad – a configuration, launching, and Workshop item management/uploading tool. It can be found in the SpaceEngine\system\ folder next to SpaceEngine.exe, or launched through the Steam client. When you press the play button, a small launch options menu will appear; select “Launch Configuration Tool” there:

The first version of the LaunchPad looks like this. The “Manage addons” tab allows you to view and quickly disable/enable installed addons, if you want to play without some of them. Of course, you can disable an addon by unsubscribing to it on the Workshop, but this will remove the downloaded files from your computer. Using the LaunchPad is more convenient.

The second tab, “Your addons”, allows you to upload addons to the Workshop.

To do this, you should create a new “project” by pressing the “Add new” button. Fill in the form: enter the addon’s title, description, and release notes (useful to describing the changes you’ve made when updating an addon). Choose the content folder – this is the folder where the release files of your addon are located. It may be a folder with a single pak file, multiple files, and even some subdirectories. Look at the creating addons instructions. By default, LaunchPad assumes that release files will be stored in SpaceEngine\workshop\content\<your_addon_folder>\. Note that this is not the addons folder! SpaceEngine will not load pak files from this location, it is used only by the LaunchPad to store release files.

Another important file, which must be located in your addon’s release folder, is a preview image. The image must have a 16:9 aspect ratio, with a recommended resolution of 1920 x 1080, and must be named preview.png or preview.jpg. Without this file, uploading of the addon will fail! This preview image appears on the Workshop page and in the LaunchPad. You may upload more screenshots by visiting your item’s page on the Workshop, but the preview image is mandatory.

If you enter an incorrect path, or if the folder does not contain the correct preview image, the path on the Project Settings form will be shown in red and you will not be able to proceed further. Otherwise, press the Save button and enter the project’s file name. The project file have the extension .vdf and is saved to the SpaceEngine\workshop\projects\ directory. After saving the project, select it in the LaunchPad’s interface and press “Upload to Workshop”. This may take a while; after the upload is finished, you may have to wait several minutes before your addon appears on the Workshop page. Be patient. If some error occurs, LaunchPad will show an error message; it also creates a log file, which is useful for troubleshooting: SpaceEngine\system\launcher.log

After successfully uploading an item to the Workshop, go to the Workshop either in the Steam client or in a web browswer, find your addon, and click on it. There you may add more screenshots, edit the description, and perform other management tasks. After everything is ready, release your addon to the community by changing visibility to “Public”:

You may subscribe to your own addon on the Workshop to test if it works correctly (it is a good idea to do this before making it public). Steam will download the addon files, but will not save them not to the SpaceEngine\addons\ folder like you might expect, but to an internal Steam directory (usually \steamapps\workshop\content\314650\<some_random_number>\). You may quickly open this directory using the “Browse files” button in the “Manage addons” tab of the LaunchPad. So Steam will never overwrite your working/developer addon files which are stored in the SpaceEngine\addons\. Note that now SpaceEngine will try to load your addon from two places: working files and just downloaded ones. In order to make a clean test, you should temporary move your working files away from SpaceEngine\addons\.

The project file makes updating your addon on the Workshop very easy. Just replace the old pak files with updated ones in SpaceEngine\workshop\content\<your_addon_folder>\, replace the preview picture if necessary, and run the LaunchPad. Go to the “Your addons” tab, select your addon, and click Change. Update the description and release notes if necessary, save, and press “Push to Workshop”. Do not edit the addon’s description on the Workshop page when uploading an update, because every time you upload an update using the LaunchPad, it will overwrite the description with the one stored in the project file!

That’s all functions of the LaunchPad for now. The obvious big button on the bottom Launches SpaceEngine. In the future, a “Settings” tab will be added. It will allow to configure SpaceEngine before launch. It will duplicate some settings available in the SE interface, and probably will have options to reset them to defaults.

VR improvements

SpaceEngine finally supports the Valve Index controllers. The default layout resembles that for HTC Vive sticks and Oculus Touch, though they have some additional options (because Index has more controls). A help texture appears in the Main Menu (but only if controllers are switched on and connected; if not, connect them and re-open the menu). This help texture is a temporary workaround, I’m still planning to implement floating help hints near the controllers in VR (but this is not easy at this stage).

Changing bindings in SteamVR is not possible through SE interface now, so you must use the SteamVR controller configuration tool (native Oculus still uses the SE interface). You can access the tool in VR, but I found that the desktop version is more convenient to use. Go to the SteamVR app, choose Menu -> Devices -> Controllers Settings. I created presets for Vive, Index, Oculus Touch (if you ever want to play with Oculus through SteamVR for some reason) and I tried to create a preset for WMR controller manually (because I don’t have the hardware). Feel free to share your own binding scheme, maybe you will develop a better one. If someone has the Cosmos controllers and creates bindings for them (matching default bindings for other controllers), please share it with us!

Another improvement is the ability to access toolbars in VR. Press the corresponding controller button (see the help texture) to show them, and press it again to hide them. They still appear on the “screen”, but this is better than nothing. Aiming with the “laser ray” is easier now: I added filtering, which reduces shaking a lot (but makes the ray feel a bit “elastic”).

The Map and Chart modes are now fully functional in VR. The vertical window bar is a bit annoying, but this is a workaround for now. The Map may be glitchy, I plan to make it look like a starship holographic display seen in sci-fi movies. But it already feels very cool: you can drag, rotate, and zoom the 1-meter sized ball full of stars in front of you. You must try it!

As always, we are glad to see you on the SE forum!