0.990.42.1830 and 0.991 public beta, ongoing work
A new update, version 0.990.42.1830, is now available for public beta testing (how to join the beta). It features new exoplanets discovered since SE’s initial release on Steam, new/updated textures for Mars, Pluto, and Iapetus, and some fixes and improvements.
Updated planet maps
A few new and updated planet textures are included in this update. The surface (diffuse, color albedo) maps of Mars and Pluto have been updated with more accurate versions. The Pluto map was made by FarGetaNik, while the Mars map is the same as the old one, with improvements to color and contrast accuracy. Saturn’s moon Iapetus has been updated with a totally new set of textures, created by Kexitt, which combine real data with artistic interpretation for a much more consistent appearance while still being pretty accurate. You can see screenshots below of Mars, Pluto, and Iapetus respectively (open the links in a new tab to view them at full resolution):
Current Work and 0.991 Beta
Some progress has been made recently on implementing 3D planetary rings with rocks 😉 We will make a more detailed post with screenshots in the future. Other important work being done is updating the procedural planetary system generator. This includes fixing issues and bugs, and implementing modern knowledge about exoplanets into the generator. Since this will change the procedural generation algorithms, it will destroy user saves (locations), so it is pending for version 0.991. Speaking of which, a 0.991_beta branch has been added to Steam for those who want to test the new planetary system generator. Note that this, and a fix to globular cluster generation in large galaxies, are the only differences between the current 0.991 beta and today’s update 0.990.42.1830.
You can opt into the 0.991_beta in the same way as the regular beta branch. Right-click on SpaceEngine in your Steam library, choose “Properties…”, and go to the “BETAS” tab. Select 0.991_beta in the drop-down menu: