Aerospace Engineering Comes to Life in Gaming Phenomenon Space Engineers for XboxBy Vaughn College | March 16, 2020
At some point in time, you may have heard the expression―“It’s not rocket science!”―in relation to a subject. For most of us, the vastness of outer space, the building of spaceships, space travel and planet exploration can be a mind-blowing topic and a hard one to wrap our heads around. Yes, in this case, rocket science does come into play. And, yes, it’s a difficult job. But for gaming and space engineering enthusiasts, the virtual reality of being a space engineer and experiencing it all is only weeks away. After five years, the wait is almost over for the release of the highly anticipated voxel-based sandbox game―Space Engineers for Xbox.
This month, Vaughn College explores the exciting roles aerospace engineers (aka ‘space engineers’) play in the world of spacecraft design and the science and technology behind it all. See how the work of real-life space engineers plays into the virtual reality of the upcoming launch of Space Engineers for Xbox.
What is a space engineer?
Space engineers are professionals who design and build machines that fly. They solve practical problems in space and on planets by applying scientific knowledge, in-depth skills and an understanding of mathematics, physics, aerodynamics and materials science—not to mention manufacturing ingenuity. Over the years, two specialty areas of engineering emerged: aeronautical and astronautical. Here are the differences between the two:
- Aeronautical engineering involves designing aircraft that flies within Earth’s atmosphere. Some examples include powered lighter-than-air craft gliders, fixed-wing airplanes, jets and helicopters.
- Astronautical engineering focuses on the science and technology of spacecraft that fly outside of Earth’s atmosphere. These engineers work on the design and development of the spacecraft.
Together, space engineers design aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles, along with the components and subassemblies which include engines, airframes, wings, landing gear, control systems and instruments. When these engineers have completed designing these crafts, they are responsible for testing prototypes to ensure they function according to plan. Virtual testing of engines, wings and control surfaces is a true gamechanger, as computer simulations are having a great impact on projecting how aircraft and spacecraft will perform under different conditions. Using computer-aided design (CAD) allows for a more seamless process in drafting and modification of designs and 3D visualization.
Space Engineers for Xbox
Speaking of visualization, imagine yourself in outer space. You are building spaceships or traveling through space to explore the planets. Space Engineers for Xbox is the latest gaming phenomenon that virtually places gamers in the middle of the action. In this game, each player’s astronaut is referred to as a “Space Engineer.” The game designers must apply real-life aeronautical engineering concepts, physics and volumetricity to make the game realistic. This is vital as players build their own spaceships, space stations and planetary outposts.
The game is designed around surviving in space and on the planets using engineering, construction and exploration. It’s all about reality and how things work. Here are some cool features and tasks you can practice:
- Using a hand drill to mine an asteroid for resources
- Adding new components to an existing structure
- Working from the cockpit of a small ship
It was paramount to the game’s designers to follow the laws of physics and not use any science and technology that may not be possible in the future. Did you know the construction toys LEGO® and LEGO® TECHNIC served as inventor Marek Rosa’s inspiration to design this game?
Here are more fun facts about Space Engineers for Xbox:
- Releases on April 15, 2020
- Four million copies have been sold so far
- Can be played as a survival shooter as well as construction and exploration aspects
- 90 percent positive reviews on Steam
- Single-player and multi-player modes