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Modding Basics

Space Engineers Steam Workshop
Space Engineers On Mod.io
Official Space Engineers Workshop
Discord modding channel

 

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to back up your game folder before making any changes
\Steam\steamapps\common\SpaceEngineers

 

Most mods in Space Engineers will require the following steps:

How to locate Space Engineers content directory located in your Steam library: 
  • Go into your Steam Library
  • Right click Space Engineers
  • Click on Properties
  • Click on the ‘Local Files’ tab at the top of the window
  • Click ‘Browse Local Files’
How to locate game Data folder

Game data is stored in folder: steamapps\common\SpaceEngineers\Content\Data

The folder contains the definition files for Cube Blocks, Physical Items, Voxel materials, Transparent materials (particle effects), Components, Blueprints and a few other things.
By using the XML files here (extension .sbc) you can modify most of the game objects and add, for example, a new type of cube block.

When modifying files, make sure you delete the .xml cache file. It is possible to create, for example, round armor blocks, a new type of thrusts, gyro, a different cockpit and many more.

How to locate Mod directory

The path is:
C:\Users\{YOUR WINDOWS USERNAME}\AppData\Roaming\SpaceEngineers\Mods

Note that AppData is by default in windows a hidden folder, so if you cannot find it, you need to enable visibility of hidden folders.
If you have difficulties finding the folder, press WIN+R, in the box that will open paste %APPDATA% and press Enter.

Each mod has now its own folder located in \Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\SpaceEngineers\Mods\{mod name}

The mod folder has to contain a sub-folder called Data with definition files of added or updated mods. Everything can be replaced/updated by the modder (audio, video, textures, models, gui, etc).

How to locate log files

Log files are located in C:\Users\YourUsername\AppData\Roaming\SpaceEngineers

How to locate Save Files / World Files

Every world you generate is saved in its own folder that can be found in

C:\Users\{YOUR WINDOWS USERNAME}\AppData\Roaming\SpaceEngineers\Saves\{Your Steam ID}\

File types:

  • Sandbox.sbc – basic description of a world
  • SANDBOX_0_0_0_.sbs – detail definition of a world, positions and states of objects (we don’t have more details at this moment, but it should be pretty self-explanatory – run some experiments)
  • .vox – binary voxel data for an asteroid (we don’t have more details at this moment)
  • .xmlcache – don’t modify these files, they are cache files regenerated on each save

MODDING API

The Modding API brings a lot of new possibilities to modders and allows them to alter the game by writing C# scripts which have access to in-game objects

For more info and instructions please read our Modding API Guide (coming soon)

SPACE ENGINEERS ModSDK

Space Engineers – ModSDK, is an application that includes a set of tools specifically created for modding. The application is totally free for everyone, even for those who don’t own Space Engineers game. In order to find it, open the Steam client, go to Library, Tools, type “Space Engineers ModSDK” in the searchbox and just follow the steps to install it.

Space Engineers – ModSDK includes the following modding tools:

  • MWMBuilder – this tool can be used for converting graphic assets to Space Engineers format
  • VRageEditor2 (ModelViewer) – can be used for previewing models without having to be in the game. Modders can view models, textures, dummies, dummies axis, physical shapes, axis, bounding box and material setup. More info: Model Viewer Guide
  • Texture packing tool for creating compressed “channel packed” textures – Official Guide (coming soon)
  • original models, sounds and music from Space Engineers game
  • tools for converting sounds and music

Note: textures are not included because they are already in the game
ModSDK will be improved during time and more features will be added

Visual Scripting Tool

Visual Scripting Tool was designed to allow users to design game scenarios for Space Engineers without needing previous coding experience. Mod developers can utilize this tool to create scripted gameplay events, play cutscenes, or modify game values at runtime.

TEXTURES

Almost all textures are in DDS format (DXT compression). You will need an editing program that can manipulate them. If you use Adobe Photoshop, we recommend installing this plugin: developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop and use these settings for exporting:

Space Engineers Modding Textures

Textures can be found in: steamapps\common\SpaceEngineers\Content\Textures\

There are multiple categories of texture files: GUI, particles, lights, models, voxels, etc.
Model textures with “_ng” in their name contain “normal map” in RGB channels and “gloss” in ALPHA channel. 
Model textures with “_cm” in their name contain “color” in RGB channels and “metalness” in ALPHA channel.
Model textures with “_add” in their name contain “ao” in Red channel, “emissivity” in Green channel, “dirt” in Blue channel and colormask in Alpha channel

A good lightweight software for opening and viewing dds textures is PicoPixel: https://pixelandpolygon.com/

3D MODELS

MwmBuilder is the tool for building mwm models from fbx files.
Note: You may need administrator rights to copy or create files in Program Files folder; you can copy MwmBuilder and dlls into a different folder.

MwmBuilder Location:
{Steam installations directory}\SteamApps\common\SpaceEngineers\Tools\VRageEditor\ModelBuilder.bat
Models are stored in: steamapps\common\SpaceEngineers\Content\Models\

SIMPLE USAGE:

  1. Run the ModelBuilder.bat GUI
  2. Set the content path to the folder with your .fbx and .hkt (collision) files
  3. Set the Output path to the steamapps\common\SpaceEngineers\Content
  4. Find your model inside the model builder window and add it to build:
  5. Set up the LOD distances
  6. Run the Build
  7. Your mwm models will be located in steamapps\common\SpaceEngineers\Content

For advanced usage see here: Advanced 3D Models Guide

Moddable collision models: Adding new model with collision geometry

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