Space Engine is an impressive space simulation program that lets you explore the universe, from the planet Earth to the most distant galaxies, all in one fluid movement.
The game uses actual astronomical data to recreate areas of the known universe, while distant uncharted regions are generated procedurally. This means millions of galaxies, trillions of stars, countless planets – all available for exploration. You can land any planet, moon or asteroid and watch alien landscapes and celestial phenomena. You can even pilot starships and atmospheric shuttles.
Space Engine’s Planetarium is not a game, so there are no gameplay mechanics as such, you simply roam the galaxy taking in the beautiful scenery and admiring the vastness of space. You can fly freely through the universe, but it’s much easier just so click on a desired celestial body and click on the ‘go to object’ tab on the pop-up menu on the bottom left side of the screen (Don’t click ‘land on object’ unless you are near it already). For maximum enjoyment we’d also recommend using the pop-up menu to speed up time, so you can watch planets going through their orbits, or admire a sunrise on a distant planet.
Space Engine is wonderful simulation of the Universe, with a bit of optimisation it would make an excellent learning aid in schools too, especially with the planned Oculus Rift support. It’s being funded entirely through donations, with some ambitious goals, including making it into a fully fledged space exploration game or even an MMORPG. It really is shaping up to be the best way to explore the final frontier (without spending billions on a space shuttle anyway).
Download the Beta HERE