Compound Blocks

Auhrii shared this feedback 10 months ago

Yeah, yeah, I know, here we go again. I would put this in an existing suggestion, but they've all either been deleted, their scopes are too narrow, or search is having trouble finding them.

Look, compound blocks would improve the game immensely:

  • More compact builds would be possible, which may actually reduce block counts for ships (compact interiors means less armour to cover them = less mass = less thrusters and thus power infrastructure, etc).
  • We could ditch a lot of blocks in the build menu (ditch the dozens of DLC catwalk variants in favour of catwalk plates and railings, for example, which we already have).
  • We would no longer have to choose between lighting our ships or giving them some interior decoration.
  • We could make use of half armour sections to better effect by utilising the empty space! Our options would be limited here due to the placement/orientation of a lot of decorative blocks, but still.
  • This could pave the way for interesting new blocks, such as framework blocks you can mount conveyor tubes inside (no longer would we have to use conveyor junctions just to have mounting points!)
  • More comprehensive armour coverage - no more sides of large thrusters leaving gaping holes that expose your ship's internals. Just slap some thin armour pieces or catwalks in there.
  • Allowing us to place blocks immediately around the bases of turrets, perhaps? I just want some catwalks there.
  • No more huge gaps of wasted space next to windows.

I could go on and on.

One very specific use case I have is for airlocks: I have two doors separated by a space, in which I have the button panel. The floor block below that is taken up by a grated catwalk, with an air vent below that. That air vent now also requires blocks around it to form a seal. This airlock does not support a light unless I carve out another block, which inflates an already bloated design immensely and looks weird. Compound blocks would allow the floor grating and air vent to occupy the opposing sides of the same block, already cutting out an entire vertical layer, and allow me to add a light, keeping the size down.

We already know the engine can support compound blocks, but as I understand it, the Space Engineers code base has also diverged significantly from that of Medieval Engineers. I would not expect this to be an easy undertaking, but if it were announced, I would gladly buy a particularly large DLC to support it.

Comments (2)


One thing I'm worried about is that the engine might not support this idea without additional complication. The Medical Room is 2x2x1 despite only three of those blocks being used, suggesting that they can't create blocks that aren't in the shape of a rectangular prism. If that's a limitation, what else could be?


The saving grace is that the game's engine is in-house, so major code refactors aren't totally out of the question - Space Engineers has already come a very long way from an offshoot of Miner Wars.


I searched this and I cannot get over the thought of "what could it be that prevents them from adding compound building mode to this game too? I mean they have the engine at hand and Medieval Engineers has the tech! Just... Just do it!". I can't explain how much disappointment I feel when I can't put half blocks inside each other. It is actually frustrating.


As a consumer of the software (game) you shouldn't worry about engine complications - that's Keen's job (and don't provide them with excuses not to do something - they need to justify why the won't consider doing something). If a feature is desired, just say so - and this one has cropped up several times for good reason.

Even if implemented in a limited fashion, it would really help certain aspects of building and interior design. For example:

1. Placing certain blocks on catwalks, and/or occupying the same cube as a catwalk: lights, buttons, some of the thin decoration blocks (kitchen, locker, couch etc), sensor, camera eg. blocks you would expect to be able to fit and for a person to be able to walk past.

2. Cameras in side connectors

3. Sensors, cameras, buttons and lights within the same cube space (1 per valid face)


While it is Keen's job to make it work, especially if it's an in-house engine, these kinds of factors are worth considering when thinking about the practicality of implementing something like this. Keen might pass this up for something that they don't have to rework the engine for in the next update, but they might also take this into account when working on a potential sequel to Space Engineers. In fact, I think that's exactly why we won't see this implemented; if they decide to do this and rework the engine, they're probably going to look at other limitations such as stationary voxels or performance issues, and eventually end up just rebuilding the whole thing from the ground up.


The inability to have multiple objects in a block is simply the biggest frustration in this otherwise great game