Although space travel has quite a few roadblocks before becoming accessible to the average person, a powerful computer may be all one needs to experience it now. SpaceEngine is the ultimate simulation program for astronomy enthusiasts and allows users to explore virtually anything in our known universe.

From black holes to distant galaxies, the program uses actual astronomical data to help generate uncharted territory with detailed renderings of stars and galaxies numbering in the trillions. A solo developer named Vladimir Romanyuk created it using a variety of textures, some of which are contributed by users.

How to Play

Utilizing the basic WASD keys, gamers can travel through space in any direction or speed, and forwards or backwards in time. The program also uses pseudo-random numbers to procedural create any kind of planetary system, nebula or galaxy.  Don't let the randomness fool you however since Space Engine is still scientifically accurate.

Properties of objects, such as temperature, mass, radius, etc., are presented to the user on the HUD and in an accessible information window.

Development began in 2005, and was re Written in C++, development of the game was started in 2005 and it was released fiver years later. The engine uses OpenGL as its graphical API and uses shaders written in GLSL.

Newer development is on-going as Romanyuk shares his progress with users regularly and eventually hopes to license the engine to other developers in the future. Modifications can also be added on with users continually contributing information and high resolution textures on SpaceEngine's website.  For a more in-depth look and demo of the program, check out the clip posted below.