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No man's Sky: completely open ended space explorer


Bikerdude
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I'm getting a 'spore' vibe from this. In the bad sense. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE space exploration but it does seem a bit utopic with current technology. Every attempt so far proved procedural generation to be repetitive and uninteresting after a short while. You may have a trillion stars to visit but you won't feel like there's anything you haven't seen yet.

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They say cool discoveries are rare, so I can see this as a casual game about cruising and exploring for discoveries, but action every so often.

 

There's already a sim out called Space Engine about exploring for new planets, pretty much just for screenshots, and it's pretty cool to play by itself.

 

The animals are also procedurally generated BTW. So there's a little more variety than you might expect.

 

Edit. I'll add my typical comment here too. To me, the king of procedural gen games is going to be Voxel Farm + mods. The big advantage of it over this game is the world will be modifiable. The main draw of Minecraft after all was building your own castle or mansion in a scenic place and keeping the monsters out. Then story telling mods added the final cool piece.

 

All that said, I'm still looking forward to this game & I hope it lives up to its reputation. I'm a fan of sims of all types.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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The designer said "like" and "right" far too much for my liking... but the algorithm is non the less extremely cool.

 

He does come off as a bit naive. It could be that he's just really intrigued about what they're doing at their studio. I agree though.

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  • 4 months later...

it will take 585 billion years real time to visit every single planet in the game for 1 second, so there's no chance of of exploring it all, originally the game was going to be 32 bit, but its 64bit now, as everyone will start near the edge and the goal is to get to the center. the chance of meeting other players looks very small unless everyone starts in the same area of space, but you wont be alone as there's countless of other AI in the game to make it not look so peopleless. If everyone on this planet were to play the game then there would be plenty of planets for you to name cos they can't go to them all.

 

our sun will go out in 4.8 billion years

 

if any one does manage to go to all the planets then it will be obvious that they've cheated.

Edited by stumpy
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My first thought was that an "open-ended space explorer" should be really easy to program.

 

You start off in the middle of space. It's black. You travel in a certain direction for several billion years. It's still black.

 

Simplest game engine ever.

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I don't know about this game, but the free sim Space Engine is supposed to be scientifically accurate with the star evolution and gravity from asteroids to entire galaxy complexes. It's rumored to have insane math involved, for what you basically described... a lot of dots in a black field.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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  • 1 year later...

Coo, excited! Not least because Paul Weir is handling the audio, complete with proceduraly generated vocal tracts. God and I'd love to try it on one of those new fangled 3D headset thingamybobs.

 

I've read about that. I'm happy he's helping with such an ambitious project, even if I have my doubts about how successful the game will be in its goals.

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I've been waiting for this since it was first announced.

I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Those of you who have played this for more than a few hours, and the new game smell has faded, would you say this is worth the money? I've heard that after a couple of planets this gets a little repetitive, and that the procedurally created universe actually isn't all that unique. What are your thoughts on this? Been considering buying it after watching jacksepticeye and Markiplier play the game. It's on my wishlist but I've been hesitant to spend that much money. What do you guys think?

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I'm surprised to hear anyone is leaning towards a purchase after watching gameplay footage. From what I've seen it's a sandbox but roped off like an art exhibit.

 

There's nothing of substance to explore. Just glorified white noise. It looks as if you could land anywhere on a planet, look around for a minute or so and know what all umpteen quadrillion square feet look like. The sky is green and the dirt is purple. That's nice. Where are the natural landmarks? I don't see any rivers, waterfalls, canyons, towering mountains, or volcanoes. The planets don't even appear to have poles or rings.

 

I don't know that you have enough agency in the game to formulate your own goals. That might explain why so many people are min-maxing their equipment and jumping from planet to planet as quickly as possible. There's nothing else to do. It's not worth $60. Not even close.

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I'd be all over a game very similar to, but not quite this.

 

The pieces I'd want added would be things (a future version of) Voxel Farm could add: biomes, more varied procedural alien architecture & wildlife, voxel based building so I could build my own city & defend it, some simple economy gameplay so I could trade & build an empire, something like Space Engineers machine building, then moddability so people could do things like they did with Minecraft. That would be my ubergame. This looks nice, but isn't quite there.

 

I would consider getting it down the road on sale since I dig casual exploration sometimes. For casually exploring planets in the meantime, I'm still ok with cruising Space Engine listening to ambient and postrock.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I'm surprised to hear anyone is leaning towards a purchase after watching gameplay footage. From what I've seen it's a sandbox but roped off like an art exhibit.

 

There's nothing of substance to explore. Just glorified white noise. It looks as if you could land anywhere on a planet, look around for a minute or so and know what all umpteen quadrillion square feet look like. The sky is green and the dirt is purple. That's nice. Where are the natural landmarks? I don't see any rivers, waterfalls, canyons, towering mountains, or volcanoes. The planets don't even appear to have poles or rings.

 

I don't know that you have enough agency in the game to formulate your own goals. That might explain why so many people are min-maxing their equipment and jumping from planet to planet as quickly as possible. There's nothing else to do. It's not worth $60. Not even close.

 

Absolutely. To me, procedual generation is great as embellishment on a game which is already interesting. If there is no human touch, things get boring real fast.

 

I've played a lot of Minecraft, but just travelling the world gets boring quite fast. A game needs much more than that.

 

As an example, The Dark Mod with procedual maps I would maybe play a couple of times. I crave story and hand crafted atmosphere. Minecraft works without those, because it's got player interaction, and you get the build things lego style. In No Man's Sky you're more of a consumer. You just go around, point and scan/mine.

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So you are saying they made too small pool of puzzle pieces? I wonder how it could be made if they let go graphics elements and make it even a 2D game, like Voyage of the B.S.M. Pandora ( https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2678/voyage-bsm-pandora ). I remember how simple yet effective it was for building tension and showing inaccessibility of environment when planet had really great mass, so your landing vessel can take much less stuff -only one crew member in power armour, yet resources are consumed so fast you can make only small circle around landing hex. Is there even atmosphere density in this game, like on surface of methane sea / earth / bottom of Mariana trench? There are so many variables to play with, escape velocity, sandstorms, sudden night/day temperature change, tides... But I guess it is how real space science works: it will be boring, repetitive, and automatise inputs from sites like this won't give this feeling of wonder everybody expect.

http://www.orionsarm.com/page/310

https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/my-solar-system/my-solar-system_en.html

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/165465428/Planetarium%20v0.1%20Low%20res/Planetarium%20v0.1%20Low%20res.html

http://universesandbox.com/

http://en.spaceengine.org/

Or it could be done like long term prognosis: your hyperjump will likely destabilize gravitational equilibrium so i.e. after 10 days two moons will collide and rain of debris will fall on northern west quarter of globe. Or weather simulation, even simplified and flowed, could be interesting when outputs are extreme. I guess people complain because they expecting discovering of the unknown, like in Alien -and it is just tourism on earth II, earth III, earth IV...

Edited by ERH+

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So you are saying they made too small pool of puzzle pieces?

 

For me personally that is not the issue. Exploring procedually generated landscapes gets boring after a while if you have no good reason to do so. (survival in this game is super easy, so you really just need to explore for explorations sake, or to grind for better equipment)

 

I've finished Terraria (well, as much as you can, killing the main boss etc) a couple of times, and it's not a perfect game, but it gets some things right for a procedually generated game. First of all, the amount of human crafted content is still immense. The creatures are interesting and funny, because they are hand crafted. You can't really procedually generate humour, because humour is so dependant on human context, so that's another thing missing from NMS. The same applies to the weapons and items you find. It is not interesting to me to find a procedually generated weapon where you go "Okay, so let's compare the exact stats". As someone mentioned already, min-maxing. It's much more interesting to find a weapon that was actually thought out by someone, because a specific weapon might only be good for certain contexts, also carefully planned and balanced by the creators.

 

Terraria also has pretty clearly delineated stages that you are in, with various boss fights in between etc. It manages to keep things interesting, and you get to build your base, as well. (which I personally don't think is quite as fun as in Minecraft, but nonetheless).

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Absolutely. To me, procedual generation is great as embellishment on a game which is already interesting. If there is no human touch, things get boring real fast.

 

I've played a lot of Minecraft, but just travelling the world gets boring quite fast. A game needs much more than that.

 

As an example, The Dark Mod with procedual maps I would maybe play a couple of times. I crave story and hand crafted atmosphere. Minecraft works without those, because it's got player interaction, and you get the build things lego style. In No Man's Sky you're more of a consumer. You just go around, point and scan/mine.

 

When I first heard about NMS this was my first thought as well. Can you really use on-the-fly procedural generation to create a galaxy of worlds that are varied enough to keep things interesting for a pure exploration game? I doubt that this is possible with today's consumer hardware. The fact that you have next to no agency in this game doesn't help. There's some sort of fallacy here about abundance somehow compensating for mediocre content.

 

I am by no means one of those people that believe there is some magical "human touch" which computers will never be able to simulate, but I just don't think we are there yet. There are very few "open world" or "sandbox" games that I like, and the ones that I do like often involve a multiplayer scenario where humans have agency within the confines of the sandbox.

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To me the key to a sandbox game is minecraft style building (here that means voxels) and some form of empire building. It's fun when you can make the space really yours, and you're invested in it & taking care of it.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Yeah. SE's voxel building isn't as good as Voxel Farm's, but I like its machine building part. KSP's also. The BuildCraft and IndustryCraft mods on MineCraft are also fun for me.

 

VoxelFarm has also made a system for procedural animals & alien architecture that looks good. I feel like there's an ur-sandbox game concept, and all these games approach it somewhat, but we still don't have the perfect manifestation yet.

 

BTW, I mentioned SE above actually.

I'd be all over a game very similar to, but not quite this.

 

The pieces I'd want added would be things (a future version of) Voxel Farm could add: biomes, more varied procedural alien architecture & wildlife, voxel based building so I could build my own city & defend it, some simple economy gameplay so I could trade & build an empire, something like Space Engineers machine building, then moddability so people could do things like they did with Minecraft. That would be my ubergame. This looks nice, but isn't quite there.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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