PS4 Exploring the 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets of No Man's Sky

Martok

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Hello Games’ Sean Murray goes into more detail on the scope of his sci-fi epic

Hello PlayStation Blog! I’m Sean Murray, and I work at a little indie studio in the UK, making a game called No Man’s Sky. I’m writing this on a plane back from Gamescom, where we showed some press the game behind closed doors.

We’ve only done three days where we’ve talked to press about the game so far (two at E3 and one at the VGX show last year), but for an indie game we’ve had lots of interest and excitement. Something I’m still struggling to get my head around. So much so that I didn’t actually want to go to Gamescom! We’ve never actually shown any European press the game though, and we felt bad about that.

Sony provided a room and I gave 100 members of the press a demo of the game for an hour, together with a really rambling presentation… where I apparently never looked up at the crowd once


I can’t really remember what I said, but I guess I wanted to share some stories from development, and I thought maybe you’d find them interesting too.

We tell people No Man’s Sky is a science-fiction game, set in an infinite procedural universe. When I read sci-fi growing up, though, the thing I always wanted to experience was the feeling of touching down on a planet that no one had ever been to. To walk over the crest of an alien landscape and not know what I might find.

My favourite moment so far from making No Man’s Sky happened a few months back. David was adding four-legged creatures to the game (he insists on calling them ungulates), Hazel was adding a weather system, and Ryan was adding collision to all the trees (which is really hard when you have a whole forest full of them). I hadn’t seen any of this, and I was flying around the universe, trying to take some screenshots. I neared the surface of a planet and suddenly it started to rain. As I was touching down I scared some deer who broke through the woods, dodging in and out of trees. Now this was jaw-dropping to me, because I’ve never seen any of these systems before, but also it felt like this was a real place I’d discovered. No one had been there before, and I didn’t know whether to shout excitedly, or just keep it to myself.


In a nutshell, moments like that are No Man’s Sky for me. Sure, there is trading, combat, weapons, ships and a core game, but really for me the quiet moments of discovery are what it’s all about.

The cool thing is that every planet has a single number, a random seed, that defines everything about that planet. A single random seed generates every blade of grass, tree, flower, creature. So as the developer I can note down the planet seed, and then just go back there any time I want. We demoed this at Gamescom, just jumping round the universe to different planets. There are no load times, because nothing needs to load, as the planets are entirely computer-generated.

Really this seed defines how many planets you can discover before things start to go a bit crazy and undefined. For us we choose a big number. We’re working to a 64-bit system, which is 2 to the power of 64… or 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 possible planets. Even if a planet is discovered every second, it’ll take 585 billion years to find them all!


Being a coder, I really enjoy the tech side of things, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is how interesting, varied and exciting we can make this universe of ours. That’s what developing No Man’s Sky really is. It’s about filling the universe.

The procedural technology does lots of that for us, but we have to provide it with the sparks, like the patterns of spaceship design that we think look great, and different types of creature and the way they vary. We have to build the systems, the rules. We’ve shown so far creatures that you’ll be familiar with, but we’re thinking now about creatures that look far more alien, and they’re slowly changing the way even we’re perceiving the universe. It’s getting weirder, maybe not so friendly, and surprising us at every turn.

It’s been a joy to see the game boot every day as No Man’s Sky becomes richer and more varied and we see more surprising things, but it’s also sort of frustrating, because it’s so hard to share our excitement at what we’ve been creating. It has never felt right to just go off and show off lots of a game that’s about discovery. It’s like that should be up to you when you finally get to play. I can’t wait for that, and it just makes me want to finish the game as soon as we can.

And my plane has just landed! Thanks again for everything, and we’ll talk again soon.

Source: EU PlayStation Blog
 

IamNumber6

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Can you say Colonial Viper?



I thought the ship in the first picture looked familiar :think:
 

Slaine

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What amazed me is that everyone is online in one big Universe at the same time. Theoretically you could meet up, but highly unlikely due to the huge distances required. In fact he went on to add that even if you were on the same planet it would be tough to find your friend. But not impossible he added.
I was always worried that it was going to be a race to discover new planets, species, resources, etc before the masses, and that you're left to pick up the scraps. Certainly doesn't sound the case !!!!:lol:
 

Slaine

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Bit of bad news. They've never gave a release window, and have stated simply it'll be released when its done. I saw on some window its pencilled in for a 2015 release. It might be misinformation, but I thought I'd let you all know, as I too was hoping it'll come out this year
 

zoob

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I wonder if you can select a seed?
Ie several players can start simultaneously on the same planet?
 

NVranya

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I doubt it, since he said:

Sean Murray said:
So as the developer I can note down the planet seed, and then just go back there any time I want.
 

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Looking forward to this, happy for a 2015 release (or later) if it's done right.

To boldly go where no man has gone before - these are the voyages of Starship Captain Skarpar!!!
 

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I will still time to play BF4 to death, Destiny to death and Metal Gear Solid full version once before tghis comes out! Sweet!
 

Martok

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Interview: Why you’ll want to explore the vast galaxy of No Man’s Sky on PS4
More details on Hello Games’ incredible PS4 sci-fi epic

en Sean Murray, Managing Director of Hello Games, stepped onto the PlayStation stage at E3 2014, No Man’s Sky rocketed from ambitious indie curiosity to the most talked about game of the year within minutes. Fast forward to gamescom a few months later, and while No Man’s Sky has a more low-key presence, the enigmatic sci-fi exploration game is still one of the hottest properties in gaming.

The promise of No Man’s Sky’s procedurally generated galaxy and its feeling of boldly going where no man has gone before has enchanted gamers. Did they have any idea it would blow up like this? “Not at all!” says Sean. “It’s great that people are so interested, but all I can allow myself to think about at the moment is the game. Right now, all anyone has to go on is potential. We want to realise that potential, but what that comes down to is us tapping away at our keyboards like we always have done.”

Sean recently revealed on PlayStation Blog that to see every planet in No Man’s Sky for just one second would take 585 billion years; but the question that still remains on every would-be explorer’s lips is “why?” – what will make us want to venture into the vastness of space?



“There’s really two answers to that,” Sean explains. “The short answer is ‘you make your own story’. I think it’s nice to play something that frees you from missions and quests. “But there’s a longer answer. There are core concepts that will drive the player on: you’ll start on the edge of space, on a totally unique planet and you’ll make your way towards the centre of the galaxy – there’s a reason to do that, but we’re not ready to talk about it yet. As you get further in to the galaxy, things will get more dangerous… but also more interesting and rewarding.”

Even the most intrepid explorers will have humble beginnings: “You’ll have a basic ship that you’ll need to upgrade if you want to get further than the solar system you’re in,” Sean says. “For example, interstellar travel needs a hyperdrive, so you’ll have to earn money to buy one. Or you can upgrade your weapons or your suit so you can explore in different atmospheres or go underwater.”

How you earn money is entirely up to you. As Sean tells me, there’s going to be no hand-holding: “We’re not going to give you missions. No-one is going to come to you and say ‘I’ve lost five chickens, they’re scattered around this planet somewhere’. We want you to get out and learn about the galaxy to work it out for yourself. There are different roles you could play; you could be an explorer, a trader, a pirate looking for trade routes to plunder – or you could protect other ships from pirates.”



Despite the incredible amount of planets available to visit, there will be a reason to explore each of them. “Something we haven’t shown yet is a mini-map at the bottom of the screen that will have waypoints marked on it for every planet you visit. They’ll show things of interest, which might be resources, or a ship that’s crashed, or some sort of beacon. It could be something to discover like a new species of creature, a mountain range or a vast lake. But you’ll have to go and find out what they are; we’re not going to tell you what’s out there. And that’s a great way to earn money to buy the upgrades for your ship or suit – and in turn that’ll help you explore even more.”

As well as earning money from exploration, Sean says another reward will be putting your mark on the galaxy as the first person to discover planets: “If you’re the very first person to play the game, you’ll open up your galactic map and you can zoom in on every planet or solar system – and every single one will say ‘unexplored’. And they’ll say that until someone discovers them and uploads that information for everyone else to see.”

With so much space to discover, Sean explains that while every player will inhabit the same galaxy, crossing paths will be rare. “I don’t want people to think that it’s an MMO. You’ll see traces of other players and what they’ve discovered, so you won’t feel alone, but if you and I were playing and I said ‘come and meet me on my planet’, I might be days or weeks away from you. Even if we were on the same planet and wanted to meet up… it’s like being at random points on Earth and trying to find each other.”



So as players make their way closer into the centre of the galaxy, will they encounter other players more often – with bigger ships and better guns, all waiting to blast them to space dust? Perhaps, Sean explains: “If other players aren’t doing that, then there are NPCs who will. But even at the centre of the galaxy, everything is still massively spread out. We want to make something that’s vast – we want it to be like the Wild West, where you never know what’s over the horizon.”

Do Sean and the team still find surprises in the game? “Absolutely. The more work we put into it, the more that happens. We each have a different universe running on our computers that we’re constantly changing. Every Friday, we have a review where we all sit down and play from the ‘master’ copy of the game, so we always see something happen that we never expected and had no idea would happen, and it’s a lovely feeling.”

Looking forward to boldly going where no man has gone before? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to PlayStation Blog for more news and updates on No Man’s Sky.


Source: EU PlayStation Blog
 

NVranya

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Now I'm even more looking forward to this!
A complete freeroam universe and no silly quests? Yes please! :1thumbup:
 

Slaine

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Sounds like its got Minecraft gameplay. Which is no bad thing. It threw me when I first played Minecraft. No missions or quests. No end game. But ive spent weeks in gameplay time in Minecraft.

I have to say I'm actually looking forward to this one more than Destiny or anything else
 

P-Newson666

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I quite like the look of this.
 

Skarpar

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The more I hear the more interested I am, quiestion is: What sort of role do you feel you will go - Pirate, Trader, Explorer or just a Jack of all Trades?
 

NVranya

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I feel I'm more the exploring type, but it depends... If pirating is fun, who knows?
 

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Elite exploration and Spore's procedural creatures? Wow! Braben aimed for this with Frontier but the technology wasn't capable. Even Dangerous may pale when held against No Man's Sky and I bet Will Wright is kicking himself as Spore had the vision but felt unfinished.

Very much a title on my radar, looks like an awesome breath of fresh air.

Abs
 

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This post made my resolution for not buying a PS4 disappear. I am now sure that I have to buy it along with No Man´s Sky. I guess watching Netflix will no longer be the only thing my PlayStation will be good for anymore.


Thanks for bringing me back.
 
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