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

c00ky

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I think most of the time I will be exploring, I am intrigued on how you can have uniqueness across each planet, just from this procvedural stuff. Also would like to see how the animals change across planets - will all planets be habitable?
 

NVranya

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I read or saw that 90% will be "dead" planets.
 

zoob

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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
:clap::clap::clap:
 

Sportsvee

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Could be a go.
I am looking forward to this one.
 

Slaine

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I was gutted about the releasedate though. 8 months away!!! I bet its the end of June and not the beginning too.
 

mick

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I was gutted about the releasedate though. 8 months away!!! I bet its the end of June and not the beginning too.
That was my thoughts too, oh well birthday in June :)
 

Solo-nite

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This game does look awesome I wonder if they will have some quest system though as well as the free roam as you may find the galaxy too big lol
 

Martok

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No Man’s Sky release date confirmed: 22nd June 2016
Pre-orders for retail, limited and digital editions open today

Hi everyone. First off, the big news: we’re very excited to announce that No Man’s Sky launches in Europe on 22nd June 2016 (24th June in the UK). Players will be able to start exploring Hello Games‘ procedurally generated universe and claiming their discoveries from then on.

The second piece of news is that there WILL be a Blu-ray version of No Man’s Sky hitting shops near you. We know some people have guessed at this already, but we’re pleased to be able to officially confirm it.



In the background, Sean Murray has been working with Dave Gibbons (co-creator of Watchmen and Kingsman), James Swallow (Mass Effect, Star Wars, Deus Ex writer) and famous sci-fi book cover artist Angus McKie to create a comic book sharing some of the lore of the game. We all thought it would be cool to include this along with a gorgeous art book from the game, a SteelBook with unique artwork of the Atlas, and a dynamic theme by Mr Div (well-known 3D visual artist and creator of the No Man’s Sky logo) in the Limited Edition we’re also releasing.



Finally, we’re also opening up pre-orders today on both the physical editions and on the digital version. Please check with your local retailer for details on their exclusive pre-order offers.

We hope you’re looking forward to exploring No Man’s Sky as much as we are! Find out more here.



Source: No Man’s Sky release date confirmed: 22nd June 2016
 

Martok

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How No Man’s Sky fills its universe with lore, language and intelligent life
Sean Murray talks us through the ambitious NPC system of the PS4 space saga

With a near infinite universe to explore, upcoming PS4 sci-fi epic No Man’s Sky is promising adventure without compare. However, think of any great space saga, and it’s at least partially defined by its cast of characters. With an intergalactic sandbox made up of 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets, how on Earth is developer Hello Games planning to fill all those worlds with consistent story, dialogue, lore and language?

Well, as has generally proven the case when it comes to all things No Man’s Sky, it turns out the answer is pretty remarkable. Last week, I stopped by Hello’s compact Guildford HQ to find out more.

“We’ve always talked about having factions in the game. It’s something we’ve always wanted. We had ideas on how we wanted that to fit in No Man’s Sky, but it’s taken us a while to get to the point where we’re happy enough to show it,” creator Sean Murray tells me, before launching into a demo.

In short, here’s how it works. As you travel around the universe you’ll encounter individuals from several distinct races. As with everything else in the game, how they look and what they say is procedurally generated based on a set of variables defined by the Hello Games team.



You’ll be able to trade with them, gain upgrades, learn more about the game’s lore, forge alliances and so forth.

Sound straightforward? Well, not so fast.

“The razor we use to cut features – to decide whether to implement them or not – is ‘does this thing encourage players to go out and explore the universe more?’,” explains Sean.

“With NPCs in No Man’s Sky, you actually have to learn their language; they speak to you in their native tongue.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Hello Games has devised a number of distinct alien languages which, at the game’s outset, you will not be able to understand. However, as you explore the universe, discover relics and talk to new NPCs, you’ll slowly start picking up their dialects.

Sean goes onto explain that there is real value in developing relationships with these characters. If you make the effort to learn the language of a particular race and interact with them regularly, your standing with them will increase. If you’re tight with a particular race, they’ll duly give you preferential treatment – cheaper prices perhaps, or better equipment. Indeed, if you want to buy a better ship that might allow you to travel to more distant star systems, you’ll need to cosy up with these factions.



“Blundering into conversations without knowing the language can have negative consequences.”

Conversely, just as it would in real life, saying the wrong thing in a dialogue tree will likely result in your standing to decrease, or in the trader ripping you off, or in you losing a useful item simply out of confusion. Worse still, it might even end up in your new-found attacking you.

As has been hinted at in previous trailers, there are a number of ways to play No Man’s Sky. You can focus on exploration, on fighting, survival or on trading, and the NPC system feeds directly into this overarching framework.

“The nice thing about it is that the NPCs are divided up into different races. So one race is perhaps more focussed on exploration and science, and knowing that helps you decide how to best interact with them,” says Sean.

“If you’re playing the game for exploration’s sake, you might want to focus on that race. But if you’re playing the game and all you want to do is kill things, there are more military-based races, so you might want to try and become friends with them.”



As aforementioned, there are a number of races in the game, and each speaks their own unique language. So, how long is it going to take the average player to wrap their tongues around a foreign dialect to the point of fluency?

“It depends how much you’re seeking it out. Even if it’s all you do, you’re definitely talking hours and hours of play to learn a language. But I think most players will never become fluent, unless it’s specifically something they’re seeking out.

“And there’s an element of fun to that! I like some of the silliness that ensues.

“Say you were to go into a farming building, and there are some instructions on the wall written in an alien language telling you how to run the machinery. You could make sure you have the necessary language skills to make sense of it, or you could just run up to the console and randomly press buttons. Take the latter approach and the sign could read, ‘DEFINITELY DO NOT PRESS THE RED BUTTON”, and you wouldn’t know it. That’s fun to me!”

It’s probably important to stress that the interactions you have with these NPCs are reasonably light. No Man’s Sky is not a narrative-driven RPG with a script to follow – it’s procedural, and enormous on a scale that is impossible to properly comprehend. Don’t expect contained quest lines à la, say, Mass Effect.



“You’re not sat there talking about philosophy, or discussing the weather for hours on end,” stresses Sean. “You are doing things like trading, or asking for technology, or sharing crafting recipes.

“We’re not trying to fill the entire universe with dialogue trees and long-running dramas. That’s not what it’s about.”

“Having said that, being No Man’s Sky, there is a procedural element to your interactions. The AI you talk to will know the name of the planet you’re on and will reference it. They’ll reference wanting certain things based on the environment they’re in. They’ll know if it’s cold, or hot, or whatever. You’ll see a reasonable amount of variety – it’s not just pre-baked dialogue.”

Before all of you who failed French class at school start getting a little nervous, No Man’s Sky is not expecting you to learn complex grammar, syntax, verb forms, pronunciation and so forth. To take a simplistic view of it, the languages are more like codes to decipher – generally speaking, you’re simply replacing a word for a word. That was a deliberate decision, made in order to foster a sense of collaboration and coordination amongst the game’s community of players. If you figure out what a particular word means, you can paste it up online and share the knowledge.

“Some of the languages – well, one in particular – is much harder to learn than the others,” Sean adds. “I think it will probably only be possible for people to decipher some of the dialogue by working together online.



“We’re not trying to build something that people will go out and try to speak in the real world, like how I learned Klingon when I was a kid because I thought it would be a great ice-breaker. Turned out not to be the case!

“I don’t expect to find people meeting at conventions and speaking one of our languages. That would be awful; please don’t do that!

“It’s more about creating a really interesting reason for people to explore the game and get some really emergent results.”

So, there you have it. Brush up on your social skills and learn some manners – they’ll likely be just as important as a quick trigger finger come June.

Source: How No Man’s Sky fills its universe with lore, language and intelligent life
 

Martok

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Strange, slow and spectacular, No Man's Sky is proper sci-fi
Reach for the stars: The first hands-on with Hello Games' epic.


Well over two years after No Man's Sky was unveiled, Hello Games' Sean Murray is still fielding the same question that's been circling this game from the very start. And each and every time he's answered it patiently, diligently and, somewhat commendably, without displaying any frustration at having to repeat himself all over again. So, with No Man's Sky finally available in playable form during a press event, let's run through this one more time. Just for old time's sake. What is it you actually do in this game?

Quite a lot, as it turns out.

We're assembled on the top floor of Millbank Tower on a rare clear London night ahead of our first proper chance to go hands-on with the game, the stars in the sky beyond the windows twinkling on cue as Murray runs through the systems that underpin the inconceivably vast universe that he and his team - with the help of some clever maths - have created out of a small studio in Guildford. There are a fair few of them, it soon transpires: this may well be more game than you were expecting.




No Man's Sky actively encourages exploration - while the galaxy is charted by an epic map, on each planet surface there's no mini-map, a more than welcome excision.

No Man's Sky is, in the most basic possible terms, a survival role-playing game, in which your ultimate aim is to reach the centre of the universe. You start off on the outer edges, short of the means that will get you to your goal, so you go about gathering what's required to help push you further into the stars.

Planetside, you can gather materials by plucking away at the flora or mining down into rocky surfaces using your weapon. There are sentinels that keep you in check, should you get too reckless or start taking things that aren't yours - No Man's Sky is governed that way by a familiar five-star 'wanted' system that sees attention escalate the more you take - yet it's still possible to greedily carve out entire caves before setting off with armfuls of precious resources.

You'll need these to craft better items, which you'll need, in turn, to survive the hostile environments on some planets, and to discover new ones. Perhaps you chance across a blueprint in a downed ship which, with the right materials, helps you build a better gun; or maybe you're just looking to upgrade your suit so you can see through the sub-Arctic conditions of a planet that's at the outer limits of its star system.



The hands-on demos took place on debug PS4s, and fell a little short of the smoother experience seen in other demos that would seem to be running from PC. There's still time, of course, for optimisation.

Maybe you want a better ship with a little more range, or more fuel to help you get that little bit further. Best venture over to one of the many trading posts, and see if you can barter with one of the civilised alien races that populate the universe - though, first, you're going to have to learn to speak their language, your understanding enhanced by interacting with monoliths that are scattered across planets.

There are races and factions, traders and pirates and organisations with which allegiances can be formed. Find yourself in the depths of space riding alongside a flotilla of freighter ships when a pirate attacks, and you'll find that convoy comes to your aid - or, alternatively, you could open fire yourself on the cargo holds that bulge out until they explode, gathering up some of that loot for yourself. An ally lost, a hold full of carbon gained; it's a vast space that No Man's Sky offers, but it's underpinned by a framework that's sturdy, perhaps even familiar.

This is a universe with its own lore, and a deeper sense of purpose for the player that's slowly revealed through exploration. It's perhaps the biggest revelation of this latest round of media previews (perhaps the last before No Man's Sky's release in June) that this universe of some 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets is bound together by a fiction and governed by a narrative logic. It seems like a smart way to impose some of the structure that so many players crave.

So, what do you do in No Man's Sky? In theory you play a fairly robust, expansive role-playing game with near limitless horizons. In theory, anyway. In practice, it's a much different game - in my hands, anyway. In my 30 minutes with the game, taking place in a partitioned star system and under the supervision of Hello Games' artist Grant Duncan (who's helped design and bring to life the spectacular aesthetic), it's a slow, plodding game of exploration - perhaps the very game that some feared it would be.


We start on the frosted planet of Balari V, whose surface boasts temperatures of some -160 °C. That's on its sunny side, too - you can get in your ship and chase the sunset, should you desire, or simply jet around to see the planet surface under cover of nightfall. You could find a waypoint that'll let you know local points of interest - trading posts, landing pads where you can summon your ship or bountiful pools of resources. They're all options - as is the one of taking a leisurely stroll.

Take in all the flat tundra, get lost in the chilly storm and stumble across a ponderous tusked beast, slowly walking with winged forearms and impossibly skinny hind legs. Look up to the heavens and see the vapour trail of ships passing by, traders on their routes from planet to planet. You could, if you want, jump in your ship and follow them - take them down for the bounty they hold, or maybe see where they land and try to get the goods first. Or, you could just walk.

The breadth of No Man's Sky probably deserves more than to be played like a high-concept Proteus, but the beauty of it makes me struggle to approach it in anything other than a pacifist mindset. I'm even reluctant to mine those vivid landscapes, and the only time I raise my pistol is later, once we've escaped Balari V's atmosphere and landed on the more verdant Yavil, where I'm attacked by what looks to me in the heat of the moment like a dick-billed platypus. Do I ever pull the trigger - and even then it's only a warning shot.


In all that pink and purple space between the planets it's hard not to wander peacefully between clusters of asteroids. At one point a pirate ship attacks, but we're too busy admiring the detailing on a great white whale of a freighter to fight back, our death sending us to a space station where once again it's hard not to slow the pace and just take it all in. There are surprising little incidentals - chairs that can be spun in one of its rooms, or the lamp that can be switched on and off, much to the annoyance of the alien trader who watches on in bafflement at our dumb wonder at it all.

The time is over too soon - my own fault, admittedly, for being so leisurely about it - yet it's enough to leave a lasting impression. There's a magic to No Man's Sky, one reminiscent of other mystical space-faring adventures such as Star Raiders or Noctis: the kinds of games you'd glimpse in a few stolen hours around a friend's house and then dream about for months afterwards. It's a slow game, and if you're playing aggressively it seems that it can be a clunky and frustrating one at times. This isn't going to be for everyone - the systems, as abundant as they may be, may well run dry for most players after a mere handful of hours, and many more may find that space is too empty, too meaningless, despite Hello Games' best efforts to fill it with some sense of purpose.

What's left at that point? Nothing but the beauty of it all, and the fantasy of getting in your ship and heading to the skies, pointing it somewhere, anywhere, you care to go. No Man's Sky probably isn't going to satisfy all those drawn in by its spectacular premise, and in that intoxicating reveal; it's too weird, too different, to ever really do so. What it does, though, is deliver on the initial promise of that initial trailer. It's a proper sci-fi game - at times strange, lonely and cold, yet full of heart-lifting spectacle. And that, for me, is more than enough.

Source: Strange, slow and spectacular, No Man's Sky is proper sci-fi
 

HaloJ

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Sounds awesome! Love the language feature reminds me of Captain Blood on the ZX Spectrum!

Abs
 

zoob

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All very encouraging. Sounds like everything is present from the get-go, which makes a pleasant change. :)
 

Sportsvee

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Fine print reads:
Only one planet will be available at launch, with an additional planet released every 3 months to those who get the season pass. Upon all planets being released, ship upgrades will then be rolled out.

Season pass not transferable to future generations.

Cynical, me? Never
 

yinkin

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Must admit this is sounding much more promising now and maybe actually worth a full price release.
 

IamNumber6

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I want the PC limited edition - Iam8bit

 
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