Mark your diaries.
Well, if this rumour turns out to be true, No Man’s Sky is about to become perhaps the greatest game ever.
No Man’s Sky is an exciting prospect, the ability to take off from one planet, fly through space and then land on another is something that gamers have dreamed of since they first blasted polygon lines in Asteroids. But if you want to explore all the planets then you’re going to need around 500 billion years!
How is that even possible I hear you cry!? well I don’t know the technical ins and outs but it’s something to do with the 67-bit seed that’s used to generate the planets. You may have heard of seeds before when playing Minecraft. A seed is a number that can generate other numbers apparently. So a 64-bit seed can handle numbers that are 64-bits long whatever that means. It’s all complex maths and algorithms.
So putting this in perspective, No Man’s Sky has potentially 18 quintillion planets. That’s 18 with 30 zeroes behind it written 18^30. It’s a number us mere mortals can’t comprehend.
So, when people are saying that it would take over 500 billion years to see all the planets, that’s 42 times the age of the universe which is only a tiny 13.8 billion years old. No amount of wrangling with your boss for an extended holiday will allow you to see all the game has to offer.
Speaking with Kotaku, Sean Murray at Hello Games confirmed these figures, but worries that everyone will be focused on the tech side of things rather than what an awesome game they’re making
I just worry that some folks will be too focused on the tech side of things with No Man’s Sky,and I don’t want to make a tech demo, we’re making a GAME. [One] I hope that will be really interesting and entertaining, even if we just have like 10 planets. Like just one solar system is something I can quite happily play around in for days right now.
This certainly is a technical masterpiece whether the game is any good or not. I just hope that this 64-bit seed can also generate variety. As with Minecraft which could technically generate a playground 7 times bigger than No Man’s Sky there isn’t much in the way of variety, all the worlds look the same, they may have different forms and structures but the basics stay the same throughout.
So this begs the question. Could No Man’s Sky bit too big and ambitious? I mean is there any point to game where you will never get to see every planet or world that game has to offer. Whatever the size and vastness of the game, we think No Man’s Sky is one of most important game to be released in the last decade
Thoughts below please
No Man’s Sky is set to break all the rules and could be the most important game release of the last decade.
It was when I was playing Disney Universe with my 5 year old that it finally hit me. My son was going through the usual routine -“I want to play as Jack Sparrow”, “I want to play as Sully”, “I want to hit those bad guys” – when suddenly he asked something he had never asked before – “I want to get onto that Giraffe”. I furrowed by brow and looked around. A giraffe? What giraffe? I scoured the screen looking for what my son was referring too and for the life of me, I couldn’t see a damn giraffe. It wasn’t until my son walked up to the TV and pointed at what he was looking at that I finally saw it. Off in the background, far beyond the limits of where the game allows you to go, was a giraffe. It was plain as day. A giraffe.
This led to an awkward conversation with my 5 year old about why he couldn’t go to the giraffe, that it was not part of the game but was a part of the the background, something which he couldn’t seem to grasp. “But it is there. I just need to go there” was his response and his child like curiosity and naivety got me thinking.
As gamers, we have come to accept a set of rules that we learn over time. Some doors can’t be opened. Backdrops are just that, no matter how interesting they look. Skyboxes exist. We learn these universal rules, imposed by technological restriction, over time and have come to accept them, obeying the rules without being ordered too.
My son has yet to learn these rules and games are still full of wonderment and mystery because of it. This air of mystery has long since been lost on me – I know the rules and these rules no longer ruin my immersion in a game – but what if these rules didn’t exist? What if instead of explaining to my son that he couldn’t go to the giraffe, I could just say “Yeah, just go there buddy” and he could.
This is exactly what No Man’s Sky is bringing to the table. The leaps in hardware capability and procedural generation means that all of those universal gaming truths we have come to accept over the years about to become obsolete. The rule book is about to get ripped up. Watch the below video from the PSBlog to get a taste of the scope.
Skyboxes? No. You just fly into space. Backdrops? Nope. If you can see it, you can go there. The rules that almost every game employ which have evolved into accepted practices over the last 10 years are not at play in No Man’s Sky. There is an air of complete freedom to explore. If my son sees a giraffe, he can ride that giraffe to his heart’s content. If I see a giraffe, it will be a different giraffe but I can also ride it. The mystery and wonderment is coming back to gaming thanks to No Man’s Sky. It is an exciting prospect with breath taking scope.
Of course, No Man’s Sky will have it’s own set of rules, rules far more relaxed than those of most games but rules none the less, but the joy of playing this game will be learning a whole new set of laws while breaking the existing ones.
The reason why No Man’s Sky is so important is because it could be the start of a new generation of gaming. It could be the spark that the industry needs to bring the freedom, innovation and evolving creativity on a mass scale to the main stream and consoles. Procedural Generation is nothing new to the gaming industry and can be traced back as far as 1984 with the original Elite but No Man’s Sky, along side Elite: Dangerous, Starbound and Star Citizen, could generate enough interest in procedural generation and unlimited freedom of exploration that the gaming rules that exist at the moment could become changed irreparably. Procedural generation could become a staple part of every game genre – not just space exploration. Imagine playing a procedurally generated Call of Duty, where no 2 maps are the same? A Gran Turismo that has a different track for every race? It’s a bright future and one that hinges on the success of a few games – No Man’s Sky being one of them.
My Son is beginning to learn the same gaming laws which have existed in a decade through his own experience but soon he may finally get his wish to ride that giraffe into the sun set thanks to No Man’s Sky.