How No Man’s Sky will revolutionise gaming
With Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky fast approaching, we take a look at precisely what it is about this game that makes it such a groundbreaking creation. We highlight the things that No Man’s Sky achieves which haven’t been accomplished within the gaming world before and we lay out for you exactly what to expect from this highly anticipated game.
In one online interview an interviewer legitimately asked Sean Murray (the Hello Games developer who is the public face of this game): “Do you consider yourself a genius? I’m being serious. No one’s ever pulled this off before.” This spawned a modest laugh from Murray, but there is a reason that this question was asked with sincerity. No one has pulled this off before, no game has ever attempted something so grand and vast, and something so close to playing God.
Mind-boggling in size
While the universe within No Man’s Sky is finite and isn’t in fact infinite, it is still so large in scope that it is effectively infinite from a human perspective. It has been claimed that if a player was to set down on each and every planet within No Man’s Sky (of which there are over 18 quintillion) for only 1 second at a time on each planet (which excludes the time it takes to find a landing spot and take off), then it would take said player 5 billion years to land on them all. This is mind-boggling figure that would of course push well past the length of any human lifetime. This means that you will never be able to do everything in the game and this surely also means that you might uncover things within this game that no other human being will ever see, should you happen to choose a different direction of gameplay to all other players.
No game has ever pulled off the creation of an entire universe, to this degree. It’s something so beyond anything seen in games that it feels closer to the real universe that we live within than anything that could be played on a console. This pushes games farther into the realm of a humans playing God and creating their own realities (as does the fast approaching VR) and it also, in our opinion, toys with the intriguing question of whether our own universe is merely a simulation also.
It would be natural to assume that a universe of this size would have to be stored on massive server but it is instead procedurally generated. The developers at Hello Games have created a genius function within the game which generates the content as it is needed.
This means that the game has no loading screens at all, which is something new to gaming. All of us are used to having to wait while a level or a section of a map loads and we all have grown used to this, but No Man’s Sky takes all of that frustration away, again bringing us closer to real life exploration.
The small development team at Hello Games – which consists of only 12 people – could not explore all of their creations within the game within their life times, even if they wanted to, due to the size of this universe. Bugs and glitches within the game will need fixing, however, so they have come up with a groundbreaking solution; they have designed probes within the game that will go out into this universe and find any problems for the developers. The probes then report these issues back or try to eliminate them entirely.
We can’t help put picture the Viper Probe Droid in The Empire Strikes Back, rolling over the hills of some distance planet, searching for anomalies. The autonomy given to these drones is something rarely seen in gaming – they are literally left to their own devices, to go out into the universe and undertake a mission.
All real locations
Any visible location that you see on screen in No Man’s Sky, such as a far off planet or a tall mountain, you can visit. While other games would limit you in this by having an edge to the world, there is nothing shown on screen in No Man’s Sky that you cannot explore. This means anything from a glinting star far off in space, to a small woody path; everything is game for exploration.
The develops are also trying to encourage players to travel to the centre of the universe, where they will find something special. This is another instance of the developers playing God (which we love) and it sounds like they are effectively providing their own answers to the meaning of life, in a way, by placing some form of an answer at the centre of this world. We can’t wait to find it.
Thanks to the masterminds at Hello Games, this August will herald a new step forward in gaming, so mark your calendar and get ready to set your wanderlust free, as you become the first to set foot on new worlds.
No Man’s Sky will be released on PS4 and Microsoft Windows on August 10th 2016.