Developer Hello Games has made it clear from the start that the upcoming sci-fi game No Man’s Sky is going to be gigantic. Although the game is meant to be more about the journey than the destination, many completionist gamers out there are likely still going to be tempted to visit every exotic planet and distant star formation that the game has to offer. Although that sounds like a fun challenge, it turns out that unless you happen to be immortal, it’s pretty impossible to pull off.
The limited-time PS4 exclusive space exploration game (which will later arrive on PCs) uses procedurally generated worlds to create one of the largest video game environments that we’ve ever seen. The developers can’t really begin to explain exactly how many worlds exist within No Man’s Sky’s massive universe, but they did offer IGN an estimate as to how long it would take to visit every world in the game.
Hello Games co-founder, Sean Murray, explained that the development team started out using 32-bit numbers to generate the planets in the universe. Using the 32-bit formula, it would take somewhere between four and five thousand years to visit every planet in the game for just a one second stop on each. That sounds pretty massive to us, but the team wanted to go bigger.
By stepping the scale up to 64-bit numbers, the number of planets is increased roughly to 2 to the power of 64. That exponentially increases the scale of things and means that it would take roughly five billion years to visit each planet for one second. That may not be the traditional definition of infinite (as promised in the trailer), but it is likely closer than any other open-world came has come in the past.
As IGN pointed out, the Earth’s sun is due to burn out in 4.6 billion years, so even if you happen to be immortal, there doesn’t seem to be enough time left on our planet to reach every destination this game has to offer. Sorry, completionists, but we’re sure there will be other trophies to unlock.
The reveal of No Man’s Sky at VGX was one of the surprise showstoppers and the game’s follow-up trailer at E3 2014 was one of the most exciting assets we saw during the event. Although we don’t have a release date yet, Murray teased that the team will have “something big to share soon,” so hopefully a release date or more gameplay footage is on the way. Would it be too optimistic to hope for an early access alpha?
Do you think the massive size of No Man’s Sky is a big selling point or do you think it might be overkill? Let us know in the comments.
No Man’s Sky is coming to PC and PS4, but no release dates have been set.
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