While the Spike VGX show was, overall, somewhat of a disappointment (from a viewers perspective), there were still some shining moments scattered throughout the 3-hour event. One that certainly caught our eye was the worldwide reveal for No Man’s Sky, the new game from Joe Danger developer Hello Games.
Set in a persistent and ever-changing universe, No Man’s Sky seeks to maximize the power of next-gen consoles not for better graphics or higher polygon count, but to give players something they’ve never experienced before. Hello Games wants to deliver a space exploration game that feels authentic, while still being creative.
The latest No Man’s Sky details come courtesy of Edge Magazine, who has a full write-up on the new game in their latest issue. In the story, Hello Games‘ founder and No Man’s Sky Managing Director Sean Murray shares how the developer is able to create the game’s procedural worlds and universes, and how Hello Games plans to make a splash with their forthcoming title.
As Murray explains, procedural worlds are much more difficult to develop. While one specific element, like caves for example, might look fantastic rendered on one procedural planet, they might look terrible on another. It’s that delicate balance that Murray and his team need to constantly be aware of when developing No Man’s Sky.
“I run the game and I charge about an environment and find some caves and think, ‘They look good!’ Then I fly to another planet and see that they look terrible, and they’ve created some kind of crazy landscape. And then you fly to another and there are no caves, and then [on] another there’s water in the caves, because of where the sea level is on that planet, and you dive down and find that there’s actually some small bacteria-based life there, and it comes as a total surprise.”
As players explore, they will be able to share, or even not share, the worlds they discover with other players, further adding to the No Man’s Sky universe. But while there are a finite number of places for players to explore, Murray says they are mechanisms in place that will keep the universe growing.
“If all of the people on Earth right now had very powerful spaceships and were to visit every corner of every planet in the universe, we would not do very well in our lifetime of mapping that out. The second thing is that the outer edges of the first galaxy will begin to be more explored, but as more and more players come into the game there are mechanisms we’re bringing in that will keep everything in flux, and that ties in with things you can do that are of significance.”
On the topic of sharing or not sharing discoveries, EDGE posed the question of messing with, or griefing, other players in No Man’s Sky. Murray wouldn’t rule out the possibility of player griefing, but he suggests that the game’s systems will encourage cooperation more than anything else.
“We’re trying to create a set of systems that will create emergent behaviour, but we would be silly to think that some of that behaviour isn’t going to be dickishness. And we would be wrong to try to curb or control that. The greatest thing about something like DayZ is that it creates these real stories of human nature. We similarly want to create stories that feel real, and that have an element of human nature. Having said that, I do think dickishness is a problem in DayZ and hurts the experience when it happens. We want cooperation to be rewarded — not by the systems we put in, but because that’s what feels right for the universe.”
No Man’s Sky seems like a very ambitious project, one that could set the tone for future next-gen independent projects. It has a ton of moving pieces, but that’s also part of its appeal. And rest assured, the game is still on track, even though the Hello Games offices were recently hit with a devastating flood.
What about No Man’s Sky has you the most intrigued? Do you see yourself as someone who will share your discoveries?
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