Hello Games founder Sean Murray reveals exactly how Hello Games was able to build the huge universe of space exploration title No Man’s Sky so quickly.
Even though No Man’s Sky only launched yesterday, already many gamers are utterly captivated by the title. The game promised an incredibly large in-game world to explore, with estimates putting it at 5 billion years of play to ‘complete’ the game. Although the creation of a game world this big may seem like a complex mystery to unravel, it turns out that developer Hello Games has been more than happy to reveal exactly how the universe was built.
An explanation comes courtesy of Sean Murray, founder of Hello Games and developer of No Man’s Sky. Murray discussed the creation of the game’s universe at Inverse, and cut cleanly through some of the complexity surrounding how the game uses procedural generation to build planets. “It’s not a lot of magic, just fairly simple chemistry,” said Murray. “The angle of the sun irradiation and its intensity determine what kind of minerals compose in the ground.”
As it turns out, resources then determine exactly how life grows on each of the (sometimes dangerous) planets. “Naturally different resources influence what kind of flora and fauna grows up in a certain area.” Murray then expanded by comparing this to different natural colors found on Earth. “In England or Germany, the chlorophyll is very dominant, that’s why most of our leaves are green. In other countries, they are more yellow, and the Japanese cherry blossom is reddish.”
When it comes to the bringing to life No Man’s Sky‘s intergalactic Pokedex, however, it seems as though things get a little bit more complex. “The tougher part is the animals,” said Murray. “The engine basically checks certain parameters, asks itself what kind of animal would like the surrounding, and chooses between a variety of types.” This results in combinations of certain animals, with Murray giving examples of creatures with “the body of a lion, but the head of a rhino and the legs of a gazelle.”
To try and improve the animals created, Hello Games also experimented on getting the skeletons of the randomly-generated creatures right. “We’ve invented a system that automatically balances out the weight and adjusts the skeleton,” explained Murray. By doing this, it negated the risk of animals being formed with tiny bodies but huge heads – although Murray did admit that “it would be funny” if such animals existed in the game.
Although Murray’s explanations make No Man’s Sky feel a little less inscrutable than originally thought, the title may still be a daunting prospect for some. As such, new players may want to take the time to learn how to get started with No Man’s Sky to get the most out of the game, or even how to make money fast. Even with these hints and tips, there is still plenty of gameplay left to discover.
No Man’s Sky is out now for PS4, and will be available for PC on August 12.