No Man's Sky

This seems to have fallen out of the news as of late… anyone heard anything new on this game recently?

That’s a good point, they have been staying out of the news lately. They have always been cagey about details, but I think they might finally be realizing too much hype too early can be a bad thing. I really don’t know how they are ever going to live up to expectations, even now.

I genuinely hope it doesn’t, but there is so much opportunity for this game to fall flat on it’s face. I’m trying to keep my hype level as low as possible with this one. Even if it ends up being a glorified tech demo with exploration, I feel like I’ll still be worth the time I’ll probably put into it.

From Sony strategic content employee Shahid Kamal Ahmad:

I’m really looking forward to this. Bungie did a great job of teasing more than they were able to deliver, but I honestly think the lead on this game has done a pretty good job of curbing expectations and laying out what they are doing, rather than what they’re hoping to be able to do.

They are scheduled to finish at the end of this year; at that time, they will invite millions of people to explore their creation, as a video game, packaged under the title No Man’s Sky.


Sony agreed, and also decided to throw its resources into promoting No Man’s Sky as a top title—an unprecedented gesture for an unfinished product by a tiny studio. The video-game industry now rivals Hollywood; by one estimate, it generated more than eighty billion dollars in revenue last year, and marketing budgets for triple-A games have become comparable to those of blockbuster films. Sony’s marketing strategy for No Man’s Sky suggests that it expects the game to make hundreds of millions of dollars; this year, Sony will promote it alongside half a dozen mega-titles, including the latest installment of the Batman franchise. Adam Boyes, a vice-president at Sony PlayStation, described it to me as “potentially one of the biggest games in the history of our industry.”

All Murray has to do now is deliver. Last year, when an interviewer asked him when the universe would be ready, he said, “We are this super-small team, and we are making this ridiculously ambitious game, and all we are going to do in telling people when it is going to come out, probably, is disappoint them.” Sony’s participation meant that timing for the game’s launch had to be firmly decided, but No Man’s Sky is not an easy project to rush. Because of its algorithmic structure, nearly everything in it is interconnected: changes to the handling of a ship can affect the way insects fly. The universe must be developed holistically; sometimes it must be deconstructed entirely, then reassembled. Before I arrived, Murray warned me, “The game is on the operating table, so you will see it in parts. Other games will have the benefit of having a level that plays really well, while the studio works on other levels. We don’t have that.” The previous “builds” of No Man’s Sky that he had publicly shown—the ones that had generated so much excitement—contained choreographed elements. Features that might have been light-years apart were pressed closer together; animals were invisibly corralled so that they could be reliably encountered. Shifts in the weather that would normally follow the rhythm of atmospheric change were cued to insure that they happened during a demo. Imagine trying to convey life on Earth in minutes: shortcuts would have to be taken.

And this part really gets me:

The design allows for extraordinary economy in computer processing: the terrain for eighteen quintillion unique planets flows out of only fourteen hundred lines of code. Because all the necessary visual information in the game is described by formulas, nothing needs to be rendered graphically until a player encounters it. Murray compared the process to a sine curve: one simple equation can define a limitless contour of hills and valleys—with every point on that contour generated independently of every other. “This is a lovely thing,” he said. “It means I don’t need to calculate anything before or after that point.” In the same way, the game continuously identifies a player’s location, and then renders only what is visible. Turn away from a mountain, an antelope, a star system, and it will vanish just as quickly as it appeared. “You can get philosophical about it,” Murray once said. “Does that planet exist before you visit it? Sort of not—until the maths create it.”

I could quote the entire article… it’s a long and interesting read.

The hype Sony and others are creating for this game is becoming so thick I can chew it.

“potentially one of the biggest games in the history of our industry.”

Whatever do you mean, Jeff? :neutral_face:

A very interesting article about the sounds of No Man’s Sky. I guess I never thought that while every planet/animal/ship would be mathematically generated… all of the sounds would have to be as well.

Our brains are very adept at detecting patterns, and the reason synthetic voices typically sound artificial is that they are carried on sound waves that have a regular frequency: unvarying up-down-up-down modulations that are unmistakably inorganic. White suspected that if he built digital vocal chords (stimulated by columns of mathematically simulated air) the system would achieve naturalism. “The first results were a bit like the squeaker out of a dog toy,” he said, which wasn’t surprising: blow through the mouthpiece of a clarinet without the instrument, and the effect is similar. White then added a digital version of the pharynx, which sits behind the mouth and nasal cavity; it served as a resonator, amplifying sounds produced by the vocal chords, but also altering their texture. The squeaks became elongated. He called this the system’s “trumpety-chicken-duck-whale-car-horn phase.” By the end of January, several weeks after he had started programming, he added a digital mouth—the final component necessary for a rudimentary virtual vocal tract. Then he set about giving his creation a voice.

Every vowel is defined by a narrow band of frequencies, known as a formant, which are created by the vocal tract as a whole—the way sound resonates throughout all its parts. White found a paper from 1962, titled “A Study of Formants of the Pure Vowels of British English.” The paper, based on recordings of twenty-five male subjects, contained a table of the relevant data. Late one night, alone in his Edinburgh studio, he copied the values for a vowel labeled “/a/ hard” and plugged them into his system. The digital resonance that White had created—with vocal chords, pharynx, and mouth all affecting each other—caused the utterance to take on human character, and the result was a blood-curdling scream. The voice broke, twisted, and grew horse during moments of high intensity. White gave me an MP3 of it, and I later played it for two people without telling them what it was. Both thought it came from an animal; one wondered if it was a person being tortured, and the other wondered if it was a goat. White recalled, “Two o’clock in the morning, headsets in, and the thing went ‘Aaaaahhhhh.’ I was sweating because it was so scary. But I was also like, This is working!”

Raising the iPad, Weir said, “It feels like an instrument.” He offered to play it. Drawing his finger across the screen, he nudged the lever bars to indicate attributes like body mass, aggressiveness, windpipe length, wetness, screechiness, harshness. (The software makes sounds based on roughly a hundred different parameters.) Then, while moving his thumbs across two graphical boxes on the iPad—one labelled “vowel map,” the other “pitch”—and simultaneously twisting the device in space, he generated a vocalization. The iPad’s physical movement determined the energy behind the utterance: the arc of the motion shaping the sound’s arc.

Out came a tired, yawn-like rumbling, the deep grunt of a lumbering multi-ton herbivore. “I can change the size,” Weir said. He tinkered with the iPad, and moved it differently, and the vocalization’s over-all frequency become higher; the texture became rougher and wetter. After a few seconds, Weir gave it an upturn in pitch and intensity. The sound resembled the mating call of some tropical species.


PlayStation’s UK boss Fergal Gara says that some of the biggest budget indie games on PS4 will receive the same sort of support as its internally-developed projects.

Picking out No Man’s Sky as an example, Gara says these games have the potential to go beyond the usual expectations of an ‘indie’ title.

“No Man’s Sky has been treated as if it was from one of our internal studios,” he says. “We have been working very closely with the developers and bringing it into our release programme as if we had made it. We are not going to treat it any differently and we are going to put the full weight of PlayStation behind it. If it all comes together as well as expected, it will be treated like a first-party release; it is not a self-published small indie title on the platform.”

It, along with other indie games, could even be released in a box. These days we think increasingly of a game being a game, whether it is digital, physical or both,” says Gara. “It is more about making the right decision for the right title at the right time.

“It is entirely possible that we will release some of these games together, digitally and physically, or one after another, but it will be decided on a title-by-title basis.

When it rains, it pours, I guess:

[–]RaffiKhatchadourian[S] 25 points an hour ago
Yes, there is combat in the game, and I was able to watch some of it. While I was in the studio, there was a great moment that i did not have space for in my story. I was hunkered down at a table opposite Sean, and suddenly David Ream who is focussing on gameplay jumped out of his seat and said something like “this is a game!” That morning he was working on laser cannons for a ship, and he was also working on ship handling. As a test, he shot at a freighter, and then descended to a planet. A few minutes later, police ships began firing at him on the planet’s surface. At first he thought it was a glitch, but then realized that the police had tracked him down because he had fired at the freighters in orbit while testing the lasers. It was one of those moments where you could feel the many various aspects of the game coming together, and his excitement was really genuine. So yes, combat, yes!

I guess it’s not like other games where the cops forget you as soon as you are out-of-sight.

[–]RaffiKhatchadourian[S] 14 points 54 minutes ago
I don’t know about landing on stars. But, man, that sounds pretty self destructive! ouch. Yes, the planets will have rotation. This was a feature that I know Sean likes. He told me about a player once flew down from an orbiting space station, landed on a planet, hung out, and then went straight back up, and found the space station gone. “What the? Where did it go?” But of course, it didn’t disappear. The planet had merely rotated during the time the player was there

Very cool.

The AI was being developed when I was there, and there were great advancements since the E3 build. In the E3 build there were certain things the creature would do – like climb a 90 degree incline – that they don’t do any longer. I got to watch them add inverse kinematics to the creatures, and give them more logical behaviors. But still they were full of surprises. There’s a story that I love. Grant Duncan had been working to give a hippo-like creature a rule to spawn in caves. He was doing this on a version of the game native to his machine and checked it into the master build. A bit later David Ream was exploring an underwater cave and found a pile of dead hippos in it. They had “drowned.” There are so many factors to consider

For those of you who might have missed it…

Do we know what we’re supposed to do in this game yet? I mean besides exploring. Are there objectives, are we searching for something specific?

The center of the galaxy.

The meaning of life?

(no Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy references please)

That’s my cue.

Kind of what I expected, a lot of comparison’s to Minecraft:

“Much of the game will be explained to people, I would imagine, from wikis and stuff like that,” explains Sean Murray at a behind closed doors E3 presentation attended by GamesMaster. “Like [in] Minecraft, the crafting system I thought was a really bold move to just not tell anyone the formulas for it. We will be doing similar things with that crafting but actually technologies and stuff like that.”

“There aren’t missions, you aren’t told what your name is, you aren’t given an enemy at the start, there isn’t a bad guy or a good guy,” he continues. “Even the sentinels that were showing you they’re not actually particularly bad. They’re trying to police the planets. They’re trying to maintain order and it’s like what you are doing just to progress - mining resources or killing a creature that’s attacking you or whatever - it’s almost like they’re not wrong for attacking you.”

The insanely ambitious space sim was announced back in December 2013 as a PlayStation 4 game. Murray also mentioned that they had originally planned to reveal the game’s release date at this E3, but that the team decided to delay that announcement a bit. When they finally do announce the date, it’ll be for both PS4 as well as PC.

That means it’s coming soon. Right? RIGHT?!?!!

New details if you can get past the arguing.

Although not revealed so far, there will also be surprises hidden in the darkness and between the suns: black holes, dead planets, strange mysteries and aggressive peoples will all turn up, if players look for them. “We have a bunch of those things, we’re not trying to recreate our universe but there are black holes, there are dead planets. Sometimes for demos we’ll crank up the number of lush planets because we’re trying to quickly show people. But actually in our universe, this one… most things are a little bit barren. Finding life is a big deal, a cool moment, and we want that in our game.”

This video has some new gameplay shots.

No new footage, but some new info. Like… if you die on a planet, you restart next to your ship. If you die in space… you lose your ship. Ouch.

VERY extensive.

Summary (stolen from NeoGAF).

  • Not an MMO, SP experience, despite not being alone in the universe.
  • Units are the main currency.
  • Health and shield, auto regenerates and is all upgradeable.
  • GTA style Wanted level. Multiple stages of policing via sentinels, mech walkers, ships, armada’s etc.
  • To avoid Wanted Levels, you can defend yourself against aggressive creatures in alternative ways. Eg shoot near their feet to scare them away.
  • Wanted Level increases by causing too much destruction, killing too much life, or mining too aggressively.
  • Not all planets have them.
  • Things you mine can be deposited and stored.
  • If you die you’ll lose everything past your last beacon point, and whatever you didn’t store.
  • Discover planets and solar systems.
  • Your ship does not start with hyperdrive, you have to build and improve it.
  • The more you upgrade your hyperdrive, the deeper in to the universe you can venture.
  • More unusual planets you can discover.
  • Your suit is also upgradable.
  • Your weapon (multi tool) is also upgradeable.
  • More you upgrade your weapon, the more damage it does, the further it can scan etc.
  • More you upgrade your suit, the further you can jump, deeper you can swim, the more toxicity you can survive etc.
  • Some planets will have toxic areas or environments only accessible by upgrading certain things.
  • There are alternative upgrades too, like a cloaking device for your ship.
  • Cloaking device could be effective at avoiding pirate ships in space.
  • Ship has numerous slots to fill with upgrades.
  • Upgrades are made with finding materials, then other materials for crafting them.
  • Choose between cargo upgrades or other tech upgrades.
  • You can be a trader, miner, fighter, pirate, explorer etc.
  • You don’t actually have to ever land on a planet. You can just attack other ships like a pirate.
  • Steal their goods, trade, etc, to upgrade your ship to travel to the centre.
  • Though exploring planets is far more fun lol.
  • Trading posts on most planets.
  • Space station in every solar system.
  • These can be destroyed, having ramifications on the world.
  • You need fuel for your hyperdrive.
  • There is a day night cycle, and planets actually rotate.
  • Depending on which side of the sun or solar system etc you are, things will dynamically change.