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No Man's Sky

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No Man's Sky
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  • No Man's Sky
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  • No Man's Sky
  • No Man's Sky

Summary

No Man’s Sky, the hugely ambitious title from Hello Games has been boggling gamers' minds since its December 2013 reveal. Taking place in a procedurally generated universe full of billions of planets, the potential for endless engrossing space exploration and discovery is astounding.

Players will encounter a whole suite of unique alien creatures and challenges as they begin to decipher the colossal world of No Man’s Sky. With the game arriving next month, we’ve listed five things you need to know ahead of No Man's Sky arriving in stores.

It’s absolutely huge

No Man’s Sky takes place across an entire universe filled with a dizzying array of planets, stars, lifeforms and ecosystems, all ripe for discovery. You will stumble across alien creatures, ancient civilizations and strange, untouched technology as you make your way toward the centre of the galaxy.

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There will be a total of 18 quintillion planets, which would take players centuries to explore in real life on their own. The odds of encountering another person out in the wild is near impossible, unless you have the exact co-ordinates of their current star system.

No Man's Sky

Everyone will begin at the edge of the universe, with the goal of reaching the centre. On the way you will discover planets, communicate with alien races and make your mark on the daunting galactic horizon. Hello Games estimates that 99.9% of planets will never be found by players, which is a bit overwhelming, and sounds like a challenge which no doubt many will accept.

There is no story, and that’s a good thing

The universe in No Man’s Sky will no doubt be filled with engaging mysteries and profound lore, but there will be no linear story to follow. The story will instead be told by you, punctuated by the planets and creatures you discover along the way.

There are also a multitude of alien languages to uncover as you progress. These come in the form of a fully-fledged alphabets that can be used to communicate with NPCs such as merchants and hostile mercenaries. It’s unclear how extensive this feature will be, but it should add a considerable amount of meaning to your galactic plundering.

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Much like The Long Dark and Ark: Survival Evolved, it’s up to you to connect the dots and draw conclusions from the surroundings you come across, piecing together cohesive tales from the abandoned ships, artifacts and alien creatures you stumble upon.

You have your very own spaceship

Space exploration will play an integral part in No Man’s Sky, so as you might expect, keeping your ride in up to speed is super vital. Every spaceship can be upgraded in a number of categories, whether this be brutal firepower or agile manoeuvrability.

You’ll also be able to purchase shiny new ships at space stations dotted throughout the galaxy, so long as you have enough currency that is. Unfortunately, you can only own one at a time, giving you an incentive to upgrade each component in a way that perfectly fits your play style.

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Each vehicle will be fitted with a hyperdrive that allows you to jump between star systems, a feat that requires ludicrous amounts of fuel. This can be gathered on new planets or purchased at vendors, and is a vital amenity in No Man’s Sky. If you happen to get blown to pieces on your travels, don’t worry, your ship will accompany you when you respawn.

The universe has laws

It isn’t quite Grand Theft Auto in space, but misbehaving in No Man’s Sky does have its consequences. When harvesting resources on a new planet you don’t want to be too greedy, otherwise Sentinels will come after you. These towering mechanical beings can be defeated if you have the right equipment, but pack a hefty punch regardless.

The same rules apply to each planet’s wildlife. If you harm them or purposely destroy their natural habitat you’re in for some serious punishment. Such a procedure should prevent players from needlessly destroying all planets they explore, or taking all the resources for themselves.

No Man's Sky

All of your naughty actions will be represented by a wanted level while you explore the galaxy, which can be lessened by leaving the associated planet or eliminating nearby threats.

You can make friends and enemies

You might not stumble across a living, breathing human in No Man’s Sky, but there will be plenty of opportunities to form new relationships, which can be good and bad. If you befriend specific characters in the game world you can join special factions with their own unique benefits.

Helping certain factions could reward you with new equipment and resources or drag you into an irreversible conflict. Rival factions will often go into battle with one another, forcing you into colossal dogfights in the vast emptiness of space. This will put your skills to the ultimate test, so make sure you come prepared.

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Of course, you could just avoid interaction entirely, opting instead for a purely solo adventure. This may result in fewer rewards and a more arduous search for resources, but the sense of isolation as you explore the never-ending solar system sounds fantastic.

We could go on and on about No Man’s Sky, and we probably will if it ends up getting delayed again, but for now, let us know what you’re excited about in the comments below.

No Man’s Sky is scheduled to launch in 2016 for PS4 and PC.

To check out our hands-on impressions of the game, read our thoughts from E3 2015 below.

No Man's Sky

E3 2015 Preview

Available on PS4 and PC

No Man’s Sky release date: June 24, 2016

Few games have had quite the hype of No Man’s Sky. Unveiled all the way back at E3 2014, the idea behind it caught the imagination of millions of gamers: what if you could visit an entire galaxy of planets and name the ones you found? The excitement has been building ever since.

At E3 2015, developer Hello Games finally gave us an insight into what players will actually be doing in this infinite universe, aside from just flying your ship across space looking for new worlds to name after rude words. If we were wearing our lazy journalistic comparison hat, we’d say No Man’s Sky appears to be a mix of Elite and Grand Theft Auto -- you can choose to be a warrior, a trader, an explorer or a mix of all three, but if you do anything wrong, expect to have the space police chasing after you.

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When you find a new planet in No Man’s Sky, the idea is to scan for a beacon in order to name the planet. Once you name that planet, that’s how it will be known to everyone else through the galaxy. To answer some immediate questions: Yes, you can give multiple planets the same name (if you want them all named after you, for example). Yes, there will be some filters on what you can and can’t name planets. And yes, they really are huge in scale. Or as Murray keeps saying: “Our planets are planet-sized”.

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When you land on a planet, the idea is to scan for beacons and other points of interest. Some life forms will be hostile, but most of the wildlife is friendly. If you shoot at the innocent inhabitants of a planet, a local enforcement sentinel will take an interest. Continue to misbehave, and your wanted level will rise, much like in Grand Theft Auto, with stronger and stronger law enforcement units at each level. Get a wanted level 5 and the huge walkers come in. Thankfully, you have a rechargeable shield that protects you, but once that’s gone, there’s only five hit points between you and death.

Most people won’t want to destroy the local wildlife though, at least according to Hello Games. “You will find creatures you want to share,” says Murray. “If you’ve been travelling for tens of hours, what you’ve collected becomes a point of pride.” Other players will be able to see what you’ve discovered in your profile -- a screen that currently looks very similar to the profile screen in Destiny.

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Murray also hopes that you’ll want to explore the galaxy out of your own curiosity, finding relics from previous civilisations on your travels. Nearly all of the content in the game is procedurally generated: from the worlds, to the ships and even the weapons -- No Man’s Sky has thousands of unique-looking weapons. You also need to discover new technology on your travels -- technology determines how far you can jump through hyperspace to find new worlds.

Naturally, you’ll be able to perform upgrades to yourself and your ship in No Man’s Sky. You have a certain number of inventory slots -- these slots can hold cargo or upgrades, so you need to balance being able to carry stuff or improving the capabilities of your ship.

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Likewise, your space suit can also be upgraded. Your suit determines how long you can last in toxic environments or stay underwater. Different planets will have different resources -- some planets will be packed with really valuable assets, whereas others will be more barren. If you do find valuable goods, you can travel to a local trading post and sell the resources you’ve gathered.

With so much hostility in No Man’s Sky, you have to think about the possibility of dying. If you die on a planet, you lose discoveries that have been made; if you die in space, you lose your ship and you’re put back on a nearby space station. Some planets are really dangerous -- you’ll have pirates warping in from afar to take you out. Far off planets will have more deadly enemies: you can kill their fighters who will drop loot, but killing them gets your wanted level up. Thankfully, if you can get off a planet quick enough, your wanted level doesn’t carry across the map, so you can evade the police like in GTA.

The main restriction in No Man’s Sky is fuel -- you can buy it, but it’s expensive. The alternative is to mine fuel directly from planets, but this takes time and resources. This is the central economic mechanic of the game -- you can buy, mine, steal, or trade fuel. Freedom is a big thing for Hello Games -- you don’t need to ever land on a planet if you don’t want, according to Murray.

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No Man's Sky

What we know about the story is still minimal, but we know you’ll start the game on a planet and go exploring from there. Murray cited games like Salt, Stranded Deep and Terraria as influences in the way that they put you in a world and don’t explain why you’re there. “That’s for you to find out,” he teased.

The multiplayer aspect of the game was compared to Journey by Murray. Don’t expect to meet a lot of people in No Man’s Sky -- the universe is just so overwhelmingly massive, it’s going to be difficult to find people. “We could start a million people on one of these planets and they’d probably not find each other,” he claimed.

One final question that we had answered in our session was that day and night cycles exist, and they are realistic in relation to the nearest sun.

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No Man's Sky

First Impressions

Clearly, there’s a lot of thought that’s been put into this game, and we’ll undoubtedly continue to think up new questions as we discover just how big this world is. No Man's Sky will be coming to PS4 and PC on June 24, 2016, so we don't have long to wait.

Pbryanw

August 16, 2014, 7:49 pm

Wow, so looking forward to this and Elite: Dangerous. You wait ages for a decent space trading and combat game to arrive, and then two come along at once :)

Antic

August 16, 2014, 9:37 pm

Don't forget Star Citizen and Limit Theory!

T40Rs731N

August 17, 2014, 1:57 am

Awesome preview. Thank you for not being a hack! Loved it. Teased me just enough without giving away too much. This is my type of game.

AndroidVageta

August 17, 2014, 10:29 am

Or Rodina! That one is shaping up nicely.

Apocolyptica

August 17, 2014, 11:01 am

"Planets don’t exist until the player arrives at them and when they leave, those planets vanish" - That's nothing new that's how the vast majority of games work..

Lacarious

August 17, 2014, 3:32 pm

Wake me up when its 2015.

incendy

August 17, 2014, 3:32 pm

True, but I think he means to say they don't even exist in code. They are procedurally "randomly" generated on the fly. Which is very cool, but I am not sure how well it will translate into being a great game.

Quaddy

August 17, 2014, 6:48 pm

this is a must purchase for me, somewhat of a loner in life and soon i can be a loner in an infinite virtual universe! doesn't get better than that ;)

MrRandom

August 18, 2014, 7:48 am

This is different to most games. In most games, the locations would exist as assets, with models and textures, which are loaded into memory when you visit them. So they always exist, just not always loaded into memory. In this game, they are procedurally created every time you go to them using algorithms, but done in a way that they will be created the same every time. So this is not how the vast majority of games work.

pimlicosound

August 18, 2014, 9:35 am

I'm not even sure if that interpretation of the quotation is completely accurate.

I'm sure the first part is - that planets are generated procedurally the first time the first player encounters them. But my understanding is that, after that first encounter, the stats of that planet are saved in No Man's Sky's central database so that other players will encounter the same planet when they fly through the same bit of space.

It has to work that way, or else no-one could ever visit the same planet twice, which would make the whole idea of mapping the galaxy redundant.

Quaddy

August 18, 2014, 9:44 am

incendy is on the right lines, sean murray said the data is chucked away after you move on, but a different player coming to that same exact spot will see exactly the same thing, because....because the math is always the same and generates the algorithm on the fly for everyone (same input = same output)

pimlicosound

August 18, 2014, 10:07 am

Ah, that's interesting. I'd assumed there was more randomisation going on than it sounds like there actually is. To have one algorithm procedurally create a whole galaxy the same way for however many players, and to recreate it the same way however many times you return to it, must be staggeringly complex.

Guest

August 18, 2014, 6:27 pm

It probably uses plenty of randomisation. The thing that keeps them all being the same is that it is always using the same random seed. So it's random, but it's the same random for everyone. If that makes any sense

Justin

August 19, 2014, 9:26 am

Random just isn't the right word. It's fully procedural. The algorithms take into account a set of rules. Those rules then shape each and every planet. A planet's distance from it's sun can determine the moisture level, which in turn would shape the terrain allowing for erosion in the terrain to create things such as canyons and caves as well as a variety of lifeforms. The amount of moisture on a planet can determine the color of it's atmosphere, wether or not it's gaseous, what kind of plans can grow.

Guest

August 19, 2014, 1:26 pm

Yes you're right, it is procedural too, but there has to be some element of randomness to it as well. Sure it uses a load of different rules to determine what a planet is like at different distances from the sun, but what determines how far a planet in that solar system is from its sun? That part will have a random element to it. Just like what kind of sun it will be. And if a planet can support life, then the variety of creatures placed on that planet will also have an element of randomness.

So really, it's a mixture between the two systems. There'll be randomness, but in a structured way, using rules to make sure it doesn't just create chaos. And for everyone who plays the game, the elements of randomness will be the same due to using the same seed.

Joe W

August 19, 2014, 5:55 pm

Also, procedural is not random. These algorithms can be "seeded" with random numbers that change the output, but after determining the seed the remainder of the algorithm is all but random. That's how they know every player will see the same planet. The algorithm in this case is not randomly seeded, there's one universe (and thus one seed) for everyone. It's just built in a manner such that each planet is not designed, but calculated.

Joe W

August 19, 2014, 5:58 pm

The same one seed is used to determine all of those things. What they use are complex equations to determine how far a planet should be. They might take the seed and use it to spawn stars, data from those stars can be used as another predictable "seed" to determine how far planets should be, or where the star is in the galaxy might determine other things. Either way, since there is only one star w/ those exact properties, it's the only star that could spawn those planets. That does not make it random, just very complex.

Aaron W

August 22, 2014, 7:27 pm

When I bought my first computer, I got into Noctis pretty heavily - it's always been one of my favorite concepts for a video game. This game is probably the one game I've been waiting for since I first got into Noctis. It will be exciting to watch how it develops, I just hope that the developer's ambitions aren't too broad. It's certainly possible to craft a procedurally-generated universe, as Alex Ghignola has done it with Noctis, primarily using assembler instructions if I remember correctly (don't even ask me how people can code like that)

mike

September 8, 2014, 12:29 pm

Fail! You can turn right back round and it Will be there again in the exact same formation! True the technology has been there a while but until now has never been properly utilised. Hello games have used a 64 bit system in order to create this almost infinite universe and only a troll like yourself would stag it down!

mike

September 8, 2014, 12:31 pm

Not ramdom

Admir Karalic

October 19, 2014, 6:47 am

Initially this game was supposed to be on PC, then they decided to make a version for PS4. I honestly feel more like waiting and getting the PC version which will undoubtedly come out after the PS4 timed Exclusive and will of course have all the Patches and Fixes that we need to enjoy the game. Wow can't wait :)

Edwin Lyons

July 23, 2015, 8:56 am

Wake up!

Lacarious

November 19, 2015, 6:23 pm

i'm going back to bed until 2017

topettopet

January 13, 2016, 6:58 pm

The problem with this way of doing things is that it doesn't save what you do on a planet (except for the names) ex. you destroy a specific rock in a specific planet... when other players visit that specific planet, the rock you previously destroyed will reappear as if nothing happened

Luke Borom

March 14, 2016, 3:22 am

When you die you lose all you gathered and explored on that planet. But the real punishment is they make you read quotes from Jaden Smith...

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