Author Topic: No Man's Sky  (Read 9835 times)

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Offline Eternally Learning

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No Man's Sky
« on: July 07, 2015, 03:22:40 AM »
IGN is doing a month focused on a soon to be released, procedurally generated, sci-fi, open world, space sim called No Man's Sky, so I guess now is as good a time as any to start a thread about it.

Here's the first 5 trailers on it to give you a taste first:



I'm getting more and more excited for this game as the information becomes more and more available.  I'm a little concerned that the aimless nature of the game will cause me to lose interest after a while, but at this point I'm willing to take that risk. 

I'll edit this post to add all the videos they release so it's convenient:

RELEASE 1:



RELEASE 2:

7/7/2015 Article.

Quote from: IGN
...

As an intrepid explorer, you begin No Man's Sky with unremarkable but serviceable entry-level equipment. Your first starship isn't equipped to take down cruisers or take you to the mysterious center of the universe, but it's your first step to making your mark, making money, and visiting new planets unlike any you've seen before.

Each planet is an opportunity and a risk. Ecology is your primary means of earning currency, and as you uncover unknown species, mine minerals, and record your findings, you'll gain access to infantry and aerial upgrades. Trading is core to No Man's Sky as well, although those with enough confidence and coin may opt out of give-and-take in favor of just take.

Violence and other forms of disruption can be extremely lucrative. However, you make yourself a mark for Sentinels -- planetary protectors that remind you, quite aggressively, that this is not your world and you do not belong here. Provoke the guardians continually and they'll increase their effort to annihilate you. A Grand Theft Auto-inspired "wanted" system escalates alongside your destruction. Escape before Sentinels slaughter you, and you'll get out with the goods. Fall to their defenses and your unrecorded earnings on that planet die with you -- so try not to engage or upset anything too far from a Beacon, which uploads your discoveries to the Atlas database.

...

RELEASE 3:

How the economy works:



RELEASE 4:

How the project started:



RELEASE 5

Choosing 5 planets at random and briefly describing them.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 12:26:59 AM by Eternally Learning »

Offline starnado

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 05:40:48 AM »
ooooh....

nice.

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Offline Sordid

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 07:58:54 AM »
The game looks interesting but I really hate how slowly they're revealing it. Those 18 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay had maybe like 30 seconds of new stuff, otherwise it was just things we've already seen.

Also, that "everything on the screen is just math" comment really made me cringe. Yes, genius, that's how computers work. Why is that so shocking for you? Don't you know it already? You certainly should, given that you work in the industry. :P

Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 08:37:50 AM »
The game looks interesting but I really hate how slowly they're revealing it. Those 18 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay had maybe like 30 seconds of new stuff, otherwise it was just things we've already seen.

Also, that "everything on the screen is just math" comment really made me cringe. Yes, genius, that's how computers work. Why is that so shocking for you? Don't you know it already? You certainly should, given that you work in the industry. :P

The creator has said a few times that he doesn't want to spoil the game for people too much and that he's afraid that people will misunderstand what the game is about by saying too much, too soon.  Not sure if I agree, but hey, it's his game.  I can be patient.

With the "it's all math" comment, I believe they are referring to the fact that almost everything is generated from a very small file as opposed to the world being modelled purposefully and having all that information saved.  I saw something where they stated that to test the algorithm they created, they basically crafted essentially a bunch of probes that went to random planets throughout the galazy and sent back photos of the planets that were generated.  That in and of itself is super cool to me as a side-note.

Offline Sordid

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 09:07:48 AM »
The creator has said a few times that he doesn't want to spoil the game for people too much and that he's afraid that people will misunderstand what the game is about by saying too much, too soon.  Not sure if I agree, but hey, it's his game.  I can be patient.

I don't know if I'm being skeptical or cynical, but when devs say "we don't want to show too much", I hear it as "we don't have much to show". Ditto for "people might misunderstand what the game is about", that I hear as "we didn't have a clear vision for the game and ended up making a clunky mishmash of mechanics and ideas that don't really work together too well".

Yeah, alright, they have a very big, very pretty universe. That's great and all, but what's the game? What do you actually do? What have they done to make each planet unique and memorable? That's the biggest problem with these procedurally generated worlds, IMO. They produce huge, homogeneous worlds where every place is technically speaking unique but in practical terms indistinguishable from any other place. So far they haven't addressed that at all.

Quote
With the "it's all math" comment, I believe they are referring to the fact that almost everything is generated from a very small file as opposed to the world being modelled purposefully and having all that information saved.  I saw something where they stated that to test the algorithm they created, they basically crafted essentially a bunch of probes that went to random planets throughout the galazy and sent back photos of the planets that were generated.  That in and of itself is super cool to me as a side-note.

Well yeah, I get that, I just find it really grating how they're going on about it as if it's a new thing. Games have been doing that for decades. Hell, Elite, the game that began the genre back in the '80s, was procedurally generated as well. The way the developer presents this, the way he expects everyone to swoon and aaah over it, seems pretty condescending to me. He sounds like a snake oil salesman peddling the same old bullshit as a brand new miracle cure. And I find it positively insulting that the 'journalists' are buying it hook, line, and sinker instead of calling him out on it. It's all "oooh, procedural generation, what an amazing new technology" rather than "alright, so how have you advanced the technology compared to all the other games that have used it in the past?" But, y'know, it's IGN. They're not journalists and critics, they're promoters. That's what IGN does.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2016, 06:16:37 PM by Sordid »

Offline Henning

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 11:22:07 AM »
I agree with everything you say Sordid, but I'm also oohing and ahhing 'cos I want to explore. But yeah... could get pretty samey pretty fast.

What would a game have to do to advance procedural generation? Emergence? You'd have to have a giant simulation that's doing something like a true evolutionary process. Something which given enough computation time, would eventually produce a universe that would surprise the programmers.
I've heard of that being done in university projects in a simple constrained environment, but not in a game with a giant universe.
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Offline Redamare

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 11:50:51 AM »
Asteroids are way too close together.
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Offline Henning

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2015, 12:21:36 PM »
After watching the "18 minutes" video... I have the same questions as we discussed before. What kind of changes can you make to the universe and are all those changes persistent and universal? We saw him blow a hole in a rock with a plasma gun. Is that hole still gonna be there next visit? How do you store all those changes across all these galaxies AND distribute them back out to all players?

He says it's all math, but everything a player does represents some kind of addendum to the original algorithm that produced the planet's "natural" state. How to keep track of all that?
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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2015, 03:18:20 PM »
Yeah, this is definitely more marketing hype that a behind-the-scenes documentary and I definitely agree that the lack of information about all aspects of the game is maddening.  That being said, the way it's all been presented doesn't raise any major red flags for me at the moment as given the company's history it seems like the founder and owner wants to do things differently than other major gaming companies.  Another thing he said about not previewing too much is that he wanted there to be surprises for the players which is something he feels is lacking in this day and age.  As for the diversity, they said that they modeled various artistic "skeletons" for creatures, ships, and so on and the procedural algorithm randomizes the details that make the things up so I guess it all depends on how many "skeletons" they came up with.  Through just the videos I posted though, you can already see a few similar animals so that may be a bad sign.  All in all, like I've said before, I'm fairly certain that even if the experience gets repetitive fairly quickly the initial experience will be worth it for me.  Just what they've shown alone, I'm pretty sure I'd get a ton of hours of enjoyment out of it, so I'm not concerned too much and am very excited.

Regarding IGN, I've been a member on their site since 1998 and their quality has declined significantly in favor of quantity IMO.  Gone are the days of 5 page game reviews that drew me in and in are the days of "articles" being nothing but links to other, better sites and summaries of their reporting.  What few genuine talents they have are pretty heavily overshadowed by everyone else.  Still, they tend to get access when others don't due to their high profile nature and even if they aren't producing tons of quality content, what they aggregate is useful.  As for this video in particular, it's obviously meant to promote rather than go in depth of all the inner workings of the game, but then again it is only the first piece they've released this month so who knows where they will go.

Offline Beleth

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2015, 03:36:09 PM »
I haven't looked forward to a game this much since Lord of the Rings Online came out in, what, 2007?

Any game that relies on surprises for the player is going to have a tough time when there are wikis set up for every popular game.
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Offline teethering

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 03:41:17 PM »
Look guys, please remember Spore.  They have a saying in Texas, something about being fooled once...

Offline Sordid

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2015, 04:00:24 PM »
As for the diversity, they said that they modeled various artistic "skeletons" for creatures, ships, and so on and the procedural algorithm randomizes the details that make the things up so I guess it all depends on how many "skeletons" they came up with.  Through just the videos I posted though, you can already see a few similar animals so that may be a bad sign.

It reminds me of Starbound, actually. That game does pretty much the same thing, albeit in 2D. The problem is that while yes, that does create a ton of different looking enemies, in reality there are only six types. Small biped, large biped, small quadruped, large quadruped, small flier, large flier, and that's it. It's the same thing with environments. A planet may have purple dirt and trees with eyes instead of leaves, but it's just eye candy, functionally they're identical to any other type of dirt and trees. Same again with damage types. It doesn't matter if a monster shoots bubbles, flames, laser beams, or whatever, there's only one damage type, so it's just a different skin applied to the same attack. Needless to say that gets old very quickly, and I'm worried this will be the same kind of thing. Obviously Starbound isn't finished yet, but you get my point.

Quote
it is only the first piece they've released this month so who knows where they will go.

Judging by the previous series they did with Gamespot, it's going to be PR fluff throughout with tiny little nuggets of actual information here and there.

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2015, 04:51:39 PM »
Look guys, please remember Spore.  They have a saying in Texas, something about being fooled once...

I think it goes like:  Fool me once, unless I voted for Rick Perry, then its open season.
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Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2015, 10:36:29 PM »
Look guys, please remember Spore.  They have a saying in Texas, something about being fooled once...

I never played Spore, but from what I recall the issues stemmed from overly simplistic gameplay which basically boiled down to 4 minigames that you played.  The thing is, as others keep pointing out, there's nothing terribly new in what No Man's Sky is attempting despite the hype, other than the fact that this is the first console title to attempt a full space simulation.  Honestly, it seems a lot like Elite Dangerous made more accessible, adding planets, and with more fictional elements and that's cool with me.  It seriously seems to come down to how much variation of the so-called "skeletons" there will be and how much of a difference the flesh on top of those skins can make as well. 

The difference between this and Spore is that Spore promised an all new style of gameplay with all of these novel concepts which didn't pan out the way people expected and with No Man's Sky, while they use similar language of creating firsts, each element of gameplay is not all that novel.  For me, that translates as less risk of just having a bad experience at the core like what Spore turned out to be.  Again, the only thing I'm worried about is lack of variety leading to the experience getting stale too quickly.  All the gameplay we've seen so far, while not in depth, seems to speak for itself and it seems next to impossible that what they've shown will somehow not be what we get.

One other thing though, is that they mentioned that as you move towards the center of the galaxy the hostility on planets increases along with the value of the resources you can find.  That gives me so hope in that they seem to have designed a system wherein it's not a structured story, but the experience has been minimally structured to keep things fresh.

Offline teethering

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Re: No Man's Sky
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2015, 11:13:42 PM »
The biggest problem with Spore was that, probably due to unrealistic ambition, all the variety of things in the same that you could do turned out to be almost entirely cosmetic.  This is something that could turn out to be underneath No Man's Sky promise of an entire universe chockfull of different things to discover.  This is a matter of how much of your development resources do you dedicate to what.  I suspect Spore developers had to spread their resources too thin to develop each era, which as you say turned each into a rather shallow minigame.  If the resources on No Man's Sky are going into creating their own table of elements and crap like that I'm extremely skeptical they can create the tight enough gameplay in trading, combat and exploration; things that are challenging in themselves already.  I'm wary of extreme ambition.  I'm also wary of a game that's being hyped at a point where there's no real gameplay yet and just talking about ambition and procedurally generated content, because that's exactly what happened with Spore as well.

Nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong this time.

 

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