A few months ago Hello Games setup a merchandise shop on their website and began selling official HG merch. The store has shirts, posters, stickers, socks, and the like for No Mans Sky as well as a few Last Campfire items. What caught my eye, though, are two sets of coasters (the sort upon which one might set beverages) featuring cover art from 12 of the larger No Man’s Sky updates. Upon seeing these, I quickly ordered both sets (along with a t-shirt, for good measure).
This morning No Man’s Sky Expedition #2: Beachhead drew to a close after its two-week mission clock timed out. As with the Expedition before it, I found it to be a great deal of fun seeing players zipping about the various systems along the mission route and visiting some of the many bases they left behind.
Having been a rather more basic set of missions than the initial, two-month expedition, I managed to finish the expedition after about a week of play and then set about constructing a base in the system hosting the fifth and final player rendezvous point. Within the final system I found a planet characterized by gigantic spires of rock and frequent storms bringing “walls of flame.” At the very top of a particularly tall spire I began constructing a concrete base in the shape of a ring that is positioned such that it is being impaled by the tip of said spire.
Doing what’s needed in-game to acquire blueprints for items with which to build the base and fill the new space (make it “home”) — gathering Salvaged Data, Quicksilver, and Tainted Metal — takes time…and, as such, I spent a total of about 20 hours play-time on this expedition, where the core missions were completed in around 12.
As I type this post, the on-screen timer counting down the end of No Man’s Sky Expedition #1: The Pioneers reads 1 hour, 31 minutes left. After that, the mission will end and players’ Expedition save will convert to a Normal mode game save. Anyone who hasn’t completed all of the goals in the five phases of this first, two-month mission will find themselves bereft of victory.
On Wednesday, March 31, Hello Games released No Man’s Sky Expeditions (v3.3) which brought a new community focused play mode, Expedition, to the game. Expeditions involve a multi-stage mission along a preset path through the galaxy that must be completed within a set period of time (two months for Expedition #1), at which point the current Expedition will conclude and a new one set out by Hello Games will begin. Everyone embarking on the active Expedition starts off on the same planet, with a limited set of technologies, and will need to make their way many lightyears to the final destination point, fulfilling achievements along the way to progress through the mission’s various stages and on to full completion. Helpful awards are granted along the way as achievements are met and stages completed. Those who emerge victorious will be granted major awards, such as the Golden Alpha Vector fighter, which is the chief award for completing Expedition #1.
As a player fond of base building, I wanted to take advantage of the huge community aspect of Expeditions as an opportunity for a few bases of my construction to be visited by other players. (Unlike any of the other play modes, online players are everywhere in Expeditions, working their way, system-to-system, through the mission at their own pace.) As such, I took my time and built up my player by acquiring the many construction and technology blueprints necessary to build the bases that I felt would be a fitting mark to leave on this social undertaking within the No Man’s Sky universe.
A few weeks back, in mid-February, Hello Games released another (free) No Man’s Sky update: Companions, version 3.2. This time around, Sean Murray and his team have given us the opportunity to explore the vast reaches of the universe with a special fauna friend at our sides.
Upon encountering a creature of their liking, players may engage with it and make that beastie their bestie. In fact, players can have a stable of up to six special sidekicks that can be summoned to any planet’s surface or the Anomaly where these precious pets can be shown off to others. Companions will aid players by scouting ahead and discovering resources as well as doing their best to protect their kind keeper during hostile alien encounters. Additionally, one is able to “induce” an egg from their companion, which can be genetically modified in a new Anomaly station or just allowed to run its natural course in delivering a new, bouncing baby companion.
While I always appreciate a new update from Hello Games, and I thought Companions sounded interesting, I didn’t really picture spending too much time with the added features — they’re just in-game pets… A few days (or hours, really) in, however, I was loving it! It was lots of fun warping from system to system, looking for that perfect new companion while picking up some of the most bizarre creatures out there along the way. I finally settled on a pink robotic fellow that I named “Pixel,” whose wild frolicking had me laughing as I ran about new worlds, exploring. In time, however, Pixel produced an egg which I tried my hand at genetically modifying in hopes of creating a smaller robo-companion. Thus hatched “Subpixel,” son of Pixel. And Subpixel is the companion I feel will share in most of my future explorations. We have a delightful time wandering about new worlds, dodging sentinels, or just watching the sun set upon the distant horizon.
As you can see from the above video, Subpixel is a spritely little fellow and it’s a miracle he hasn’t worn out his batteries.
A Traveller Explores Worlds of Olde in a Moving “No Man’s Sky Foundation” Livestream
As regular readers are aware, I spend a considerable amount of time exploring the early No Man’s Sky universe. And it seems I’m not alone.
I recently ran across a video captured by YouTuber Unholy_Mr_Brown during his live-streamed session of exploring several worlds in the Foundation (v1.1, circa 2016) version of the game, which happens to be my go-to for “time travelling” / historical exploration. During the hour and a half livestream, the fellow traveller explains the reasoning behind his preference for the older versions of No Man’s Sky to the new. His sentiments, full of emotion, echo many of my own and I found watching him explore and listening to his commentary very much to my liking, and so I share it here with readers. (His channel is full of other exploration videos of past versions of No Man’s Sky, for those wanting to see more.)
While on the topic of video explorations of worlds of olde, I will take the opportunity to share another video that I spotted a while back on Reddit in the NMS_Foundations sub (the focus of which is “to share the old-school sci-fi vibes of No Man’s Sky“). It’s called This is No Man’s Sky and was created in late 2019 by YouTuber J. Twittenhoff using the Press Kit version 1.0 of the game on a PS4 Pro. It’s something of a fan trailer of the early game with a lovely ’80s synthwave vibe. (The creator posted part II of his project a short while later.) Thanks to u/jenga67 , author of the lovely Back to Foundations game mod, for submitting the video to the subreddit.
The previous post made to this blog covers my exploration of a mountainous desert world from No Man’s Sky Foundation v1.1 (circa 2016), with photos and a somewhat lengthy video. Soon after exploring that planet, I set down on another world in the same system that turned out to be one of the most desolate I have ever encountered in my four years in the game.
The world is devoid of all flora and fauna and is nearly silent but for a subtle and woeful drone sung by the wind. It is a striking, high-contrast pink-purple world with a dark and purple sky. The landscape is full of rocky crags with stone arches and water lakes here and there. It is rather unlike anything one might encounter in more recent versions of the game.
Here I present several photos and a short video account of a portion of my exploration of this desolate place. I have rarely felt more solitude on a world in the No Man’s Sky universe than that which this planet presents.
As regular readers of this blog and my NMS-focused followers on Twitter are likely aware, I am currently enjoying No Man’s Sky Foundation 1.1 (circa 2016) alongside the current version of the game, which at the time of this writing, is Next Generation. I got this setup on my PC early last year and have had a lot of fun being able to go back and explore the universe of olde, harboring worlds with wilder and more chaotic terrain generation. In a recent session in Foundation, I decided to record my exploration of a mountainous desert world and share it, here, with readers.
Craggy desert worlds of this sort appeal to me, and I could see from high above the surface that it would be enjoyable to explore. After setting down beside a small lake as the sun was setting, I set out on foot to see what I might find. After, perhaps, 10 minutes of walking it occurred to me to start recording my screen as I explored.
The ability to be anywhere on a planet and summon your starship from afar had (happily) not yet been added to the game in the 1.1 release. Several types of Habitable Structures feature landing pads or ship summoning terminals that can be access by way of a Bypass Chip (dropped from the game in NEXT) in order to call your ship to those limited locations. As a driver for my exploration in Foundation, I often land and set out in a certain direction and not stop going forth — no turning back — until I locate such a facility from which I can summon my ship. On this adventure, it took 3 hours and 30 minutes to locate such a building, and it was a glorious little walk.
[ Update: It is worth noting up-front that the weekend following the publication of this blog post brought the “Mud Huts” discussed here as a buildable item that can be purchased in the Anomaly from the Quicksilver merchant. As such, searching for the ideal hut is (perhaps sadly) no longer a requirement for those seeking such a base shelter. In a recent video, Mac Foraday demonstrates the building of such huts. ]
The first few weeks after No Man’s Sky Origins landed, I spent a great many hours in the game traveling from system to system, exploring the entirely new worlds added to the universe, as well as the dramatically expanded diversity found on the planets that have been there all along. Almost immediately I discovered a fiery hellscape of a world that was so unlike anything I’d encountered in the game before, I had to setup a base from which to explore it in detail. After several weeks’ journey, I paused to share some of the amazing sights I encountered.
Aside from the aforementioned hellish volcano worlds, another new type of world is a swampy sort marked by dramatically rooted trees, glowing fungi, and a sort of organic pod dwelling that players have taken to calling “Yoda huts,” given their similarity to the well known Degobah homestead of the aged Jedi master. Not long after installing the update, I encountered my first world of this sort, but I didn’t immediately notice these little organic huts situated at the base of certain trees. But, as soon as I came across my first, the possibilities got me quite excited given my fondness for “tiny home” bases.
The unfortunate thing about these organic pods is that surrounding flora is heavily clipped into almost all of them, cluttering their interior space with leaves and brambles. Finding a hut that is both nicely situated and free (or nearly so) of intruding plants is a time-consuming process, I’ve learned. They can often be found in small groups close together or even growing in and amongst one another in an overlapping sort of way. Some are inaccessible, the main opening being entirely in the ground or in the trunk of a tree. But, if you want to find just the right pod-home on these new swampy worlds, with a little patience you can.
The photos and video shared here start off with the first pod I found enough to my liking to put down a base computer and settle. The encampment is a series of three huts located on a hilly world that’s more misty than swampy, really. The main hut is the “cleanest” of the lot, the other two being rather overgrown, internally. I was still able to utilize them though, placing my base teleporter just inside the entrance of one, and using the other to conceal power storage and host a bouncing blob terrarium.
“On the eve of the next generation” of game consoles (the new Sony PS5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X), Edge magazine, in issue #352 (Christmas 2020 issue), is running an article entitled “Games Of The Generation.” The piece includes a variety of industry notables sharing their pick of a game released since the arrival of the PS4 and Xbox One worthy to receive this title.
The list is comprised of 20 games, their advocates describing their reasons for bestowing such singular note upon them. Some are extremely well known — Red Dead Redemption 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Ico — while others are less so. And among them is Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky.
Soon after the launch of No Man’s Sky back in 2016, Minter began tweeting his enjoyment exploring the wild and alien, procedurally generated worlds that Hello Games had brought into being. A post on his blog from September 2106 (don’t let the title fool you) expresses the degree to which the game had impressed him. (His post was included in a list of articles reacting to No Man’s Sky on the first post made from this blog, “A Few Words About the Best Game I’ve Ever Played: ‘No Man’s Sky’”, on September 1, 2016.)
A brief excerpt from Minter’s assessment of No Man’s Sky (shown in full, above), follows.
Regarding a ‘game of the generation’, I think for me it’d have to be No Man’s Sky. Even back at the very start when there wasn’t a great deal of complex gameplay in it (and the developers were taking a right kicking for that), nonetheless I thought the style was fantastic (recreating almost perfectly the style of 1970s sci-fi book covers) and remarkably creating an explorable universe in that style was quite an amazing achievement. …
This nod from industry veteran Jeff Minter is mighty kudos, indeed, for Hello Games and the universe they have created with No Man’s Sky. And, thinking about it, this seems a rather apt post to have put together on Thanksgiving Day!
A Glimpse of a Traveller’s First Encounters in the No Man’s Sky Origins Universe
On September 23rd, No Man’s Sky Origins (v3.0) was released to much fanfare. This year’s biggest update to Hello Games’ space exploration / survival tile originally released in 2016, Origins is on the scale of previous major updates such as Beyond, NEXT, and Atlas Rises. And, as has been the case with every No Man’s Sky update (13 major updates in all), the Origins update is available to players free of charge.
What I, and many other players that have been in the game’s universe since day one, wanted most from Hello Games was an update to the game’s variation and diversity. With Origins, this is what we received.
In an IGN interview video, Hello Games chief Sean Murray explains what Origins is all about, and what it means to the studio.
The fundamental thing is that we have this universe that we built, like, four years ago and we released it and we said that thing of, “even we don’t know what’s out there.” But it was true to an extent, right? We didn’t know the kind of planets people were going to start up on and — and then actually that hasn’t been true for the last four years for us. We have a ever evolving game but that universe has been reasonably static, right? The same terrains and biomes and worlds out there to explore. We’ve kind-of calmed them down, actually. We’ve removed some of the craziness [in Atlas Rises and, to a much larger extent, NEXT]. And Origins is kind-of — yes it’s another update — but it’s kind-of a new start for us in some ways. And we wanted to get that across. That this isn’t just — this isn’t an end, it isn’t just, “here is an update with some more content in.” It’s something quite fundamental for us. … We’re adding more diversity, more variation to that universe, which is something we haven’t really done that much. But also, we’re adding, like, literal new planets and bursting them into the universe… … Technically what’s possible now, kind-of wasn’t possible for us before before. So you have really tall mountains, multiple-kilometer tall mountains, chasms, deeper oceans, deeper caves, crazier terrain — things that we wanted people to have that feeling of freshness in the universe.