[ NOTE: This post might be considered to be a bit of a spoiler. Be warned! ]
I remember the first time it happened. I was mining rocks on some planet’s surface in order to load up on Pure Ferrite and Ferrite Dust for a base I was putting together. After a while at this tedious task — lo and behold — the rock I was mining sprang legs and started to run away from me! I was hundreds of hours in the game before seeing this, and it jarred me, taking me completely by surprise. Doing a little research for this post, I see that these “Sentient Minerals” are a thing that was announced in the No Man’s Sky Visions (v1.75) update, back in November 2018. They attempt to flee the heat of a mining laser and, if you can catch them, provide concentrated resource rewards. (Somehow I had missed that detail on the Visions release page way back when.)
Since then, I’ve encountered these fleeting boulders a handful of times in the game, but it’s still a rare thing. Not nearly as rare, however, as something I saw in a screenshot posted about a year ago on one of the social media feeds.
The screenshot in question showed a floor panel held high in the air above a planet’s surface by four gigantic legs, apparently running away from the player. The poster indicated that they were mining the rocks sitting within a decorative planter in a side room (which requires an Atlas Pass v2 to enter) of an Observatory building when not just the rock but the building itself sprouted legs and began to walk away. It was an absurd looking situation, and I wasn’t sure whether the poster was using some mod to get the effect, or if what was reported actually had happened in the game. Since then, however, I’ve gone out of my way to mine any rocks I’ve encountered inside Observatories, sadly with no dramatic results.
Until this weekend, that is, when all that mining paid off. When it happened, it was even more of a jump scare than my encounter with that first fleet-footed rock, despite the fact that I was specifically trying to get the Observatory to sprout legs with said mining. A couple of rocks into it, the room fell away and I was outside, four enormous legs towering high above me. The floor panel of the room I had been standing in was aloft and on the move. I chased after it, but it disappeared after getting some distance on me.…