On the 2nd of September Hello Games released No Man’s Sky Frontiers, one of the largest updates the game has ever seen. It brought a great many additions, including the Settlements mechanic that allows people to run their own Mos Eisley-style city, a massive overhaul to base building comprised of a staggering number of entirely new and very nicely designed construction parts, and many other optimizations and quality-of-life enhancements. I am not going to try and summarize the update here; Hello Games does a pretty good job of that on their website.
Another way that Frontiers enhanced the game is by laying the groundwork for the third community Expedition that many of us had been eagerly awaiting. It’s been a few weeks since it landed and I have finished the mission, which was very enjoyable, as were the previous Expeditions — it’s an expansion to gameplay that I well appreciate.
One aspect of the launch of Expedition 3 that I particularly enjoyed was Hello Games’ inclusion of one of my in-game photos of my current Settlement on a violent, torrid world (shown at the top of this post) in the Expedition 3 release notes. Images created by /u/Consistent_Clock_120, u/BreezySaturn97, u/sByybz, /u/SpaghettiboiDudeMan, u/vestele8, u/tyrannosaur85, @Risbeak, and Zaippi, and myself were featured in the Community Spotlight section of the release page. I am thrilled to say this is the second nod that the creators of our glorious Sci-Fi universe have granted me, the Beyond Development Update 10 from April 2020 featuring a work of pixel-art that I created on a 35 year old Commodore Amiga computer.
I wanted to make a quick post sharing both my excitement for the recent updates as well as my inclusion in the No Man’s Sky Community Update. Thanks for the update as well as the mention, guys!
My daughter, who is very well aware of my more-than-passing fondness for No Man’s Sky, is quite an artist. She enjoys spending a lot of her free time sketching, painting, and otherwise creating (rather unique, in my not so humble opinion) works of art.
For Father’s Day this year, she really put a smile on my face with a card she made for me featuring a watercolor rendering of a dad and daughter pair of blobs.
Now, I know not everyone is a fan of the blob (I’m looking at you ECDMDragon (Discord)…), but I think they’re pretty cute. And clearly the girl does as well.
I thought I would share the “fan art” here and wish a belated Happy Father’s Day to all the other interloper dads across the universe.
Festooning the Wall With Vintage Sci-Fi Book Covers
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).
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.
YouTuber Ben Is Bread recently posted a video entitled Why I Needed No Man’s Sky, in which he shares his experiences playing the game after downloading it for the first time several weeks ago. Being a gamer who has run an active YouTube game channel for several years, Ben was well aware of No Man’s Sky and the travails of its launch, but had never stepped into its universe until recently. (And it’s worth noting that the video was published a week before the Origins v3.0 update landed, notably enhancing variation within the game.)
I don’t feel like I’m just playing or going through No Man’s Sky, I feel like I’m actively engaging and experiencing it … At the end of the day I feel something playing this game.
The video spoke deeply to me and certainly resonated with my own feelings surrounding the game. That you are reading this post on my No Man’s Sky blog, you probably have some idea of the regard I have for the game.
And, so, I wanted to share this video with those who feel likewise, as well as those who have not yet had the chance to see how they feel about No Man’s Sky.
What kept me constantly fascinated with this game was the joy and satisfaction I found in discovering and exploring the crazy hostile and beautiful worlds this game creates… There were just so many points in my journey where I would stop exploring, stop mining, stop looking for materials and — just take in the experience. No one else had ever been here. No one else had ever stepped on this planet and seen what I’d seen.
For right now, in a stressful and confusing time, where so often we can feel trapped and helpless, it’s incredible to be able to explore, to discover, to have curiosity and wonder what lies just over the horizon…
Last week I shared the second “tiny home” planetary base I’ve built since deciding it would be fun to create these cozy little dwellings all over the galaxy. Well, galaxies, I should say; my first two bases were located in the Eissentam galaxy, while this latest can be found in Euclid, on PC, in Normal mode.
For this base, I chose a rainy, rocky fungal world with low-slung mountains, carved deeply with caves and outcroppings, that stretch off into the horizon. The sentinels are frenzied and often come knocking for a visit… This world’s rock formations are so distinct and pronounced that it wasn’t hard to find an interesting spot to build, once I identified the general area where I wanted to build.
In doing so, I utilized a short guide by Redditor u/Cheater42, entitled “Banish The Sun: How to locate your base where the sun never sets,” which caught my interest a few days before this build. Following the guide, in about 25 minutes I had found the vicinity of one of the planets poles, and then set about looking around for a particularly interesting spot. In short order I had located two facing outcroppings of rock that allowed me to build my base in a sort-of “bridge” arrangement. The planetary coordinates of the base are +24.80, +107.85 (but I don’t feel that these correspond with the polar area of other planets).
Just a brief post to give my appreciation to Hello Games for featuring my Amiga pixelart drawing in the Community Spotlight section of their latest Development Update. I posted about the drawing in question not long ago on this blog, and apparently, through some avenue, it landed in front of the Hello Games team and was met with fondness.
Yesterday, Sean Murray tweeted out the Development Updates page, and several Twitter followers were quick to alert me to the inclusion of my fan art in their release. It was a lovely thing to see, for me.
It’s always fun to paint on the 35-year-old Amiga 1000, but this sketch wasn’t the first No Man’s Sky project I’ve carried out on this, my favorite of vintage computers. About two years ago I transformed my favorite NMS travel photos to Amiga format images and created a slideshow that ran on this same Amiga. I made a blog post and video of the project and it seems Sean Murray was impressed.
Now all we need is an Amiga port of the game… Well, I’m not going to hold my breath on that one. 🙂
A Pixel Art Doodle on a 35 Year Old Graphics Machine
I am now into the second week of teleworking (I prefer “working from home”) in response to the pandemic sweeping the world, presently. As such, when work winds down I try to find something to engage in down in the basement Byte Cellar (so named due to the associated blog).
Yesterday, after work, I decided to fire up my Amiga 1000, which I often use for BBSing these days, and started to play around a bit in Deluxe Paint III. I spent hundreds of hours drawing pixel art in DPaint III in the late ’80s, and an initial scribble turned into a couple of hours of working on a No Man’s Sky space theme piece. I posted it to Reddit and it was rather well received, so I thought I would share it here. It’s certainly not my strongest work (well, “strong” isn’t the word for anything I’ve done in this arena, to be sure) but it’s the first thing I’ve drawn on the Amiga in many years.
I started playing No Man’s Sky on launch day on the PS4, and a few weeks later I decided to build a gaming PC in order to play at a higher resolution and framerate. Among the parts I ordered for the build was a Corsair keyboard with Cherry MX Red linear keyswitches. Cherry Reds are ideal for gaming, but make any sort of actual typing a rather unpleasant affair. For quite a while I had been wanting to switch over to a board with a somewhat more tactile feel.
The other day, I ran across a reddit post showing a keyboard with an uncommon feature: a small OLED display. The display works in conjunction with driver software to provide status information from supported apps, but it also can be used to display a static image or animated GIF*. The user that made the post is an Elite:Dangerous fan and showed an animated GIF of the wireframe Cobra Mark III ship from the 1984 original Elite on his keyboard display. I quickly realized it would be fun to use that display for some sort of No Man’s Sky image or animation. So, I finally replaced the PC’s keyboard with a Steelseries Apex 7 TKL board with Brown switches, providing a subtle tactile feel. (I am something of a keyboard hound, actually.)
The new keyboard has quite a nice feel and its little 128×40-pixel OLED display is a fun little feature.
After the board arrived, I sat down and made a little pixel-artNo Man’s Sky-inspired scrolling GIF and loaded it onto the keyboard. It’s definitely fun to glance down from the screen and see my ever-scrolling homage to the game, there on the board’s little display. I’ll soon put a few other graphics together for the display, in time, to add to what’s already out there.
I felt readers might enjoy this little exercise. Download the animated GIF if you’re a Traveller with a Steelseries keyboard.