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.
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.
Scanning my YouTube feed just a short while ago, I spotted a video that grabbed my attention. The video in question is entitled “My Honest Opinion On No Man’s Sky Current Procedural Generation: A Review In 2020“. Regular readers are surely aware that I have rather strong opinions on the procedural generation in No Man’s Sky and how it has changed over time. As such, I began watching to see what the video’s creator, Thunder (THTDI Inc), had to say about it.
This video spoke to me.
Fifteen minutes later, I sat down to make this post and share a wonderfully succinct take on the current state of proc gen in No Man’s Sky, its effects on exploration (as compared to that of the early days of the game), and how things could be made better for those of us that are interested primarily in exploration, above all of the other gameplay aspects that No Man’s Sky has on offer.
As a day-one player with 2,500 hours in-game, I have shared my wish, on this blog and through various other outlets, that Hello Games let the proc gen engine “off the leash” a bit in order to bring to the universe new worlds that are truly shocking, wildly alien, and, as such, extremely engaging to explore at length. In the pre-NEXT days, such worlds abounded but, as I’ve expressed previously, perhaps to a fault.
While I, personally, find many more stunning vistas in Foundation [v1.1 circa November 2016], I can’t deny that sometimes the terrain is difficult or even downright troublesome. And, the non-stunning worlds can be rather similar and fairly monotonous to encounter. This adds to the intrigue of approaching an unexplored world and wondering just is waiting on the surface as you descend through the atmosphere, because it could be something quite strange and unusual. But, then, it might just look like this.
In order to get back to that wild, no man’s land (…or sky, as it were), I have been playing Foundation 1.1 alongside the current game for the past year or so. (Tips, for anyone interested in doing so). In a post providing an update on that effort, A Progress Update From a “No Man’s Sky” Time Traveler, I concluded that, while the wild, unbounded terrain of olde makes for extremely engaging exploration, the direction that Hello Games went in the NEXT release, where worlds were made more approachable perhaps, was likely a good one for the majority of gamers out there.
Thunder, the creator of the presented video, points out that a few new biomes would indeed add variety, but unless the proc gen is allowed to vary the worlds with a wilder, more random hand, that variety will be limited. I think the ideal would be a combination of the sorts of worlds that we presently enjoy in Beyond, along with new, wilder worlds that are truly aberrant, even eerie.
Recent rumors, alongside an expiration of the patent of the Superformula, have lead to speculation that a proc gen overhaul may be in the works. Time will tell, on that front. Whatever the case, I was eager to share this video with readers and would love to hear the thoughts of others as regards the worlds of No Man’s Sky.