Community Event #31: The Event That Wasn’t. Sort Of. (It Was Pretty, Though.)

Community Event #31: The Event That Wasn’t. Sort Of. (It Was Pretty, Though.)

Last weekends Community Event was a rather unique affair in that it’s the Community Event that didn’t really happen. Not for most, at any rate, it seems.

Hello Games indicated in a May 29 news release that the weekend missions are going on hiatus in preparation of a new content insertion. A tweet from Greg Buchanan first verified that. Yet, when I walked up to the Nexus in the Anomaly on Sunday, I saw a 1,200 Quicksilver mission waiting.

It appears that the event was used as a test case for the replacement of the network backend of the game that landed in the June 5th update to the Steam PC Experimental branch (a beta version) of No Man’s Sky that was also release on Xbox One via the Xbox Insider Hub service. The update brought a number of things, the main being groundwork for network crossplay across across all platforms. This update went public today in an update for all platforms.

Given that the only people participating in the event were those who opted in on the beta versions for the two aforementioned platforms meant that it was a somewhat lonely affair, but the event world was so striking to me that I wanted to share a video I captured playing through it. The standout item is an amazing base reconstruction of the Eiffel Tower just a short distance from the portal into the world.

It seems that weekend missions across all platforms will soon resume, accompanied by new lore / story content. Until then, enjoy this glimpse of the event that sort of wasn’t. The portal glyphs of this world can be seen below.

Does Expired Patent of the “Superformula” Tie to Rumors of More Alien Worlds in “No Man’s Sky”?

Does Expired Patent of the “Superformula” Tie to Rumors of More Alien Worlds in “No Man’s Sky”?

[ NOTE: This post contains references to allegedly leaked information about upcoming versions of the game and, as such, should be viewed as a spoiler post. Be warned. ]

On June 5th, Hello Games updated the Steam (PC) Experimental Branch of No Man’s Sky with an update several gigabytes in size. (The Experimental Branch is a beta version of the game that Steam players can opt into in order to see the latest features and help Hello Games work out the kinks by providing feedback and bug reports.) The patch notes for this release say only:

  • Replaced networking back end.
  • Upgraded to OpenVR 1.10.30.

Upon receiving this update, Experimental Branch players began seeing little platform icons attached to players wandering around in the Anomaly (a networked area of the game). Hello Games also released this beta version of the game (or a similar version) for the Xbox One via the Xbox Insider Hub, a Microsoft service that allows users to opt into betas, akin to Steam’s beta option. Players on both platforms running these betas are seeing each other, with appropriate platform icon, in the Anomaly at the same time. This, along with a host of platform icons discovered in the beta release by data miners, clearly speaks to some level of cross-platform gameplay on the way.

Now, since May 19th we’ve known that new content of some sort was on the way, thanks to a tweet from author / scriptwriter Greg Buchanan who was behind the (great) Artemis storyline from 2017’s Atlas Rises update to No Man’s Sky. On May 29th, Hello Games posted the Beyond Development Update 11 page on their website, detailing a number of new things going on in the game, including mention of a content-related hiatus to the weekend missions.

Beginning this weekend, there will be a short pause between seasons of weekend missions. These will be returning very soon, featuring new story content we’re really enjoying from one of the writers on Atlas Rises.

(There actually was a mission this past weekend, but it appears that it may have been a test of the new networking back end / cross-play and only visible to those running beta versions on Steam and Xbox One.)

The following day, an anonymous post appeared on 4chan (let me pass the salt) entitled “No Man’s Sky summer update leaked details.” Within, the poster claims that according to his/her source, a content update is imminent and that it will tease out details of what is to come in a larger summer update. I am not going to print all of the details that were mentioned, here, but will say that what caught my particular interest is the suggestion that this coming update is “heavily focused on pro[c]gen” (procedural generation), with the indication,

…my source has told me that hello games have been working on ambitious things with their procgen and will improve terrain diversity and formations. new biomes will be introduced & more “alien” planets.

Additionally, data mining efforts of Procedural Traveller on the June 5th PC Experimental release reveal several findings that seem to backup the notion of new biomes on the way. (It is worth bearing in mind, however, that there are some items found in the data from even years past that have not come to fruition in the game.) Also, a number of mild visual / rendering changes have already been observed by myself and others in the PC Experimental version.

The reason that this struck a chord with me is the fact that just last month, the patent for the “Superformula,” created by Belgian biologist Johan Gielis, expired.

The Superformula (image: Johan Gielis / Botanical Society of America)

The Superformula is, as Gielis describes it, “A generic geometric transformation that unifies a wide range of natural and abstract shapes.” It is basically a modified take on an equation that describes a unit circle. The equation contains a number of variables and the geometric shape that it generates depends on the particular combination of values plugged into it.

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Devil’s Spire Lookout: “Tiny Home” Base Number Five

Devil’s Spire Lookout: “Tiny Home” Base Number Five

Last week I shared my fourth “tiny home” base, built on a cold, dead moon. While traveling around the system system, gathering resources for the construction, I discovered another moon that grabbed my attention. It suffers particularly violent and frequent firestorms, is decorated by towers of rock rising from its surface, and is sliced through by the ring system of the parent planet — the same planet, in fact, that holds last week’s base moon in orbit. Naturally, I had to build there, on the sister moon of last week’s base.

Whenever I encounter the rare spectacle of a moon sliced through by the ring system of its parent planet, I go in for a closer look in the vicinity of the line of intersection. As I flew close to the surface alongside the ring, I observed frequent towers of stone rising from the ground (that is to say, when the firestorms that blocked all visibility remained at bay). After a few minutes of making close passes to these towers, I noticed one that looked jagged, oddly formed — an aberrant spire. Setting down for a closer look, I observed an interesting sort-of crescent shape to it as observed from above. It seemed a perfect place to try out a tiny base comprised of multiple small units.

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Moon Base: Disco 1 – A (Tiny) Patch of Color on a Dark, Dead World

Moon Base: Disco 1 – A (Tiny) Patch of Color on a Dark, Dead World

This week, I left behind my third “tiny home” planetary base at the north pole of a fungal moon (where sunsets are not known) and began construction of Moon Base: Disco 1 on the Life-Incompatible Moon of a large Bone Spire planet.

I was struck by the amazing view this barren world afforded of the ring system of its host planet. I explored large stretches of its surface until I came to a breathtaking area where the ring system soared above like a milky, illuminated ceiling. It was just then that I noticed a dark tower of sorts rising above the horizon. After setting down, examination revealed it to contain no door, window, or feature of any sort. Its sides, I observed, extend in the precise ratio of 1 : 4 : 9 (the squares of 1, 2, and 3).

I took this to be a fortuitous discovery, and chose a nearby location to build my base.

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The Sun Never Sets on My Third “Tiny Home” Planetary Base

The Sun Never Sets on My Third “Tiny Home” Planetary Base

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).

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Continuing My “Tiny Home” Base Undertaking, I Present My Second Effort

Continuing My “Tiny Home” Base Undertaking, I Present My Second Effort

Last weekend I shared the first in what I expect to be a long list of “tiny home” planetary base builds to come. After completing the last, I moved on from that lush and violent, purple world to a desert moon that I had visited several months earlier and saved in my records. It is tormented by frequent dust storms that cause the atmosphere to take on a particularly ominous aspect, which is what made the world stand out to me when I first discovered it. And the sentinels are on high alert.

Upon returning to this dusty moon, I spent some time flying over different parts of it in order to find a spot with a nice view of the orbital planet, as well as dense and varied flora. I think I did alright in this regard, in the end.

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A Look at My “Forever Starship,” Found Way Back in NMS 1.0

A Look at My “Forever Starship,” Found Way Back in NMS 1.0

On Saturday, October 29, 2016 (at about 9:52am) I found my forever starship. It’s a fighter, of silver and red.

This was in the original release of the game, when crashed ships were everywhere and you could grab one, fly off, find another, and repeat — usually jumping up a notch in slot capacity every time. That dynamic ended a few weeks later, though, when the Foundation update landed.

I present this post as a pictorial of one of the very nicest looking ships I’ve encountered in the game in my nearly 2,500 hours in, but also as a sort-of bug post aid for Hello Games because, as you can see, with the release of Beyond, the wing nacelle color treatment has become anti-symmetric; the color of one wing engine evolved to not match the other over the course of a few updates. I have only seen this in fighters with this particular wing arrangement, known as Wing_K (and quite a few other than mine: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4). I’ve reported the issue to Hello Games via the ticket page, but it is, as yet, unaddressed. [Update: Skel#8634 (Discord) let me know that there is a mod that partially works around this issue, for PC users who want to give it a try.]

It is interesting (this issue aside) to see how the design of a ship’s features has evolved over the nearly four years since No Man’s Sky launched, especially the extraordinary details that have been added in recent updates. With the release of Beyond, the scale of the game’s ships increased significantly, a move necessitated by the addition of VR gameplay. This allowined for greatly more intricate details to be put in place. The ships, today, look incredible and far more refined than they did “at birth.”

No Man’s Sky 1.0x – October 29, 2016
No Man’s Sky 1.0x – November 6, 2016
No Man’s Sky Foundation – January 15, 2017

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Community Event #27 : A Pearl of a Weekend Quicksilver Quest

Community Event #27 : A Pearl of a Weekend Quicksilver Quest

No Man’s Sky Community Event #27 took place this past weekend on a lush world with skies and grass of blue. The event was centered at the site of a crashed starship. Upon arrival, players found the wrecked hull of the downed ship aglitter with a strange static energy. The sickly smell of scorched hair and flesh emanated through the waves of static. A demand was heard — and a threat. The hunt for Albumen Pearls commenced.

I participated in the event in the early afternoon of Sunday the 3rd and saw much activity on the ground and in the skies as other interlopers labored to quell the demands of the static anomaly. As well, a more than usual number of player bases had been constructed across the surface of the event planet, and other planets in the system. Some of those I visited were quite impressive in their design and construction. And some were well-stocked with a certain, particular type of flora that made things a little easier for those accepting the assistance… (And this weekend, that was me.)

The accompanying video shows some of the highlights of the weekend event, as I experienced it.

It’s great to rake in that Quicksilver, as a player who recently resurrected a two-year-running Eissentam galaxy save file that sat dormant since NEXT landed in 2018, and is trying to secure all the base adornments. But, the real fun of these events, for me, is seeing other players doing their thing, along with the wild bases they inevitably create within the event system.

My First “Tiny Home” Base and a New Twist on Exploration

My First “Tiny Home” Base and a New Twist on Exploration

No Man’s Sky got base building as a play mechanic with the November 2016 release of the Foundation (1.1) update. While exploring the unknown is the thing I most enjoy doing in the game, I immediately took to base building, as it allowed you to inhabit one of the worlds you discovered — a world that really stood out, to you.

Basebuilding got even better with the arrival of the NEXT (1.5) update. NEXT provided a great many new building materials, allowing for completely new types of bases to be built, and it allowed players to build not just a single base, but many. I presently have around 15 bases between my Euclid and Eissentam galaxy saves. Some are pretty rough, some are quite nice. Some I’ve more or less abandoned.

I have shared several base walk-throughs on this blog — a few of the stand outs. But, here I am sharing the first of what I think will be many “tiny house” bases or encampments.

Oftentimes, I will discover a world that I find interesting and unique, but I’m unsure as to whether I want to put the time into actually building up a proper base on the world, though I might like to revisit it occasionally. When this happens, I usually end up jotting down a description and the coordinates in my NMS travel notebook, and moving on. (And, I rarely make it back.)

Small notebook with Atlas logo on front

Well, a short while ago on the subreddit I noticed a post by u/TempTheTempster that really stood out to me. This user shared a few photos of his “Ultra Tiny Home” base that I found clever and very well done. Cozy. Seeing this, I recalled the recent efforts of another Redditor that I had been enjoying, u/NewGodOfWar84, who has been doing a sort of one-base-a-day build series and sharing them in the sub for the past few weeks. These two things came together in my mind and it occurred to me that it would be a lot of fun to (as always) explore and, upon finding one of the aforementioned worlds that has something about it that stands out to me, build a tiny base, varying them as I can along the way. This will actually serve as a driver for deeper exploration, I think.

The base I am sharing here is located in the on an extremely violent, lush, purple world in the Eissentam galaxy, in Normal mode on PC (coordinates can be seen in one of the photos). As is plain to see, I have borrowed the base design quite heavily from u/TempTheTempster in this first build, but it will be fun to work through finding my own particular approaches to so small a planetary dwelling. I am currently building my second tiny base and will share it, or one of the next few, as my effort progresses. I hope you enjoy.

Thrilled by the Nod From Hello Games in Their Latest Development Update

Thrilled by the Nod From Hello Games in Their Latest Development Update

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.

No Man's Sky graphic shown rendered on an Amiga CRT on Hello Games' Community Spotlight website section

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. 🙂