A Day-One Player’s Opinion on the Procedural Generation of “No Man’s Sky” in 2020
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.