## Reality Check - How Does No Man's Sky Actually Work!?

Cam investigates the question we've all been wondering: how does the procedurally generated world of No Man's Sky actually work?

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Flex those mental muscles and join Cam Robinson on a journey of discovery in Reality Check, the show that investigates the science behind your favourite games, and spawns a few wild theories of its own.

Schedule: Thursdays at 12pm PT

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loon86

I've heard there is a maximum speed at which you could "travel" in this virtual universe, so it wouldn't bottleneck the hardware, specifically to avoid loading screens. We also have a maximum speed in "our reality" - what is generally called the speed of light. Makes me wonder about things.

Look up random number generation "seeds". Minecraft uses them, as do RTS games and just practically any game with randomness. If you keep the seed value which can be as short or long or as complex as you want it, you can effectively reconstruct the same exact gameworld. I mean, try doing this in Minecraft (supplied two boxes run the same version of Minecraft). You'll get the same output.

A seed is generally a single number or string, or trather any piece of binary information. A seed of 12345678 will be different than a seed 45689245. In fact these seeds may also not be used in random generation but in strict formulas as well, like face generation. There are games that will develop a "seed" for your player characters face as you modify the face. Pasting this seed will always reconstruct the same face. "ABC" may refer to type A eyes, type B hair and type C nose. If you had a string like "ABghgr564545hg" you'll create a more complex face, but it must mean each letter has a meaning.

Same is true for No Man's Sky. A string of "5456489hjghfty" will craft a different planet than "6456hggyrt21". So as you can see, they can store a lot of info in relatively little space since storing "6456hggyrt21" is much less expensive than the entire world geometry and textures and variables, etc. This string is the "input" Sean Murray talks about (in it's most basic form, there could in fact be several of these to a planet, or several of these to various things on the planet) but the point is, these are what they store.

itchyflop

Are there any hostile(s)? Its not land, look round and do the same again somewhere else? its a great concept.

the2ndvalentine

I think this game sounds awesome. I don't know what it's about and if the gameplay will get boring after awhile, but I've been buying recycled COD, BF, and AC games for years. It will be good to support this type of game and maybe other bigger teams will jump on board and make other games like this.

hemoleech

When he talked about adding flowers around the trees and it affected everything, it reminds me of the books of Myst, where the author of a book would change a little detail of an Age and i would cause dramatic changes in the world.

Wensea10

I just found out what this game is and what I see is that there is plenty of activities to do in a huge universe in a more interesting method.

RaidersNTime

As I already mentioned in an earlier post. This sounds promising but the question remains what kind of game is it? This sounds a lot like a Space Sim.  Which would seem to get a bit repetitive after a time. This seems to be limited to an exploratory type of format. Kinda similar to Eco the Dolphin.  I can understand what they are trying to do here and it's an interesting concept. God only knows we have been needing this type of game on consoles for a long time. However on the flip side of things I think this may be a missed opportunity.

How much interaction would you have and how would that effect your choices and decisions you make later? Randomly generated worlds might save on development time. However how this plays into the overall storyline remains to be seen. What type of planet ecosystem is in place?

Are some planets more mineral rich for mining purposes? Some maybe have some rare earth materials for powering warp drives on destroyers or Capital Ships. Maybe some others which are valuable in the space trade market. Can you call in support on a planet that is being attacked by a opposing faction?

Better yet being able to join the fleet which is on it's way to support a shipment of materials weapons, food or otherwise to your base of operations. Maybe even join other command fleets to coordinate a counterattack on an enemy's base or command center. This has epic written all over it but I don't think this is that ambitious. That's unfortunate as this looks like a beautiful game but without some direction or narrative it will just be lost on most people. Maybe I will be surprised but as it stands i am not to impressed at the moment.

shodanv2

What happens if you destroy the tree?

rohitv2312

is there a way to support this game?

xXl_z3r0_lXx

You kids need to chill out and stop being so damn negative about everything.

X-tract

I remain skeptical about this game... It just sounds too good to be true, especially with such a small crew working on it.

I'd love for the game to prove me wrong, but for now I'm going to say that this is not going to live up to its hype.

"Hope is the first step on the road of disappointment"

ginobili1

@X-tract I agree. This looks too good to be true. I'd rather have Sony put more people on this game as it is their exclusive and try to make it the way they are advertising. But if it does come like this, and I sure hope it does, then it will be one hell of a game.

Best of luck to all the geniuses at Hello games. And great video as always Cam.

lilflipp

This almost looks too good to be true, too ambitious to control.

Apofis_SG-1

Thats the first time I see this game. I heard about it but didnt bothered myself to see what it is. And damn, this game looks awesome.

Dannystaples14

I wonder how long it takes to play before the feeling of familiarity starts to creep in?

I know he said that they don't create worlds randomly as such, they actually put thought and calculations into each world to make it look natural BUT your movement from one planet to another and the generation of that planet IS random.

Like for example when you enter a system that system will be locked down, but move to another and the next system would be created at random again and then locked down. As with anything random there is always a chance that you go from one red planet at x distance from the sun with y rotation speed and z axis tilt that has the knock on effect of generating the wildlife and terrain to another red planet with similar x, y and z variables generating similar terrain and wildlife.

The game will be wonderful when you first get into it, seeing things you've never seen before but how much variety is ultimately possible will all depend on the developers attention to the physical parameters they have decided to use and how much each of those variables effects every other variable. In real life every parameter will effect most others on a continuous scale, but have they locked it onto a discontinuous scale for computational reasons? If they have they have quite drastically reduced the variety possible overall.

The difference between one world with a TINY tweak in one variable is probably going to look pretty much the same as the world before the tweak. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

hitomo

first they get your trust by acting like one of you, end then they use this trust to force the paid opinions down your ... what ever

bicelis

@hitomo Yes, a 10 people studio is paying one of the biggest gaming websites to advertise a game on the website's own feature called "The Next Big Game" specifically created to highlight new upcoming interesting games...
Logic, not for everyone

krys_luzzi

The way the do this is quite beautiful, and making sure the whole team is on the same page is equally spectacular. I venture that they have certain rules that they've calculated, like all kinds of special glasses you put on while working on a particular scope of the game.

For example, a game artist might say to himself, "Hey I just made animal "X", which is great but I'm not done yet! I know I still need to define variances on my animal [like spot colors, or mutation/breedability] in a wide range of situations by regressing animal "X" in terms of world "A" with a result, lying within range "Y<--->Z". And any instance's particular result, that are within range "Y<---->Z" is ADDITIONALLY connected to other by multipliers and regressions to other equations, such as regressing "world A" to "vegetation B".

In a nutshell, any particular equation, has a variable who is also the result of another equation for another scope, almost like a tunneling network universe. My guess is they started making the rulebook, with one equation on the most micro level (actually, probably many co-equations) and another (or others) on the most macro level, all of which with interval/range results.  And use permutations and combinations of the macro/micro equations to fill in whatever's in between while ensuring the equilibrium of the most micro/macro equations is adherent to the production team's desires.

I don't blame them for getting a god complex when they created a universe. I mean when you're isolated like that day after day working on a universe and it becomes self-propagating and sustainable like that--->you'd feel quite godly. I mean, I'll admit it...I probably would feel quite godly myself too.

Wouldn't you?

-K

SaintsRowLA

Hey Cam,

Talk to any 'good' accountant and they'll tell you:

How much is 45 + 62?  How much do you want it to equal?

oldtobie

I don't like to use this word, but holy hell is this video pretentious.  With the whole "oh it's not random, it's procedural" crap, implying "randomly generated" games like Minecraft and Endless Space don't use mathematical algorithms, they're just trying to put themselves above other games in the genre by pretending that they've created something new.  ALL randomly generated games can be considered procedural.  Every single one.  Then they just rant for ten minutes about this idea trying to shove it down everyone's throats how incredibly unique and different and better they are.  Horrible.

g0nz0j03

@oldtobie You're getting hung up on a very small part of clarifying semantics.  As you say, all randomly generated games can be considered procedurally generated, but more specifically, any game that is described as randomly generated is not described accurately.  Random generation and procedural generation are distinctly different things and he was just pointing that out.  I don't know how ten minutes of a high level discussion of their algorithms constitutes a rant?

I did find it lacking in some regard though, as they implied that the same seed would automatically be used for multiple players in a single world but didn't describe whether or not persistent change would be a factor.

oldtobie

My point was that they are trying to imply that they are the only people who have done something like this. THEY are using procedure. THEY aren't random. THEY are different. There is a clear implication that they are doing something never successfully attempted before, and the smug ways they present this idea is just awful.

GrahamZ

@oldtobie As I pointed out in another thread regarding the same game, procedural content is about as old as computer gaming itself. Some of the earliest games from pre-PC days contained procedural content:  Rogue (the grandfather of all roguelikes and rpgs), and Empire (the grandfather of most 4X and war games) both had procedural content.  What makes this game different is not procedural content, but the scale and complexity of that content.  Truly, most mainstream developers abandoned procedural content for a long time in favor of hand-designed content, simply because creating INTERESTING procedural content that feels natural and non-repetitive is hard.

And yes, ALL random content is procedural -- as I pointed out, the only difference between what this game is doing and what most other games with procedural content do is that this game will only use a single seed, whereas others have multiple possible seeds so that no two games/worlds/dungeons are alike.  I do agree with you that it's very misleading.

I'm not saying that this game won't be pioneering,  But the word 'procedural' alone is not what makes it so.. Computer gaming has a long history of procedurally generated worlds

muttw7

@g0nz0j03 Your second paragraph is the thing that immediately popped into my head as I was watching this video. Do your actions have a persistent impact on the universe? If that large space ship crashes on the snow world, will the wreckage still be there next time you visit? If you burn down the tree will it be back in the exact same place when you return? It looks like they might be sacrificing the ability to permanently effect the world in favor of scale.

This still looks like a great game though. I'm definitely going to be watching this one closely.

perfect_player1

@muttw7 @g0nz0j03 Oldtobie, you say they think no other game has done what they have. Well no, no other game has. Do you realise there's over 9 to the power 19 planets? And Procedural and Random are different to a point, why? Because Procedural makes sure it doesn't make mistakes.

pweidman

Simply fascinating video piece. These guys at Hello Games are really pushing some game design boundaries. I know procedural programming has been used in games like Spore but the scale being employed here is just astonishing.

Congrats to Gamespot on some of the best content in this series about NMS I've seen in quite a while. Danny boy you done good!

GIANT WORMSSSSSSSSSS :D

OMG :D

Freelancer1

After seeing all the reviews, SPORE came in mind :)...I mean it's like SPORE RE-Made but from a FPS/ADVENTURE/SPACESIM like style.

hammerfall22

Looks real good! Nice to know that is not random, and it is not make by hand, but a procedural (= a lot of good diversity). I really want to see this game.

But... I don`t know.... I just hope that the "game itself" works. I mean... will be a good use of all this stuff? Will be a reason to visit a lot of planets/places?

kristianhansso1

@hammerfall22 Apparently you can upgrade your character and ship using different resources that you find on different planets AND you might find stuff like an alien base or maybe ancient ruins of a long lost civilazation, apparently you must upgrade your speed and range of the spaceship if you want to travel long distances. In addition there is apparently something ''secret'' in the center of the universe. There is also (as seen in the video) going to be wars between generated factions.

neverenoughpl

That's interesting in philosophical point of view. I like the idea that to much power allowing to create everything everywhere leads to a self-destructive universe.

So, if we consider those game algorithms as kind of transcendent creative cosmic force that built Universe we live in, we definitely should state that those couldn't be made out of randomness - that Something predefined them so the Universe could survive (maybe in an enormous life circle) and not destruct itself.

What was it? Creature with intentions? A God?

Phoenix2518

@neverenoughpl The difference is that algorithms don't exist without an intelligence driving force - the humans that design them - whereas the universe might. Additionally, here the algorithms are designed to mimic natural phenomena in our universe. Taking algorithms and applying them back to the universe they're derived from leads to circular logic.

lunaticjetman

WOW! I have been waiting for somone to do something like this, with everything generated through intertwined algortihms, instead of say having a huge staff creating the sandboxes of the so called "AAA games. Having said so I am still in awe and it is still very impressive and interesting to hear about it, more so than the resulting game product. I bet that this approach will be useful for other applications as well in the future even if the game does not deliver. Of course there are some quite major rules in there that they have implemented that potentially limits the possibilties, but hey even our universe seems to run on rules to some extent, based on our accumulated knowledge. Just think about it, keep implementing rules and intertwines and it is soon a evolution/galaxy simulator. Anyway, kudos to the developers for going in their own and way more elegant direction than the brute force AAA and good luck to them on the remaining path to finishing the game.

mesomorphin

This is literally fucking amazing! thank GOD its only a timed exclusive.

kids thats how a real developer looks like....

full of passion and pure AWESOMENESS

moronsmartypant

Good job operating the camera sebby! you even had two assistants... earn that money!

spoonmanx

This game is beautiful and seems like a prime candidate for Sony Morpheus VR support.

ne0meg4

It's ingenious in its simplicity

losstoney

i got to ask ... are there planets with really big monsters ??? like you look in the water and there is a monster the size off a island ?