A useful primer on Hello Games’ incredible PS4 space odyssey
Hello PlayStation Blog! I’m Alex, from Hello Games. Hope you’re well! How’s your summer going? Ours? We’re kinda recovered from E3, where Sean showed off live No Man’s Sky gameplay for the first time. It has been a BIG RELIEF that people seemed to like it. You can’t know just how scary it is to show a game as open-ended as No Man’s Sky live on a stage for an audience of millions.
Since then, we’ve also been super proud that IGN have devoted July’s IGN First to No Man’s Sky. We hope you’ve had a chance to see some of the amazing articles that they’ve published, maybe including this 18-minute video of Sean exploring a planet.
We’ve been thinking, though, that No Man’s Sky is pretty good at hiding its secrets, and that there there are some facts about the game that might not be so obvious, facts that help it all make sense, and come alive. So we’ve put together a list of 35 things about the game that you might not realise. We hope you enjoy them, and thanks so much for all your support. It’s been so amazing to share with you what we’ve been doing over the past few months :)
Things about space
- The universe isn’t actually infinite
Computers don’t really do infinity very well. But there are 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets in the universe. If you visit each one for a single second, it will take you 585 billion years to see them all, so it may as well be.
- The universe isn’t random
Everything exists for a reason, and is governed by maths. Maths means every detail is always consistent and makes sense, the result of hundreds of rules we’ve made to make a sci-fi universe we want to explore. And anyway, computers just aren’t very good at random, either. Watch a video that explains how it works here.
- The universe isn’t stored on your hard disk or on a server
The world around you is generated by your PS4 at the point you visit it. Leave and it’s all thrown away, but if you return it is generated again exactly as it was. This also means the game will be completely playable offline.
- No Man’s Sky isn’t an MMO
The sheer size of the universe means that everyone is going to be super far apart, and it’s super unlikely that people will even visit the same planets.
- There are bots exploring the universe right now
We have sent a set of bots out into the void to send back to us gifs of planets. We can quickly review the gifs, lots at a time, to see what kinds of things are out there, and ensure it’s varied and interesting. Here’s a tiny selection of what’s out there.
- There isn’t a story to follow
There are no cutscenes or characters, but there is a big objective: get to the centre of the universe. We don’t want to tell you a story, we want you to tell your own. No Man’s Sky is about your journey.
- You will make true discoveries
Be the first to visit a planet, or be the first to scan a species of creature, and you will be recorded as its discoverer when you upload it at a beacon for all the world to see. You can also choose to name them. (There will be filters!)
- The Atlas is everything everyone has ever discovered
The No Man’s Sky symbol stands for the database of all the things that players have discovered and chosen to share with the world. It’s perhaps the most important thing in the universe, and will contain findings that even we have no idea about.
- You’ll find ancient artefacts and crashed ships
They may lead to you discovering new technologies, which can give your ship, suit and multitool new or improved abilities.
- A jetpack is an explorer’s best friend
It can get you out of all sorts of trouble, and take you to places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.
- Planets are defined by their position in space
If they’re close to their sun they’ll tend to be more barren; further away and they’ll tend to be cold. The planets in between tend to be richer with life.
- Most planets are barren
Few planets will be dense with plant life and animals. Most will be barren, but even barren planets can be sources of great wealth.
- Planets can be toxic
Some planets are deathtraps, with radiation or other hazards that will kill you in minutes. To survive you’ll need to upgrade your suit.
- Every distant mountain is a real place
No Man’s Sky doesn’t only generate the environment immediately around you. It also generates the whole planet at a lower level of detail, so every distant object on the horizon is a real place that you can go to.
- Planets have days and nights
Fly down to the night side of a planet, and you’ll find the land in darkness. Different creatures will be awake while daytime creatures sleep.
- It’s worth upgrading your ship
Ships offer varying capacity for being upgraded, whether speed, manoeuvrability, jump drive range or weapon power.
- You can only have one ship at a time
Choose a ship that suits what you want to do, whether trading (large cargo capacity), fighting (good speed and weapons) or exploring (a long jump drive distance). Want to do something new? You can always get a new one.
- You’ll shop for new ships
Space stations sell a rolling stock of ships. If you see one you want, you’ll need to grab it before new stock comes in.
- You won’t be left without a ship
If you die and have no money, a basic ship is always available for free. It won’t have a hyperdrive, but you’ll be able to fly to planets again to rebuild.
- You need fuel
You can fly for as long as you like in a star system, but to make jumps between systems you’ll need hyperdrive fuel, which you can buy from space stations or mine from planet surfaces.
- You can get a wanted level
Upsetting the balance of planets by mining them too heavily or killing creatures will see you being hunted down by the Sentinels, and attacking craft in space will attract the attention of the police. The more you do, the stronger they will retaliate.
- The Sentinels aren’t everywhere
Not every planet is policed, making these lawless playgrounds valuable sources of resources.
- Space is not quiet
Factions constantly vie for territory across the entire universe. Choose to help one faction and it may reward you. Attack another and it’ll remember. But you can also try to avoid conflict completely.
- You can side with factions
If you’re friendly enough with a faction, it can provide you with support that might protect you as you face its rivals.
- Your multitool is an adaptable weapon
Multitools have a basic firing mode, but some come with different, more powerful attacks, or you might find technologies to upgrade them.
- Death isn’t the end
But it’s a problem. If you die on a planet, you’ll find yourself revived back at your ship having lost items you hadn’t stowed and discoveries you hadn’t uploaded. If you die in space, you find yourself revived at the nearest space station, without your ship, items and discoveries.
- Planets are populated by unique creatures
Creatures are procedurally generated, with wildly varying shapes, sizes, colourations and behaviours. You will discover countless new species on your journey.
- Animal calls are procedurally generated
We’ve created special software that models throats, allowing animal calls to be defined by the shape and sizes of their bodies. Every planet’s soundscape is unique. Learn about how it works here.
- Animals may attack you
But think twice about retaliating. If Sentinels see you kill a creature they’ll attack you. It’s often best to try to scare creatures or run away, and preserve the natural balance of the planet.
- Animals follow daily routines
They will go down to bodies of water to drink and sleep at night, while others will only come out at dark.
- Some animals hunt others
You’ll see food chains in action, with species being predated by others. You might find that you’re far from being at the top of the chain.
- Units are the universe’s currency
You’ll earn Units for many things: selling resources at trading posts, shooting down pirates, uploading discoveries to the Atlas.
- Market prices for resources vary
You might find lucrative trade routes, mining in one system and selling in another. It might be worth investing in a ship with lots of cargo space to take full advantage. Here’s a video about trading.
- Space is busy with trade convoys
Freighters, led by capital ships, steadily travel along trade routes, sending ships down to trading posts as they go. You can choose to attack them and steal their resources, but you’ll find them heavily defended, and pirates might have the same idea…
- Resources aren’t just for trading
You’ll need them to craft technologies into upgrades. The rarest resources can only be found in certain types of system.
- Efficient mining requires certain upgrades
Your multitool can always destroy resource crystals, but you’ll need to upgrade it to mine resources held in harder rock. Perhaps there are technologies that will provide greater yields…
- 37. It has amazing music
65daysofstatic are Sean’s favourite band, and they’re making No Man’s Sky’s soundtrack album. We are incredibly excited about this.
- We held a concert at PlayStation Experience
65daysofstatic came to Las Vegas with us and played a concert. It was incredible. Watch it here.
- The music will be procedural
65daysofstatic’s soundtrack will be used to generate procedural music that’s influenced by where you are and what you’re doing. Full songs will play at specific points, but we’ll leave it to you to discover when and why…
- No Man’s Sky was inspired by classic sci-fi
Especially those amazing, vibrant book covers, which presented a vision of a future that wasn’t grim and in which technology and exploration were points of hope. Here’s a video about those inspirations.
- Four people built what we showed for the announcement
You can read about the game’s history here. Since then, the No Man’s Sky team has grown, but only a little, to 13 people. We like it real small.
Things about exploring
Things about planets
Things about ships
Things about combat
Things about creatures
Things about the economy
Things about the game
Find out more here.