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No Man’s Sky: A Whole Universe to Explore

Sean Murray's Avatar + Posted by Sean Murray on Aug 26, 2014 // Managing Director, Hello Games

No Man's Sky

Hello PlayStation.Blog! I’m Sean Murray, and I work at a little indie studio in the UK, making a game called No Man’s Sky on PS4. I’m writing this on a plane back from Gamescom, where we showed some press the game behind closed doors.

We’ve only done three days where we’ve talked to press about the game so far (two at E3 and one at the VGXs last year), but for an indie game we’ve had lots of interest and excitement. Something I’m still struggling to get my head around. So much so that I didn’t actually want to go to Gamescom! We’ve never actually shown any European press the game though, and we felt bad about that.

PlayStation provided a room and I gave a hundred press a demo of the game for an hour, together with a really rambling presentation… where I apparently never looked up at the crowd once.

I can’t really remember what I said, but I guess I wanted to share some stories from development, and I thought maybe you’d find them interesting, too.

No Man's SkyNo Man's Sky

We tell people No Man’s Sky is a science-fiction game, set in an infinite procedural universe. When I read sci-fi growing up, though, the thing I always wanted to experience was the feeling of touching down on a planet that no one had ever been to. To walk over the crest of an alien landscape and not know what I might find.

My favorite moment so far from making No Man’s Sky happened a few months back. David was adding four-legged creatures to the game (he insists on calling them ungulates), Hazel was adding a weather system, and Ryan was adding collision to all the trees (which is really hard when you have a whole forest full of them).

I hadn’t seen any of this, and I was flying around the universe, trying to take some screenshots. I neared the surface of a planet and suddenly it started to rain. As I was touching down I scared some deer who broke through the woods, dodging in and out of trees. Now this was jaw-dropping to me, because I’ve never seen any of these systems before, but also it felt like this was a real place I’d discovered. No one had been there before, and I didn’t know whether to shout excitedly, or just keep it to myself.

No Man's Sky on PS4

In a nutshell, moments like that are No Man’s Sky for me. Sure there is trading, combat, weapons, ships, and a core game, but really for me the quiet moments of discovery are what it’s all about.

The cool thing is that every planet has a single number, a random seed, that defines everything about that planet. A single random seed generates every blade of grass, tree, flower, creature. So as the developer I can note down the planet seed, and then just go back there any time I want. We demoed this at Gamescom, just jumping round the universe to different planets. There are no load times, because nothing needs to load, as the planets are entirely computer-generated.

Really this seed defines how many planets you can discover before things start to go a bit crazy and undefined. For us we choose a big number. We’re working to a 64-bit system, which is 2 to the power of 64… or 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 possible planets. Even if a planet is discovered every second, it’ll take 585 billion years to find them all!

Being a coder, I really enjoy the tech side of things, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is how interesting, varied, and exciting we can make this universe of ours. That’s what developing No Man’s Sky really is. It’s about filling the universe.

The procedural technology does lots of that for us, but we have to provide it with the sparks, like the patterns of spaceship design that we think look great, and different types of creature and the way they vary. We have to build the systems, the rules. We’ve shown so far creatures that you’ll be familiar with, but we’re thinking now about creatures that look far more alien, and they’re slowly changing the way even we’re perceiving the universe. It’s getting weirder, maybe not so friendly, and surprising us at every turn.

It’s been a joy to see the game boot every day as No Man’s Sky becomes richer and more varied and we see more surprising things, but it’s also sort of frustrating, because it’s so hard to share our excitement at what we’ve been creating. It has never felt right to just go and show off lots of a game that’s about discovery. It’s like that should be up to you when you finally get to play. I can’t wait for that, and it just makes me want to finish the game as soon as we can.

And my plane has just landed! Thanks again for everything, and we’ll talk again soon.

//Add Your Own

72 Comments

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1

+ chavez1138 on August 26th, 2014 at 7:11 am said:

Day one purchase for me, this looks way better than most AAA games.


2

+ StormTimber on August 26th, 2014 at 7:22 am said:

this game is a must buy for me!… although i’m a bit disappointed that i can’t meet up with my friends in the game, but i’m sure that’s what will make the game more interesting. hopefully.


3

+ KentBlake on August 26th, 2014 at 7:26 am said:

Say, Mr. Murray…when can I start throwing money at you? I NEED this game ASAP.


4

+ KentBlake on August 26th, 2014 at 7:29 am said:

I saw Sean Murray talking about No Man’s Sky a few times in 2014, and I gotta say…it’s so rare to see a developer that’s so passionate about his work. You can see it in his eyes while he speas. It makes me very glad that we still have people like him working in the industry.

Keep up the good work, man!


5

+ KentBlake on August 26th, 2014 at 7:30 am said:

* speaks


6

+ Amnalehu on August 26th, 2014 at 7:50 am said:

Keep up the fine work! Easily one of my most anticipated games. It’s the promise of games like No Man’s Sky that made me stick with Playstation. If anyone wants to support Hello Games, pick up any of their Joe Danger games for PS Vita or PS3. Those games are a ton of fun! Great job Mr. Murray! Keep your head to the sky!


7

+ Figboy on August 26th, 2014 at 7:54 am said:

I’ve been continuously blown away by this game every time I see/hear more about it, so I’m very excited. I’m hoping for an early to mid 2015 release, but I’m a patient guy.

It’s looking great, and keep up the fantastic work!


8

+ Craydon1 on August 26th, 2014 at 7:54 am said:

My son and I are very excited for this game. Take your time getting the game right.


9

+ DuoMaxwell007 on August 26th, 2014 at 8:06 am said:

Im not a fan of the water color/painted looking graphics Id prefer something that looks a bit more realistic but other than that Day one buy for me too


10

+ paulogy on August 26th, 2014 at 8:25 am said:

That joy of discovery of parts of your own game is something other developers likely envy. Since yours is procedurally generated it will amaze even you, as opposed to something that is painstakingly created by hand where you know every brushstroke. Your systems might create chaos, but they might create beauty too.

I’ve always felt like the plate of food that magically arrives in front of you will be more amazing than something you create yourself, and many years ago I set out to create a procedurally generated website that might interest me in that similar way. Now it’s dated by today’s standards, but still provides a surprise every now and then:

http://www.beautyinchaos.com

Hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to enjoying your game whenever it’s ready!


11

+ NibbyNubby on August 26th, 2014 at 8:26 am said:

I am too excited for this game. The art style, the gameplay, and the customization all get my antsy for the release. Sean, would you guys at Hello Games ever consider some Collector’s Editions? I would pay $150 for this game without thinking twice. Best of luck, hope for a release date announcement some time soon!


12

+ Ghostwize on August 26th, 2014 at 8:28 am said:

Enjoy that $$$ coming your way because this is gonna be a rousing success. :D


13

+ OtterX on August 26th, 2014 at 8:28 am said:

^ I on the other hand am a huge fan of this stylized look (water color painted graphics as the guy above me said) I’m glad you didn’t go a more realistic route! Day one buy for me too.


14

+ MarkakaJin on August 26th, 2014 at 8:29 am said:

Everyone else are looking forward to those familiar games that are coming out soon but for me, I am looking forward to playing No Man’s Sky once it finally comes out. It’s the one game that I have great anticipation. The one game that I can actually explore in an infinite procedural universe.


15

+ saiyanknight87 on August 26th, 2014 at 8:39 am said:

(Thrust pelvis) you want the wallet cause you can get the wallet!


16

+ DeaderThanDead on August 26th, 2014 at 8:40 am said:

@DuoMaxwell007 Its based off the Sci-Fi of the mid 60′s-70′s I believe. Tons of Musical Artists ust the art style for album art. Pretty Lights and The Swords older albums are great quick google examples of this style.


17

+ BillGiven on August 26th, 2014 at 8:51 am said:

I’m supper stoked for this.


18

+ KwietStorm on August 26th, 2014 at 8:52 am said:

Really looking forward to this, Sean. Will there be unique/dynamic music, and how would that be handled with so many landscapes, if so?


19

+ Shoryyuken on August 26th, 2014 at 8:52 am said:

I’m super excited for this however I really hope the variety between planets isn’t something like, “Planet A has red buffalo, Planet B has blue buffalo.” I hope it’s totally different but I’m not expecting it to be game changing. Developers always shout from the rooftops that they’re game will be totally different, that is an interesting concept but can it deliver?

Will my world have totally different monsters, plants & everything compared to the next planet? Or will it be more along the lines of colour swapping enemies, a blue tree vs a green tree or this new deer I found has a red marking on the side of its body so now it’s considered “new”?

That’s what I’m worried about. Nevertheless, I’m excited beyond belief about this game & I truly hope it’s an amazing experience. But I’m my father’s son which means I’m never impressed or convinced until I see it working in action. Time will only tell, but take the time to make sure it will tell the story you truly want to say.

Thanks.


20

+ DeaderThanDead on August 26th, 2014 at 8:52 am said:

How I understand the gameplay so far you basically can be Han Solo and go on space adventures on strange planets while finding resources and earning credits to get faster ships to escape the empire if you want pre original trilogy days. Use your Imagination. All without griefers and other idiots that like to just ruin the experience, while still feeling like you’re a bigger part of things in a living universe.


21

+ DeaderThanDead on August 26th, 2014 at 8:53 am said:

Though local co-op (Eventually every Hon needs His Chewbacca. ) would be nice. Or the ability to meet a friend online. Only IF you have a good enough ship, and enough resources to reach them. Make us earn it. It would be great to have a great adventure, then once a friend and I think we are ready and could reach each set it up and go. But maybe one of us didn’t have enough fuel. One could get to the meeting point, and the other would maybe have to get to the nearest planet to them once they are out of fuel. Either way The guy Who had enough fuel discovered a new part of the universe hes never been to and starts a new adventure on his own till his friend can reach him. While the guy who ran out of fuel will be forced into a new adventure a discover more things on his search for fuel. Then once they meet up, They would feel like they earned it.


22

+ DeaderThanDead on August 26th, 2014 at 8:55 am said:

@Shoryyuken He explained stuff like that in an interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVl1Hmth3HE


23

+ DanKuuga on August 26th, 2014 at 8:56 am said:

If this had a 3rd person camera option, I’d be all over it. Can’t do 1st person, so I’ll be skipping it. In fact, EVERY 1st person game should have a 3rd person option.


24

+ dodgedoors on August 26th, 2014 at 9:02 am said:

I have a needle and a Tourniquet please just put this straight into my blood stream.


25

+ nickpeck36 on August 26th, 2014 at 9:17 am said:

I’m not a huge “indie” guy, but this game looks fantastic. I will be buying it for sure. Keep up the good work guys!


26

+ DuoMaxwell007 on August 26th, 2014 at 9:18 am said:

@21 i would hope there Is a 3rd person option for flight combat at least..


27

+ ParkingtigersX on August 26th, 2014 at 9:25 am said:

No Man’s Sky is enticing me because of those colourful visuals, and that focus on just flying over to stuff just to see what is there. My god, that’s all a person like me could ever want from this kind of game. I just want to step into my spaceship, fire up the thrusters and aim for the third star on the right and straight on until morning. Wonder what’s on that planet? Well I’ll just land and find out.

I’m currently trying to stuff money into the dock connector of this iPad, hoping it gets to you. I’m going to buy this game so hard you’ll need to seek medical advice.

This game will be my reason to buy a PS4.


28

+ pecorre on August 26th, 2014 at 9:28 am said:

I hope there is some sort of physical limited edition. There is a lot of hype surrouding this game and I am sure it would sell well. I would be the first in line to buy that special edition even if it’s $150.


29

+ Oisterboy on August 26th, 2014 at 9:42 am said:

I second that…physical release please! I’d drop $150 on a collectors edition too! I’d prefer the $80 mark but I’m so hyped for this I think I’d make an exception!


30

+ Seluhir on August 26th, 2014 at 9:54 am said:

This is the one first person game I’m considering playing. I probably won’t end up doing so because I hate first person… but this is the one that I am considering.


31

+ saab01 on August 26th, 2014 at 9:54 am said:

Looking nice hopefully a demo will be planned since I like to try my games before buying when its they are digital only.


32

+ HuckQ on August 26th, 2014 at 10:09 am said:

Your words on the satisfaction of discovery are music to my ears, mate. Have we a release date for the game yet?

BTW, I’d love a PS4 bundle of this game. Just thought I would throw the idea up in the air.


33

+ scoobots on August 26th, 2014 at 10:21 am said:

Looks like you guys are improving your audio design. I liked Joe Danger, but the audio was turrrrribbbllleeee. Really hard to suffer through.


34

+ Nutts on August 26th, 2014 at 10:29 am said:

This game sounds like the game I’ve wanted to make myself for the last 20 years. Everything about this game sounds amazing. I love randomness, exploration and sci-fi. Sean needs to be careful though. If this game is too good, too varied, and too large, I may never actually play another game again. I only have about 40 of those 585 billion years left and I’m a completionist at heart. I may also buy it on each platform it comes out on just to support an effort like this.


35

+ MarinoBrea on August 26th, 2014 at 10:41 am said:

Release date?


36

+ procion on August 26th, 2014 at 10:49 am said:

Soooooooooo, Do we get to name any hitherto undiscovered planets, so we can upload our original nomenclatures to the Cloud, hmmmmm? I want to call my first discovery procion, and the next one procion 1, and the next, next one procion 2, and the one after that procion 3, and the one following that procion 4, AND the one after that procion 5, and the one that’s after that procion 6, and… ………………(shortly later)………………………….. …ion 18,446,744,073,709,551,615, and the one thats left procion 18,446,744,073,709,551,616. I’m still awake, what shall we do now? Hmmmmmmmmm???


37

+ CrusaderForever on August 26th, 2014 at 11:01 am said:

Speechless….oh yeah…D1P!


38

+ GrafUlrich88 on August 26th, 2014 at 11:07 am said:

Hey Sean,

Please keep giving more videos and information. This is my #1 game I’m waiting for on the PS4. Also please pass on a big thank you to your hard working team at Hello Games.

Cheers!!!

Graf


39

+ vogelap on August 26th, 2014 at 11:09 am said:

Shut up and take my money.


40

+ I-AM-CHEESUS on August 26th, 2014 at 11:18 am said:

This is a game that makes me want..need..must have two ps4 systems so my son and I can explore together, soooo cannot wait for this game


41

+ AizawaYuuichi on August 26th, 2014 at 11:35 am said:

Everyone else has already said what I wanted to, in more words than I need to.
Day one purchase, confirmed. Keep up the good work.


42

+ SmokeAdellic on August 26th, 2014 at 11:41 am said:

This games screams for 3dtv support!


43

+ masa_yume on August 26th, 2014 at 11:54 am said:

No Man’s Sky is really something special, something really new, even if we had other, similar, games before. It’s a day one purchase for me too. My PS4 could run only this game for what I care.

It’s already looking so intriguing to play, but also to explore and to be developed. The way you are making it looks so unique, so clever. Please spend time in backstage team interviews about the development and include them into an extra disc. I’d like to have a special edition with aa booklet about the art and the math.

The DLC could be a mere different seed, a whole new other galaxy to explore. And it would make absolute sense.

Thank you for this.


44

+ Rabbit7198 on August 26th, 2014 at 12:13 pm said:

My body is ready


45

+ mmitch079 on August 26th, 2014 at 12:20 pm said:

Looking forward to this.

@#43, if this universe will take 585 billion years to discover, I can’t possibly see a need for DLC.


46

+ tusunami on August 26th, 2014 at 12:30 pm said:

The more I hear about this game the more impressed I am with this. This will probably come out later this year or the beginning of next year.


47

+ Xanthus179 on August 26th, 2014 at 12:42 pm said:

I’m very much excited in this game, and it’s always fun to hear some additional thoughts from one of the developers!


48

+ Eddo_Marin on August 26th, 2014 at 12:46 pm said:

You know what? This post is unfair… Whay? WHY YOU ASK?

Because we can’t get this game yet :( hahaha

It looks amazing, and is going to be a Day 1 purchase for me.


49

+ SHOR73RM on August 26th, 2014 at 1:26 pm said:

I don’t care how much this game is, I’ve been waiting for some true science fiction like this for as long as I can remember. Thanks for creating a universe where we can explore everywhere and have the excitement of actually descending to a planet’s surface and taking back off into space again.


50

+ ArmedOne78 on August 26th, 2014 at 5:39 pm said:

This game looks freakin awesome! Ever since I saw it at VGX I knew I must play it. And since I heard it was coming to my favorite console (PS4) I can’t contain myself. Must…Play…Now!!


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