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Thread: No Man's Sky and... Math

  1. #1
    Member Aurast's Avatar
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    No Man's Sky and... Math

    This game's been getting a lot of hype lately.



    I suspect it's going to be rather boring in practice, but the concept is pretty fascinating. The universe is procedurally generated and contains, theoretically, some number of quintillions of planets. Whether those planets actually exist if no one ever visits them, is an interesting question itself.

    It looks like the inputs into the universe-generating model are largely static but those that are dynamic are common to everyone who's synced via internet. So if you go to some planet and exterminate some species, any other visitors to that planet won't find that species there anymore (I don't know if that's actually true, just an example).

    Game universes have been procedurally generated in the past, but this looks to be the most ambitious example, perhaps by a huge margin. We'll see for sure when it releases (as you can probably tell it does seem to have some issues regarding the relative scale of things, possibly just to make it more playable). IMO procedural universe generation deserves to be a field of science and be pushed to its limit. The same techniques can be (and are) used for modeling weather, election results, etc. As we learn to generate coherent universes with finer detail they will become commensurately more useful.

    Or maybe we're already unwittingly all too familiar with the concept.

  2. #2
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Whenever I see ambition like that, I just remember Derek Smart. I accidentally played one of his... games. Allegedly. I don't know if it counted as a game or what I did counted as playing, but there definitely was an awful lot of detail.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  3. #3
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    I'm just here to say that the game sucks hard. To be specific - it is boring as all hell. The videos shown off for it prior to release are not whatsoever representative of the quality or variety or interactivity of the world(s) it generates. Every world is bland, repetitive. The game is nothing but a pointless, tiresome grind. Not to mention one of the best examples of false adverting in history, as far as I'm concerned.

    They oversold the quality and variety possible through their procedural generation system. To me, this is not much more than a minimally interactive version of Bryce from the 90s. That, and I'm far from the first or only person to say this, but everything is very "same-y" regardless of how exotic or supposedly different or far apart a world is compared to any other, based on the little stats given for each.

    Contrary to what they said about it leading up to its release, there is no true solar system modelling. There is no true free roam modelling of interplanetary space. It is just a bunch of objects hanging in a big skybox. The stars are just unreachable textures. The worlds are just hanging there in space, no orbits, no nothing. Again, this refers to things which they said the game would model.

    No Man's Lie, indeed.


  4. #4
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    I want to see the basic engine that Hello Games made for this game taken from them and given to more competent, honest developers. Enrich it, add to its variety and flexibility. The sort of game I can imagine which would be an absolutely stunning use of such an engine? A Star Control 2-like game!

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