The Power of Procedural Gaming as No Man's Sky Promises Over Eighteen Quintillion Planets

A look at No Man's Sky and other procedural games including Bloodborne CounterSpy and Alien Isolation and a debate how it should be used in more games in the future.

Reader interaction to suggest games they think could benifit from procedural design.

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The_Infected952d ago (Edited 952d ago )

How do they know there's over eighteen quintillion planets? Surely they didn't count all those! On a serious note no ones ever going to visit 99% of those planets.

rosscoffx952d ago

haha, it's maths based. 2 to the power of 65 is what makes that number. He said it in an interview the other day. Massive universe of things to find.

TheRedButterfly952d ago

With numbers like 18,000,000,000,000,000,000+ "visitable" planets, he's starting to sound like Molyneux... Like, a LOT like Molyneux...

Hope he can deliver, but when someone starts pulling /those/ types of promises, it's time to approach the project with a pinch of salt.

krypt1983952d ago

@theredbutterfly exactly what i was thinking they need to stfu and let the game speak for it's self, im afraid they have already over hyped this game though sadly..

rainslacker951d ago


That's the way procedural is though. It means make things on the fly using pre-determined criteria. The math is on his side, and there is no way it could be wrong unless he lied about the criteria.

Whether it's worth trying to visit that many planets is another matter, and likely there will be a lot of repetitiveness if one were to try.

PudgeyBurrito952d ago (Edited 952d ago )

... Open your mind. It's not about discovering every planet.. Clearly with that kinda scale it would take forever, even in real life we have yet to discover every planet or even in some sandbox games we don't visit every place.

The point is how amazing it would be to travel in a universe and find planets that no one has ever seen. It's every space kids wet dream. The unknown.

The map generates itself as people go out into it and creates the universe.. So many colors and animals and landscapes.. It's going to be amazing even in just a travel sense.

pivotplease952d ago

Not enough planets. They'll probably give us the other half as dlc. What a rip off.

gamer1138952d ago

My biggest question is how much reliance is this going to have on server infrastructure? No Man's Sky is hotly anticipated and will likely be downloaded by a lot of people and logging in. They better make sure they're online is ready for this. We don't need a not the game marred by launch woes :(

Perjoss952d ago

It doesn't play like a typical multiplayer game, they have said that meeting another player is extremely rare, so its not like the servers need to handle 16+ people all flying around in the same area.

gamer1138952d ago (Edited 952d ago )

No, the servers will just have to handle a million players all flying around a galaxy that has eighteen quintillion planets...Imagine for a moment all those sessions they will have to host with that size of game world. This game world is not going to be on disc, it will be something similar to a minecraft server where you log into it but the actual game world is in, get ready, "the cloud!"

traumadisaster952d ago (Edited 952d ago )

I have 16+ friends and instruct them to meet me at the same place, bam.

Perjoss952d ago

Good luck with that, if you watch/read some interviews about the game you will see why thats not a very good idea.

Dark_king952d ago

That's a good question.The answer is very heavily I have assumed its online only for a while now.I am also wondering if they are going to be able to handle it.I mean come on they never thought they would get the attention they have got so far.If a million plus buy it on day one can they handle that. Let's not fool our self's it has that kind of interest. That all depends on severs and how they are handling it which I haven't heard anything about.

sereal_killer952d ago (Edited 952d ago )

It doesnt play like a normal online game. I wonder if it even has a server behind it. People think this is randomly generated it isn't , its procedurally generated wich means it has a seed like Minecraft but that seed will be locked once it ships so everyone will have the same galaxy and so far it seems to work by having the player host his own lobby and anyone near the coordinates of the player might than join the instance and thus be in the same lobby. they haven't said how many player can join this "lobby"but its really small as the chance of meeting other players is already small. So all a server would be doing it comparing coordinates and determining if they are near eachother.

In short tha galaxy is locked on disc as it will generatre based on the seed on the disc so they are all the same.

Anthotis952d ago

Eighteen Quintillion Planets

Zero NPCs

Tctczach952d ago

I like exploring but it needs substance. I'll still gladly buy this.

rosscoffx952d ago

Lol, to be fair they haven't really gone into what there is to do yet and how that will work.

I wonder if missions and quests will be generated procedurally too. When you look at the amount of narrative history in games like Mass Effect that are a tiny universe in comparison to this, they can;t be making that much set content it must all generate as you play.

It'll be interesting to see what races of intelligent life is created and what conflicts and scenarios can happen.

Hopefully we find out more soon.

The_Sage952d ago


Do you mean Non Player Characters by NPCs? If so, you must not have been paying attention. There are other characters, and there are enemies. You will fight, and shoot, and run away to survive. Read the EGM write up.

Dark_king952d ago

Not only are there NPC but the are factions among them that can be friendly are not based on your actions.There is a lot of confusion over this game it was fine when it was making people wonder about it. Now it seems like its hurting them a bit, because some people don't know that there is a point to the game there are NPC to help and fight.The game has a end though you can keep playing beyond that.

So far the only things I haven't liked that I have heard is the no communication in game.Seems like they discovered to fly though space but forgot how to talk.I think there should be some communication system.I want to be able to talk to that ship that's coming close to figure out if its friendly are not.

The other is not being able to tell npc from players.Would be happy if they could just have us make a flag for yourself a logo that says your you.

Though I am sure this will all be modded into the game on pc that don't mean I wouldn't want it on ps4.

lemoncake952d ago

But what percentage of those planets will be interesting and unique, biggest hurdle with procedural stuff.

Roccetarius952d ago

Indeed, the problem with procedural generation, is that they create a few templates and it's just minor variations from there.

sereal_killer952d ago

I find the interview from game informer had the most info regarding this(its a bit old now). They did seem to have alot of variance they have templates like you say but these are also tweakable. So you will have a standard four legged body wich can hve different heads but the body can also be tweaked by making it skinny, longer, larger, color and the parts you add will also be tweaked in this way the same base that makes a horse can also make a giraffe.
But we will have to see the actual variation.

I do agree that to make each planet unique is a hurdle and they cant even test that because there are so many planets created. But they always make a point to say that not all planets will have animals , water, etc. but a barren planet might look dull but have unique structures and they are trying to put atleast something of interest on each planet for you to discover even if its just a landmark with some writing on it.

I am buying this because i like exploring and like in real life you dont always find something unique but its the journey that counts. if everyplanet had something unique it would also lose somewhat of the WOW effect when you do get something.

MasterCornholio952d ago

Gold Trophy: Discover 18 quintillion planets.

Um better discover the elixir of immortality before attempting this.

rainslacker951d ago

Maybe they'll wimp out and just say 1 million planets discovered. Stupid easy trophies with no real meaning.

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