Of course I had to pre-order this one after reading World Without End in The New Yorker. I’ve only played a few evenings, haven’t done anything ambitious, but I’ve learned that when you’re learning something is a good time to write about it.

  • It’s just really cool bringing your ship in for a landing on a new planet.

  • There seems to be a consensus that with this game, spoilers are a virtue; I think I would have found it severely frustrating if I’d had to puzzle out all the crap I picked up in a quick scan of Reddit & IGN.

  • There’s another consensus that, whether or not it’s actually good as a game, the early experience of just wandering around looking at stuff is pretty compelling.

  • Of course, the quick convenient interplanetary traversals are wildly implausible physically. Charles Stross’ Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera has the details, but I’m not letting them bother me.

No Man’s Sky screenshot

    Both the geology, and the arc of the next-planet-over’s edge, are implausible I suppose. I walked along the top of that arch, though, just because I could.

  • Notwithstanding Stross, the fact that humans like inventing new planets (or, in this case, arranging to have them computed) is one of our better features.

  • I’m giving my systems and planets names like “T. Bray 00003”. Sue me for an unimaginative clod. Except for I fat-fingered the one above, which is now known simply as “T”. And there’s no redo once you hit “upload”, because who’d ever want to fix a typo in the name of a planet?

  • Which makes me think about the database. There may be a kazillion bajillion planets, but I guess they’re computed on demand. But once I’ve visited one and lit up a few beacons, that has to be persisted. Given that there are likely millions of people playing, I bet the state is aggregating at an alarming rate. I wonder what they’re using? I wonder if they’re on AWS?

  • There are planets with lots of useful stuff that are radioactive and dangerous, and others that are safe but empty. I suppose nice and fruitful is possible in principle.

  • Who knew the experience of space travel would be just like that old Windows 3.1 screen-saver with the stars hurtling toward you?

  • There’s a trick for combining the melee and jetpack buttons to make huge cross-country leaps. I’m not sure it really gets you there faster, but it’s fun.

  • The scripted parts of the game can be a little mean-spirited; there was this one place where you can get something cool for twenty carbon only I didn’t have any, but there were two plants in the room I could mine, for a total of 19.

  • I was following a beacon signal towards a new planet when I came under fire — still haven’t figured out who was shooting. I twisted and scrambled and accelerated and came in for a hard landing on the nearest moon, where the attacker wouldn’t follow. Is that space opera or what?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Nelson (Aug 15 2016, at 07:25)

I've been having a great time with the game. After 20 hours or so the gameplay itself is starting to be a bit repetitive, but I'm still hooked on the upgrade grind, the story goal, and the overriding sense of beauty and wonder the game developers have created.

To your point about the backend implementation: "But once I’ve vis­it­ed one and lit up a few bea­con­s, that has to be per­sist­ed." I'm guessing all they persist is the discovery data: the planet name, the discoverer name, the time.

There's no need to record data about the planet geometry, etc itself. Players just re-generate it from the planet ID. The only real change a player can make to a world is mining out some of the materials and my guess is they don't persist that.


From: orcmid (Aug 15 2016, at 19:36)

There are more things that go into ones records. For example, all of the discovered outposts/waypoints, the identified fauna, etc.

This is all personal portfolio stuff, but it still has to be stashed somewhere.

I visited an in-system space station three times so far and there were differences each time. So there may be more record keeping, to the extent that what happened was based on my previous experience and other parameters.

In my first star system, I have found 3 planets so far. And they are all bearable and interesting. Since I had to start with a crashed starship, it is grand that the planet was in the terrestrial band, although colder and I had to watch it. I was able to repair the ship and get the thrusters and pulse drive working before I ever lifted off-planet.

One thing I learned lately is that it is easy to use the starship just to fly around a planet and find interesting places to land and explore. I have become tired of walking everywhere :).


From: anders (Aug 16 2016, at 01:32)

The pirates that attack you in space are really annoying, especially before you've upgraded your ships weapons and shields. Some systems seem to have a lot of them or just really aggressive ones that attack any time you're in space for more than a few minutes. It's usually easier to just make a run for the nearest planet or space station than to try to fight them. If they kill you, you can just go to your ship's "grave" after respawning and pick up your old cargo, so it's more of a nuisance than anything.


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August 13, 2016
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