No Man's Sky
August 9, 2016 10:30 AM   Subscribe

On December 8, 2013, a tiny video game studio called Hello Games announced No Man’s Sky [previously], a first-person space adventure game of exploration, combat, trade, and survival, whose environments would be entirely procedurally generated and functionally infinite. The game was released today on PS4; it is promised to be available for Windows PC on Friday.

Reactions during the two and a half years of the game’s uncomfortably public development have ranged from rapturous fervor to incredulity that No Many’s Sky could possibly deliver what it was promising. A release date of June 21, 2016 was announced in March, but that was later pushed back to August 9, which further fanned the flames of discontent.

In recent weeks copies of the game have inevitably leaked, with early players streaming their gameplay. Some voiced concerns of an easily-exploitable resource leading to [LINK CONTAINS SPOILERS] a disappointingly short “win.” Regardless of their merits, the complaints in question may well have been addressed by a surprise 11th-hour patch that radically reworked significant aspects of the game. This in turn spun off discussions of day-one patches and the realities of 21st century game development.

Now it’s out. It might be harder than people expected. The endless questions of “what do you actually DO in this game?” are being answered.
posted by Sokka shot first (222 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
The fact that it was released on console first makes me leery.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:31 AM on August 9, 2016


Yay for procedurally generated games! I hope Toe Jam & Earl 4 is good.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:35 AM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


The fact that it was released on console first makes me leery.

Why? I don't think it was designed for console first, if that possibility is the concern. I think it was designed for PC and Sony just offered them a bunch of money for a limited-time exclusive. Everyone wins! :)
(I haven't researched this, it's just what it looks like from where I stand)
posted by -harlequin- at 10:36 AM on August 9, 2016


Hot Takes: Many people find No Man's Sky to be boring. [Destructoid]
After an hour of watching No Mans Sky I wanted to eat nails for fun, it was that damn boring!— CJ Hamlyn (@CJ_Bael) August 9, 2016
No Mans Sky looks kinda psychedelic and boring. "Psychedelic" and "boring" arent words that should be spoken together in the same breath.— Dylan Holderfield (@TheKingSlender) August 9, 2016
Its not shit, its just more or less another survival/crafting game in a universe that feels like cardboard. https://t.co/7Z0D4sKUsu— Jim Sterling (@JimSterling) August 9, 2016
posted by Fizz at 10:40 AM on August 9, 2016


The reviews aren't looking good. I think I'll wait for a sale before I pick this one up. If you need me I'll be playing Dark Souls III and Fallout 4.
posted by Fizz at 10:42 AM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Remember: fans created the fucking inane, incomprehensible freakout about this game, not the creators of the game, and frankly not really Sony either.

I look forward to playing it in a year or so when I'm not deluged by Takes and Discourse.
posted by selfnoise at 10:47 AM on August 9, 2016 [14 favorites]


It will be waiting for me on my PS4 when I get home from work today. I expected it to be a survival game, and I expected it to be a bit shallow given the procedural generation stuff so I'm not too concerned about the early reviews.

The bottom line is that this still appears to be the first such game where you can point your ship to an unmapped, undiscovered distant star and just... go.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 10:48 AM on August 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


After an hour of watching No Mans Sky I wanted to eat nails for fun, it was that damn boring!

1) Watching someone else play a video game is not always as fun as actually playing a video game yourself.
2) Why would they continue watching it for a whole hour if it's so boring?
posted by aubilenon at 10:49 AM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's going to a small group of people fiercely loyal to this game. Surely not enough to keep this going. Almost thinking about joining just for the camaraderie of raging with them when the servers shut down.
posted by otherchaz at 10:50 AM on August 9, 2016


I just saw a games writer I respect say on twitter that he had been "fretting about this game for years". There is no game on earth that would be good enough that it would make fretting about it for years pay out. The meal is always over way sooner than the cooking took.
posted by selfnoise at 10:50 AM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


2) Why would they continue watching it for a whole hour if it's so boring?

When you bring nails for lunch, you sometimes have to take extreme measures to make them palatable.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:51 AM on August 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


After eating nails for an hour, I have reconsidered my earlier decision, and would now like to go back to watching No Man's Sky, please.

Please?
posted by Naberius at 10:51 AM on August 9, 2016 [21 favorites]


Polygon:

But the many ticking timers that make it a survival game — the draining life support, the hazard protection on planets with harsh environments, the wear on your mining tool and so on — add just enough tension to be, well, kind of annoying.

ok so it's a mashup of those water levels in Sonic the Hedgehog and a Roger Dean album cover then
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:52 AM on August 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Almost thinking about joining just for the camaraderie of raging with them when the servers shut down.

It doesn't require online.
posted by zabuni at 10:53 AM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


I don't even play video games but I've been watching the vids of this one. So pretty. I also thought of Roger Dean.
posted by irisclara at 10:56 AM on August 9, 2016


My early impressions of the game are that despite the procedural generation each planet seems loaded with points of interest that I'm not sure how long I should spend on each and how to tell if a given planet will have resources and technology worth gathering. Maybe I'm doing something wrong or I need a certain upgrade but it's hard to figure out what each solar system has to offer before warping to the next one. I did pick an option associated with "I'm cool with just wandering thanks" so maybe it's my fault?

Also, I love that the game is colorful, but guys, when everything you look at everywhere is equally colorful then nothing is colorful, you know?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:57 AM on August 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


The bottom line is that this still appears to be the first such game where you can point your ship to an unmapped, undiscovered distant star and just... go.

Elite Dangerous (GIS) has actually been out for over a year now. ~400 billion star systems, the vast vast majority unmapped and undiscovered.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:58 AM on August 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


I was playing an open-ended single-player universe-exploring game with trade elements and 3D graphics in 1984. Yay for being old.
posted by GuyZero at 11:00 AM on August 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


Also from the Polygon piece:

"Let me tell you one spot where No Man’s Sky unequivocally succeeds, however: It is a complete technical marvel, to a degree that I cannot even begin to comprehend how it works. The rush of blasting off from a planet, zooming into space, aiming to another planet, rushing into its atmosphere and landing — all with no visible loading — is unmatched by anything I’ve ever experienced in another game. That’s not hyperbole; the sense of scale is just amazing."

Regardless of his complaints, this sounds like something I want.
posted by emmet at 11:01 AM on August 9, 2016 [15 favorites]


I haven't really been excited for this throughout its development cycle, largely because I've already played a few different procedurally generated sandbox survival games, and this doesn't seem like it brings enough new stuff to the table. I still enjoy the genre, though, so I think I'll be sitting out on trying it until it goes on sale in a year or so.
posted by codacorolla at 11:04 AM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just saw a games writer I respect say on twitter that he had been "fretting about this game for years". There is no game on earth that would be good enough that it would make fretting about it for years pay out. The meal is always over way sooner than the cooking took.

Pillars of Eternity came pretty close.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:04 AM on August 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Paradox also launched a CKII in space recently. I have gotten these two games mixed up in my mind.
posted by shothotbot at 11:06 AM on August 9, 2016


I would like to play this but I don't want to spend the money to upgrade my PC and I don't want to spend the amount of time me that a game like this would require.

It seems really neat though and the soundtrack is also procedurally generated and done by 65daysofstatic
posted by Gev at 11:09 AM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


a first-person space adventure game of exploration, combat, trade, and survival, whose environments would be entirely procedurally generated and functionally infinite

Also known as Elite on the BBC Micro in 1984.
posted by w0mbat at 11:09 AM on August 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


I was super excited for this game if only because it's a space sim game for my current console. That said, I was hoping for something less stressful, more relaxed flying around discovering things, like Endless Ocean in space. I'll probably get it at some point, but not right now, not for full price*

*To which I'm sure my wife is saying "of course you're not, you've got a one month old to take care of and daycare starts in a couple weeks and we don't have the money," and she'd right, but I also I have game play reasons.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:10 AM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Chiming in on Gev's comment: even if you don't care for the game, the soundtrack is a wonderful piece of post-rock film score greatness.
posted by raihan_ at 11:17 AM on August 9, 2016


Paradox also launched a CKII in space recently. I have gotten these two games mixed up in my mind.

Stellaris is kind of weird because it feels really empty in the midgame. Like I'm building up a half decent civ and all of a sudden, well, I'm entirely self-sufficient. I can afford everything, I don't need anything from other empires, the game just lets you be 100% Juche and there is literally no penalty for it. If it were Civ your people would be desperately unhappy through lack of luxury resources and your production would be down due to lack of golden ages. It doesn't really matter because the Stellaris diplomacy is somehow worse than Civ's.

IT WAS SUCH A WASTED OPPORTUNITY!
posted by Talez at 11:18 AM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm excited for this game too but also worried and waiting on reviews. It looks to be another Black and White or Spore. Rock Paper Shotgun had a good article on that theme: If Only No Man’s Sky Could Go Unreleased Forever.

OTOH I like the idea of games that you just fire up and chill out while exploring / dorking around. The various "open world" games scratch that itch for me right now: Just Cause, Far Cry, Shadows of Mordor, etc.
posted by Nelson at 11:20 AM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm seeing a lot of reviewers paddling around the starting areas. Wasn't the game supposedly quite tough as you start the journey to the center?

Or do these people want the illusion of difficulty while coasting to an end point?
posted by Slackermagee at 11:36 AM on August 9, 2016


To editorialize:

Based on my brief time with the game so far, it is exactly what the developers promised. If you see a place, you can go there, or try to, and know that there will be a There there. There's enough of a crafting/survival mechanic to motivate you to explore and to give the experience some urgency such that you don't just feel like you're in a big walking simulator with no stakes or purpose.

I personally have never played a game where you can look up and see a beautiful moon hanging in the sky and know that if you want to, you can just go there, and by that metric it's an experience utterly unlike any other I've had in a video game.

The set of complaints falling under "but if everything's unique, then nothing is!" strikes me as almost nonsensical, insofar as they all also apply to, like, the literal universe we're living in right now. There might be other planets teeming with life out there! But like, the life will still basically just be stuff that sits still and grows or stuff that crawls around, and some of the stuff that crawls around will probably eat the stuff that doesn't move, but other crawlers will probably eat the sitting-still-stuff-eaters. And I mean they might be colored differently or whatever, but who cares because it's all just basically round planets with stuff on them. Boring!

I mean, how interesting can the universe be when everything has to be made up of atoms? We've already pretty much seen all the different kinds of atoms. Meh. 7/10.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:43 AM on August 9, 2016 [48 favorites]


(Also, I should single out the "entirely procedurally generated" link up there: It's a fascinating 45 minute talk given by Innes McKendrick, one of the game's developers, about the many techniques they used to ensure that their generated environments would be interesting, diverse, and gameplay-relevant.)
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:45 AM on August 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yawn.
I grew up with Battlezone on the 2600. That shit went on forever too.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:51 AM on August 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


The problem I have with procedural generation is that it doesn't matter if you have 10 million explorable star systems if you know that the number that will have interesting things in them is zero.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:56 AM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


You can see so much! You can explore such vast, amazing planets! The animals are procedurally generated as entire ecosystems! The designers themselves haven't even approached the limits here!

But wait. You have a gun. And you shoot aliens.


I'm so over this.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:01 PM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


I personally have never played a game where you can look up and see a beautiful moon hanging in the sky and know that if you want to, you can just go there, and by that metric it's an experience utterly unlike any other I've had in a video game.

I feel like the contribution this game will be the designers pondering the consequences of that freedom. Minecraft successfully made that sort of freedom work in two dimensions, but it had the opportunity to smoulder as a cult hit for a couple years before it became a phenomenon.
posted by ethansr at 12:06 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hot Takes: Many people find No Man's Sky to be boring.

I've been excited about this for a while, and knowing that the Twitter reaction is that it's boring actually makes me more likely to buy it once I have the chance. I love Endless Ocean precisely because it's extremely laid-back and not that challenging. Mostly screwing around on weird planets without much pulse-pounding excitement is very much the goal for me.
posted by Copronymus at 12:09 PM on August 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


> Remember: fans created the fucking inane, incomprehensible freakout about this game, not the creators of the game, and frankly not really Sony either.
Nah, this is absolutely due to how this game was marketed: heavy on grandiose vision, incredibly light on details. Invariably what happens (see: 95% of Kickstarter projects) is that fans will fill in all the holes with what they want the game to be and create hype that can't be lived up to. The way you combat this is to provide actual, concrete details on what your game is and Hello Games has really not done that at all.

A prime example of this is the multiplayer aspect of NMS. We're at release now, and as far as I'm aware Hello Games has never actually said, concretely, what multiplayer features are in this game. They've said different versions of "The chances of two players ever crossing paths in a universe this large is pretty much zero" and "This is not a multiplayer experience," statements that allow for an infinite amount of speculation as to what happens if someone were to cross paths and gives them an infinite amount of deniability as to what they actually promised.
posted by ReadEvalPost at 12:10 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


...if you know that the number of interesting things in them is zero.

I think a huge amount of the argument aroundthis game comes from fundamental (and actually very interesting, from a game design perspective) disagreements over what counts as "interesting."
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:11 PM on August 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


are there any good pokemons on the procedurally-generated planets
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:13 PM on August 9, 2016 [29 favorites]


?I mean, how interesting can the universe be when everything has to be made up of atoms? We've already pretty much seen all the different kinds of atoms. Meh. 7/10.

Well, putting aside the fact that the procedural generation engine for reality is a bit more complex than NMS's, our own exploration has reasons behind it. We're trying to find new resources, or we're trying to settle new land, for example. I understand that NMS has engagement loops that give you similar goals in-game, but to be honest they just don't seem that fun to me. A lot of our other, personal, exploration in "nature" is heavily designed. A hiking path takes you by vistas that have been chosen for scenic value. You're also navigating a trail and getting exercise. Pushing forward to see randomly generated skyline #3,250 is probably incrementally less interesting and rewarding than #3,249 or #3,248.

The above has been my general problem with crafting sandbox games: they're fun for the first 10 hours or so, and then I need some sort of actual goal. With Minecraft, Terraria and Starbound these goals either exist (Terraria has done that the best, IMO) or that first 10 hours only costs a 20 dollar entry fee.
posted by codacorolla at 12:13 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I take it that no port to either OSX or Linux has been announced then?
posted by acb at 12:14 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm also excited about the game being boring. I can't tell you how many times I've been wandering around in a Fallout or Elder Scrolls game, just exploring the landscape for a couple hours, and suddenly get thrust into combat I'm not prepared for, because I'm just relaxing late at night after everyone is asleep. So minimal/avoidable combat is a plus for me.

Another great wandering game, not quite a walking simulator, is Eidelon. Cheap and beautiful, wandering around an abandoned PNW.
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:15 PM on August 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


I suspect the game I really want is a combination of Elite: Dangerous, KSP, Minecraft/Terraria/Starbound and (from the advance media) No Man's Sky. With additional bits and bobs from other titles over the years.

/pointedly ignores the existence of Star Citizen
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:17 PM on August 9, 2016


codacorolla: Pushing forward to see randomly generated skyline #3,250 is probably incrementally less interesting and rewarding than #3,249 or #3,248.

And that's the problem with procedural generation. Ultimately, it's just tech. And while you can admire the beautiful tech for a while, it gets old.

Procedural generation, IMHO, is most useful as a medium to place the interesting parts of your game in. It can't be the whole game because it doesn't really provide meaning or create an emotional response. You need to have written bits in it for that.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:19 PM on August 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Okay but who here has played the actual game. Honest question. There is a lot of story- and goal- oriented stuff going on in in NMS, the discovery and pursuit of which is the obvious motivator for progress. It's also easy to see why the developers didn't want to talk about it a lot, because it's supposed to be mysterious and fun to discover. I agonized over my first big choice and I'm still not sure I took the right path.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:20 PM on August 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Minecraft successfully made that sort of freedom work in two dimensions, but it had the opportunity to smoulder as a cult hit for a couple years before it became a phenomenon.

In Minecraft, the caves were as much fun to explore as the landscape, so I'd call that three-dimensional freedom.

If the NMS planets are anywhere close to as interesting to explore as a Minecraft world, I'll probably sink 100 hours into this game (in a year or two, when it doesn't cost $60).
posted by straight at 12:21 PM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


To be fair I am mostly thinking of Elite:Dangerous with my criticisms. The game that gave you the capability to explore the entire galaxy! And somehow managed to make that boring.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:22 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


straight- I think it only costs $40 USD at launch, I imagine you'll see half-off discounts in December, which is my plan.
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:23 PM on August 9, 2016


kittensofthenight - it was $59.99 when my roommate preordered it from the Playstation Store last night. If it's $40 today, he's going to be a little peeved.
posted by hanov3r at 12:25 PM on August 9, 2016


Also at one point I found a different gun/multitool that looked cool and had more slots but I had no idea if it was actually better. There were two sets of icons with various amounts of circles around them but what any of it specifically meant was beyond me.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:25 PM on August 9, 2016


I think it only costs $40 USD at launch

It's $60 on PC right now, and I don't think that's going to drop at launch -- people would be incensed. By the December holidays: maybe.
posted by cjelli at 12:26 PM on August 9, 2016


There are some deals out there that get it down to $48. For example, all new releases on Prime get that discount, and I think Newegg is running a promotion for it at the $48 price point.
posted by codacorolla at 12:28 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Huh, I remembered wrong, sorry everyone!
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:32 PM on August 9, 2016


The above has been my general problem with crafting sandbox games: they're fun for the first 10 hours or so, and then I need some sort of actual goal.

IIRC, many of Minecraft's "goals" and related features only came into existence some time after the later betas and early releases. And it was quite enjoyable well before those were added in.

I'd say give NMS a little breathing room and time and see what they come up with.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:34 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


i really like the clips they played at E3 in, idk, 2015? i guess? so i preordered it all the way back then, and then last month i cancelled that preorder because overwatch had just come out and it's my new inquisition and there is no way i can be bothered with anything else for at least the next 3-4 months which is coincidentally when dishonored 2 comes out, so yay for me
posted by poffin boffin at 12:36 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


There are some deals out there that get it down to $48. For example, all new releases on Prime get that discount, and I think Newegg is running a promotion for it at the $48 price point.

Not for the base PC version. There are only four places you can buy No Man's Sky for PC; Hello Games website, GOG.com, Humble Store, and Steam.

If you are going to buy it I recommend the Hello Games website link. They will get the maximum revenue and royalty for it and you still get a Steam key to activate it.
posted by Talez at 12:37 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Let me also add: by the time Minecraft added things like Ender Pearls and enchantments, one could already be well versed in other normative aspects of the game. So you felt ready to focus on these new dimensions instead of being distracted by them while still working on basics like armor and rail lines.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:45 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I started it a few hours ago and to me it is exactly what I expected based on trailers and such. Some people seemed to believe that this would be the last game they'd ever want to purchase or something.

It seems like after some upgrades to expand your inventory it would be pretty meditative to just wander. I haven't been in any combat yet so I have no idea how exciting that is (though I did get attacked by some kind plant and killed by sentinel drones already). My general impression is that it's like stepping into the cover of old sci fi pulp magazine, probably due to.
posted by polywomp at 12:52 PM on August 9, 2016


Over a year ago I asked AskMe for a game like the Space stage of Spore. I just wanted to tool around a galaxy at my own pace and have a game reward me for doing whatever I wanted. I was pointed at NMS and it's been a long and hype filled wait. I have no doubt this is not for everyone, and it will honestly probably not have more than a few weeks' staying power for me. But damn I can not wait to get home tonight.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:54 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I haven't played it, but have watched roughly 3-4 hours on my second monitor at work of a guy playing on twitch. I think it looks great but not sure if I'll pick it up for full price.

I think if you're really interested in the survival/exploration of a world aspect, you might be interested in Subnautica, which is a third the price, in early access, but very similar in that your ship crashes on a ocean planet and you have to survive and build your base and can catalog and explore the world around you.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:05 PM on August 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


FYI

Space Engineers
has a procedural planet generation going on, along with some fairly robust physics and shipbuilding. It's more sim than game at this point, but on our own private server we build a boot ship that kicked a ball into a moon.
posted by The Power Nap at 1:10 PM on August 9, 2016


I've been playing since around 10:00 EST today and it's a serious amount of fun. It's not minecraft, it's not elite, it's a survival space game. Absolutely not for everyone, if you want clear goals, stay away - but if you just want to wander and explore it's the best thing yet.

On the technical side, I can't even imagine how they pulled it off on the PS4 - the framerate is rock solid and the only loading times are on the trip between systems.
posted by synthetik at 1:14 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


/pointedly ignores the existence of Star Citizen


Wait...Star Citizen exists?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:22 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


As much as it ever will.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:24 PM on August 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


So... Dark Souls III is a metaphor for the game design/release/critical and fan reaction cycle?
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:26 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm 114 hours in to Starboard, and I'm blown away by how well the procedurally generated worlds and quests work. In the interest of productivity, I may need to wait a few months before diving in to No Man's Sky.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:27 PM on August 9, 2016


But wait. You have a gun. And you shoot aliens.

I mean you could do that if you wanted to I guess, but in my first 2 hours and change, I haven't? The gun is a mining/resource collection tool, not just a weapon.
posted by juv3nal at 1:27 PM on August 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


The gun is a mining/resource collection tool, not just a weapon.

For a second I thought I was in the election thread and this was spin
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:36 PM on August 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


But wait. You have a gun. And you shoot aliens.


I'm so over this.


It's kind of amazing how quickly this complaint has become the smug gamer version of "Is this something I would need to own a TV to understand?"
posted by IAmUnaware at 1:38 PM on August 9, 2016 [32 favorites]


I suspect the game I really want is a combination of Elite: Dangerous, KSP, Minecraft/Terraria/Starbound and (from the advance media) No Man's Sky. With additional bits and bobs from other titles over the years.

Eat well, exercise, don't roadrage, and we'll be in good health and enjoying this in 2030. In VR.

If you haven't had children yet, adjust your desired number of offspring to n -1. This will free up a future bedroom to convert into a holodeck :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:46 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been playing it all day. I've yet to kill anything that wasn't trying to kill me first. I've explored four planets and two moon across two star systems. I spawned on an icy hellscape of a planet that made the first 2 hours or so tough to survive, but I got the hang of it. I have visited space stations and avoided all space battles.

It isn't for everyone. But I'm really enjoying it. If you want combat and story and a thrill-a-minute, you will not like this game. If you want to wander around cataloging animals and plants and learning alien languages at your own pace, you will like this game. Yes, you go to different colorful places and do the same things over and over again. Yes, inventory management is a huge pain in the ass (I can't even TALK to an NPC when my exosuit inventory is full? What?). Yes, the game is sometimes unclear about doling out goals - took me forever to figure out that I needed to craft a warp cell; the game kept telling me to go shopping at a space station.

But. The music and ambient sound is great. The sense of freedom is unparalleled. The gameplay loop is simple and satisfying.

This is a game to relax into. This is a pick-it-up-and-fiddle-around game. At no point does the game rush you or discourage you from exploration. Upgrading your suit, ship, and multi-tool is involved enough to make you pay attention, but not so tedious as to be irritating.

Plus my cats seem to enjoy watching me play it, so there's that.

Patch notes indicate that freighters are planned for the next update, and that should solve the inventory problem, which is the only gameplay element I find unpleasant.

If exploring is your thing, this is your game.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:47 PM on August 9, 2016 [31 favorites]


I think what we're seeing here is a reaction to game that's more pure-play than we're used to. A lot of No Man's Sky relies on the player's desire to kind of spin a yarn for themselves, to embrace the emergent qualities of the game. The Polygon article points to the survival mechanics are being interruptive to the flow of play. I think that's true IF this is a game about min/max'ing resources and grinding your way up the upgrade tree.

For me, it's a game about the intrepid space explorer Gillo who, despite the harshness of his environment, is slowly becoming a more competent explorer. It's not a game about getting achievements etc.

There's not a lot of systemic reinforcement for doing "game" things in NMS and I think that's wigging people out. But if, like me, you only have an hour or two a day to play a game and you just want to be somewhere else, I think this will slake your thirst. If you were hoping for AAA-polished, GTA-in-Space, this is not that in so many ways.

(Fun story: last night I was out mining some Heridium when darkness started to fall. My suit alerted me to the fact that the temperature had dropped to -75c and I was quickly freezing. I took off back towards my ship, but it became clear that I wouldn't make it. As all hope looked lost, I noticed a small cave with some glowing red flowers in them- Turns out the flowers generated heat! I was able to camp in the alcove and wait for sunrise.

There are two reads for this story: A gamic system interrupted my mining and broke my FUN or A system created a unique circumstance for me to react to. Both of these are valid reads).
posted by GilloD at 2:04 PM on August 9, 2016 [41 favorites]


To me that story sounds like something routine turned into an adventure
posted by aubilenon at 2:08 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


But wait. You have a gun. And you shoot aliens.

do i get to punch anyone to death because that's my big thing right now
posted by poffin boffin at 2:11 PM on August 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


do i get to punch anyone to death because that's my big thing right now

I don't think so, but I did see a guy just get headbutted to death by a predatory ram-thing, if that helps.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:15 PM on August 9, 2016


There is melee! I have not used it because most things are big and/or flying.
posted by GilloD at 2:26 PM on August 9, 2016


I think what we're seeing here is a reaction to game that's more pure-play than we're used to.

Based on streams (because some of us have to wait until Friday) I would say that, like Elite: Dangerous, it seems to fall into kind of an uncomfortable middle between true sandbox games (Minecraft, Besiege, Reassembly, Dwarf Fortress, etc.) and more goal-directed games.
posted by Pyry at 2:28 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


As all hope looked lost, I noticed a small cave with some glowing red flowers in them- Turns out the flowers generated heat! I was able to camp in the alcove and wait for sunrise.

I have no idea if this is what happened in your case or not, but in one of the demos they did, Sean demonstrated that caves can in of themselves provide a degree of insulation against temperature extremes. He did so by carving out a cave with his laser as his life support was ticking down. So it may not have been the flowers is what I'm saying.
posted by juv3nal at 3:09 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


headbutted to death by a predatory ram-thing

Being a mob or the executable itself?
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:09 PM on August 9, 2016


So it may not have been the flowers is what I'm saying.

I think it was a combo- I got the indoor bonus, but the flowers also had an Interact mechanism that gave back heat. Kinda like the shield/health flowers.
posted by GilloD at 3:53 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


We're at release now, and as far as I'm aware Hello Games has never actually said, concretely, what multiplayer features are in this game. They've said different versions of "The chances of two players ever crossing paths in a universe this large is pretty much zero" and "This is not a multiplayer experience," statements that allow for an infinite amount of speculation as to what happens if someone were to cross paths and gives them an infinite amount of deniability as to what they actually promised.

Following up on this: now that the game is out, people are attempting to meet up and, apparently, the answer is probably no: being in the same system as another player will not make either of you visible to the other, nor does anything you're doing in the system (outside of database changes like naming the system) appear to sync in real-time between players (or sync at all). Despite this, it's still possible that players could meet up, I guess, but if so it requires something beyond simply being in the same place at the same time, as one might expect.

This has been an oft-asked question that could have been easily resolved with a 'yes' or a 'no' at basically any point, and I guess we're still guessing? If it turns out that there you can actually meet other people and there need to be certain conditions for that: neat! Definitely worth keeping players in the dark about that. If it's just not actually possible: that really should have been made clear at multiple points prior to now.
posted by cjelli at 4:08 PM on August 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


What a great link cjelli, thanks! I've been wondering why they even bothered to write code for player interaction if everyone was really at one of a random 2^64 planets. But potential interactions are apparently not nearly as rare as it would seem, if two people have already bumped into each other. Or rather tried to, except the game doesn't seem to support it. Huh.
posted by Nelson at 4:20 PM on August 9, 2016


I've been wondering why they even bothered to write code for player interaction if everyone was really at one of a random 2^64 planets

Yeah, having secret multiplayer doesn't seem like a thing any sane developer would do. The reasonable conclusion is that multiplayer just isn't supported. As for the 2^64 planets, that's just how many distinct planets a 64-bit seeded procedural generator can produce, not the actual number present in the starter galaxy. The player seems to start about 200,000 ly away from the center, so depending on what density of systems you assume, that produces an estimate of 500 billion to a few trillion systems in the galaxy.
posted by Pyry at 4:39 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Does that assume you start right at the edge of the galaxy? Because that doesn't seem to be the case. Now that I think about it, maybe I ought to start going the opposite direction? I feel like finding the edge of the universe might be more interesting than heading to the center like everyone else.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:19 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


This has been an oft-asked question that could have been easily resolved with a 'yes' or a 'no' at basically any point, and I guess we're still guessing? If it turns out that there you can actually meet other people and there need to be certain conditions for that: neat! Definitely worth keeping players in the dark about that. If it's just not actually possible: that really should have been made clear at multiple points prior to now.

I do think the fandom has a fair brunt of the blame to bear for inflating expectations on this game in general, but I find Sean's coyness on this one particular point quite irritating. From what I can gather, the situation is this:

* When you're playing in online mode, you're in an "instance" of the universe with some selection of other players.
* The selection of other players is not necessarily based on your location in the universe.

If this is true, then that could explain a lot of things about the failed meet-up attempt. As I understand, even though they got to the same area of the same planet, they both saw a different time of day. Which implies that one of two things is the case:

* They weren't actually in the same "instance" of the universe.
* The game doesn't actually have any multiplayer in it.

I don't think the latter is actually true. But I do think Hello Games ought to just come right out and say what's up with their multiplayer feature. They don't need to explain what the algorithm that decides how to sort people into instances works, but they could at least confirm that, say, the game actually does use instancing tech.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:54 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, having secret multiplayer doesn't seem like a thing any sane developer would do.

Perhaps not secret, but being obscurantist about the specifics of the mechanics and matchmaking and letting the player base work it out for themselves can be a thing. Dark Souls, etc. This would take it a bit further.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:02 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Notably, the birthday problem math on an estimated 500 billion to a few trillion planets, compared to sales of the game, suggests that it's actually very likely that some players will overlap.

Also, as I understand it, the game has pausing (in contrast to say, Dark Souls, which doesn't pause when you're in the menu, since Dark Souls has "surprise multiplayer" aspects to it). I think the most likely answer is "vague and exciting game design ideas didn't make the final cut for what actually got developed", and there is (currently, at least) no realtime multiplayer functionality in the game.
posted by NMcCoy at 7:07 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Stellaris will probably have a half-dozen DLC bits that flesh out the middle and end bits, it seems to be the Paradox way. (It also has a lovely soundtrack.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:13 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah it's pretty much Crusader Space Kings III.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:16 PM on August 9, 2016


We bought it tonight and I mostly watched my daughter play it because I am bad at the PS4 controller. It's a beautiful game, and it does kinda scratch that Minecraft itch of exploring random, beautiful places. Plus we befriended a bunch of fat, weird animals and named them all after our fat, weird cat Daisy.
posted by mothershock at 7:16 PM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's a beautiful game, and it does kinda scratch that Minecraft itch of exploring random, beautiful places. Plus we befriended a bunch of fat, weird animals and named them all after our fat, weird cat Daisy.

Sold.

Dammit.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:18 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I had kind of assumed that the reason they were being vague about the multiplayer functionality was that it was going to be linked to the mystery at the centre of the galaxy. If that was the case it would make sense to me that they're being intentionally vague about it.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 7:33 PM on August 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm trying to understand why they need instancing for players at all, given how rare interactions are expected to be. Or rather why they don't have a design where players are just automatically placed in the same instance the moment they are both in the same star system.
posted by Nelson at 7:43 PM on August 9, 2016


Oooh! I got it! The NMS universe is hosted on a quantum server, so ever player action splits the universe into separate timelines. So those two players, while in the same location, were actually in parallel timelines!
posted by sourwookie at 8:20 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Procedural landscape crawls tend to be a bit dull without a few tap-tap-jump-SMASH moments.
posted by meehawl at 8:50 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Procedural landscapes are great, and I enjoy them, but the thing that had me interested in this was procedural mob generation. Of the games I presently own, only Starbound makes an effort there, and it's a shame more devs aren't getting on that.

This is a problem I run into when my social circle wants to play Minecraft: if the only thing that's going to be over the next hill are more predictable skeletons/zombies/whatever, what's the point? I want to be uncertain about what I encounter without necessarily having to PvP.

Shame about the difficulty about multiplayer though. Never got into these sandbox games as a solo experience.
posted by mordax at 9:38 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to say for the record that I don't really have much interest in having anyone write all over my universe with their names. I felt the same way playing Noctis. Glad staying offline is an option.

And it's right there in the name! Does the sky belong to no man or does it belong to the hivemind?
posted by lumensimus at 9:49 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


If the NMS planets are anywhere close to as interesting to explore as a Minecraft world, I'll probably sink 100 hours into this game (in a year or two, when it doesn't cost $60).

If you know you'd sink 100+ hours into the game if it has has features XYZ, why not fork over the $60? I can understand wanting to wait for accurate reviews instead of first-day hype (which are often either "OMG THIS HAS ALL THE AWESOME!!!" or "I didn't meet tribbles or a grignak; I'm bored now; this game sucks"), but if you know you'd get several weeks' entertainment from it - or several months of few-hours-a-week - that's gotta be worth the $60 price tag.

I'm aware that $60 is a big chunk of money up front, and sometimes it doesn't matter how much value it'd have; you just don't have the budget for it. I do hope it does well in the initial rush so that it can go on sale soon.

I've got NMS on wishlist on all three locations so I'll be told when it goes on sale - but I don't at all expect to get hundreds of hours of playtime out of it; "survival exploration" is not my genre of choice. "Explore pretty universe; make friends with cute aliens" appeals a lot to me; not sure if it appeals enough to put up with the rest.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:00 PM on August 9, 2016


I don't really have much interest in having anyone write all over my universe with their names...does the sky belong to no man or does it belong to the hivemind?

Name the land and spoil the sea
But you can't take the sky from me
posted by straight at 1:40 AM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you know you'd sink 100+ hours into the game if it has has features XYZ, why not fork over the $60?

Because I've already got at least 12 months worth of great games sitting untouched in my Steam / Humble accounts that I've acquired for $5 or less.
posted by straight at 1:45 AM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sure, but is it better than Kerbal Space Program?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:52 AM on August 10, 2016


I played about three hours last night, and lucked into a massive spire of a rare element on my first hyperspace jump so I have scads of cash. I'm actively hunting for ship/suit/multitool upgrades now and loving it.

The sentinel combat on the ground is a bit dull, but I just avoid it by scurrying to my ship and landing a few miles away. The only time this didn't work was when I found an Alien relic and the bastards were camping it. My first run-in with an 'Elite' Sentinel and it did not go well.

I also had my first space battle and it was intense, much better than the land battles. Managing heat dissipation while having to quickly pop into inventory to refuel shields with dwindling supplies of Oxides was really tough and it was the first thing in the game that I actually had to stop and collect myself after. On the plus side the space dudes that ran a space station in that system were quite pleased with my actions and rewarded me by teaching me their word for 'rare'.

Still, I had to chew up precious nickel to survive the battle. God damn space pirates.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 5:56 AM on August 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


If you know you'd sink 100+ hours into the game if it has has features XYZ, why not fork over the $60? I can understand wanting to wait for accurate reviews instead of first-day hype (which are often either "OMG THIS HAS ALL THE AWESOME!!!" or "I didn't meet tribbles or a grignak; I'm bored now; this game sucks"), but if you know you'd get several weeks' entertainment from it - or several months of few-hours-a-week - that's gotta be worth the $60 price tag.

There's a word for people who pre-order AAA games given the last few years of over-hyped duds, bad quality control, forced online play without server scaling, and missing features introduced later through paid DLC: suckers.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:33 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I succumbed last night and bought the game. Enjoyed the first hour, it's certainly colorful. Also concerned it doesn't have much depth other than the variety of procedural generation. And too early to tell how much variety that really will be. My early game was tricky because I managed to aggro the Sentinels somehow. Fortunately I managed to take cover at my spaceship and fight them off until I had a brief moment of peace with the big scary walker robot behind a rock, and ran for it. They lost interest in me soon after.

Agreed that procedural mob generation is an interest for me. I loved the Spore creature designer system and it would be easy to imagine a procedural / randomized version of that. I think Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system sets the high bar for procedural enemies right now though. They managed to turn semi-randomized enemies into things with actual personality to go with their unique looks. Very nicely done and now that the game is a couple of years old I'm hoping a bunch of games coming out soon will innovate on the idea.
posted by Nelson at 7:00 AM on August 10, 2016


Jim Sterling has a review up, but his site went offline from traffic (or DDoS attacks from angry fanboys?). Here's the link in case it comes back up later, though I'll note it's also accessible via Google's caching feature.

What I find most disappointing, actually, is the revelation that the procedurally-generated creatures don't actually do much. The majority of these survival games view their non-hostile creatures as interchangeable loot piñatas, but with the emphasis on discovery I was hoping this game might be different... Apparently not, though. :(
posted by tobascodagama at 7:45 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Got 3 or 4 hours in last night. Despite knowing the hype was hype and the game couldn't live up to it, it still managed to let me down a little. After hearing how everyone started off on a different planet I assumed streams wouldn't spoil me, but almost everything I encountered I had seen in the hour or so I spent watching videos. The first creature I encountered I had seen on stream. I was excited when after three planets I found a plant that gave out an item that didn't look exactly the same as the plants that gave out that item on the other planets.

The inventory system is really grating. I had to ditch several items I bought at my first trading posts. I had to sell valuable minerals that I assume are good for crafting; did not have the space to keep them around unused. That's all learning curve I guess though, as is the clunky quest system that leads you through intersystem travel.

It does not really seem like you are exploring the unknown galaxy when every planet already has outposts and buildings and aliens hanging out on them.

These are my complaints after a few hours. I have seen some very beautiful things that made me stop to appreciate them, and close to the end of my playthrough I felt that I was on the verge of understanding the game's systems and foibles enough to approach the true flow state that is so easy in say Spore. I'm curious to see what else it has to show me but I'm not dying to get home to play again.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:10 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Are there life-supporting planets in every system? I'd hope they would be rare or at least (giving some concession to gameplay) uncommon.
posted by straight at 8:56 AM on August 10, 2016


After a dozenish hour of gameplay impressions : I can see the complaints, but I've enjoyed the pace and package for the most part. It favours casual walk/exploration/crafting/arcade space flight (with frantic inventory management) over shooting stuff. I am doing a bit of all three (of five) paths available to me. I have enjoyed hunting down crashed ships through scan or beacon signals, and repairing them with the nearby resources. My naming scheme for discoveries varies by interest in the locale, flora or fauna. It will be a fun thing to return to with time, further refinements and iterations. Now I'm curious what the PC release will be like.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 9:19 AM on August 10, 2016


oh hai, my husband pre-ordered this for our PS4. He spent a couple hours in it last night, and I mucked around / started it today.

So far I really like it. It's doing exactly what I want, which is to be able to rummage around, do stuff and work on building resources and exploring stuff without being shot at. Bonus is that it's definitely helping me to improve my skills with the PS4 controller, which for a keyboard-and-mouse / 2 button joystick Old like me is a huge help for other games down the road.

Both of us enjoy NMS for what it is, an open endless world of things to do in a fairly low stress environment. You don't have to interact with/shoot any of the creatures/aliens if you don't want to. You don't have to hoard resources, or agonize about that quest line you didn't join, because you'll just find more and different resources and other quests to join elsewhere. I don't wind up cursing the game designers every three minutes just because I clumsily managed to jump and/or fall off the fucking map.

It's exactly opposite in feel and mechanics to the sweaty, salty, getting-our-asses-shot-off-in-PVP-fireteams vibe of Destiny, which we also enjoy quite a bit. This is a good thing.
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:30 PM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've played for the past two nights, and so far I'm fascinated and feeling really positive about the game. It's precisely what I was hoping for - an atmospheric zen exploration game, with light crafting/survival/combat/progression elements that skirt the line between unobtrusiveness - if I want to just aimlessly wander and catalog flora/fauna and search for monoliths to expand my knowledge of alien cultures, I can do so, and I'm rewarded for it with money, nominal ownership rights, etc. - and the right kind of obtrusiveness - there are puzzles around my life support systems failing, figuring out what I can afford to jettison in my inventory and what is important, seeing whether I can get away with upsetting the sentinels or attacking a starship, etc. I had a couple harrowing hours where I landed on a rock spire and couldn't get back to my starship, and was effectively stranded on a planet with no foreseeable way out. I ended up stumbling on a crashed starship and journeying around trying to repair it in a cold, uninhabited, resource-deficient landscape. It gave me a sense of being truly alone in a vast, unfathomably large universe that doesn't care one whit about me.

Recommended if you like/want: picking flowers and diving for pearls in Elder Scrolls games (the red wastes of Morrowind were conjured in my mind more than once); a more interesting procedural version of the planet-exploration subgame in Mass Effect 1; artsy loneliness a la Shadow of the Colossus; old 70s sci-fi artwork; Flower/Journey with something to do; Star Control II and similar PC space exploration games from the 80s/90s.

I'm having a blast - but my version of a blast is a slow atmospheric stroll through gorgeous procedural environments while ambient/noise/piano music continually reconfigures itself. I'll be exploring this odd dreamscape for months to come.

Huge shoutout to such a small development team making something of this scope and care - even if the game had half the ambition and interlocking systems in place, I would buy it to support the team and the huge sacrifices they must've made for their go-for-broke vision.
posted by naju at 3:20 PM on August 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Here's a tip for people who, like me, are finding the small inventory to be a real problem: look for camps/waystations that have a thing with an orange beam shooting out the top. Make a bypass chip, and ask the thing for 'shelter'. Sometimes it points you to a nearby Drop-pod, and these give you inventory upgrades. It seems like they go up in cost by 10,000 each time (first one's free), so you'll need to get your ship up and running first, both for faster travel and for hauling loads of ore to a trading post.
posted by rifflesby at 4:32 PM on August 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


As a long time but not hardcore gamer, I think it's great. I've spent hours just exploring my starter planet. 18 quintillion -1 to go.
posted by jwest at 7:32 PM on August 10, 2016


Question that must be answered before I try this game: Will it fill the Escape Velocity Shaped Hole In My Heart?
posted by cacofonie at 7:37 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Almost certainly not. But there are other options for that.

Naev is still trundling along, though I don't know if it's in a satisfying place yet.

Endless Sky is a thing.

So is Transcendence.

And those are just the direct descendants. Elite: Dangerous I think is generally in the same kind of area, though I don't know if it's capable of or interested in scratching the same story itch. Star Citizen will eventually get there as well. Etc.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:50 PM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


So I'm on a moderately toxic moon just wandering around seeing what's there when I come across a pool of water with a few two storey high misshapen lumps of iron ore in the middle.
I circle them wondering what they remind me of and then I realize - they're big stromatolites!
I can forgive a lot of a game that gives me an OMG! Moment like that
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:06 PM on August 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've only been vaguely aware of the hype and controversy around this game for the past year, and it wasn't something that caught my interest until this week. But everything I've seen, both positive and negative, has made me think it's so right up my alley. Especially comparisons like this:

artsy loneliness a la Shadow of the Colossus; old 70s sci-fi artwork; Flower/Journey with something to do

And observations like Austin Walker's at Vice... so yeah, I bought it from the PS4 store this morning and it's downloading while I'm at work. I can't wait to get home and give it a shot tonight. If nothing else it seems like a nice stress reliever after banging my head against the Nameless King in Dark Souls 3 the past few days.
posted by Roommate at 8:08 AM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


After another night playing it I'm fully on board with the wonder. The Jim Sterling review is dead on; everthing's essentially the same, nothing surprises, as a game it might be a let down. But the beauty and the exploration, the experience... it's definitely worthwhile.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:17 AM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just realised last night that you can hang around the dock of the space station and talk to the ships on the landing pad, trade with the pilots, and even buy their ships! Spend 1M credits on it last night but I'm packing some serious phase beam damage and cooling, and 22 inventory slots now.

However, the real reason I bought this ship was it's chromey-purple colour and rakish design which lead to me to realise that even the ships are done with procedural generation.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:46 AM on August 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah I missed some sweet ships when I didn't have the credits for them including a lovely bulbous pink number that's basically my white pink whale now. I got the cash now but nothing I've seen since has appealed to me.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:01 AM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another note, you can't transfer installed equipment from ship to ship, but you can move some of them to your exo-suit and then to the new ship. Wish I knew that before :/
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:06 PM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just got an alert about a crashed starship to maybe salvage if it looked better than my starter ship. A half an hour's flight away, I realized it had taken me back to my original crash site. I may have said a swear.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:56 PM on August 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Having finally got to play last night for a few hours I can say I love it. It is certainly not for everyone, but it was a very meditative experience. Calm, very little stress (except for the occasional sentinel fight), and a pretty amazing sense of wonder. In many ways it lives up to what I expected as MINECRAFT! IN! SPACEEEEEEEEE!

For those of you lamenting "oh you have to go shoot stuff, wonderful", you really don't. I got into two fights with the little robot scouts because I didn't notice they were there when I scavenged resources. I then hid when the reinforcements came in. I suspect you can easily avoid any confrontation with them. I've not encountered any hostile living beings, but I'd guess they can also be avoided.

I intended to play for about 45 minutes. I looked at the clock and realized 2 hours had passed.

I'm sure the sense of wonder may eventually wear off, but after the second planet was worlds (heh) different from the first and had all manner of different terrain.
posted by Twain Device at 8:04 AM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have been playing since launch and have been having a blast. I love that the animals are just there for looking at for the most part, and how you could spend hours just on the starting world doing whatever. I spend a day mining Emeril to build up some cash and then lucked into a manufacturing complex that taught me how to craft the one ingredient of warp cores you can't mine so I just started jumping around. I spend a while watching dragons fly above a huge impact crater full of trees, and now I'm on a planet whose surface is totally barren but which has oceans full of life and it's amazing.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:40 AM on August 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ok, so the gaming critics had me all afraid of this game but you guys have me all excited. So I might just take the plunge and purchase this evening after work. Thanks MetaFilter.
posted by Fizz at 11:20 AM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just a word of caution since the PC port just released on Steam: apparently it is ROUGH. You might want to wait a couple of weeks to see if they iron things out.

If you do buy it, a lot of people have had success with performance issues by disabling in-game Vsync. You can then enable via Nvidia Inspector or whatnot and it should work fine (or just leave it off for that sweet tearing).

Also, probably covers nobody here but if your CPU does not have SSE 4.1 the game will not launch at all. This is CPUs older than Nehalem (2008?) so you probably have nothing to worry about there.
posted by selfnoise at 12:03 PM on August 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Someone on Twitter today was talking up how it's such a new phenomenon that people are actively rooting for properties to fail. I was just scrolling through the NMS subreddit (I know...) and the anger and hate there is so intense. People bragging about being right about how shit the game is, actively hoping that the studio folds due to huge amounts of Steam refunds. Just had me recalling that statement and thinking how true it is, not just for this game but stuff like Ghostbusters etc. Such glee at the presumed failure of those who actually worked hard to create something of value. I don't think it's confined to videogames, it's a very gamer attitude but it's leaking.

The hype got away from them on this one and I don't even think the studio is to blame. They didn't really promise it would be anything else, anyone actually paying attention should have been able to set their expectations to a realistic level, but people managed to project their desires onto the game, desires that it should have been obvious this wouldn't fulfill.

I can feel my own interest starting to wane, but this is a beautiful and wondrous achievement and one that should be celebrated.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:13 PM on August 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've been loving the game on my PS4 so far. I think it's exactly what it set out to be, a relaxing exploration game with some ambitious generative elements. I keep having the feeling that I'm going to explore all the novelty before too long and then get bored of the game, but so far 15 hours in I'm enthralled.

(Shame about the PC port problems; maybe they should have delayed the release further.)
posted by Nelson at 12:15 PM on August 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just a word of caution since the PC port just released on Steam: apparently it is ROUGH. You might want to wait a couple of weeks to see if they iron things out.

That answers my question as to whether it's worth it to spend a frustrating weekend screwing with UEFI and installing dual-boot Windows 10 with last year's $150 video card for this game. I've been moving most of my minimal gaming to a second-hand XBone for that reason.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:47 PM on August 12, 2016


The PC reviews on the STeam store are pretty brutal so far.

"I literally opened and let the game crash about 100 times so I could get the five minutes "play time" required to write this review. "

"ou're severly wrong about the minimum system requirements, replace them with this-

Mimimun-
A computer made by jesus christ himself but it'll still struggle to hit 20 fps"

"No Man's PC can handle it."

rekt
posted by GuyZero at 2:48 PM on August 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just got the PC version and played it for an hour and I think it's awesome!! I really like just exploring and wandering around and finding things. It's basically like Noctis was back in the day, but 1000x more interesting.

Re: the hype, yea before the game was even released so many people were basically pre-emptively being disappointed with it, and now that it's out everyone is like "Told you so." I don't get that mentality. Just take it for what it is, basically Minecraft in space.
posted by pravit at 3:06 PM on August 12, 2016


Have the PC version too. Running on a good system: Skylake i7, 980ti, 16 gig RAM. 1080p resolution with all settings cranked to max. Still have vsync on but will try it without. No crashes at all but every now and then there are micro-stutters. Besides the occasional hitches, I seem to be going smoothly.

This is the game I dreamed of when I was a kid watching Star Trek TOS in late night reruns. Started off on a very cold planet (-75c at night!) but with abundant life. Found a fat creature with a baby face and a few armor plates on her back. She screamed at me. I gave her some plutonium to eat. She screamed again. Kinda disturbing. Woke the kitten up. But a smiley face appeared over her head so I'll assume that's a happy noise. She followed me around for a little while. Probably hoping for more plutonium snacks, but I'm not giving constant handouts to space dinosaurs.

Then turned a corner and found a warm cave which went on forever, full of bio-luminescent flora. So, so beautiful. Found a monolith. Found someone's abandoned camper. Have no idea why these little robots are flying around and scanning me. At least they're not shooting yet.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:00 PM on August 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Steam reviews/comments are such a double edged sword. On the one hand, I value community feedback, and the PC community is pretty reliable with regards to things like a game not functioning or logging a glitch that seems to be universally impacting all users, etc. But then you also have the flipside, angry bros raging about nonsense because bros got to bro.
posted by Fizz at 6:45 AM on August 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just a tip: feeding herbivores is totally worth it. I fed 20 iron to one and got 5 iridium.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:17 AM on August 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


No Man's Sky: you literally pick up poop.

(As it happens I captured a nice short video this morning of feeding an animal and it making a smiley face at me, only for some Sentinels to float menacingly over a hill.)
posted by Nelson at 9:20 AM on August 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I bought it. Hmm, not enjoying the inventory system at all, but I do love exploring, very peaceful and I do like that the more I play, the more I learn about the environment I find myself in.

I find myself very much not wanting to be an aggressor and more in line with an explorer. That is the hat that I find is most useful, mind you I've only played for an hour.

Back to it I go.
posted by Fizz at 4:39 PM on August 13, 2016


Visited my first space-station. Made some trades, saving up enough credits to purchase a better ship. That itch to mine, hoard, sell, lather, rinse, and repeat is strong. I'm so glad I ignored the critics and trusted in my fellow MeFites. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 9:03 PM on August 13, 2016


If inventory space is annoying then jump in your ship and fly around a planet looking for Drop-Pods. I found just tearing round a planet was the quickest way. You can scan and head for question marks but it seemed to be just as fruitful to keep an eye out for them. You can spot one every few minutes doing this. Make sure you pick up plutonium because landing and taking off can burn through a lot of it.

Buy a suit slot upgrade from the drop pod, mine something and trade for cash at a trading place. Any location which has landing pads will have a galactic trading point. To sell up you can also fly into orbit and head for the local space station.

Repeat until you have a couple of dozen slots in your suit. They go up in price by 10k each time so there's a limit to how useful they are.

The hardest part so far has been resisting the urge to google answers to my many questions.
posted by fullerine at 12:02 AM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been so excited for this game to arrive, but the PC launch has been so rough, I am delaying my purchase. For a $60 game in which they could have anticipated some technical difficulties or high server load, this response from the team regarding support is not making me feel any more comfortable:

We will be moving to a ticketed support system next week, and have hired someone to manage this starting Monday.

Were they expecting perfection here? It seems they should have maybe hired a few more people for things other than just making the game. Lots of other things need to happen too. The support page still indicates that it's not yet released on PC. And you get support by sending an email and waiting?

I'm going to wait til after the growing pains.
posted by Roger Dodger at 9:56 AM on August 14, 2016


I'm currently running on the following rig: NVIDIA GTX 970 Extreme3 R2.0 AM3+ AMD 970, AMD FX-4350 Vishera Quad-Core 4.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM.

My settings are currently at medium. I only occasionally encounter stutters, for the most part its smooth, very little tearing. I haven't encountered any issues with my game stalling or having to restart like many have reported. While I'll admit the PC release could certainly have been better, I think the Steam community has been exaggerating how dire the situation is. But, maybe I've just been lucky.

I'm enjoying the game thus far. It has a bit of a World of Warcraft quest feel to it. That may not be for everyone but back in the day when I was a heavy WoW user, I enjoyed low-key quests where I had to craft some thing or hunt for a particular flower. There's something very zen about it all.
posted by Fizz at 1:08 PM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Word of advice: if you are on a planet listed as having an EXTREME number of Sentinels and you see an orb marked with an exclamation point, DO NOT pick it up until you've upgraded your boltcaster.

Also if you aim right a plasma grenade will one shot the little floating Sentinels.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:11 PM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


A few random thoughts after 10+ hours of exploring:

I wish the sky would reflect storm conditions. Right now, the sun still shines in the middle of a blizzard and that bothers me.

For that matter, could we have weather which isn't a storm? Rain / snow every now and then. Fog by the shore on some mornings (but not every morning).

Wish the fauna had more interesting behaviors. Nests perhaps. Flying creatures would land and sleep. Long necks could nibble on tree leaves. Diurnal vs. nocturnal animals. There does seem to simple herding / flocking for some creatures, and some seem to prefer being solitary. That's kinda nice and I hope that's intentional. Would indicate a framework exists for possibly more complex behavior in the future.

Since both plants and and animals seem to repeat across planets, I hope the game lampshades it somehow with a story of how the galaxy was seeded from a single source.

Hope a future edition of the game will include something like the Sporepedia for quickly looking up discovered animals, plants, and planets. Would be nice to mark a world as a "favorite" so revisits would be easier.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:39 PM on August 14, 2016


For that matter, could we have weather which isn't a storm? Rain / snow every now and then. Fog by the shore on some mornings (but not every morning).

My second planet had acid rain. I wouldn't survive for more than a few minutes so I had to move on. I loved the way the rain pattered against my starship. From what I understand, there is rain (toxic and non-toxic), snow, and fog.
posted by naju at 3:56 PM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I am loving this game so far, I love trying to discover more of the language of each species.
I want to share some tips for the game:
- Space combat is easier using the mining laser rather than the bolts, since the mining laser locks on to enemy ships if your cursor is close enough.
- When trading, if your ship is close enough you can switch between selling from your suit inventory and ship inventory by clicking a bar on the left side of the screen. I didn't realize this at first and kept running back and forth.
- When you interact with an alien, sometimes they ask for a certain resource. If you don't have it on you, its possible to exit out of the conversation and come back later if you right click instead of selecting one of the options (not sure if there is a grace period, I just ran to my ship to get some iron the alien was requesting)
- For the interaction puzzles, keep track of which words you learn for each language. Sometimes you can figure out the puzzle by omission (for example if the three choices are to give an isotope, silicate, or oxide; and you don't see any hints from the alien dialogue but you know you have learned the words for oxide and isotope, its probably requesting silicate). I'd love to know if there was a list in game where I could see all the words I've learned.
posted by Mayhembob at 9:10 PM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


This Mithrie person is playing a lot of hours on the PC release, despite the game regularly grinding to a halt. To be fair it only does this after 4-5 hours of game play time.

You can watch him journeying to the centre of the universe on Youtube. He is doing live gameplay streams on a daily basis, and you can watch his past adventures as he gets to grips with the game.
posted by asok at 5:13 AM on August 15, 2016


Played several hours this weekend on PS4. Doesn't take long to see pretty much everything the game has to offer in terms of gameplay. The scope is grand, but in the end it's not a complex game. So it won't be for everyone. But it is definitely for me.

The bug/issue that's bothering me right now is in trying to upgrade my warp drive. I bought a ship that had Warp Reactor Sigma already installed. I've found the blueprints for Tau twice now (the second time I got the "you already have this blueprint" message) - but it doesn't show up in the list of upgrades to my ship. And there's a blue star near my system that requires Tau to get to. A bit of googling tells me I'm not the only one with this issue, so I'm hoping they fix it in a patch soon.

From what I've read, the stars that require upgraded Warp tech (and are red, blue, or green, as opposed to the common yellow stars you tend to stick to on the Atlas path) have a much higher chance for lush biomes and rare materials. So it really bums me out that I can't get to them.

Tip: haven't seen it mentioned here, but when exploring a planet, you can move much faster than sprinting by tapping the melee attack button, then immediately engaging your jetpack. It gives a significant boost of speed for a bit, until you need to let your jetpack recharge.
posted by Roommate at 6:11 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a spoilerish question about the Atlas path that I can't find a good answer for by googling. I ROT13'd it in case any Atlas expert reading this wants to help me out:

Qbrf svavfuvat gur Ngynf cngu npghnyyl trg lbh gur pragre bs gur tnynkl? Vg whfg fnlf lbhe wbheal vf ng gur raq, naq lbh pna ovegu n arj fgne. Ohg V jnf fgvyy n tbbq 170 yvtug lrnef njnl sebz gur pragre jura V tbg gb gur raq bs Ngynf. V'q fbyq gjb fgbarf rneyl ba, fb pbhyqa'g pbzcyrgr vg. Qbrf svavfuvat vg ernyyl trg gb gur pragre, nf va mreb yvtug lrnef njnl?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:30 AM on August 15, 2016


My ideal ending for the game: the center of the universe ends up being a giant cosmic menagerie, and everyone who makes it there gets to place one, but only one, catalogued thing in it. One flora or fauna of your choosing from your travels gets to live there, and you can roam around taking in everyone else's choices.
posted by naju at 12:03 PM on August 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh my gosh, guys, I am really enjoying this game. I spent all weekend playing it. It is scratching an itch that for me just needs some deep, deep scratching once in a while and this is one of those onces.

It's what it is: a chillout exploration game with a relatively shallow gameplay model but pieces that work pretty well and some cool, ambitious set dressing. It's not a universe simulator in the wonky sense, and the comparison that naju made a few days ago to e.g. picking flowers in Skyrim is spot on to me: how much you like this game beyond the first few hours of blushing novelty probably comes down to how much you like doing a kind of just-for-the-sake-of-it thing a lot while wandering around.

I have mined a lot. A lot. My multi-tool is spec'd for nothing else; I only have a stock boltcaster mod on there because you need 'em to open up some steel-barred doors. But I can tear down a stack of gold or emeril like nobody's business, digging fast and keeping the beam on for a long-ass time before it threatens to overheat, and I've converted that hobby into an embarrassingly large number of Galactic Monetary Units spent in turn on inventory slots, of which I'm now up to 36 because Always Be Inventorying. I could have bought a pretty nice ship with that money. No regrets, there's plenty more gold out there.

I've learned a bunch of words. Not nearly enough, but enough to make a difference now and then. I've followed the Atlas path a long way. I've bought a space truck off a space trucker for the extra ship slots, the better to pack full of precious metals to pay for more inventory slots. I've been rewarded several times for letting blustery aliens punch me. I've accidentally gotten betrothed. I've peered into the Lovecraftian diaries of doomed, long-dead wanderers.

It's shallow but it's not a bad shallow. There's things I could see them iterating on to increase the variety and novelty of some of the systems. As a framework for future content and mechanics, I think it's pretty promising. But even as just what it is, it's doing a great job for me. It's scratching that itch.

I've basically avoided looking anything up other than very basic "your life will suck less if you know this poorly-conveyed basic mechanic" stuff, so puzzling out various details has been a fun aspect and kept a little more wonder in it for me. Of which:

Just a tip: feeding herbivores is totally worth it. I fed 20 iron to one and got 5 iridium.

WHAT
posted by cortex at 1:36 PM on August 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I only have a stock boltcaster mod on there because you need 'em to open up some steel-barred doors.

That's what the plasma launcher with an upgrade on it is for.

KNOCK KNOCK!
posted by Drastic at 2:48 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


But that's not fewer than one slots! If your solution doesn't use zero slots instead of one, it's dead to me.
posted by cortex at 2:55 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Plasma launcher with expanded blast radius is *so good* for mining, though. And combat. It's a multi-purpose mining explosive.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:01 PM on August 15, 2016


You can also spelunk freely, secure in the knowledge that you never need to backtrack--just blow a hole through the ceiling and jetpack out! Scanner pings showing a cluster of rare stuff underground with no clear cave entrance nearby? Make your own! Yes, no galactic explorer should ever leave home without their trusty plasma launcher.

(This message brought to you by Plasma Launchers For a Brighter Tomorrow United.)
posted by Drastic at 3:03 PM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


One small, non-spoilerific tip for those of you trying for 100% fauna cataloging on each planet: when you go into the life scanning mode, undiscovered animals will show up as red dots. The red dots will show up at quite a distance and will appear through hills, water, and foliage. Increasing magnification helps tremendously too in getting red dots to show up. Works really well when on shore and wondering if it's worth the swim and the annoyance of the short lived oxygen tank.

This was probably obvious to everyone else but I noticed it yesterday while spending a frustrating hour looking for the last species I needed.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:07 PM on August 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


How are you scanning birds and flying creatures that are too high to scan from the ground? Anyone?
posted by naju at 3:53 PM on August 15, 2016


1) You can zoom in by pressing the right stick, or however you do it on PC, probably right mouse button?
2) Honestly, I climb on top of rocks to get closer.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:55 PM on August 15, 2016


You can scan things after they're dead.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:56 PM on August 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well if you're a murderer, sure. Those Luck Dragons are endangered species. You can't just go around killing them.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:57 PM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Birds and flying fish are a little tricky. It usually takes multiple tries. But, if you keep the creature (and its red dot) in the center of the frame, it will scan. Magnification helps a lot. Focusing on the dot also helps. Best if you can get an angle where it's flying away or towards you, and thus doesn't flit out of the center.

Still more frustrating than it needs to be. The scanner can tell me instantly if I've already discovered a particular creature but has an annoying delay before it starts scanning something new.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:00 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Those Luck Dragons are endangered species. You can't just go around killing them.
To borrow from Rick & Morty as recent pop-culture involving near-infinite spaces goes, if you can fly down to functionally-infinite other planets where there's "Luck-y Dragons" identical except for some narratively-small difference, is it really extinction?

*Those* Luck Dragons may be endangered, but there's functionally-infinite ones similar enough where it matters.
posted by CrystalDave at 4:17 PM on August 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well at least the probability that you will murder any of my luck dragons is effectively zero.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:33 PM on August 15, 2016


On a more serious note, I hope once they fix the horrible PC bugs that they get around to fixing photon cannons, which are completely broken.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:36 PM on August 15, 2016


You can scan things after they're dead.

This is the comically simple solution I didn't even think of, thanks! Guess this ain't a pacifist run anymore.
posted by naju at 5:18 PM on August 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Interesting stories emerging from the randomness. I've found a planet awash in radiation with frequent dust storms. The official report says "flora: none" but there are a few plants here and there. Still, mostly a desert. Pink and magenta. Stalked by towering, and exceptionally violent, t-rexes who hunt deeply suspicious things with ram horns.

Every single settlement I've found has either been consumed by the green goo and tentacles. Or abandoned with locked doors. One exception: a small outpost with a frightened gek who demanded to see my weapon. She was the sole survivor of a pirate attack and absolutely terrified they were going to return and kill her. Wanted to see my multi-tool for some desperate proof I was not one of them.

Found another outpost built in more optimistic times but now slowly succumbing to the sea. Already the high tides were washing the ground away from underneath. Inside was the remains of something which must have suffered greatly while alive. Outside were two gek word stones. "Terror". "Hostility"

I'm not feeling very welcome here.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:20 AM on August 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


At least some of the doors that are resistant mining lasers can be melee attacked through, so technically maybe you don't need a boltcaster. I opted for the plasma instead, although I may reconsider my options when I find a multitool with more slots.
posted by juv3nal at 1:15 AM on August 16, 2016


You can scan things after they're dead.

Possibly worth noting that you can't scan adorable things after accidentally hitting the plasma grenade button at point blank range instead of the scanner, leaving only a smoking crater of betrayal. Sure, the red dot still shows in the scanner where the poor creature used to exist, but no matter how long you stare in horror, it refuses to analyze. At least, that was my traumatic experience.
posted by Roommate at 3:35 AM on August 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Arrgh. I alt-tabbed, pretty sure the game was paused, and came back an hour later, to find that I'd died repeatedly on the same spot, autosaved repeatedly, and you can only pick up one previous death worth of stuff and load one previous autosave. Frustrating.

Game overall is cool but space pirates are incredibly dumb.
posted by xiw at 3:55 AM on August 16, 2016


I think that at this point I've found more graviton balls than I've found deposits of nickel. I know I've found 1,000 times more plutonium and gold than nickel.

I just need some friggin' nickel.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:01 AM on August 16, 2016


Buy it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:15 AM on August 16, 2016


Despite my earlier apprehension I picked it up and found it exactly the right level of stressful. I haven't died yet, but I've had the right number of close calls, and some pleasant moments of excitement finding the cave I needed not to freeze to death. I'm still getting into the mechanics, but so far I'm enjoying it a lot.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:24 AM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just need some friggin' nickel.

If you can't find it on planets, some of the larger asteroids in space contain nickel.

Or as ROU_Xenophobe said, you can buy it from the trade network or other pilots.
posted by Roommate at 6:39 AM on August 16, 2016


Yeah, I know about buying stuff, and I know about asteroid mining. I'm in a full-spectrum nickel desert.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:45 AM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah nickel is a problem for me too. Buying it is incredibly irritating; only 1 out of 5 times is it even on the shop, and then in quanties of ~40. I'm tied into a galactic trade network that features instant teleportation of goods, how can there not be any nickel? Asteroid mining is the only way I've found, but you have to find the rare nickel asteroid in among all the Thaumium and Iron.
posted by Nelson at 10:37 AM on August 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


There are definitely planets with large Nickel deposits. They tend to be tall, skinny, dome-topped towers of red-veined rock. I find them frequently when looking for literally anything else. But it means planet hopping and scoping around.

I have gotten to know, and sometimes resent, a lot of different ore stack shapes and colorations at this point.
posted by cortex at 11:02 AM on August 16, 2016


(Not to be confused with Iridium, which tends to come in more brightly-red-veined stacks that are frequently if not always arches. Which shouldn't in turn be confused with just plain rock arches.)
posted by cortex at 11:03 AM on August 16, 2016


(Oh and dag, I lied; Nickel's a much more neutral shiny color, maybe yellowish? Varying planet coloration fucks with it. Anyway, tall rounded, round-topped columns of the stuff; not sharp-edged like Heridium towers.)
posted by cortex at 11:43 AM on August 16, 2016


I found one arch of iridium but not before finding 200 units of it in asteroids after looking for it for literally days. I may have ugly cried when I finally found it. Thinking about it what I should really be doing is using my shit to store rare minerals long term and me ever larger exosuit for carrying loot to sell. Especially since the ship can hold stacks of 500 and the suit can only hold stacks of 250.

I just grabbed my four or fifth wrecked ship which I'm going to repair just enough to fly, and then strip all the upgrades out to sell the materials. Then I'll find another wreck and repeat the process.

I think I need to advance the plot, though, because I haven't found a new upgrade in a long time, and the wrecked ships and multitools I find on planets aren't any better than the ones I have right now. Or maybe I'll look for another drop ship or monolith.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:04 PM on August 16, 2016


Dynamic Resonators + Static, Duplicate NPC spawns per system = Completely broken economy, but better emergent gameplay for the relief from early resource scarcity and inventory woes the huge local arbitrage allows.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:30 PM on August 16, 2016


Dynamic Resonators + Static, Duplicate NPC spawns per system = Completely broken economy

Yeah I am really sad that there is no real trading element to the game that is basically a staple of the space exploration genre. I want to buy goods on the cheap in one system and sell them at a profit - justifiably earned by avoiding pirates and keeping detailed records of market prices in nearby systems. Trading in NMS right now involves chilling at one base until an alien flies in that is somehow willing to sell some of their cargo at a huge discount compared to what the station they just arrived at is buying for. I really hope real trading is added in a future patch.
posted by Mayhembob at 7:13 PM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ok, so I played for like 7 hours last night and I'm still on planet #1...so yeah...fuck the haters. This game is scratching an itch that hasn't been scratched since Starflight (which, if you've ever played it is kinda obviously 100% the inspiration for this game) ...got my ship fixed, got a few more inventory slots, got a new gun and I'm about to take off (can't afford any of the cool ships that keep landing at the outpost :[ ) Should we start a fanfare page?
posted by sexyrobot at 10:11 AM on August 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sky Hype (The Jimquisition)
posted by Pendragon at 10:52 AM on August 17, 2016


For anyone not using the Punch/Jump Love method of getting around I highly recommend it.

Sprint (optional) then Melee followed immediately by hitting jet-pack will catapult you large distances at great speed.
Once you get the timing right it's a great way to get around.
You don't have to sprint but I find once I have a bit of running speed it seriously increases the distances I can cover.

Can outrun sentinels with ease and explore a lot more on foot like this.
posted by fullerine at 10:49 PM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've played more than 12 hours, at this point, and haven't journeyed beyond the first planet. I'm itching to get off this scorched, barren world with incessant seismic rumbling, but I can't. I need just one more animal to've caught 'em all! It seems silly to leave before completing that goal.

I spent four hours yesterday just flying over the horizon, landing, scanning the area for red dots, nabbing any useful minerals, and launching to try again. Nothing. I know they can be biome-specific, but I've checked: land, sky, and caves. There is no water on this world, or at least none that I've found. I haven't found any really extensive caves, so I'm worried that may be it.

I'm still having fun, but I'm looking forward to interplanetary, and then interstellar, exploration. But until then, it's more like No Man's Land. Oh, that was already the joke.
posted by gilrain at 5:40 AM on August 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good grief, paper chromatographologist jinxed me. I haven't found any nickel in days. I'll mine an asteroid and it'll be full of iridium and I'll sigh and move on. I've found mountains of gold, emeril, and titanium, but no nickel.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:42 AM on August 18, 2016


Was on a planet recently with tons of nickel. Y'all have made me paranoid so I'm hoarding it. Hope the game one day will offer a trade with other players feature because I'd send nickel to anyone here if I could.

Found a planet with tons and tons of the pearls. Taking the pearls aggros the sentinels. So played a lovely game of smash and grab. Filling up my pockets and running back to the ship with a long trail of angry robot dogs on my heel. Did this grind for a couple of hours and ended up with 7 million. Can now afford a ship with actual cargo space.

Every other space sim has Bob's Gently Used Starship Hut. Shop and buy at your convenience. But this silly game forces me to hang around the stations or trading posts like a hobo. Just waiting for the right ship to come in. When I had no money, there were tons of 31+ slot ships landing. Now, it's a long line of 15 slotters with frightening vaporwave paint schemes of pink and teal. Well, one 30 slot landed, painted orange and brown like an interstellar sunken living room from the 70s. I'm completely out of cargo space but I'm holding out. Have no idea if money is easy or difficult when not grinding, and I really don't want to do that grind again, so hard to spend a lot not knowing if this is my only shot at a 6 million ship for a long while.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:08 AM on August 18, 2016


I don't the impression there's any significant non-grind source of cash; it's more of a pick-your-grind thing. I've leaned toward mining, because that's kind of a zen chillout thing for me in any game, and have found that my best bet there is to sink the time into planet hopping until I find one with prominent gold or emeril deposits. The latter is better value by about 20%, but they both sell for upwards of 200 units per chunk, which means a full suit suit inventory slot of 250 is worth north of U$50K. Fill up twenty suit slots (or ten 500-stack ship slots, or some mix) and you've got a million bucks.

I roughly timed out mining on with my spiffed up multi-tool and I think it came out to something like $40K/minute from tearing down a pile of emeril; minimal downtime between deposits, just hop in the ship and fly for a little bit until you find the next one, land, repeat. It's dull and grindy for sure, but there's a certain amount of that I like, which is how I lost last weekend to the game more or less.

I suspect the time efficiency is better for the "there's rare valuable stuff just laying on the ground" scenario, with pearls or orbs or cubes or whatever, since at like U$15K-30K a pop you can grab a few pretty quickly and then deal with sentinels and repeat. I haven't really had a good chance to check that out, from not finding many such things and having a fullish inventory. I may give it a shot; I'm gather that now having a better warp drive will let me get to odd-colored stars where that kind of thing is more common.

But there's part of me that finds that flavor of moneymaking a little offputting because it's not space efficient; I can tear down a big stack of gold or emeril and effectively cram U$100K+ into a single ship inventory slot, vs. a fraction of that per slot of the ready-made valuable objects. Which means more time in zen grind mode between trips to a trade station. Fewer disruptions. It's weird how brains work; I should try mixing it up.

One thing that I haven't yet found when I was looking for it: a station buying gold or emeril at gold-star double value prices. If I ever do find one of those, I'll be checking out the nearby planets and give it a grind to end all grinds probably.
posted by cortex at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2016


As I alluded to upthread, the least grindy (but also least fun) way to make money is to park yourself in a space station landing bay.

Buy Dynamic Resonators at around 33K units and sell them for around 55k units, all to NPCs visiting the same station. (Or some other high value commodity that at least one trader is buying way above the normal selling price.)

Only a few trader NPCs are generated per system, and spawned repeatedly. Their cargo and prices don't change. Typically at least a couple of the generated traders have 3 to 4 Resonators in stock, and a couple copies of the same NPC tend to show up at once. This makes it pretty easy to fill your available inventory with Resonators, which you then sell to the trader offering a high price.

It took me about an hour or so of doing this to go from around 70k units to around 6 million IIRC. I then immediately upgraded the starter ship to a 31 slotter. once I had enough seed money I was making around $300K every 5 minutes or so.

The more exosuit slots the better, transferring in and out of ship inventory adds steps (but will allow a bigger swing per cycle).
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:28 PM on August 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I just installed 1.04 and then i found a planet with a bunch of moving mushroom animals on it. Any of you seen them before?

Also I finally found nickel!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:39 PM on August 18, 2016


Wait till you see the bouncing dildo animals.
I can tear down a big stack of gold or emeril and effectively cram U$100K+ into a single ship inventory slot, vs. a fraction of that per slot of the ready-made valuable objects.
One (maaaaybe cheating) way of getting around this is to destroy a high end warp drive or other upgrade which uses multiple Rare Items. When you get them back they arrive in your inventory stacked! So I now have a single slot which can take a hundred Grav Balls as long as I remember to leave at least two in there.
posted by fullerine at 11:08 PM on August 18, 2016


Any of you seen them before?

Yes, but I was playing Starbound. That is kind a great, definitely beats the Penis Monsters that were my previous best find. (There were also some Pineapple Monsters that were pretty great, on one of my first planets. Just hopping around, with a billion spider eyes. Actually, I'm gonna revise my ranking and put those guys on top.)

One (maaaaybe cheating) way of getting around this is to destroy a high end warp drive or other upgrade which uses multiple Rare Items. When you get them back they arrive in your inventory stacked! So I now have a single slot which can take a hundred Grav Balls as long as I remember to leave at least two in there.

That is bizarre. But noted.

Buy Dynamic Resonators at around 33K units and sell them for around 55k units, all to NPCs visiting the same station. (Or some other high value commodity that at least one trader is buying way above the normal selling price.)

The thing I did today is fly to a rarer colored star, stop in at the local space station, see that various "you might find it on the ground" commodities were gold star items in the trade hub, and then check out the nearest planet to find that, indeed, one of those items was plentiful on the ground. (Specifically, Albumen Pearls, which are found inside distinctly Giger-esque four-ply chestburster egg type plants mostly in caves. They normally sell for a decent U$27K or so, but at gold star they sell for twice that.)

So I set up there, filling up 30-ish slots by grabbing the things off the ground and then fighting of the subset of alerted sentinels that could find me inside of the cave systems I was farming (most never did), and then getting back to my ship and up to the space station. Each loop took about 10 minutes give or take, and netted about U$1.7M. It's a bit nuts; I plan to bank U$25M or so and then buy myself up a nice big fat cow of a ship upgrade and go to work reconfiguring its systems to optimize subsystem synergies, etc.
posted by cortex at 11:37 PM on August 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I now have a single slot which can take a hundred Grav Balls as long as I remember to leave at least two in there.

Well, this makes sense. In their normal state graviton balls are spatially exclusive, but conditions within a warp drive theta necessarily induce a coherent polarization across one of the 100 dimensions graviton balls occupy. They can spatially superimpose as long as they remain polarity exclusive, up the point where they saturate all available dimensions. They will decohere when separated, but superimposed balls will lock each other out from decoherence by occupying at least one of the 100 available dimensions. Conveniently, mere contact with a polarized graviton ball stack will induce polarization in an non-coherent ball when it is introduced.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:20 AM on August 19, 2016 [6 favorites]




I don't the impression there's any significant non-grind source of cash; it's more of a pick-your-grind thing

For all the people complaining (elsewhere) about how it doesn't present enough playstyles, it really lets you choose among various options, it's just that they're all relaxed and low pressure. It's probably not as lucrative as mining, but I've been happy with the money I'm making cataloging all the animals on a planet, which I really enjoy.* I'm still early on and that money doesn't scale like mining, but I'm getting paid to wander around and check out weirdo animals so I'm happy.

*N.B.: I also played and loved the PS3 game Afrika, a safari photography simulator, so I may have outlier tastes in this regard.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:48 AM on August 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, for sure. I should be clear that I'm not beefing on the grind issue particularly; I tend to try and figure out what the economic/progression options are in games just as part of getting to know the game, but I picked up No Man's Sky specifically for the wandering and the low-pressure poking about.

The part of me that wants a big ship gets to worry about mining vs. pearl farming, but the rest of my brain is more into the rest of it, the flying around slow over a strange colored planet and pretending it's the third act of 2001, running and jetpack-surfing across the landscape to find new alien words, etc.
posted by cortex at 11:00 AM on August 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Photography is becoming my chief goal in this game. Wish they would give a toggle button which would truly hide the HUD, and optionally put the name of the star & planet at the bottom.. Maybe even let you upload an image which would be attached to the planet catalog for your own reference and for future travelers. This is assuming there will be a planet catalog eventually.

I'm not too worried about money either. My sole concern was with inventory. I really wish developers would stop thinking that making limited inventory space at the start, especially in a game where crafting is important, will create a fun mini-game. It's just frustrating when there's little space and things, which should easily stack, don't. Having something the size of a bead take up an entire slot is terrible design.

This is something Minecraft got right. Generous amount of space in your pockets and almost everything stacks. Gives the game a good start because you can spend the first few hours exploring and pocketing the basic materials without worry. By the time you need a chest, you're prepared for it.

Related to the inventory game, if they're going to limit what can be carried at the beginning, I wish they'd at least let me know what's in the box when my inventory is full. Any other game would let you know so you could then make the painful decision about what to throw away.

The game is in a weird place for me. Part of it is the zen of photographs, weird species, and that bliss of hiking in a strange new place. And part of it is materialistic which triggers all those hoarding compulsions formed in Minecraft and WoW.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:44 PM on August 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Photography is becoming my chief goal in this game. Wish they would give a toggle button which would truly hide the HUD, and optionally put the name of the star & planet at the bottom.

NoHUD toggle mod [NMSE]

Note that the future of NMSE is uncertain, although if Hello Games is smart they'll follow Bethesda's lead and leave it alone.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:10 PM on August 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ha-haa. I just found a tower of nickel about 40 feet wide and maybe 20 stories tall poking out of a cave opening.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:49 AM on August 20, 2016


Having made my comment about mining earlier, I found a planet full of good last night and definitely lied about coming to bed several times.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:52 AM on August 20, 2016


Full of gold
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:00 AM on August 20, 2016


Found my first (non-major race) humanoid. A very plump birdman with green stripes. By himself. Just waddling around. The animation was almost identical to that of moonkins in WoW. Tried to get a good photo but he was timid and kept darting away.

And then the game completely surprised me. We were both on a mountainside. Clear view of the rising sun and the valley below. He looks directly at the sun. At the vista. And raises his arms out in a benediction. His mouth open in a smile. Holds this stance for a minute and then shuffles off into the shadows. Just absolutely sublime.
posted by honestcoyote at 5:35 PM on August 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Someone on Reddit aptly called it "the worst game I can't stop playing". Maybe 20 or so hours in, many many restarts, I seem to have pretty much seen it all but the minmaxing grognard in me wants to keep planning the ultimate start.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:33 PM on August 20, 2016


About 30 hours in, I think I've accomplished all my goals in the game. Maxed out my suit inventory, have a nice 30 slot ship, and built all the upgrade modules I care about. (It helps to just never use projectile weapons on the ground or your ship; need fewer slots and modules.) All I have left that feels novel is exploring the Blue stars to see if the more extreme planets are interesting. Or maybe kill some level 5 sentinels, haven't done that yet.

Boy I wish I'd built the jetpack modules earlier. Flying around with the melee/jetpack trick and +6 jetpack upgrades is really sweet. If you get a jump right you can get a lot of forward momentum and then carry it a very long way with occasional jetpack bursts. It's really a pretty fun little minigame in itself.

My friend Peter wrote some nice comments on the game. I particularly like his comparison to Minecraft, the way Minecraft's special location generation (like dungeons and temples) makes for an interesting sense of locality. Hello Games has said they're going to add "base building" to the game, I'm curious what that will be.
posted by Nelson at 6:51 PM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I lucked into a swell planet. Giant domes of Emeril everywhere. Only environmental hazard is cold which i have an upgrade for. More drop pods than I can scare up money to afford the inventory upgrades for and so far only 1 of 9 species is aggressive (still tracking down the last one for 100% species). I would swear the patch has made drop pods more plentiful because at this point I am not even using the thing that requires a bypass chip to hunt them down, I just scan and visit question marks and they are EVERYEHERE.
posted by juv3nal at 10:01 PM on August 20, 2016


On a planet now which looks much like Nagrand. Lush green fields overshadowed by large floating islands. It's a Gek planet and I've gotten addicted to the plaques. They're full of propaganda and bombastic boasting, but reading between the lines is making for a fascinating story of Gek origins.

I don't know if this world has more plaques and monoliths than usual, or if its just because I'm seeking them out more. Nelson, I liked what your friend wrote. But I think he's a bit wrong. You can have a sense of place in NMS, but it's much more in the player's imagination than in other games.

This current world feels like it was a major part of Gek's early history because of the plaques and ruins, and the floating islands which feel like they're remnants of some ancient titanic struggle (also like Nagrand). There was the world I described earlier with the despair of abandoned, diseased outposts and the single survivor. Or the desolate moon with the cubic mesas and the empty plains filled with pearls and swarms of sentinels. Not all the planets have a strong character, but plenty of them do.

There are parts of the game which are starting to be very similar to the gamebook / storybook genre. After having played enough of the interactive story snippets at abandoned outposts or monoliths or wrecked ships etc., it feels a lot like Around the World in 80 Days or Sunless Sea. Wandering and exploring, and stumbling across stories along the way.

I like how these stories will give each player a different sense of place. I'm immersed in the Gek origins in an abandoned paradise. Someone else will get a very different sense of place by reading the story on an almost lifeless wasteland.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:48 AM on August 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Spent hours grinding my way to 28 million units for my lovely 35 slot ship.
The very next planet I land on has a crashed ship with 34 slots.

I suppose it is something of an achievement to have ragequit No Man's Sky.
posted by fullerine at 3:28 PM on August 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


The number of slots on abandoned ships will always be within one or two of the ship you own when you find it. So don't feel too bad.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:29 PM on August 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sooo...got curious as to why some of my upgrade slots had colored outlines around them so I looked it up: upgrades stack! Put your mining beam upgrades together and rocks just melt away, jetpack upgrades together and you can basically fly everywhere. Ditto for ship/ship weapon upgrades (guess this is why ship/multitool slots are in groups)...enjoy!
posted by sexyrobot at 8:33 PM on August 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Spent hours grinding my way to 28 million units for my lovely 35 slot ship.

Yeah, that's not how you get big ships. You just keep trading up abandoned ships, only repairing what you need to repair. Launch and pulse rockets, and then deflectors and weapons if you need to go to another planet, and hyperdrive if you're just sick of your current system. It's double extra easy in Gek systems because you can just keep redoing the little puzzle and getting another crashed ship location (but if you do it a whole bunch of times it starts getting squirrely). Don't forget to back out of the crashed-ship-looker-atter and disassemble all your upgrades before you move to the new ship. You'll end up with stacks of omegon and emeril and a bunch of dynamic resonators that are stacked and suchlike.

One thing I've read is that when you get to a 47 slot ship, you'll want to fix it up good while you're on the lookout for your 48-slotter, because once you have a 48 slot you'll have to back down to a 47 slot to start looking for a new 48 slot if you don't like your current 48 very much. I had my 47 for a while before I finally found a 48 that almost-but-not-quite exactly what I wanted.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:24 PM on August 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Random discovery: when mining big hunks of gold...scan the ground. Most of the time there's a second giant hunk buried underground directly below it! (It will show up as a wireframe of cubes if it's there...use your plasma grenades to dig down to it)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:10 PM on August 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


One thing I've read is that when you get to a 47 slot ship, you'll want to fix it up good while you're on the lookout for your 48-slotter, because once you have a 48 slot you'll have to back down to a 47 slot to start looking for a new 48 slot if you don't like your current 48 very much.

Until it's fixed you can use the skin-swap glitch to change appearances w/o changing configuration (should you find a better looking 47 slot ship).

https://www.reddit.com/r/NoMansSkyTheGame/comments/4yf87p/how_to_get_a_new_ship_without_dismantling_your/

The glitch can also be used to transfer the appearance of a smaller ship to a larger abandoned ship, but requires significantly more legwork (because you need to use a second abandoned ship to cause the appearance transfer to 'stick' on restart or reload, and POI markers are cleared halfway through the glitch dance, requiring you to be able to find a scouted location manually or go back to a signal scanner/transmission tower to find another wreck).
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:54 AM on August 22, 2016


This new LowFlight mod (article here, mod here) has vastly improved the game, for me. I don't have to wrestle the camera trying to glimpse what's below me. I don't have to guess whether I'm enough over the landing pad to land on it, rather than next to it. I can skim the surface of the trees while looking for new points of interest, rather than cruise from a bored, detached height. It's great!
posted by gilrain at 9:00 AM on August 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah seeing all the video and screenshots from the low flight mod makes me really sad it's not in the main game and not modable on a PS4. As the RPS article notes the change causes problems: geometry pop-in is more apparent, you can get your ship stuck. But for a game that's all about flying around planets seeing the pretty landscape, the flying-and-seeing part is pretty thin.

I'm sad to say that after a few more days' perspective I've quite soured on the game. It really never got beyond being a neat tech demo of how to procedurally generate some models and terrain. The story and goals are terrible, the gameplay is simplistic, the game mechanics are thin and unoriginal. But the graphics and the initial sense of wonder are amazing. I got a good 20 hours of joy out of it at first, so by my usual $60 game experience that's pretty good. Just frustrated that it could have been so much more, not to mention promised to be.

I've been particularly stuck on this criticism of Hello Games' communications. Feels like a small developer without an expert handling communications, a problem Sony should be helping with them better. The misdirection around whether players can ever interact is particularly galling; I think they still haven't set the record straight on that.
posted by Nelson at 9:39 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


The misleading stuff about the modeling of systems and planets is pretty obnoxious too. As are the conclusions of the available storylines (as it were).

If they took these kinds of features out because of the Sony console deal then both companies need to have the guts to say so.

I like the core of the game, but it really isn't what I was hoping (with reason) and I doubt it will hold my interest much longer.

Maybe they'll be able to fix it up like was done with Destiny, but Destiny had a lot more to work with in the base game and Hello is hardly Blizzard (even with Sony's support).
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2016




I haven't played it, but the general consensus seems to be "really interesting first few hours, and then you realize you've seen everything and it becomes really boring." Having seen how positive everyone's first impressions here were, I'm interested to know what y'all think after playing for a while.
posted by Bugbread at 6:33 PM on August 25, 2016


I find it satisfies my urge to wander around and do stuff for about an hour or so at a time, which is all I get to play. I have made very little progress in the plot because I have been enjoying wandering around the planets. But that is just an itch I have. There's definitely not much more to it. Maybe if Hello Games finishes patching major flaws and adds game content soon there will be more to do.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:44 PM on August 25, 2016


I am the sort of guy who got a lot out of Dear Esther and Everyone's Gone To The Rapture, though, so if you don't like walking simulators as much as I do you might not enjoy it as much.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:02 PM on August 25, 2016


I'm interested to know what y'all think after playing for a while.

I have been holding off on the plot (as little of it as there apparently is from what I've read) because I lucked into a nice place to grind as I mentioned earlier. I've been playing for maybe 9 hours? I think it's about time for me to move on though as I did clear the 100% species bonus on my current planet. Took me forever to find the last aminal frand though because it just did not occur to me that there would be more than 1 avian species (they are typically always far enough away as to be basically indistinguishable unless using zoomed in viewing mode).

But it's just...pleasant? Like I don't mind grinding, and I'm not taking some hyper optimized minmax way of doing it either. I just gather up whatever's around and cash it in at trading posts (or the space station, if I can't find one) in between visiting points of interest.
posted by juv3nal at 9:32 PM on August 25, 2016


I'm putting the game away for a while. Though it will probably remain in my "got an hour to kill and want something easy to set down" pile along with things like Euro Truck Simulator. It's absolutely a work of art. The visuals with the music create a meditative feel which is quite special. I've had few games which replicated the feel of hiking in an unfamiliar wilderness like NMS. But it's kind of a failure as an actual game.

Because of past game experiences, I did a rush to min-max weapons and starship cargo space. But then realized there's no point. The occasional space pirates can be dispatched with the starter weapons. Upgraded lasers and photons might make it a bit faster, but it's not necessary and there doesn't seem to be any progression to harder foes. You're not starting with pirates and ending up fighting off civilization-ending dreadnoughts, for example. And inventory seems important at first, but there's no semblance of an economy and the stuff you craft ultimately doesn't feel all that important. It's nice to be able to jet-pack your way around the planet longer than the default unit, but it's really just the same-old sightseeing done slightly more efficiently. Same with most of the other stuff you craft.

One thing which does make it a bit more like a real game is setting self-imposed limits. I recently backed up the save file, then deleted it to make a new game. Pretended my crashed ship was beyond repair and headed for the hills with nothing but my basic exosuit and base-level multitool. Took a couple of hours with a lot of walking to finally find another ship. Getting in the air after being stuck on the ground for so long was a great feeling. Surviving the frigid nights on this world was also great. But don't feel any need to do this again any time soon.

Story stuff is good when it deals with the 3 core races. I liked the melancholy plots and tragedies revealed in slow drips from the alien plaques, ruins, and monoliths. The crashed ships, and aliens in the outposts, sometimes also added some nice microstories. I liked the gamebook style choices available. Just wish they had some real consequences. The main storyline has a nice start and eventually goes nowhere.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:24 AM on August 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


I haven't played it, but the general consensus seems to be "really interesting first few hours, and then you realize you've seen everything and it becomes really boring."

i.e. it is procedurally generated.
posted by Justinian at 1:05 PM on August 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm interested to know what y'all think after playing for a while.

I haven't played it for a week or so. I'm still really positive about it, for what I've always seen it being (an atmospheric, beautiful walking simulator art piece with some light game elements). I'll dip into it now and then for a bit of relaxation and exploration, in between meatier gameplay experiences (I also want to spend time with Hyperlight Drifter, Dark Souls 3, and I Am Setsuna)
posted by naju at 4:41 PM on August 26, 2016


I'd been using No Man's Sky as background hand–twitchy filler while I think about other things for the past two weeks. Over the last couple of days I've found I really can't get into the mood to go forward. I switched over to mindless (and pretty mediocre) N64 games, because NMS is juuuuust a bit too off for me to keep going with it. (The two weeks that I did play were the two in which I finally obtained enough inventory space, and thus had a somewhat tedious thing to be working towards. Now there's nothing.)

It fails the Minecraft standard for me, which is that, given a world, I can't keep walking in a direction and coming across things that feel worth the discovery. I spent three days solid on a planet full of Vortex Cubes, so I definitely did the comprehensive deep dive, and moreover that planet had hostile creatures and extreme heat out the wazoo. Day or night, even before the storms kicked in, I could only stay out in the open for a few minutes at a time; I made it a point to wander far past my ship just to get myself in the most peril I could. (Then storms hit and I could last 30 seconds tops.)

I find the repetition in world generation is immensely frustrating. A cave in one world is identical to the caves in every other world. The various land formations repeat endlessly. And, because they more–or–less stay the same even within worlds, there's no reward for trekking on and seeing what happens. I tried that once, on a gorgeously verdant planet no less, and 30 minutes in was just not feeling like I was seeing anything worth seeing. The journey back to my ship was somewhat painful.

And the alien structures are so frustratingly prevalent. The first couple days it was a thrill to stumble upon building types I'd never seen before, but once you've seen a dozen you've seen them all, and you can find all dozen building types by walking in a straight line for a couple of hours—not to mention flying around. The completionist in me wants to learn all the languages, but... I'm not sure why I'd bother, when random wandering about got me all the blueprints and technologies I'm ever going to need?

I really wanted this game to be for me, because I love games like Skyrim for their wander–y ness (and hate them for their attempts at "being a game", so this isn't a complaint strictly about how limited the game's play is). I was a Minecraft junkie for a while. But the game doesn't have that feel of thrilling discovery to it. Maybe it's that a lot of my game designer friends procedurally generate friggin' everything—my one wonderful friend designed an FPS in which all rooms, vehicles, guns, etc are procedurally generated, and mechanics shift between game instances—but the limits to this game's generative methods feel restrictive. As far as creature ingenuity goes, this feels like a step back even from Spore, which was easily the biggest disappointment of a game I've ever encountered.

Sigh.
posted by rorgy at 2:09 PM on August 27, 2016


Basically, Blizzard should have made this.
It would have taken 8 years and cost millions but the depth would have given the mechanics justice.

I will be heading off to complete the quest line but I have a feeling there's no there, there.
Plus I'm gonna attack some dreadnoughts to see what happens.
posted by fullerine at 2:03 AM on August 28, 2016


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