Another Man’s Sky: Xeno Galaxies

By Adam Smith on June 24th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

I can’t be the only person who is extremely excited by the prospect of No Man’s Sky while also slightly concerned as to what I’ll actually be doing from moment to moment in the game. Exploration for exploration’s sake is fine by me but there’ll need to be a lot more variation than in the current beta* to keep things interesting. Xeno Galaxies, currently Kickstarting to the tune of CAD$45,000, is also aiming to create a procedural universe for players to explore, but Neovariance Games are much clearer about what will be happening in that universe. You’ll be mining, trading and shooting a whole lot of things.

I like that the video points out that shooting an asteroid is not the same as mining it. Minecraft and the like have trained a generation to believe that punching, hitting and generally destroying things is the best way to harvest resources. Not so. You need bloody great factories and machines to suck out the minerals. When you’re not sucking or crafting, you’ll be playing a role or shooting (space) fools in the face.

Role Play Elements – Not a full fledged RPG but not a brainless shooter either. There is equipment and inventory management and the ability to accept missions from terminals. Complete missions your own way – blast your way through or use subtlety and finesse by hacking doors, turrets and force-fields.

Old School First Person Shooting – Fight various alien and human factions in their ships, stations and outposts, and wild creatures on the planets. Expect intense action, with a destruction system that makes use of the sandbox / block nature of the environment.

In a contrary sort of way, I’m encouraged by the relatively basic graphics and events in the video. It’s no Starforge but then neither was Starforge when I played it (in passing, if anyone knows what sort of state it’s in now, make with the comments). Xeno Galaxies has ambition but the limits of that ambition are much clearer than in many other games that promise the moon. And several million other procedurally generated moons to go with it.

The campaign hasn’t had the speediest start but there’s plenty of time to go and it’s on track for success provided the word keeps on spreading. I feel like I shouldn’t draw attention to this but I’m absolutely fascinated by the edit at 3.10-3.12 in the pitch video. A man so tired of blocks that he phases out of existence for a moment.

If you feel so inclined, you can vote for Xeno Galaxies on Greenlight and there’s a pre-alpha over yonder.

This random spaceship generator that Alice just sent me a link to is vaguely appropriate and absolutely the best.

*not actually the current beta

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29 Comments »

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  1. katheb says:

    I am really happy that the trend for SPACE GAMES has awakened once more.

    Elite: Dangerous
    Star Citizen
    No Mans Sky
    Etc etc

    More I tell yeh MORE!

    • frightlever says:

      Starpoint Gemini 2 should be on that list.

    • spamenigma says:

      Space Engineers
      Star Made
      Pulsar: Lost Colony

    • Jahooba says:

      Yeah, but there’s one problem: I haven’t played any of them. Likely there are still some years left before we get the space sim game of our dreams.

    • Rindan says:

      I’ll believe any of this when I see it finally released. Every one is excited for the resurgence of space games, and I would be too if I still wasn’t waiting for a single decent open world zombie game. Weren’t those supposed to have flooded the market and we have what, the beta clunky abomination FPS (first person sadist) games that are DayZ and Rust? How about the legion of “accessible” Dwarf Fortress like games? Where the hell did they go?

      Don’t get me wrong, I want to be pumped, i’m just having a hard time getting excited for another of 50 space Kickstarters when I don’t think 1 in 10 will be released and of those, maybe one of them will actually fulfill a fraction of their promise.

      I’ll crack an eye open if they make it to beta before falling back asleep. I’ll be the first one to the gate screaming that they must take my money when they release and are half way to decent.

      The only space game I am really on the edge of my seat for is Elite because it is proven to more or less exist in a form that is mostly delivering on the promise. I probably also have an irrationally warm spot that hopes against hope that Limit Theory will be birthed one day

      • tangoliber says:

        For your open world zombie game, maybe try Cataclysm.

        I also am impressed by 7 Days to Die. It has a great foundation.

      • Stardreamer says:

        I hear ya, bro, I hear ya. While I LOVE that there are so many space games now to choose from, we’re still waiting for most of them to a) release and b) be good.

        I’ve waited 19 years for Elite IV. I’m a bit tired of waiting. Kickstarter is the greatest thing to happen to gaming in over a decade but it does ask for a metric shit-tonne of patience.

        Meanwhile, people may want to check out Rodina. Or Drox Operative. They’re both pretty awesome. They’re not the all-consuming “goodbye-real-world” experiences I’m looking for, but they’re helping take my mind off the wait.

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        Harlander says:

        State of Decay isn’t bad as an open-world zombie game.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Enemy Starfighter

    • Uncompetative says:

      Flagship

  2. Jockie says:

    Star Forge actually just moved into beta this morning. Feel a lot more like an actual game, very Minecrafty and quite pretty.

    • frightlever says:

      I’m gobsmacked. I figured I’d thrown my money away on it. Guess I’ll take another look.

      So, Xeno Galaxies – it’s a bit disconcerting to see the lush planets, then horrible blocky spacecraft – what’s that about?

  3. Love Albatross says:

    The resurgence of pew-pew space games is a good thing. However, I do like to have some grand overarching purpose other than just gathering space-money or going round space-biffing an endless parade of spacemen. Don’t want it to be forced, but it’s nice to have the option to follow a story and reach a conclusion for a change of pace. The X games did this quite well.

    • Stardreamer says:

      “The X games did this quite well”

      Debatable.

      • Love Albatross says:

        They allowed you to follow the story, or ignore it totally and became cock-of-the-walk-king-space-dick, and dip in and out as you liked. So no, not debatable. I make no comment as to the quality of said story sections, however.

        • frightlever says:

          How can you say they did it quite well and not tackle the fact that the story and implementation was actually pretty poor? The X games would never have garnered the goodwill they did (currently squandered) on the basis of their main story questline.

  4. Lion Heart says:

    maybe 10 years ago itd be allright, also no mans sky is ps4 only so is irrelevant

    • spamenigma says:

      Your comment is irrelevant… (and wrong)

    • Stardreamer says:

      “Timed PS4 exclusive” is, I believe, the phrase you were reaching for.

      Still crap for OtherSystem owners, but at least us PC gamers will have Elite, Limit theory et al to tide us over until Hello Games are allowed to shove a copy our way.

  5. tangoliber says:

    Procedural generation is taking a lot of giant steps recently. This looks very good. Infinite planets, exploring random ships, 90’s style FPS…. all the things I want.

  6. Premium User Badge

    DrollRemark says:

    If all there is to look forward to is mining bloody asteroids, I think I might actually be quite glad I don’t live in the future.

  7. SWJS says:

    For anyone legitimately interested in and unsure of what you do in No Man’s Sky, I highly recommend this interview:

    http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2014/06/24/interview-hello-games-talk-multiplayer-sci-fi-and-objectives-in-no-mans-sky/

    Honestly, the similarities end where they begin. It’s clear that Simon is developing a game that is procedural like NMS, but there are several key differences.

    Xeno Galaxies is set in a more modern sci-fi world focused heavily on action. You’re equipped with a typical ‘pew pew’ laser pistol than can also destroy terrain. There’s much less color and the planets all seem to be single-biome planets, like volcanic planets, rainforest planets. Ships aren’t piloted in first person, but rather third person. It’s clear you’re some type of generic protagonist with lots of power. There’s also a building mechanic.

    No Man’s Sky on the other hand is more colorful, puts you in the shoes of a squishy nameless Joe Schmoe, in a completely procedurally generated universe that emphasises survival and discovery on varied, unexplored world. There’s no known building mechanic, etc. The feeling behind the two games is clearly totally different, and it’s clear that while Sean and Simon have a similar concept for their games, the directions they want to take them are polar opposites.

    Sean, in my opinion, is also far more passionate about what he’s doing with No Man’s Sky since he ended up selling his house and going through a small handful of Joe Danger games just to get to production on NMS. Sean also has experience as a dev previous to Hello Games too. It should also be noted that Hello Games created their own engine for No Man’s Sky to allow them to achieve their goals.

    Simon on the other hand always wanted to develop games, but started out coding business applications. He’s one guy, working out of his own house, and he’s relying on Kickstarter to fund his idea, so I think that while Simon has a great idea for a game too and it is something I’d love to play too, I think he’s bitten off more than he can chew too quickly. Simon is also using the Unity engine, which Sean wanted to avoid using for its limits.

    Personally I would definitely prefer No Man’s Sky, as more blood, sweat and tears have clearly gone into it, and the idea behind No Man’s Sky is more refreshing. Xeno Galaxies just feels like Halo combined with Minecraft to me. But No Man’s Sky… Just feels more original, more refreshing. More unique.

  8. racccoon says:

    Thing I don’t like is the building, if a dev can’t build models don’t make a game, ok have it so we can build a home but ships + + is going to far. I want a game made and complete not one that makes us do the work for hours on end, If I want a build game why not just go to LEGO..

  9. Lionmaruu says:

    Crafting, mining, trading and shooting are expected in no man’s sky, so I REALLY will be disappointed if they don’t deliver…

    on other note, this game seems pretty good too, the graphics are more on a “realistic” kind but still the video impressed me, I hope they can keep this up so I can buy their product some day.

  10. Neovariance says:

    I’m the developer of XG. No man’s sky is gorgeous, being compared to them is really an honour ! I’m really not in the same league, I’m quite happy to have escaped the “Minecraft clone” category but I still honour my Minecraft origins.

    Just don’t say Minecraft+Halo. Say Elite + Minecraft + System Shock 2 and I will be happy ;)

    Btw, the big ships and stations interiors are made of blocks too. Destructible and player editable – that’s where some of the FPS/RPG action happens, and that’s what gives the 90s feeling : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxeLWKYC2zg

    I’m not really interested in making the game more pretty for now: before that I need to release a complete alpha, with all features playable.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      While I’m at a bit of a saturation point on space sims right now (I’m following so many I keep forgetting a few of them), I wish you luck on your endeavor. It’s especially nice to see the indie scene grow in Canada/Quebec :)

  11. Neovariance says:

    There is a demo now, on Windows and Mac, you can download it there:
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/enomi/xeno-galaxies/posts/899345

    I will be releasing new demo content until the bitter end – of the Kickstarter :P