No Man’s Sky is a space exploration game by Hello Games in which every dot in the night sky is a star you can actually fly to. This is not the game’s most ambitious claim.
The game’s most ambitious claim – described as “Peter Molyneux-esque” by lead developer Sean Murray – is that the procedural generation of those planets is built “from a real atomic standpoint”. The chemical compounds in a planet’s atmosphere dictates everything from how light refracts from the nearest sun, to the colour of the grass, the minerals in the soil, and the behaviour of creatures.
Yesterday I wrote about what you do in No Man’s Sky, but there’s a lot of understandable skepticism about the game’s claim to generate a galaxy from code. In this lengthy interview, I spoke to the Hello Games team about how they hope to building that galaxy, from the rules of its procedural generation, to the challenges of making a pretty procedural galaxy, and where the boundaries are between generated and authored design.
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