New No Man’s Sky Trailers Show Space Stations, Portals

The imminent release of other, exciting space games has done nothing to dull my interest in No Man’s Sky. I can think of three good reasons for that: it’s the only space game with a colour palette taken from a ’70s paperback book cover; it looks an awful lot like a procedural walking simulator on a universal scale; I have little clue as to what it’s really about and I am easily manipulated by the withholding of information.

Aren’t we all! There’s two new trailers of the game inside.

The first video was shown at The Game Awards, which is an awards show for games which is a replacement for or a competitor to another awards show for games. I don’t know.

I like the planet with the swoopy land beams. Here’s a second, longer video which has more that’s new to show.

This one reminds me of target renders you sometimes see for the future of games. “This is what we want our space MMO to look like in 2020.” That it’s not a target render, but a functional, in-game recording of No Man’s Sky makes me want to imagine that all my dreams are true and that this is every game I’ve ever wanted to play.

But there are still only two verbs on display here. There’s “explore”, which we’ve seen across multiple videos, and now there seems to be “trade” or “collect”, as the player deposits resources on a planetary landing pad in exchange for, I presume, spacebux. It’s still unclear what you’ll spend your time doing in the rest of the game. Will I be punching those long-legged striders in their trunks in exchange for alien wood with which to build mineral factories or interplanetary portals? Is it simply Elite: Dangerous with planet landing and colours?

There’s no hurry for Hello Games to give out these answers, and there was some suggestion in our early interviews with Sean Murray that they wanted to hold as much back for players to discover as possible. That might mean waiting until its release next year – when it’ll arrive first on PlayStation 4, and PC sometime after.

81 Comments

  1. cannonballsimp says:

    That second one looks incredible! Like a hi-fi Mirrormoon EP. Which is a good thing. I am now officially hyped.

    • Niko says:

      It’s just so pretty. I’m curious, though – why does it look like every planet has a very thin atmosphere?

      • grimdanfango says:

        I think you’re going to need to suspend your disbelief a lot when it comes to literal planetary physics… the thickness of the atmosphere is the least of concerns if you intend to compare it to reality. The more obvious question would be, why are the planets only ~10 miles in diameter :-P

        • Niko says:

          Yeah, I guess there’s this whole “small world” thing going. Everything’s small and close to each other!

          • grimdanfango says:

            Seems to me there’s no point doing a half-arsed job when it comes to a space game. Either it’s trying to be a sim, or it’s going for the comic-book reality approach. I actually like the look of this game specifically because it’s not pretending to be something it’s not by hiding behind a veneer of “serious sci-fi”.

            It’s a problem I feel even Elite Dangerous is suffering from a little. For all the physically-accurate-astronomy to marvel at, it means that the moment there’s a concession-to-fun curveball like arbitrary speed-limits despite a newtonian flight model, it feels a little off somehow.

            Maybe I’ve just been spoiled since Kerbal Space Program taught me rudimentary orbital dynamics :-)

          • Niko says:

            Guess I can look at it like this. I was just thinking that when there’s a few seconds between approaching the planet and landing on it, there’s no time to anticipate what you’ll see on the surface. If that makes sense.

          • TheTingler says:

            IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL

          • fish99 says:

            They did say in an interview it would have realistic planet sizes, but these movies sure don’t seem to show that.

      • jellydonut says:

        Probably because xXX_420_CODBLOPS_ELITE_XXx gamers (the people with wallets) would run out of patience if it took as long as it really does to enter and exit atmospheres.

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          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          Probably because anybody would. It would be like adding an arbitrary loading screen.

          In fact, I would imagine your landing time will be related to how long it takes your PC to load the planet.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            I do think it could afford to be a little longer however but I did hear they sped things up for their trailers last time this complaint was raised

        • Zenicetus says:

          Maybe so, but a transition that fast, and worlds that small, make it look more like a cartoon than a simulation.

          The Evochron space game has planet landings where there is at least a decent feeling of transition from spaceflight to atmospheric flight. It doesn’t take that long to get down and it looks better.

        • Bobka says:

          I’m not convinced this is a good explanation. Sure, taking 15 minutes to enter/leave the atmosphere would suck, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be almost-instant. If it took 20-30 seconds to go from the ground to space, in a straight line, that would leave plenty of time for the atmosphere to feel thick, and plenty of space for in-atmosphere dogfights, while still being far from the tedium of reality.

          • Coldyham says:

            I offer Rodina as an example of believable largeness of space without slowing everything down too much

      • tetracycloide says:

        Seems accurate to the pulp scifi aesthetic they’re shooting for.

  2. Morcane says:

    Yea, indeed. Some more meat would be nice by now. I’m getting a bit worried after only seeing videos where you fly up into space, then fly around in space a bit, followed by flying down onto a differently coloured planet.

  3. Kefren says:

    Starglider 2 for the current generation.

    • Kefren says:

      Also: as someone who likes games I can play completely offline, I hope this will fill the void that the Elite announcement left.

      • Simon_Scott says:

        Isn’t this “always online” too, though? Certainly the noise they’ve made has focused on a single proc-gen universe that players all inhabit at the same time. They had to play down the multiplayer possibilities because the place is too big for people to stand much chance of encountering one another, but the discovery model seems to be clearly about a shared universe.

        • Simon_Scott says:

          Ah – just read the IGN piece, so yes, they are planning offline play. My bad.

        • Bobka says:

          Yeah, they’ve been beating the “It’s not an MMO!” drum while describing exactly an MMO for a while now, but they do occasionally concede that there will be an offline mode. The prospect of singleplayer (or Spore-style “asynchronous multiplayer”) is the only way I’ll be getting this.

      • Mr_Blastman says:

        You owe it to yourself to try playing Evochron Mercenary online (well, when it had lots of ppl) and you’d see that Elite will be just fine–in fact, better, since it is online.

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      Happy sigh

      I’m not sure gamers get to be that lucky any more, sadly. In the meantime we should write to the No Man’s Sky devs and ask them to shove in some space whales.

      • Kefren says:

        And robo ducks. But they never had the same haunting effect as the gas-giant-orbiting space whales. And always remember to use the forslook.

  4. grimdanfango says:

    I don’t like to be a party pooper, but while they are clearly in-engine and utilising game systems that will be present in some form in the final game, I still think both of these videos seem as meticulously choreographed as their earlier previews. There’s always a ship doing something interesting at just the right moment to be framed by the player view.

    I’m certainly interested in this, but I really wish they’d just show even a few moments of actual minute-to-minute gameplay to show what sort of dynamism it has, rather than insisting on sculpting an overview of the entire game experience in every video. This is a game that is going to live or die on how interesting the quieter moments are, but so far they won’t show anything that doesn’t make it out to be a continuous action-movie.

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      THIS.^

      I’m always aware that we’re being spoon-fed very choreographed views of the game. The old axiom applies: if something needs to be actively sold to you, then it probably ain’t worth buyin’.

    • fish99 says:

      Yeah I doubt this is ‘the game’ but rather a controlled sequence running in the game engine showing the main elements of the game compacted down into a short sequence. And as other people have pointed out, there’s still very little gameplay in here. The whole game can’t be just flying from one planet to another. They haven’t shown at all what you would do on the planets.

      I also suspect the game is years out at this point.

  5. BockoPower says:

    PS4? Didn’t M$crosoft buy Hello Games?

    • Optimaximal says:

      No…

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      More like Sony stepped in at some point after Hello’s offices suffered from a serious flood accident, making a far too interesting offer with the caveat that PS4 will come first.

      Well that’s just my theory anyway.

  6. Anthile says:

    Mhm, more like a prettier Rodina.

  7. Cockie says:

    Game informer had an article that goes more deeply into the actual gameplay:
    link to drive.google.com
    (Document provides by a friendly redditor)

  8. Zanchito says:

    The music is ACE. Up there with Fez and FTL.

    I’m liking this game more and more. I have concerns about the actual exploring: I love exploring in Minecraft, but there’s really not much reason to do so (at least a year or so ago, haven’t played in a while). Exploring looks great in this too (I hope there are reasons to explore within the plantes themselves), but I’m not sure if there’s much reason for it either.

    I also REALLY hope there is an HD OST released.

  9. John Connor says:

    Could we not post about this game until they confirm it’s actually coming to PC?

    Don’t give them publicity they don’t deserve.

  10. Pliqu3011 says:

    Hmm. As much as I like exploration and walking simulators, I still can’t get hyped for this game for some reason.
    The game depends entirely on its procedural generation, and from what I’ve seen up till now in videos, it just doesn’t create all that… interesting places. Everything feels claustrophobically small and compressed.
    Maybe when actually playing the game it’s different, but at no point in any of the trailer videos did I feel awe at the sheer size of things, which is vital for a space game (for me).

    • His Divine Shadow says:

      I have the same concerns. All-procedural is nice, but instead of reusing pre-made pieces it just re-uses algorithms/archetypes. Not saying it’s a bad thing (moreover, it might very well be realistic with regards to how life evolves on different planets), but I’m pretty sure the players will see the repetition eventually. The biggest problem is that I don’t see it adding more to the core gameplay than some extra backdrop flavour. And without indigenous civilizations, I’m afraid this core gameplay will boil down to shooting other dudes that happened to land on the same planet (if you are [un]lucky)

      • Geebs says:

        Worse, the trailer makes it look like each planet has precisely one gimmick and is basically self-repeating every 20 yards.

        There’s an old sci-fi story about people crossing the Galaxy in search of life, and everything just gets more and more the same the further they go. They start running out of interesting things to call all the new worlds; in the end there’s no life anywhere. What we’ve seen of NMS so far reminds me of that.
        (Edit: the story is called “One”, by George Alec Effinger)

  11. melnificent says:

    Hype reserved for a release date

  12. cylentstorm says:

    I think what scares most people about No Man’s Sky is nothing unusual–the fear of the unknown. What is it, exactly? What can you do? Why would anyone deviate from the dark, gritty aesthetics and traditional mine/trade/pewpew focus of every other space game? Why have Sean Murray and the rest of the dev team been so quiet on nearly all fronts? Will exploring the classic sci-fi motif of the vibrant universe cause me to be shunned by the hardcore and l33t space sim geeks? Does the procedural nature of NMS mean that the galaxy will be somehow less interesting to wander than a much smaller, yet hand-tuned version? Is it going to live up to the hype?

    Others may simply be a little frightened by the very notion of any sandbox and the perceived lack of guidance or focus. Personally, I feel that all of this only adds to my anticipation, and if the game turns out to be only have as great as I want it to–it’ll still be my home away from home for quite a while.

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      Harlander says:

      Why would anyone deviate from the dark, gritty aesthetics and traditional mine/trade/pewpew focus of every other space game? Will exploring the classic sci-fi motif of the vibrant universe cause me to be shunned by the hardcore and l33t space sim geeks?

      It saddens me somewhat that I can believe there are people who actually seriously ask those questions

    • derbefrier says:

      Lol talk about over analyzing. Put down the bong man.

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      Oh, they’re mean. I hear you mate.

  13. GeorgeTheJournalist says:

    I really hope that it’s going to be possible to play this offline, without the “This place has been discovered by player_name” thing. Knowing people, half of them will be named ElephantAss or something worse. That would really put me off of exploring. “Look honey, I found a new star system! It’s right next to the ones StinkyPaws and BiggusDickus found!” >_<

    Maybe if they would put in a procedural generator of realistic names for NPCs and set them to slowly and gradually discover the systems? So that I wouldn't be the only explorer in my own sandbox? I might be a bit antisocial for wanting to play with NPCs instead of other players, but so be it :D

    • jrodman says:

      There’s a big difference between not wanting to interact with people, and not wanting to interact with typical online gamers.

    • jellydonut says:

      Don’t worry, I’ll name my character Weedlord Bonerhitler so you can have some variety.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Good thing I don’t feel compelled to explore, my planet URMUM has already all i need, really.

    • Bobka says:

      Don’t worry! They’ve confirmed an offline mode where you don’t get random people, or even their names, in your game.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I got this nagging feeling that some other company recently ditched a long held and oft repeated promise of an offline more for a space game. It’s right on the tip of my tongue.

        • Bobka says:

          Yeah, I get where you’re coming from. Still, I’m hopeful that Hello might stick to their promises, unlike others.

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      BiggusDickus is always funny

  14. derbefrier says:

    Looking good.

  15. Kempston Wiggler says:

    Really want this to be awesome but am holding back my enthusiasm until the damn thing’s released. After X:Rebirth and Elite:Dangerous, I’m going to let damocles have his fun with this one before I go anywhere near it.

  16. Maritz says:

    I’m not usually a graphics junkie, but I found the pop-up and tiny draw distance on the planet surfaces really quite distracting.

  17. Jamesworkshop says:

    needs a spore plugin

    • Bobka says:

      The burn wounds from Spore are what make me nervous about this game.

  18. FieldyGB says:

    Hmm watching the trailer reminds me an awful lot of the game Epic.. Remember that one? Played it to death on my Amiga 500 link to en.wikipedia.org

  19. Holysheep says:

    I’m very interested, but the combat seems to suck a lot. In one of the teaser/trailer video thingies, the player actually attacks some other ships, and there’s all you would expect from a console title: extremely slow and assisted flight, along with an aimbot.

    see here.
    link to youtube.com

    Also in every video of this game, when the player takes off over a place with mountain, you can see some ATROCIOUS clipping on them. I’m pretty sure that planets have to be small in order to fit the ancient technology of consoles, too.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      It’s not a combat sim. It’s point and click practically, your not getting any flight or combat dynamics outside of stats I would expect. It’s not aiming for it, it’s not needed in the game.

      It’s procedural. That is not “pop in” that is the game actually generating the content in real time, thus it will take just under a fraction of a second to do. For such a concept, I’d make the allowance.

  20. TechnicalBen says:

    EA and Microsoft “We have uploaded everything to the cloud for computation”
    Hello Games “It’s all done on the PS4 (and eventually PC) in realtime. It’s not on the cloud, it’s not on your HDD. It’s not on the DVD. It’s made when you get there!”

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      Frontier Developments, March 2013: “PC’s are much more powerful these days, so should be capable of simulating much more *cue awesome video of gaseous atmospheres*”

      Frontier Developments, Nov 2014: “We’re using in-house servers to fully simulate the galaxy’s development. Oh, but they’ll never be switched off.”

      • Shigawire says:

        Your computer is still simulating (generating) the galaxy based on the same procedural generation seeds as everyone else on their own client. The only thing the servers are doing is simulating the economy and political shifts of power.

  21. jonahcutter says:

    It does look very much like 60/70’s space opera-type scifi. In the designs and palette, but also in the extremely compressed distances and the physics (or lack thereof more specifically).

    It could be a lot of fun as essentially a Star Wars simulator. Loose and easy to play. Just add some blasters and laser swords. It doesn’t look like it will scratch anyone’s itch for hard scifi though.

  22. PerspectiveDesigns says:

    For anybody who can’t wait for this on PC, take a gander at SpaceEngine. It’s pretty cool. Not really a game, more an awesome intergalactic planetarium. It’s also free and has thousands of real stars and galaxies. The planets are randomly generated, but still cool.

    link to en.spaceengine.org

    • jellydonut says:

      The game .exe is pegged at 50% CPU without having launched at all. Very impressive.

  23. cloudnein says:

    HardW[a]r?

  24. Ooops says:

    It reminds me of Mojoworld, a program that rendered vistas on alien planets based on Fractals. Sadly, it’s not supported/for sale any more and I believe they enver updated it for multi-core CPUs, but it was joy to play with.

    • Shigawire says:

      I do remember Mojoworld. But nowadays we have something similar for the CG VFX artist: Terragen 3 and World Machine Pro (I use both)

      As for a real-time space engine, there are really only two that comes to mind:
      Space Engine (latest 0.9.7.2 – check it on youtube)
      I-NOVAE engine (still being worked on by Flavien Brebion)

      Of these two, I think only the I-Novae engine is geared to be a development tool to make games in. It will have nodes similar to Unreal Engine 4 and Cryengine 3. It’s 64bit by default. Lots of complex fractals to generate anything from planetary surfaces to nebulae.

      Space Engine is in many ways equally impressive, but it’s not at the moment geared towards a development engine for making games. It might develop into that in the future though.