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My New Thing Is Making Sculptures In No Man's Sky

Medium Rare

As the dust settles around No Man's Sky and people realise what it isn't, more and more are discovering what it can be for them. For me it's about the ridiculous compulsion to make 22m units so I can buy a 38-slot spaceship. But along the way, I've taken to trying to sculpt the vast rocks of elements that litter the surface of the planets. It's really flipping hard.

The multitool is not well designed for fine craftsmanship, and depending upon the rock you're breaking down, how it breaks apart can be most frustrating. Gold is a complete arsehole to work with, cracking apart in enormous chunks, with random sections of the rock refusing to be carved at all. Copper is brilliant to carve, but annoyingly floats in the sky (you know, like copper does) so limits the potential for bashing it into some sort of shape. Oh, and being entirely without any skill in the matter of sculpting isn't likely helping.

So, for your edification and delight, I've cobbled together some of my half-arsed attempts for you to admire in stunned silence, then rapt appreciation.

Skull Mountain

This was my first attempt, having noticed how much the line I'd carved through the bottom looked like a grim mouth. He still stands there, in aluminium, on whatever planet he was on, so taken was I with the romantic notion that another player might land there and be freaked out. Except that the chances of another player landing on that planet are almost zero, let alone that tiny region of that planet-sized planet, let alone that the game's so-called shared universe is all bullshit and I'd bet my bum it wouldn't be there. But apart from that, what a lovely idea!

What's That Coming Over The Hill?

Is it a monster? No, not in any sense is it a monster. But it was intended to be. I wanted to create the impression that it was a monster appearing from behind a steep hill, but in the end it looks like a pair of pants blowing in the wind.

This Way Home

I built this one as a guide for if I ever forgot which way to go to leave the planet. Or because it already looked a bit like a finger, and I tried really hard to carve out a thumb/hand-shape. Yes, it's a very bulbous thumb, but attempts to narrow it did not go well. Michelangelo was unlucky that he couldn't get away with screenshots. Interestingly (he said with a straight face), this is a piece carved from both aluminium and nickel.


This is an ironic commentary on the state of game development promises.

The Sky Is Horror

A simple piece, but I would argue on of my greatest works. The sculpture is to be understood in its setting, its framing, and the way I fluked getting teeth in the mouth hole.

Death Of The Baftas

A commentary on how the Baftas always invite other lesser games journalists to their weird game things, but never me, despite my being great. For proof of my greatness, check out the definition of the nose on this one - it was hard work!

Clyde's Lament

Okay, look, see, I got pretty decent at this! This is Clyde the ghost from off of Pac-Man. You can tell it's Clyde because he's vaguely yellow. It went dark by the time I finished this one and I was fucked if I was going to stand around and wait for the sun to show up again, but please be assured that he is entirely floating from the ground and everything.


I think this is my most and least successful sculpture so far. I tried to make a Thwomp. It's kind of like a Thwomp, right? I mean, sure, it's not grey, or very square, and the eyebrows were impossible to do, and the spikes are terrible, but then at the same time, I was playing No Man's Sky and thought to try to make a Thwomp.

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John Walker avatar

John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, we killed John out of jealousy. He now runs buried-treasure.org