Where No Man’s Gone Before

Developer creates ambitious sci-fi game, takes 500 billion years to complete

Connor Heaton, Staff Writer

From space dinosaurs to lost ruins, there is never a dull moment in No Man’s Sky. No Man’s Sky is a video game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe composed of over 18 quintillion planets — each unique and unexplored. The player would take the role of an unidentified explorer— out to discover the universe.

Discovering in NMS means unearthing things nobody has ever seen. Players will also be able to name everything they find and broadcast their discoveries for all to admire.

The dream of piloting a ship into a vast galaxy and discovering new forms of life has inspired the imaginations of youths for decades—especially Sean Murray, the game’s creator, who draws his inspiration from old 50’s sci-fi novels and movies.

Murray is the lead programmer and founder of Hello Games, a tiny UK-based independent game company of 14 people who are solely responsible for creating No Man’s Sky’s boundless world. No Man’s Sky’s biggest feature is its wide-scale use of technology called “procedural generation.”

Procedural generation, not to be confused with random generation, is like a paper doll, where there are many combinations for a single model. NMS takes this concept and runs with it, applying it to everything— from the trees and grass, to the aliens, space stations and everything in between. This technology has been used many times in the past to generate levels and characters, but never to this scale.  Its sheer size isn’t just a gimmick, though. Each world is a fully developed, planet-sized playground with creatures, ruins and other juicy secrets—the likes of which, even the creators neither comprehend nor want to spoil.

As of now, there is no release date for the game, although the team at Hello Games is working around the clock day and night to make this game a reality­—a game so massive it would take 500 billion years to explore it all.