Wednesday, August 10, 2016

No Man's Sky

I haven't played the game yet but I've been reading reactions. This is very important because I am also creating a procedural world. I will be posting reactions that provide specific insights.

Here is one:

Been playing this game for a while now, and even though it's too early to give a final opinion on this game, so far it's been underwhelming to say the least. I don't personally care about multiplayer as much as I do about just how empty this game is, and how quickly you end up recognizing the patterns behind the algorithm that generates these terrains, plants and animals. Once you do, all of the interest in exploring new planets quickly fades as you realize that the next animal will simply be a new permutations of parts you've already seen, or that the next planet will be a combination of geologic and plant features you've already seen but just shuffled up differently. If you have a few dozen body designs set for each section of the body, you can get an insane amount of permutations (just how you can shuffle a 52 card deck into an absurd number of variations), but ultimately they're all the same.
The survival mechanics are horribly unfun. I'm not sure many people seem to enjoy mineral collection, especially due to a really small inventory size. It mostly consists of scanning and following icons, and is incredibly repetitive and not very rewarding. Combat is also really unsatisfying, with enemies that don't react to getting hit and no real threat outside of space (where the main weapon is a lock-on laser). The exploration controls with the ship are pretty decent and it's fun to fly around while listening to the excellent atmospheric music, but wears out its welcome fast because there's not much exciting hidden content. The monoliths you find don't give much, alien outposts are not exciting.
There are a few things that this game needs badly:
  1. Implement bases, storage, and furniture. This needs to be done almost immediately. I want to be able to set up base camps on planets, forge for resources, and store extra stuff.
  2. Add unique non-generated content that add some sort of story or quest with specific details about a past civilization, more than the generic monoliths. The bottom line is this: human-made content with some sort of narrative will always, always have more thought put into it than content spit out haphazardly by an algorithm.
  3. Bases need special atmosphere bubbles, so you cant start farms and bring different animals from different planets there. This should include plants, let's grow plants from other planets on new planets, or seed dead worlds.
  4. I want to be able to take animals to them and move them from planet to planet. Add cargo ships at least.
  5. Fix the map so we can see the names of the systems you've already been to.
  6. Fix the inventory so its not a nightmare to manage. You spend most of the time in this game mining and grinding for materials, at least make this part seamless.
  7. Add some variation to the animal behavior. Simply varying the colors and meshes isn't enough, they all do similar pathfinding and don't attack and interact with each other. There should be an entire ecosystem of realistic behaviors, with full life cycles and possibly some mechanics that we can study these and earn some sort of reward. Right now "taming" them essentially means they poop out resources.
Those need to be done like, IMMEDIATELY. I can respect the sheer ambition of this title, but the fact that this was developed by a team of like 15 people also shows throughout. This game is fucking empty.

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