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We should be applauding No Man's Sky for letting us believe

Posted on 10th Aug 2016 at 10:40 by Jake Tucker with 24 comments

Jake Tucker
Don't worry, we're still planning on reviewing No Man's Sky; Rick's in deep space as we speak.

I didn't like No Man's Sky when I played it, back in the spring. The hype-train had already left the station, and now, on the day of its PS4 release, and just a couple of days before PC owners get to carve out their own chunk of the universe, that trainload of hype is at maximum speed.

So, on this, the launch day for those of you that've sold your soul to Sony, I'm here to deliver a message. Whether No Man's Sky sets the world alight with its brilliant glow or not and regardless of how well it sells, Hello Games, a tiny studio from Guildford best known for side scrolling stunt-'em-up Joe Danger, has made the biggest game in the world. It's created life where there was none, and packed an entire universe onto a single Blu-ray.

We should be applauding No Man's Sky for letting us believe

Regardless of what you think about the game itself, that this small team could achieve what it has is nothing short of incredible. It's a victory for smaller studios looking to dream big.

Of course, not many studios have the marketing power of Sony behind them, but what Hello Games has really done is given us something to believe in. Hello Games' Sean Murray has managed to produce his dream and is letting all of us take part in it.

Take the game's multiplayer. Murray has repeatedly said there's no standard multiplayer, but right now I'm watching two streamers in the same spot, geographically at least, desperately trying to see each other. Some mixed marketing messages have meant some players are sure they'll be able to exist in the same space, to enjoy each other's company. This isn't possible, but watching the stream, the two Twitch windows pushing up against each other on a second monitor, I want to believe.

We should be applauding No Man's Sky for letting us believe

I know they can't ever meet; there's nothing that will let them be together, but I want them to see each other so badly. Now, isn't that what video games are really about? At this stage, it doesn't matter if the game's mechanics work, or if we ever get the answer to the question, 'What do you actually do in No Man's Sky?'

Since starting this, despite being unsure of whether I'll even enjoy the game, I've bought it. I just need to play it. There's an entire universe out here, and being able to explore this without a single loading screen is something gamers have never been able to experience before.

I want to witness views that no-one has laid eyes on before and that might never pass into another pair of retinas again, and it's exciting. It's so rare that gamers get to just be excited about a product, so if you're looking to pick up No Man's Sky or you think you might enjoy playing it, why not? Don't let cynicism ruin the joy of discovery.

Hello Games has produced something incredible, and this should be great news for other games studios around the world. Hello Games had a big idea and the talent to pull it off, and the message here is one of hope: any other games studios with big ideas and a lot of talent; they can pull this off too.

It's an exciting time to be playing games.

24 Comments

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Corky42 10th August 2016, 11:26 Quote
I'm not sure it's been mixed marketing with regards to the multiplayer aspect, Sean Murray stated the only way to know what you look like is for somebody else to see you, the interviewer asked can you run into other players in the game, to which he answered yes.

AE0nuW-mQ8A
proxess 10th August 2016, 11:40 Quote
Links to the streams?
bawjaws 10th August 2016, 11:55 Quote
So basically, this article is: Yay for the hype train!
DeckerdBR 10th August 2016, 12:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article

Take the game's multiplayer. Murray has repeatedly said there's no standard multiplayer, but right now I'm watching two streamers in the same spot, geographically at least, desperately trying to see each other. Some mixed marketing messages have meant some players are sure they'll be able to exist in the same space, to enjoy each other's company. This isn't possible, but watching the stream, the two Twitch windows pushing up against each other on a second monitor, I want to believe.
Why would you celebrate a piss poorly communicated 'feature' like that? Unless you are caught up in the marketing hype train.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article

I know they can't ever meet; there's nothing that will let them be together, but I want them to see each other so badly. Now, isn't that what video games are really about? At this stage, it doesn't matter if the game's mechanics work, or if we ever get the answer to the question, 'What do you actually do in No Man's Sky?'
It does matter, we should not be accepting of non working game mechanics. Your excited by an inability for 2 people to enjoy he game together!?
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article

Since starting this, despite being unsure of whether I'll even enjoy the game, I've bought it. I just need to play it. There's an entire universe out here, and being able to explore this without a single loading screen is something gamers have never been able to experience before.
That's not entirely true, as demonstrated by Jim Sterling's first video (and the many others), the loading appears hidden behind a long 'hyper jump' time, something to shame even elites initial slow ass jumps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article

I want to witness views that no-one has laid eyes on before and that might never pass into another pair of retinas again, and it's exciting. It's so rare that gamers get to just be excited about a product, so if you're looking to pick up No Man's Sky or you think you might enjoy playing it, why not? Don't let cynicism ruin the joy of discovery
The games procedural generation is very 'kit-bash' esq and as a result very samey looking list of creature and even a fairly limited list of environments. Even looking at just a few video available on you tube, the repetition is already creeping in.
They have created the illusion of freedom and variety, masking repetition that will become obvious in time and gamers are right to be cynical of that.

I think the comparison to Spore that people are now starting to make is hilarious and an almost perfect fit.
Gareth Halfacree 10th August 2016, 12:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeckerdBR
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article

Since starting this, despite being unsure of whether I'll even enjoy the game, I've bought it. I just need to play it. There's an entire universe out here, and being able to explore this without a single loading screen is something gamers have never been able to experience before.
That's not entirely true, as demonstrated by Jim Sterling's first video (and the many others), the loading appears hidden behind a long 'hyper jump' time, something to shame even elites initial slow ass jumps.
Even if it were true, we've certainly been able to experience it before: Elite, Frontier: Elite II, and Frontier: First Encounters (1984, 1993, 1995) all allow you to explore an entire universe without a single loading screen, as do a number of other games of the same era (such as Federation of Free Traders, 1988).

Still going to buy No Man's Sky when I get a chance, for the same reasons I still play Frontier: Elite II on occasion - and that definitely has no multiplayer functionality!
bawjaws 10th August 2016, 13:02 Quote
Ah, Federation of Free Traders. That was an excellent, excellent game.

Not remotely bothered about No Man's Sky, though. Looks like a technical achievement in search of a game if you ask me.
JakeTucker 10th August 2016, 14:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeckerdBR
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article

Since starting this, despite being unsure of whether I'll even enjoy the game, I've bought it. I just need to play it. There's an entire universe out here, and being able to explore this without a single loading screen is something gamers have never been able to experience before.
That's not entirely true, as demonstrated by Jim Sterling's first video (and the many others), the loading appears hidden behind a long 'hyper jump' time, something to shame even elites initial slow ass jumps.
Even if it were true, we've certainly been able to experience it before: Elite, Frontier: Elite II, and Frontier: First Encounters (1984, 1993, 1995) all allow you to explore an entire universe without a single loading screen, as do a number of other games of the same era (such as Federation of Free Traders, 1988).

Still going to buy No Man's Sky when I get a chance, for the same reasons I still play Frontier: Elite II on occasion - and that definitely has no multiplayer functionality!

Ah, I think full 3D games count in a different way to Elite or Frontier. I love both of them, and have a soft spot for Freelancer too, but this feels like something else.

Also, having played it only for an hour (was about to start No Man's Sky but Deus Ex code came this morning, so playing that) under Sony's watchful eye, I didn't see any loading screens and was promised they weren't in there. I don't think it matters if hyperdrive takes a long time though - space is big, it takes a little while to get places.

The twitch link was: http://multitwitch.tv/psytokat/thesadcactus but they don't see to have archived their streams.
DriftCarl 10th August 2016, 14:09 Quote
I heard of this a while ago but only recently took a deeper look at it. From the videos where they were telling us about it I was amazed, it seemed too good to be true, a universe of this size.

Well turns out it was too good to be true. I was watching a stream the other night and after only a few planets, the similarities showed up and started to stand out more and more.

The multiplayer aspect(however small chance you had of meeting someone) was just a straight up lie. I can see this game getting quite boring extremely quickly.
Gareth Halfacree 10th August 2016, 14:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeTucker
Ah, I think full 3D games count in a different way to Elite or Frontier. I love both of them, and have a soft spot for Freelancer too, but this feels like something else.
I'm confused: how were Frontier and its sequel not full 3D? You had full 360 degree freedom of motion, objects were polygonal solids... You could even land anywhere on a planet (or moon, or asteroid, or whatever). Okay, you couldn't get out and walk around, but that was a limitation of the time: we're talking about games which you could squeeze onto a 720KB floppy and run on a machine with 512KB of RAM compared to however many gigabytes No Man's Sky is.

Frontier: Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters both allowed the player to explore a full 3D universe (procedurally-generated, even) without a loading screen. No Man's Sky is not the first to offer this, by decades. Sure, it's significantly more complex, a lot prettier, and possibly even objectively better - but the claim was it was the first game to allow you to explore a universe without loading screens, which it isn't.

Just sayin', like.
JakeTucker 10th August 2016, 14:23 Quote
Sorry, I'm distracted. What I mean is we've not had something allowing us to explore to the same degree. Being able to get out of your ship and walk around on every planet in a universe is something I think is a very cool thing.

As a note, I should add I really didn't enjoy No Man's Sky when I played it, so I'm not just blindly buying in to anything, I just think the level of excitement everyone has wagered (enough to ignore Sean Murray when he took to twitter to tell people the game didn't have any conventional multiplayer) is an exciting thing to see.
Anfield 10th August 2016, 14:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftCarl
Well turns out it was too good to be true. I was watching a stream the other night and after only a few planets, the similarities showed up and started to stand out more and more.

If you want it to feel like one game and not a disjointed mess of random things you have to very severely restrict variation...
It has been half a decade since the gaming industry went into procedurally generated hype overdrive due to the success of Minecraft, but none have solved that problem yet.
DeckerdBR 10th August 2016, 15:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeTucker
Ah, I think full 3D games count in a different way to Elite or Frontier. I love both of them, and have a soft spot for Freelancer too, but this feels like something else.

Also, having played it only for an hour (was about to start No Man's Sky but Deus Ex code came this morning, so playing that) under Sony's watchful eye, I didn't see any loading screens and was promised they weren't in there. I don't think it matters if hyperdrive takes a long time though - space is big, it takes a little while to get places.

The twitch link was: http://multitwitch.tv/psytokat/thesadcactus but they don't see to have archived their streams.

Yes but if Elite D taught anything, that is BORING after the hundredth time.

But I won't over labour the points on NMS, especially now you mentioned you have a Mankind Divided code, I am way more interested in that :)
JakeTucker 10th August 2016, 15:38 Quote
Can't talk about it any further until the 19th of August!
DeckerdBR 10th August 2016, 15:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeTucker
Can't talk about it any further until the 19th of August!

I bet, looking forward to the write up on or around the 19th.

I have to say as much as I loved Human Revolution and more specifically the directors cut, I watched a few of the live steams from Mankind Divided Devs and some of the textures, animations and lip sync looked quite bad. A full on reduction compared to Human Revolution. Will be interesting to see if it was just a poor quality stream/early code or if it's a turkey of a sequel.

I hope Bit-Tech's review goes more in-depth than gushing over the marketing and hype.
Dogbert666 10th August 2016, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeckerdBR
I hope Bit-Tech's review goes more in-depth than gushing over the marketing and hype.

That's not what this blog is, but nevertheless it will, as will the No Man's Sky review which is also being worked on ;)
Corky42 10th August 2016, 16:36 Quote
Even though the multiplayer aspects could have been better communicated i did like the "No Man's Lie" phraseology that i saw as someones description. :)
PaulC2K 11th August 2016, 05:11 Quote
I was really excited for this after their first E3 showing, but ever since then ive seen nothing particularly compelling, no purpose or depth. It seems like they've simply connected a RNG to a limited planet generator thats restricted to only influencing terraforming, colour palette changes, and mr potato based alien life.

Its not nothing, but from what they had 3 (?) years back for a stage demo, to release, it seemingly hasnt done more than connect tech in an uninspiring manner, in what should be much more awe inspiring. What that presentation left me wanting to know more about, hasnt been answered, it was exactly what you saw.

Having RNG create something only you may see doesnt immediately give it any value. Its a clever idea, but no small team was going to make anything substantial from it, RNG was their only route, but what odds on the results where no artist has had a direct influence on what you'll see, no thought, no creativity, just a machine following safe & predictable guidelines to make decisions, billions of times, and sticking that on a disc. Then rather than having interaction with others be the basis of unrestricted fun, its just you, alone, with identikit planets.

As for the MP fuss, being able to interact with another players character, to see them and just watch their movement - thats as basic as multiplayer gets. Steam says its single player, no multiplayer component. You can be confident their legal team has a more precise story on NMS's multiplayer than the version the developers have sold to the public, and they've clearly decided it doesnt have anything they term as multiplayer.

The twitch incident is quite remarkable though, given the vast size of the universe, 2 streamers debunk it on day 1. No rumours, no stories that cant be backed up, no plausibly manipulated videos... 2 live broadcasts, day 1. Given the fact that players will always be vastly outnumbered by copies sold, let alone players simultaneously online, theres an incredibly slim chance the one time you're not alone on a planet, you never even know it... but they did, and when those odds are so small, and still prove fruitless, exactly what needs to happen to successfully interact with another player?? I hope theres a good explanation, seems to need one.
XXAOSICXX 11th August 2016, 12:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC2K
Lots of words

This. Well said.
DeckerdBR 11th August 2016, 15:42 Quote
leexgx 14th August 2016, 19:11 Quote
beaglerush (twitch beagleandjam) really blasted this on the stream (already had refund and trying to get refund on the jams account)

your always doing the same thing (just bigger ships that have larger storage slots )
Gareth Halfacree 15th August 2016, 09:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leexgx
your always doing the same thing (just bigger ships that have larger storage slots )
I'm surprised to find that people are surprised that this is the case. It was the case for Elite in 1984, for Frontier: Elite II, for Frontier: First Encounters, and even for Elite: Dangerous today. You fly ships; you fight; you mine; you trade; you take the income from all of that and buy a bigger ship to better fly, fight, mine, trade. That's yer lot (bar a few bonuses in Frontier and the like, such as acting as an intergalactic taxi service or finding information about missing persons and collecting the rewards.)

It's a formula you can apply to almost any game. The Diablo franchise? "You're always doing the same thing (clicking on enemies to kill 'em), just bigger weapons that do more damage." The Doom franchise? "You're always doing the same thing (clicking on enemies to kill 'em), just bigger weapons that do more damage. Any racing game? "You're always doing the same thing (racing cars), just better cars that go faster."
surya kumar 16th August 2016, 11:24 Quote
Is it can be play in VR
Godzmack 17th August 2016, 18:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
I'm surprised to find that people are surprised that this is the case. It was the case for Elite in 1984, for Frontier: Elite II, for Frontier: First Encounters, and even for Elite: Dangerous today. You fly ships; you fight; you mine; you trade; you take the income from all of that and buy a bigger ship to better fly, fight, mine, trade. That's yer lot (bar a few bonuses in Frontier and the like, such as acting as an intergalactic taxi service or finding information about missing persons and collecting the rewards.)

It's a formula you can apply to almost any game. The Diablo franchise? "You're always doing the same thing (clicking on enemies to kill 'em), just bigger weapons that do more damage." The Doom franchise? "You're always doing the same thing (clicking on enemies to kill 'em), just bigger weapons that do more damage. Any racing game? "You're always doing the same thing (racing cars), just better cars that go faster."

Most games just do a better job of hiding it while No Man's Sky is about collecting inventory slots to collect materials to collect materials faster. Every planet has the same things but is skinned differently, variety is non existent.
Feel like questing? Warp 7 times, collect atlas stone and then warp 5 times for an atlas stone. Now do this 8 more times.
VipersGratitude 29th October 2016, 02:18 Quote
Dude, level with me, did you read some article on stickiness that said controversy will boost engagement or something? You write so much nonsense...
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