When I first heard the news of a new video game which plots in the outer space in an almost never ending journey of exploration I almost dropped my jaw! It was like a life-time dream coming to reality. As my ultimate idea of a perfect video game is a self-generating never ending one. And No Man’s Sky, although not literally unlimited, but it’s probably more than one can handle in a single life-time, by A LOT.
No Man’s Sky In a nutshell
No Man’s Sky is a multi-task space exploration game that uses procedural generation: a set of mathematical algorithm’s used to generate massive amounts of content. The idea was indeed attractive. Although it meant that gamers will have to rely on AI generated content which can cause some problems including system overloads and repetition. Which was exactly what happened.
Shortly after its launch date, players started to complain about the game not meeting their expectations. Primary complains included server interruptions to game play hardships. Today news has surfaced online stating that the game had an 81% sales drop in the UK this week, which is considered dramatic. So why did No Man’s Sky has failed to deliver what its players were expecting? And what do those statistics mean for No Man’s Sky and the concept of procedural generation in general?
From my observation, I have concluded that players frustration comes in two main routes: One is directed towards system errors, and the other is caused by game play errors. System errors are primarily caused by server overloads. And I think it is worth putting out that No Man’s Sky is made by Hello Games which is an Indie video games development studio. And to me the fact that their servers were overloaded is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean yes it’s bad for players but in a way it means that the game was a success, perhaps a little too much of it! But for an Indie game I still believe that this is quite impressive.
The second main cause for player frustration was caused game play issues, which in offline mode is probably due to the relatively new concept of procedural generation. FYI procedural generation is not completely new and has been used before but did not receive much success due to the limited computing capabilities the world had back then, and perhaps still do.
Overall, I believe that No Man’s Sky was an interesting shot. The question is whether our existing computing power is good enough to handle this type of operations, or perhaps we need to wait a little longer for better computing power, perhaps that of Quantum Computing.