“No Man’s Sky” Raises the Bar Into the Stratosphere

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Mary-Brenna Harold, Staff Writer

18,446,744,000,000,000,000. Eighteen quintillion. Two to the sixty-fourth. That’s how many planets the player has to explore in Hello Games’ “No Man’s Sky.” To put that into perspective, that’s enough planets that if you spent half a second on each planet, it would take nearly 300 million years to see them all. In other words, it’s effectively infinite; a simulation of what the real universe would be like.

The planets all follow realistic physics, spinning on their own axes and following their own orbits around stars. The various parts of space are dominated by three different sentient aliens, all with different goals, and with ships that warp to other star systems and enter space stations before your very eyes. “No Man’s Sky” is the space game that thought of everything a real universe would have. Because of this all-inclusive universe, the game has been the science fiction fan’s dream since the game was announced in 2013.

At this point, you’re certainly curious about how a universe that massive was even created.

The answer? Algorithms and formulas.

Each planet has a number attributed to it, which the game then uses to input into various formulas in order to understand what traits it would have. These traits are applied to the planet, and then you have a planet that is completely unique, orbiting its star in a vast universe of eighteen quintillion other planets.

As far as gameplay goes, the game is not for everyone. You are dropped on a planet at the outer edge of the universe with a crashed ship, and you are given small hints here and there about what to do to repair it. Once your ship is repaired, the game throws you into the universe to fend for yourself with one goal: reach the center of the universe. What lies at the center? The game leaves you to figure it out for yourself. However, it is not a goal that the game forces you to accomplish or that it constantly nags you about. You are free to head towards the center, or ignore the game’s suggestion. You are completely free to play the game exactly how they want to.

Space pirate, explorer, trader… That choice is entirely up to you.