If you’re reading this, you almost certainly know what No Man’s Sky is.
If not, No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival game developed and published by the indie studio Hello Games. On August 2016 it was rolled out around the world for both PS4 and Windows. While much, much, later July 2018 for Xbox One. The game is built around four central themes: exploration, survival, combat, and trading. All, while promising a “chill exploration experience”.
Although I have not gotten around to buying or even playing it yet, I’ve been doing some extensive research and reading up on reviews, and I really wanted to share some thoughts with you. (no, not you, you) You see, on paper, No Man’s Sky does in fact sound like the game of my dreams. I’ve always loved exploration and space settings. Construction always catches my eye. And yes, I am a huge Star Wars fan. Also, a Ready Player One fan. And a VR-Chat fan.
I’ve always believed that if you combined VR-Chat and No man’s Sky you’d get The Oasis. It’s unlikely that the two games would ever merge, but if they did… The Oasis would be more or less the result.
I’ve come up with many ideas. They don’t all need to be implemented, but it would be a lot closer to my dream if they did. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want The Oasis to come to fruition? They’re already making haptic suits, which could easily be adapted for video games.
I think the most important thing would be to fix the foundation on which the game is built. The flight mechanics, the mapping system, inventory management, even the motivation to explore. These are the basis of any survival-exploration-action-adventure game. To build upon broken foundations would be a fruitless endeavor, as no matter how many cosmetic niceties are added eventually what has been so time-consumingly built will crumble.
Well, maybe it isn’t that serious, It can surely be avoided! If we look at the steps that our underdog developer, Hello Games, have taken, we can clearly see that they’re listening to the fans feedback and know what’s up. And these days, willing to change and make things right says a lot from a developer. Big Oof.
I don’t know if they’ve been suggested or already promised by the devs to be implemented. But here we go.
For starters, I think they need to draw from other games more. You don’t have much of a choice with a game this size. With so many elements, you can’t invent new mechanics for avenues, and expect to nail it. Don’t be ashamed to draw inspiration. No-one’s saying to plagiarize, though.
Draw from Star Wars Battlefront II; The PS2 version for steller flight that does NMS justice. Perhaps look to Minecraft or Crashlands for inventory management? Arkham City for the combat? Despite where the standard for combat is heading, I personally think hand to hand combat with gadgets drizzled in (this is a space game, after all) would fit NMS much better than a Borderlands style run, jump, hide, shoot sequence. Especially as there isn’t much cover on the worlds sprawled throughout NMS. They’re often flat with some trees dotted here and there. Oh, this is a good segue into my next topic…
The issue I hear frequently cropping up is how one planet will only have one biome or color as opposed to multiple biomes subtly stitched to together, like in Minecraft
I have an idea. How about some planets with NO light source? There’d be plenty of monsters lurking, with cliffs and waterfalls that you’d have to navigate to via sound. But you could place as many torches as you wanted or drive a buggy with headlights on. Then you’d build a base there and slowly explore, placing more and more lights until it’s all illuminated. It would be a small planet.
Planets with native civilizations and their own kings (or queens) who rule a planet and don’t take kindly to your arrival. Things escalate, one thing leads to another and you and your buddies end up fighting their entire army. You’d have time to prepare with equipment and and weapons. Or on the total reverse side, natives who worship you and you end up inheriting a kingdom, one you’ll grow, defend, or completely abandon.
Also, there should be really uninhabitable worlds like ice planets or giant forest planets with prehistoric alien beast, swamp lakes and primitive temples filled with loot and monsters inside like a Zelda game giving a Dead Space vibe when exploring them.
To visit a friend you need to go to a teleporter. Then there’s a loading screen and you arrive in your buddy’s system. Okay, fair enough, it works, but it really breaks the immersion. I’d like to fly to my friends. I think it would be much more immersive if when in your ship, you press a button and a hologram list of places appear. When you select a place to go to, the stars and planets blur together and initiates a hyper-space sequence. After a few minutes of hyper space travel it then deposits you in space above the planet you selected. This would be a loading screen, but wouldn’t feel like it as it would be a smooth transition into and out of hyper space
How about one small planet a quarter the size of GTA V map? It would be the spawn point, everyone would spawn on the same planet from now on. It would be dense, with 30+ buildings and houses with maybe 50 npcs. This would act as the hub world. Similar to Destiny.
Here, you’d be able to create guilds, buy parts, turn in materials or animal parts for money, all sorts of mini-games (shooting range, cafes to meet friends, concerts, etc.), buy space suits, put your pet in daycare, buy music for playback in your space ship (Guardians Of The Galaxy style), play sports with randoms or friends, and get lots of different quests. On the street someone would be loudly complaining how they need x bones, from x animal, often found on x planet, in x system.
Players would be also be able to put out jobs. If they need x resource but can’t be bothered to gather it, they can create a job listing. Other players can then choose to accept. Also, players can put out hit jobs on other people. Then you can live out your dream of being a bounty hunter.
As previously mentioned the ability to form and join guilds is a necessity. And to be able build one central base. Either on a planet or a giant space-freighter that you all can expand as you wish. With different rooms with different purposes, like a med bay or research center. Then you’d be able to fly to your guild’s base or choose to spawn there.
Eventually, as the state of affairs progress, we would end up with several guilds. Each offering protection and allies, each with thousands of members. Then the rivalry and feuds would come. Then guilds would raid each other. Uneasy alliances would surely form. Many guilds would grow in power, and absorb other guilds. Many others would grow weaker. Some players wouldn’t join any guild and exist only as bounty hunters. Eventually, there would be war.
Like Rust. Rust is in a constant state of terrifying war. You can’t trust anyone on that game. Run! RUN! RUN TO THE NEXT TOPIC!
Wow, what an amazing segue, right? Anyways, it would also make a ton of sense if there was a set amount of modifications you could add to your ship. Like how guns work in most first-person shooter games, then depending on what you equip to your ship it would be ideal for fast PvP dogfighting, acting as a tank with high defense, recourse gathering, for Terra-forming a planet or having facilities to build, make and research new blueprints. And also, a map or mini-map of a planet which you could place waypoints or mark places and those same places would appear on your friends map, like in PUBG.
At your base you should have npc staff and occasionally get raided by space pirates, but only when you’re at your base or close to it. A notification pop-up would allow you to fly there and stop the situation from escalating. The staff would be able to defend themselves and could level up to the point where the could take care of the enemy on their own without your assistance . Also, you could place turrants.
The animals need to be more aggressive. There should be hordes or packs of animals that attack you and upon defeating or taming them you get rare materials. There should always be one big alpha that is clearly more dangerous than its pack-mates and killing it would yield better rewards. The easiest and most common way to signify this is to increase its size and/or give it bolder colors.
So, which of the creatures above you think is the higher level? The blue one? Correct! Here, have a cookie 🍪. It’s ok, it’s not oatmeal. : )
I have an idea. How about some tame-able flying creatures which handle differently from your ship and other creatures. They would take you to hidden places on the map such as a cave hidden on a mountain with some primitive alien treasure chest. Some mole and underground creatures?
Giant water serpents guarding underwater treasures. Huge armored scorpions with a lair full of loot. Creatures so large to the point where you could fight them from your ship without leaving the atmosphere. Think Shadow Of The Colossus. Something that’s a real threat. Something that makes you go and get three friends.
Speaking of friends, this article is almost over. You should go hang out with them now. Until then, I would recommend you try Minecraft for that “chill exploration experience”. It’s simply more refined, and you can fly with the new wings. You may not be able to explore infinite galaxies, but you can explore an infinite world. Also, the mod community has been very active for years. Give it a try.
(I am not sponsored by either Minecraft nor No Man’s Sky)
- NMS hill image: http://www.theinfinitegrid.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/no-man.png
- NMS Foundation poster: https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmovietvtechgeeks.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F11%2Fno-mans-sky-foundation-update-hits-2016.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
- Minecraft image: https://get.wallhere.com/photo/cityscape-render-Minecraft-town-jungle-bird’s-eye-view-Terrain-landmark-screenshot-residential-area-geographical-feature-aerial-photography-1920×1017-px-ecosystem-biome-screenshots-565175.jpg
- Valor Base: https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fvignette.wikia.nocookie.net%2Fstarwars%2Fimages%2Fe%2Fe8%2FStarbasecarida.jpg%2Frevision%2Flatest%3Fcb%3D20130114154426&f=1&nofb=1
- Daelu’s homebase: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gY4U2F9JhQM/VSImPWMzr7I/AAAAAAAAFAY/N7GqFC21QV4/s1600/asteroid%2Bbase.jpg
- Crashlands Wompit image: https://crashlands.gamepedia.com/Wompit