Monday, June 23, 2014

No Man's Sky - the "next-gen" Elite

There's no shortage of nice computer and console games to play, but on the E3 there was one in particular that made me think just how much we've evolved in the past decades. If you spend countless hours playing Elite back in the 80's, you'll definitely want to check this upcoming No Man's Sky.

In 1984 David Braben pushed the limits of what micro-computers at that time were capable of, creting entire universes inside of machines that had just a few dozen kilobytes of RAM and CPUs that worked at a few MHz. The secret was procedural generated planets, where simple numbers and string were enough for the CPU to generate each and every element. Back then, those wireframe generated worlds were enough to make us travel through the universe and its planets.... but 30 years later, see how things have evolved...

No Man's Sky is also a planetary and space exploration game, and it still uses the same principles. However, instead of a handful of galaxies with 256 planets each, No Man's Sky promises an infinite number of planets. In fact, each player will begin their adventure in their own, unique planet, which will they'll be able to share with friends (and the world), but that will ensure that no 2 players will have the exact same experience playing this game.

Of course, we're now facing nothing like those Elite wireframe imagens. In No Man's Sky the graphics are amazing, with planets with lush vegetation and wildlife, but that can also be batten, vulcanic, water worlds, and so many other things that we'll have to find out for ourselves. Not even the developers know what kind of planets might be found "out there"... and that, for once, makes us feel this game is about to become an instant classic.

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