Quick No Man's Sky review

Discussion in 'Other Discussion' started by ZipSnipe, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. IronCartographer

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    Seeing AI ships patrolling a sector in Avorion at over 1.4 km/s (rivaling player mobility) in the latest beta branch is going a long way toward making up for the lack of spacelegs, especially since it has MP and fleet management at the same time. :D
     
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  2. Neal

    Neal Rear Admiral

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    NMS made me realize how important it is for a space based Sci Fi game is to picture space itself in a sufficiently realistic manner. I could have got over the missing flyable Capital ships (maybe...;)) or the lack of Roleplaying elements or the fact you can't build ships on your own, BUT even the one thing a space game needs to make right is a absolute letdown in NMS.
    Space needs to feel big and distances between planets need to feel huge.

    If that's not the case, even the unimagniable big galaxy of NMS is worth nothing, since every star system looks and feels like cut out of a childrens book. Are players nowadays really so stupid nowadays they think Planets are so close and space between planets is cram-full with (conveniently placed) asteroids to mine if fuel runs out?

    Space needs to be dangerous to a certain extend and journeys should require some preparation imo, that's the point of a adventure. It's like going for a hike through the wilderness but every 5 meters there's a convenient store left and right. There's no adventure or challenge in the game.
    I'm not saying a game should be super hard, heck i'm more of a relaxed plqyers myself, but a game shouldn't hold your hand all the time.

    It's space for gods sake! The freaking biggest thing imagniable, even in a game set in space you SHOULD get a certain feel of loneliness from time to time. Space is not a theme park, lol.
    Is everyone (game developers /movie producers) so afraid of the chance that people could get bored if they aren't constantly bombarded with things to do all the time?

    Even the old "Frontier: Elite II" depicted space in a much more realistic and interesting manner imo.

    EDIT:
    The point of my rambing is that i really hope the devs of EGS will not fall into this trap to make space too video game like.
    Don't get me wrong i LOVE sci fi tech, FTL, Energy shields/weapons, Androids, Huge Spaceships, but SPACE NEEDS TO BE REALISTIC in size and feel (or at least sufficient enough for modern computers to handle).
     
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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  3. Ian Einman

    Ian Einman Captain

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    I agree, but I think in NMS that the design principle was really that the focus is on planets and space is really just a means to get to the next planet. Sure there's asteroids and stuff but the design of the game is about planets.

    The main thing that bores me about NMS is the procedural generation of the "giant" galaxy. It doesn't fool me for very long. Even though Empyrion has so many fewer worlds, the terrain and biomes feel more realistic to me. (I am NOT including fauna, which is weak in Empyrion.)

    Some people seem to prefer the planets of NMS, but there's something about the sort of cartoony style (vivid colors?) that seems less immersive to me. Empyrion's planets feel more real, particularly the moons. I actually found the very first time I went to Akua's moon to be kind of a bone-chilling experience (figuratively, as well as literally since I had no EVA boost so I could only mine cobalt for a brief time period in the day without freezing to death). I just never really had that level of immersion in NMS.

    Empyrion has all sorts of limitations but to this day it is the only game that made me feel like I was really on the moon, worrying about oxygen, temperature, etc. That's why I just wish there was more to do inside the game. I like the planet experience, and the orbit experience (again building space stations while orbiting the planet feels pretty real to me). Obviously needs more deep-space feel though (other systems and longer travel between planets/systems).
     
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  4. Ian Einman

    Ian Einman Captain

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    Well, I think space should be bigger, and I would like it if it actually took a few minutes to get between planets in Empyrion. As long as I could walk around the ship (uh oh), and it had autopilot between the planets (also not there). But then you could at least save some stuff to do while traveling, like growing/making food, designing an SV in the hangar, or whatever.

    Alternatively, you could expand the game so you can control multiple ships/bases and do different stuff while your ships were flying around. X3 did this to an extent.

    But I think if there were literally 10-15 minute gaps (or even more) where people are really doing nothing in a single player game... people would get bored and it wouldn't go over so well.
     
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  5. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    If you could at least access a pocket creative mode while your ship was getting from place to place, that would be something (even if you couldn't walk around on the ship).
     
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  6. Neal

    Neal Rear Admiral

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    I was not implying people should do nothing while travelling or that travelling should take 15 minutes from one planet to another in the first place. What i meant was that space should look and feel immense.

    For example, some other game (i have forgotten the name) had 3 different drive systems, FTL, Sublight and maneuvering. Maneuvering Engines where the common drive system you used to land on planets, combat and so on. (basically normal engines like we have in EGS)
    Sublight was used for interplanetary travel, FTL for interstellar.
    When using Sublight, it took 10-20 seconds to reach the next planet iirc (could be a bit longer). But if you tried to do the same with maneuvering engines, it would have taken an hour or even more.

    Also Planets need to be of a certain size not just when on the surface but also in space. Getting into close orbit should get you a feel of how incredible huge a planet is, compared to your ship. That's actually something almost all games get wrong (except for KSP, maybe).

    What i liked in NMS was the transition between space and planetary surface and how rough it felt to enter the atmosphere, that was really nice imo.
     
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  7. Neal

    Neal Rear Admiral

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    I agree, but i think it would be nice to have some rare planets with very vibrant colors. I think variation is the key to the fun of exploration and adventure.
    But i hope EGS will have not just fun planets to discover, but also mostly dead rocks without atmospheres and moons.

    A nearly realistic universe with a few classic space opera planets would be perfect.
    In a perfect (imo) sci fi game the universe (planets, Stars, distances etc.) would be 95% realistic with 5% Star Trek/Star Wars planets (just so a player had somewhere to go in the first place).

    I think it's completely pointless if EVERY Star System consists of several planets with atmosphere and life, because there'S nothing precious about it anymore (like in NMS).
     
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  8. Ian Einman

    Ian Einman Captain

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    I agree, but I think it depends on the FTL mechanic. If the FTL mechanic isn't just "fly anywhere you want really fast", but requires building something like a jump gate, wormhole generator, or the like, then it would make sense for these jump gates to only be constructed in systems with an interesting habitable planet.

    (Although even then it would also make sense for the rest of the system to have mostly dead worlds.)
     
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  9. Ian Einman

    Ian Einman Captain

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    It could be done better than Empyrion, to be sure. But I've actually been somewhat satisfied with that experience in Empyrion. I frequently build in space, basically most ship design, as well as making space bases. I usually do it pretty low, like right after I escape the planet and have got out of the fog. The planet looks pretty big and I do feel like I'm way up, and sometimes freak out for a minute if I get disoriented because I feel like I might fall. I play on a pretty big monitor. But I've definitely had it give me that feeling and I'll bet it would be way worse in VR.

    But the transition from high atmosphere to near earth orbit is a bit too abrupt, to be sure. The atmosphere is way too thin.
     
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  10. Ian Einman

    Ian Einman Captain

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    I have a background in geology so if I see something to weird my first question is, "how in the world would it look like that?" I kind of like knowing the actual rocks and minerals and stuff, and fake stuff like "erestrum" kind of bugs me.

    But there are plenty of truly intriguing things in the universe, for example look at Io, Europa, Titan. Lava made of sulphur, lakes of liquid hydrocarbons. Not to mention gas giants.

    I think to me the issue with NMS is that it didn't feel like exotic geology, more like "rainbow land". That's not why I stopped playing though, it was more the grindy-ness and the lack of building options. NMS is one of several games I checked out when I got bored of Empyrion, and then of course I got bored of it quickly and went back to Empyrion.

    The game to pull me away from Empyrion does not yet exist. Avorion is interesting, in space at least, but the planetary exploration part is too important of an element for me to just pass over it. Planet Nomads, Space Engineers, Osiris New Dawn, Memories of Mars, ROKH - they all have interesting pieces to them but no one has put it together right yet (and some of those projects are basically dead).

    Star Citizen sounds interesting though I worry about how they're blowing through all that money and whether the vision will ever see the light of day. It was originally supposed to come out in like 2014? Yeah, we'll see if it ever gets finished.
     
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  11. IronCartographer

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    Empyrion definitely strikes a unique balance. They're charting a narrow path between some very tricky crevices of excess in one game element or another.

    The map generation is incredibly fragile in syntax, but the results are amazing, and feels way better than NMS for some reason.
     
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  12. Neal

    Neal Rear Admiral

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    I never was a friend of Jumpgates tbh. mostly because everywhere you go, someone else (most probably someone from your own culture) has build them in the frist place so there's nothing really alien to discover there anyways.
    This was always letdown to me in other games. Its less like exploring an unknown ocean but more like driving a railroad in my opinion.

    I'm much more in favour of the classical Warp Drive or Hyperspace Drive, where you actually travel the distance between stars and can drop into normal space anytime you want. This doesn't mean one should be able to "jump" to every possible location in zero time. FTL engines should have a certain maximum distance per jump or speed, the more powerful the engines, the faster they are.

    This allows the player to explore Star Systems previously unknown and truely alien, which makes this whole issue much more interesting and adds to the feel of freedom in a game imo.
     
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  13. Kieve

    Kieve Rear Admiral

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    In spite of its "fake Solar System" flaws, I feel it's worth noting that this is something NMS does pretty well. Uncharted systems, dead or empty planets, the occasional weird anomaly world... the stuff is out there, just gotta find it.

    With regard to planetary distance, it's taken me upwards of two minutes of "nothing" crossing some of their systems (possibly broken up by a pirate scan, looking to pick a fight), and I've never felt the planets to feel particularly small either on the ground or in orbit. The systems certainly don't feel at all realistic or natural, but I don't think distance / transit time alone is a useful metric.
    *Also, the game's lore is explicitly a Simulation, not an actual galaxy, so make of that what you will I guess.
    However, I'll also give props to Eleon for trumping them in procedural-generation tech. Even back in A3, EGS planets had more than a single biome globally - and now we have swamps, mountains, polar regions, grasslands, deserts, etc...
    I think that might be the last hurdle NMS has yet to cross, worlds that are more than single-biome setups, so you actually have a reason to look around beyond "land in one spot, okay, I've seen everything this place has to offer, what's on the next world?"
     
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  14. Ian Einman

    Ian Einman Captain

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    That's a good point. I guess I was thinking more games like X3 or Starpoint Gemini where exploration isn't much of a thing, they are more about combat and/or trading.

    Of course, there's always the possibility that they weren't built by known races, but are left-over from some precursor civilization.

    In Empyrion though, at least today, you don't really find uncharted worlds. Zirax are everywhere, POI are everywhere. For a truly "I found a new world" experience you'd need to mix that up a bit.

    The main thing I was getting at with my suggestion is that in order to make a game that is "not boring" it probably can't really simulate the real universe if most stars don't have planets and most planets are barren and inhospitable. (Although more recent studies suggest planets are far more common than they used to think.) Jump gates can solve the question, "why does every system I travel to have hospitable planets?" But you're right, someone had to have built them, so they aren't the right fit for a truly exploratory game.
     
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  15. IronCartographer

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    Depending on the tech justification, warp lanes may be "built" as well. It's a bit odd how maps are defined not purely based on distance but distance + lane existence, unless there's an element of walking a treaded path.
     
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  16. Neal

    Neal Rear Admiral

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    Something like natural occuring lanes (similar like a river for instance) that increases the effectivity of the FTL drive in a small region, would be really interesting and it would be handy for a certain faction to settle in that specific region.

    So there could be bubbles of "empires" all over the galaxy that are regions where FTL works much better compared to the regions between each of them. A faction could send ships much faster to a planet within their sphere of influence, but it would take longer to reach the regions occupied by other factions.
     
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