I am thinking about composing some music inspired by places I have seen in the No Man’s Sky universe. Here are some photos!
Lichens in Space
Sunset on Neochadwickia
I took a break from No Man’s Sky for several months. The emotional turmoil of the 2016 presidential campaign and election took up almost all my “processing power”. Then there was Christmas and some family issues. Finally on January 2, I got back into my spaceship to see what was going on. There had been a big game update called The Foundation Update which added many cool new features such as a choice of play styles (normal, creative mode, survival mode) and the ability to build a home base and modify it. You can even invite NPCs to live with you and work there.
On the other hand, apparently the planet generation algorithm has been tweaked to allow the creation of a wider spectrum of planet types. When I tried to return to planets I had previously visited, they had been changed. Some of their names had been lost (reverted to their original game-generated names) and most of them had different terrain types. I felt sad about the familiar places I had lost.
So I left the past behind and traveled to some new star systems. I was looking for a planet where I could build a base. You can’t build a base on just any planet — it has to be a planet that already has a “habitable base” marker. I had read that if you use “free exploration” mode on the galaxy map, you could travel to stars that were red, green or even blue. These supposedly had increasingly rare resources and increasingly dramatic alien life.
My first trip to a blue star system was a disaster. Each planet was extreme — radiation, heat, cold — and several of them had Sentinels that would attack on sight. I didn’t find any interesting life forms (my main interest) though I did see some extremely weird resources I had never heard of before.
Also, any trips between planets resulted in attacks by other space ships (which disables pulse drive, slowing you to a crawl) or even attacks by Sentinel ships (which I had never seen before). One of these battles was so terrifying that I called my son in a panic and handed the mouse over to him. Even he struggled to survive this battle, exhausting all my shield resources. Eventually he made it down to the planet’s surface, and even there the Sentinels (and their enhanced, robot-like fighters) were beating us to a pulp. He managed to blast off, circle around, and shoot them from above.
Crazy levels of adrenaline, but I left this star system ASAP!
After that I made a hurried survey of about 30 planets. Land, walk around, take some pictures, leave.
Finally I found a planet with a habitable base that was kinda-sorta OK. I really wanted a planet like one of the old ones from before the upgrade. But no luck, and I was getting tired of searching. My planet that I settled for had moderate weather, no radiation, relatively peaceful Sentinels. The terrain was semi-arid and not very diverse, but dramatic storms caused the purple grasses to wave in the wind. There were a few peaceful herbivorous animals. The main problem was almost no resources except for iron. The deposits of iron were hidden in beautiful, colorful caves, well-hidden from Sentinels, so that was a plus.
It began to feel like home. I renamed the planet Northruby because of a huge ruby-like structure to (what I think was) the north.
My new base was equipped with a Teleport terminal. In order to activate it, I had to travel to the nearest space station and teleport back home from there. Amazingly, this process does not expend any resources; even my ship was transported!
I have lost track of the details, but after further faster-than-light-speed voyages, my home teleport offered the opportunity to warp to the space stations I had visited in distant star systems. I set up a work station, then transported offworld to hire a friendly Gek to work at my base. He said that he would love to have company and could I hire more workers? If I gave him certain resources, he could set up a science station for my next employee.
I thought to myself “Fetch quest!” But that’s OK, my Gek friend was charming and it was nice to have company in what had previously been a very lonely universe.
To be continued!
In my version of the Mass Effect storyline, Commander Anna Shepard chooses to take over for the Reapers. They relinquish their powers to her, in shame and humility. To the galaxy at large, it seems that the Reapers have been destroyed and Shepard has disappeared. Only Liara knows the truth about what has happened, and she is good at keeping secrets!
Meanwhile, the galaxy has entered a new age of exploration. New alliances are forged.
These are screencaps from NMS that I played around with using GIMP (free art software!) and a Wacom graphics tablet. I’m just getting the hang of GIMP. I know the more I practice, the less awkward it will seem.
I was awakened out of a sound sleep last night by shouting and swearing. It was a gamer.
Let me explain. Once I have fallen asleep, I sleep like a log — but I have trouble dozing off. If I don’t have something to focus my thoughts on, my mind runs like a hamster in a wheel. It has to be something familiar enough to be relaxing, but still interesting enough to stop the wheel from spinning. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks or podcasts; lately I’ve been listening to familiar videos. Noah Gervais is a favorite (I’ve watched or listened to his videos multiple times). Last night I drifted off to his review of No Man’s Sky. But it turns out I had left my You Tube setting on “autoplay”… and so at 4 am I was awakened by someone yelling F-bombs in my ear. It was a gamer, ranting about No Man’s Sky.
I hurriedly hit “X” to close the window; I don’t even know who was speaking. The intensity of the anger was like the shouting I hear when there’s been a car accident in front of our house. Or the way our apartment neighbors used to yell at each other in the months before their divorce.
And I know it’s not just the one guy who is angry.
That’s 65% negative reviews. If you actually READ the reviews, they are enough to blister your eyeballs. The hostility continues in the comment sections after articles (here’s an example at Kotaku). And the Reddit environment is caustic enough to challenge the most extreme of extremophiles.
Even my son, who is normally a soft-spoken person, howled in outrage when I started up the game. Something about the loading screen wasn’t right? I don’t understand. It seemed fine to me. And as he watched over my shoulder, he kept doing this
This is frustrating for me, though. It’s hard to listen to. I LOVE the game (OK, I loved it more after my son hacked into it and added 2 billion credits to my account). I worry that the negative backlash will make it harder for such groundbreaking games to be produced in the future.
My son and his friends have been gaming since they were 10 and have experienced (I’m estimating) HUNDREDS of games. They are connoisseurs. They have very clear cut ideas on how things should be done.
I’ve had very little experience with gaming, but I’ve been a musician for years. I have clear cut expectations about what an instrument should be like. I have to admit, if I ordered a keyboard instrument online, and instead of this I got this
…I would probably be upset.
But I’d like to think that I could get over my disappointment, put my expectations aside, and at least give the new instrument a try. Noodle around with it. Find out what it actually was good at. Who knows, maybe it was actually something like this?
I hope that instead of dropping F-bombs and howling in outrage, my review would be something like “I wanted a piano, and this sure as hell isn’t a piano. If you were looking for a traditional piano, don’t buy this. But if you would like to try out some groundbreaking new technology, all I can say is…”
Credits and Notes
The colorful “definitely not a piano” thing is by Knock On Wood Quality Wooden Toys.
And for you youngs, the thing with all the knobs and wires is a Moog Synthesizer, which started to become popular around 1967 ( I was about 10). Nowadays the technology has become so mind-bogglingly advanced that the whole thing can be emulated, realtime, in your PC. Whoa. It’s available here
For a more detailed description of these two planets, see here.
I’ve made my second warp jump
To the system Eiyodawak S77, which I renamed Locria, in honor of the Locrian Mode. It has four planets, one of which has a moon.
The first one I encountered was Elfangall Tachig, which I renamed Elfangol RFL.
This is the first planet I have explored that has large bodies of water. From the air it looked like a water planet
…and I imagined something Earth-like. However, Elfangall has high levels of radiation, and arched rock formations that seemed quite “unearthly”.
The pleasant temperature of 22 degrees C ( 71 degrees F) made me want to take off my exosuit, but the radiation level was too dangerous.
The next planet was Batungbara Piptakm, which I renamed Daubertia in honor of a friend of mine who has a PhD in plant pathology. There was a diverse collection of plant-like and fungus-like things here which I’m sure she would have been fascinated with.
However, it was not an easy location to study botany. Within a minute of stepping outside my ship, I saw this
This Therapod-like lifeform (and other species similar to it) it were a constant source of danger. Several times I was attacked the very minute I left the spaceship. I wondered if they were able to see or hear the landing from a distance.