This is fascinating. I recently stumbled across a piece in The New Yorker about a video game called No Man’s Sky. The game takes a revolutionary approach to game engineering. Instead of designing and creating a carefully planned world, the developers are creating rules for how the the world will function, an outline of sorts. And then, they let the game program itself fill-in the details. They set rules for how things will interact and then let the world go.
Ultimately, this lets the developers create a game larger than any before it. Every planet, star, moon, or asteroid seen in the distance will be real. Every mountain, cave, plateau, valley will be explorable. Every horizon will have something beyond it. The video below is a peek at what the game will contain.
The visuals within the game are picturesque in color and stunning in scope. Even the flora and fauna in the game are going to be generated based on procedures. Earth has quite a bit to explore itself, and is unimaginably diverse, but in this game you might be the first person to discover a new planet.
The idea of an infinitely1 explorable unknown universe excites a surprising sense of wonder, especially considering that most of it may have been unexplored by any other living person. I play video games much less than I used to and I am well aware that in-game worlds are not the same as real life. All the same, it will be interesting to see how this game develops. I hope it succeeds in evoking the sense of wonder and awe many people anticipate.
- The in-game universe is not actually infinite and will not be continuously generated, but it is much much larger than anything created thus far. ↩