The Sky’s The Limit

figure 1: Hello Games, 2016

Danielle Riendeau’s video article: What No Man’s Sky means for the future of open world games

With the creation of No Man’s Sky, open world games are facing the prospect of being truly open, endless experiences. (Riendeau, 2016) No Man’s Sky is a procedurally generated open world game, that, due to its design, could be theoretically infinite. Limitations would be hardware and software capabilities, and the player’s attention span. Although it is covering new ground,  No Man’s Sky also repeats the previous failings of procedurally generated games. (McDonnell, 2016) Procedurally generated games, despite promising a different experience every time you play, often have very repetitive gameplay. For procedural generation to work, the player’s own interaction with the game must be kept basic for the mechanics and gameplay to intersect with the procedural algorithm without causing bugs. (Bycer, 2016) This is where the theory of an “infinite” procedurally generated game ends at practicality. For the game to be procedurally generated and still stimulating for the player, as well as providing replay value and cultivating the desire to really play the game “endlessly”, it cannot be infinite. No Man’s Sky is not the first of its type; Nowhere, an open world procedurally generated sandbox, while being exceptionally abstract, fulfills the same criterion. The game has an emergent narrative and goals, but very basic gameplay. (Sykes, 2013) The potential scale of the in-game world is massive, but much like No Man’s Sky, the mechanics of the game must be sacrificed for it to function realistically.

References

Bycer, J. (2016). 3 Failings of Procedurally Generated Game Design. [online] Game Wisdom. Available at: http://game-wisdom.com/critical/procedural-game-design [Accessed 21 Aug. 2016].

McDonnell, K. (2016). No Man’s Sky: Making the Same Procedurally Generated Mistakes as Bloodborne!. [online] Moviepilot.com. Available at: http://moviepilot.com/posts/2855210 [Accessed 21 Aug. 2016].

Riendeau, D. (2016). What No Man’s Sky means for the future of open world games. [online] ZAM. Available at: http://www.zam.com/article/907/what-no-mans-sky-means-for-the-future-of-open-world-games [Accessed 21 Aug. 2016].

Sykes, T. (2013). Nowhere is a procedural open world sandbox – just not the kind you were expecting. [online] PC Gamer. Available at: http://www.pcgamer.com/nowhere-is-a-procedural-open-world-sandbox-just-not-the-kind-you-were-expecting/ [Accessed 21 Aug. 2016].

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