We’ve known that Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky is a stupidly big experience as far as the sheer number of planets have shown, but we haven’t really gotten a sense of just how many planets there can be in the game.
Hello Games’ managing director Sean Murray took to the PlayStation Blog to describe just how many planets the game can potentially create, as No Man’s Sky is a procedurally generated experience: 18 quintillion potential planets.
Let me repeat that number for you – eighteen quintillion planets. The exact number is apparently 18,446,744,073,709,551,616, just in case you’re taking notes over here while probably drooling all over your keyboard.
“Even if a planet is discovered every second, it’ll take 585 billion years to find them all,” Murray teased on the PlayStation Blog.
“The cool thing is that every planet has a single number, a random seed, that defines everything about that planet. A single random seed generates every blade of grass, tree, flower, creature. So as the developer I can note down the planet seed, and then just go back there any time I want. We demoed this at Gamescom, just jumping round the universe to different planets. There are no load times, because nothing needs to load, as the planets are entirely computer-generated.”
Aside from the exploration and world generation in No Man’s Sky, there is a “core game” for you to experience. By core game, Hello Games means real gameplay progression like deep combat, trading, alongside weapons and ships for you to collect and craft. However, the “quiet moments of discovery” are what No Man’s Sky is all about, according to Murray at least.
Lastly, Murray reminisced on an emotional moment he encountered while playing the game:
“I neared the surface of a planet and suddenly it started to rain. As I was touching down I scared some deer who broke through the woods, dodging in and out of trees. Now this was jaw-dropping to me, because I’ve never seen any of these systems before, but also it felt like this was a real place I’d discovered. No one had been there before, and I didn’t know whether to shout excitedly, or just keep it to myself.”
No Man’s Sky is currently in development for PlayStation 4, followed by a PC version sometime later.