Minns du #No Man's Sky? Det var det där buggiga rymdspelet som kostade för mycket och innehöll för lite.

3DGamedevblog har nu grävt ner sig i spelet och dess motor, och skrivit en utförlig analys av motorns förmåga att skapa unikt material med hjälp av så kallad procedurell generering. Enklare uttryckt: hur saker slumpas fram utifrån givna regler. Man tolkar också vad som gick fel och varför. Och man är kraftigt imponerade av den motor #Hello Games byggt. Den beskrivs som kapabel att skapa mängder med material med en väldigt liten stab programmerare.

It is a very elegant and clever procedure because it is very easy for artists to add new content for the procedural generation. And in fact for every new part they add the new number of total combinations is increasing exponentially (if the part will be available in all tree paths). From what I know they got 2 or 3 artists working on the models. The mindblowing thing about this generation procedure is that if they had double the number of people working EXCLUSIVELY on that part, the game content (just for the creatures) would be hundreds of times larger. And this fact alone shows me the capabilities and the potential that NMS game engine has.

En spelmotor med enorm men dåligt utnyttjad potential, menar analytikern.

Den ingående och långa analysen av spelet avrundas med en diskussion om för- och nackdelar med en sån här spelmotor. Och skribenten slår fast att No Man's Sky absolut inte är ett färdigt spel, och att dess många brister beror på att utvecklaren tvingats släppa det innan det var färdigt. Han ger också en rejäl känga till flerplattformsutvecklingen: det hade varit bättre om det släppts enbart till en plattform.

After all that research I know that the game has enough content to at least differentiate everything on each planet, so I can’t blame the content or the engine for not delivering. I have to blame the engine tuning and its configuration. I also have to blame those cursed multiplatform releases and the publisher. I’m 10000000000000000000% sure that the devs were rushed to release the game. The game that we got is not even close to a finished game, and obviously not even close reaching the 80% of the capabilities of the underlying game engine. From inspecting the files this is CRYSTAL CLEAR. Its closer to a tech demo than a game. Trying to deliver the same stuff over PC and PS4, simply butchers the game and probably trying to make it work on lower end specs and as higher framerates as possible, butchers the game even more.

Men det här lär inte vara det sista vi ser av No Man's Sky, Hello Games och spelmotorn, spår analytikern.

Personally I’m expecting updates and LOTS of them. I can forgive lots of HG’s mistakes on the game release, overpricing, lack of communication, even the lack of features (like multiplayer, which honestly I don’t give a sh*t about), BUT what I can’t forgive is that, considering that pre-release pretty messed up and pressured situation, they didn’t at least deliver an overall ingame engine configuration. What modders are doing right now is to dive into the files and try to find ways of making that VERY SAME ENGINE, create richer and more diverse content, and most of the time they succeed on that, simply because it IS capable of delivering way better stuff that it is doing right now. So all those options should have been accessible to every single player, and not found out only by modders. Obviously they chose no to do it is because they wanted all users to have the same universe, so that sharing waypoints, creatures, planets makes sense. But they should’ve included that. Force offline play and prove to all gamers what the engine is capable of.

For some reason I’m convinced that HG sooner or later is going to deliver. You simply don’t abandon 4+ years of working on an engine which is in fact great. And for those HG-conspirancy fans, really guys there are a thousand other ways that they could take our money and go, and that would happen a lot sooner.