The gaming industry and the concept of video games itself has come a long way since the last time we played Road Rash and the Grand Theft Auto series. New games are challenging the very essence and expanse of open worlds and universes, and the idea of discovery and exploration.
Now, imagine a game with a universe so vast and infinite that exploring every bit of it would take 5 billion years.
God dammit! That's got your attention now hasn't it? There is a game in development, at the moment, that boasts of a universe unlike any other open world games. It is the actual size of the universe; a map with over 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 (18 quintillion) planets - to scale - in it. Holy mother of god! What that means is there is no little speck in the sky, or hill on a planet and star far, far off, that you can't just hop into a spaceship and fly off towards.
We're talking about No Man's Sky, an upcoming adventure survival video game.
The game takes up four essential pillars that it banks on for its gameplay, exploration, survival, combat and trading. Basically, your character spawns onto a planet on the edge of the universe and your main, loosely defined, objective is to find your way to the centre of the universe (in fact, the main campaign should take you close to 100 hours to finish). And, like they say, "It's not the destination, but it's the journey along the way that matters."
The game, in fact, is so unbelievably huge in scale that you could play it over for a lifetime and complete the objective, and still have nearly 99% of it undiscovered.
This is where massive multiplayer online gaming comes in, where players - millions of them - from around the world will be playing it together. But, the game is so huge that the developers claim that chances you are going to bump into any of the other real players are minuscule.
How does a game this big store all of its information and data? It banks on procedural generation to create the universe.
Unlike other open world games - for example Grand Theft Auto - the AI and interface in this game is not based on a set algorithm, or collection of 'if-this-then-that' codes which are randomly picked. This game actually has a mutating algorithm that generates the environment that you're in, real time.
That means that each planet, the flora and the fauna, and its complete atmosphere will be unique.
Kind of like a math equation that keeps changing its variables to come up with different outcomes; only the variables in this equation are immense. In normal words, you could see a planet in the sky, fly off towards it and experience a completely new world, with different aliens with different attitudes, and different resources. What?
We're still just talking about one planet, now imagine a map, or universe, with 18 billion billion planets.
Nahi ho paega boss! 5 billion years to take if you actually decided to sit down and check out every planet in the universe, is perhaps more aggravating than exciting. And, it's not mindless discovery or exploration either. Different races and aliens interact with each other and the player differently, creating vast networks of factions, societies and a galactic ecosystem.
Developed by an indie studio, Hello Games, NMS was created by a group of just three people.
Gamers around the world are going nuts over the fact that a game like this could've even be thought up, let alone actually developed. Surely, the development of the game is a sheer work of genius and the first of its kind.
Currently, No Man's Sky is set for release sometime in August, 2016 on PlayStation 4. Although, there seem to be rumours of a delay. In any case, this game is revolutionary and is going to change the face of gaming as we know it.