No Man’s Sky is so big, the developers built space probes to explore it for them

Dave Tach, for Polygon:

To populate this alternate reality, the artists created seeds: the essential parts of plants and animals and geographic locations. Trees have trunks and leaves. Animals have bone structures. Spaceships have cockpits. Buildings have doors, windows and roofs.

Then they threw those seeds into what Duncan calls a “big box of maths,” where the British developer’s algorithms create variations on those themes. Short trees with orange foliage. Spaceships with stubby cockpits. Alien creatures whose deer-like ancestry is graspable at a glance.

The development process itself sounds more interesting than many games out there. No Man’s Sky is going to be some feat if Hello Games can pull this off.