The animals were the toughest part.
No Man’s Sky is out and about, bringing to culmination several years of hard work done by designer/director Sean Murray and his team. While the jury is still out on how diverse the 18 quintillion planets in No Man’s Sky really are, Murray did talk to Inverse about the process of building these worlds and how the developer went about it.
“It’s not a lot of magic, just fairly simple chemistry. The angle of sun irradiation and its intensity determine what kind of minerals compose in the ground. Naturally different resources influence what kind of flora and fauna grows up in a certain area. Every leaf of every tree contains a variety of stains. In England or Germany, the chlorophyll is very dominant, that’s why most of our leaves are green. In other countries, they are more yellow, and the Japanese cherry blossom is reddish, so that’s easy.”
The real challenge was with the sentient lifeforms inhabiting each planet. “The tougher part is the animals. The engine basically checks certain parameters, asks itself what kind of animal would like the surrounding, and chooses between a variety of types. Fairly often common animals are combined — like they have the body of a lion, but the head of a rhino and the legs of a gazelle.
“We’ve invented a system that automatically balances out the weight and adjusts the skeleton. So we had to experiment a ton, to get these skeletons right, because an animal with a tiny body can’t have a huge head, otherwise it would constantly fall over.”
And while Murray did entertain the idea of having animals that were always angry from constantly falling down, he ultimately decided against it. No Man’s Sky is still to release on August 12th for PC.