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Found 8 results

  1. We've written a fair amount about No Man's Sky over the past year. From impressions, to podcasts, to in-depth stories on its fascinating community (and how it helped save someone's life), people have had reactions ranging from disgust to enthusiasm. It's fair to say that the title from Hello Games proved to be one of the most divisive games released in recent memory. Despite the controversy surrounding its launch and the perceived gulf between its advertised features and the apparent features in-game, Hello Games has quietly continued working on their universe-sized sandbox. That work resulted in the 1.1 Foundation update, which added base-building, multiple game modes (Normal, Creative, and Survival), mobile saving, expanded inventory space, the ability to leave messages for other players, and gave players the option of hiring aliens to pilot freighters to give a massive boost to material collection capacity. It even gave PS4 players a photo mode that allowed them to take pictures of their adventures. Perhaps it strikes people as somewhat surprising that Hello Games haven't cut their losses and moved on to another game. After all, these updates aren't exactly providing the team with extra income since they release at the low cost of zero dollars. However, the team remains committed to the universe they created and has been steadily tweaking and adding new things to the worlds that have been found and those that remain unexplored. No Man's Sky 1.2, titled The Path Finder Update, expands on Foundation while adding a bevy of features in its own right. Ground vehicles have been added to provide players with ways to quickly and efficiently cover more ground on the planets they discover. They provide greater speed, protection from the elements, and more cargo space. There are currently three types: the agile Nomad hovercraft, the hardy, wheeled Roamer, and the gigantic mining vehicle Colossus. These vehicles can equip mining lasers and weapons to defend themselves from attackers and harvest resources from the safety of the vehicle. Vehicles also boost scanning capabilities. Expanded base-building features have more than doubled the available customization options for No Man's Sky architects. This will help players to set their bases apart from those created by other players since this update also allows players to share their bases online, allowing other No Man's Sky explorers to stumble onto bases created by others from around the world. New weapon types give players additional options on foot and in the sky. In addition to the standard bolt caster, the multi-tool can now be specialized into the short-range scatter blaster, the mid-range pulse spitter, and the long-range blaze javelin. Ships now can be equipped with the cyclotron projector, the cone-like positron projector, and the rapid fire infra-knife accelerator. A permadeath mode has been added with unique achievements for those who can manage to make their way through the cosmos unscathed. The survival mode has also been amended to start players on the nearest planet with a crashed space ship when they die in the cold vacuum of space. The ambient music selection has increased by over 50% with new soundscapes from 65daysofstatic. Players can rename everything they own and they can now own a lot more. Multiple ships can now be kept in storage for use as needed. The camera mode has received adjustments and will now be accessible on PC as well as PS4. The camera now has various filters that can be applied. Time can also be stopped and shifted around to get optimal lighting and sky positioning for the perfect picture. To demonstrate the capabilities of the photo mode Hello Games worked with game photographer DeadEndThrills. New traders have been added that deal with a new currency called nanite clusters. Traders on space stations will accept nanite clusters for rare blueprints. As the player's standing increases with various factions, the rarer the blue prints offered will become. Even the graphics have received an overhaul. The lighting has been made more accurate and revealing. No Man's Sky can now support high and ultra resolution textures. Post-processing has been improved and the game now supports HDR for compatible TVs and monitors. The results are definitely noticeable. A sweeping number of bug fixes for combat, UI, spawning, etc. You can find the full list of changes on the No Man's Sky site. There are more additions, too. For a visual overview of what's in store, check out the Path Finder trailer below. View full article
  2. We've written a fair amount about No Man's Sky over the past year. From impressions, to podcasts, to in-depth stories on its fascinating community (and how it helped save someone's life), people have had reactions ranging from disgust to enthusiasm. It's fair to say that the title from Hello Games proved to be one of the most divisive games released in recent memory. Despite the controversy surrounding its launch and the perceived gulf between its advertised features and the apparent features in-game, Hello Games has quietly continued working on their universe-sized sandbox. That work resulted in the 1.1 Foundation update, which added base-building, multiple game modes (Normal, Creative, and Survival), mobile saving, expanded inventory space, the ability to leave messages for other players, and gave players the option of hiring aliens to pilot freighters to give a massive boost to material collection capacity. It even gave PS4 players a photo mode that allowed them to take pictures of their adventures. Perhaps it strikes people as somewhat surprising that Hello Games haven't cut their losses and moved on to another game. After all, these updates aren't exactly providing the team with extra income since they release at the low cost of zero dollars. However, the team remains committed to the universe they created and has been steadily tweaking and adding new things to the worlds that have been found and those that remain unexplored. No Man's Sky 1.2, titled The Path Finder Update, expands on Foundation while adding a bevy of features in its own right. Ground vehicles have been added to provide players with ways to quickly and efficiently cover more ground on the planets they discover. They provide greater speed, protection from the elements, and more cargo space. There are currently three types: the agile Nomad hovercraft, the hardy, wheeled Roamer, and the gigantic mining vehicle Colossus. These vehicles can equip mining lasers and weapons to defend themselves from attackers and harvest resources from the safety of the vehicle. Vehicles also boost scanning capabilities. Expanded base-building features have more than doubled the available customization options for No Man's Sky architects. This will help players to set their bases apart from those created by other players since this update also allows players to share their bases online, allowing other No Man's Sky explorers to stumble onto bases created by others from around the world. New weapon types give players additional options on foot and in the sky. In addition to the standard bolt caster, the multi-tool can now be specialized into the short-range scatter blaster, the mid-range pulse spitter, and the long-range blaze javelin. Ships now can be equipped with the cyclotron projector, the cone-like positron projector, and the rapid fire infra-knife accelerator. A permadeath mode has been added with unique achievements for those who can manage to make their way through the cosmos unscathed. The survival mode has also been amended to start players on the nearest planet with a crashed space ship when they die in the cold vacuum of space. The ambient music selection has increased by over 50% with new soundscapes from 65daysofstatic. Players can rename everything they own and they can now own a lot more. Multiple ships can now be kept in storage for use as needed. The camera mode has received adjustments and will now be accessible on PC as well as PS4. The camera now has various filters that can be applied. Time can also be stopped and shifted around to get optimal lighting and sky positioning for the perfect picture. To demonstrate the capabilities of the photo mode Hello Games worked with game photographer DeadEndThrills. New traders have been added that deal with a new currency called nanite clusters. Traders on space stations will accept nanite clusters for rare blueprints. As the player's standing increases with various factions, the rarer the blue prints offered will become. Even the graphics have received an overhaul. The lighting has been made more accurate and revealing. No Man's Sky can now support high and ultra resolution textures. Post-processing has been improved and the game now supports HDR for compatible TVs and monitors. The results are definitely noticeable. A sweeping number of bug fixes for combat, UI, spawning, etc. You can find the full list of changes on the No Man's Sky site. There are more additions, too. For a visual overview of what's in store, check out the Path Finder trailer below.
  3. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. The first time Ron Carpenter received the generous donation to his PayPal account, he figured it was just a courteous one-time gift from a viewer of his YouTube channel, Cobra TV. Then week after week, the same donation continued to pop up in his account. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter – like most YouTube personalities – started his channel on a whim, without much of a plan or very high expectations. Wearing a mask to retain anonymity, he ranted about games in stream of consciousness videos on a crude, but functional, webcam set-up. “I was depressed, and I was making videos,” he tells me over Skype. Those early videos featured Carpenter farting and making crude, offensive jokes about games. He doesn’t harbor much pride for those early days. As he recalls, “I guess you could say I was a troll back then.” Soon after, he discovered No Man’s Sky, a game that at that point remained a mysteriously intriguing space exploration title from an inconspicuous independent developer. Hello Games had made a splash at the 2013 VGX awards when it released a trailer for its procedurally generated space exploration game. Like many people in the games industry, Carpenter took notice right away. The budding influencer’s curiosity piqued further when Hello Games director Sean Murray came onto Sony’s E3 stage in 2014 to show more of No Man’s Sky in a demo that has since become infamous. Carpenter watched as Sean Murray explored a planet full of dinosaurs and other creatures, hopped into his spaceship, launched through the atmosphere, and immediately started dogfighting in outer space. “It blew my mind away,” says Carpenter of the stage demo, which would prove to be a slight exaggeration of what the final product turned out to be. Misrepresentation or not, the demo was enough to hook Carpenter. “After that,” he says, “I searched for anything I could find on the internet about this game. I didn’t even know what Reddit was at the time. I started taking down notes just because I wanted to learn more.” His excitement for the game fueled his content from that point on; a commitment that proved infectious. Carpenter doesn’t look back fondly on his early videos covering the game. “My first No Man’s Sky video, I’m sitting there in a mask and burping and farting through the thing,” he recalls, “when I realized I had such a passion for this game, those videos just seemed really disrespectful.” It might be strange for current followers to hear that Carpenter’s early videos contained such vulgarity, when he’s built a reputation for objectivity and candor. But regardless of quality, he eventually realized he wasn’t alone in his passion for the game. His viewership and subscription numbers began to reflect that fact. “People were taking me seriously finally. So I thought, ‘they deserve respect and I need to be better.’” As his audience grew, he began to accept donations through PayPal, to help improve the overall quality. He earned just enough to buy a new computer, webcam, and microphone. As his channel found an audience, Carpenter’s Cobra TV became a prominent outlet in the burgeoning No Man’s Sky community. He began to see his videos pop up on Reddit and in Facebook fan groups for the game. In hopes of cultivating and providing a voice for that community, he soon began inviting fellow fans onto his shows to pontificate about the seemingly infinite possibilities of Hello Games’ universe. As such, he became the sort of de-facto leader of the word-of-mouth hype surrounding the game prior to launch. Carpenter had become the pope to god, Sean Murray – preaching to the flock for an increasingly capricious deity. Hyping No Man’s Sky had itself become a popular pastime on the internet, and a burgeoning cottage industry for content creators like Carpenter. While the information that Hello Games released to the public was vague at best, Carpenter found himself filling a need. As he explains, his motivation had less to do with exploiting the game as it did with satiating his own desire to learn more about this mysterious universe. He tells me that what captivated him most about No Man’s Sky was the sheer creativity of it all. “It was the overreaching of the entire game as a package. I say overreaching now, not because of what happened, but because that’s what I wanted to find,” says Carpenter, alluding to the underwhelming state of the final product, “I wanted to find a game where the developers did overreach. They went out of the box and pulled out what was normal. They pulled out something special, put it into the limelight and tried to do something that nobody else has done. That’s what drew me in. The fact that somebody for the first time in a long time, was overreaching.” As a kid, growing up in the marshlands of Florida, some of Carpenter’s most vivid memories are of long walks in the woods near his childhood home. As a child, he would join his father on exploratory walks through the swamps, with little intention other than to observe nature. “I would just look and see, and I was so amazed,” recalls Carpenter. These trips consisted of no hunting, no taking pictures, but just being in the moment and seeing what there was to see; an activity that would sound more than a little familiar to any diehard No Man’s Sky devotee. Later in life, he would take his dog Jasper, a mix of pit bull and German shepherd for long walks through those same marshes. Once in awhile, when Jasper began to snarl and sneer at the water, Carpenter says, “a gator would come out and my dog would sit there, run away a little bit and just bark and bark.” He recalls with a nostalgic chuckle, “I would stand on the top of the hill and yell at [the gator] to get back in the water.” For those anticipating the game, the potential in No Man’s Sky wrested on the promise of finding metaphorical gators in that digital universe’s water; the potential of encountering epic space battles, long-necked dinosaurs, and giant sandworms. Even now, months after launch, and with the release of the Foundation update – a long-awaited content dump of new modes and gameplay tweaks – a common refrain can still be heard around the community: But where’s the giant sandworm? For fans and detractors, so much of what makes No Man’s Sky’s story intriguing, even months after a failed launch, is best exemplified by that one question: But where’s the giant sandworm? Promotional materials and early footage showed a giant sandworm. Common sentiment among the community is that it must be in there somewhere. This is a near-infinite universe full of eighteen quintillion planet-sized planets, after all. Due to the sheer size of this world, it’s quite possible that simply nobody has found it yet. Not for lack of trying; Reddit and dedicated Facebook groups are full of fans posting videos and screenshots of worm-like creatures that could be long-removed cousins to something that might vaguely resemble a giant sandworm. However, not one player has recorded an instance of encountering such an animal. It’s much more likely that the beast just doesn’t exist. But it’s also possible (if infinitesimally so) that it does. And that’s all that matters for some fans. No Man’s Sky fandom is a strange place. Prior to release, fans of the game scoured the internet for any information they could find on Sean Murray’s creation, including Cobra TV videos. They created fan art, bought t-shirts, took to reading old science fiction novels (the Asimovs and Clarks that Murray likes to name-check in interviews), and even made fan videos thanking Hello Games for its time and effort in creating this procedural universe that none of them had yet experienced. On August 9th, 2016, the game released and that fandom grew even stranger. When No Man’s Sky failed to live up to expectations, the community split into two camps: those shouting “Sean Murray is a liar,” and those defending the developer even as they acknowledged the product’s imperfections. The angry voices rang the loudest though, and hating on No Man’s Sky soon became just as sporting as anticipating No Man’s Sky had been just weeks earlier. Here’s where this story gets weirder for me, as the author. I’m going to break a cardinal rule and insert myself into it a bit. I was one of those people who hyped No Man’s Sky far more than it may have deserved. I was one of the people playing gameplay trailers for family and friends, evangelizing the gospel of Sean Murray. I was one of the people that considered themselves a fan of a game that I hadn’t even played yet. Heck, I even found myself re-reading Frank Herbert’s Dune in the weeks before the game’s launch, because, well… giant sandworms! Prior to release, many people would say that anticipating No Man’s Sky was already fun enough, that the game itself didn’t even need to be any good. They had already gotten their money’s worth. Oh… if only that were the case. As I began to research this story, I started to suspect that it was far beyond my scope of practice. I reached out to a few prominent individuals in the community, which soon became a depressing exercise in futility. One source, for example, would only speak to me off the record for fear of being ostracized for his criticisms of the game. Some other people who openly disliked the game declined to comment, and just quietly retreated from the imploding community. When the subreddit was abruptly deleted overnight on October 5th, I reached out to the moderator responsible only to find that he had deleted his own account, my only means of contacting him, due to the overwhelming backlash. That same subreddit, with over 150,000 members at the time, would soon be replaced with another dedicated page for the game, before finally being turned into a Mr. Robot subreddit as a sort of joke at the expense of Hello Games. Did I say this story was strange? I began to get the sense that I was working on uncovering some deep government conspiracy, when in reality, I was simply trying to talk to people about a video game. Even the game’s developers seemed to be susceptible to the drama. After having been silent on Twitter for months, the Hello Games official Twitter account tweeted out that “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.” It would turn out to be the work of a hacker, but it only further demonstrated just how divisive this game had become. Having started my research in October, I began to wonder if I should ever write this article at all, for fear that this story – like the game’s universe – was never ending. And it most certainly isn’t over yet. Hello Games recently released the Foundation Update, which adds base building, freighters, survival mode, creative mode, an online message system, and more. The game finally resembles what it probably should have been from the start, save for a few major features including full online support, factions, and, as far as anyone can tell, giant sandworms. Despite selling millions of copies at launch, No Man’s Sky’s player numbers had since dwindled to the hundreds. Those numbers have seen a minor surge with the update, and the game’s most ardent fans have seen their faith rekindled and rewarded, but it’s still not the smash hit that so many people expected it to be. Those same fans never stopped watching Cobra TV and talking about the game, even if they stopped actually playing the game. Carpenter remains a spokesman for that community, despite never really aspiring to that label. With his smooth baritone and casual dialect, he has a voice for radio, something he’s aspired to since his youth. Although he never wanted to just be known as the guy that talks about No Man’s Sky, he appreciates the experience the game has afforded him. He just wanted to talk about fascinating games, but for Carpenter and his followers, the most fascinating game remains the one that earned him all this recognition in the first place. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. During Hello Games’ self-imposed sabbatical, many people wondered how Carpenter could continue making videos about a game while the developers themselves remained silent. But those same people were still watching. Just as 130,000 people re-subscribed to the new No Man’s Sky Reddit during that time, Carpenter’s viewers kept coming back. “Lots of people on my YouTube channel comment saying, ‘I feel sorry for this mother f___er for wasting his life talking about this game. He’ll never get these years back,’” reflects Carpenter. “I get comments like that all the time.” Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter had no intentions of accepting this money week after week. So he decided to email the donor to inquire, thinking that maybe it was a mistake, or maybe a glitch with PayPal’s system. It wasn’t. The donor wrote him back to explain. “I received back, this email. [The email] said that one night he was sitting on his couch and he had a gun in his mouth, and he said that one of my No Man’s Sky playlists was playing on his computer,” Carpenter’s voice cracks ever so slightly over Skype. “He never told me what I said, but something that I said in one of my sub-casts, made him yank the gun out of his mouth and reevaluate his situation. He said fifty dollars is nothing compared to what I made him feel like his life was worth. He tried paying me that fifty dollars every week. Finally, I told him that if you continue to keep paying me fifty dollars I’m going to refund it to you every single time.” “That,” he says, “That’s made it worth it.” View full article
  4. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. The first time Ron Carpenter received the generous donation to his PayPal account, he figured it was just a courteous one-time gift from a viewer of his YouTube channel, Cobra TV. Then week after week, the same donation continued to pop up in his account. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter – like most YouTube personalities – started his channel on a whim, without much of a plan or very high expectations. Wearing a mask to retain anonymity, he ranted about games in stream of consciousness videos on a crude, but functional, webcam set-up. “I was depressed, and I was making videos,” he tells me over Skype. Those early videos featured Carpenter farting and making crude, offensive jokes about games. He doesn’t harbor much pride for those early days. As he recalls, “I guess you could say I was a troll back then.” Soon after, he discovered No Man’s Sky, a game that at that point remained a mysteriously intriguing space exploration title from an inconspicuous independent developer. Hello Games had made a splash at the 2013 VGX awards when it released a trailer for its procedurally generated space exploration game. Like many people in the games industry, Carpenter took notice right away. The budding influencer’s curiosity piqued further when Hello Games director Sean Murray came onto Sony’s E3 stage in 2014 to show more of No Man’s Sky in a demo that has since become infamous. Carpenter watched as Sean Murray explored a planet full of dinosaurs and other creatures, hopped into his spaceship, launched through the atmosphere, and immediately started dogfighting in outer space. “It blew my mind away,” says Carpenter of the stage demo, which would prove to be a slight exaggeration of what the final product turned out to be. Misrepresentation or not, the demo was enough to hook Carpenter. “After that,” he says, “I searched for anything I could find on the internet about this game. I didn’t even know what Reddit was at the time. I started taking down notes just because I wanted to learn more.” His excitement for the game fueled his content from that point on; a commitment that proved infectious. Carpenter doesn’t look back fondly on his early videos covering the game. “My first No Man’s Sky video, I’m sitting there in a mask and burping and farting through the thing,” he recalls, “when I realized I had such a passion for this game, those videos just seemed really disrespectful.” It might be strange for current followers to hear that Carpenter’s early videos contained such vulgarity, when he’s built a reputation for objectivity and candor. But regardless of quality, he eventually realized he wasn’t alone in his passion for the game. His viewership and subscription numbers began to reflect that fact. “People were taking me seriously finally. So I thought, ‘they deserve respect and I need to be better.’” As his audience grew, he began to accept donations through PayPal, to help improve the overall quality. He earned just enough to buy a new computer, webcam, and microphone. As his channel found an audience, Carpenter’s Cobra TV became a prominent outlet in the burgeoning No Man’s Sky community. He began to see his videos pop up on Reddit and in Facebook fan groups for the game. In hopes of cultivating and providing a voice for that community, he soon began inviting fellow fans onto his shows to pontificate about the seemingly infinite possibilities of Hello Games’ universe. As such, he became the sort of de-facto leader of the word-of-mouth hype surrounding the game prior to launch. Carpenter had become the pope to god, Sean Murray – preaching to the flock for an increasingly capricious deity. Hyping No Man’s Sky had itself become a popular pastime on the internet, and a burgeoning cottage industry for content creators like Carpenter. While the information that Hello Games released to the public was vague at best, Carpenter found himself filling a need. As he explains, his motivation had less to do with exploiting the game as it did with satiating his own desire to learn more about this mysterious universe. He tells me that what captivated him most about No Man’s Sky was the sheer creativity of it all. “It was the overreaching of the entire game as a package. I say overreaching now, not because of what happened, but because that’s what I wanted to find,” says Carpenter, alluding to the underwhelming state of the final product, “I wanted to find a game where the developers did overreach. They went out of the box and pulled out what was normal. They pulled out something special, put it into the limelight and tried to do something that nobody else has done. That’s what drew me in. The fact that somebody for the first time in a long time, was overreaching.” As a kid, growing up in the marshlands of Florida, some of Carpenter’s most vivid memories are of long walks in the woods near his childhood home. As a child, he would join his father on exploratory walks through the swamps, with little intention other than to observe nature. “I would just look and see, and I was so amazed,” recalls Carpenter. These trips consisted of no hunting, no taking pictures, but just being in the moment and seeing what there was to see; an activity that would sound more than a little familiar to any diehard No Man’s Sky devotee. Later in life, he would take his dog Jasper, a mix of pit bull and German shepherd for long walks through those same marshes. Once in awhile, when Jasper began to snarl and sneer at the water, Carpenter says, “a gator would come out and my dog would sit there, run away a little bit and just bark and bark.” He recalls with a nostalgic chuckle, “I would stand on the top of the hill and yell at [the gator] to get back in the water.” For those anticipating the game, the potential in No Man’s Sky wrested on the promise of finding metaphorical gators in that digital universe’s water; the potential of encountering epic space battles, long-necked dinosaurs, and giant sandworms. Even now, months after launch, and with the release of the Foundation update – a long-awaited content dump of new modes and gameplay tweaks – a common refrain can still be heard around the community: But where’s the giant sandworm? For fans and detractors, so much of what makes No Man’s Sky’s story intriguing, even months after a failed launch, is best exemplified by that one question: But where’s the giant sandworm? Promotional materials and early footage showed a giant sandworm. Common sentiment among the community is that it must be in there somewhere. This is a near-infinite universe full of eighteen quintillion planet-sized planets, after all. Due to the sheer size of this world, it’s quite possible that simply nobody has found it yet. Not for lack of trying; Reddit and dedicated Facebook groups are full of fans posting videos and screenshots of worm-like creatures that could be long-removed cousins to something that might vaguely resemble a giant sandworm. However, not one player has recorded an instance of encountering such an animal. It’s much more likely that the beast just doesn’t exist. But it’s also possible (if infinitesimally so) that it does. And that’s all that matters for some fans. No Man’s Sky fandom is a strange place. Prior to release, fans of the game scoured the internet for any information they could find on Sean Murray’s creation, including Cobra TV videos. They created fan art, bought t-shirts, took to reading old science fiction novels (the Asimovs and Clarks that Murray likes to name-check in interviews), and even made fan videos thanking Hello Games for its time and effort in creating this procedural universe that none of them had yet experienced. On August 9th, 2016, the game released and that fandom grew even stranger. When No Man’s Sky failed to live up to expectations, the community split into two camps: those shouting “Sean Murray is a liar,” and those defending the developer even as they acknowledged the product’s imperfections. The angry voices rang the loudest though, and hating on No Man’s Sky soon became just as sporting as anticipating No Man’s Sky had been just weeks earlier. Here’s where this story gets weirder for me, as the author. I’m going to break a cardinal rule and insert myself into it a bit. I was one of those people who hyped No Man’s Sky far more than it may have deserved. I was one of the people playing gameplay trailers for family and friends, evangelizing the gospel of Sean Murray. I was one of the people that considered themselves a fan of a game that I hadn’t even played yet. Heck, I even found myself re-reading Frank Herbert’s Dune in the weeks before the game’s launch, because, well… giant sandworms! Prior to release, many people would say that anticipating No Man’s Sky was already fun enough, that the game itself didn’t even need to be any good. They had already gotten their money’s worth. Oh… if only that were the case. As I began to research this story, I started to suspect that it was far beyond my scope of practice. I reached out to a few prominent individuals in the community, which soon became a depressing exercise in futility. One source, for example, would only speak to me off the record for fear of being ostracized for his criticisms of the game. Some other people who openly disliked the game declined to comment, and just quietly retreated from the imploding community. When the subreddit was abruptly deleted overnight on October 5th, I reached out to the moderator responsible only to find that he had deleted his own account, my only means of contacting him, due to the overwhelming backlash. That same subreddit, with over 150,000 members at the time, would soon be replaced with another dedicated page for the game, before finally being turned into a Mr. Robot subreddit as a sort of joke at the expense of Hello Games. Did I say this story was strange? I began to get the sense that I was working on uncovering some deep government conspiracy, when in reality, I was simply trying to talk to people about a video game. Even the game’s developers seemed to be susceptible to the drama. After having been silent on Twitter for months, the Hello Games official Twitter account tweeted out that “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.” It would turn out to be the work of a hacker, but it only further demonstrated just how divisive this game had become. Having started my research in October, I began to wonder if I should ever write this article at all, for fear that this story – like the game’s universe – was never ending. And it most certainly isn’t over yet. Hello Games recently released the Foundation Update, which adds base building, freighters, survival mode, creative mode, an online message system, and more. The game finally resembles what it probably should have been from the start, save for a few major features including full online support, factions, and, as far as anyone can tell, giant sandworms. Despite selling millions of copies at launch, No Man’s Sky’s player numbers had since dwindled to the hundreds. Those numbers have seen a minor surge with the update, and the game’s most ardent fans have seen their faith rekindled and rewarded, but it’s still not the smash hit that so many people expected it to be. Those same fans never stopped watching Cobra TV and talking about the game, even if they stopped actually playing the game. Carpenter remains a spokesman for that community, despite never really aspiring to that label. With his smooth baritone and casual dialect, he has a voice for radio, something he’s aspired to since his youth. Although he never wanted to just be known as the guy that talks about No Man’s Sky, he appreciates the experience the game has afforded him. He just wanted to talk about fascinating games, but for Carpenter and his followers, the most fascinating game remains the one that earned him all this recognition in the first place. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. During Hello Games’ self-imposed sabbatical, many people wondered how Carpenter could continue making videos about a game while the developers themselves remained silent. But those same people were still watching. Just as 130,000 people re-subscribed to the new No Man’s Sky Reddit during that time, Carpenter’s viewers kept coming back. “Lots of people on my YouTube channel comment saying, ‘I feel sorry for this mother f___er for wasting his life talking about this game. He’ll never get these years back,’” reflects Carpenter. “I get comments like that all the time.” Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter had no intentions of accepting this money week after week. So he decided to email the donor to inquire, thinking that maybe it was a mistake, or maybe a glitch with PayPal’s system. It wasn’t. The donor wrote him back to explain. “I received back, this email. [The email] said that one night he was sitting on his couch and he had a gun in his mouth, and he said that one of my No Man’s Sky playlists was playing on his computer,” Carpenter’s voice cracks ever so slightly over Skype. “He never told me what I said, but something that I said in one of my sub-casts, made him yank the gun out of his mouth and reevaluate his situation. He said fifty dollars is nothing compared to what I made him feel like his life was worth. He tried paying me that fifty dollars every week. Finally, I told him that if you continue to keep paying me fifty dollars I’m going to refund it to you every single time.” “That,” he says, “That’s made it worth it.”
  5. During the episode of The Best Games Period on Bastion a few weeks ago, Daniel and Jack got off on a particularly long and detailed tangent on the subject of No Man's Sky. This wasn't a planned part of the episode, just an interesting back and forth on their experiences with the most controversial game of 2016. This isn't fully an episode of The Best Games Period or even an Honorable Mention episode - just an extended conversation in which Daniel and Jack try to suss out how they feel about life, the universe, and everything else encompassed by Hello Games' indie gamble, No Man's Sky. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Gradius Gaiden 'The Heavens Are Calling' by Ivan Hakštok and Sixto Sounds (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03371) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  6. During the episode of The Best Games Period on Bastion a few weeks ago, Daniel and Jack got off on a particularly long and detailed tangent on the subject of No Man's Sky. This wasn't a planned part of the episode, just an interesting back and forth on their experiences with the most controversial game of 2016. This isn't fully an episode of The Best Games Period or even an Honorable Mention episode - just an extended conversation in which Daniel and Jack try to suss out how they feel about life, the universe, and everything else encompassed by Hello Games' indie gamble, No Man's Sky. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Gradius Gaiden 'The Heavens Are Calling' by Ivan Hakštok and Sixto Sounds (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03371) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  7. At this point, I have sunk a few hours into Hello Games' No Man's Sky, a universe-spanning indie title in which players struggle to survive and uncover the secrets of the cosmos. The scale of the game can become equal parts overwhelming and breathtaking. That same scale also renders it difficult to write about in any kind of timely manner. Instead of a comprehensive review, which will be coming later, here have been my experiences with the game to date. No Man's Sky begins by throwing players exosuit-first into its universe. I awoke with a damaged ship, a nearby distress beacon, and scattered supplies on the splotched surface of a world known as Janik. My ship had depleted engines and broken landing equipment, both of which required more materials than were scattered around the crash site to repair. This tutorial section covered how players need to approach mining new materials for repairs, upgrades, and charging equipment, the building blocks of living a successful life as a star traveler. The distress beacon, a strange, geometric orb, rose from the ground when I interacted with it. A barrage of thoughts and understanding blanketed my mind and I understood it was known as Atlas. This Atlas presented me with a choice: Follow where it might lead me or continue on my way. Lacking any sense of purpose in this universe, I made the decision to follow and see where Atlas might take me. Perhaps I was too hasty, though the effect it had on the rest of my initial experience was minimal. While salvaging as much of the surrounding equipment and mineral deposits as possible, I had the chance to observe Janik. The surface of the world I had found myself on was a strange mixture of beautiful, desolate, and unpleasant. Browns, oranges, and splotches of blues made it half eye-sore, half delightful novelty. My initial scans indicated that it was a planet full of various plants, but only sparsely populated with animal life. As far as I could see in any direction, the scan results held true. Towering orange foliage covered a great deal of the terrain with yellowing iron plants representing some kind of metallic undergrowth. Small animals scurried around with bodies like powerful leopards and tiny heads that reminded me of miniature boars. I encountered pockets of animal life during my further explorations of Janik; creatures that defied normal description - swift, hippo-like animals with glowing blue spots, a towering horse-mammoth, and more. None of these creatures attacked me and most, if not all, were herbivorous. As I made my way toward a nearby point of interest, some kind of abandoned shelter, I realized that simply living in my exosuit had almost depleted my energy reserves for life support. After a slight panic, I realized that I could charge life support with isotope elements like carbon, which existed in abundance among the local plant life. This simple approach to No Man's Sky's tutorial really worked for me. With minimal button prompts and no railroaded segments, I was given a series of problems and the tools with which to solve them. I began noticing small scanning probes moving about, concentrating their activity on places where I had mined or destroyed some vegetation for resources. These scanners then turned on me and seemed to follow me for a while, giving me the distinct impression that I might have done something wrong against local law or custom. Eventually, my travels brought me to a small outpost inhabited by a single sentient lifeform. Pat of a species known as the Gek, these stocky, reptilian creatures seemed to be an advanced, dominant species that enjoyed trading and exuding various smells to influence potential customers. I didn't learn details about the Gek until later in my travels, however. Language in No Man's Sky must be learned and my initial encounter with a Gek was an unintelligible mess. Scattered over the surface of Janik were knowledge stones, ruins, and old monoliths that contained data on the Gek and taught me more of their language. However, even after learning an unsteady vocabulary, I could still only guess as to what they were saying most of the time. After over an hour of exploration and accumulating material to repair my vessel, I returned to the crash site triumphant. Booting up the ship's engines, I took off into the sky. I couldn't help but be curious about the rest of Janik as the horizon grew bigger and bigger. I took off, not towards the stars, but to the farthest point of interest that I had uncovered in my travels. Skimming through the atmosphere at high speeds made the journey, previously estimated to take 30 minutes on foot, last only a handful of seconds. I need to take a moment to say that flying within an atmosphere was probably the first time I found something I disliked about No Man's Sky. The ship seems prevented from flying too low and crashing. It's also difficult to land in a spot for which you might be aiming. I experimented with flying a number of times and I found myself landing in ravines or minutes by foot away from my destination. Let us crash into planets, Hello Games. If we fly carelessly, let us pay the price. Additionally, the map for planets is terrible. The only time you can see it is in your ship and it doesn't convey useful information. Over the course of my time on Janik, I discovered many different locations, but I had no idea how to return to my favorites because I don't know where they are on the planet with no practical map to set me on the right path. The far flung location at which I arrived seemed to be an isolated manufacturing facility with a locked door of thick steel. Using my mining laser's alternate pulse gun mode, I attempted to blast through it. This brought the ire of those scanning probes I had noticed earlier. Several of them swarmed to my location, shooting bolts of light at me, pecking through my shields. I turned my attention from the door to my attackers, focusing them down one by one. Seemingly having cleared them all, I broke through the door to discover some valuable upgrade technology among the fungus encrusted machinery within. However, I then noticed that there was one probe left and it existed beneath the ground. I think what must have happened was that the probe spawned under the terrain and could see me without being able to harm or be harmed. While this might not seem like a big deal, the longer those small probes detect a threat, the stronger the enemies sent to deal with you become. Soon a colossal bipedal robot with a powerful laser was on top of me as I huddled in the relative protection of the factory. Killing this seemed to stop the oncoming robots for a while and I made a break for my ship, hoping in vain to lose my underground foe. Even taking off into space didn't help my situation as not one, not two, but three enemy spacecraft warped in to respond to that invincible probe's distress calls. My enjoyment of the increased maneuverability of my ship in space was short lived as I took one bogey out, only to fall to the remaining two. As I awoke aboard a mysterious space station, my initial time with No Man's Sky came to an end. My initial reaction to Hello Games' much hyped indie darling could be classified as hopeful. I saw a lot of ideas that I truly enjoyed and some technical hiccups that sentenced me to disorientation and death. However, the incredible sense of discovery truly feels unmatched in modern gaming. I became an explorer discovering an entirely new world, and I could probably spend many more hours scouring the surface of Janik. But remember that Janik is only one of an untold number of places to discover with secrets to unravel. This has only been the first step of a journey with no end in sight. No Man's Sky is available on PlayStation 4 and releases for PC on August 12.
  8. At this point, I have sunk a few hours into Hello Games' No Man's Sky, a universe-spanning indie title in which players struggle to survive and uncover the secrets of the cosmos. The scale of the game can become equal parts overwhelming and breathtaking. That same scale also renders it difficult to write about in any kind of timely manner. Instead of a comprehensive review, which will be coming later, here have been my experiences with the game to date. No Man's Sky begins by throwing players exosuit-first into its universe. I awoke with a damaged ship, a nearby distress beacon, and scattered supplies on the splotched surface of a world known as Janik. My ship had depleted engines and broken landing equipment, both of which required more materials than were scattered around the crash site to repair. This tutorial section covered how players need to approach mining new materials for repairs, upgrades, and charging equipment, the building blocks of living a successful life as a star traveler. The distress beacon, a strange, geometric orb, rose from the ground when I interacted with it. A barrage of thoughts and understanding blanketed my mind and I understood it was known as Atlas. This Atlas presented me with a choice: Follow where it might lead me or continue on my way. Lacking any sense of purpose in this universe, I made the decision to follow and see where Atlas might take me. Perhaps I was too hasty, though the effect it had on the rest of my initial experience was minimal. While salvaging as much of the surrounding equipment and mineral deposits as possible, I had the chance to observe Janik. The surface of the world I had found myself on was a strange mixture of beautiful, desolate, and unpleasant. Browns, oranges, and splotches of blues made it half eye-sore, half delightful novelty. My initial scans indicated that it was a planet full of various plants, but only sparsely populated with animal life. As far as I could see in any direction, the scan results held true. Towering orange foliage covered a great deal of the terrain with yellowing iron plants representing some kind of metallic undergrowth. Small animals scurried around with bodies like powerful leopards and tiny heads that reminded me of miniature boars. I encountered pockets of animal life during my further explorations of Janik; creatures that defied normal description - swift, hippo-like animals with glowing blue spots, a towering horse-mammoth, and more. None of these creatures attacked me and most, if not all, were herbivorous. As I made my way toward a nearby point of interest, some kind of abandoned shelter, I realized that simply living in my exosuit had almost depleted my energy reserves for life support. After a slight panic, I realized that I could charge life support with isotope elements like carbon, which existed in abundance among the local plant life. This simple approach to No Man's Sky's tutorial really worked for me. With minimal button prompts and no railroaded segments, I was given a series of problems and the tools with which to solve them. I began noticing small scanning probes moving about, concentrating their activity on places where I had mined or destroyed some vegetation for resources. These scanners then turned on me and seemed to follow me for a while, giving me the distinct impression that I might have done something wrong against local law or custom. Eventually, my travels brought me to a small outpost inhabited by a single sentient lifeform. Pat of a species known as the Gek, these stocky, reptilian creatures seemed to be an advanced, dominant species that enjoyed trading and exuding various smells to influence potential customers. I didn't learn details about the Gek until later in my travels, however. Language in No Man's Sky must be learned and my initial encounter with a Gek was an unintelligible mess. Scattered over the surface of Janik were knowledge stones, ruins, and old monoliths that contained data on the Gek and taught me more of their language. However, even after learning an unsteady vocabulary, I could still only guess as to what they were saying most of the time. After over an hour of exploration and accumulating material to repair my vessel, I returned to the crash site triumphant. Booting up the ship's engines, I took off into the sky. I couldn't help but be curious about the rest of Janik as the horizon grew bigger and bigger. I took off, not towards the stars, but to the farthest point of interest that I had uncovered in my travels. Skimming through the atmosphere at high speeds made the journey, previously estimated to take 30 minutes on foot, last only a handful of seconds. I need to take a moment to say that flying within an atmosphere was probably the first time I found something I disliked about No Man's Sky. The ship seems prevented from flying too low and crashing. It's also difficult to land in a spot for which you might be aiming. I experimented with flying a number of times and I found myself landing in ravines or minutes by foot away from my destination. Let us crash into planets, Hello Games. If we fly carelessly, let us pay the price. Additionally, the map for planets is terrible. The only time you can see it is in your ship and it doesn't convey useful information. Over the course of my time on Janik, I discovered many different locations, but I had no idea how to return to my favorites because I don't know where they are on the planet with no practical map to set me on the right path. The far flung location at which I arrived seemed to be an isolated manufacturing facility with a locked door of thick steel. Using my mining laser's alternate pulse gun mode, I attempted to blast through it. This brought the ire of those scanning probes I had noticed earlier. Several of them swarmed to my location, shooting bolts of light at me, pecking through my shields. I turned my attention from the door to my attackers, focusing them down one by one. Seemingly having cleared them all, I broke through the door to discover some valuable upgrade technology among the fungus encrusted machinery within. However, I then noticed that there was one probe left and it existed beneath the ground. I think what must have happened was that the probe spawned under the terrain and could see me without being able to harm or be harmed. While this might not seem like a big deal, the longer those small probes detect a threat, the stronger the enemies sent to deal with you become. Soon a colossal bipedal robot with a powerful laser was on top of me as I huddled in the relative protection of the factory. Killing this seemed to stop the oncoming robots for a while and I made a break for my ship, hoping in vain to lose my underground foe. Even taking off into space didn't help my situation as not one, not two, but three enemy spacecraft warped in to respond to that invincible probe's distress calls. My enjoyment of the increased maneuverability of my ship in space was short lived as I took one bogey out, only to fall to the remaining two. As I awoke aboard a mysterious space station, my initial time with No Man's Sky came to an end. My initial reaction to Hello Games' much hyped indie darling could be classified as hopeful. I saw a lot of ideas that I truly enjoyed and some technical hiccups that sentenced me to disorientation and death. However, the incredible sense of discovery truly feels unmatched in modern gaming. I became an explorer discovering an entirely new world, and I could probably spend many more hours scouring the surface of Janik. But remember that Janik is only one of an untold number of places to discover with secrets to unravel. This has only been the first step of a journey with no end in sight. No Man's Sky is available on PlayStation 4 and releases for PC on August 12. View full article