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Video: Watch Sean Murray talk about the making of No Man’s Sky

Sean’s Murray’s fascinating GDC talk on the mathematics of No Man’s Sky is now available to watch on YouTube.

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Sean Murray - GDC 17

Sean’s Murray’s fascinating GDC talk on the mathematics of No Man’s Sky is now available to watch on YouTube.

With all the chatter over what No Man’s Sky is, isn’t, or was promised to be, it’s sometimes forgotten that there’s some impressive mathematical magic going on to generate the game’s beautiful array of planets, creatures and spacecraft.

In his talk, Building Worlds Using Math(s), at this year’s Game Developers Conference, Sean Murray spoke about how the small development team at Hello Games created and tested No Man’s Sky‘s procedurally-generated universe. It’s pretty dry stuff, but what’s evident is Murray’s love of game engines, mathematics, and genuine hope that the work Hello Games produced will be built upon by other developers.

As the talk – and this article by our own Tom Baines – explains, procedural generation is complicated. So next time you’re thinking of crapping on a game that uses these techniques, it might be worth asking yourself how much you know about fractional Brownian motion, and modifying the amplitude of finer detail octaves.

You can watch Sean Murray’s full talk in the video below, and read more about game development in our GDC coverage.


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Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Paper Mario: The Origami King, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe.