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Theory: No Man's Sky could have been this year's Minecraft with these two additions

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\o Howdy folks. So I've been rolling about with the (incredibly divisive) No Man's Sky on PC. Very obviously the game suffers from wildly impractical pre-release hype (as well as no small portion of dishonest marketing), and a slew of gameplay bugs beneath a mountain of PC port compatibility missteps, likely due to the very small and less experienced development team.

But you know what? Warts and all, it gets a tentative recommendation (at a discount, mind you), assuming one is able to consistently play and enjoy the game. Every hour I spend in here, however, I cannot help but return to two VERY big "What if?"'s, and how very easily this project could have been an unexpected success, rivaling games with longevity such as Skyrim and Minecraft:

- Strong modding compatibility and open tools for the community.

- Integrated multiplayer functionality from the ground up, paired with the ability to create private servers (that are actually stable and strong enough to handle up to 20 people, give or take)

At face value, there's only so much one can do within the game outside of the potentially comfortable lull of explore, find waypoint, investigate, gather resources, advance equipment routine; it's safe, very low-key and held to the chest, outside of some sneaky moments of emotion when investigating the purely text-based decisions here and there between completely stationary NPCs and Monuments.

But what if you were able to convert the game to be set within the Mass Effect, Star Wars or Star Trek universes? What if you were able to explore personally hand-crafted planetoids / star systems with friends to investigate lore-relevant situations within said IPs? What if combat had a far more diverse and engaging cast of entities to encounter and combat out in uncharted space?

Persistence and context such as this might actually lend some weight and importance to the constant progression in No Man's Sky, and be a bit more encouragement for someone to keep on the path, and be provided with a satisfying culmination of their journey. Sales figures and consecutive players on Steam alone suggest there is a strong audience here that not many games (with decent production values) have managed to capture.

Just my two cents on the matter. Cool

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I was talking with my friend Gary about this concept actually; specifically the modding one. While I can suggest a few dozen things I, personally, think could be added to improve the game, if I had to narrow it down to just one it'd be that one. Give a strong modding support, access to Steam Workshop and all that, and let players have access to the dev tools. Really let them get creative with it... just like Minecraft.

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There is already a modding community and i am glad to see they are already started making things, hopefully this will turn into a very good thing Modding Site

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Agreed, Arche, proper modding support would likely take them farther than much else (perhaps aside from a better PC dev team / post-launch fixing, though mods could unbreak that as well.)

@KaRa Sure, people will take a hammer to the code and force it in a way it wasn't originally intended, though there will be very clear roadblocks for anyone who takes up the daunting task of really digging deep into the guts to reform the product into something unique. Still, it'll be interesting to see how far they're able to take it, if much at all.

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So basically this singleplayer, procedurally generated game about exploring worlds would be GOTY if only it were a multiplayer, handcrafted game about building worlds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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You can blame their own dev team for lying about the content of the game and bringing in far more attention (and criticism) than for the scope of the project they eventually released with, Luslanz.

And you misunderstood the fundamental basis of my remark: I said nothing about it being "a Minecraft" mechanically-speaking, merely suggesting it could have had a LOT more life to it were it to have mod support so more content could be provided for those looking for more than the smaller project that's actually available.

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The game wasn't that far off the mark from my point of view, but ymmv I suppose. I do think they tried to downplay the multiplayer aspect quite a bit in the few interviews I remember.

What do you mean by handcrafted planetoids then? Because I was picturing something like making planets the way you can make dungeons with the skyrim creation kit.

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I'm referring to what is commonly done in modding: scripted scenarios by modders that tell their own stories in the same way NMS' dev team has done at outpost for the sake of exposition. The tools are already there, it's effectively the only method that gives NMS' setting any sort of tangible context; I'd personally like to see those tools put into the hands of talented modders to populate their own canvas that more adventurous and goal-oriented (and purpose-driven) players can consume and justify the large buy-in price of the game.

"A game about building worlds" suggests more an actual builder game such as Minecraft, Terraria and Starbound. Actually being capable of erecting your own outposts, or populating them over time with various resources, conveniences and interactable NPCs would be nice (and rumor has it, are some aspects currently in the oven), though I'm not suggesting that if No Man's Sky were Minecraft it'd be better, simply that, much like Minecraft, it could benefit immensely from a mod-friendly architecture.

EDIT: Somewhat related, I'd be interested in seeing the success of a proposed super-casual, roleplay-centric NMS playthrough with the core concept of a random Joe Schmoe, bumbling adventure type with a GoPro cataloguing and narrating his misadventures and curious exploration in real time, and as a situational stream interaction shtick, he could "interact with his fans and followers" by (briefly) hijacking long range scanners and the like, and directly answer questions from viewers, joke about, and maybe pick up on a few "goals" to seek out, should there be enough interest.

Scenarios like that, for instance, could be greatly enhanced by mods, where actual entities within the game world are available to discover and explore stories within the game engine. As it stands, current content gets very repetitive very quickly.

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