No Man's Sky's 18 Quintillion Planets Will Weigh Only 6 GB

No Man's Sky is a heck of a lot smaller than you might expect it to be.

There is some good news for fans of Space Exploration and fans of Small Hard Drives alike. First off, Sean Murray, Founder of Hello Games and No Man's Sky has just revealed on Twitter that No Man's Sky will feature 18 quantillion planets. What's more is that all of them will fit into a minuscule 6 GB disk.

I don't know about you but I didn't have the faintest idea what quintillion actually meant before I found out about this. But it's supposed to be a gigantic number even bigger than trillion.

If you want me to give you an idea about it, that number would be 18 followed by 18 zeroes. That's the number of planets within No Man's Sky.

You're probably thinking, how can that be? You're lying! Here's a tweet from Sean Murray, founder of No Man's Sky:

There you have it. 6 GB size confirmed and most of that is audio. Now let's get into how that's possible.

No Man's Sky uses a procedural algorithm to render its planets. Every time the game has to generate a planet, it rolls hypothetical dice to decide what the planet will be like.

After it's finished, it will dig into the game's resources and simply render planets. It's a lot more efficient than actually designing every single planet.

It makes sense that most of the space that No Man's Sky actually uses is covered by audio. Since the planets will be brimming with life, they will require some pretty immersive audio.

You might ask, why don't other games do this? That's because designing such an algorithm and perfecting it, takes a lot of time and resources.

It's not easier to design an algorithm but at the same time, it's nigh impossible to work on 18 quintillion planets.

For developer Hello Games, it was a question of, would you rather design an algorithm that renders 18 quintillion planets for you? Or would you do 18 quantillion planets yourself?

The people who sent Sean Murray death threats need to take a good look at the work Hello Games has done on their game. Doing what they did takes a lot of time and effort.

Or you can just chalk it up to sorcery. Maybe the Staff of Hello Games just danced around naked in a pool of blood on a full moon, chanting in some ancient video game language to pray to the gods of Compression.

In other news, they're already working on the first update for No Man's Sky. I don't know if it's more planets, bug fixes or something bigger but damn, I'm really excited for this!

No Man's Sky will be releasing on August 9 in the USA, August 10 in Europe and August 12 in the UK.


I'm a passionate writer with a taste for stand-out TV shows, music and games. I'm a fan of Sci-Fi and TV shows like Doctor Who, Mr. Robot, Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I've been playing RTSes since I was 9 years old and I love StarCraft: Brood War, WarCraft 3 and Age of Empires 2. Also a writer at <a href="">TelltaleTV</a> and <a href="">TVOvermind</a>. Follow me here at <a href="">@samovermind</a>

Published Jul. 11th 2016

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