Tuesday, 16 August 2016 00:00

The No "No Man's Sky" Guy - A Journey to Getting a Game to Work

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No Man’s Sky has been a highly anticipated game for many, including myself, since its initial announcement.

Honestly, who wouldn’t want to explore an entire galaxy and have yourself be the founder of a planet or two or thousand? 

A lot of inquiries have circulated through many means, asking questions that no one other than Hello Games knew the answers to; even they probably shrugged at some of the possibilities due to the mathematical approach to their game making process. 

However, one thing was for certain: Space Exploration.  And for a lot of us, that was all we needed. 

There were issues of leaked games and pre-release conversations going on that I won’t get into here, but people were genuinely upset that there was going to be an update on launch day. But then you start to think, “Don’t all games have that now?” When you take into consideration that this is a small studio with a MASSIVE project like this, you have to give them a little slack. Especially since it’s a full-retail survival game that ISN’T in Early Access; a feat unheard of these days. Then, when the game was set to launch on PS4 on August 9th, the PC community was up in arms because of a three-day delay from Console to PC. I was not one of those people. It was three days more on top of a three-year wait prior. I managed. It’s natural for someone to have a passion for something that they want to be the next big amazing thing, but at a certain point, you have to understand that nothing is going to be perfect. 

Now, to get a little personal here, let me tell you about my life surrounding the release of No Man’s Sky. 

Don’t worry; this has a point. 

When I first heard that the game was being delayed a few extra days, I took that as a positive. My wife and I were moving on the 8th, and it would’ve been tough to get everything done in a day, and then have to scramble around to make sure that my computer was hooked up and ready to go. The delay gave us the opportunity to peace. 

On the following day, after the move, I decided that living internet-less is not for me, so I immediately plugged in my modem and router to an empty signal. Great. I called my ISP, and they said the previous tenants had another setup so they’d have to come and fix it. Great. “We can have someone out on... Wednesday.” 


Luckily, they were able to “squeeze in” an appointment earlier on Sunday. But still, that’s two whole days without the game. 

What am I to do? I could shop around for the best connection, but that wouldn’t work since my desktop PC ways approximately 8 tons. 

On Friday, the day of the release, I tried to download the game and install it on my work computer, just in the hopes of it working and for me being able to walk around for 5 minutes and then delete it. I downloaded it and, it kept going to the second title screen and then quitting. It only showed the “No Man’s Sky” logo once or twice but never went further than that. I waited a few hours and tried again. They patched it! But...still the same. 

The steam forums were filled with people complaining about the same things. The game would quit for multiple people that didn’t have their video cards updated or just didn’t have OpenGL 4.5 capable cards. 

Eventually, I made peace with the fact that I wouldn't be able to play it until Sunday. 

Then I remembered that my Wife’s laptop should be good enough to run it! Since I don’t have a car, a co-worker offered to drive me to my apartment to pick up the laptop and then we can go back to use her Wi-Fi to download the game. It was tempting! But I respectfully declined. Besides, I had unpacking I could do instead. 

My packing was filled with thoughts of a game I wasn’t able to play. 

I ended up dragging the laptop over to my work on Saturday and downloading it. Having it sit there while I worked was the hardest thing to do. 

Initially, the game was starting up and then quitting seconds after. Wonderful. 

I was finally able to update the laptop as far as I can and, like magic, the game started to kick into full gear with albeit subpar graphics and a stuttery framerate. 

Now, in text, my situation seems small, but I spent a lot of brainpower doing many different things to make this whole thing work, just to play it as soon as possible.

I told you that this would have a point, right? 

Once I finally got into the game on the laptop, I knew that this would work out much better on my desktop, but it still felt pretty good. I mined stuff, I discovered stuff, I tried to push through the slight lag. 

I took the game for what it is. Sure, it might not look great. Sure, turning is kind of a chore. But I’m the first person ever to step foot on this planet. I am a modern day Neil Armstrong, and I could care less if I’m getting 15 FPS. 

Eventually, I had the means to lift off the planet and take off into space. Once I did, I found myself floating in empty space. Behind me was the planet I just took off from. To my left in the far distance was a world yet to be explored and far to my right was a sun. Straight ahead, a few miles out, was an asteroid field. I just kinda...stared at it. Then I shot it and mined stuff from it. 

All of this without a single loading screen. 

It was one of those surreal moments where it felt like I finally made it. I finally am a space explorer. Through the initial road bumps, I was finally able to make it into space. And it was glorious. I played a bunch more on the smaller screen and weaker graphics card until the cable guy came and gave me back my internet. Now, everything is much more glorious. 

Now, I didn’t have to explain my experience with my first launch, but I feel like it’s an important to know my experience with the game thus far. The trials that I went through in order to accomplish my first lift off into space made the entire experience more surreal and rewarding. 

My personal experiences aside, I’m sure that everyone else will have that same reaction with getting into space that fateful first time. 

And that’s kind of the point I want to stress. You’re going to be hearing a lot of the negative surrounding this game and, while some of it is fair, a lot of it deals with the people having such unrealistically high expectations of this game. It’s unfair to judge this game by the growing pains it’s currently experiencing. 

With a game this vast, it’s good to make your kind of fun. Don’t let any outsiders influence what you have to say in your version of the game. 

And that’s a piece of advice you can take to any video game out there. 

If I had an easier experience with the launch, would I have enjoyed the game as much as I did? Yes, probably. But that experience also helped take it to a new level. You can see what I thought of the game here: No Man’s Sky Review

Go check that out and also check out the game while you’re at it. There’s a ton of creatures that aren’t gonna discover themselves!

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James McKeever

When not playing video games, James is usually found playing video games. When he simply does not have time for video games, he goes to a thing called "Job" where he makes money to feed himself and his wife and to buy more video games. Since he was too scared to use the controller himself at the young age of 3, James started his gaming career as a "navigator" of sorts instructing his father when to jump in Super Mario Brothers. Since then, the fear of controllers has subsided and James can now jump freely, circumventing the middleman.