I won’t bore you with details, but something significant happened in my life a few months ago. More specifically, to a family member that I love very much. This is very much related to the lack of posts for some time. When stuff happens, sometimes you fall back on old habits. You may turn to an old friend. Sometimes that friend comes in DVD format. And sometimes that DVD format contains the first Season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Hello, Friendos. Glad Wesley eventually traded in that sweater for a uniform.
It’s a season I’ve avoided for some time now, I’ve always equated it as the worst one, just in terms of not having a polished look – the series was first released in 1987, after all. Some of the special effects and uniforms are a bit dated, some of the characters are not quite developed, there is some clumsiness in dialogue. Looking back on it now, sure, there is a certain level of awkwardness, it’s not quite as refined as some of the later seasons, but there are still some great episodes. But what is really great about the season, is what I love about the entire series, and dare I say it; the entire Star Trek franchise.
It’s an astoundingly simple premise.
A ship sails off into the unknown. Who they encounter, where they visit, what phenomenas they come across; the possibilities are endless. There is a constant element of danger, excitement and surprise.
Maybe that’s why No Man’s Sky has excited me so much. This is a video game developed by Hello Games, and it’s based on essentially the same premise. You fly off into space with your own space ship, exploring the galaxy. You can spend as much time as you’d like on each planet. The eventual goal of the game is to upgrade your ship to go deeper into space until you reach the center of the galaxy where a still unknown surprise awaits. Founder and Game Programmer Sean Murray is passionate about exploring the roots of science fiction; that sense of wonder and excitement that we first had as children, maybe it was reading our first Philip K. Dick novel, or watching our first episode of Star Trek. Alot of the artwork contained in NMS, is in fact, a throwback to sci-fi book covers from the 60s and 70s.
But it’s not just the uber cool premise of the game, nor the artwork that make No Man’s Sky so groundbreaking. It’s also the engine behind it. You see, this game doesn’t come on a disk. It’s not stored in a cloud. It’s a game based on what Murray describes as “procedural mathematical formulas”, meaning the game’s environment gets built as the player moves forward, exploring what’s around them. Sounds pretty neat, right? But how detailed is the game? Well, it turns out, to say the game is complex or very large would be a vast understatement. When you start the game, you begin on a planet; in a star system. One of hundreds of millions in the game. That’s not a typo. Think about that – there are hundreds of millions of stars, each with it’s own set of planets to explore. Players that encounter planets (or the species on them) for the first time get to name them.
This Friday will mark the 42 year anniversary of the Appolo 17 mission’s conclusion. It was the sixth and final mission for Humans to land on the moon.
Let’s hope a video game is not the only way we can explore space in the future. In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for No Man’s Sky. It should be released sometime in the new year, on Playstation and PC.