It’s Still Not Clear Why Players Can’t See Each Other In No Man’s Sky

It’s Still Not Clear Why Players Can’t See Each Other In No Man’s Sky
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In the years leading up to the much-hyped release of No Man’s Sky, which launched yesterday, director Sean Murray talked several times about players being able to spot one another in the wild. So why hasn’t that happened yet?

Yesterday, two No Man’s Sky players found that they were in the same region of the game’s massive universe, and they both live-streamed their attempts to meet up. Yet no matter what they tried — meeting near a planetary outpost; meeting on a space station; meeting in space — they just couldn’t see one another. At one point, one of the players realised that he didn’t have PS Plus, so he logged off and signed up for Sony’s premium service — still, nothing.

This seemed to contradict the claims Murray had made while hyping up the game on press tours, such as this exchange on the Stephen Colbert show:

Colbert: Do we ever get to see ourselves?

Murray: No. You don’t see yourself, so the only way to know what you look like is for somebody else to, you know, to see you.

Colbert: Can you run into other people, other players in the game?

Murray: Yes, but the chances of that are incredibly rare, just because of the size of what we’re building.

In other interviews, Murray repeated that same point several times, telling media outlets that it’d be unlikely for two players to see one another, but that it could definitely happen.

So what was going on? One thing that was clear, while watching players Psytokat and SadCactus stream their encounter, was that they were both in their own instances of the planet. When one player paused the game by entering the menu, the movement of foliage paused with him. When one player tried destroying terrain with a grenade launcher, the other player couldn’t see it.

Some have theorised that Psytokat and SadCactus were impeded by server issues. Others think that despite Murray’s claims, it’s just not possible for players to see one another. And Murray, even while acknowledging the encounter on Twitter, has yet to clear things up:

For No Man’s Sky players, this is very frustrating. Does this feature no longer exist? Did it ever exist in the first place? Is it going to be added later? Was it broken because of server overload? Or did Psytokat and SadCactus just miss an important step in the process? As with previous No Man’s Sky PR snafus, some clarification would be very much appreciated — even if the answer is as simple as “We wanted to make it happen, but couldn’t.”

Murray and Hello Games didn’t return a request for comment last night.


  • And suddenly players are thinking “Did we blow this out of proportion? Is this…………..just a game???”

    • I doubt it. The dumb (from both sides) noise is probably so loud they can’t hear anything inside their own heads.

      • I like the idea of being stranded and alone in a vastness imagining the potential or even likelihood that there’s something fascinating and dynamic somewhere out there.
        That’s the incomprehensibly awesome appeal of the universe. That’s what the game aims to mimic.

        The idea of being stranded in a vastness full of mindless, routine following entities with zero possibility for anything more takes that incomprehensibly awesome appeal and throws it straight out the window.

        That’s probably why they won’t clarify how limited the “multiplayer” is, because the concept that intelligent life might exist in the vastness of the 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets is more important to the enjoyment you’ll get out of the game than the fact that it actually exists.

        It’s actually rather fascinating, even if it turns out that the game sucks! 🙂

        • I’ve already put 4+ hours into it, and I’m still not bored. So to me HelloGames delivered. Each has their own opinion, generally it’s the people who hyped it up to the second coming of Jesus who dislike it though.

  • You would think that if you can go into caves, space stations, underground, black holes and fight space battles you would be able to at least see some form player models even if they were of low quality? It would be the first thing I would do, meet up with friends who bought the game. Maybe they didn’t get it working in time for its release and will do an update? It’s how they did it with ED.
    We still do not have all planetary landings and alien species but they will be added as soon as they get round to it.

    • Yeah, and I’m sure you know howto sync 10 quintillion planets worth of data and more in space asteroids the players are interacting with too?

  • Steam have No Mans Sky catagorised as Single Player…….

    It is No MANS Sky, not No MENS Sky after all.

    Never trust a man with two first names

  • I think it is most likely because the game have different instances that the 2 player were actually in different instance. I mean you can’t really expect 1 million people flying around in the same galaxy right?

    Even the biggest MMO out there have instances / channels to keep maintain the load.

    • You don’t really need everyone in the same instance. Even having each planet be a single instance would be enough.
      And let’s face it, after the initial rush the player numbers will significantly drop off so it will be even less of a problem.
      Considering how spread out everything is, meeting another player should be a cool and exciting experience.

    • Yeah I have a feeling that once the planet is procedurally generated once its maybe stored so others can visit but its still on separate instances.

      I started playing that Elite Dangerous game a while ago and while its not procedurally generated you could do the same thing these people did and not see people; there was a way to party up with other people so you were on the same instance then could see one another. So I assume its the same thing, but obviously without the feature to actually sync/party up with specific players.

      • I started playing that Elite Dangerous game a while ago and while its not procedurally generatedEr… yeah it is 😛 Some parts are hand-crafted, but for the most part it’s all the work of Stellar Forge.

  • Silly question, but were they “online” in game?

    I’ve noticed that my server connection actually goes red and stays off until I begin uploading my discoveries.
    Not even sure it would make a difference

    • Yeah that’s what I think too. Server is on and off on mine, suspect it’s getting a bit of a hammering.

  • I really enjoy it, and don’t care for multiplayer. Pirates are annoying enough.

    Buuuuuut…. what I’d really love is a phone app so I can track my discoveries with spinning little models of the creatures. I’d really like to pull out my phone and show off some of the weird critters I’ve found.

    • I agree that competitive multiplayer might not be best for the game but it would be nice to be able to meet your friends and just fly around exploring planets and taking down pirates together for a while.

      For now I’m rather enjoying it as a single player experience though.

  • Once again the online sheeple of the gaming community are an embarrassment. with their “omg they lied to us” crap. If only they acted like gamers who realise that things always change all the way through game development and that press conferences and the like are meaningless by the time of launch. it is up to the gamer themselves to be informed via reviews, or streams or wording on a box AFTER launch to understand what they are getting, not what they were promised. If they preorder that is their own fault.

    What they certainly shouldnt be doing is acting like a Hammer Horror film lynching party armed with pitchforks and flames BEFORE they have information about what went wrong etc. Those 15 people in the development team are a tad busy at the moment.

    • Downvoted for the use of the word “sheeple”.

      You can make baseless assertions about everyone else, but that’s sound evidence that you’re a w*nker!

      • really have you seen youtube and the like today? a large mindless mass of people being all whaaaa whaaaa, instead of talking about the game what they like, what they dont, its full of “OMG he lied” spam by people are are more interested in acting like a mindless unit of negativity… and you call me the w*nker?! HAH. I use the word because that is exactly what a large force on the internet becomes when something like this happens. They are people acting like sheep. Not rational human beings. Sheeple.

        • Ah yes, what better way to signify that you’re unique and more nuanced in opinion than by using the same smug and overused expression that every teenager in the world uses.

          • hhhmm at least I was talking about the content of the article but you, like the chap above, are just doing personal attacks not discussing what I said about the game, gee that’s original.

  • Since release, I’ve only played about 5 hours of this game, but it has exceeded my expectations. But I think some people did blow this out of proportion. For me it’s just been about discovering new things. And that’s what I wanted. Meeting other people was never part of the game for me and if I actually ever meet another player, I don’t know how I’d feel.

    • Ultimately it comes down to this…. how long until it gets boring and grindy?
      If I wanted to grind the same thing over and over just in different environments I’d restart my WoW subscription.

      I want to like this game, but everything I see makes it sound like i’ll be super bored after discovering a few planets.

  • It is a server driven game my initial thoughts are…
    Were the streamers friends?
    Otherwise I’m inclined to think that the game could have a pokemon GBA type interaction. Where one player leaves a mark/gift and the other sees it after a server update cycle.

    I do wonder if one player’s carving of a rock will show up on another’s after x time has passed. Seeing how everyone can name animals it would be too much strain to resolve name conflicts on the fly. Setting the updates to cycles would free up processing power. Eg. if two players name the same creature who gets the rights? ideally it would be the first player, but instead of resolving that on the fly it would be cheaper to process the days logs overnight and broadcast the change to the universe at a determined cycle. This of course would leave players naming creatures and then have the name disappear, so maybe not the way it is done?

  • “It’s a testament to how amazing our network coders are that discoveries are still working at all”

    No… it’s not an amazing testament that the whole premise of the game is working as intended. That should be the most basic of requirements.
    That’s like saying “it’s amazing we released anything at all”.

    • Well I think its nice to praise the people who worked on the game… right? Considering how badly some games release I think they’ve probably done a fairly good job.

      • I guess…. but should we all get praise for just doing our job and not screwing up?
        Recognition is great, but let’s not pretend that releasing a working game is extraordinary.

        Maybe it’s just the lack of tone in a tweet but it sounds like he was surprised that the system was working as intended.

        • Yeah I think the tweet, taken out of context, probably sounds a bit like that. Maybe all his others prior to put it more in perspective.

          As for the praise/recognition thing; I think most people respond favourably to being recognised for a job well done. The alternative is receiving no praise or recognition for accomplishing what was asked of you and getting sh*t when stuff goes wrong. From personal experience recognition is extremely important to having a good working team otherwise people naturally think they arent valued. Work suffers etc.

          Obviously getting into a whole other topic but I like how he’s praised his team, they’ve done what they’ve set out to do with very little negative impacts and thats something they deserve praise for. In my opinion anyway.

    • I think it is amazing they managed to release this game at all! It’s technically an amazing game and it came from a very small team of developers.

    • Did you miss the part where he said there are too many people playing, and more than they could have predicted? Important context for the bit you singled out.

      • Considering the absurd amount of hype and rather large number of pre-orders, it’s no one’s fault but theirs if they didn’t predict launch numbers properly.
        Saying “we couldn’t have predicted such a big launch” stopped being a valid excuse after the first WoW expansion.
        Surely that’s like the first damn thing you do when you launch a new game. You make sure your system can handle the launch. Especially when it’s not even really an online game. All it sends to servers is login and discovery info.

        • And what if the numbers they had only pointed to there being a fraction as many users as they got? You can prepare all you like and still be blindsided in the end.

    • But then all that hype has worked out and that’s all that matters for all involved on the Publisher/Dev side.

      Having not bitten the hype cake, I’m still waiting to see how everything pans out for the PC version then I’ll bite at some stage I guess?

  • They are still trying to make people think it can happen, even lying and saying two people met on launch day, when they occupied the same spot but couldn’t meet.
    So clearly this is the best you can get and marketing lies have been shown for the BS they are.
    I was going to get it but I hate scam marketing lies so I won’t touch it.

  • Maybe this will be resolved in the PC version? I am SUPER skeptical though about it getting pushed back, is it going to be a shitty port? Will there be terrible server issues? There was no real public beta was there? Is that why PS4 got it first as a sort of testing ground? I really want this to be great but as it stands it’s a less good First person starbound? There’s no base building (yet) ie you can trick out your ship or your first planet ,etc? Lots of questions that need answering. And the Aug 12 release is a US based release (Because murica is the world apparently) Fuck that it’s less than 2 hours til August 12, yet we have to wait another day.

  • Now, I don’t know much about this game, but I imagine they have some kind of light-speed travel stuff going on. If that’s the case, could it be possible that two players, while in the same general area, exist there at different times?
    I think it could happen if they first spawn at a similar time, but then due to differences in distance to the meetup location, their relative travel times, which are already relative to real-time cause them to arrive at the location at vastly differing real-times.
    How deep is the simulation in this game?

    • Ooo now that’s deep 🙂 I never thought of it that way. Would that mean a person coming in earlier or later in time see the difference in evolutionary stages?

      • I considered this as well in regards to planet and star states, but then i thought, even if the planets or stars were at the beginnings or ends of their lifespans, the time it takes for them to actually change would be longer than any observable in game moment

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