A new system for Systems - Exploration, Discovery

Originally posted on reddit.

This is a mixture of ideas. The original idea of Unclaimed Systems is not mine. I’ve added my own ideas and those that I’ve read over the last year. Like many of the ideas that we suggest, the implementation of this would most likely take a huge effort.

Unclaimed Systems

In NMS there is no space in between systems and every system we visit is colonized. However, in most sci-fi, especially the type that NMS is emulating, the unusual or unexpected encounters mostly happen away from civilization.

Unclaimed systems would be that space in between civilizations and generally have no space station or affiliation to a certain race. This means no buildings, landing pads, landing beacons or save points, generally. There could be a few reasons for this.

  • Not every system in a galaxy would be colonized, too distant, low value

  • Colonization has just begun or will, with your help

  • It was colonized and then abandoned

  • It’s dangerous or otherwise too difficult to colonize

You could happen across these systems or be sent to them on a mission. Any one of these could be a mission or you could come across some of them while on an entirely different mission.

System Type - Never colonized or on the verge of colonization
these ideas can be mixed with those from different system types

  • Warping in isn’t next to a station, could be on edge of system

  • Explorable derelict freighters

  • Large explorable/mineable asteroid fields

  • Lack of pirates, fly free

  • The Explorers guild wants a survey of the system (beacons on every planet, 50 scans)

  • Launch a planetary probe

  • Merchants guild wants to start a mining operation (build them a base)

  • One research base exists, we’ve lost contact (Repair an Item, Find a Person, figure out what happened)

  • Survey probe gone missing (find it, figure out what happened, Repair an Item)

  • Space pirate den, weed them out, take these wingmen with you

  • Receive a portal address, someone or something is requesting your presence

  • Large set of missions (Repair an Item, etc) to claim the system as your own

You’re sent to find a missing probe. You stumble across a derelict freighter on the edge of the system. It’s a trap. As you approach, pirates attack. You lose them in the asteroid field.

System Type - Colonized but abandoned
these ideas can be mixed with those from different system types

  • Warping in could be next to a space station

  • Explorable derelict space station

  • A thing was left behind (Collect an Item)

  • We lost contact with the entire system (find out what happened)

  • Receive verified teleporter coordinates, someone or something is requesting your presence

  • Large set of missions (Repair an Item, etc.) to reclaim the system for it’s original race, claim it for yourself or hand it over to another race

Seconds after stepping through the teleporter, it blinks rapidly and goes dark. There’s no one to greet you. As you walk down the corridor, your initial suspicion is quickly turning into a very bad feeling.

System Type - Too dangerous or difficult to colonize
these ideas can be mixed with those from different system types

  • Warping in isn’t next to a station, could be on edge of system

  • New star types, strange effects

  • New biome or planetary conditions, strange effects

  • Altered planetary gravity

  • Pirate bases on planet

  • Extremely hostile biome/weather, more extreme than Extreme

  • Extremely hostile Flora/Fauna

  • Planetary or solar storms with strange effects (ex. plutonium based technologies stop functioning)

  • Large percentage of system is huge asteroid field(s), disrupts use of Pulse Engine and Warp Drive, takes fast reflexes and long time to traverse

  • Large percentage of system is huge nebula(e), new cloud tech?, disrupts use of Pulse Engine and Warp Drive, flying into it’s clouds has adverse effects, flying around it’s clouds easier than traversing asteroid field

  • Strange anomalies, scan to find and avoid (gravity wells, folded space)

The clouds of the nebula effected your ship controls drastically. Up was down. Left was right. Only your thrusters worked. You hit a few anomalies and were dropped out on the edge of the system again. After 30 minutes you finally made it through to the planet. Are the probes you launched even going to be able to transmit through this? As long as you get your payment, you suppose it’s not your problem. Your lack of oxides is though. As you set a landing course, you hope this planet is a nice place.

These and more ideas could be mixed up together.

Maybe the system was colonized but their sun started exhibiting strange behaviors. Maybe due to the appearance of a strange anomaly or technology, everyone just vanished. Maybe the entire system was attacked and taken over by pirates.

Maybe there was no colony but pirates have built a base in the center of a nebula. Traverse and fight your way through. Destroy their base.

Maybe solar storms cause extreme paranoia or hostility. The system has become a grave yard of ships whose crews destroyed themselves. Finally, being alone has it’s advantages.

With all of the possible combinations from just these ideas, you’d never know what an unclaimed system was going to have in store for you. I think it would add a much needed sense of exploration and discovery.

All ideas, feedback and criticisms are welcome. What do you think?


I like the ideas. It would be a good thing to introduce more variation, and an element of unpredictability. They also appear to be technically achievable within the existing framework.

However, (and I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable of the way the game works at nuts and bolts level), there may be technical reasons why every system has to have an owner, a space station, and the rest. Possibly it’s tied into the way the quest system interacts with procedural generation.

As I said, nice ideas. It would be good to hear from HG whether they can actually be achieved.


Hello Games is letting their actions speak for them. I get it. Without saying anything though, how do we know that more actions are coming in the future? If they do have plans to keep adding new features/content, I wish they’d let us know.

What a nice collection of ideas! Our task is to continue giving feedback and envision ideas. Thanks for reposting this one here.

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HG have specifically said when 1.3 was officially announced that this is just the beginning…making it more than crystal clear they are nowhere near done with the game…what more confirmation do you what? Not to mention it has also been confirmed that the ARG is NOT over and we will hear from Emily again.

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@DarthTrethon I never saw such confirmation with the realease of Atlas Rises. If true, that’d be all I need.

“It’s been an honour to watch, but this is just the beginning. Whether you’ve followed Waking Titan or not, we welcome anyone to sign up to the Citizen Science Division, and to join us on the official CSD forums.” Update 1.3: Atlas Rises - Coming Soon - No Man's Sky

It sounds like it’s “just the beginning” of the ARG, not necessarily NMS. Although, why continue on with the ARG if you’re not planning on continuing development of the game?

“What we do is much more important than what we say, but since launch we have sometimes focused too much on that.” I agree. Say more stuff.

@DarthTrethon, any comments about my original post?

Sean also very specifically clarified they are not done working on the game here: https://twitter.com/NoMansSky/status/896044499088154625

As for the original post, I don’t really care for long lists of wished features. Some of the things there would be cool and some not so much. At this point I’m sure Hello Games have a solid idea of what they want to do with the game from here so I’ll be happy with whatever they do for the most part.

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Lots of good ideas here traveler! Warping into a system only to find it abandoned. Derelict freighters floating in space, waiting to be plundered. The skeletal remains of an ancient battle long forgotten. The space station is empty and you can repair the teleporter.


Thanks. That sounds awesome!

Any combination of different possibilities could be really cool. It’s the idea of never knowing what you’ll find though that is exciting to me.

Maybe the system hasn’t been colonized because every planet’s nicest condition is an Extreme Storm and it just gets worse from there. All Fauna is aggressive. When a storm hits, it’s Extremely Extreme, draining your Hazard protection and knocking some technology offline.

You can’t see very well. Your Hazard Protection is barely working. Everything is trying to kill you. Every time a storm hits your Mining Laser and Grenade Launcher go offline. There’s no shelter or save points. But man, there’s Solanium everywhere. You just need to survive out there to get it.

NMS has so much potential beyond what it currently is. I hope they plan to expand the gameplay possibilities, along with continuing the obviously unfinished storyline(s) introduced with Atlas Rises.