At some point, which I believe was with the release of NEXT, they changed something which actually resulted in looping back to Euclid.
Most of us know that galaxies are using the variable ‘RealityIndex’, which is likely an integer, at least in the save file. I am not sure how this integer is calculated, or defined (type), or what behaviour (code) comes with it, which is the important part for how this integer will behave.
I’ll show an example of types used with C# below:
I personally believe they not only changed the type for this integer, they likely changed the behaviour/code with it as well.
Currently (BEYOND), without editing, the ‘RealityIndex’ goes from 0-255 (256 total), to then loop back to 0, which brings you back in Euclid. This behaviour was introduced with NEXT.
Previously (pre-NEXT), without editing, we would not be able to loop back, but go beyond Lousongola (255).
When editing your save prior to NEXT, we were able to use not only values larger than 255, but also negative values, to apparently result in different ‘new’ galaxies. The engine certainly doesn’t appear to be limited to a total of 256 galaxies, or at least not for ‘naming’ them. I doubt anyone has actually checked if it was only the name that changed, although I can imagine well over 256 ‘seeds’ (variations of galaxies). It could also have been possible, that values greater than 255, were actually ‘flipped’ sign values, internally being negatives. Basically entering 256 (integer overflow), could internally result in flipping the sign, resulting in a negative value. Possibly reason why negative values entered, would previously work as well prior to NEXT.
When currently editing your save file, results are different for values that used to work previously. Unless you know how entered values are internally interpreted (behaviour/code) and assigned, you can not be sure of the result you get. I have no clue what actual internal value is being used when entering 256 manually, nor do I know how negative values are treated. Behaviour could now simply just assign a specific value when out of expected range, always showing the same galaxy for example.
According to results posted by others in various social platforms, I do have reason to believe they not only changed the type from ‘signed’ to ‘unsigned’, but also changed the behaviour to further limit the actual possible results. I have not seen anyone fully research this, but I am sure there are a few ‘modders’ out there who have full insight of both internal type and behaviour of the value Reality Index.
Note: It is likely a bit more complicated than described above. Integers are ‘easier’ to understand for most of us, but I would complicate it by introducing (Hexadecimal) Integer Literals or bit-level functionality. So take it all with a grain of salt.
My initial thought would be to introduce a ‘proper’ way back to Euclid.
Many players had ‘complained’ about not being able to get back to the most active galaxy Euclid once they had moved on. So making this possible seems a logical choice, at the same time stimulating players to move on, especially if you wish to get back.
Even with the introduction of Beyond, which now allows you to teleport to other galaxies you have previously explored, it is still NOT possible to ‘properly’ go back to previous galaxies. Hello Games may still be working on this, but currently not everything functions as you’d expect, you are still partly visiting a previously explored galaxy. They would first have to fix the issue where ‘RealityIndex’ does NOT match ‘HomeRealityIteration’. Sounds simple, but may not actually be as simple as it seems, as there is likely more involved than just changing that value to match.
Besides, isn’t 256 galaxies total, more than enough, at least for now? Do you know how long it actually takes to ‘legit’ make it that far? We already have plenty of complaints of how ‘similar’ same type planets look. Most players wish for more variation, even within a single galaxy, let alone 256 of them. There is basically NO incentive to explore, or at least not until you find out that the next, or the one after, turns out to be more of the ‘same’. There is no end to this sandbox game either, it just ‘used to’ seemingly go on-and-on. I am not saying there should even be an end goal and I am pretty sure HG never planned for one either. So why not limit the amount of galaxies to 256 total, especially when it offers a solution to an often heard complaint.
Of course this solution could just be temporary, as I have no clue what else HG have in mind. They may plan for more ‘variation’ and possibly affected by the Reality Index, which I have been hoping for ever since they first mentioned ‘scaling difficulty’. I can certainly imagine how getting closer to the center of a galaxy can alter various variables, and similarly variables can be altered the further you get into the galaxies available.
Lastly I’d like to mention performance, especially when it comes to data that is required to be stored on the servers. With the introduced changes to multiplayer, I can understand their servers to have a lot more work to do now than they ever had to do before. Can you imagine how the amount of data would scale when you do not somehow limit this. No doubt the amount of galaxies available is part of required limitations to keep performance at least somewhat under control.
Either way, I am sure that 256 galaxies is more than enough for most players. There are only a few who have ‘legit’ made it all the way, which is quite an accomplishment! Sure enough many were curious, with only some actually tempted to find out, with or without some help. To me, the limitation and ‘loop’ back makes perfect sense and I am sure Emily agrees!
I agree, with the ability to teleport to other galaxies (Space Station/Nexus), I expected some additional changes to better reflect our new abilities. Previously we were only able to see what Galaxy we were in when entering a new system. Now you’d at least expect it to be visible in the Galaxy Map as well as in your Teleport list. It feels like the consequence of this change has not been well explored at all.
In all honesty, I feel Beyond has been rushed to basic feature requirements, to (hopefully) be fleshed out after, including bugs and issues. This time more obvious than any other major update so far. I hope they’ll sort it all out before moving on to another period of silence for new planned features. A familiar ‘loop’ I have so far failed to understand.