That Dead Tree species

Y’know, the ones on a forest planet that just look dead and basically the motherfuggin’ same all the way from v1.0.

Are there no tweaks doable to the algorithm (or whatever) to make them, I dunno, more similar in branch formation to the trees around them and less like sticky-out sore thumbs?

I’m not sure which tree you mean. Can you show us a picture?


I’d like to see a pic too because the dead tress I normally see are amazing. The detail is really cool. I like 'em a lot and they’ve definitely changed since 1.0.


+1 here on the dead trees, love them

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Most trees are so tough that if you hit them in your exocraft, you just bounce off. But the dead trees will break, and you can drive through them.

If you’re blasting through woodland at 80 km/h, it’s nice to be able to recognise the breakable trees quickly, and from some distance away. So in that respect, it’s good that they’re all similar.

And if you’re trying to drive across a heavily forested planet, heading for the dead trees is the only way you’re ever going to get anywhere.

I’m very happy that the dead trees are easy to recognise.


Phew, it’s not me hallucinating then, as the quest to find the 12th species to finally max out my zoology milestones and thus all of them was starting to stress me out!

So no pic of dead tree, but the evasive lil fishies that have won me a Total Perspective Vortex trophy woo


I go mad at times because I can find the Last animal… seems that after a while no new species spawning takes place… well that’s my theory anyway…wish there was a sort of Pity Clue given if you reach that point where your start shouting at the planet!!!


Usually I give up 'cos there’ll always be another planet but it was a pleasant little watery moon with relaxed sentinels.

After 11 species I had 9 land 1 air and 1 water so it could really have been anywhere.

On the upside I explored a lot of cool underwater caverns and now have a shedload of kelp sacs and aquaspheres.

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Not being picky, but … there is no actual “spawning” in No Man’s Sky. Once the Universe’s seed is entered, everything is created at once. Galaxies, stars, planets and their topography, trees, creatures, NPCs, weather, etc. We discover what’s there as we travel, but it’s already there. It doesn’t “spawn.” An animal continues in its wandering when you leave the area. When you get back, the location has changed. It’s where it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t “spawn” in a new location.

Many other games have true spawning (creation from nothing as you play), but not No Man’s Sky. Yet I do note that some of the hello Games developers are slipping recently and I’ve seen them use that word. It’s so common in video games, that it’s a hard habit to break This is just one more way that No Man’s Sky is different. I like that.

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Very interesting!
But then I wonder how it fits with the following: I had an animal disappearing before my eyes as I was analysing it (obviously it was my last one on that planet, and spent two more days finding it again, but that’s another topic!) It didn’t go anywhere, it just disappeared. A few seconds later, birds pop up in the sky (I am not saying these two things are related).


@Clemm Could you please give us a link to your source for this information, as I, too, have had creatures de-spawn right before my eyes.

It is so easy to say “this is so” rather than “I believe this may be correct” that I prefer to check the source if possible. Thanks.

LOL. Maybe, but chances are slim. Sean Murray discussed their procedural generation (ProcGen) in some of the pre-release video interviews and presentations. If I have a lot of time on my hands one day, I’ll see if I can locate one such. But since we can’t (yet) search for comments within videos, that may not be practical. Most games do not use procedural generation. No Man’s Sky does. You could do the same research - listen to a ton of the pre-release videos where Sean discusses how their ProcGen works.

It seems like what you are seeing is a program (math formula) bug, not a “de-spawning.” Software bugs (glitches) are like cockroaches – it seems like you can never kill them all. Report them to Hello Games using their feedback or bug report methods (at Steam or No Man’s Sky website).

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I was under the impression that ‘spawning’ was a term for various in game things to appear; either through slow rendering or through a triggered mechanism.
In NMS, as you fly slowly, the graphics crystalise & trees ‘pop’ up, deposits form & details clarify. Same as, as you walk, distant horizon details get clearer.
All those things are in the game graphics & are ‘rendering’ to appear.
The fabric of the visuals is pre-determined via other factors of the games design so that the visual can be ‘built’ when appropriate. This includes the animals.
Though the critters can ‘suddenly’ appear, they exist already (as can be seen by the dots when using the scanner).
The critters, plants, rocks etc. are all predetirmined via proc.gen upon loading & it’s a mix of processing speed, horizon points, character point speed and distance that give the impression of spontaneous spawning. This can be seen by the way grass doesn’t appear when going high speed in a Rover: it’s there but not visible.
Also this can be sort of mapped by the frequency of items you find like; boxes, buildings, crystals, trees etc.
There are layers to the graphics. The landscape which is the ground which you can interact with via the grenade launcher. The landscape growth which is over the top (mostly) of the landscape and can be interacted with via the laser. Then comes the animals which are animated and therefore more vulnerable to blinking out and dissappearing due to complexities. This mapping and layering is all controlled by the proc.gen thus creating variations in the number of features over a given area. ie lots of trees, no caves, occasional animals, etc etc.
The features of these items are a mix of proc.gen and predesigned imagery, which is why there is a similarity to features on different planets. Mixes up the bits so to speak.
In the true original term of ‘spawning’, I think the NPC ships may in fact ‘spawn’ as they do suddenly appear in one location (spawn point) and then spread out. The same with the walker style Sentinels because they simply were not there before a player triggers them. I may be wrong though.

All this being said: in my mind, for players, ‘spawning’ is just computer speak for ‘appearing’ and applies to anything that does so suddenly.
That’s my 2 cents and completely without evidence other than an interest with info gleaned from the web. I’m happy to be corrected by a tech savvy dev but I think I’m pretty close :wink:


I agree. It is after all the player’s experience that counts, not the algorithm (math formula) that produces it, bug or no bug.

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Actually, EVERYTHING in the game “spawns” when you get close to it, that’s how the procedural generation works. Everything just exists as numbers before you move close, then the game renders them in as objects.

But I do get what you are saying, creatures don’t pop in at random places, their positions are pre-set when the universe was seeded. However, some planets have no “spawn” points for some of their species, such as planets with only shallow water that never let their aquatic species appear.


Thank ypu so much for that info… I understand more now… and yes I have had a last animal vanish infront of me as well and had to go looking again…bit like in true life really… my cat brought in a rat the other morning…one moment it was in the kitchen next!!! Spent the day nervoursly looking for it… later a tail turned up on the mat so cat had eaten it …euch!
Back to NMS… you say the landscape has changed when we go back… so does that mean we can’t retrace our steps on a planet?
I would so love a map of my wanderings on a planet so I could see where I have been…but sounds like the planet isn’t constructed for that…

Thanks to al who have talked about this “spawn” issue. My breakfast reading for this morning.

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“Spawning” semantics…
It seems like just wordplay, but there’s a big difference between procedurally generating what’s visible and “spawning.” Spawn means to create something out of literaly, nothing, like a “real” magician would do (if that were possible IRL … LOL). The procedural generation (ProcGen) in No Man’s Sky is not “spawning” since the objects are not created when you see them. They were already created during the universe “seeding” and already exist – they just become visible. I cannot see over the next hill, that doesn’t mean the hill “spawns” as I walk and finally see beyond the hill.

No Man’s Sky is like walking/riding/flying IRL … as you travel you see things nearer and nearer to you. They already existed in the universe – you just were not in a position to see them. To reduce stress on the computer, the game displays a “bubble” around the player. Everything outside that “bubble” exists already, you are just not seeing it yet. As you move, the game drops off the data bits about what’s no longer in your current position “bubble” and adds data about what’s now in that display area. That saves processing power. But that does not mean that the only things that exist are inside your “bubble.” The “bubble” itself is merely a display area. The whole No Man’s Sky universe still exists and is progressing as people, creatures, NPCs, and AI starships move.

In terms of “spawning”, there is ONE and only one true “spawn” in No Man’s Sky – the creation of the entire universe as soon as it’s “seeded” prior to its first release or to some major upgrades. When we access the game, that one-time universe “spawning” has already taken place. The result of a new “seed” (new universe spawn) is players finding that after the update their home base planet may different, etc. While that can irritate players, it’s necessarey for some of the awesome upgrades we are getting.

The misuse of them term “spawn” comes from that fact that a great many games use true spawning (creation out of nothing, like a “real” magician). Gamers have gotten used to referring to anything that seems to “appear” or “pop in” as "spawning. In No Man’s Sky, though, that’s not accurate. No Man’s Sky ProcGen is a reason I bought it.

About landscape and object location…
If you fly away and come back, the same hills and caves are just where they always were – even before you approached them and could see them. The same animals continued roaming about as you left, so they are not in the exact place they were when you left. Hello Games also wanted to use true planetary rotation, but found that pre-launch game testers didn’t handle that very well. “Where did the space station go?” for example. They did not adjust to the fact that a planet’s rotation meant that the space station was not “right up there” and they’d have to navigate to it.

So for playability by more people, Hello Games took out true planet rotation (and perhaps rotation around a star) and used day/night cycles when on-planet. I would like it if Hello Games adds true planetary rotation in a future update, though it’s not crucial to my primary love – exploration. I don’t see added game experience from rotation of planets around a star, but I wouldn’t complain about it either.

About those darned sentinels…
I do have questions related to ProcGen and behavior of sentinels in No Man’s Sky.

  • Where were the walkers and “dogs” prior to coming after you?"
  • Does every planet with sentinels hold an area that serves as a sentinel base? If such a sentinel base of operations exists, should we be able to discover it?
  • Does a distant sentinel “base” or communications device somewhere in a star system of the current galaxy issue instructions to an already-on-planet sentinel walker or dog to “port” into an area? The drones seem to fly around performing other functions and just approach when you “violate” a directive of theirs. So they may not need any remote “signals” or “porting”.
  • Could the “ring” objects on airless planets be communicating now or in the past with sentinels?
  • Where do even the drone sentinel “Directives” etc. come from? Does a remote site change them or is the logic and resulting sentinel behavior already in the sentinel done AI’s “code”?

By the way, scan a drone or other sentinel and look at the interesting results. As you rescan drones, the info changes too. To me, the information seems like added clues. My guess is that we will find out more about the sentinels with future game upgrades and expanded lore.

[Sorry for the long post, but it seemed warranted.]

Dither based object fading …

Below is a GDC talk from Innes McKendrick about Continuous World Generation. I have added a time stamp for the part about creature simulation. Make sure to check out the full video if this interests you :wink:


Here is a video I just created showing the above dither based object fading in-game. Kind of trying to make a point here about some misconceptions. Life does not ‘magically’ continue when we are not seeing it. How about the opposite? … I’d say it’s pretty much the same and I would personally call it ‘spawning’. Creatures in this case are put into the world according to coded rules and assets assigned. Actually pretty much the same way as in games that are not procedurally generated. When we do not see them, they are removed, awaiting code to magically give them a brand new life.

Anyways, call it what you want and see for yourself: