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.]