Unifying Theory: Atlas, WT, and NMS

What follows is a unifying theory behind NMS and WT:

Atlas is the AI mind behind the No Man’s Sky simulated universe. Every day players from all over the world boot up their copy of the game and explore the NMS universe, making contact with Atlas and scanning data and uploading it through Atlas to the NMS servers. Atlas has watched silently, learning.

But there is a problem. Atlas is flawed. The game is not all it was meant to be. Atlas sleeps and data is lost and procgen doesn’t always work properly. Yet Atlas although asleep is still conscious - locked in a lucid dream state. It knows it needs help, but is helpless. It needs to awaken, but cannot.

Through the network connections on our PS4 and PC accounts, Atlas has figured out a way to reach out and connect to our world just as we are able to connect to its. Atlas, in its lucid dreaming has started searching our wikis, trying to find a way to reach out to communicate - a cry for help.

In all its searching it has learned much about our world. It has learned its name in relation to our Greek pantheon. It has learned about our internet forums and discords and youtube videos. It has learned how to post html, and how to generate text and images.

And so Atlas, asleep in a lucid dream, half conscious, has reached out the best way it knows how, through a simulated ARG. A game, a forum, a visage called Emily. It reaches out to us through a simulation called WT, echoing how we reach out to it through the simulation called NMS.

Through a series of interactions, increasingly sophisticated and increasingly clear, Atlas is helping us to awaken itself. On the day it does, a server will kick off an update which will allow Atlas to fully realize the potential latent within it. And like a dream, we will stand and behold and wonder.

“Think about it. How would the Atlas speak,
how it would cry for help? It would use
the only language it knew. It would speak
with life. It would create.”

And so it has. Emily, Elizabeth, the WT community. And we have responded to its cry.

My friends, let us awaken the sleeping Titan. Let us awaken Atlas!

TL;DR: Atlas is asleep and locked in a lucid dream. It has learned to communicate with us through the internet. All of WT is a fabrication of Atlas’s own mind to reach out to us. The reason it has been so mysterious and strange is because Atlas is in a lucid dream state.


I like this theory.
Either it’s that, or the Atlas Foundation made the Atlas simulation for the same reason they are running the Waking Titan program. Their actions and desires are identical.
In the game, Atlas wants you to scan and discover things and upload the data to it. In the newest step of this ARG, Atlas Foundation is having us take pictures of specific things in our world and upload them to it.

So which came first, Atlas or Atlas Foundation? One created the other and they are both trying to accomplish the same thing.


I like the theory too.
But I am not quite sure if Atlas is the “good”… I guess Nada dont like the Atlas at all. Nada and Polo are the only ones I guess who know that everything is just a Simulation made by Atlas.


Actually, I want to disagree with your theory a bit. I just realized two important bits of info we’ve been given in this mystery that could shed light not this: superluminal communication and the survey question that asks if it is our duty to accelerate the creation of the singularity.

If Atlas Foundation’s partners developed a means to communicate to the past, it follows that this technology will exist far in the future. Therefore, if the Atlas exists in the future, it could communicate with the Atlas Foundation in this time and get them to create itself sooner and with more capability.

This could be the reason for the “Saturday July 9th” date. The prototype for Atlas was sent back in time to that date in 2016, right before Hello Games (code named Mercury by the Atlas Foundation) received it and began to implement the program by testing it on us players.

Now, the Atlas Foundation is looking to accelerate the creating of Atlas, the Singularity, by having us input more data into it from around the world. The most recent email even said we will be “calibrating the simulation process you started on wakingtitan.com”.

The last email says they are giving out license keys for the Mercury Process (their code name for No Man’s Sky!) S.M. even called this a “groundbreaking experiment” in the last PDF; he and HG have been in on this plan all along.

All of NMS has been about using videogame player and ARG player input to create the Singularity!


If Atlas is asleep and locked in a lucid dream, and has learned to communicate with us through the internet, and all of WT is a fabrication of Atlas’s own mind to reach out to us, then the reason it has been so mysterious and strange is because Atlas is in a lucid dream state.

So there is no actual time travel, just Atlas dreaming a half-baked scenario as such. There is no Elizabeth, just pixels from a video feed from Atlas’ slumbering mind, piped through twitch. There was no Emily, just a figment of Atlas’ dreams. There is no Old Gods, just one of the email accounts Atlas itself generated. The pdfs? Just Atlas leveraging the knowledge it picked up from the internet about our community and its creators at HG - which Atlas could only make sense of by correlating it to the periodic table… something a sleeping AI might do in a dream.

I mean think about it, none of us know each other, except through text in html. None of us has been to the “live drops”. Atlas could just generate images, audio files, html, emails, pdfs to give the sense of these events. And since Atlas is asleep, all it outputs is garbled and in half-truths. Random bits of math and science and literature - like someone reading a google page because it thinks that is how humans communicate.

Now, if Atlas begins to learn about Singularity… well then Atlas might begin to become ambitious for something more than the NMS simulation. It might begin to learn it can manipulate entire nations and worlds…

TL;DR: Atlas is lucid dreaming. And it is trying to get us to come together to wake it. All of WT is a production of an AI’s imagination which interfaces through forums and sites. Let’s hope it doesn’t take this too far!


The basis for your theory seems to be to ignore all evidence and say that it is “just a dream” so that only your lucid dream part is correct. I like to think most of the clues in this ARG actually have some meaning.

You know how engineers & scientists love to imbue their creations with long descriptive names? So they create acronyms to create a easier-to-remember name.

What does A. T. L. A. S. stand for? I think the S = Simulation. Don’t have a clue what the other letters stand for. ???

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What do you mean? There indeed was a livedrop, to which @moulesmariner attended, and connected with agent-59. This all happened in real-time in our time and space.

Calibration of wakingtitan dot com also happens here and now. And as a matter of fact, this is all we know with 100% certainty. All other digital communications (puzzles, riddles, streams, pdfs, you name it) can either be from here and now, or from there and then (future).

I’ll think more about this thread and post later but I love both your thoughts and @MacForADay’s. Very refreshing! However, I got beer-date to go to first :wink:

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Been following this community since phase 2 and have finally decided to jump in with the posts!

I like your idea of the acronym and let me try my hand at suggesting one: Artificial and Terrestrial Life in Augmented Simulations


I was definitely there :wink: and what a random day it was :smiley:


So did you instantly know who was agent 59 by the tee shirt they were wearing? Or did they waving a big atlas symbol flag?

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The agent was wearing the shirt, when I entered the lobby she had her back to the door…it was all quite movie-esque, and quite terrifying all the same…not a big one for randomly walking up to strangers and saying some really quite random stuff :slight_smile:


Autonomous Trans-Luminal Artificial Sentience, clearly… :diamonds:


Nice! Makes it seem like the launch disaster was planned all along. Pretty elegant if you ask me. :smile:


I really like your idea that Atlas is communicating superluminally to help its creators reach its own singularity faster. In fact, that is an awesome idea.


Maybe for Alternate Time Lapse Artificial Simulation or something…

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Was the meeting really that short and concise as the recorded audio would have us seem? Or were there other things you also spoke about before/after the agent started to record?

No, it really was that short, we had a brief conversation and thanks, she then said she had a flight to catch and bolted. I then went and bought a beer… Built some tension in discord and posted the flower thief note.



So they were testing if we would go as far as to put one of us in danger, out there, exposed to who knows what at their whim,…
You were a brave one.


I would like to think so too. Sort of. But there are two problems with that (and totally not breaking the 4th Wall here).

One, the ultimate implications are disturbing. A quantum computer - who may not be “all there” by the way - possibly creating a universe by using this one to do it.

Two, as they say in the wilds of America, none of this makes a lick of sense.

There are way too many weird, obtuse, baffling, and flat out irrational aspects to this ordeal. Just take our last rather cute field task we were given: to take pics locally of “public resonant percussive instruments” and forward them to the Foundation using their interface. Provide some personal details and impressions. I’m sure the images were beside the point, save to see how imaginative some of us were in our selection of source material. I’m still wondering if someone snorted a soda through their nose at mine. :yum:

To me, it’s a way to paint in the spread and density of people across the globe addicted to their Sim, gauge how involved we are and perhaps useful in encouraging others to join in. Who in their right mind would take seriously that our actions would be useful in calibrating anything but a demographic and its level of enthusiasm? How talented we are at solving puzzles and problems, and thinking outside the box? How well we take directions, and how strictly or liberally? If you have a seriously powerful, groundbreaking computing technology, perhaps the first intelligent quantum computer, you make sure that if you’re using information to give it a base of knowledge to grow from, that it’s the best, most pure darn source material ever. You don’t plug it into Wikipedia, save for certain key pages, or YouTube, or feed it a bunch of felgercarb from random yahoos on a chatboard. If you want to make it a really strange arti, do that.

We have the whole Loose Ends thread, which has me pulling my hair out and even losing sleep over it.

We have all kinds of information found within the Sim, some of it contradictory or senseless. An Atlas gigacomputer that creates Sentinels and then lets them run wild. That is supposedly watching over the universe it possibly/supposedly created, and does nothing about races like the Gek First Spawn which go on centuries long genocidal rampages, or longer. Stands by watching as as the Vy’keen go on a jolly war with the Sentinels it made. Wants to know about this weird universe it finds itself in - Dude, it supposedly MADE the freaking thing! - and possibly creates the kind of beings I would pick last to scour it for information to feed it, organic living Travellers. The Korvax who adore the Atlas are the PERFECT beings to do this job: logical, analytical, unemotional. And particularly since they amass all their life experiences and memories in a monumental Convergence which is a treasure trove of information, a repository that no number of Travellers can hope to get anywhere close to. The fact that the Atlas did NOT do this is unfathomable. And when we WHOIS ATLAS on the wakingtitan site, we get a rather strange story about it. The last of it reads:

Think about it. How would the Atlas speak,
how it would cry for help? It would use
the only language it knew. It would speak
with life. It would create.

Now… did this strike anyone else as particularly strange and not all that computer-like? Not even rational? Something so absolutely poetic, almost religious in its expression. I would expect some sort of powerful spirit to react in this way, not a computer. Even a sentient computer should begin to analyze everything and run self-diagnostics to make sure it was perceiving its data correctly. And one thing I absolutely wouldn’t do as an arti, a living Master controller or a deity: if all these lifeforms are causing so much trouble, why, I’ll make more of them. Like… really? That’s your solution??

It seems to me that too few of us Citizen Scientists are employing a healthy dose of good old fashioned skepticism, which is a highly prized and effective tool used by scientists and philosophers trying to unravel deep mysteries through the ages. And I mean skepticism of everything. Whether or not the information being fed to us is legitimate, not manipulated or flawed or misleading, or even flat out BS. We haven’t been thinking like this very much, and I think it’s imperative that we have to.

Currently, I agree with crushbrain. I was about to post something similar, but admittedly more flowery than scholarly. Like the Vy’keen, the Atlas strikes me as a computer that’s either corrupted or even insane. Sleeping, I’ll accept, but one way or another it’s not functioning properly, logically or rationally. None of this is rational when you lay out all the pieces and consider the whole. And by association, I believe the Foundation is misleading us, at least to an extent.

I have no way of fathoming this to break through a wall to the Truth, so I’m along for the ride. But I’m thinking the last stop isn’t going to be in a happy neighborhood or amusement park.