Home Gaming Don’t call the music in No Man’s Sky procedural too

Don’t call the music in No Man’s Sky procedural too

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No Man's Sky soundtrack isn't exactly procedural

You know in school when you sat in late maths classes and wondered to yourself if all these funny combinations of letters and numbers would actually mean something in real life? No Man’s Sky is giving a show to meaning to that sort of analogy with its mathematically powered procedural generation, allowing Hello Games to create billions of random planets with functioning ecosystems. The music in the game taps into this magic too, but it’s a little more scripted then you’re probably expecting.

Speaking to No Man’s Sky’s composers, a little band you may or may not know of called 65daysofstatic, Game Informer learnt that while No Man’s Sky might stitch together snippets of music while you explore, the music itself isn’t made by an algorithm. 65daysofstatic recorded thousands of pieces of music that are thrown into the mix while you play the game, giving it a more generative existence than procedural.

So this is a generative soundtrack in the sense that there are a lot of pieces of pre-recorded audio that will be sitting inside No Man’s Sky, and then there will be algorithms and logic designed a bit by us (and more by Paul Weir), which will curate this audio to create music that responds to what the player is doing. So it isn’t literally procedurally generating the audio as such, but it is generating new music by pulling different combinations of audio and different times, based on a variety of rules, to generate new music on the fly.

Of course that shifts when looking at some of the sounds that the thousands of procedurally created creatures make when you get close. Those sound bits are created using the same algorithm used to generate all the planets, and hence stands in contrast to the soundtrack. A procedurally generated soundtrack might have been possible, but 65daysofstatic explain that it might not have had the same effect Sean Murray desired. Even then, creating this generative musical album wasn’t easy.

It would be possible, theoretically, if you had multiple digital synthesisers running in the game, but that takes a lot of resources that the game doesn’t necessarily have to spare just for its soundtrack.

It’s a fascinating approach to a soundtrack that clicks with the way No Man’s Sky has been created, and I think it could lead to some truly emotive moments while you’re space trucking it from one planet to the next. No Man’s Sky might have been delayed until August, but it remains as interesting as ever.

Last Updated: May 31, 2016

22 Comments

  1. I’d like to get NMS for December, but then all the cool planets will have gotten names…

    I wanna call a planet Llewellus Raptorus if it is 7th from that system’s sun

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      May 31, 2016 at 12:07

      Incidentally the 7th planet from our sun is Uranus

      Reply

      • Ottokie

        May 31, 2016 at 12:09

        The more you know!

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

          May 31, 2016 at 12:11

          XD

          Reply

      • Admiral Chief Protector

        May 31, 2016 at 12:09

        Llewellus Uranus

        Reply

      • Pariah

        May 31, 2016 at 12:10

        That’s just…

        XD

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

          May 31, 2016 at 12:10

          I was surprised to be honest

          Reply

      • Admiral Chief Protector

        May 31, 2016 at 12:11

        All
        The
        UPVOTES
        (we need 7)

        Reply

        • HairyEwok

          May 31, 2016 at 14:58

          My job here is done.

          Reply

      • Raptor Rants

        May 31, 2016 at 12:46

        wow….

        Reply

  2. Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

    May 31, 2016 at 12:06

    They should have used August Sky, double opportunity missed

    Reply

  3. Umar

    May 31, 2016 at 12:11

    That Supermoon song for this game by these guys is just briliant. The OST is already sounding like a winner.

    Reply

  4. Ottokie

    May 31, 2016 at 12:12

    This is releasing way too close to FF15 now, I will pick it up once that adventure is done.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Protector

      May 31, 2016 at 12:13

      No, think about the naming opportunities!

      Reply

      • Ottokie

        May 31, 2016 at 12:13

        Every 7th planet name it “Llew something something”

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Protector

          May 31, 2016 at 12:16

          Llewellus tl;dr
          Llewellus rantorus
          Llewellus [insert more trolling here]

          Reply

      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        May 31, 2016 at 12:14

        Like Dixienormous

        Reply

  5. Raptor Rants

    May 31, 2016 at 12:46

    I’m so excited for this

    Reply

  6. Darren Peach

    May 31, 2016 at 14:10

    Yeah. This game needs to be played.

    Reply

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