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Surviving on an icy planet in No Man’s Sky

Imagine for a second you are Ryan McCaffrey, Senior Editor with IGN. And you sit together with Sean Murray, founder of Hello Games. You are sitting there chatting about No Man’s Sky when suddenly Sean is handing you the game controller and you instantly have to switch tasks: from interviewing Sean to surviving on an alien planet. That’s the setup for the latest one of IGN’s videos on No Man’s Sky which will air all April long.

Surviving is that which…

You are starting in the middle of Balari V, an ice planet. And icy it is: -163,4 °C or, for our friends over the big pond, -262,1 °F. Refreshing, hm? But it’s not about refreshment at all, it’s about survival. To spice things up a little, your suit isn’t in the best condition anymore – your thermal protection is kind of low, as indicated with a light blue bar in the lower left corner. Well, indicated or not, too low for this freezing snow ball you’re on. So the challenge is on – Stay alive! To help you a little, there is some advice from Sean himself. He recommends gathering resources. The right ones of course. The ones that will allow you to replenish your thermal protection. So scanning the surface is a good idea because now some new indicators pop up, giving you hints on what to find and where to find them.

When you stop believing in it…

According to one of the markers, your ship is 399 meters away and just as you start to smile because you think: “I’ll make it there, gathering resources on the way, but let me finish this 360 degree scan first.”  There is this ugly red bar on the screen telling you: “Thermal Protection Offline.”. Now things are getting a little hectic since time is running against you of course. You start to take damage since you feel the biting cold set in. No way you will make it to your ship in time. You cannot sprint anymore since your muscles and joints refuse to work properly. You need another solution quick!

Sean gives you a second hint. Seeking shelter somewhere might help. To find it, climbing up a hill to have a better overview sounds like a plan. You reach the top and use your binoculars. “There!” A building 297 meters away. Lock it on your radar and off you go. Walking, because no running or sprinting, remember? Anyway, that’s roughly 100 meters saved compared to the distance to your ship and that might make the difference.

Doesn’t go away (Philip K. Dick)

You’re on your way to the building you marked with your binoculars and – ok here we have a kind of “commercial break” that steals our immersion. Sorry, it wasn’t us. I think Ryan McCaffrey just couldn’t make it to the building in time, or the trip just wasn’t interesting enough for another five minutes of footage. Anyway, follow me back to Balari V, we’re not finished yet…

You’re on your way to the building you marked with your binoculars and have finally reached it. It has a landing platform and a space ship that has just landed there. However you are in no way interested in that ship (although it’s beautifully designed and the paint on the edges is realistically and irregularly peeled of). You are interested in these crates on the platform. Why should you be interested you ask? Well, they might contain the resources you need to recharge your thermal protection, because that is still a problem. You jetpack up to one of the crates, open it and…You finally find what you need! You recharge your thermal protection and can once again, feel your toes.

Almost good, you want to make it back to your ship from here. Thermal protection is fine, but you learned from the last several nerve-wracking minutes that a thermal protection, with full energy, is even better. You start to gather Plutonium. Plutonium is a dangerous material, but not because you cannot handle it. It’s because if you mine too much of it on this planet, some old friends may come to pay you a visit – sentinel drones. There you go, three have been activated already. Plus one wanted level on your ass for causing trouble.

You decide to run. Sprinting is possible now since your suit feels warm and cosy again. But the sentinel drones obviously have a completely different understanding of rules of engagement and shoot you in the back, causing your shield to go down quickly. Another helpful hint from Sean Murray: “Take the Sentinel drones on.”. So you start shooting a flurry of laser fire. The first one is relatively easy but gains you a critical hit and another wanted level, plus a very small but nonetheless severe message: “Sentinels engaged.“. The big brothers of the drones. Welcome back, palpitation. The second one swiftly hides behind a tree and then attacks you just a few meters above the ground – you shoot it down and are again rewarded with some rare resources needed for tech upgrades. These upgrades include your suit, your multi-tool or your ship. Your shield is down and so you try to run away from the third menace, but not only do you run away, the wildlife does as well (An example of some fine programming seeing the wildlife react to the action between you and the drone)! The last drone also hides behind a tree but chooses to attack you from above – it explodes shortly before it reaches you, but with the third wanted level another message pops up: “Sentinel combat unit deployed.“. That’s the last thing you see projected on HUD before there is only black and a quote from Philip K. Dick mocking you….

Summary: This latest video focuses on some key survival aspects of the game. Shown within was and example of survival on a freezing cold planet. However, some techniques could, or will need be applied, on hot or toxic planets as well. Make sure to check out the video. Repeatedly, just in case….

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Alex Schafferhans
Alex Schafferhans
Alex lives near Munich, Germany, and is an avid sci-fi fan. He's interested in everything about gaming (including board games). Also into anything astronomical, technical and philosophical and is a drummer with all his heart. He loves to read and write and also likes rowing - yes, he's a nerd! And since it seems to be common for most of his colleagues here: he likes food, too!

Alex has a 7 year old son, so there's a lot of work still to do in slowly pushing him towards Star Wars and oth.... oh, wait - already done!