PC Gamer Article: The mind-bending science behind the planets of Elite Dangerous

Maybe NMS's patch has reminded people of space games in general, so their attention has also turned to the strengths of the undisputed master of the wider genre.
It's worth noting that when NMS says "procedurally generated" they mean "random" (with a stored seed value making the random sequence repeatable). So for example, someone on the NMS dev team decided that 10% of biomes will be of the type: lush. And maybe the sequence of things generated for a planet is (1) size, (2) gravity, (3) biome. This means they take that starting seed value, get the third random number in the sequence, and if it's between 0 and 0.1 this planet will have a lush biome.

Random. Procedurally generated, sure. But random.

What's interesting about Elite is that they use their procedural generation to create solar systems that fit together and make sense. Like Ross says, they start by deciding how much material is in the disc that formed the star - how much of it consists of metal - how long did it take to coalesce. The upshot of all this is, even if you knew that X% of planets are earth-like, that doesn't mean that any given solar system has X% chance of having an earth like. They're not randomly distributed the way they are (I assume) in NMS.

If you're an explorer, you can use this knowledge to greatly increase your chances of finding earth-like planets. It's funny because people criticize the existing exploration gameplay as "jump/honk/jump/honk" - but there's detail in the game that they're completely obvious to. You're supposed to be looking at stellar classifications in the galaxy map; you're supposed to be looking at the distance a planet is from its parent star (and estimating the habitable zone). But because the game doesn't hold your hand like a child and tell you "point here and click here" many people assume there's no more depth to it than jump and honk.

If that was your assumption, then it's your own fault for not looking into it further.

BTW Dr. Kai covered this info a few years ago in his exploration series of videos. Worth a watch:

[video=youtube;xKiqU2Kkoxw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKiqU2Kkoxw[/video]
 
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It's worth noting that when NMS says "procedurally generated" they mean "random" (with a stored seed value making the random sequence repeatable). So for example, someone on the NMS dev team decided that 10% of biomes will be of the type: lush. And maybe the sequence of things generated for a planet is (1) size, (2) gravity, (3) biome. This means they take that starting seed value, get the third random number in the sequence, and if it's between 0 and 0.1 this planet will have a lush biome.

Random. Procedurally generated, sure. But random.

What's interesting about Elite is that they use their procedural generation to create solar systems that fit together and make sense. Like Ross says, they start by deciding how much material is in the disc that formed the star - how much of it consists of metal - how long did it take to coalesce. The upshot of all this is, even if you knew that X% of planets are earth-like, that doesn't mean that any given solar system has X% chance of having an earth like. They're not randomly distributed the way they are (I assume) in NMS.

If you're an explorer, you can use this knowledge to greatly increase your chances of finding earth-like planets. It's funny because people criticize the existing exploration gameplay as "jump/honk/jump/honk" - but there's detail in the game that they're completely obvious to. You're supposed to be looking at stellar classifications in the galaxy map; you're supposed to be looking at the distance a planet is from its parent star (and estimating the habitable zone). But because the game doesn't hold your hand like a child and tell you "point here and click here" many people assume there's no more depth to it than jump and honk.

If that was your assumption, then it's your own fault for not looking into it further.
I'm not sure how you came to think that has any relevance to anything that I said, I'm just going to assume you didn't understand my post.
 
The stellar forge is one of EDs greatest features and as an achievement it's staggering.

The amount of work and detail that went into it is phenomenal and inspired.

I'd like to have seen the same level of detail, research and skill put into the design and implementation of the game mechanics...to compliment the great job they did creating the ED galaxy and everything in it.

If those two things had been of the same quality and scope ED would truly be a masterpiece.
 
I'm not sure how you came to think that has any relevance to anything that I said, I'm just going to assume you didn't understand my post.

It sounds like you might think my post was intended to disagree with you in some way. It wasn't.


The relevance of my post to yours is that you brought up NMS and then went on to call Elite "the undisputed master of the wider genre." My post expands on what you said and explains why Elite deserves that title.
 
It's worth noting that when NMS says "procedurally generated" they mean "random" (with a stored seed value making the random sequence repeatable). So for example, someone on the NMS dev team decided that 10% of biomes will be of the type: lush. And maybe the sequence of things generated for a planet is (1) size, (2) gravity, (3) biome. This means they take that starting seed value, get the third random number in the sequence, and if it's between 0 and 0.1 this planet will have a lush biome.

Random. Procedurally generated, sure. But random.

What's interesting about Elite is that they use their procedural generation to create solar systems that fit together and make sense. Like Ross says, they start by deciding how much material is in the disc that formed the star - how much of it consists of metal - how long did it take to coalesce. The upshot of all this is, even if you knew that X% of planets are earth-like, that doesn't mean that any given solar system has X% chance of having an earth like. They're not randomly distributed the way they are (I assume) in NMS.

If you're an explorer, you can use this knowledge to greatly increase your chances of finding earth-like planets. It's funny because people criticize the existing exploration gameplay as "jump/honk/jump/honk" - but there's detail in the game that they're completely obvious to. You're supposed to be looking at stellar classifications in the galaxy map; you're supposed to be looking at the distance a planet is from its parent star (and estimating the habitable zone). But because the game doesn't hold your hand like a child and tell you "point here and click here" many people assume there's no more depth to it than jump and honk.

If that was your assumption, then it's your own fault for not looking into it further.

BTW Dr. Kai covered this info a few years ago in his exploration series of videos. Worth a watch:
You can't learn stellar geologies if noone teaches you. That has nothing to do with handholding. You expect scientific approach by gamers. And it's probably not even an exact model they can apply and test their theories in - instead it's full of bugs. "Handholding" my rear. But keep on blaming players for the neglect in development - ignorance is bliss, after all.
 
You can't learn stellar geologies if noone teaches you.
That's not true. You can learn anything you want to learn and you can do it all by yourself.

Your expectation seems to be that every game has to explain every game mechanic within the game. You're wrong about that. Many people greatly enjoy many different games that do not teach you anything about the mechanics. Flight simulators are a great example of this. If you play a realistic flight simulator, you are expected to learn, for example, what it means to stall - and you're expected to learn that outside of the game.

"I have no idea why I keep falling out of the sky! There's nothing in this game that teaches me what a stall is! This game is totally broken and unplayable!!" Wrong. The game is just fine. It isn't an arcade game, and that's okay.
 
Is that an article that was in the print magazine ages ago and has only just been released to the website? (I seem to remember reading something like that way back).

Anyhoo ... for anyone who's interest in Stellar Forge has been piqued I strongly recommend this.

[video=youtube_share;Vz3nhCykZNw]https://youtu.be/Vz3nhCykZNw[/video]
 
It must be this mind-bending "science" that allows the Stellar Forge to generate "ice" planets with surface temps of 500K.
Now, now, don't let the stupid sides of ED's completely random but parameterized system generation stop you from fanboy drooling about how supposedly it's the best there is...

On Obsidian's channel you can see what other people have done in the field of proceduraly generated planets, including atmospheric earthlike planets. In comparison ED is starting to be left behind into the stone ages...
 
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