No Man's Sky

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Name: No Man's Sky
Abbreviation(s): NMS
Creator: Hello Games
Date(s): 2016
Medium: Video Games
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
External Links:
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No Man's Sky is a 2016 game released by Hello Games. It is a sandbox-like sci-fi game where players may explore a vast endless universe, interacting with alien flora and sentient alien races. Despite a mixed reception on the game's original release, it has attracted a dedicated fan following due to the many possibilities offered by its extensive universe, from exploration to collaborative play to roleplay.

The fandom is mostly based on Reddit, the No Man's Sky fan wiki, and within the game itself. Dedicated fans catalogue as much of the game's randomly generated worlds and creatures as possible. Outside of this, there are roleplayers in the game and Reddit forums, with the largest and oldest No Man's Sky roleplaying group being The Galactic Hub.

There are also many fan videos on YouTube using a Machinima-like playstyle, and the creation of original characters is popular among the No Man's Sky Tumblr community.


Sean Murray, who founded the company Hello Games, said he wanted to "capture the sense of exploration." The game then began development in 2013 with a small four person team and released in 2016 to mixed reviews.

No Man's Sky was hyped up quite a bit, leading to many failed expectations during its original 2016 release. Among the failed expectations was a lack of multiplayer. Many fans who had awaited the game were upset, and some even reached out for a refund. However, since 2016 Hello Games has released a number of free updates that rectified the promises made in the beginning. Multiplayer, as well as many quality of life updates, have improved the game beyond what was expected.[1][2]

The history and development of No Man's Sky is lengthy, and is best read on the main Wikipedia, Archived version article for full context.


Players take on the role of a space-faring character who owns a space craft and may travel between worlds, solar systems, and galaxies. The player's character was originally unseen until a later updated allowed for character creation. Players can currently play as any race in game, including the universe-faring, Atlas-favored species of "Travellers." They are given a multitool, which is used to do various things like mine and fight. Players may also build bases by gathering materials and placing down objects.

The game gives players some guidance in what they could do, such as the characters Nada and Polo encouraging them to either follow the Atlas or to find the galaxy's center. If one follows the Atlas Path they will find themselves engaged in the game's plot. If they ignore the plot and travel to its center they will be given the ability to travel to a new galaxy of their choosing.

Despite this guidance there is no one way to play, as one can ignore both of these goals altogether. One could partake in missions with their friends or play alone. They could spend all their time in one solar system or they could jump between hundreds. Their mission could be to log and name all known species or it could be to ignore the flora and fauna all together. Each play through of the game is unique and up to one's play style. However, one could easily argue that the main mechanic of the game is exploration, as no matter what one does they will always be making new discoveries.


No Man's Sky has an interesting fan base and a dedicated cult following, even from it's more humble beginnings. The fandom is very passionate about the game, its mechanics, and its community. For example, the game's fandom wiki page has 119,826 pages (23,225 articles) as of January 7, 2020. Compare this to much older and more popular fandoms: Harry Porry's wiki, Archived version has 16,355 pages, Steven Universe's wiki, Archived version has 2,157 pages, and Star Trek's oldest wiki, Archived version (started in 2003) has 47,732 pages. However, one should note that by its nature, No Man's Sky's randomization of planets, star systems, flora and fauna, and passion for cataloging mean many pages are created just for single planets, places, star systems, and the like, easily inflating the page count. Its wiki also encourages editors to create their own "journal" pages to log their exploration, which can be done through role playing their Traveller.[3]

Most of the community resides on Reddit, or otherwise remains in-game.

Fan Cataloging

Fandom members tend to pick apart the game. From organizing the body parts of each genus,[4] to logging every single variation of weather,[5] players who love the game are dedicated to the spirit of categorization. Members have even logged each and every one of the 255 unique galaxies, right down to creating a map of which galaxy leads to which.[6]

Outside of planets and galaxies, there is also the classification of in game animal species. There is a canon genus for each species as dictated by the game's files. After that, animals seem to be named randomly by the game.[7] How players go about classifying fauna can vary. The most common way would be to use binomial nomenclature. So a creature who is cat-like with the randomly generated name "Cats Rule" (not a real generated name) would be classified as: Cats (family) Felidae (genus) Rule (species)," abbreviated at F.rule. This way of classifying creatures is not canon, but something common in fanon. Other fandom members make their own classification rules, as evident in Lamb's Classification Method, Archived version which has since been discontinued. Finally, after binomial nomenclature and personal classification methods, members will also name creatures by simply whatever comes to mind.

Civilized Space

In the beginning there was no multiplayer. However, one could still interact with other players in certain ways. For example, players could see one another's structures. If a player named a planet, star system, animal, or plant, these could be seen by other players as well. In an effort to create a community within the game, some players got together and developed the first "Hub" in 2016.[8] This Hub, called the "Galactic Hub Project,"[9] was a grouping of specific solar systems and planets that were colonized by players. This Hub had and has its own naming conventions, which are used to tell other players exactly what systems and planets are in the Hub. By 2018 the Galactic Hub project was a well known and accepted part of the online community of NMS.[10] Hello Games first acknowledged the Hub in 2017, and later the Hub's flag was added to the game, making the Hub canon.

Connected systems colonized by a group of players with a shared goal can become a civilization, and as a whole this practice is called "Civilized Space." Not all of civilized space is colonized by empires or rural community. Some of civilized space is colonized by "companies," communities specifically designed for commerce. The No Man's Sky wiki page, Archived version has maps dedicated to the tracking of civilized space, including the Galactic Hub. The maps also account for the different servers, such as Xbox vs. PC civilizations, as console servers and personal computer servers do not mix. The majority of civilizations are within the galaxy Eucild, which is the first galaxy all players start in and thus the easiest way to attract new members.

Before No Man's Sky's "Atlas Rising" update,[11] on Aug 11, 2017, there was no easy way to locate and move to a player made civilization. One would need to chart a course using the player-made app, the "Pilgrim Star Path, Archived version." However, after the update the game introduced "Glyphs," which are a series of specific hieroglyphics that are unique to a planet. These planet addresses, along with the newly added portals, made travel between worlds much easier and less time consuming. As long as one has access to one of these portals and has the address to the planet, one can travel to a civilization's planet.[12]


No Man's Sky lends it self greatly to roleplay, especially after an update added character creation. The fandom's wiki actively encourages roleplay with its "journal" category. These "journal entries" are essentially public roleplay posts with players acting out as their NMS characters. Example: "A Green Robot, Archived version," the first entry on the category's page, is a single entry detailing how the character became stranded on a planet with memory loss, and was then spoken to by the Atlas. The journal with the most logs as of Jan 14, 2020, is from "PMeade3, Archived version." It has seven entries, each one simply detailing the players coming and goings through systems and planets.

Upon creating a Reddit thread asking for a No Man's Sky roleplay subreddit, users were quick to comment that civilized space is already a roleplay in itself.[13][14] The civilizations and hubs created by the community often contain their own lore, such as with The Federation.

More infrequently, one can find cases of players roleplaying by the use of art on Tumblr in the NMS tag. Artists will draw their characters interacting with the world and inhabitants.

Some fans create videos roleplaying as characters, such as in "Space Cadet, Archived version" by Checkpoint.


In Jul 2018 a streamer known as SeriusGamerX caused a stir among the No Man's Sky roleplay community when he began roleplaying as the "evil Gek emperor" for his streams. [15] He destroyed other player's bases as a part of his streams, including a well known community member named Lillihop, who ran a popular NMS Amino. Reportedly, when Lillihop confronted the streamer about destroying other user's bases, he made misogynistic remarks and threatened to destroy another one of her landmarks. Both CobraTV (a popular NMS Youtuber) and the leader of the Galactic Hub defended Lillihop. SeriusGamerX made a two hour long video, Archived version response about the controversy, and said he believed that the NMS community was being unfair to him.

An interview with the streamer also solidified his belief that the NMS community was in the wrong, as he saw himself as simply roleplaying as a Gek, who were traditionally evil galactic conquers in canon. SeriusGamerX wanted the community to hate his roleplay character, as that was the point of roleplaying someone evil, however felt that it was "shameful" for them to dislike him as a person.[16]

The responses to his interview showcased how the community felt about SeriusGamerX's actions within the NMS community. The first reply sorted under best was by a user called psylentrob, who said "He still sounds like a tool." Another user named TomatoManTM said "Griefers are dicks. If you say your roleplaying a griefer you're still a dick." Not all users were against the SeriusGamerX and his villain roleplay. Other users found the situation funny and believed Lillihop being offended by his "in character" remarks was a case of "being a snowflake," in the words of user TheNeoReaper.

While there were members who defended SeriusGamerX and his actions, as a whole it appeared most disliked his method of roleplay. Considering that he also tended to go into the largest and oldest in-game civilization, the Galactic Hub, to delete buildings, it is no surprise that this roleplayer was mostly ostracized in No Man's Sky after the incident. SeriusGamerX has not made a video on No Man's Sky since Jan 13, 2019, not have there have been no major incidents of a similar nature as of Nov 2020. The incident itself is a good look into how the No Man's Sky community feels about griefing in general, and implies they prefer a more cooperative style of roleplay.






Meta and Further Reading


  1. ^ No Man's Sky, Wikipedia (Accessed 1/6/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  2. ^ Patch Notes, No Man's Sky Wiki. (Accessed 1/16/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  3. ^ Journal, No Man's Sky Wiki. (Accessed 1/8/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  4. ^ Tetraceris, No Man's Sky Wiki. (Accessed 1/7/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  5. ^ Weather, No Man's Sky Wiki. (Accessed 1/7/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  6. ^ Galaxy, No Man's Sky Wiki. (Accessed 1/7/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  7. ^ Scientific Name, No Man's Sky Wiki. (Accessed 1/7/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  8. ^ Timeline- Galactic Hub, No Man's Sky Wiki. (Accessed 1/7/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  9. ^ Galactic Hub Project, No Man's Sky Wiki. Jan 2017- circa Nov 2019 (Accessed 1/7/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  10. ^ Civilized Space, Steam Thread. Jul 2018 (Accessed 1/7/2020)(Archived 8/4/2020)
  11. ^ No Man's Sky - Atlas Rises, Youtube. Aug 11, 2017 (Accessed 1/7/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  12. ^ How to Get to the Galactic Hub in No Man's Sky, Kotaku. 10/26/2018 (Accessed 1/7/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  13. ^ NMS Federation, Reddit. (Accessed 1/14/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  14. ^ Should We Start an NMS Roleplay Subreddit, NMS Reddit Thread. May 24, 2018 (Accessed 1/14/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  15. ^ No Man's Sky Malcontent Says He was Just Roleplaying, Kotaku. 7/11/2018 (Accessd 1/14/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
  16. ^ Parts Left Out of the Kataku Article, NMS Reddit Thread. Jul 11, 2018 (Accessed 5/20/2020) (Archived 8/4/2020)
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