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Todd Howard Explains How Game's 1,000 Planets Work

Three

Member
As many assumed, many planets will be created using procedural generation.


FUCK
THIS
SHIT
The only reason it's a problem to begin with is because there are some crazy fans trying to hype things up about being "hand crafted" , "no resource gathering" so that they can say its better than other games. There is nothing wrong with procedurally generated content and the game looks great.
 
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I can't get past the fact how incredibly spectacular this game looks.

"You can disable, board and steal ships in space !!!"

Cat Wow GIF
 

Braag

Member
That's kinda the problem with these type of space exploration games. Vast majority of planets are boring with nothing interesting on them. But if you want to make your game big, you let the player land on those planets despite nothing being there.
Or you can take the ME2/ME3 approach of only letting the player on planets where there's a mission or something interesting going on. Rest of the planets you can only observe from space.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
To be honest the planet searching and base building aspect won't be that big for me.
understood, not everyone finds that kind of stuff fun. but the base building in fallout 4 was insane.

skip thorugh some of these videos. nearly everything you see was hand placed, fromt he floors, to the appliances, the walls, posters, suits of armor, weapon racks, magazine stands, cups, plates, all the way down down to each small individually placed items. no mods were used, on console and i imagine several hours of play time.

if starfield is anywhere close to this its going to be insane what we see people build. and if they let us build on those 1000 planets, we could see some really interesting stuff from some cool looking environments.

 
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Gavon West

Member
I can't imagine they've spent much time developing some of these planets if Todd Howard himself has come out and said you'll probably just spend ten minutes at some of them and then just leave to follow your quest line, makes it sound like a lot of the planets are small distractions rather then integral to the game
That's not what he said. He said, YOU. As in a hypothetical scenario. You don't know what you might find. It's a choice the gamer could make, and then choose to go back to a more populated planet. It's all players choice.

He also said you may want to set up base on an ice ball and live out there because you like the sunset. You make it sound as if they didn't put a lot of work into other worlds within the game. C'mon dude ...
 

zcaa0g

Member
The universe was procedurally generated while the Earth, moon, and sun were hand crafted in terms of positioning, size, and properties.
 

skit_data

Member
I really don't understand why they have 1000 planets then......other than to be able to say they have 1000 planets.
A lot of people praise it, ”It has 100 planets d00d!”, so it seems to work in their favor. I expect a pretty small number of actually interesting planets, but that’s really all I need anyway.
 

Guilty_AI

Member
I really don't understand why they have 1000 planets then......other than to be able to say they have 1000 planets.
Resource gathering, grinding, outpost building, cool screenshots, maybe some "nice surprises", etc.

As he said, once you get how to make one planet procedurally (and they'd need to do that even for planets with lots of handcrafted content), making 100 or 1000 isn't all that difficult, so might as well have a bunch. I figure 1000 is the limit on how many planets their algorithm can make before enviroments end up too repetitive.
 
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Romulus

Member
They can't even manage to make fallout 76 feel that unique after years of patches and a tiny game world by comparison.
1000 world though? Lol
 

OmegaSupreme

advanced basic bitch
They won't

Super Bowl Lol GIF by Rocket Mortgage


Couldn't help myself. Had to make that joke. I'd rather have one or a couple of worlds with hand-crafted high-quality shit but that's my opinion.
 

Arcadialane

Member
'Hey, you can land on this. Here are the resources'

I hope he's not suggestion that you will still have to land on these empty planets if you want to collect resources for other things.
I want to know I can completely ignore the no content planets without losing out on anything at all, get all the resources I need for everything on the 'fun' planets
 
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Helghan

Member
Why did they feel the need to have 1,000 planets to begin with?
I think the majority of players would've been happy just to have even 100 planets.
Or as much as 25 relatively large, hand-crafted planets with multiple biomes/regions to explore.

While I can appreciate their ambition with the scale, this could lead to an over-reliance on procedural generation, which might negatively impact immersion and exploration.
I wouldn't be surprised if 90% of the planets are mostly barren material scavenging locations, with some remote outposts to raid and alien creatures to combat.

I hope they pull it off with their implementation, but it's not exactly capturing my imagination tbh.
I think the moddding community will be the ones that end up making planet exploration more compelling in the long run.
I really don't understand why they have 1000 planets then......other than to be able to say they have 1000 planets.
To have the experience of a huge universe
 

kyussman

Member
Resource gathering, grinding, outpost building, cool screenshots, maybe some "nice surprises", etc.

As he said, once you get how to make one planet procedurally (and they'd need to do that even for planets with lots of handcrafted content), making 100 or 1000 isn't all that difficult, so might as well have a bunch. I figure 1000 is the limit on how many planets their algorithm can make before enviroments end up too repetitive.
I don't think you need 1000 planets to get all those gameplay elements in,but anyway.......I feel for the ocd completionists who will feel the need to visit every one,lol.
 
"I should also add that we have done more handcrafting in this game, content-wise, than any game we’ve done. We’re [at] over 200,000 lines of dialogue, so we still do a lot of handcrafting and if people just want to do what they’re used to in our games, and follow a main quest, and do the questlines, you’re gonna see what you’d kind of expect from us. But then you have this whole other part of, ‘Well I’m just going to wander this planet, and it’s going to provide some gameplay, and some random content, and those kinds of things.’

"We’re also careful to let you know that’s what [that procedural content] is. So if you look at space, you know there are a lot of ice balls in space, so that was one of our big design considerations on this game is, ‘What’s fun about an ice ball?’ And it’s OK sometimes if ice balls aren’t- it is what it is. We’d rather have them and say yes to you, ‘Hey, you can land on this.’ Here are the resources, you can survey it, and then you can land and spend ten minutes there and be like, ‘OK, now I’m going to leave and go back to the other planet that has all this other content on it, and I’m going to follow this questline.’

"So we’re pretty careful about saying, ‘Here’s where the fun is, here’s this kind of content,’ but still say yes to the player and, ‘You want to go land on that weird planet, check it out, and build an outpost, and live your life there, and watch the sunset because you like the view of the moons there? Go for it.’ We love that stuff."
This needs to be added to the OP. OP took part out of context to stir the pot imo. There will be loads of handcrafting. They even said they have always used procedural generation in all their games.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
This needs to be added to the OP. OP took part out of context to stir the pot imo. There will be loads of handcrafting. They even said they have always used procedural generation in all their games.
here lets try to post this at the top of every page for the retards in the back

"I should also add that we have done more handcrafting in this game, content-wise, than any game we’ve done."
 

jroc74

Phone reception is more important to me than human rights
The only reason it's a problem to begin with is because there are some crazy fans trying to hype things up about being "hand crafted" , "no resource gathering" so that they can say its better than other games. There is nothing wrong with procedurally generated content and the game looks great.
This.

Once again, some ppl do this to themselves.

Claiming a game will do X before it's released....with no game play shown...was wild to see.

Hell, I remember so many claiming Forgotten West wouldn't have flying mounts because cross gen...and when that was finally shown...the goal post moved with the speed of light.

What did you have in mind then? Artists placing stones and foliage on a planet level scale? Have fun playing Starfield in the summer of 2056..

When procedural generation is done right it can simulate nature pretty well. A game like Horizon ZD/FW has most of its foliage placed procedural as well. It doesn't necessarily mean it's all based on an algorithm (like in No Man's Sky), but maybe they placed places of interest by hand and then filled in the void with procedurally placed assets.
This too.

I bet some ppl didn't realize that about Horizon, lol. That's the biggest reason why I said procedural doesn't automatically mean down grade.
 
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mortal

Gold Member
To have the experience of a huge universe
You can still have the experience of exploring a vast fictional universe with less than 1,000 planets.
Hell, I'd argue that having fewer procedurally generated, more uniquely hand-crafted planets would actually make exploring them feel more immersive and give players a greater sense that they're exploring a believable large-scaled universe.

Think about how just vast our very own solar system is IRL, with only a mere 8 planets and 200 or so known moons to survey and explore.
Despite that, we still haven't managed to explore even a fraction of them in their entirety.

Again hopefully, Bethesda manages to pull it, but I have my doubts.
 

Krathoon

Member
This game is going to be like Daggerfall. The main content is handcrafted and the rest is procedurally generated.
 

reksveks

Member
You can still have the experience of exploring a vast fictional universe with less than 1,000 planets.
Hell, I'd argue that having fewer procedurally generated, more uniquely hand-crafted planets would actually make exploring them feel more immersive and give players a greater sense that they're exploring a believable large-scaled universe.

Think about how just vast our very own solar system is IRL, with only a mere 8 planets and 200 or so known moons to survey and explore.
Despite that, we still haven't managed to explore even a fraction of them in their entirety.

Again hopefully, Bethesda manages to pull it, but I have my doubts.
The real question then is how many solar systems do you need for that story/feeling and how many planets are dud's within that number of systems?

~100 solar systems feels like a lot as well.

I don't like the feeling of a dud solar system so that something that they need to make sure they don't have.
 
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mortal

Gold Member
The real question then is how many solar system do you need for that story/feeling and how many planets are dud's within that number of systems?

~100 solar systems feels like a lot as well.

I don't like the feeling of a dud solar system so that something that they need to make sure they don't have.
Agreed. After all, Starfield is still an RPG and not something like Universe Sandbox 2.
So it's important for them not to let the pursuit of sheer scale overshadow a compelling RPG experience.

We'll see once it's released, until then many of us will have a lot of questions and concerns.
 

mejin

Member
He mentioned a thousand planets in the very end of the presentation....more like trying to convince himself about this "ambitious project".


He could have been clearer about this during the initial presentation, but this isn't really a big deal to me. I wonder how many planets will be hand-crafted though.

Probably the ones that have main missions.
 

Krathoon

Member
Lets be honest. The main content is going to be so large you will not really care about the procedurally generated stuff.

It will be cool if they have some random events crop up on those random planets.
 
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Helghan

Member
You can still have the experience of exploring a vast fictional universe with less than 1,000 planets.
Hell, I'd argue that having fewer procedurally generated, more uniquely hand-crafted planets would actually make exploring them feel more immersive and give players a greater sense that they're exploring a believable large-scaled universe.

Think about how just vast our very own solar system is IRL, with only a mere 8 planets and 200 or so known moons to survey and explore.
Despite that, we still haven't managed to explore even a fraction of them in their entirety.

Again hopefully, Bethesda manages to pull it, but I have my doubts.
The Starfield universe will have more handcrafted environments than any Bethesda game before. Do you know how much that is? It's going to be huge. Not every planet of the 1.000 is procedural generated. So not only will you have unique hand-crafted planets with in total more detail than any Bethesda game before, on top of that you have the experience of a huge universe due to the other planets generated procedurally.

You are acting as if they would've created 20 more detailed planets if they didn't include those 1.000 procedurally generated planets, but that's not how it works.
 

Sabotage

Member
Watch, there'll be some "ice ball" that has the rarest element you need to craft some legendary/exotic phaser and it'll be randomly-procedurally-generated + it has to coincide with a 1000 year planetary alignment eclipse and Halley's Comet has to be passing by...
 
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mortal

Gold Member
The Starfield universe will have more handcrafted environments than any Bethesda game before. Do you know how much that is? It's going to be huge.
Yes, I'm aware lol. That's the part that gets me excited. Well, that and the RPG systems, as well as the level of customization for character builds, ships, and bases.

Not every planet of the 1.000 is procedural generated. So not only will you have unique hand-crafted planets with in total more detail than any Bethesda game before, on top of that you have the experience of a huge universe due to the other planets generated procedurally.
Of course not all 1,000 of them will be entirely procedurally generated, which isn't my argument. However the vast majority of them will be, and that's more or less confirmed.
This is still an RPG, not a space sim. Having more of them doesn't make them inherently more interesting or compelling to explore simply because they exist in the game.
Especially with the increased likelihood of repetition due to the amount of them and the use of procedural generation techniques.
Not even taking into consideration the probability of bugs occurring in the game could hamper the experience.

You are acting as if they would've created 20 more detailed planets if they didn't include those 1.000 procedurally generated planets, but that's not how it works.
No, I think that just makes more rational sense tbh. It's not so much that it's guaranteed to be the case,
it's that focusing on a fewer amount is likelier to lead one to invest more time and effort into them, rather than spreading one's efforts across a considerably larger amount. The latter tends to lead to more compromising.
After all, it's not as if Bethesda have infinite time and resources to get everything to the same level of polish at that scale, they're not even the largest studio in the industry.

My concern here is that their design decision to have that many planets could lead to an over-reliance on procedural generation techniques, which can often have less than desirable results when scaled up.
It's a genuine concern, and I'm not saying it just to simply rag on the game. I enjoy my fair share of sprawling open worlds, but I'm also someone who appreciates thoughtful level design.

There were many things shown off thus far that I like about Starfield, but I'm not going to pretend that I'm 100% onboard the hype train or that Starfield will be the greatest video game ever made without question.
My experiences with past Bethesda games are simultaneously the cause of my excitement and my skepticism.
 

Helghan

Member
Yes, I'm aware lol. That's the part that gets me excited. Well, that and the RPG systems, as well as the level of customization for character builds, ships, and bases.

Of course not all 1,000 of them will be entirely procedurally generated, which isn't my argument. However the vast majority of them will be, and that's more or less confirmed.
This is still an RPG, not a space sim. Having more of them doesn't make them inherently more interesting or compelling to explore simply because they exist in the game.
Especially with the increased likelihood of repetition due to the amount of them and the use of procedural generation techniques.
Not even taking into consideration the probability of bugs occurring in the game could hamper the experience.

No, I think that just makes more rational sense tbh. It's not so much that it's guaranteed to be the case,
it's that focusing on a fewer amount is likelier to lead one to invest more time and effort into them, rather than spreading one's efforts across a considerably larger amount. The latter tends to lead to more compromising.
After all, it's not as if Bethesda have infinite time and resources to get everything to the same level of polish at that scale, they're not even the largest studio in the industry.

My concern here is that their design decision to have that many planets could lead to an over-reliance on procedural generation techniques, which can often have less than desirable results when scaled up.
It's a genuine concern, and I'm not saying it just to simply rag on the game. I enjoy my fair share of sprawling open worlds, but I'm also someone who appreciates thoughtful level design.

There were many things shown off thus far that I like about Starfield, but I'm not going to pretend that I'm 100% onboard the hype train or that Starfield will be the greatest video game ever made without question.
My experiences with past Bethesda games are simultaneously the cause of my excitement and my skepticism.
I understand what you mean, I just feel that this helps with the realism of the game (space is huge, exploration is possible) without losing the core of it (RPG)
 

Fbh

Member
The only surprising thing about this is that some people in this thread actually thought the answer would be anything other than that.
Personally I would have preferred a 10 planet solar system with more seamless navigation and mostly focusing on hand crafted locations. But to each their own I guess and the 1000 planets don't bother me if the actual main locations and quests are good.


I really don't understand why they have 1000 planets then......other than to be able to say they have 1000 planets.

Because one of the things people love most aside from graphics is size. There's a reason stuff like "out biggest game yet" and "the map is 3X bigger than our previous game" have remained standard marketing bullet points for a long time.
The whole 1000 planets quote probably did more to sell the game than any sort of in depth look at quest design or narrative ever could.

Also survival crafting games on procedurally generated maps are massively popular, specially on PC. People who are into that stuff will probably have hundreds of hours worth of resource gathering and base building to play around with, and that's on top of an actual RPG with a story, quests, cities and lots of actual hand crafted locations.

No to mention modders must be really happy that they'll have tons of planets to play around with.
 
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Laptop1991

Member
I'll just wait and see at the time, i loved Skyrim but that doesn't mean i was a fan of everything they added, i didn't think much of the Dragon riding that was introduced with Dragonborn, but that made no difference to me playing the game, if the non hand crafted planets start to get boring like the fetch quests of old, then i'll just stop visiting them, and i agree with other users, modders will make them interesting.
 

ANDS

Thought gaf was racist. Now knows better, honorary gaffer 2022
. . .the amount of "concern" in these threads is already off the fucking charts. When people heard "1000's of planets. . ." did you honestly think they would all be hand made from scratch? Why would ANY studio do that?

Not a big fan of procedural generation tbh. Usually a red flag for me. But as long as it’s made very clear where you can find the content that the devs have actually made it might be OK. We’ll see.

All of the content will be made by developers. Procedurally generated assets does not mean procedural generation in game.
 

bbeach123

Member
Well its SPACE . BIG AND VAST SPACE .

Having 1000s planets doesn't mean you need to land on all of them . But it sure give a illusion of a big vast space. Image having only few system or some planet you cant land at all , its weird .

But where is my Gas giant .
 

Ozriel

Member
Don't know if wasting time for good content to come by is the argument you thought it was. Vast landscapes to explore with interesting content is always better than a myriad of *whatever* that's been designed by an algorithm. I want good content whenever I enter the virtual world, why someone would cheer for something less than that, I don't know.

Not sure why you wouldn’t read the article.

There are planets with handcrafted detail, bustling towns etc that you can actually explore with interesting content.

There are optional planets filling the Starfield that are procedurally generated which you can fly to, farm for resources, set up outposts etc.

Nobody here is arguing for less handcrafting. If I you don’t want to go to barren worlds, don’t go. You’ll have a blast with bespoke environments.
 
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