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

Beechos

Member
Like I said in another thread, it's not going to happen, but....

Could you imagine landing on a planet and then realizing it's Skyrim in its entirety?

That would be effing amazing to me.
That would be kind of a dope mutiverse thing with all the ips now ms has. Land on a planet from a different i.p.
 

Rambone

Member
Todd does not roll on Shabbos.


I like the idea of a mix between hand crafted planets and procedurally generated planets. I think my biggest issue to date with procedural generated planets (maybe even hand crafted planets) is that they all tend to look the same after some point and you get an alarming sense of Deja Vu. This happens quite often in No Man's Sky to the point where I just blow past planets and systems entirely without caring about exploring. What I would really like to see is varied Biomes on planets that can support one. While I expect to see SOME Star Wars planets where we have a single biome such as Desert Planet, Lava Planet, Tree Planet or Rock Planet, I hope this is not going to be the case every time. If there is a large variation of planets with several biomes spread through out the planet including weather, flora and fauna, I think there would be more incentive to explore them. At the end of the day I think the procedural generation tools are going to play a big part in how this turns out.
 

RoadHazard

Gold Member
i think they created one BIG MAP with a variety of BIOSPHERES and SPLIT that map into PLANETS.

Yeah, I wonder if the planets will actually be spherical or basically just square maps. I suspect the latter. I know generating actual spherical planets was something Hello Games had to put a lot of effort into (they were originally planning on going with flat planets that LOOK spherical from space, but it didn't really work with the seamless nature of the game, so they figured out how to generate spherical, curving geometry).
 

-tetsuo-

Unlimited Capacity
They couldn't even bother to put in at least a little work on each planet? Bethesda really has become pretty lazy. Add that on top of the need to make all gamepass games lower quality and I guess this just spells the end for another classic dev studio.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
They couldn't even bother to put in at least a little work on each planet? Bethesda really has become pretty lazy. Add that on top of the need to make all gamepass games lower quality and I guess this just spells the end for another classic dev studio.
"I should also add that we have done more handcrafting in this game, content-wise, than any game we’ve done."
 

Kssio_Aug

Member
They couldn't even bother to put in at least a little work on each planet? Bethesda really has become pretty lazy. Add that on top of the need to make all gamepass games lower quality and I guess this just spells the end for another classic dev studio.
Excuse Me Reaction GIF by Mashable

Jesus... some of you have been trying so damn hard these last days. Are you all alright? So many unbelievable posts.
 

Spukc

Member
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.
No 1000 planets is fucking stupid.
I rather have it like destiny.
Parts. But well crafted
 
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You know what. I’m actually cool with this - as some have stated it’s better that it’s POSSIBLE to land on random planets if I choose to - and have a handcrafted experience elsewhere. Also good for mods cus I feel like that’s a lot of space that will eventually be filled up by modders
 
NGL the more I hear about this game the less excited I am in actually playing it. Sounds like exploring many of those 1,000 planets is going to be a chore and RNG in whether you get something worthwhile or not.

I get that it's probably "realistic" but this is a video game, Todd. Games are already time sinks as-is, why would I want to waste a chunk of that time exploring a batch of planets that might just be dead air? C'mon man.
 

Andodalf

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...
Well you can just look online and find that. this isn’t a space sim where they’re dynamically making worlds, everyone has the same galaxy to explore


NGL the more I hear about this game the less excited I am in actually playing it. Sounds like exploring many of those 1,000 planets is going to be a chore and RNG in whether you get something worthwhile or not.

I get that it's probably "realistic" but this is a video game, Todd. Games are already time sinks as-is, why would I want to waste a chunk of that time exploring a batch of planets that might just be dead air? C'mon man.


What RNG?
 
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Relique

Gold Member
I am glad that Todd is keeping expectations in check and is being honest about the amount of content.

The logic is that one giant empty planet might as well be a 1000 giant empty planets. There might not be much to do besides resources, outposts, and procedurally generated radiant quests, but they'd rather give you the choice to check those out for a few minutes if you want rather than not have them. Seems fair enough to me. At least they're honest about it.

As far as mainline quest he says it's about 20% percent longer than previous games, 4 main cities, plenty side quests, usual faction stuff like their previous games. A few new distractions like space flight and ship modifications. Seem in line with what I expected but nothing super revolutionary. Excited to play next year.
 

MarkMe2525

Gold Member
How is this topic news? If what they say is true and you can explore the entire planet. The is no other way to creat such vast landscapes other than procedural generation. To the people who's are surprised and upset, I would like to throw out there that almost every open world game uses procedurel generation to some extent.

Edit: I do want to clarify that I don't mean real time procedural generation.
 
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But yeah, it needs to be obvious what I am expecting when I am thinking about going to a planet. I do hope there could be randomised raids on some of the boring planets based on my previous action on that planet aka putting an outpost.

This could remove some of the tedium and bloat that would come with so much procedural content in the random planet seeds. Maybe there are critical story missions that will be loose enough to where they can dynamically adapt the mission structure based on what random worlds the player decides they want to set up outposts on.

I hope, anyway.

I think it’s important they get this right as well though. I like to go off exploring and it sounds like one of their goals with this game is to make it fun and exciting to explore space, so im hoping they’re able to implement ways to really make it clear where you can find the actual content between different planets even if it’s not related to the main quest.

Sounds like that’s what they’re going for, but I imagine it’s difficult without using markers to just show you where to go (which I hope they don’t).

They can simply give players an analyzer with a smart AI that can analyze composition of resources. Tie it back with a system on the player's ship, and deployable atmospheric planetary probes that can fly over planetary surfaces doing scans. Have those probes communicate back with deployable satellites that the player can place near planets and those communicate back with the main ship feeding the data to analyze.

So when the player's ship has that data, some device companion the player character is using, it can provide a listing of other planets with potentially relevant resources (not just in minerals, but also other buildings, outposts etc. because maybe the probes can also take photographic evidence) and that acts as a natural guide for the player to go check those places out. You can easily lead players in the right direction that way without resorting to waypoints.

But something tells me their engine may not support this, at least not in a seamless way or where you can have something like probes entering the atmosphere be immersive. Also I think this type of setup would have to of been considered at the beginning, the game design sort of needs to be developed with it in mind.

Basically a vast majority of those "1000 planets" are going to look like this, only possibly larger with more empty space between points of interest and tedious as hell to traverse, as everything will be on foot since, as far as we know, there's no ground based vehicles in the game.

Hell, the maps might not even need to be bigger than these old ME1 Mako maps because if we had to traverse those old maps on foot they would have taken significantly longer than they did with the Mako and created a bigger illusion of scale.


If the random planets are barren/uninteresting enough then they probably will use this setup.

Procedural generation simply sucks. Very disappointing. Why have so many planets in the first place? Who the fuck is going to explore 1000 of them, especially when its crappy procedurally generated crap? I want crafted landscapes by an artist, not a computer algorithm.

I hope the procedural planets are semi-interesting in their own right, or can provide something useful in dynamic story-based missions. But until they're shown off in gameplay, we have no way of knowing the implementation, and there's always valid reasons to be cautious with this amount of procedural content.

"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 does help ease some concerns, TBH. But again, proof is in the pudding. Show us more of the game and show us this stuff in action, the results will speak for themselves.
 

sircaw

Banned
Are these planets going to be named already or is it possible to name them yourself?

Kinda cool of you can build a base on one, then name the planet and have it come up in conversations like at a trader outpost or world city merchant.
 

SenjutsuSage

Halo TV Series Promoter - Live from: Reach
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 is easily one of the most bizarre concerns in any discussion about this game.

There must not be many Bethesda Game Studios fans in this thread because every single videogame Bethesda has made going back as far as Morrowind, and even before, had procedural generation.

Oblivion had it, Skyrim had it. Fallout 3 and 4 had it too. They have the manpower, budget, artists and designers to ensure procedural generation looks good and is supported by hand crafted content. They can fine tune it. They've even successfully used procedural generation for quests.

They know what they're doing.
 

Krathoon

Member
Are these planets going to be named already or is it possible to name them yourself?

Kinda cool of you can build a base on one, then name the planet and have it come up in conversations like at a trader outpost or world city merchant.
You might be able to do that. I assume you can make bases anywhere.
 

Spukc

Member
visit? I'm gonna get 100% on each of them
have fun visiting 20 remixes over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and
 
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Helghan

Member
NGL the more I hear about this game the less excited I am in actually playing it. Sounds like exploring many of those 1,000 planets is going to be a chore and RNG in whether you get something worthwhile or not.

I get that it's probably "realistic" but this is a video game, Todd. Games are already time sinks as-is, why would I want to waste a chunk of that time exploring a batch of planets that might just be dead air? C'mon man.
Then don't visit those planets and only play the main quest which is 30-40 hours long. I know full priced AAA games whose main quest could be finished within 8 hours, so this seems like a pretty good deal.
 

Thirty7ven

Sony make cringe trainers.
I get his point but I simply do not understand why this is even necessary. Not just the stuff with the planets but even why the handcrafted stuff always has to be more and more and more. Jesus man, these 100+ hours games are bloody tiresome. Bethesda games constantly got bigger, yet with every game the quality content shrinked and the quantity content grew - and I fully expect Starfield to continue that tradition. Just compare Skyrim to Oblivion or Fallout 3 to Fallout 4. Both sequels got bigger both in random and in hadcrafted content. However, ALL the handcrafted content got watered down. Oblivion's quests and questlines were so much longer and more interesting than the ones in Skyrim. I have not played Morrowind so I can only assume that it was the same from Morrowind to Oblivion.

Devs really need to stop blowing up the size of their games and sacrifice quality content along the way. Who cares about this crap anyway? Rather make it replayable both in builds and in game choices. Would be great for us players AND for the devs probably as well because that way they could make games faster and not sit on one project for a gazillion years.

Pubs these days are too busy winning the pre release hype wars and they got it stuck in their head that what people want is neverending content. Saying they have a thousand planets is more important than crossing that technical accomplishment that flying in and out of a planet provides..
 
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Krathoon

Member
Mario Galaxy was really good. I will have to pop that in the Wii again. I got the save on the WiiU.
Probably would not hurt to start over.
I do have homebrew channel on both. I probably could copy the save back.
 
Well you can just look online and find that. this isn’t a space sim where they’re dynamically making worlds, everyone has the same galaxy to explore





What RNG?

Random Number Generation. For example, being worried that Planet #684 will be the one with Resource A on one playthrough save, but quitting and loading back up the save could put Resource A on Planet #389.

This is easily one of the most bizarre concerns in any discussion about this game.

There must not be many Bethesda Game Studios fans in this thread because every single videogame Bethesda has made going back as far as Morrowind, and even before, had procedural generation.

Oblivion had it, Skyrim had it. Fallout 3 and 4 had it too. They have the manpower, budget, artists and designers to ensure procedural generation looks good and is supported by hand crafted content. They can fine tune it. They've even successfully used procedural generation for quests.

They know what they're doing.

Daggerfall tho.

Then don't visit those planets and only play the main quest which is 30-40 hours long. I know full priced AAA games whose main quest could be finished within 8 hours, so this seems like a pretty good deal.

Just speaking on open-world RPGs tho, there aren't any where the main quest can be completed in under 10 hours unless you already know exactly what to do, meaning you've probably played the game at least once.

Time to complete isn't even the issue so much as possibly not having enough quality content taking up that time.
 

NoobleBear

Member
That was one of the biggest questions I was curious about. Sounds like Mr. Howard took notice of the endless questions Sean Murray had to field about planet biomes, procedural generation, activities, etc. And planned a strategic data drop to put those answers out there. The golden question still remains, can you fly into the sun...
I'd be an awesome feature if doing this nuked your save files.
 

R6Rider

Gold Member
1000 planets is the least interesting thing about the game to me. I know in real life lots of planets are just empty rocks, but I don't think Starfield is going to be a space simulation, so no need to have 99% of explorable planets basically empty and just outpost for resources. I'd probably have liked more have 3-4 medium size planets filled with handcrafted contents.
Or if they focused on a small moon that's fully explorable and you can fly around it's atmosphere and a little further out for space battles.

I'd even prefer that to 1000 planets of mostly nothing.
 
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Andodalf

Member
NGL the more I hear about this game the less excited I am in actually playing it. Sounds like exploring many of those 1,000 planets is going to be a chore and RNG in whether you get something worthwhile or not.

I get that it's probably "realistic" but this is a video game, Todd. Games are already time sinks as-is, why would I want to waste a chunk of that time exploring a batch of planets that might just be dead air? C'mon man.
Random Number Generation. For example, being worried that Planet #684 will be the one with Resource A on one playthrough save, but quitting and loading back up the save could put Resource A on Planet #389.



Daggerfall tho.



Just speaking on open-world RPGs tho, there aren't any where the main quest can be completed in under 10 hours unless you already know exactly what to do, meaning you've probably played the game at least once.

Time to complete isn't even the issue so much as possibly not having enough quality content taking up that time.
That’s not how this is going to work at all. every planet in every system will be the same for everyone. I have no idea why you guys have this idea that it’s run time procedural generation when Bethesda haven’t used that in 20 years.
 

SenjutsuSage

Halo TV Series Promoter - Live from: Reach
Random Number Generation. For example, being worried that Planet #684 will be the one with Resource A on one playthrough save, but quitting and loading back up the save could put Resource A on Planet #389.



Daggerfall tho.



Just speaking on open-world RPGs tho, there aren't any where the main quest can be completed in under 10 hours unless you already know exactly what to do, meaning you've probably played the game at least once.

Time to complete isn't even the issue so much as possibly not having enough quality content taking up that time.

I don't know how exactly I got a shilling/astroturfing warning just for speaking on games, but that happened. The purpose of that is clear, so I'll make this my final post in this thread or any other thread for that matter. Crazy stuff. You get into issues as an Xbox fan just for speaking and discussing games. It's crazy.


Yes, that used procedural generation, but that was randomly generated procedural generation. That won't be the case with this game.

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/artic...arfield-todd-howard-and-the-story-of-bethesda

Youtube video timestamped on Todd Howard's statement on procedural generation relating to Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6. It sounds like their procedural generation is used to create landscapes and such, but where things get really important they go in and touch it up and hand craft it to their needs. It also sounds as if their procedural generation has become much better compared to year's past, when he says they're pushing it further than they have in a very, very long time.

My rough translation of what he said below, follow by some quotes from the gamesindustry article.no

And it's still used for some procedural quests and random encounters and storytelling, says it keeps the game feeling fresh where they never know what's going to happen all the time and the player doesn't know what will happen. He says there's a difference between the world itself, and that they want to spend their time hand crafting the things you can tell are hand crafted whereas for nature, he says computers can do a good job of putting trees and rocks and making landscape around that you can massage. Todd Howards says for the scale of their development and the team that they're touching the things that are most important, and if he can use procedural systems to generate content that keep the game everlasting, then that's what they want to lean on. He said they went away from it for a while, and then they've been coming back to it over time. He likes to experiment each game with somewhat procedural stuff, and then when it's not working they can go in and touch it up.


Todd Howard confirmed in an interview at Brighton Digital on November 2 that The Elder Scrolls 6’s map will be designed using procedural generation. The announcement has left some fans confused, with The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall also having used generated landscapes to create a map as large as Great Britain. However, the map of the upcoming Elder Scrolls game will not be randomly generated. Instead, procedural generation is one useful way to manage create huge areas of land in a game world, which will still be consistent across different playthroughs.

Part of the series' success since Morrowind has been the shift towards hand-crafted worlds rather than the procedurally generated landscapes of Arena and Daggerfall. Howard notes that the team has continued to use procedural generation, with Oblivion "somewhat procedural and then we went over it with hand to make sure things were the way we like them."

Some procedural generation is used to create content that ensures players never run out of things to do, such as Skyrim's ambient quests, but the most important things, such as the main story, are handled directly by the developers.
Advances in computing power means more and more work can be handled procedurally, and it sounds like this will play a role in The Elder Scrolls 6.

"We like to experiment each game with procedural stuff, and then if it's not working out, go in and touch it," Howard explains. "The stuff we're doing now, we're pushing procedural generation further than we have in a very, very long time."
 

Gavon West

Member
NGL the more I hear about this game the less excited I am in actually playing it. Sounds like exploring many of those 1,000 planets is going to be a chore and RNG in whether you get something worthwhile or not.

I get that it's probably "realistic" but this is a video game, Todd. Games are already time sinks as-is, why would I want to waste a chunk of that time exploring a batch of planets that might just be dead air? C'mon man.
Again, you don't HAVE TO VISIT ALL 1000 PLANETS!! Jesus Christ. Some of you sound like hostages!
 
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