One of the world’s most popular video games, “Minecraft,” is also one of the world’s largest video games.
Each “Minecraft” world that the game generates is 60 million one-meter blocks by 6o million one-meter blocks, to say nothing of the blocks going up and down on the z-axis.
Put more simply: If you were to walk straight and keep walking from the moment you started a new “Minecraft” world, it’d take several days — in real time — to reach the edge of the world.
If that sounds huge, that’s because it IS huge. But a new game is way, way bigger: “No Man’s Sky.”
And that’s because “No Man’s Sky,” a PlayStation 4 and PC title, is a space exploration game that contains its own universe. And that universe is full of planets, the vast majority of which are full of alien life. How many planets? So, so many: 18 quintillion is the number thrown around by the game’s creators at Hello Games.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve never seen a number in the quintillions before. A quintillion is a number followed by eighteen zeroes.
There are this many planets in “No Man’s Sky”: 18,000,000,000,000,000,000. Right.
And each of those planets, on average, is the size of Jupiter — the actual planet Jupiter. So if you take the surface area of Jupiter and multiple it by 18 quintillion you get… a number that’s ridiculously high, to the point that it’s meaningless to express with words. It is a number that’s literally beyond human comprehension (kinda like 18 quintillion!).
That you can hop in your spaceship and jet from planet to planet is an incredible achievement for a game so large. Incredibly, “No Man’s Sky” was built by a team of just 15 game developers working out of Guildford, England.
This, of course, begs the question, “How in the world did a small team of game developers create the biggest game ever made?”
The simple answer is “algorithms,” which of course explains very little.
“No Man’s Sky,” like “Minecraft,” is a “procedurally-generated” game. In so many words, that means that — instead of hand-crafting each planet, which would be literally impossible — the team created a handful of base elements (animals, plants, etc.) that algorithms can divide into quintillions of derivations.
This can produce some… strange results. Like this (super creepy) guy:
And this… thing:
But it also produced the world’s largest game, and for that we’re infinitely thankful. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have a few quintillion planets to explore.
For even more size comparison context, check out this great YouTube video from user ibxtoycat:
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