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And here's where it gets interesting.-Your weapon in No Man's Sky can be modified to blast away terrain. You can create a hovel in the ground to shelter in, or dig through the surface of a planet to find beautiful caves below. Your modifications to the surface of planets are permanent – but bear in mind that the planets really are planet-sized, so a huge area that took you an hour to explore on foot is barely a pixel once you're back in orbit. I cannot understand how the game calculates this.
-The crafting system that puts these materials to use is actually much more robust than I'd thought it would be. Exploring in No Man's Sky is all about your equipment. When you first set out, you don't have much of anything, and won't really be able to survive anywhere for long. As it turns out, this is a survival sandbox game, like Minecraft's survival mode in space: you need to find materials to create things that better enable you to survive.
For more on that, read thisYou've already seen the dinosaurs and cool birds and weird fish-things that pop up all over No Man's Sky's planets, but it also has intelligent life. There are several different intelligent alien races in the game, who have colonised a great many of the planets, building structures and flying their own fleets. You can gradually learn how to communicate with aliens by studying their language, examining artefacts and buildings and so forth, but at the beginning you have no idea what anyone's saying. I walked into a building about five minutes after landing on my first planet and a very dangerous-looking alien said things that were probably not very nice. I made explosion noises and waved my arms about (one of three options the game gave me) and... he handed me a new gun. Lucky save.