Secret Formula Behind No Man’s Sky’s Endless Worlds
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by Hatim Mandarwala
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Secret Formula Behind No Man’s Sky's Endless Worlds
22 July, 2016

Dutch newspaper states that the long-awaited No Man’s Sky might be using a “superformula” which is a property of a Netherlands’ company to generate its endless worlds. Genicap says that there was no permission for Hello Games to use its product called the “Superformula”, which was patented by the company’s co-owner, Professor Johan Gielis back in 2004.

We have not licensed to Hello Games. We certainly do not want to stop the launch, but if the formula is used, we will have to sit at the table at a given time.

We are ourselves developing a gaming application based on the Superformula. It would be great if we could exchange knowledge with Hello Games. We have contacted, but received no response.

Genicap Representative

Sean Murray of Hello Games has already acknowledged the use of this formula to create geological formations in this interview with the New Yorker.

The problem nagged at him, until he found an equation, published in 2003 by a Belgian plant geneticist named Johan Gielis. The simple equation can describe a large number of natural forms—the contours of diatoms, starfish, spiderwebs, shells, snowflakes, crystals.

Murray, sitting before his monitor, typed the Superformula into the terrain of a test planet. He began simply, creating walnut-shaped forms that floated in an infinite grid over a desert. The image resembled a nineteen-eighties album cover, but the over-all look was not the point. Whenever he refreshed the rendering, the floating shapes changed. Many were asymmetrical, marred by depressions and rivulets. Game designers refer to lines of code that require lots of processing time as ‘costly.’ The Superformula is cheap.

New Yorker Interview

“Superformula” can be used to build 2D or 3D shapes with amazing variation. The patent describes some of its uses:

1. A method for the creation of computer graphics images, comprising:
a) generating at least one shape with a computer based on a parameterized formula;
b) having said computer suggest a plurality of variations of said at least one shape.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein said at least one shape is a two-dimensional shape.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein said at least one shape is a three-dimensional shape.


Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

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