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No Man’s Sky

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No Man’s Sky travel diary: a dirty job

Two years ago, when No Man’s Sky first launched, I wrote a journal that chronicled my adventures in the game’s sprawling, procedurally generated universe. Since then, the game has changed considerably, most recently with the No Man’s Sky Next expansion, which is the biggest update yet. It adds new styles of planets, proper multiplayer, and a third-person perspective, among other things. So it seemed like a great chance to dive back in and start the diary again. You can catch up on my previous adventures — and follow along with my new ones — right here.

You’d be surprised how much a giant space crab shits.

After my unexpected and unwanted encounter with Atlas, a giant red orb that pretends to know the mysteries of the universe, I decide to start working on some of the many items piling up on my to-do list. At the top is my desire to find the mysterious being known as Artemis, a fellow traveler who has become trapped somewhere in the cosmos. I need to re-establish communication, and that means building a device called a “mind arc.” Unfortunately, construction requires several rare, hard-to-find materials — hence the crab.

In order to craft the device, I need some lubricant. And in order to make lubricant, I need a kind of crystal that is most commonly found in the feces of several alien creatures. I’m not really sure which creatures, though, so I land on a planet my computer describes as “verdant” and hope for the best. My goal is to feed as many animals as I can find and see what comes out.

First up is a group of deer-like creatures, each about the size of a house cat. They’re adorable, and they flock around me when I bring out some food and happily eat from my hands. I wait a few minutes, but I don’t see any red gems anywhere, so I move on. Next, I see some massive, bipedal creatures off in the distance; one looks a bit like a giant teddy bear, only with a beak, scaly skin, and sprouts of feathers for eyelashes. My computer tells me the animals are relatively passive, so I get close despite my concerns about their sheer size. Just like the herd of miniature deer, the big bears seem more than happy to gobble up my food. But again, they don’t give me anything in return aside from a few satisfied groans.

No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky

As I wander away from them, I notice something following me. It’s a skittering crab, big enough that it comes up to around my waist. It looks a bit unsettling. Its head is split open down the middle, with huge hairs sprouting up out of the empty space. While I make the trek back to my starship that’s parked in a nearby canyon, the crab doesn’t seem to want to leave me alone. Every time I look behind me, there it is. So I give it a handful of carbon.

It continues to follow me, and when I look back I notice something glowing in the dirt: a bright red gem, exactly what I’ve been looking for. As it follows me, it leaves a trail. After each feeding, I get a half-dozen gems, some of them as big as a basketball. It’s far more than I need. Luckily the substance also fetches a good price on the galactic market, so it won’t go to waste.

With my cargo hold full of crab droppings, I head back into space in search of the next item on my list. The mind arc is a particularly troublesome object; not only does it need a rare gem that’s only excreted by certain aliens, but it also requires a flower that only blooms on planets with a radioactive atmosphere. Sounds safe enough.

Luckily, one such planet happens to be in this solar system, and before I even touch down on the surface, I can see fields of bright yellow flowers. Aside from that, it’s not a particularly attractive planet — the sky is a hazy, nauseating green, and the ever-present acid rain wreaks havoc with my suit — but there is a lot of wildlife. Small dragons glide through the sky, and lizards with powerful jaws putter around, apparently immune to the flesh-melting rains. I manage to get enough plants in less than 10 minutes, and I’m on my way.

No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky

I take the completed arc to a nearby sensor array, conveniently located on the same planet as my ever-growing home base. From there, I’m able to get Artemis’s signal, but we can’t seem to communicate. I can see the alien’s holographic projection, but we can’t hear each other at all. I’m not sure what’s wrong, and it’s frustrating. All that work for... nothing.

I head back into my ship and immediately get a message from Apollo, a robotic alien who has been helping me track Artemis. I tell them everything that has happened: building the arc, the signal issues, and, before that, traveling through a mysterious portal only to be confronted with Atlas. Apollo seems shocked when I mention Atlas. Apparently, the big red ball is worshipped as a god by many alien races. Clearly, they haven’t gotten to know Atlas too well; after spending months following its path, I’m pretty convinced that the entity doesn’t actually know much of anything.

Apollo and I decide that we should finally try to meet up. Of course, in a universe with 18 quintillion planets, this is easier said than done. The plan is this: I’ll locate one of those ancient portals on a nearby planet, translate its runes to activate it, and then send the location data to Apollo so they can seamlessly move from wherever they are to my location. I still don’t know much about how these portals actually work, but it sounds like a decent plan.

At least I don’t have to pick up after any more animals.

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