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No Man’s Sky Superformula Not Stolen, Allows Gamers To Use Only This Much Disk Space Despite Featuring Quintillion Planets [Part 1]

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Screenshots from No Man’s Sky

No Man?s Sky looks to achieve what no other game has ever done–create a truly free and immersive role playing game in an amazingly vast universe. It is said to feature 18 Quintillion planets that one can descend to and explore. It has tons of life forms but only a small fraction exists in the planets of its vast digital universe–much like our own. Everything can be fitted in 6GB of disk space. And sorry folks, it wasn?t Richard Hendricks and Pied Piper who made it. It?s Sean Murray and Hello Games team.

The Superformula Controversy

How did they do this? That?s what programmers call procedural generation. This is the setting of initial conditions or algorithmic procedures to help create game entities. One of these formulas that helps creating natural looking objects is the ?Superformula?.

This has been created by Belgian biologist Johan Gielis. In a report by JV Chamary, a science journalist and evolutionary biologist, in his Forbes article Gielis is a visiting professor of bioengineering at the University of Antwerp and a chief scientific officer for a few companies that plan to monetize his equation.

This ?Superformula? is a ?generic geometric transformation that unifies a wide range of natural and abstract shapes?. This equation is said to put different shapes in a continuum as put by Chamary. This enables one shape to morph into another by just changing a few values in the formula making it useful for software and gaming. This, suggested in several reports, was used by Sean Murray and Hello Games in creating No Man?s Sky without permission.

One company that is developing software applications for the Superformula is Genicap. This dutch company believes Murray has used it without permission. This is allegedly a intellectual property rights violation as the Superformula has been patented by Geilis in Europe in 2005 and 2009 in the US.

Murray though has been adamant to have not used it.

He also said that he wishes Geilis all the best and he will chat math?s with him once the game is out.

If there is a patent infringement for the Superformula, No Man?s Sky might take longer to release. It may not even be released at all. Until proven guilty, Murray and his team should be considered and treated innocent. Also, they should be lauded for the great job that they did that may lead the advance in the scale and quality of gaming through its heavy use of procedural generation.

Click here for the second part of this No Man?s Sky series.

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