Replicant City is probably the closest thing No Man’s Sky has to Times Square, but in space. Looking at it, you’d think that someone at Hello Games must put the locale together, but no. Replicant City was built by a small team of No Man’s Sky architects who push the game to its limits.
Normally, what you see above isn’t even possible — not without the use of “glitch building.” As the name implies, No Man’s Sky players use bugs to force parts together. Doing so at scale can be taxing on the game, and according to builder JC Hysteria, merely finding a spot that could handle something this complex took about a week. Replicant City resides in the middle of a dead world with low atmosphere, because it’s the only way the game can handle displaying the player creation.
“Planets with a large amount of fauna and flora greatly hurt the render,” JC Hysteria explained.
ERBurroughs, another mastermind behind Replicant City, notes that player imagination often outstrips what the game can actually do — and so, compromises must be made.
“As a group, we tend to all have grandiose ideas, that … our PS4s just can’t handle,” he said. If No Man’s Sky builders aren’t careful, their PS4s can crash. “We often overbuild, then reduce the number of parts, down to what is only necessary to convey the idea.”
The planet housing Replicant City was partially picked because it was a moon with deep trenches, which helped players build long walls. The idea was to channel a little bit of Blade Runner and The Fifth Element. All told, it took about 20 hours to build.
With the Beyond update landing this week, there’s an understandable amount of excitement over what players will be able to build with added support from Hello Games. Perhaps No Man’s Sky players won’t have to rely as much on glitches to make wondrous builds? One can hope.
“With news of larger base complexity, new parts, logic gates, and more, our minds are spinning,” ERBurroughs said. “Our hope is to take what new toys we are given and up the ante on what we already do!”