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The biology of No Man’s Sky relates to its living organisms and their ecology. This section describes general principles and only uses specific species as examples. This wiki does not offer lists of individual species' details. More details can be found on the Fauna and Flora pages.

Exclusions

  • Human characters are not known to be endemic in any of the biomes in this universe.
  • Neither are the game's NPCs[1] (sentient aliens).

Creation

All life is spawned initially by a process called procedural generation - a rules engine underlying the production of most natural features in the game to create ecosystems that are cohesive. For creatures, basic templates of creatures that exist on the Earth were created and then manipulated by the system, changing everything from height, weight, bone density, voice pitch, what it eats, and its behaviors, even creating variation within the species.

Replacing the genetic code on Earth with this rules engine, what we are looking for in NMS biology is emergent phenomena – often quite unpredictable, and as we are already discovering, beautifully strange. But in addition to direct observation, there will be some intuitive clues to behaviour using what Grant Duncan has called a ‘tagging system’[2] involving colours, body parts or combinations. He went on to tell Gameinformer, “If you see a creature that looks aggressive and a little bit scary, chances are it's going to behave in that way.”

Whilst procedural generation will start from scratch for any new visitor to a planet, the initial factors being fed into the algorithm should be identical, such that each character will see the same types of creatures and behaviours, if not the identical individuals (unless two characters are close enough to each other to be placed in the same game lobby); indeed it appears that species extinctions are not possible.

Research

Resources

Exosuit

As well as survival functions for temperature, radiation and toxicity (along with replenishment requirements and upgrade options), you can use your suit for moving both on solid ground and in liquids. The jetpack portion can help with steep terrain, overhead visual surveys, crossing liquids, and escape.

Starship

Your ship’s scanner is very powerful and can help you locate likely places on a planet, or even in your galaxy, to find life, which could otherwise only turn up on 1 in 10 planets you might visit randomly[3], and be prolific in only 1 in 10 of those. A more advanced ship can also travel further enabling you to explore more NMS biology.

Multi-tool

You might learn about some aspects of NMS Biology by using your weapon on wildlife – although good luck with the sentinels which are likely to start to hunt you down. They may be more forgiving if you are simply using your weapon in self defense; they also do not always seem able to connect dead flying animals with the shooter. Before update 1.07, aside from the extremely rare occasion when a high flying animal appeared to fly stationary, the most viable way to direct the scanner towards it long enough was to shoot it and scan it where it fell. Since the update, look amongst the flocks for individuals or bands flying in leisurely circles which are easier to track with the analysis visor.

Death in 30 seconds Zunumulchica Aablar Female00:31

Death in 30 seconds Zunumulchica Aablar Female

Three hits to disable a shield, four more critical hits to oblivion: yours in under 30 seconds on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy

More constructively, you can use different multi-tool configurations to scare creatures, both for self defense and to learn about behaviour (best if then used in a structured and proportionate way, as sentinels don’t like to see ecosystems too stressed). Oh, and try to find a high rock to shoot or scan from in dangerous conditions. (See how quickly you could die if you can't defend yourself from a vicious carnivore, in this video.)

The scanner function is vital and can be upgraded in the game. As TheSeaOfThySoul[4] asks, “...find that you can’t scan a creature? Perhaps it’s too big for your scanner to recognise, perhaps your scanner won’t work in the dark, or underwater, etc.”

Compass

Learn to use this, and to use keypoints, so as not to get lost in your explorations.

Beacons

These are places where you can upload discoveries; do it regularly or you will lose any made if killed since the last upload.

Encyclopaedia

This is where you can find details of all the creatures you have come across.

Money

Discovering new species also earns you Units – and rare or nocturnal species earn more – which can be put to use upgrading your suit, multi-tool, and spaceship, each of which can then enable more advanced, safer, or more long distance research.

Biochemistry

Certain elements are known to cycle through living organisms in NMS:

  • Carbon is available from most binomialdef plantsdef.
  • Oxides and silicates are available from other binomial plants (although unlike mineral deposits, it is not yet clear if the proportion of these varies with the planet's specific geology).
  • Carbon cycles through animalsdef, some of which appear to liberate small quantities when they die.
  • Some geovoresdef eat mineral deposits directly and may liberate small quantities when they die.
  • Some animals defecate certain minerals after being fed.

Physiology

Liquid medium

Terrestrial

We have already been presented with examples[5].

Aquatic

We have already been presented with examples[5].
Semi-aquatic

A semi-aquatic animal

Semi-aquatic

We have already been presented with examples[5].

Nutrition

Carnivores

Before the game was released, we anticipated carnivorous energy derivation from both animals (including fishes[6]) and plants[7].

Herbivores

Before the game was released, we anticipated herbivorous energy derivation, given multiple pre-release videos.

Geovores

Patch 1.03 introduced the ability for some animals to eat minerals.

Defecation

Patch 1.03 introduced the ability of some animals to defecate minerals.

Temperature

Cryophiles

Before the game was released, we had already seen footage including animals and vegetation living in temperatures below -163 °C.[1]

Thermophiles

Thermophiles

Before the game was released, we had already seen footage including animals and vegetation living in temperatures above 750 °C.[8]

Morphology

All life forms so far encountered in NMS are large enough to assume they are multi-cellular. There is no clear evidence yet of single-cellular life forms.

We’ve already seen a huge range of external structures in animals, from horns and hooves, to skin colour, to wings and fins; in flora it includes trunks, branches, leaves, colours; all of which in due course need some kind of comparative analysis. (Anatomy deals with internal structures.)

A note on terminology: NMS only uses Earth as an analogy, but biology differs significantly enough that modified terminology is adopted in this Wiki. See the Glossary for more details regarding this site's decision to use a single suite of endings (-ped) for vertebrates and another (-pod) for invertebrates.

Crypsis

This is the propensity for an organism to avoid detection. We’ve seen examples of disruptive colouration in terrestrial vertebrates.

Gender

Whilst gender is critical to reproduction, it also has morphological consequences in animals at times.

Pathology

Trauma

We know that animals can be killed, sometimes with an associated dying call[9], and sometimes liberating a small quantity of a mineral.

Behaviour

Temperament

A number of pre-assigned temperaments affect the ways animals interact with each other and game characters.

Aggression

We have seen examples of aggression, passivity, and fleeing[10].

Learning

We have seen examples of evasion increasing amongst survivor animals after a killing[10].

Groups

We have seen examples of larger, smaller, tighter, and looser groups, as well as lone creatures[10].

Reproduction

We know that the creatures we see will be able to reproduce, but what that might entail we don't know[11]. However, we are aware of a number of genders amongst the animals.

Cave living

We’ve seen troglobites (which live outside fluids)[1].

Locomotion

Carnivorous plants are sessile (fixed) but able to actively reach out to attack prey.

The scope and scale of animal movement is extensive.

Crypsis

This is the propensity for an organism to avoid detection.

Nocturnality

Apparently some creatures will only be visible at night[12].

Predation

We have been told that planets range from those with none, to those with only predators[1].

Domestication

Notes about the zero day update released by Sean Murray[13] make the following points:

Feeding – creatures now have their own diet, based on planet and climate. Feeding them correctly will yield different results per species, such as mining for you, protecting the player, becoming pets, alerting you to rare loot or pooping valuable resources.

Evolution

Whilst there are no indications that we can explore any planet’s paleontology, it does seem that animals will be able to breed and evolve[11].

Classification

The discoverer of most animals and larger plants is able to rename them. However, they come with binomialdef names already, and given that either name may be repeated within a single planetary system suggests evolutionary links between species, so we need to retain the original binomial in our classification structure (or taxonomy) and not use our own familiar names here.

(NB: Don't confuse mononomialdef mineral specimens with floral fungoidsdef or faunal coralloidsdef - another reason to avoid renaming specimens required to aid our taxonomy.)

A number of criteria are used to devise our NMS taxonomy. Those for its flora and fauna are slightly different and are explained on their respective pages.

This table is only a structure and does not extend to the speciesdef levels (i.e. it focuses on the beta taxonomy rather than the alpha taxonomy which focuses on identifying individual specimens). Experimental additions to beta taxonomy can be done and discussed on this page.

More details, with examples, are given in the relevant flora classification and fauna classification tables. Anomialdef organisms also belong in our taxonomy, but they will need to be named and those pages are where it can be done.

Kingdon Division Class Order Family
Flora
Plants
Binomial
Carbon
Bananoid Tree
Blade
Blade shrub
Conifer tree
Fan
Fern
Fern Tree
Floss Shrub
Floss Tree
Flower
Leafless tree
Lobed
Lobed Shrub
Lobed Tree
Luminescent
Succulent Tree
Carnivorous
Whip
Isotope
Thamium9
Oxide
Zinc
Silicate
Platinum
Utility
Health
Protection
Shield
Anomial
Terrestrial
Flower
Bush
Sward
Subterranean
Fern
Lobed
Luminescent
Succulent
Fungoids
Terrestrial
Commensal
Ball
Bracket
Subterranean
Detritus
Bubbles
Toadstool
Fauna
Animal
Invertebrate
Anomial
Flying
Binomial
Hexapoddef
Octapoddef
Decapoddef
Vertebrate
Binomial
Fish
Zeropeddef
Monopeddef
Bipeddef
Tetrapeddef
Auxiliary-winged tetraped
Limb-winged tetraped
Mixed-wing tetraped
Hexapeddef
Flying fish
Coralloid

Ecology

It appears that any given planet has only minor variations around a single biome, including prevailing weather[7]. Hence, we might expect ecosystems to function at very large levels on any given plant (e.g. water, land, caves, and air), although exceptions are worth keeping an eye out for (e.g. any difference between 'sea' and 'lake', or inter-stellar life forms), and all liquids are not necessarily water[11].

Food webs

Carnivores

We were made pre-aware of the existence of carnivores, both amongst animals and plants[7].

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 No Man's Sky: 21 Minutes of New Gameplay - IGN First
  2. A Look At No Man’s Sky’s Creature Features
  3. This is the most ambitious game in the universe
  4. “What do you do in No Man’s Sky?” and other questions – Answered
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 No Man's Sky - The Story, Gameplay, and Multiplayer Explained
  6. An Assortment Of Lesser-Known No Man's Sky Facts
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Special Edition Podcast: No Man's Sky
  8. No Man's Sky: A Tour of 5 Beautiful Planets
  9. No Man's Sky: 6 Minutes of Exploration Gameplay – IGN First
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 No Man's Sky: 18 Minute Gameplay Demo - IGN First
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 No Man’s Sky: A Vast Game Crafted by Algorithms
  12. Information Archive
  13. Update 1.03

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