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Starfield: A Vast Universe of Exploration and Procedural Generation

In the highly-anticipated RPG, Starfield, from Bethesda Game Studios, players can expect an experience unlike any other. With a vast sea of stars and over 1,000 planets in the galaxy, the game offers a world of exploration and discovery. While not every planet will be teeming with life, there will be at least over a hundred that players can explore.

Bethesda's Head of Publishing, Pete Hines, encourages players to roam the surface of any planet they come across, except for hazardous gas giants. However, there will be no ground vehicles like rovers or mechs to ease the journey. The game aims to capture the quiet majesty of space, where approximately only 10% of planets show signs of life.

Procedural generation is a key component of Starfield. Bethesda has previously experimented with this technology in The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall. While some players felt that the procedurally generated locations lacked depth, the hope is that the procedural generation in Starfield will be more sophisticated. The game generates terrains and features on 1 km tiles, aligning what players see from space with their experiences on the ground.

Bethesda has developed an algorithm that uses procedural generation to build entire planets, taking into account variables like temperature to modify assets used in specific worlds. This ensures that each playthrough is distinctive, even though there are over 1,000 planets created using procedural generation. While some planets may be more empty, offering resources or untouched nature, Bethesda has also included pockets of hand-crafted content such as large cities, dungeons, and space stations.

Starfield aims to redefine open-world gaming and push the boundaries of exploration and procedurally generated content. Bethesda's ambition is clear, and the game promises a massive and immersive experience. As players eagerly await its release, only time will tell if Starfield lives up to the colossal expectations it has set.

– Pete Hines Twitter: @DCDeacon
– IGN interview at Gamescom
– No Man's Sky and Elite Dangerous (video games)