How Microsoft’s cloud tech helps keep No Man’s Sky’s Expeditions a surprise

In a talk at this year’s Develop: Brighton conference Iain Brown, senior programmer at No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games, has given some insight into how Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing tech has helped players share the game’s procedurally generated universe. And, it turns out it’s come in handy in helping to bring one of this year’s biggest new features to life – and then keep them a surprise.

In a case study talk with Harvey Eagle, director of Azure gaming at Microsoft at the conference, Brown explains how the service’s cloud-based tech has helped keep players interested. It seems No Man’s Sky’s Expeditions, the shared, seasonal exploratory mode rolled into the space game earlier this year, are a great example. For context, these are time-limited events that arrive in-game on a regular basis, though each is “unique” in terms of its exact duration and the milestones (open-ended challenges) players will have to hit to complete it. So, naturally, these Expeditions are something Hello Games would want to keep a surprise until they’re rolled out and ready for players to discover.

“We don’t want people hacking the game client to unlock this mode early or seeing what’s coming, or whatever, so all that data lives in the cloud,” Brown explains, referring to the Expeditions. “It lives in table storage within Azure and then, at a given time, it will be downloaded to all the clients as they need it.”

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