AppleInsider managed to catch a few moments with Hello Games CEO Sean Murray to ask him a few questions about the release of “No Man’s Sky” on Mac. Here’s what he had to say.
‘No Man’s Sky’ is now available on Mac
no man’s skythrown out
on Mac via Steam today, June 1, with highly optimized Metal frameworks. It can run on any Mac with Apple Silicon and even certain Intel models.
We managed to ask Hello Games CEO Sean Murray a few questions about the development of the game for Mac and how it came about in the first place. While we didn’t waste your time digging for information on a future Apple VR release, he did hint that Metal opens doors for the future, so stay tuned.
Talking to Sean Murray
: no man’s sky Originally launched in 2016 to a moderate reception, it has expanded an incredible amount and found a loyal fan base. It is available on PC, console, and even in VR.
Our first question is why Mac and why now? Is it the transition from Apple Silicon and MetalFX that pushed your team to the limit, or have you been looking at the Mac all along?
be: We’ve always been big fans of Apple hardware. joe danger it was our first game and it was successful on iOS.
the last campfire It was a recent passion project for us and was one of the first Apple Arcade titles. In fact, no man’s sky it’s our only title not on the App Store.
As a development team, we watch Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference every year with excitement to see what shiny new technology they’re going to reveal. Moving our engine to Vulkan brought us closer to Metal, and when Apple Silicon was announced, the opportunity and challenge were too tempting to pass up.
As with most projects at Hello Games, it started out as a pet project of a couple of people without really thinking about whether it was feasible. But little by little, as the team progressed, the path became clear and more and more exciting.
Explore an almost infinite universe in ‘No Man’s Sky’
: A statement here says that the game will be released first on Steam for Mac, and it’s a free update for those who already have the game on Steam for PC. But it will also release it on the Mac App Store later.
What is the reasoning here? Why not stick with Steam or a web store? Or is it about getting the game in front of as many users as possible on Mac, Steam users or not?
be: The idea of giving away the Mac version to our millions of existing Steam players was really exciting to us. We love doing things like that, it’s a mindset that has driven us through seven years of free updates and releasing a VR version as a free update too.
As a developer, I think you want the most people to play this game that you love and have worked so hard on. I guess that’s the thinking that means we want to release on Mac, make it a free update where it can be, and offer it on Steam and the App Store.
appleinsider: Can you talk about the challenges of bringing no man’s sky to Apple Silicon using MetalFX? Was the process difficult, and if you can tell, how involved was Apple in helping make this work?
be: We have been working on this change to metal for almost two years. About halfway through, Apple got involved as a close and very helpful partner, we couldn’t have done it without them.
It would probably be easier to do a basic port of a game to a new architecture, but we wanted it to feel like a native game, something built for the hardware. It meant adopting a new rendering pipeline, shifting development to Xcode and Mac machines, and overhauling everything from controls to load times to reimplementing multiplayer.
It’s certainly painstaking and meticulous work, but it wasn’t painful, it’s the kind of challenge we enjoy.
Procedurally generated worlds and animals await sorting by the player.
: We are fans of no man’s skyBut this isn’t the first Hello Games property to hit Apple platforms. As he said before, his company famously made joe danger available for iPhone in 2013, and to this day there is a version of the game for iPhone and iPad. Hello Games also released the last campfire for Apple Arcade, one of our favorites.
Are there plans for more Apple Arcade games or App Store titles in the future?
be: Absolutely, we are working on new games, and Mac and iOS are something we always consider. with the release of no man’s sky on Mac, all of our games so far will have hit the App Store at some point.
What we love about the App Store is that it allows us to reach people who would love our games but might not have heard of them otherwise.
appleinsider: no man’s sky it runs on Apple Silicon, which means M1, M2 or higher chipsets in that line. But Macs aren’t the only products running those chipsets.
Has your team examined the possibility of bringing no man’s sky to M-series iPads? Are there any difficulties bringing it to that platform vs. the Mac?
be: Bringing no man’s sky to Mac is one thing. In many ways, it’s an extension of the PC user base we’ve nurtured over the past seven years.
Getting it to iPads is something else entirely! Suddenly you have to consider a new UI, battery life, things like that, and you have to consider the audience and how they like to play your games.
People will ask if we are running out of ideas or enthusiasm to update no man’s sky. In fact, I tend to find that every step we take to update the game opens up more and more opportunities that we want to explore.
Technology-wise, our move to Vulkan opened the door for Metal, and our move to VR opened the door for Switch and mobile hardware.
Like you, I’m excited to see where a move into Metal could lead in the future. This is just our next step in a longer journey.
Beware of the sentinels that patrol the galaxy
: One last bonus question. What type of Apple technology is used in Hello Games, if any? And for you personally, Sean?
Do you get the new iPhone every year or do you stick with one for a while? Do you use a Mac or iPad? Our readers would love to know.
be: I think the thing I like most about Mac development is that we get the excuse to go out and buy a bunch of high-end Macs and Macbooks. There is a corner of the office that now looks like an Apple Store.
I’ve been an iPhone guy from the beginning, I think ever since I worked at joe danger for the iPhone 3G. I do a lot of work on my phone, I’d be lost without it.
The little rule I have with myself is that I skip at least one or two iPhone generations, then when I do allow myself a new one, it feels like a really exciting jump.
no man’s sky on Mac
That’s all the time we had with Sean Murray. Releasing a game on Mac is a big step, and perhaps what is revealed at WWDC will get the Hello Games team working on something new.
no man’s sky
is available on Steam for $59.99. It will be released on the Mac App Store at a later date.