No Man's Sky is a lot of things: a base builder, a survival game, a first-person space flight sim - and, as of its latest update, a tool for creating electronic music. No Man's Sky's newest feature is the ByteBeat Device, which Hello Games describes as "a full audio creation application." Judging from ByteBeat's reveal trailer, that's an accurate description. This thing is stacked.
"Once placed in your base and powered, the ByteBeat will immediately begin to produce sound," Hello Games explains. "ByteBeat formulas are made out of simple waveforms that are manipulated through maths – but by default, the device handles all of the mathematical heavy lifting, procedurally generating random presets for you to play with. Dedicated audiophiles have the option to explore deeper, manually sketching out note sequences, rhythms, and even manipulating the raw sounds."
How fitting that No Man's Sky, a game which always pushed the power of math as the catalyst for its near-infinite universe, is now using math to make music. As Hello Games notes, ByteBeat music has been around for a few years. Simply put, ByteBeat is minimalist electronic music made using tiny programs. It's possible to recreate, or at least convincingly mimic, all sorts of sounds and rhythms using ByteBeat, and it looks like No Man's Sky's take on the genre will allow players to do just that.
The reveal trailer for the game's aptly named ByteBeat Device shows a sequencer, synchroniser, and waveform tree, not to mention nested arrangements and synchronized devices. As Hello Games says, musically minded players will be able to do a lot with this tool kit, and will undoubtedly "take it and run with it in all sorts of unexpected directions."
The latest No Man's Sky patch notes are rich with Synthesis and quality-of-life updates.