No Man's Sky's very own Rapture is too big to visit

An astronaut floating in front of a sunken city.
(Image credit: Hello Games)

No Man's Sky is a vast, endless universe full of skies to explore, planets to catalogue, and alien mysteries to unravel. But sod all that, because one astronaut has spent the last few years building a neon metropolis at the bottom of the ocean—and now, it's finally finished.

This weekend, NMS explorer Chongsparks put the finishing touches on a project 18 months in the making—a vast, undersea factory sprawl he calls the "Thermal Underwater Research Development". 

Chongsparks was quietly piecing together this undersea metropolis with no great masterplan at first, save that it would be built at the bottom of the sea—an older tweet shows that he simply started off stacking base buildings together, adding layers of extra rooms, pipes, walkways and decorations haphazardly with each new session.

"I always choose location first & let the landscape decide what should be built," Chongsparks told us via DM. "Then an idea forms & the base just grows, almost by itself. Sometimes I have a plan but those bases usually end up going nowhere."

If you feel like paying the site a visit, Chongsparks does provide a glyph code (an arcane system for teleporting across NMS's galaxy, which can be seen in the header image). But he warns that, due to the tricks used to build beyond the game's object limit, visitors won't be able to experience the build in its staggering totality.

A massive cyberpunk city at the bottom of the ocean.

(Image credit: Hello Games.)

They'll only see a fraction of this place because, at roughly 1500 objects ("it's a hard guess to make"), the facility pushes up against No Man's Sky's build points limits. Basically NMS assigns points values to objects based on complexity, with a cap on 3,000 points for public bases. But the community has developed plenty of tricks for making the most of this real estate.

"The great builders will factor in all sorts of things to stretch what they can get NMS to do. Planet type (dead worlds are best), avoiding high point value build parts... these are a few of the things they consider. Plus they all use brilliantly creative glitching, which I only use on a very minor scale."

It's tricks like these that let NMS build anything from Doom's E1M1 to the Notre Dame. But there's something quietly admirable about going in with a blank canvas and feeling out a base until it becomes a colossal, neon sprawl.

Besides, even if Chongsparks is the only person who'll ever swim around it in its entirely, we can all enjoy some properly stunning photographs—something No Man's Sky has always excelled at.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.