The Beyond update for No Man's Sky brought many new systems and mechanics, including electricity, logic, and milk. It also lets players cook, and this development has many would-be and already thriving restaurateurs eager to open up shop for real.
Players have been gradually developing space in No Man's Sky since base building was added, finding planets to call home and put up shop. But a home wasn't exactly quite right; while Holly Valero, a No Man's Sky player, wanted a roof over her head rather than another night in the spaceship, she wanted a smaller base with a little more personality.
So she turned to her hometown of Maine, where you can throw a stone and hit three Dunkin' Donuts, and built up the first Galaxy Donuts. "Because who doesn't like donuts," she told me in an email.
This was originally part of the Galactic Hub Project, one of several where players teamed up to form communities within No Man's Sky. Though Valero was "Interloper 12" on the project, the community has grown to 17,000, and Galaxy Donuts grew with it. Using her background as a designer, artist, and web developer, Valero developed logos, promotional materials, and other content around Galaxy Donuts. She even made franchise forms and guidelines, as Galaxy Donuts began to expand out to other player civilizations like the Alliance of Galactic Travelers.
The work is extensive, with every Galaxy Donuts following Valero's guidelines including portal access, trading terminals, and landing pads. It's even handicap accessible, bar one location, and spans platforms from PlayStation 4 to PC and Xbox One. She keeps track of all the development on her Twitter, under the guise of an enterprising Gek named Toilgek Polo.
"In the early years he sold his donuts from the cargo slots of a C Class hauler he found crashed in the desert and repaired slowly," says a fictional company history. "After rescuing a Gek freighter captain who turned out to be a distant uncle, Polo got his first freighter. The ambitious Gek worked tirelessly and eventually built the first Galaxy Donuts."
What's important to note here is that, up until Beyond, Galaxy Donuts didn't have any donuts. Prior to the update, it was a role play exercise. But with food, Valero is planning to bring real food to her in-game establishment.
Of course, the recipes have to come from somewhere. Valero points me to YouTuber Xaine Khlorik, whose food guide has already become very helpful. Xaine tells me he used mod tools to mine the data within the Beyond update, and organize it into a workable, readable table. He's already very into the Beyond update, and he's hopeful for cooking's future.
"At the moment it is a means of gathering nanites and for some roleplay fun, but I feel it could become greater than that, potentially, with changes to the buffs gained from the food," Xaine tells me over Discord. "Currently all food gives you a minor increase to life support charge. I think a vast improvement would be to add buffs that compliment the food, so sugar-filled doughnuts giving a haste buff of some kind, either quicker run speed or jetpack tank buff."
Through Xaine's discoveries, and what other players are finding, restaraunt ideas are starting to pop up across the universe. In the Broomerai galaxy, the Avocado Bar and Grill is undergoing renovations, but is currently open to applications for positions like head chef, bartender, electrician, and valet. Some explorers are simply enjoying grilling in the great outdoors. Xaine is opening his own restaurant in his area of space: Hell's Kitchen, with a stylish seating area and its own farm for raising fauna and growing crops. A farm-to-table experience, right there in No Man's Sky.
For a franchise like Galaxy Donuts, there's a lot to get off the ground. Valero says she's currently working on reopening a few shops before she starts rolling out the donut selection, though she sent a list of a few recipes she's been experimenting with, including honeybutter, jam, cocoa, and caramel doughnuts, as well as the enigmatic Anomalous Doughnut. She also plans on starting a food truck service, to bring Galaxy Donuts to weary travelers across the stars.
A lot of No Man's Sky, up to this point, has been propped up by the idea of player-built society, role play, and investment into building systems not present in the manual. It's a sandbox, and players like Xaine and Valero are building castles. But with the Beyond update, there's some loving help given to those player-builders, letting them act out a little more of their in-game fantasy and share it with others.
"I am a day-one player of No Man's Sky and obviously love the game, but the people in the Hub are so much fun and have created such a terrific community that without them? I might still be sleeping in my ship," Valero says. "No Man's Sky proves the point that you can have the whole universe to explore, but without someone to share that with? Well, it's just not that fun."
If you're looking to get building just like these chefs, be sure to check out our guides section for No Man's Sky for some helpful pointers.