Exploring simulated game worlds

Ethics in the No Man’s Sky Archaeological Survey

No Man’s Sky is an open world space procedural exploration game which allows players to traverse space in space ships, land on and explore planets. A group of archaeogamers (archaeologists interested in video games for varying reasons) decided to treat the game as an archaeological site, and within the No Man’s Sky Archaeological Survey explore, catalogue findings, and analyze objects and constructs within the game from an archaeological perspective. One of the aspects of this activity was to create a Code of Ethics – this paper describes the creation of the Code, the difficulties in implementation of the Code, and offers some recommendations to game developers who wish to encourage similar archaeological exploration within their own games.


Catherine Flick, De Montfort University, Centre for Computing & Social Responsibility.

L. Meghan Dennis, University of York, Department of Archaeology.

Andrew Reinhard, University of York, Department of Archaeology.



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