No Man's Sky Wiki
The subject of this article is from the Echoes update.
The information from this article is up-to-date as of 13 February, 2024.

No Mans Sky Wiki:Discussion: Rework Infobox Terrain Parm is a discussion page.


This discussion was started on 8 December 2023 by Lenni009.

Current status: Accepted with changes.

Subject of Discussion

The Planet infobox and Moon infobox both have a "terrain" parameter. So far it hasn't always been clear to everyone what should be put there. We want to define a proper standard that provides value to the page.

Currently, different people use different values for that parameter. Some use the classifications from the Terrain page, others use the "Geology" value from the exploration guide.

The parameter was added in early August 2016, before the game had even launched. Back then, the exploration guide didn't exist yet, so that cannot be what the editor intended for that parameter. Using the terrain types from the Terrain page also has its drawbacks though: It mostly differentiates between water yes/no, and there are some edge cases where people may disagree about the terrain type. There is also a "water" parameter that's specifically made for the distinction between "planet has water" and "planet does not have water", so that would be duplicate as well. In addition, all moons are pangean by that definition, so the terrain parameter does not provide any additional value to moon pages.

There have already been some discussions among the admin team, and we would like to get some additional input and thoughts. The sentiment is mostly to also use the archetypes from the Terrain Archetype page. We are not sure yet about the preferred format though, and would also like to simplify some of these archetypes to make them easier to remember and recognise.

There have been some suggestions so far regarding the infobox structure:

  • Use the archetypes in the terrain parm
    • Could also have a list of archetypes that can be found on the planet, for example "Spires, Floating Islands, Hills"
    • Could also be combined with the general terrain type from the Terrain page: "Continental (Floating Islands)"
    • Geology from the exploration guide can be added as a separate parm if desired
  • Replace the terrain parm with a new parm which will then have these archetypes
    • Same variations as above could be applied here
  • Replace the terrain parm with two new ones, one for the terrain type (from the Terrain page), and one for the archetype (from the Terrain Archetype page)

Regarding the Terrain Archetype page: There are currently 10 general archetypes listed, containing one subtype each. When classifying planet terrain for the infobox, we should focus on a smaller selection of terrain types which are easy to identify. For example "Spires", "Floating Islands" or "Bottomless Pits" are quite easy to identify when landing on a planet (as long as you don't land on an island in the ocean).


  • Some of the archetypes can be hard to recognise, especially if you land on a spot of the planet that does not have them (shore or ocean for example)
  • Moons are mostly flat without much terrain structure, so does this actually provide any value for them?
  • When specifying the level of terrain elevation, where do you set the limit for each type (flatlands, hills, extreme mountains)?

What are your thoughts on this matter? Are you using the terrain parm at all? If yes, what do you put there? What are terrain structures you instantly recognise when exploring a planet?


Add your thoughts below. Please don't forget to sign your posts with ~~~~

Archetypes should be simplified if we use them

Most of what I want to say is already covered in the subject of discussion section above, but I want to put my own personal opinion here as well:

The "Geology" property of the exploration guide was never meant to be put into that parm, and also doesn't provide any direct value (but that can also be said about the atmosphere parm).

For me it's usually quite easy to differentiate between the different terrain types as listed on the Terrain page. There are some edge cases, but even those can be pretty clear when you have good pictures of the planet from space. Confusion mostly arises when pictures do not capture the planet well.

That being said, I understand that having the same value for all moons does pretty much nothing for a page. On planet pages, it just gives one slight differentiation if a planet has water. Speaking of which, I do not believe that a planet can be "mostly or completely water". There's always a bigger landmass somewhere. If anyone has glyphs for a planet that fits the "mostly water" definition, I'd love to have the glyphs (and I bet others would be interested as well).

I personally always avoided the Terrain Archetypes, since they seemed too complex and hard to remember to me. But if we simplified them and broke them down to 5 easily identifyable types which would then also be listed somewhere with more pictures, it could be beneficial.

As noted above, structures like "Floating Islands", "Spires", "Extreme Mountains", "Large Caves" or "Bottomless Pits" are easy to identify when landing on a continent. I don't recall whether moons can have any of that though, so I am also not able to answer that question. Given that the terrain parm is present on planets and moons, we should use values that provide value for both.

It has also been mentioned that the game files might be beneficial to determine terrain. I never looked closely at the biome files, but from what I've seen that's usually a mess of weird descriptors that don't make sense. Like for example LUSHBIGPROPSBIOME or BARRENHQBIOME. Of course someone could try to identify them all by replacing all files with just one type, but that would take hours, if not days.

I'm interested to hear what everyone else thinks :) Lenni (talk) 19:20, 8 December 2023 (UTC)

DHarhans 2c

So part of the planetary procgen actually labels each terrain type, I'll pull together a complete list. So far, I've got over a dozen, including some already mentioned, like FloatingIslands, Craters, and Desert; but there's also ones like LilyPads, Alien, and GrandCanyon; and there's secondary versions for post Origins, AlpinePrime, GrandCanyonPrime, etc... May as well get the full list the game uses before making any firm decisions.

Addendum: So, after looking through about a hundred systems, it looks like there are only 10 distinct terrain generation types: FloatingIslands, Craters, Desert, LilyPad, Alien, GrandCanyon, Alpine, Caverns, MountainRavines, HugeArches I think that's manageable, the key being something we can point to explaining the differences between terrain type, geology, and sub-biome.


Use of surface variations

Terrain can be defined as: "In physical geography, terrain is the lay of the land. This is usually expressed in terms of the elevation, slope, and orientation of terrain features. Terrain affects surface water flow and distribution. Over a large area, it can affect weather and climate patterns." (Source: )

I've been exploring the classifications listed on the Terrain page under the various surface variations. These classifications seem to align well with the definition of terrain and could be effectively utilized within the planet/moon infobox. However, adapting these classifications might necessitate a few additions to encompass all planet and moon types comprehensively.

I find these classifications particularly useful as they convey specific details about the terrain present on a planet or moon. This could be immensely beneficial for readers seeking information about the surface characteristics—whether they're looking for details on flat landscapes, mountainous regions, or other terrain types. Integrating these classifications could significantly enhance the reader's understanding of a celestial body's surface features.

Jgwinn93 (talk) 20:19, 9 December 2023 (UTC)

Comments of Terrain, Archetypes and Water

As discussed sometimes in the past, there is some overlap, as well as undue complexity in how some of the terrain parms are used especially vs the water parm for planets/moons. In addition, I also think our archtype naming needs improvement and simplication.

My proposal is as follows:

water = waterless/Archipelago/Continental (effectively waterless replacing Pangean, which is a nisnomer for waterless planets) Archetypes = (a revised or refined version of current list, I particularly dislike those with mountains subclassification as a qualifier, and suggest it be dropped or they be renamed). It should be noted that planets can contain up to 3 archetypes, although typically only 1 is present. If we define it as a infobox parm, we will need accept a list, probably comma separated, like we do for resource lists currently. Geology = must be an exact match of the exploration guide term if it is used/defined terrain = I dont think we should redefine this legacy parm, as thousands of older pages use it, We should perhaps work towards obsoleting it, similar to how we have handled past obsolete parms, where it only shows for pages prior to the last release, but our current release Echoes and forward we do not display it on the infobox (this is debatable, but a suggestion - I just dont want to *lose* the existing terrain parm for all the thousands of planet pages

celabgalactic (talk) 06:58, 10 December 2023 (UTC)celab99

Water: The planet infobox says that the "water" parm should be Yes/No, depending on whether a planet has water or not. I think this is very intuitive and shouldn't be changed.
Archetypes: I fully agree with you.
Geology: I don't think such a parm is necessary. Its value doesn't have any effect on gameplay and also doesn't define how the planet looks, it's just some procedural sugar that can be mentioned in the page body (a template with a geology parm for exactly this purpose is already on the planet preload).
Terrain: Nobody wants to remove the "terrain" parm from the infobox code. So nothing will get lost. I also wouldn't include any logic to hide it in newer versions. This will just be a maintenance nightmare. We can simply remove it from the preload, that should already cut down on the usage of that parm (see the "water" or "misc" parms). And if someone decides to use it anyway, what's the harm?
Lenni (talk) 12:35, 10 December 2023 (UTC)

Seems like good adjustments and caveats

Hello all! Thanks again to the Admins for making this discussion open and allowing community input!

I've been on either side of this discussion while making pages and seeing the short-comings of the current setup - and while reading though this forum reading different opinions.

  • The water parameter seems most intuitive as a yes/no binary choice. Having to pulse to the far side of a planet to ensure you're not missing the various water sub-types is tedious and there's subjectivity built in.
  • I agree the Archetypes are a bit misleading and could use clarification before being utilized.
  • The Geology flavor text in the exploration screen is as useful as a bunch of other nonsense-text we add to the wiki. I allows for the player's imagination to be engaged and offers another point of referent for immersion (yes like the useless atmosphere param, and diet and notes for fauna, etc). Making it optional like the terrain param seems agreeable.
  • the Terrain param after those additions and adjustments seems redundant, if I'm understanding this correctly. Deprecating it in future uses of the preload seems logical.

ItalicInterloper (talk) 16:09, 14 December 2023 (UTC)

Somewhat of a Conclusion and Next Steps

Since there hasn't been much activity here recently, I'd like to close this discussion fairly soon. But there also hasn't really been a consensus on how to move forward.

Some points that were brought up by multiple people:

  • water parm: 1 editor said it should be repurposed, 2 said it should stay as Yes/No.
  • terrain/archetypes parm: There has been general agreement that we should simplify the archetypes. One editor suggested that the "Surface Variations" from the Terrain page should be used ("Flat/Plains", "Hilly/Mountainous"...). One other editor was against any of these "mountain" classifiers. A third editor has pointed out (although not here on the page) that at least the "Mountainous" type can still be useful.

There have been some ideas as to what new archetypes should be named or what even to choose from the list. As I said above, the "Mountainous" type was one of these ideas. Some other ideas were some names that are used by the game internally. Not all of them are easily identifyable though in my opinion.

Here's my specific proposal:

  • We keep the "terrain" parm for the Waterless/Continental/Archipelago differentiation, in case people still want to use it.
  • We add a new "terrainfeatures" parm, which is intended for a list of the following 6 terrain features (whichever apply to a planet):
    • Floating Islands
    • Huge Caves
    • Bottomless Pits
    • Spires (tall, pointy)
    • Monoliths (square, round, pyramid)
    • Extreme Mountains

Here are some visual examples, mostly taken from the Terrain Archetypes page:

Is that a good compromise that we all can agree on? If no, what should be changed (or did I miss anything)?

If yes, I'd put that as the result of this discussion and move any further terrain-type-specific discussion needs to the talk page of the terrain archetypes page. IMO we should also split between "Archetypes" and "Features" (I wouldn't call "Monoliths", "Spires" or "Floating Islands" archetypes, they are just features that the terrain has. "Extreme Mountains" would be an archetype IMO, but maybe I just don't understand the word correctly), but that is a different discussion that we can have on that talk page.

Let me know what you think :) Lenni (talk) 18:08, 18 December 2023 (UTC)

Since apparently there aren't any issues with this, I'll move forward with this plan. Lenni (talk) 18:43, 25 December 2023 (UTC)


The proposal to rework the way we handle terrain in infoboxes has been accepted, with the following specifics:

  • Keep the "terrain" parm for the Waterless/Continental/Archipelago differentiation (-> names have changed to be clearer), in case people still want to use it.
  • Keep the "water" parm as a Yes/No indicator.
  • Add a new "terrainfeatures" parm, which is intended for a list of the following 6 terrain features (whichever apply to a planet):
    • Floating Islands
    • Huge Caves
    • Bottomless Pits
    • Spires (tall, pointy)
    • Monoliths (square, round, pyramid)
    • Extreme Mountains

This thread is now closed. If there is a need to further discuss the matter, please use the talk page.

Discussion about the specific terrain features brought up here can be conducted on the Talk:Terrain or Talk:Terrain Archetype page.