No Man’s Sky hasn’t even officially released yet, and developer Hello Games was already rewriting the script– literally.
Hello Games founder Sean Murray has just taken to his blog to detail what he’s been up to since the game was first put to disc, and it betrays pure passion for No Man’s Sky. “When we went gold five or six week ago, we posted on twitter, and literally every reply was like ‘hope you are going on a nice holiday!’ Some of us have, but I didn’t want to, not yet. I pictured myself somewhere staring out the window thinking about this game I’ve been working on for five years… In fact most of us were back here the day after we went gold, working on this update. We’re already proud of what we put on a disk, but if we had time, why not continue to update it?”
This update also brilliantly addresses the problem of early players revealing parts of, and burning themselves out on, No Man’s Sky. As Murray explains, “If you had an early copy somehow, your save game will technically work post update, but you will miss out on new content and experiences if you don’t delete your save before updating… We highly recommend deleting your save if you have played before updating your game.” For reasons obvious from the update notes, the game will now play out very differently from how it does pre-patch.
In the interest of clarity, here are Murray’s unadulterated (and lightly spoiling) notes for the day-one No Man’s Sky update:
- “The Three Paths – there are now new, unique “paths” you can follow throughout the game. You must start the game on a fresh save, with the patch, as early choices have significant impact on what you see later in the game, and the overall experience.
- The Universe – we changed the rules of the universe generation algorithm. Planets have moved. Environments have changed biomes. Galaxies have altered shape. All to create greater variety earlier. Galaxies are now up to 10x larger.
- Diversity – Creatures are now more diverse in terms of ecology and densities on planets.
- Planets – we’ve added dead moons, low atmosphere and extreme hazardous planets. Extreme hazards include blizzards and dust storms.
- Atmosphere – space, night time and day skies are now 4x more varied due to new atmospheric system, which refracts light more accurately to allow for more intense sunsets.
- Planet rotation – play testing has made it obvious people are struggling to adjust to this during play so it’s effects have been reduced further…
- Terrain generation – caves up to 128m tall are now possible. Geometric anomalies have been added. Underwater erosion now leads to more interesting sea beds.
- Ship diversity – a wider variety of ships appear per star system, and are available to purchase. Cargo and installed technology now vary more, and ships have more unique attributes.
- Inventory – ship inventories now store 5 times more resources per slot. Suit inventories now store 2.5 times more per slot. This encourages exploration and gives freedom from the beginning. We’re probably going to increase this even further in the next update, for people in the latter game phases, and will allow greater trading potential.
- Trading – trading is deeper. Star systems and planets each have their own wants and needs, based off a galactic economy. Observing these is the key to successful trading. We still working on adjusting this based on how everyone plays, but all trading values have been rebalanced across the galaxy, giving a greater depth. A bunch of trade exploits were uncovered and have been removed
- Feeding – creatures now have their own diet, based on planet and climate. Feeding them correctly will yield different results per species, such as mining for you, protecting the player, becoming pets, alerting you to rare loot or pooping valuable resources.
- Survival – recharging hazard protection requires rare resources, making shielding shards useful again. Storms can be deadly. Hazard protection and suit upgrades have been added. Liquids are often more dangerous
- Graphical effects – Lighting and texture resolution have been improved. Shadow quality has doubled. Temporal AA didn’t make it in time, but it’s so close
- Balancing – several hundred upgrades have had stat changes (mainly exo-suit and ship, but also weapon), new upgrades have been added.
- Combat – Auto Aim and weapon aim has been completely rewritten to feel more gentle in general, but stickier when you need it. Sentinels now alert each other, if they haven’t been dealt with quickly. Quad and Walker AI is now much more challenging, even I struggle with them without a powered up weapon.
- Space Combat – advanced techniques have been introduced, like brake drifting and critical hits. Bounty missions and larger battles now occur. Pirate frequency has been increased, as well as difficulty depending on your cargo.
- Exploits – infinite warp cell exploit and rare goods trading exploit among other removed. People using these cheats were ruining the game for themselves, but people are weird and can’t stop themselves ¯\_(シ)_/¯ [hopefully these emojis are language on some No Man’s Sky planet]
- Stability – foundations for buildings on super large planets. Resolved several low repro crashes, in particular when player warped further than 256 light years in one session (was only possible due to warp cell exploit above).
- Space Stations – interiors are now more varied, bars, trade rooms and hydroponic labs have been added
- Networking – Ability to scan star systems other players have discovered on the Galactic Map, increasing the chance of collision. Star systems discovered by other players appear during Galactic Map flight
- Ship scanning – scanning for points of interest from your ship is now possible. Buildings generate earlier and show up in ship scans
- Flying over terrain – pop-in and shadow artefacts have been reduced. Generation speed has been increased two fold (planets with large bodies of water will be targeted in next update)
- Writing – The Atlas path has been rewritten by James Swallow (writer on Deus Ex) and me. I think it speaks to the over-arching theme of player freedom more clearly now. Early mission text has been rewritten to allow for multiple endings.”
Murray also mentions that upcoming patches will introduce base-building and “own[ing] giant space freighters”. Visually, they promise the temporal AA they just missed and improved rendering of clouds.
Although these updates are exhilarating for those of us waiting for the game, what hits hardest from the blog post is Murray’s unadulterated joy for No Man’s Sky: “I grew up reading Carmack’s .plan files for Quake, so it’s fun to be writing one of my own… This universe we’ve built is a pretty large canvas, we’ve got a lot of ideas. This is the type of game we want to be.”