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.
We’re under a pretty intense spotlight right now, and hopefully it’s easy to imagine how hard it would be to switch off from that, or how deeply we care about people’s first impression of the game.
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?
Hello Games will continually update No Man’s Sky this way. This is the first of many.
It will be available on Monday for press for review once it exits submission, and on launch for public on PC and PS4. We expect future updates like these to continue to be free.
For 99.9% of people, all you have to do is install the update before you begin to play.
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 (should be obvious why from notes below). We highly recommend deleting your save if you have played before updating your game (we won’t do this in future, but it’s a day zero update).
Servers will be wiped on Sunday and again Monday in the lead up to launch.
Beware these notes contain some spoilers. Here are some things our little team has been up to over the last four or five weeks:
- 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)_/¯
- 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.
I grew up reading Carmack’s .plan files for Quake, so it’s fun to be writing one of my own 🙂
Next up we’re adding the ability to build bases and own giant space freighters. Temporal AA and my new cloud rendering tech should be coming soon too. It will really change the game again, and enhance it visually.
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.