The availability of early No Man’s Sky copies has resulted in a torrent of discussion. Several impressions haven’t been so kind, causing some consumers to cancel their pre-orders, while others have held on uncomfortably.
This has become much worse during the past few days as small retailers across the globe have dishonored No Man’s Sky‘s street date, allowing consumers to purchase the game ahead of launch with no questions asked. The game is now in the hands of thousands of consumers who haven’t hesitated to play, livestream, and share their opinion of how the game feels in its pre-launch form.
The problem is that No Man’s Sky pre-launch form is, for all intents and purposes, an unfinished game. A day one update has been in the works, which will go live tomorrow. This update is said to include changes and additions that are important enough that Hello Games has requested reviewers to not publish their opinions until they experience the update first-hand.
Without an explanation as to what the update includes, many have been skeptical as to whether or not it’ll impact the game in any significant way. All this skepticism has been ravaged in one fell blow.
This morning Hello Games released specific information regarding the day one update that it will publish tomorrow. The details are far beyond what anyone expected, improving the game across the board in noticeable ways. Exploration has more variables at play, combat is more complex and rewarding, and there’s a cohesive narrative flow that the current version of the game simply doesn’t have.
Weighing in at 800MB, this is what the update will include:
- 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.
In addition to the above, Hello Games will be implementing base building, temporal AA, as well as “giant space freighters” in the near future.
These changes are about as big as you’ll ever see from a day one update. What makes this particularly surprising is Hello Games is only a team of 15 developers. The fact that it as able to put this together in the amount of time that it did is nothing short of remarkable, and shows that it has been working long hours during the past month.
Although some consumers will hold onto the early impressions and possibly shy away from the game, it’s only fair that No Man’s Sky is judged as the game it will be following the patch tomorrow, not what it was in its incomplete state.
Stay tuned for our impressions on the game, which will be based on its post-update state.