No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival video game developed and published by the indie studio Hello Games for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows PC. The game was released worldwide in August 2016 to mixed reviews.
After a short hiatus, the Pixels and Ink Podcast is back, bringing with it a new format. Now focusing each episode on two separate debates, the crew at CGM hope this format will help give give our readers a deeper look at the big stories of the week.
This week the crew tackle two big concepts swirling around the Comics and Gaming scenes, the future of conventions, and the concept of Mega patches. With so many cons now out there, and the line between industry trade show, and fan conventions blurring, the question about what a good balance is to ensure everyone is happy. The crew of Brendan, Lisa, Jordan and Alex all dig in and all bring a different voice to the discussion.
With No Man’s Sky Next update live, it was the perfect time to dive into the history of the game, what was promised and what was delivered at launch. Are these massive patches good for the consumer, or do they give developers a get out of jail free card after a botched launch? The panel of expert’s dive in and try to get to the bottom of the situation.
If you have a question or topic you want the Pixels and Ink crew to dive into, drop us a line at [email protected]. We will try to get to all fan requests as they come in for future shows.
With the second of coming No Man’s Sky, thanks to a massive new update that introduced a lot of new content for the once barren game, resource collection is now paramount, including the collection of Chromatic Metal — a fundamental material required in the construction of many other items.
Back in 2013, when my good friend and colleague Brendan Quinn made No Man’s Skyaware to me, I actually met it with a mixture of apathy and scepticism. He was genuinely overflowing with excitement (a rare occurrence for him), gushing about its hypothetic features and scope. When he asked me what my thoughts were on the game, my answer was, “There’s no way this can be done”. I genuinely didn’t believe video games were capable of the ambition No Man’s Sky was promising.
Funny how the tables have turned, three years later after No Man’s Sky’sless than stellar launch. Quinn quickly threw his copy in the virtual garbage, while I embraced its quiet beauty. There was just something mesmerizing about No Man’s Sky. I loved flying from planet to planet, seeing these massive spheres appear in front of me, exploring their surfaces, going at my own pace.
Now, before I go any further I just want to state for the record that: yes, when No Man’s Sky released it was fairly hollow. Hello Games promised the Moon and the stars and they did not cash the cheque. Sean Murray did a poor job communicating what was actually going into his game, and “gameplay” trailers that ran well after the game’s release continued to contain misrepresentative information. There is simply no denying that.
Which is why this next part is so weird to write out. See, it was upon my first few hours with the game—while I was lost in a subterranean cave—that my imagination began filling in the blanks of the game. I kept worrying that I would find some strange alien monster and No Man’s Sky would quickly turn into the open-world Metroid game I had always dreamed of. Of course, when that never happened I was crushed, but the thought never left my mind: with a little more work, this game could be something really special. Ironically, it was in the game’s emptiness that I saw boundless potential.
And that’s exactly why I stuck with No Man’s Sky. The foundation for something really incredible was always there, it just needed the time to take off. Time that was clearly not afforded to the developers at Hello. Time that no developer seems to get anymore. I always believed in No Man’s Sky, and now a year later with the “Pathfinder”, “Foundation” and “Atlus Rises” updates, the game has finally added some much-needed meat to those solid bones.
Features like a proper economy actually allow players to become traders and provide more incentive to get on the ground and collect. A rudimentary mission system gives players a sense of focus amidst the notion that with the freedom to do anything, you tend to do nothing. Revamped biomes make planets feel more unique and interesting and the addition of crashed freighters is really a sight to behold. Improved ship functions allow you to call in support during dogfights which finally lends some importance to the player’s reputation with the various alien factions, and the addition of a proper story with branching paths and meaningful choices actually gives players something real to invest in.
No Man’s Sky is actually a game worth playing now, for more reasons than “expanding your mind,” throwing on some Floyd and just sailing through the galaxy—and it’s a real shame no one seemed to give it the chance I did. And to this day I wonder why, considering the mountains of defence that was piled onto Star Wars: Battlefront (Quinn…) despite its similar lack of content at launch (and still today.) Even more recently with a game like Splatoon 2, which launched with a paltry amount of content—similar to its predecessor, yet without the freshness. Why didn’t that game see a supposed 98% drop in players? Maybe it’s because those games are shooters and thereby held to a lower standard. No Man’s Sky was supposed to be something more. No Man’s Sky was supposed to be galaxies; it was supposed to be an entire universe.
To this day I maintain the problem existed on both sides. Yes, Hello certainly had its part to play in setting the expectations on No Man’s Sky, but I can’t help but feel that gamers took that bait, hook, line, and sinker. I continue to believe that with how high the hype was built for No Man’s Sky, even if it had released exactly like the trailers said it would, it still wouldn’t have been enough. However, I have the utmost respect for Hello Games; it could have been so easy for them to leave No Man’s Sky adrift in the cold void of space, but they kept working, continuing to update the game at no additional cost to the player (I can think of at least three publishers that would have made these updates paid DLC).
I truly hope Hello continues to work on No Man’s Sky. I hope they continue to add content, continue to polish, continue to fill the holes in the molehill they built into a mountain.
On this episode of Pixels and Ink brought to you by CGMagazine, Cody says things about No Man’s Sky. Phil talks about T2 Trainspotting and Beauty and the Beast while Brendan and Lisa got back from PAX and talk about Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days.
Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky has come under fire over the past year amidst complaints about the title’s gameplay. An investigation from the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority (or ASA), however, has concluded that No Man’s Sky did not breach the United Kingdom’s CAP Code standards.
Hello Games has finally broken their silence and today released update details for No Man’s Sky Version 1.1, the Foundation Update.
This new update for No Man’s Sky pushes the game further into the direction people hoped for when the game was first announced. The Foundation Update not only fixes the standard bugs in the game, but expands in many key ways, the core of the experience.
The first in a series of free updates, the Foundation Update adds new game modes for people to play and enjoy in No Man’s Sky. The game offers three new modes after update 1.1 including Normal mode, the no limit Creative Mode, and the more challenging survival mode.
Along with these new modes in the Foundation Update come a series of new things to do within No Man’s Sky. No longer will players be limited to wondering aimlessly in the vast open expanse of the universe. People jumping back into the game will now be able to claim their home planet by finding an abandoned base and building onto it, making it their own. With modular parts, no two stations need to be the same. If players should find a new, better location, the old base can be deconstructed and sold back for the resources. This further pushes No Man’s Sky into the realm of games such as Minecraft and could be a welcome addition for people that wanted a more creative gaming experience.
The Foundation Update does not stop with base construction. Hello Games has also added farming into No Man’s Sky. There will be outdoor and indoor options for players to plant crops and watch them grow over time, giving new renewable resources they can harvest when needed. There will even be an option to hire a farming specialist to manage it while you are away, hunting the galaxy for resources.
If sitting on a planet and building was not your end goal, Hello Games has also added the ability to buy huge, expensive Freighters. These massive ships can be used to store resources, can be expanded and customized, and with a new recruitment system that will be added with version 1.1, you can also set up a crew for your new ship.
This is a big step by Hello Games to make No Man’s Sky into the game everyone wanted at launch. It is hard to say if this update will be enough, but it is a great start and one that will hopefully bring people back to the game. The update will be hitting the PC and PlayStation 4 soon and will be going live shortly.
The full change-log is as follows:
Fixed technology becoming instantly fully charged when repaired
Fixed ship appearing on incorrect pad in space station after loading
Added interactable objects that required certain tech to collect
Added shootable objects that require certain tech to mine
Rebalanced resource availability and technology charge requirements
Fixed initial game flow – where travelling to space too quickly after visiting the monolith could prevent the first atlas station notification appearing
Prevented player being prompted to scan for buildings before leaving the system after visiting the monolith
Prevented laser and melee attacks while in space from attempting to edit terrain
Improved calculation of resources received when mining terrain
Renamed Signal Scanners to Signal Boosters
Signal booster objects updated to search for playable bases, suit upgrade pods, and mineable resources
Removed signal booster from being distributed on terrain, as player can now build them
Improved accuracy of environment detection, fixing cases where it rained inside caves
Fixed galactic waypoints not loading correctly across saves
Removed atlas pass v1 requirement from doors in stations
Suit upgrade pods are no longer spawned in stations
Suit upgrade pods can now only be used once
Fixed collision in anomaly that was causing issues when exiting larger ships
Increased the number of different NPC character models generated per system
Fixed the game always remaining in day time for players who began their save prior to patch 1.03
Fixed a potential crash in foliage instance renderer
Fixed stats page in asian languages
Fixed multiple issues with asian language formatting
Multiple improvements and fixes to localisation text in all languages
Added new icons for specific types of primary resources
Fixed health bars not appearing on some targets
Added hazard and life support drain indicators
Fixed mission messages not appearing in a timely fashion
Beacons now notify the player that they will save the game
Fixed crash when creature IK animations were updated under certain conditions on the discovery screen
Improved navigation in discovery UI
Massive speed improvements to browsing huge discovery lists
Increased size of discovery storage
Added option to load “Earliest” previous save in Options menu
Fixed weapon naming
Added icon to remind players of the reload button when weapon is empty
Multiple fixes for viewing discoveries
Added photo mode
Large optimisations to the engine to accommodate base building
Added support for up to 8 mouse buttons
Fixed better order position history for mouse smoothing
Fixed bug where setting gamma to zero gave a fully bright rather than fully dark image
Fixed hard-limiting on save sizes, with appropriate warning about free space on boot
Player is now notified when shaders are being loaded
Fixed occasional crash on exit
Fixed performance of trail renderer for some AMD cards
Large optimisations to the engine to accommodate base building
Added biome specific plants
Adopted new method of distributing resource plants on terrain, for more lifelike clumps of plants
Improved distribution of plant life across all terrain types
Introduced visual differentiation of red, green and blue star systems
Introduced new mineable terrain resources found only in red, green and blue star systems
Reduced average building frequency
Introduced planets with elevated building density
Introduced planets with no buildings or sentient life
Increased the proportion of lush and tropical planets
Decreased the proportion of lifeless planets
Fixed bug where multiple ships could appear, overlapping, at the player’s start scene
Prevented certain building types being incorrectly placed underwater
Prevented multiple buildings occasionally being placed in overlapping positions
Prevented buildings occasionally being placed intersecting with the terrain
Improved and altered per-planet terrain resource generation, improving gameplay and visuals
Fixed elevation cache mismatches, causing errors in creature knowledge and pathing
Fixed slow memory leak in creature role allocation
Improved creature animation speeds
Fixed issues where some creatures turns had the incorrect frame count
Fixed occasional crash when interacting with creatures
Increased proportion of vibrant blue skies
Corrected cloud levels for clear skies
Improved average cloud level settings
Fixed cloud rendering while flying in your ship
Improved atmosphere depth when transitioning to space
Increased fidelity of atmosphere rendering on nearest planet
Improved atmospheric fog as you fly to a planet
Improved fog method for planets seen on the horizon
Improved terrain generation algorithms
Improved and extended blend areas between different terrain noise types
Terrains now generate more open spaces
Smaller features now appear at nearer lods to improve visuals in the distance
Fixed objects being placed on incorrect terrain material types
Improved resolution of distant planet terrain
Decreased differences between planet as seen from space and actual planet terrain
Fixed seams on planets when seen from space
Improvements to terrain material selection and terrain material blending
Terrain generation priority and cost calculation improvements
Fixed terrain generation angle calculations, which would previously prevent nearest region being generated first
We now generate caves on lower terrain lods to decrease visual differences in lower detail terrain
Introduced more varied and vibrant colouring to terrain for each biome
Decreased frequency of brown terrain colour selections
Changed texture scales to improve transition between terrain lods
Improved terrain colour combinations to add variety and better match terrain contouring
Improved terrain texture blending method to better retain vibrant colours
Improved settings for hue, saturation and value noise variation on terrain
Fixed a number of issues causing holes to be seen in the planet terrain
Fixed occasional crash when mining terrain
Fixed colour of muzzle flashes on player weapons
Added muzzle flashes to ship weapons
Added cockpit lighting for damage and weapon firing
Added debris to freighter explosion effect
Improved freighter cargo explosions
Improved photon cannon hit and space explosion effects
Improved turret explosion effect
Improved grass colour selection
Improved grass colouring method to match underlying terrain colour
Improved grass placement to match gradient of terrain, and rocky terrain slope patches
Improved lighting on grass
Improved alpha cutoffs and blending for grass in the distance
Improved colouring method for on-planet buildings
Fixed “pop” in lighting when flying between planets
Fixed incorrect lighting seen in shadow areas
Improved lighting method when rendering tree leaves
Fixed procedural texturing on objects with multiple overlapping textures
Fixed size of certain texture atlas normal maps
Fixed texture scaling on asteroids
Zinc plant is now more obvious when it has been gathered
Fixed occasional rendering errors due to precision on cockpit during warp
Fixed pulse lines not appearing when pulse driving out from planet atmosphere
Fixed shadowing artefacts on imposters
Improved asteroids to allow much denser fields
Improved explosion effects
Fixed scale of moons on the space map
Added freighter groups to the space map
Changed distribution of resources in asteroids
AI ships will now clear asteroids in their path
Planets are now scannable from space to see their resources
Fixed bounty targets warping out too soon
Improved HUD indicators in space combat
Added damaged ship effect on AI starships
Added formation flying
Improved locking on passive starships
Improved AI combat flight patterns
Added new ship weapon technology
Holding brake whilst turning now activates drift for fast turns
Improved AI ship freighter attacking
Improved freighter targeting code when under attack by enemy ships
Fixed pulse drive to prevent travel through freighters
Improved docking code
Added hangar to the lead freighter
Added docking in freighters
Added icon to accessible freighter hangars
Added colouring to cargo drops to identify what is in them
You can now only pick up cargo drops that will fit in your inventory
Added auxiliary freight ships to freighter groups
Added alert lights and alarm audio for when freighters are in combat
Improved turret lights and explosions
Improved muzzle flashes on freighter turrets
Added indicator of cargo contents
Freighter Commanders now give rewards for rescuing them from pirate attack
Fixed collision on freighter cargo containers
Updated the lush ambience to make the wind sounds less noisy
Ambient background fauna now checks for the presence of creatures
Added rain on foliage
Added rain on ship
Added freighter specific footsteps
When on a dead planet, no music will play
Round table prop now plays an appropriate sound
Added more music to the loading sequence and game start
Added audio to new base building props
Created sounds for new base building props
Added audio to freighter doors and internal freighter ambiences
Added freighter explosions
Added freighter alarm
Added ambient radio comms when approaching a freighter
Fixed missing sounds when in a space station due to the mix settings
Multi-tool upgrades now affect audio
Lots of minor mix changes
Changed some compression settings for PS4 audio to make the sub-channel audio play more reliably