Pixels & Ink #297 – The Great Mega Patch Debate

Pixels & Ink #297 - The Great Mega Patch Debate

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.


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No Man’s Sky Chromatic Metal Collecting Guide The building blocks of your travels

No Man's Sky Chromatic Metal Collecting Guide

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.

Read moreNo Man’s Sky Chromatic Metal Collecting Guide The building blocks of your travels

No Man’s Sky’s NEXT Trailer Features Multiplayer, Visual Overhauls, and More

No Man’s Sky’s NEXT Trailer Features Multiplayer, Visual Overhauls, and More

Hello Games just released a new trailer for No Man’s Sky’s NEXT update, revealing upcoming content including multiplayer gameplay, a visual overhaul, unlimited base building, and command freighters.

Read moreNo Man’s Sky’s NEXT Trailer Features Multiplayer, Visual Overhauls, and More

Pixels & Ink: Episode 287 A Far Cry From No Man's Sky

Pixels & Ink: Episode 287

This week, the Pixels & Ink Podcast team takes a look at some of the latest game releases and the hottest news out of the game and movie industry. 

Read morePixels & Ink: Episode 287 A Far Cry From No Man’s Sky

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love No Man’s Sky

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love No Man’s Sky 1

Back in 2013, when my good friend and colleague Brendan Quinn made No Man’s Sky aware 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.

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky gameplay images – via Hello Games

Funny how the tables have turned, three years later after No Man’s Sky’s less 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.

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love No Man’s Sky 3
No Man’s Sky gameplay images – via Hello Games

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.

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love No Man’s Sky 5
No Man’s Sky gameplay images – via Hello Games

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.

ASA Investigation Absolves No Man’s Sky of Misleading Customers

ASA Investigation Absolves No Man's Sky of Misleading Customers

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.

Read moreASA Investigation Absolves No Man’s Sky of Misleading Customers

Hello Games Release Details on No Man’s Sky Foundation Update

Hello Games Release Details on No Man's Sky Foundation Update

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:

  • General Gameplay
    • 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
  • Localisation
    • Fixed stats page in asian languages
    • Fixed multiple issues with asian language formatting
    • Multiple improvements and fixes to localisation text in all languages
  • UI
    • 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
  • PS4
    • Added photo mode
    • Large optimisations to the engine to accommodate base building
  • PC
    • 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
  • Generation
    • 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
  • Creatures
    • 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
  • Atmospherics
    • 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
  • Terrain
    • 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
  • Visuals
    • 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
  • Space
    • 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
  • Space Combat
    • 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
  • Freighters
    • 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
  • Audio
    • 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