No Man's Sky's Atlas Rises Update Finally Adds Multiplayer Gameplay

If a game botches its launch then releases new content, will it make a sound?

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Let's face it. No Man's Sky was a major disappointment when it launched last year. A combination of poor communication, misrepresentation and lousy marketing pushed fans eager to play the space sim away in droves. But for those still dedicated to exploring its space, No Man's Sky has released its third major update for the game, Atlas Rises. 

The 1.3 update adds 30 hours of story and lore, portals, better galactic regeneration with new components such as wealth and conflict, new worlds and planet types, new ships, and a mission system. The graphics and UI have also been revamped. And in perhaps the biggest change, the game will now allow up to 16 people to explore the universe together through synchronous co-op.

The patch notes for the update are pretty extensive:

Generation

  • Increased variety in weather, planet and structure names
  • More base building parts have unique names
  • Prevented trees spawning on sheer cliffs
  • Improved object placement on slopes
  • Improved grass placement and density
  • Changed the default starting ship model
  • Regenerated galaxy to remove differences between survival, normal and creative game modes
  • Improved building distribution
  • Increased distribution of heridium deposits
  • Improved generation of beaches along shorelines
  • Repositioned player bases to accommodate generation changes

Exploration

  • Improved balance of hazards between planets
  • Improved settings for hazard damage and strength
  • Reduce cave hazard recharge times
  • Added Shielding Shard to the starting player inventory
  • Limited the depth at which buildings can spawn underwater

Gameplay

  • More tech available in tech shops
  • Balanced tech shop standing requirements
  • Standing lights have a proper name when you interact with them
  • Increased robustness of systems for locating buildings
  • Increased number and types of objects which can be scanned
  • Increased information available about scanned foliage and creatures
  • Improved planet resource lists
  • Craftable products now sorted by most recent use
  • Improved differentiation of weapons
  • Fixed pinning product recipes and technology guides
  • Continued story unlocked through abandoned buildings
  • Added interactions and dialogue options for many structures and characters
  • Overhauled secondary character interactions
  • Joint exploration has been introduced allowing 16 players to see visual representations of each other in game. Joint exploration does not require PS Plus, and is not currently available on GOG Galaxy.

Trade and Farming

  • Alloys, farm products and new gas products now form separate branches of a larger craft tree
  • Added new valuable higher tier craft products
  • Added new harvester to harvest atmospheric gases
  • Added new trade specific products
  • Added new farmable “Star Bramble” plant
  • Added larger 4 plant hydroponic tray
  • Increased contrast between picked and unpicked resource plants to more easily tell them apart
  • Balanced priced of alloys, farm products and gases
  • Improved distributions of resources on planets
  • Improved scan ranges for resources on planets
  • Added scan markers on more smaller plutonium crystals to aid resource gathering

Freighters

  • Balanced freighter prices
  • Fixed collision on freighter bridge
  • Added freighter classes
  • Added ability to warp in your freighter
  • Fixed floating turrets on capital freighters

Space

  • Improved space heavy air
  • Added requirement to scan planets in order to reveal their names
  • Improved planet name display as you enter orbit
  • Fix for massive carve radius when mining asteroids

Galactic Map

  • Updated galactic map UI
  • Improved galactic map controls
  • Improved star names gathered in galaxy map flythrough
  • Improved distribution of different colored stars
  • Added interstellar scan events

Starships

  • Added ability to summon your ship from the quick menu
  • Refined ship reticules
  • Added new holographic cockpit HUD elements: mini map, pulse drive warning and target ship
  • Added new ship technology
  • Balanced space combat
  • Balanced ship weapons and technology
  • Updated ship weapon projectile effects
  • Updated ship hit direction markers
  • Improved flare graphics on ships
  • Improved loot containers dropped by AI ships
  • Improved effects on damaged AI ships
  • Balanced crashed ships broken slots and repair costs
  • Added a more convenient swap inventory button for moving items between new/crashed ships and storage units
  • Updated design of Atlas pass icons
  • Added ability to look around the cockpit when landed
  • Allowed player to remain in ship cockpit after landing
  • Improved spawning and distribution of AI ships
  • Improved ship altimeter
  • Added in-ship communicator
  • Added button prompt for ship zoom
  • Fixed a bug where your ship could become invisible by visiting the galactic map
  • Improved Pirate systems including the ability to negotiate or call in support
  • Added low flight mode
  • Improved landing code

UI

  • Divided options menu into several pages
  • Revised Journey page
  • New Gek, Korvax and Vy’keen medals
  • New medals for the merchant, mercenary and explorer guilds
  • Revised log page
  • Fixed animation on markers as they are removed
  • Improved binocular UI
  • Updated journey milestone icons
  • Overhauled discovery log
  • Added cardinal directions to compass
  • Added distance markers to compass
  • Fix for “redeem content” showing twice on Steam menu
  • New trade and product icons
  • Revised combat ship markers
  • Improved ship tracking arrows when flying away from targets
  • Overhauled conversation interface

Graphics

  • Improved HBAO filtering around edges
  • Improved TAA handling of grass blade edges
  • Introduced depth of field effect during interactions
  • Added LOD meshes and imposters to various props
  • Fixed texturing on the buildable door
  • Reduced HBAO shimmer
  • Reduced shadow acne
  • Fixed artifacts with imposter shadows
  • Improved double-sided normals for foliage
  • Improved terrain texturing and texture blending
  • Improved grass color blending and integration with terrain
  • Improved grass and leaf materials
  • Improved color palettes across several biomes
  • Improved planet night skies
  • Fixed z-fighting on small glowing plants
  • Various graphics optimizations and fixes
  • Visual improvements to Atlas stations
  • Replaced all terrain textures with higher detail and quality variants
  • Added new higher detail foliage variants to several biomes
  • Upgraded textures on several cave props

Audio

  • Four new sets of soundscapes by 65 Days of Static
  • Reworked space combat audio
  • Reworked space explosions
  • Added new ship weapon sounds
  • Added weird biome soundscape
  • Added new music and sound effects for story mode
  • Lots of new UI sounds
  • Minor mix changes and optimizations

Language

  • Various minor language fixes and improvements

By many accounts, No Man's Sky is now what it should have been when it launched last year. Hello Games has increased communication, started listening to fans, and is implementing things that developer Sean Murray promised about the game from the beginning. According to SteamSpy, the game boasts about 50,000 to 60,000 daily users on PC, which obviously doesn't include PS4. While many developers would love to have those numbers, the game could have been so much more when it launched, with fans likely willing to grant it some leeway with better communication and transparency. 

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 11, 2017 9:55 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, No Man's Sky's Atlas Rises Update Finally Adds Multiplayer Gameplay

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 9:37 PM

      Woah woah woah! Stargate Portals are real now in the game??

      https://youtu.be/3sWtJ44Fc_o

      brb reinstalling tonight.

      all I need now is a Teal'c sidekick

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 11:31 PM

      haha I would so laugh if they got sued for those portals. That is about as blatant of a absolutely rip off as you can get.

      • reply
        August 12, 2017 1:52 AM

        That's not how copyright works.....

        • reply
          August 12, 2017 2:52 AM

          Facts no longer matter on any front

        • reply
          August 12, 2017 3:30 AM

          I figured them making a Stargate, caliing it a Stargate, (or is it portal?) would be pretty much a absolute rip off of Stargate, but IANAL, but so be it. It's shitty and yet another reason why I can't stand their company.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5328iuzHw-w&feature=youtu.be&t=67

          Even in their video they call it a Stargate.

          • reply
            August 12, 2017 3:32 AM

            Portal. But okay, cool story I guess.

            • reply
              August 12, 2017 3:34 AM

              Click the link.. Stargate, their video. But, yeah, cool story.

              • reply
                August 12, 2017 3:37 AM

                Yep, cool story. Pretty silly thing to get upset about and hate a company for.

                Oh no, this video game about flying around in space and exploring planets has a nonessential mechanic that makes use of a portal that somewhat resembles the stargate from the movie/TV show "Stargate".

                Because the idea of stepping into a teleporter and being whisked away to another location has never ever been conceived before Stargate existed. Me mad me mad

                • reply
                  August 12, 2017 3:50 AM

                  Oh well, since you said me mad me mad you have truly won the day! If you can't look at this objectively and admit this is a straight up rip off of another IP, vs. using some teleporting device, you are being obtuse.

                  It uses a DHD (totally forgot the name of this thing, thank god for google), it has symbols that take you to another planet, which in and of itself wouldn't be a big deal, but the gate turns, exactly like a Stargate, and then has the event horizon that pops out of it.

                  Are you honestly telling me when you saw that thing, you didn't think 'Stargate' immediately?

                  I don't hate the company, never even said those words, but hey, you be you, but I sure don't think it's ok just because it's a video game, which in the end is still a business.

                  Also, please shoot me a reference of when I am allowed to have an opinion of my own, or are you just such an ardent defender of people copying shit that you aren't used to those?

                  • reply
                    August 12, 2017 4:09 AM

                    I still fail to see why you're so upset about this. Are you one of the original creators of Stargate? Or just some nerd with irrational nerd anger flowing through your veins?

                    • reply
                      August 12, 2017 4:13 AM

                      Like, you're acting as if No Mans Sky closely follows the Stargate IP or something.

                      But no, it just borrows a few elements from it's Stargate design. The same way every sci fi in existence borrows elements from each other, or wizards and orcs are all derived from LOTR.

                      Your reaction is actually pretty ridiculous.

                  • reply
                    August 13, 2017 8:36 AM

                    I don't care about anything you guys are arguing about honestly so I don't know why I read it all but..., "yet another reason why I can't stand their company." isn't saying you hate the company?

      • reply
        August 12, 2017 2:20 AM

        Oh, Hello Games licensed Portal technology from 3D Realms not too long after 3DR sued the shit out of Valve and took over their company due to the multiple-infringing uses in the "Portal" series. That's why Kim Swift was forced out of the company and why she went on to Airtight Games to make Quantum Conundrum, a game that was loaded with heavy handed critical references to 3DR's patent trolling for the sake of funding Duke Nukem Forever's development.

        Where it gets confusing is how the licensing worked after 3DR (which had to remain a separate legal entity to avoid being declared a monopoly in the US) hit rock bottom and sold off Duke Nukem to Gearbox and then Prey went from 2K to Bethesda. In an unprecedented display of joint cooperation that would later be copied by Elon Musk, all five companies (3DR, Gearbox, Valve, 2K, and Bethesda) decided it would be in the industry's best interests for portal technology to be freely available to everyone from that point on. Unfortunately, as Hello Games was the only ones to ever actually paid to license it, this rubbed them the wrong way and put them in a financial bind. That opened them up to a hostile creative takeover by Sony, who pumped and dumped and left Hello Games with holding the bag post-release. Now they're finally able to assert their legally acquired portals and implementing their original vision, making the indie space sandbox title they always wanted to.

        tl;dr - Steam is a conduit of our reptilian overlords for controlling our minds.

        • reply
          August 12, 2017 2:44 AM

          For some reason, you had me believing it all the way til the end then I realised it was a joke. I feel like an idiot.