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No Man's Sky Update 1.03 slaps pre-launch players with a reality check

Surprise! Game play will probably be very little like what you watched or read about.


No Man's Sky has gotten a bit of the shaft recently, first from a leaked copy that cost one Reddit user paid a huge lump of cash for, and then several larger websites and streamers who began covering it without the announced day-one patch. 

Early reviews of the game have even started, not so much with scores, but more in how disappointing the game is based on these early reports, again with the full knowledge that a patch was completed that would make changes to the game. Even Sean Murray, head of Hello Games, said early reports would not reflect what players would experience. Now, the patch notes have dropped, basically confirming that anything that happens previous to the patch is virtually obsolete and not indicative of the game as it exists for launch. Take a look:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Murray said that, while early saves of the game pre-patch will still work, people would miss a substantial portion of the new items and gameplay that had been added. He recommends anyone who may be already playing should delete their saves and start over. The patch has already been released into the wild for those who have a copy, meaning that players who buy it on launch day will not see the original version at all. Servers will also be wiped Sunday and Monday in anticipation of Tuesday's launch.

Rami Ismail, who owns 50% of indie developer Vlambeer, posted an editorial trying to explain the "gold" process and how meeting certification for console publishing often puts a product on shelves that is one to three months old when it is actually released, making huge Day 1 patches common in a world of Internet connectivity for consoles. He acknowledged that PC builds usually are hit and miss through digital distributors, but console makers insist on a certain "seal of quality" approach. He said he was using Hello Games as a hypothetical case, not knowing for sure what the company actually had to go through.

"Day 1 Patches aren’t necessarily a failure on the developers or the platforms side," Ismail said. "They [are] the result of people that care about what they make, trying to deliver the game the audience expects by the date they expect it, while everybody involved is struggling with outdated systems on cutting-edge technology."

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 8, 2016 7:20 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, No Man's Sky Update 1.03 slaps pre-launch players with a reality check

    • reply
      August 8, 2016 7:28 AM

      I was getting the impression that the people with leaked copies were actually reasonably happy with what they were playing, aside from some issues with time-to-galaxy-center being "only" ~30 hours.

      I know the bootleg streams sold me on the game in ways that the official publicity didn't.

      • reply
        August 8, 2016 8:44 AM

        Yeah, the tone for most playing it early has been one of enjoyment.

    • reply
      August 8, 2016 7:34 AM

      Feeding – creatures now have their own diet, based on planet and climate. Feeding them correctly will yield different results per species...alerting you to rare loot or pooping valuable resources.

    • reply
      August 8, 2016 10:45 AM

      I'm wondering, is this more arcade-y or simlike? As a mouse & keyboard user am I going to have to utilize damn near every key on my keyboard?

      • reply
        August 8, 2016 12:09 PM

        Much more on the arcade-like side of things. There are systems of crafting and upgrading and trade and such, but as far as the moment-to-moment gameplay, there's nothing sim-like about it.

    • reply
      August 8, 2016 1:39 PM

      Have a sneaking suspicion the PC port of this is going to be fairly bad.

      • reply
        August 8, 2016 1:46 PM

        FWIW, they are adding 21:9 support, so I give them more credit than most.

        • reply
          August 8, 2016 1:49 PM

          Kind of meaningless if the fov is locked to 60 like the console version.

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            August 8, 2016 1:50 PM

            I'm guessing it will be adjustable

            • reply
              August 8, 2016 1:53 PM

              If it were you think they would have mentioned it by now after all the direct inquiries about this specifically. Far more than people have asked about 21:9 support, and since the very early revealed people were concerned about the field of view. Can't assume anything of the sort.

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                August 8, 2016 2:32 PM

                most games used a fixed vertical field of view these days and scale the horizontal fov based on the aspect ratio

                • reply
                  August 8, 2016 3:22 PM

                  That still wouldn't make a large enough impact because of how low and zoomed in NMS's default is @ 16:9 by default. Definitely not playable for me and others affected by low fovs

                  • reply
                    August 8, 2016 3:24 PM

                    Default default default! All should become clear on Friday, so speculating is pointless. Just going by what they (haven't) said thus far. Which is very little concerning the PC version.

              • reply
                August 8, 2016 3:29 PM

                Looks like he finally gave up that info during the recent AMA:


                • reply
                  August 8, 2016 4:37 PM

                  Good find. But game comes out in 4days, and they're just adding it now?

              • reply
                August 8, 2016 6:11 PM

                The only officially mentioned the august 12th release date on pc like 3 days ago. So I wouldn't expect them to say shit honestly.

              • reply
                August 8, 2016 6:12 PM


    • reply
      August 8, 2016 1:47 PM

      Am I understanding this right? It reads like they withheld features as an anti-leaking measure, and are now patching them in as a weird so of release day mechanism.

      • reply
        August 8, 2016 2:00 PM

        More likely is Hello Games handed in a fully playable, reasonably bug-free version to pass certification and get discs pressed, then continued working on the game for the last three-odd months.

        I'd say a couple systems and mechanics are missing completely from the gold master to pass cert, as they might not have been completed. If we take the old release date in June into account, the team might've had closer to five months of work done after handing off a version to the presses.

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          August 8, 2016 2:13 PM

          It's also conceivable that some things, like the smaller universe, were done deliberately to make QA easier.

        • reply
          August 8, 2016 5:49 PM

          This whole, "release and day one patch" thing has been terrible since it became a thing years ago.

          I'm not hating on Hello Games, but they shouldn't be that surprised that this kinda bit them in the ass.

          • reply
            August 8, 2016 5:52 PM

            It didn't "bite them in the ass". A small contingent of people online are pissed about a commonplace practice, that's all.

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        August 8, 2016 2:15 PM

        console cert cycle means you almost always have to ship before you're actually done, and then "day 0 patch" the remaining pieces on actual release. Pretty common.

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          August 8, 2016 2:16 PM

          I know that Day 0 patches are common, but given what is in this patch, it seems like it is a lot more content that may have been done for ages.

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            August 8, 2016 2:41 PM

            Or it was largely completed but had some critical bugs that would have caused the rest of the game to fail the cert process.

            Seriously? Nothing in this world is as nefarious as gamers make game devs out to be, and the whole "beaten stepchild" mentality some of you guys take is exhausting.

            • reply
              August 8, 2016 2:45 PM

              FWIW, I'm not complaining. There's no fight here.

    • reply
      August 8, 2016 3:12 PM

      These patch notes get me excited about this game.

    • reply
      August 8, 2016 3:27 PM

      Sidejack: Sean Murray is doing an AMA over on Reddit right now!

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