These days, most games are never finished. Bug fixes, balance updates and new features get added all the time. The same is true for No Man’s Sky.

The game hits PS4 and PC next week, but that doesn’t mean Hello Games is taking a vacation. Far from it. “In fact most of us were back here the day after after we went gold, working on this update,” Hello Games’ Sean Murray writes in a blog post today. “We’re already proud of what we put on a disk, but if we had time, why not continue to update it?”

That is Hello Games’ mindset right now, and for the future. Update 1.03 won’t mean much for most of us. This will be the first time we are experiencing No Man’s Sky. But for those who managed to score an early copy, No Man’s Sky is about to change. Big time.

If you want to go into No Man’s Sky completely fresh, don’t read the patch notes. They contain some small spoilers. And if you’ve already poured some hours into the game, Hello Games recommends deleting your save before updating. Your old save will still work, but you’ll be missing out on new content.

No Man’s Sky Update 1.03

Here are the patch notes.

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.

What’s next?

No Man's Sky planet

Woah. Now that’s an update. And it’s just the beginning. Base building, owning giant space freighters, temporal AA and new cloud rendering tech are also on the way.

If you were worrying about the support No Man’s Sky was going to get post-release, don’t be. Sean calls their game a “pretty large canvas” and they have a lot of ideas to flesh it out.

And it looks like future updates will be free. Here’s the exact wording. “We expect future updates like these to continue to be free,” writes Sean.

“Expect” gives them a little wiggle room to charge in the future, but it will depend on the exact features. If base building is going to be free, it’s hard to imagine a feature they would charge for. Maybe more galaxies? More structured multiplayer? We can speculate all we want. The important thing is they are approaching it from the ‘free’ standpoint right now.

I don’t know if No Man’s Sky can ever live up to the insane hype, but Hello Games appears to be doing everything they can to deliver. Exploit fixes, combat improvements and algorithm changes show they are all-in in making No Man’s Sky as good of a game as they can make it.

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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