No Man's Sky

Last month, Hello Games kicked off its Waking Titan ARG whereby mysterious cassette tapes were distributed to Reddit mods. This megathread documents the initiative's subsequent progress, however the latest breakthrough points to an August patch—update 1.3.

A PDF file marks the latest discovery which talks of "180 Access IDs" and "new experiences in version 1.3 of a familiar universe". The 180 IDs reference is most likely tied to the free copies Hello Games has steadily distributed throughout the ARG, while its almost certain version 1.3 of a familiar universe reflects an update of the same number.

The PDF reads as follows: 

"We want to extend our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the Mercury Subroutine so far. We hope you have enjoyed the successful distribution of 180 Access IDs, and we hope you will also appreciate the other interesting artifacts we have in store for you going forward.

"We intend to keep the process alive until the completion of Project Waking Titan in August. It is important to mention that we are very excited by the coming Phases 2 and 3. Input from the Mercury Subroutine will pave the way toward new experiences in version 1.3 of a familiar universe. We look forward to the successful conclusion of this ground-breaking experiment. 

"Regards. S.M."

No Man's Sky's patch 1.22 brought "exocraft" buggies to every planet in the galaxy, but it remains unclear what's in store for update 1.3. Watch this space. 

Thanks, VG24/7.

Left 4 Dead 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

The Steam summer sale is in full blaze. For a while it even blazed so hot that the servers went on fire and all the price stickers peeled off the games. Either that or the store just got swamped with cheapskates looking for the best bargains. Cheapskates like you! Well, don t worry. We ve rounded up some recommendations – both general tips and some newly added staff choices.

Here are the things you should consider owning in your endless consumeristic lust for a happiness which always seems beyond reach. You’re welcome.

… [visit site to read more]

Left 4 Dead 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

The Steam summer sale is in full blaze. For a while it even blazed so hot that the servers went on fire and all the price stickers peeled off the games. Either that or the store just got swamped with cheapskates looking for the best bargains. Cheapskates like you! Well, don t worry. We ve rounded up some recommendations – both general tips and some specific staff choices.

Here are the things you should consider owning in your endless consumeristic lust for a happiness which always seems beyond reach. You’re welcome.

… [visit site to read more]

No Man's Sky

It's been a few months since we last saw any activity on the No Man's Sky front, when Hello Games released the 1.22 patch that brought "exocraft" buggies to every planet in the galaxy. But it appears that something new, and potentially big, is in the works. Reddit mods have been receiving packages from the studio since late last week containing NMS merchandise of various sorts and a single, numbered audio cassette, each of them carrying a hidden message. 

There are apparently 16 audio tapes in all, and they're very slowly being uploaded to the net for examination—not all of them have been received yet, and as NeoGAF user legacyzero pointed out in his summary of events so far, "Nobody owns a goddamn cassette player." Another problem, as seen in these captures of Discord chats, is that some users don't want to share what they've received, although one of them claimed that Hello Games said it "expected this to happen and will help us out when needs be." 

So at this point it's impossible to say what information they will collectively contain, but spectrographic analyses of two of the recordings have revealed the same set of characters on both: 706s7274616p. Run that through an ROT13 converter and you end up with a proper hexadecimal string, 706f7274616c, which when converted to ASCII leaves a single word: Portal.   

The word is especially portentous in light of a note that came with at least one of the packages: "The giant gateway calls out to me, filling my mind with whispered secrets of a far-flung world." That's actually a line from the game, and also an allusion to the portals that appear on certain planets that, to this point, nobody has been able to figure out how to operate. 

It seems fairly clear that whatever is going on here—if there is in fact something happening at all—is somehow related to those structures. Passageways to exciting new planets, or even an entirely different galaxy, possibly one more in line with initial player expectations? Perhaps it will work the other way, and we'll have strange new visitors coming to us. Or it could be something much more mundane, which I'd guess is the most likely outcome—a way to meet other intergalactic explorers, maybe. 

I've emailed Hello Games for more information, and will update if and when I receive it. For now, you can keep up with the unfolding mystery in the Cassettes Megathread

No Man's Sky - HG_Hohbes
Greetings explorers,

Today we’re releasing Patch 1.24, which addresses some remaining issues and bugs players have reported since the launch of the Path Finder Update. This update is available for download now.

Patch Notes
  • Fixed an issue that caused player’s bases not to appear
  • Fixed a game freeze/lock up that could occur when in space
  • Improved frame rate when playing with unlocked frame rate, or vsync disabled
  • Fixed some issues with Steam controller prompts
  • Various minor performance optimisations
  • Fixed some rare crashes & freezes

Thanks to everyone who has been playing and providing feedback/bug reports! If you continue to experience issues, you can report them via our Help Centre.

Hello Games
No Man's Sky - HG_Hohbes
Hi everyone!

Thanks for your continued feedback. Today we're releasing Patch 1.23, which addresses some of the issues/bugs we've seen reported.

Here's what's in the patch:

  • Optimised HBAO so that it runs faster
  • Sentinel drones now investigate correctly when in a vehicle
  • Fixed a rare bug that could cause players to fall through the floor when exiting a ship
  • Fixed texturing issue in freighter bases
  • Fixed and inventory exploit when purchasing multiple ships in a freighter that allows you to duplicate your ship's inventory
  • Fixed a bug that causes freighters to be too cheap
  • You can no longer build the Exocraft Terminal in freighter bases, this prevented players from being able to complete the vehicle missions
  • Fix for ships spawning on top of each other
  • Fixed a crash in physics
  • Fixed a crash resulting from running out of memory
  • Improved vehicle audio
  • Fix for certain UI elements having over-saturated colours in HDR
  • Fix for font anti-aliasing in HDR
  • Improved performance of UI rendering in HDR
  • Fix for HDR rendering being dark on some TV models
  • Fixed a visual issue with the T-shaped corridor
  • Added error messaging for failed uploads to Steam Workshop
  • Colossus camera is now slightly further back when moving at speed
  • Exocraft mining lasers are now easier to aim up
  • Increased yield from Autonomous Field Mining Units
  • Fixed issue with Colossus Exocraft's wheels sinking through the ground
  • Adjust colossus collision to make it harder to go underground
  • Enable Steam Controller in base reporting and Steam Workshop base upload
  • The animation when exiting the Colossus is improved
  • Exocraft mining laser uses less fuel but is less effective in combat
  • Fixes for the white sphere that shows when at the photo mode boundary
  • Fix for ladders vanishing in bases
  • Fixed a crash when uploading and downloading bases using Steam Workshop
  • Fixed an issue caused when dying in permadeath with the inventory screen open
  • Fixed a bug causing poor performace when in a vehicle near predator creatures

If you continue to experience issues, don't hesitate to submit bug reports via our Help Centre.

Thank you,

Hello Games
No Man's Sky - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

The latest chunky update for No Man’s Sky [official site] added a lot of things that are probably Of Interest to other people and a brand new, totally overhauled and significantly fleshed-out photo mode which is of interest to me. The mode was created in collaboration with Duncan Harris, whose awesome screenshot art you might know from Dead End Thrills and thus is far more than just a free camera and a HUD removal option (although it does both of those things).

I’ve spent an obscene number of hours since the update landed (an entire season of Spooks on Netflix) skipping from planet to planet in search of pleasing landscapes so I figured I’d share the preliminary results in a gallery!

To navigate the gallery just use the arrow buttons near the images or the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard. Click on the images themselves to see larger versions.

I don’t have a fancy rig or anything so this is more about what’s possible and why the mode is interesting rather than some 4k-stravaganza… … [visit site to read more]

No Man's Sky

One of the shortcomings of No Man's Sky's Path Finder update was that the three new vehicles (called exocraft) could only be driven on your home planet: that is, the planet you built your base on. To drive the buggy, hovercraft, or cargo tank, you need to build an exocraft geobay to summon your new land-based rides, and you could only build those as part of your planetary base. (You could also use the geobays of someone else's base to summon your cars, provided you were lucky enough to discover such a base on your travels.)

Patch 1.22, released today, changes that for the better. Now you can craft your vehicles' geobays on any planet you like, meaning you can summon your wheels and go bouncing around on the surface of any planet you happen to be on, even if you don't have a base there. This will give you far more freedom to explore with your new vehicles, or, like me, to callously run over every rock, tree, and alien creature in your path. See, I've been finding the new vehicles have turned me into a real space-jerk.

Here are the full patch notes:

  • Exocraft Geobays can now be crafted on any planet - this means vehicles can be summoned anywhere (whereas previously, vehicles could only be summoned on your home planet).
  • HUD markers have been added to allow you to easily navigate back to an Exocraft Geobay
  • Fixed a bug that caused vehicle weapons and mining lasers not to drain charge
  • Fixed an issue which could cause the Starship cockpit to vanish when exiting
  • Fixed some freighter door texture issues
  • Fixed a rare crash when scanning from a vehicle
  • Fixed a rare crash when feeding creatures
  • Fixed an issue which caused weapons to miss-fire when using Plasma Launcher
  • During warp the quick menu now hides properly as intended
No Man's Sky - HG_Hohbes
Hi everyone,

Thank you to everyone who’s played the Path Finder Update so far! Your feedback has been incredibly helpful - please do keep it coming.

We'll soon be releasing Patch 1.22, which includes some changes and fixes based on player feedback. Read on for full details!

Path Finder Patch 1.22
  • Exocraft Geobays can now be crafted on any planet - this means vehicles can be summoned anywhere (whereas previously, vehicles could only be summoned on your home planet).
  • HUD markers have been added to allow you to easily navigate back to an Exocraft Geobay
  • Fixed a bug that caused vehicle weapons and mining lasers not to drain charge
  • Fixed an issue which could cause the Starship cockpit to vanish when exiting
  • Fixed some freighter door texture issues
  • Fixed a rare crash when scanning from a vehicle
  • Fixed a rare crash when feeding creatures
  • Fixed an issue which caused weapons to miss-fire when using Plasma Launcher
  • During warp the quick menu now hides properly as intended

As always, if you come across any issues, don't hesitate to submit a report via our Help Centre as this will allow us to investigate further.

No Man's Sky

I've been taking No Man's Sky's new Path Finder update for a spin: it's another big addition to Hello Games' sprawling space exploration game. As with Foundation before it, Path Finder's new features are mostly centered around those who want to plant stakes on a planet or in a system and stay a while, rather than continuously and restlessly explore the galaxy.

The main draw, naturally, are the ground-based vehicles added in the update: a rugged all-terrain buggy, a speedy hoverbike that can skim over the surface, and a massive, lumbering cargo crawler known as the Colossus. I'm here to report that these vehicles have instantly turned me into a complete asshole—or perhaps they've simply brought out the asshole that I've always been, deep in my heart.

I'm not sure this was the intention, but my immediate feeling while driving these new vehicles is essentially: "Yeah, fuck this planet." Previously we could skim the surface in our ships or jetpack around in our spacesuits. But now we have tires, great big knobby rubber tires, and these tires change everything. The cars allow you to completely dominate the surface in thoughtless and destructive way, like an interplanetary version of Grand Theft Auto. You can run over alien creatures, smash through trees and rocks, and blow things up with mounted lasers and blasters. And, that's pretty much what I've been doing non-stop.

I'm not saying I didn't destroy things in No Man's Sky prior to this update. You have to if you want to get anywhere. I mined rocks, trees, asteroids, and I even occasionally killed a few innocent creatures. But the destruction before Path Finder felt so limited in scope, apart from sometimes mining an entire deposit of copper or heredium. Land on a planet, carve up a few pocketfuls of minerals, and quietly leave before the sentinels get their tin knickers in a bunch.

No more. Now I'm crushing, smashing, blasting, ramming, and ruining everything in my path. The old me would have scanned and cataloged that beast you see above. Now, it's dead, my license plate imprinted in its soft, deceased belly. I don't know what you were, gentle creature, and I don't care. Sorry, infinite worlds and never-before-seen lifeforms. You're just in my way.

Moving on: base sharing and racing are also new to the update, and I've toyed with that as well. Bases are discoverable, which means you might be visiting a new (to you) planet and simply find someone's base (here's video of someone on PS4 finding and exploring another player's base, and he's even able to use the base's vehicles docks to summon his own vehicles). Otherwise, players can upload their bases and race tracks to the Steam Workshop, and others can download them and check them out. I'm not entirely sure of the mechanics, but it looks like you basically download an instance of the planet to walk around in. Progress isn't saved while you're there, you're just sort of experiencing a copy of another player's world and work.

Racing is sort of enjoyable, but not as a race, more as an excursion across the surface an unfamiliar planet. I used Icreaka's test racing course, and It wasn't a heart-pounding experience but it was a lovely trip up from checkpoint to checkpoint, up and down hills and through interesting rock formations. I wonder if spaceship racing will be added in the future: I think that might be a bit more thrilling, honestly.

One welcome addition is the new photo mode—which was worked on by Dead End Thrills'd Duncan Harris—especially since No Man's Sky was already a great game to take pictures in. The new mode lets you pause the action, jump-into third person mode so you can view your ship, add filters, and even place the sun wherever you like, useful for creating more interesting shots but especially useful on planets, where you can turn night into day, morning into evening, dusk into a few minutes before dusk, and so on.

My only wish is that entering photo mode was done with a single click of a key: right now, it's accomplished by pressing X to bring up the little menu, then cycling to the photo mode option, then pressing F. So it takes a couple seconds, which can make it challenging to take action shots of, say, your buggy ramming an innocent alien cow to death. Still, it's a really nice feature, and one I love to see in games.

There's a lot more to the update, which I outlined here. I haven't really messed with much else yet, I've been far too busy absentmindedly running over unique alien lifeforms and leaving a trail of smashed alien cacti, and occasionally pausing for snapshots.

There's a saying: Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Clearly whoever said that didn't have a giant space car.

...

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