They don’t have awards for greatest patches of all time, but right now No Man’s Sky’s Atlas Rise 1.3 update would have to be placed near the top of the list. After teasing it for a month, Hello Games has dropped a new trailer and a full down of content for this ridiculous update. Highlights include more than 30 hours of story-based gameplay, 16-player co-op, terraforming, reworked space combat, low flight on planetary surfaces, a new alien race, a mission system, new ships, new biomes, new planet types, a new Galaxy Map. The list goes on and on. It’s the sort of thing you expect from a full-blown expansion pack, not a patch. Perhaps there’s life in No Man’s Sky yet.

Right, where to begin with all this. Let’s begin with joint exploration, the first tentative step into full-blown multiplayer in No Man’s Sky. This is described as an “important step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man’s Sky.” Up to 16 players can see and communicate with one another, even exploring the universe together. The downside is that right now, players are visualised by floating orbs rather than their actual character models, which in all likelihood have just never existed.

Solo players will be please know and honest to goodness storyline is being implemented as part of Atlas Rises. It features more than 30 hours of content with a quest system, branching narrative and a new interdimensional race. Over the course of the story, players will learn some truths about No Man’s Sky’s universe, including the meaning of sixteen, the Redemption of the Gek, where the Sentinels came from and what the World of Glass is.

Getting around No Man’s Sky should be a lot easier thanks to a reworked Galaxy Map. Here players can see all the star systems with measures of wealth, economy and conflict. They can also be filtered by lifeform, allowing players to narrow in on the specific world types they’re after, rather than just landing and hoping for the best. Each of these worlds will also be more varied than before. There are new planetary biomes and rarer exotic planet types the nearer the player is the centre of the universe.

On the planets, there are also crashed freighters to be explored. You can use the new terrain manipulator terraforming tools to uncover secret resources and buried stashes, or complete Salvage missions for guild rewards. Missions can be picked up from Mission Agents on space stations. They’re randomly generated to suit different play styles, and completing them builds up your standing with No Man’s Sky’s new guilds. Each of the missions can be tracked on the revised UI. There are mission logs, a new discovery page and a journey milestone section to indicate guild specific achievements and rewards.

It’s not clear whether the visual improvements touted in the trailer are going to be PC specific or not, but it includes much higher resolution textures to greatly boost the image quality of No Man’s Sky. It certainly looks better than I’ve seen in No Man’s Sky up until this point, aside from the, ahem, pre-launch trailers.

Lastly, all forms of flying have been improved. Space flight is now a more complex beast; there’s improve ship manoeuvrability and smarter AI, both of which should lend more skill to dog-fighting in the stars. There are also new rocket systems and a revised HUD. Down on the planetary surfaces, the addition of atmospheric low flight assist means we can finally whizz through canyons or partake in in-atmosphere dog fighting. Crash into something though and you’ll now damage your ship.

It all sounds pretty impressive I have to say, and props to Hello Games for continuing to beaver away behind the scenes and attempt to right the ship once more. Many of us were disappointed at the shape of No Man’s Sky at launch but it’s creeping oh so nearer to what we expected with expansive updates like this. All going well, I’m going to dive into this over the weekend.

No Man's Sky Atlas Rise Patch Notes

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

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 coloured 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 colour blending and integration with terrain
  • Improved grass and leaf materials
  • Improved colour palettes across several biomes
  • Improved planet night skies
  • Fixed z-fighting on small glowing plants
  • Various graphics optimisations 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 optimisations

LANGUAGE

  • Various minor language fixes and improvements