In one word: No Man’s Sky remains one of the biggest comeback stories in video game history. Not only has he fulfilled all his broken promises, but he also keeps improving the game with every major iteration. Version 3.5 is no exception.
Hello Games released its 17th major update to No Man’s Sky called “Prism” on Wednesday. Version 3.5 brings some new gameplay features like nested flying creatures, animated shipping bases, improved planet maps, and an assembly lab to buy crafting ingredient recipes. However, as the name suggests, the update is mostly about light, that is, an optical fix.
Last month, Nvidia revealed that No Man’s Sky was one of several games that will benefit from Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) support, and here we are.
The release notes read: “PC drives with compatible NVIDIA RTX graphics cards can take advantage of DLSS, dramatically improving performance and visual quality”
Perhaps most importantly, DLSS support also works in VR mode. It won’t soften the screen door effect, but any improvement in VR images is always a blessing.
While HG isn’t ready to dive into the intricacies of real-time ray tracing just yet, they’ve added the next best thing to the post update: Screen Space Reflections (SSR). Reflections in screen space is a less restrictive form of ray tracing because it only needs to account for the reflections of objects already displayed on the screen. Regardless of process differences, SSR brings glossy surfaces to No Man’s Sky, and they look great.
Another lighting technique is used to add refractions when looking through curved surfaces. Ships’ cockpits, primary windows, and strange bubbles on foam planets can now refract light, making them even more realistic.
Hello Games has used “new styles” of volumetric lighting to bring more depth to the different light sources. The directional colored volumes give off the illuminated headlights of outboard vehicles and spaceships that clear the fog you expect. The effect is especially dramatic when trying to dodge the Sentinel torch cone. Auroral rays (also known as divine rays) have also been reworked.
In some textures, the developers applied the parallax occlusion layout. This gives a lot of depth to some of the previously flat surfaces. A vivid example is the anomaly floor (below).
With the focus on lighting in this update, it would be a shame not to improve the look of the wet stuff. The developers have covered that. New particle effects improve the appearance of rain during storms and explosions. But not only does rain look good when it falls, it makes things wet now. Whether it’s your exoskeleton or a creature, beings gradually develop into a wet sheen.
It’s good that HG thought of getting things wet because getting out in storms has become a thing. While outside of the visual updates we’ve highlighted, players now have a reason to roam in extreme weather conditions like thunderstorms and meteor showers. These dangerous conditions now have a chance to generate valuable things. Treasure hunters who normally search for loot buried under space ruins now have another option to find rare artifacts for sale.
As always, there are dozens of other quality of life improvements, UI improvements, audio tuning, and update bug fixes that we’ve never had a chance to talk about. So be sure to check out the patch notes for version 3.5 at the No Human Heaven website.