In one word: No Man’s Sky remains one of the best comeback stories in video game history. Not only has it delivered on all of its failed promises, but it continues to improve the game with every major iteration. Version 3.5 is no exception.
On Wednesday, Hello Games released their seventeenth major update to No Man’s Sky called “Prisms”. Version 3.5 brings some new gameplay features like flying creatures, mobile freighter bases, improved planetary cards, and a synthesis lab for purchasing crafting component recipes. However, as the name suggests, the update is mostly about light, also known as a visual overhaul.
Last month, Nvidia dropped the beans when it revealed that No Man’s Sky was one of several games that would receive Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) support, and here we are.
“PC players with compatible NVIDIA RTX graphics cards can take advantage of DLSS for greatly improved performance and visual quality,” the patch notes read.
Perhaps most importantly, DLSS support also works in VR mode. It won’t alleviate the screen door effect, but any enhancement to VR images is always a boon.
While HG isn’t quite ready to delve into the complexities of real-time ray tracing just yet, it has added the best alternative to the Prisms upgrade: Screen Space Reflections (SSR). Reflections from screen space are a less demanding form of ray tracing, as you only need to calculate reflections from objects already rendered on screen. Regardless of differences in process, SSR brings shiny surfaces to No Man’s Sky, and they look fantastic.
Another lighting technique is used to add refractions when looking through curved surfaces. Starship cockpits, base windows, and alien bubbles on sparkling planets can now refract light, making them appear more realistic.
Hello Games used “new styles” of volumetric lighting to add depth to the various light sources. Directional and colored volumetrics give bright exocraft and starship headlamps the clearest haze you’d expect. The effect is especially dramatic when trying to avoid the cone of a sentry’s spotlight. Twilight Rays (also known as God Rays) have also been redesigned.
On some textures, the developers applied parallax occlusion mapping. This adds a lot of depth to some surfaces that previously appeared flat. A striking example is the floor of the Anomaly (below).
With the heavy emphasis on lighting in this update, it would be a shame not to improve the look of wet objects. The developers have you covered. New particle effects improve the appearance of rain during storms and explosions. But not only does the rain look good coming down, it also gets things wet now. Whether it’s your exosuit or a creature, items develop a progressively wet glow.
It’s good that HG thought about making things look wet because going out in storms just became a thing. While they are beyond the scope of the visual updates we’ve been highlighting, players now have a reason to roam in extreme weather conditions like thunderstorms and meteor showers. These dangerous conditions now have a chance to spawn valuable items. Treasure hunters who normally search for loot buried under alien ruins now have another option to find rare artifacts to sell.
As always, there are dozens of other quality of life improvements, UI improvements, audio tweaks, and update bug fixes that we never get a chance to talk about, so be sure to check out the patch notes. for version 3.5 in No. Heaven of man website.