A Whole New Sky

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jul 28, 2020

Filed under: Column 62 comments

You might remember that last week I enjoyed another round of mockery at the expense of No Man’s Sky. It’s become something of an annual-ish tradition around here. In this case, the application exhibited baffling windows behaviors that forced me to track down and edit settings files to get the thing to start.

Then in the comments of that same post, Mephane listed some mods that really improved the game.

Wait, modding NMS is a thing? I never even looked. This game is obviously using an extremely idiosyncratic custom engine and I sort of assumed that modding would be impossible. 

But as it turns out, there are lots of mods for No Man’s Sky. Sadly, this is an unfortunate time for me to revisit the game.

Mod Stratification

Cool planet, bro.
Cool planet, bro.

So let’s talk about Minecraft, which features some pretty intense mod stratification.

Minecraft has the most extensive modding community that I know of. In general, mods are tied to a specific version of the game. If you upgrade to the new version then your existing mods will all break. Maybe they’ll malfunction wildly, maybe they’ll just stop working, or (most likely) they’ll crash the game on startup.

So a new version will come out and break all the mods, and then over the next few weeks the mods will gradually be updated by the various authors to work with the new version. About half the mods won’t get updates because they’ve been abandoned by their original authors who have since moved on to other projects / have gotten jobs / have new living situations that preclude maintaining large ambitious hobby projects. New authors come in to rescue the abandoned mods and launch new projects.

What you end up with are these various strata throughout the version history. In Minecraft, versions 1.7, 1.12, and 1.14 were all popular and long-lasting versions that got a lot of mods, while the in-between versions are somewhat more spotty in terms of working mods. This system is subject to the network effect, where popular versions get more mods and thus become even more popular, while the opposite happens to unpopular versions. 

This means you need to make a choice: Do you want the version with the latest features and bug fixes but few mods, or the two-years-ago version with lots of mods that’s missing some bug fixes and quality of life improvements, or the ancient version that’s downright savage by today’s standards but has a huge number of stable ambitious mods that inter-operate gracefully?

This can be annoying, but it isn’t really anyone’s fault. This is just how things work out. 

No Mod’s Sky

It's not really a 'mod', but I used a save editor and gave myself a cool ship so I wouldn't need to spend 90% of the game zooming around in something shaped like a flying shoebox.
It's not really a 'mod', but I used a save editor and gave myself a cool ship so I wouldn't need to spend 90% of the game zooming around in something shaped like a flying shoebox.

It’s been less than two weeks since the Desolation update was released for No Man’s Sky, and we’re still in that chaotic post-update window where lots of mods are still broken and nobody knows which ones are going to be fixed and which ones have been abandoned. I would have waited until mid-August, but other games are coming out soon so this was a bit of a now-or-never moment for No Man’s Sky and I.

Only a few mods were available to me. One that made language acquisition about 5x faster, one that made your storage slots hold about 100 times more stuff, and one that made scanning about 10 times faster. In any other game, huge multipliers like that would represent game-breaking cheats but in No Man’s Sky this brings things into the realm of “normal”.

There was another mod that promised to eliminate the interface headache where you need to hold the E button for several seconds instead of just clicking on things, but the installation instructions were a bit complicated and it sounded like it was going to be incompatible with my other mods. I don’t know. I’m really happy with how the game feels right now and I’m reluctant to mess with it.

The Turnaround

The game is still really good at generating sci-fi book covers.
The game is still really good at generating sci-fi book covers.

The first year or so of NMS patches really underwhelmed me. The updates were so modest and incremental in the face of the horrendous original design that it felt like there was no real hope. The game needed a massive systemic overhaul, and instead it was getting tweaks and bonus content. In fact, some of the new features – like the proliferation of inventory screens – exacerbated the problems with the original.

But here we are. It’s been 4 years, and this game is shaping up nicely. With mods you can cure the underlying focus on inventory, and once that headache is out of the way it becomes clear that the last few updates have made massive changes to the various gameplay systems.

All of the nonsensical and inscrutable progression systems – like doing unexplained tasks for an NPC who dispenses unexplained rewards at unexplained intervalsI’m talking about stuff like acquiring the end-game hyperdrive from Polo the obstructionist jackass. – have been replaced by intuitive systems with a clear means of progression. 

This game has a lot of systems that inter-operate. You’ve got your progression of ship upgrades. You’ve got a base you gradually build over time as you acquire new building materials. You’ve got a freighter that can serve as a mobile base of operations. You’ve got a fleet of frigates that can be expanded, leveled up, and sent out on missions for random-ish rewards. You’ve still got the familiar quests for Atlas and Artemis, and they’ve remained largely unchanged. But now they’re no longer choke points to progression. The game can be enjoyed as a huge sandbox without needing to run around and click through annoying / cringy text to get the next upgrade.

I honestly thought the game was beyond redemption, but the developers have proven me wrong. These latest updates are so much better than what came before. These changes demonstrate an understanding of systems that simply wasn’t present in the game before.

The Anomaly

This is the coolest parking lot I've ever seen in a video game. These are all player-owned ships.
This is the coolest parking lot I've ever seen in a video game. These are all player-owned ships.

I couldn’t hope to cover every improvement, but let me offer up one as an example of the system-wide changes that have been implemented.

In the original game, there was this space station called the Anomaly. It would show up completely at random every few hours. Inside were a couple of NPCs: Nada and Polo. Polo was an amalgamation of about 10 different horrible design decisions and I spent an article exploring and explaining all the things wrong with him. I highly recommend revisiting that post if you don’t remember it, but here’s an excerpt:

Each time you randomly encounter Polo, he’ll require you to have reached some milestone on your journey. Kill X spaceships, destroy X robots, save up X galactic space-bucks, survive an accumulated X hours in extreme weather conditions, scan X alien animals, learn X alien vocabulary words, etc. He presents these milestones to you, in order, whenever you stumble onto one of his outposts. You don’t know what his next challenge will be, so you can’t prepare for your next encounter. If you run into him and discover you need to invest a bunch more time to meet the next goal, then you need to continue on your journey, grind out the requisite tasks, and then wait for him to show up again.

[…]

This is a bizarre way of doling out rewards in an open-universe sandbox. “Go anywhere! Do anything! Find things that are fun for you! But in order to make progress you have to jump through these specific hoops, in this specific order.” Just… what? This is the antithesis of everything else the game is trying to do! It’s basically engineered to create frustration and bottleneck your progress on other tasks.

Polo only recognizes one achievement per visit, even if you’ve completed a bunch of them. If I’ve completed challenges 4, 5, 6, and 7 but got stuck on #3, then once I complete #3 I can’t turn in #3 through #7 all at once. I have to turn in #3, then wait a couple of hours for Polo to show up so I can turn in #4, then wait a couple more until another random encounter lets me turn in #5, and so on. And remember, you don’t have any way of knowing what’s coming (unless you read the wiki) so you’re more likely to “waste” one of these rare visits just figuring out what you need to do.

So the main progression was a series of blind rewards that could only be obtained by completing unexplained goals for an obnoxiously written character that only showed up randomly, creating a linear progression that was profoundly dissonant with the premise of the game. That was the No Man’s Sky experience in a nutshell. 

But now? Now the Anomaly is awesome. You can summon the space station at will. Inside, you find a player nexus. You can see real players coming and going like in a traditional MMO quest hub. 

Polo and Nada are still there, but now there’s a sprawling complex around them full of various types of upgrade / research terminals where you can progress through various technology trees. Things that Polo used to hand out at randomRandom from the player’s perspective. The rewards came in a fixed order. are now integrated with the rest of the mechanics. You still need to work to unlock gear, but now you can see what your choices are and how to obtain them, and you can decide which areas you want to focus on. 

There are a lot of new NPCs hanging around now, and each one seems to focus on a different aspect of the game. They’re mostly a way to reward progress or nudge you to engage with different systemsLike, there’s a guy who will appraise things that you’ve cooked, which is a handy way of telling the player about the new cooking mechanics., and they don’t require you to click through four or five screens of awful blather before they get around to telling you what you need to knowEh. There’s still room for improvement here, but it’s SO much better than what came before.

Maybe Give it a Try?

Here's another shot of the new Anomaly. It's a cool place!
Here's another shot of the new Anomaly. It's a cool place!

The whole game is filled with improvements like this. I know I’ve spent the last four years dumping on this game, but I think that the changes are large enough that I can honestly recommend it. To be fair, I did need to use a few mods to smooth out the interface headaches, so keep that in mind. You can either fuss around installing mods or you can accept that your first few hours with the game are going to be spent fussing with a ridiculously limited inventory. But if you can make it over either of those hurdles, this game has lots of cool things to see and do.

If you shelved the game years ago or if you avoided it due to the bad press, then now might be a good time to give it a[nother] chance. I know I have a reputation as a guy who complains about everything, and maybe that leads people to conclude that I’m always looking for things to complain about. But honestly, I’m happy when things are headed in the other direction. I find the No Man’s Sky redemption story to be kind of heartwarming.

 

Footnotes:

[1] I’m talking about stuff like acquiring the end-game hyperdrive from Polo the obstructionist jackass.

[2] Random from the player’s perspective. The rewards came in a fixed order.

[3] Like, there’s a guy who will appraise things that you’ve cooked, which is a handy way of telling the player about the new cooking mechanics.

[4] Eh. There’s still room for improvement here, but it’s SO much better than what came before.



From The Archives:
 

62 thoughts on “A Whole New Sky

  1. Gautsu says:

    I feel cheated. The first time I can be first, and it’s not all on the front page…

  2. Zaxares says:

    Wait, hang on… So NMS is a multiplayer game? How do mods work in that scenario? Because it seems to me that any sort of mod that smooths over major inventory headaches or save game editors that allow you to give yourself fancy ships is essentially “cheating”; a new player might be throwing themselves into a Sisyphean grind trying to buy upgrades and new ships and can’t understand why other players seem to be zooming effortlessly past him, until somebody spills the beans and says “just use Gary’s Ships’R’Us mod and skip all of that pointless early game grind”.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      From what I gather, you can interact with other players, but there’s no competition or anything like that, so you don’t really have advantages over others.

    2. Mephane says:

      It depends entirely on the mod. Some mods affect everyone in the session if the P2P host has it installed, otherwise only the player with the mod. Other mods always only apply to you and no one else.

      You can however disable the multiplayer features if you want to play on your own, and also have private sessions with just your friends. Out of courtesy to other players, you should not enter multiplayer sessions with random players if you have mods installed for which you cannot vouch that they don’t affect them.

      1. Zaxares says:

        Ahh, I see. So it’s not like an MMO-style multiplayer and more of a “hosted servers” kind of deal. Fair enough.

        1. Mephane says:

          It’s basically P2P with a central server that just handles some matchmaking.

          The save files themselves are even stored locally, i.e. when you connect to someone else’s session, your local file is used in that session.

          And yes, that means if you manually edit that file in any way, those edits will carry over into any multiplayer session, whether you are host or client.

          1. Decius says:

            Ah, so the Diablo model of multiplayer.

            I presume that the same people who modded Diablo multiplayer will mod NMS multiplayer.

      2. Decius says:

        >”Some mods affect everyone in the session if the P2P host has it installed”

        Is there a way to avoid entering multiplayer sessions if the host has mods that affect you?

        1. Mephane says:

          Unless things have changed in this regard (I doubt they have), not really. Which is why I avoided playing in multiplayer sessions with strangers, and only ever played with friends or alone.

  3. Dreadjaws says:

    You can either fuss around installing mods or you can accept that your first few hours with the game are going to be spent fussing with a ridiculously limited inventory. But if you can make it over either of those hurdles, this game has lots of cool things to see and do.

    People have been talking up this game’s comeback for quite a while, and while I like to think that what has kept me from trying it the last few times has been just a really large backlog that I’m currently sifting through, the reality is that despite my supposedly newfound self control I’m perfectly able to ignore my backlog if I see a new game I’m interested in. I played through Carrion, for instance, which only launched last week, and today launches the Destroy All Humans! remake, which I already had on preorder (love the original game and the demo convinced me they did a good job with the update).

    I’m not sure why despite all the things people say you can do in this game I still have no desire to play it, but I think it’s precisely because of all the options. Seems like a massive undertaking for someone with so little free time as I have. Lately I’ve just been gravitating towards shorter, more linear games because they better serve the purpose of entertaining me without overwhelming me. I’d really need vacation time to tackle an open world game these days.

    Hopefully some day I’ll have some more free time to go around, but until then I’m not going anywhere near this game, no matter how good it gets.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I’m also short on time. Is there a game like No Man’s Sky, where it allows / encourages short game sessions? I want to be Spaceman Spiff[1] on an adventure of the week, not Bilbo Baggins hogging up 12 hours of screen-time.

      [1] Bonus points if it’s all cartoon-looking. :)

      1. Nimrandir says:

        My experience with No Man’s Sky is dated now (I think I played after the Next update, quit before Beyond, then messed around with it a bit last year), but that was precisely how I played it. I landed on a planet, checked out a few points of interest while tracking down the indigenous fauna, then quit after hopping back onto the nearest space station.

        I kinda took Campster’s assertion that the game was about nomadism to heart, I suppose.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          OK new question: is there a game that’s less than $60 CAD? That’s way to much money for something I’ll get a few hours out of. ^^;

          1. Nimrandir says:

            Good grief — I picked up my copy for less than $20 US. I’m flabbergasted that the game is still at that price point. It’s almost as ludicrous as the $30 being asked for Civilization V.

            1. Chad Miller says:

              I don’t really play the game, but it seems like they’ve added a lot since release. I don’t know that it’s fair to complain that it asks launch day prices if they keep adding features to it; at some point it’s almost like they’re creating DLC but only charging you if you haven’t already bought the game.

              1. Nimrandir says:

                Yeah, that’s fair. It sounds like most of the added stuff isn’t for me, but if it works for Hello Games and their players, who am I to judge?

      2. Retsam says:

        It depends on what exactly you mean by “like No Man’s Sky”, but “space exploration game with short play sessions” sounds a lot like Outer Wilds to me, which is very amenable ~20 minute sessions.

        It’s not a super long game overall: maybe 10-20 hours, so it’s definitely not the sort of “evergreen, endless entertainment” game that NMS is aiming for, but maybe that’s a good thing if time is a premium.

        1. Socks says:

          I second Outer Wilds.

          It is a glorious game – visuals, story, progression.

          It is on Steam now.

          1. Drathnoxis says:

            Thirded. It was my GOTY last year.

      3. tmtvl says:

        If you want fun adventures out in space, you could give Naev a look.

  4. Asdasd says:

    So a new version will come out and break all the mods, and then over the next few weeks the mods will gradually be updated by the various authors to work with the new version. About half the mods won’t get updates because they’ve been abandoned by their original authors who have since moved on to other projects / have gotten jobs / have new living situations that preclude maintaining large ambitious hobby projects. New authors come in to rescue the abandoned mods and launch new projects.

    Oh, so it’s like Firefox.

  5. Joshua says:

    From the original article talking about Polo: “After a year of updates, this small annoyance has still not been fixed, even though it should be trivial and people have actually done so in third-party mods. ”

    Sounds like Shamus forgot that people have modded the game. Happens.

    1. JT says:

      Happens more and more the older you get, too.

  6. Fallonor says:

    The comparison to Minecraft is really interesting.

    It’s dreadfully hard sometimes to set up a Minecraft server if you enjoy the heavily modded experience. We run Infinity Evolved, an absolutely massive modpack that provides multiple interacting technology trees along with mods to the world itself. The problem is that it runs on 1.7.10. New players to my server who have been keeping up with the vanilla game will have both new features they don’t know from the mods and missing features I don’t know because I don’t play vanilla these days.

    Some of the best mods ever introduced, along with huge suites of support mods that make them still better, were released in 1.7.10 and abandoned by the time of 1.12. My wife was a huge fan of Thaumcraft and it’s associated family of mods. She’s seriously not interested in the tech mods. Thaumcraft was such an ambitious project that no magic mod since has even approached it to my knowledge. If we jump to another pack we’re almost certainly alienating at least one of our regulars, to say nothing of stability of any FTB type pack for general use.

    It’ll be interesting to see if No Man’s Sky has similar problems as the major changes start to compete with Q.O.L. fixes for player attention. Here’s hoping they don’t sell to Microsoft and fork the codebase like Minecraft did.

    1. Philadelphus says:

      Ah, Thaumcraft. It and a few of its associated mods are still my favorites by a country mile (though I was also quite comfortable with tech mods), and I’d personally be happy to stay on 1.7 forever—the game felt pretty complete to me at that point (having first played in 1.2), and pretty much everything that’s been added since was probably already added in a 1.7 mod, along with tons and tons more stuff. I’d still be running my own server for me and a friend if the cheap router in the place I’m currently sub-letting at would allow me to.

  7. Dave B. says:

    I got NMS a few months ago, but I wasn’t able to play the newest version because my graphics hardware didn’t support whatever new wizbang tech they were using in it (Vulkan, maybe.) I had fun with it, but I felt overwhelmed, getting into the game this late, with the game trying to introduce all of its new quests and mechanics at the beginning.

    That said, have you seen this video about the progress the devs made in fixing NMS’s terrible launch? Your article reminded me of it.

    1. Scerro says:

      That video really is a great look at what the game was, and how the studio has really turned around what was a disastrous launch. I haven’t played the game, but seeing it I actually will probably give them $30 when it’s on sale again here someday.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Yeah, I think I’m ready to tag it for my next video game spending spree.

  8. BlueHorus says:

    Good to see Shamus a) not criticising and b) happy(?)
    While I love reading a long-form evisceration of a game, a ‘hey this game is working well, and might be fun’ is a welcome change. Not that I’ve ever really been tempted to play NMS, but hey, glad you’re enjoying it.

  9. Hector says:

    I suppose good for Shamus but…

    Saying that a game be some decent years after release with a bunch of mods to fix problems really isn’t a selling point for me. That sounds like a backhanded admission that it’s not very good, and I should look elsewhere for my gaming fix.

  10. Mersadeon says:

    Huh. You know what, I might give the game another shot now.

    I came into it when base-building was already a thing and felt it was a huge, thankless bother that the game wouldn’t stop bugging me about, and combined with all the other problems you already pointed out back when you first stopped, it just took all the fun out of the game – I had that moment of realization “oh god I’m literally just filling bars to fill bars to fill bars, I’m spending most of my time managing inventory instead of actually looking at the cool stuff” and stopped.

    Can we get a modlist that you’re using? That might be a very good starting point for me.

  11. evilmrhenry says:

    a big difference I see between NMS and Minecraft with regards to mods is the ease of getting a specific version set up. With Minecraft, I can fire up my modpack manager of choice, and load up version 1.0 of the game. While I’m not familiar with NMS, a quick Google shows me that it’s not that easy. This means you can’t get a Minecraft 1.7 effect, where you have a whole mod ecosystem.

  12. Misamoto says:

    They increased the inventory space tremendously in the Beyond update. I honestly thought you wouldn’t need to mod it further

  13. Nimrandir says:

    It’s funny. I bought No Man’s Sky on the heels of Shamus’ “One Year Later” posts, and I had a good time with the game. Knowing about the inventory hassles beforehand helped me let go of my usual desire to hold on to everything I found, and I was able to keep focused on what I absolutely needed for basic survival and a long-term goal or two.

    On the other hand, simply reading about this network of mods and their compatibility with updates makes me uncomfortable. We installed the PC version of Minecraft specifically because my son wanted to play around with mods, and working out how to get any of them set up was sufficiently aggravating that I had mental images of punting the laptop across the room. It sent the family packing back to the security of our console Bedrock Editions.

    I’m curious how we end up with such radically different thresholds for variant frustrations. My guess is that my foundation in console gaming has conditioned me to tolerate whatever a game has built into its own systems, whereas mod frameworks are mentally filed apart from the game and become a hurdle to overcome before I can start playing.

    1. evilmrhenry says:

      You really need a modpack manager. I use the PC Twitch client. (They bought out Curse, which I was using before.) Once you have that, installing a modpack or making your own is just a point-and-click affair.

      1. Nimrandir says:

        I think I finally ended up with Curse installed on the computer, but by that time, the well was so poisoned that my psyche was like the ‘blasted heath’ from “The Colour Out of Space.” Even typing up my previous comment made my eye twitch a bit.

        I appreciate the recommendation, but I’m content to say, “modding games just isn’t for me” and stick with what comes out of the box.

        1. tmtvl says:

          I totally understand how you feel. I don’t care for using mod managers and installing multiple mods together is often more hassle than I am inclined to go through.

          The only mod manager I am willing to spend any effort on is the Steam workshop, as that’s just click-and-play, usually without me needing to worry about compatibility.

        2. Philadelphus says:

          Y’know, it’s interesting; some games I absolutely wouldn’t be able to play vanilla anymore—I was regularly using Minecraft modpacks with ~150 mods back a few years ago, and I’m working through an XCOM 2 playthrough with 368 mods at the moment. But other games I’ve never modded (even ones where it’d be trivial to do), or indeed never really felt the urge to mod. It very much depends on the game. So while part of me wants to say that you’re missing out on so much by playing vanilla Minecraft, I can also understand liking a game simply for what it is. I love FTL: Faster Than Light, and while I did once try out a few mods for it some years ago I ultimately stopped, and am happy with it un-modded.

          1. Nimrandir says:

            I only play Minecraft when asked to do so by my son, so I’m not missing much. The rest of the family is honestly more comfortable on consoles, and they seem happy to play around with the new stuff added by updates.

            People would probably be more inclined to say I’m missing out by not modding Morrowind, but it’s not like that game is hurting for content out of the box.

  14. Gndwyn says:

    It is no longer necessary to use a mod to get rid of the delay when you hold E in the menus. You can turn that off in the game settings now.

    1. Drathnoxis says:

      Wow. Beyond everything else I’ve heard about the updates, this convinces me that they’ve actually turned their game around.

      1. Nimrandir says:

        I’d almost reinstall the game on my PS4 to see if consoles got the same courtesy.

  15. EOW says:

    It’s still weird how they never fixed the menus or the reasonable resource system, especially when they are popular mods

  16. Dev Null says:

    I never did give the game a try, despite wanting to, because so many of the people complaining were complaining about exactly the sorts of things that irritate me. Now I’m tempted, but I’m worried by the “I did need to use a few mods to smooth out the interface headaches” caveat. Care to share with us what you ended up using?

  17. Joe says:

    “Minecraft has the most extensive modding community that I know of.” Where are they hosted? NexusMods gives the number for Skyrim at 64.2 thousand, while NMS is 1.1 thousand and Minecraft is 82. I’d like to know which game, outright, even counting all the different versions and updates, has the most mods.

    1. tmtvl says:

      Last time I looked into Minecraft modding (the 1.6 days) you’d find mods in the MC forums. I don’t know if there’s been anything more official set up, though.

    2. Ruethus says:

      I usually find my mods on the minecraftforum site, but a lot of them seem to be hosted on what I think used to be Curseforge but is now Twitch (not at all confusing, right?). I usually know the name of the mod I’m looking for at that point, so I’ve never bothered to look for mod lists, but I’ve probably personally encountered at least 600 mods over the years across various versions, and that’s as someone who just downloads a pack he heard about once in a while.

    3. Philadelphus says:

      I just checked curseforge.com (yes, that’s actually the name, not a dodgy malware site), and found 869 pages of Minecraft mods. (And just on the first page I saw multiple big names that I recognized from years ago, so I’m fairly sure this is the unofficial “official” repository.) At 20 per page, that’s 17,380.

      1. Joe says:

        Thanks for a definitive location and number. 17,380 + 82 is 17,462. Let’s say Skyrim is exactly 64,200. Even if half of those are repacks/compilations/updates, that’s still 32,100. If there’s another mod site for Minecraft, with another 17.4 thousand mods, that’s 34,800. As I doubt that 32,100 figure, I’m going to say that Skyrim still has the edge, but Minecraft is certainly a contender. But this isn’t a competition. “My favourite game is more popular with modders than your favourite game!” It’s just interesting. I bet that Minecraft is more stable with mods than Skyrim is. :)

        Come to think of it, Behesda hosts some Skyrim mods itself. But I honestly can’t be bothered tracking those down and adding them up. Though if someone else wants to, I’d be curious about the end figure.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          Yeah, definitely interesting, and not a competition! :) It might have something to do with differing levels of difficulty, perhaps? I know exactly nothing about Skyrim modding, never having played it, but for Minecraft (other than simple texture packs) modding involves a decent knowledge of Java, which might be enough to deter people who would otherwise be making mods.

          Hard to say about the overall stability of Minecraft mods, as I have mostly only played modpacks put together by very dedicated teams of volunteers who aggressively prioritize stability to the point where I’m not sure I can actually recall any specific crash in the hundreds of hours I’ve played, though I’m sure there must’ve been at least a few.

          1. Joe says:

            Yeah, I don’t know anything about any kind of modding. Except put this file in that folder. :)

            Frankly, even vanilla Skyrim has a reputation for being a little wonky. There are unofficial bug fixes, but I haven’t tried those. They fix at least one bug I *do* like. So mods destabilise it even further. I’m sure there are many people who play both Skyrim and Minecraft. What do you guys say about sability?

  18. James says:

    Wait so I have a question. If I install mods will I still be able to interact with everybody online regardless of whether or not they have mods installed? I don’t want to isolate myself to only the people who have the exact combo of mods I have installed

  19. The Big Brzezinski says:

    Most of my experience of NMS is new people on the Steam forum for Empyrion: Galactic Survival raving how this game has everything they were falsely promised in NMS. I’m still not sure what NMS is supposed to be, which is probably why I never bought it. I see people playing it spending a lot of time wandering around pointing a mining beam at rocks. In Empyrion, I design and build ships for mining specifically so I can harvest resources in an air conditioned cockpit with a minifridge, instead of wandering around on foot. I’ve often described Empyrion as Minecraft in Space. NMS seems to be more like Spore without all the creativity tools.

  20. Lino says:

    Even during the initial bad press, I was never completely convinced Hello Games intentionally set out to scam people. Last year, I stumbled upon a GDC talk by Sean Murray, and now I’m quite convinced that they were just a bunch of ambitious devs who were way in over their heads.

    Glad to see things have finally turned around.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      A popular opinion is that a big chunk of the negative reception was due to hype mismanagement and poor communication, particularly in the later stages of development and right after release. There definitely was some of “the Molyneux” going on where “ideas” and “visions” were (purposefully or not) presented as features, though in this case they stuck with the game and polished it up.

  21. Geebs says:

    I tried firing NMS up today after a long hiatus, and it looks like there’s been another bunch of quality of life improvements – like it seems that you can now buy more inventory space for your current ship, and also increase its rank. Also it seems you no longer need to fly to a new system each time you buy an upgrade. Stompy mechs are nice.

    Granted, I don’t really know how much all of these upgrades cost since I was in Creative mode. I’m not that crazy.

    Performance seems to have improved as well. Again, not so much that I would necessarily dare to try it in VR again. When the VR mode works, it’s absolutely stunning; when it doesn’t it’s awful.

  22. Nick Pitino says:

    Random comment is random, but when looking at the Minecraft version numbers (1.7, 1.12, 1.14) my brain wants to read those like a normal decimal number. One and Seven Tenths of One, thus making it the newer version as compared to One and Twelve One-Hundredths because it is a bigger number.

    But it’s not, it’s literally One Point SEVEN, One Point TWELVE. I don’t know if this is normal convention for version numbers but it bugs the everloving piss out of me.

    It should be written as 1.07 as far as I am concerned God Damnit.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Yes, it is a convention. As a bit of trivia I’ve seen more people have issues with it in the age of Early Access releases, with people expecting that 0.9 or 0.97 version number meant that the game was “almost ready to be released”.

  23. Lanthanide says:

    Not relevant to No Man’s Sky at all, but here’s a new interview with the CEO of NightDive studios, the people remaking System Shock 1, and what happened behind the scenes and how the game veered off into something that wasn’t system shock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE97vZLC_fA

    Thought you’d find that interesting Shamus.

  24. Geoff says:

    In general, mods are tied to a specific version of the game. If you upgrade to the new version then your existing mods will all break. Maybe they’ll malfunction wildly, maybe they’ll just stop working, or (most likely) they’ll crash the game on startup.

    I might be the only one, but you’ve done some great technical breakdowns in the past and I’d really like a better understanding of why this is the case. I’m not a programmer myself, but I’ve seen wild variations in the version stratification issues and whether they work or not.

    As you mention above, Minecraft mods just blow up the system. WoW has similar versioning warnings, though I’ve found most mods I’ve used load just fine until they’re fully updated. Outside of games, tools and plugins from places like the Unity Asset Store also tend to work just fine from version to version, but I’ve also seen tools (particularly for Unreal) that are version locked and just flat out won’t work in a new version.

    As a non-technical person, I get that an update to some subsystem is going to break mods / tools some of the time. If (for example) your mod heavily relies on the existing networking infrastructure and the developer changes how matchmaking / netcode works, its a given that your mod is probably going to break. But if networking infrastructure doesn’t change and the update just adds new content or other bug fixes, it seems like the mod should continue to work just fine.

  25. SKD says:

    No Man’s Sky was one of the hugest let-downs in my gaming career. I own it and did play it on day one and at random intervals over the first year or two ( I think the last time I played was sometime after the base building and mobile base were introduced) and the most annoying aspects for me were never fixed in that time. Sadly this game earned its way into my own personal hall of shame and I doubt I’ll ever make time for it again to find out if they ever manage to make the vanilla unmodded game a worthwhile time expenditure.

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