A few months back, Mehalaway of the YouTube channel VR Spaceman reached out to me asking if I would be interested in appearing as a guest on his weekly live VR show, No Man’s Sky Wonders, to walk through several of my recent base builds and just chat on about the game we all know and love so well. That sounded like a pretty good time to me!
On his channel, Mehalawy explores any and all space games that support VR across a variety of platforms and headset configurations. His weekly live show, NMS Wonders, he hosts and records from his perspective in PSVR2. As he describes,
This is a live talk show about No Mans Sky game In virtual reality, every Saturday We will tour some of the most wonderful bases in NMS while interviewing the base builder and listen to their NMS story, all this in virtual reality for a new & fresh experience.
On the show in questions, we were joined by co-hosts Kim and Max (@SparkleRain and @Maxamus88 on Discord) and toured three of my bases: The Lighthouse in the NMSCord Hub, Chimney Rock Overlook, and Blade Peak Chalet. Along the way, we had a nice, wide-ranging chat about life, the game, and even a dip into the topic of retro computing… It was a blast!
The motivation for me to finally sit down and write a post sharing this YouTube base(s) tour was that on the NMS Discord in the @nmscord-hub channel, my base The Lighthouse, which was visited in the video, was recently a featured base for the community. This brought many visitors to the base and quite a few comments sent my way. It’s always fun to have visitors!
A quick shout out to my fellow American Interlopers out there exploring the universe, travelling from system to system, galaxy to galaxy, here on the 4th of July, American Independence Day. To mark the occasion I’ve indulged in a modest fireworks display from my lighthouse base perched upon a craggy islet on planet Distira in the NMSCord Hub system (Euclid galaxy).
So, grab your space apron, get out in the yard, and fire up the Nutrient Processor for a good old-fashioned Hexungulatis barbecue. Have a great Fourth!
100 Knowledge Stones in 30 Minutes on a Stone-Dense World
Recently, a kind Traveller “gave me a ride” to the Budullangr galaxy. I had traveled there several years back by…a different means, but was not fond of the bleak harshness of the place way back when, so I got out pretty fast. A lot has changed in the game since then, so I wanted to give it another look and am now enjoying exploring the galaxy and it’s strange worlds.
A couple of weeks in, I randomly spotted a star system with an Atlas Interface on the Galactic Map, and so I warped in. I began exploring the various planets in the system and found some of them to be rather unique. The first I set down on was a rather unusual, blinding neon green rocky world; the next was a Sporal Planet with weather described as “Lost Clouds,” featuring an intense duo-tone 80’s synthwave sort-of vibe at night (shown above); and the third was a lush planet more densely littered with Knowledge Stones than any world I’d previously encountered.
On that third planet, after zipping around and, in short-order, collecting 25 new Gek terms from the many Knowledge Stones, it occurred to me to record a bit of my gameplay as I went from Stone to Stone learning new words. And so here, I present a sped-up, time-lapse video of me collecting knowledge from 100 Stones in just 30 minute’s of play time (time lapsed it’s just over 10 mins). I thought a few Travellers out there might enjoy a look.
Everyone who’s played No Man’s Sky for any amount of time knows about the “melee jump” or “boost jump,” achieved by executing a melee lunge and triggering your jetpack in the middle of it, transferring the forward force of your melee lunge into your flight. This is a quicker way to get around than simply lifting off with your jetpack.
But…do you know about the melee + reload jump trick?
I was hanging out on the Discord sometime in late 2019 or so when someone was explaining the old reliable melee jump to a new player. In response, someone piped up, making mention of a many-times-faster jump trick that will let you cover a span of terrain about as fast as as a starship. No one in the channel had heard of this one, and the guy (I wish I could remember the handle) explained precisely how it is done. It took me a few tries, but I got the hang of it and have been using this trick to travel long distances across a planet surfaces ever since.
How to do it: Fire off a few rounds with a projectile weapon (Boltcaster, Pulse Spitter, etc.) and then, while walking forward (not running), press and hold down the melee button. While it’s still held down, tap fast and frequent on the weapon reload button (square on PS4/5, X on Xbox, ‘r’ on keyboard) — tap it over and over fast and you will sporadically gain ground speed, though the direction is erratic. When you’re moving at a good clip, light up your jetpack and away you go! Note: You must have spare Projectile Ammunition in your suit inventory for this to work.
I made a short, not-great video demonstrating the trick way back when and have shown it a number of times over the years to Travellers unaware. It seems like this is not a widely known technique. When this issue came up again this morning in the Discord, I decided to make a much better video and post the technique here to the blog.
Lush Infestation Lodge: A “Tiny Home” Base on an Overgrown World
It’s been a while since I last shared a base build here on the blog, and I have several works in progress, but I wanted to share my most recent build which is another example of my favorite sort of base, a “tiny home” base. This outpost, the “Lush Infestation Lodge” is built on New Ammy in the Imitil X system in the Eissentam galaxy, which is an “Infected Paradise” world with no sentinels and calm, stormless weather that is described as a “Refreshing Breeze.”
The main base is a single-room affair (a single floor unit) that is accompanied by an outdoor kitchen and a dais with table for meals. A teleporter sits out back.
I discovered the world while seeking out worlds with highly complex ground features in order to try out the performance of my newly upgradedNo Man’s Sky gaming PC, which was originally put together back in 2016 shortly after the game’s launch to allow gameplay at higher resolutions and framerates than the base Playstation 4 upon which I started my NMS adventure.
New Ammy is a lovely world, and the base is nice and cozy. Come have a visit if you’re up for it. But a word of advice — watch out for the worms…
A Look Back at Some Early Features Now Absent from “No Man’s Sky”
Being a fan of all-things-No Man’s Sky, I keep up with several NMS-related channels on YouTube. The most recent YouTuber that I’ve started watching regularly is Kanaju. In his videos, he covers quite a few aspects of No Man’s Sky that I find to be of particular interest.
A couple of Kanaju’s recent videos cover features present in early version of the game that have been removed or evolved into something new and that current players may not be aware of. As someone particularly fond of the early versions of No Man’s Sky — to the point that I’ve become something of a Time Traveller, occasionally going back to enjoy those rather more rough-hewn worlds — I wanted to share these videos with readers who might just be surprised at the way things were.
The first video is entitled “5 Killed Features Worth Bringing Back.” I well recall all of these now-absent features, and it certainly is a walk down memory lane for this day-one player. I may not fully share the author’s desire for a return of all of these features, but it’s interesting to look back and to see where some of the current features and mechanics in the game got their start.
The second video, entitled “5 Lost Interiors You Can’t Explore Today,” takes a look at early iterations of player bases, space stations, The Anomaly, and the like. Pieces of the past can certainly be seen in the in-game present, and this one really shows the degree to which much of No Man’s Sky has vastly increased in scale.
As Kanaju acknowledges in several of his videos, 2018’s massive update NEXT (v1.5) marks a sort of before-and-after point for many aspects of No Man’s Sky. Hello Games chief Sean Murray, in a video interview about 2020’s Origins (v3.0) update, made mention of the notable changes that took place earlier.
The fundamental thing is that we have this universe that we built, like, four years ago and we released it and we said that thing of, “even we don’t know what’s out there.” But it was true to an extent, right? We didn’t know the kind of planets people were going to start up on and — and then actually that hasn’t been true for the last four years for us. We have a ever evolving game but that universe has been reasonably static, right? The same terrains and biomes and worlds out there to explore. We’ve kind-of calmed them down, actually. We’ve removed some of the craziness [in Atlas Rises and, to a much larger extent, NEXT]…
While there is certainly more going on now in No Man’s Sky than ever before, thanks to the over 20 major (and free) updates Hello Games has given us, it’s interesting to look back — even for those who were not entranced by that feeling of simple solitude and limitless possibilities that many of us (well, some of us) so cherished.
WWDC Surprise: “No Man’s Sky” Is Coming to the Mac and iPad
Today, Apple live-streamed the keynote that kicked off its annual World Wide Developers Conference. Occurring every spring, WWDC serves as an opportunity for Apple to announce product updates to consumers, show off new software and OS features that are on the way, and put its latest development tools in the hands of the dev community.
During today’s keynote, Apple announced the new M2 processor, successor to the extremely performant / low power Apple M1 that kicked off the Mac’s transition from Intel-based processors to Apple Silicon. Apple showcased the M2’s performance in the first machines that will be receiving the chip, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops. The coming, yearly update to the Mac’s operating system, called macOS Ventura, was also demonstrated. As is always the case, the new OS brings with it a variety of new technologies that were detailed during the keynote. One of those technologies is Metal 3.
Metal is a low-level, low-overhead hardware-accelerated 3D graphic and compute shader API created by Apple. It debuted in iOS 8 during WWDC 2014 and combines functions similar to OpenGL and OpenCL in a single API. Apple moved away from OpenGL as its core 3D API and created Metal in order to improve performance by allowing low-level access to the system GPU. It is comparable to other APIs such as Vulcan and DirectX 12 and is currently utilized by Apple’s macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS. WWDC 2017 saw the release of Metal 2 which brought various enhancements and optimizations. Today’s announcement of Metal 3 brings more features and improvements still, and Apple Senior Director of GPU Software Jeremy Sandmel took the stage today to demonstrate some of these new features.
And that’s when things got interesting. (The keynote video presented herein is cued up to the moment in question.)
The first first new feature of Metal 3 that Jeremy pointed to is MetalFX Upscaling which, it was revealed, is as a scaling technology akin to Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (both of which are supported by the PC version of No Man’s Sky). While he began to speak, saying the following (quote below) about this feature, the keynote stream highlighted a MacBook Pro laptop running a game that looked so familiar to me that, in this completely unexpected context, I had trouble recognizing it.
We continue to improve Metal. It’s the software that powers hardware accelerated graphics on all our platforms, and now Metal 3 brings new features that will unleash the full potential of Apple Silicon for years to come.
Gaming at maximum resolution and quality looks awesome. And, to help game developers increase the performance of realistic and immersive graphics, we’re introducing MetalFX Upscaling which enables developers to render rich, visually complex scenes even faster. It works by rendering smaller, less compute intensive frames and then applies high quality spacial upscaling and temporal antialiasing — and it’s so cool.
No Man’s Sky, coming to Mac later this year, will be one of the first games to use MetalFX Upscaling. The framerate increases give you that responsive feel — and it looks beautiful.
There was … a Traveller … jetpacking up the hill of … a paradise planet… It took a few moments for my mind to take in what I was seeing, and it was at about that time that he stated that No Man’s Sky would be coming to the Mac later this year and that it will be one of the first games to utilize Apple’s new upscaling technology.
This is amazing news of which no one had heard even a hint. Hello Games’ front man Sean Murray didn’t even tweet a teasing emoji leading up to it. This came as a complete surprise to the entire No Man’s Sky community.
MetalFX Upscaling demo clip from the Apple keynote
And, what comes as a further surprise to those who watched the keynote is Apple’s announcement, in their own press release, that No Man’s Sky will also be coming to the iPad later this year. Nowhere during the keynote video was an iPadOS port of the game mentioned, which is a little surprising considering that in 2021, the iPad generated over 90% the revenue of the Mac.
Last week, Hello Games released No Man’s Sky Outlaws, a major update to the game that might just have you singing “Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me!” Outlaws v3.85, Hello Games’ twenty-first major (and free) update to No Man’s Sky, greatly expands gameplay and mission mechanics for would-be pirates, including a new class of starships called Solar Ships, improved space battles, in-atmosphere ship combat, wingmen, pirate-controlled systems and space stations, visual enhancements, the sixth Expedition: The Blight, and much more, all detailed on Hello Games’ Outlaws release page.
Hello Games has a habit of releasing major updates when I am on an extended vacation with my family — and that was the case with Outlaws. As such, I was a bit late to the party in giving it a go (if only the upcoming Switch release were here already!). Having now spent a number of hours exploring the update, I am much impressed, and most so with the new Solar Ships. I can’t get over the look and feel of them, dramatically transforming as they take off, leave and reenter atmosphere, and land. Their solar sails, procedurally-generated variation, and “feel” — both on screen and VR is amazing to me.
I have been so impressed with these new ships that I put together a short video to share with readers, showing my first-acquired Solar Ship doing its thing, as well as a bit of the craziness involving both these new ships and ships of olde in a pirate attack on a planetary Trading Post.
While I am still feeling out the various new pirate mechanics and am only early-on in Expedition Six, the No Man’s Sky Outlaws update has added a whole new dimension to gameplay that I can already feel and much appreciate.
How are you liking it?
A Lengthy Session of “No Man’s Sky” Running on the Steam Deck
Last month I made a post featuring a short video by YouTuber PC-Gaming.it that contains a clip of No Man’s Sky running on the Steam Deck. It was our first glimpse of the performance of our favorite infinite universe, procedurally generated space survival / exploration game running on Valve’s new mobile console.
A much more lengthy look at No Man’s Sky on the Steam Deck was recently posted by YouTuber Gaming On Linux. The nearly 40 minute video shows gameplay across various biomes and gives a much better feel for the NMS Steam Deck experience. The on-screen performance meter shows that the game, capped at 60fps, plays fluidly and rarely drops below the capped rate. Also notable is the fact that it is running with AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) turned off, which raises the question of just how much higher a framerate could be achieved on the Steam Deck with the FPS cap off and FSR enabled.
Regarding the game’s performance on the Steam Deck, at the beginning of the video the reviewer states,
I’ve had a lot of people ask to do No Man’s Sky on the Steam Deck, so here we are. Truly I have to say though, I’m somewhat impressed by how far it’s come along. Before the release, while I was reviewing the Steam Deck itself, the game did not perform well — but now it’s perfectly playable. My save is quite early on but I’ve covered a number of different areas that you’ll find in the game in the video. Hopefully it gives you a reasonable idea of what some of the performance will be like.
The performance improvements spoken of by the reviewer are certainly due to the frequent and numerous updates to the Steam Deck software that have come, surrounding its launch. The Proton compatibility layer / translation software under which No Man’s Sky runs on the Steam Deck, in particular, may have seen ongoing optimizations for the console’s custom Zen 2 + RDNA 2-based APU.
Have a look and share what you think in the comments. Are you about to take exploration on the go with a shiny new Steam Deck?
On New Year’s Eve, as we said “Goodbye” to 2021 and “Hello” to 2022 (this has gotta be a better year, right folks?), another community base-building event was on-deck for the Quicksilver weekend mission (worth 1,200 QS) in No Man’s Sky.
I love it when base-building weekends come along, as I indicated in my recent post covering the shenanigans going on during the last such mission back at the beginning of October. They are great opportunities to get creative and build a base on the mission planet, chat with other Travellers that drop in while you’re doing your thing, and visit the huge number of other player bases that inevitably pop up all over the system in question. These are highly social weekends and are, at the moment, my favorite recurring event in the game.
On this New Year’s weekend I warped out to the Rulandt V system in the Euclid galaxy and set down on planet Petonia X which, by the time I arrived, was already covered in bases. I flew about, exploring the terrain from the air and found a tiny little rock island floating in a deep canyon and decided to build a cozy stone dwelling with a view and — I hope — a decent splash of character.
The video seen here includes bits and pieces I captured of my build process, along with a short tour of the finished base (which unexpectedly included a visitor checking out my handiwork) followed by fly-bys and quick on-foot exploration of 40 other bases made by fellow Travellers as part of the weekend event. There are some impressive constructions, out there, including a sprawling cave construction by u/E-Slick-73 that is extremely impressive (see video).
I hope you enjoy the video and please portal in for a visit to my base, as well as the many other great player constructions that await.