No Man's Sky: 'Prisms' update is a complete visual overhaul

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,121   +862
Staff member
In a nutshell: No Man's Sky continues to be one of the greatest comeback stories in gaming history. Not only has it delivered on all of its failed promises, but it also continues to improve the game with every major iteration. Version 3.5 is no exception.

On Wednesday, Hello Games released its seventeenth major update to No Man's Sky called "Prisms." Version 3.5 brings a few new gameplay features like ridable flying creatures, movable freighter bases, improved planetary charts, and a synthesis laboratory for buying crafting component recipes. However, as the name suggests, the update is primarily about light—aka visual overhaul.

Last month, Nvidia spilled the beans when it revealed that No Man's Sky was one of several games that would be getting Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) support, and here we are.

"PC players with compatible NVIDIA RTX graphics cards can take advantage of DLSS, gaining vastly improved performance and visual quality," the patch notes read.

Perhaps more importantly, DLSS support also works in VR mode. It will not alleviate the screen door effect, but any improvement of VR visuals is always a blessing.

While HG is not yet ready to delve into the complexities of real-time ray tracing, it has added the next best thing to the Prisms update—screen space reflections (SSR). Screen space reflections are a less taxing form of ray tracing since it only needs to compute reflections for objects already rendered on the screen. Regardless of the differences in process, SSR brings shiny surfaces to No Man's Sky, and they look terrific.

Another lighting technique is used to add refractions when looking through curved surfaces. Starship cockpits, base windows, and alien bubbles on frothy planets can now refract light, making them appear more realistic.

Hello Games used "new styles" of volumetric lighting to bring more depth to the various light sources. Colored and directional volumetrics give the bright headlights of exocraft and starships that lightened haze you would expect. The effect is especially dramatic as you try to avoid the cone of a sentinel's spotlight. Crepuscular rays (aka God rays) have been reworked as well.

On some textures, developers applied parallax occlusion mapping. This gives some surfaces that previously looked flat a great deal of depth. A stunning example is the floor of the Anomaly (below).

With the heavy focus on lighting in this update, it would be a shame not to improve the look of wet objects. The developers have that covered. New particle effects enhance the look of rain during storms as well as explosions. But not only does the rain look good falling, it actually makes things wet now. Whether it's your exosuit or a creature, objects develop a progressively damp sheen.

It's good that HG thought to make things look wet because going out in storms just became a thing. While outside the scope of the visual updates we've been highlighting, players now have a reason to wander about in extreme meteorological conditions like thunderstorms and meteor showers. These hazardous conditions now have a chance to spawn valuable objects. Treasure hunters who typically look for booty 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 enhancements, audio tuning, and bug fixes in the update that we never get a chance to talk about, so be sure to check out the patch notes for version 3.5 on the No Man's Sky website.

Permalink to story.

 

Reehahs

Posts: 1,262   +929
That's great and all but can the game breaking bugs be fixed first?

While at those bugs, double or triple the walking speed and make the game fun to play?
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
It's sad to see how a small indie dev is destroying Frontier and CIG.
5 years development on Elite: buggy space legs, on a game that was intended to primarily be the most ambitious galaxy-wide space ship sim, and a slightly more visible haze on a few barren planets.

Frontier and CIG, stop trying to cater to the whims of random community trllls and focus on delivering a good product in a timely manner, please. Expand the existing content, add depth, refine refine refine.
 

RedGuard

Posts: 99   +72
It's sad to see how a small indie dev is destroying Frontier and CIG.

StarCitizen: The color of the sky is determined by the athmosphere composition, the current weather, the composition of the star that emits light and the physical calculations based on distance, angles and so on.

No Man's Sky: We have one single planet that has 2^64 skins out of which 2^60 look basically the same.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
StarCitizen: The color of the sky is determined by the athmosphere composition, the current weather, the composition of the star that emits light and the physical calculations based on distance, angles and so on.

No Man's Sky: We have one single planet that has 2^64 skins out of which 2^60 look basically the same.
NMS: Playable
SC: maybe-ish, if you're lucky. (Been in development since the days when Avatar was all the rage in cinemas)
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,648   +4,124
StarCitizen: The color of the sky is determined by the athmosphere composition, the current weather, the composition of the star that emits light and the physical calculations based on distance, angles and so on.

No Man's Sky: We have one single planet that has 2^64 skins out of which 2^60 look basically the same.
Star citizen: The color of the sky is determined by the athmosphere composition, the current weather, the composition of the star that emits light and the physical calculations based on distance, angles and so on.

Users: That's great, but you announced that 4 years ago. Where is the playable game that was supposed to be delivered in 2014?

Star citizen: We added new fabric ripple physics for your undergarments. Please remember to purchase your new Ripple Fabric pass to enjoy this new feature! We also added virtual land stakes so you can give us more money!

Meanwhile:

NMS: Hee's a bunch of free updates and game improvements for a game we sold half a decade ago.

I deride NMS often, but Star Citizen is a horrendous example of pumping money into a lost cause on name alone.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,717   +1,322
That's great and all but can the game breaking bugs be fixed first?

While at those bugs, double or triple the walking speed and make the game fun to play?
You’re still walking in NMS? No wonder you aren’t enjoying it! Build a vehicle like everyone else lol. They mine much much faster too
 

psycros

Posts: 3,558   +4,336
Is it just me? Because I can't see any difference from these last few "breakthroughs" in graphics.
 

Reehahs

Posts: 1,262   +929
You’re still walking in NMS? No wonder you aren’t enjoying it! Build a vehicle like everyone else lol. They mine much much faster too
You need to walk first to build the vehicles, then you run out of one element that you need.

Besides mining, most of the time is spent in inventory management. They should call it No Man's Inventory.

They usually have bug fixes in every update. Which one is annoying your right now? :)

Thanks for asking. It is the one which respawns the base contents in a capsule and places the capsule in the cargo frigate's corridor between the hangar and everything else. Small problem is that I didn't have a base . Bigger problem is that accessing the capsule's inventory requires emptying out your inventory.
 
Last edited:

Puiu

Posts: 4,855   +3,744
TechSpot Elite
StarCitizen: The color of the sky is determined by the athmosphere composition, the current weather, the composition of the star that emits light and the physical calculations based on distance, angles and so on.

No Man's Sky: We have one single planet that has 2^64 skins out of which 2^60 look basically the same.
SC is a lost cause, just a scam at the moment. There will be a time when the money will run out and whales will stop paying.
 

Gezzer

Posts: 150   +76
SC is a lost cause, just a scam at the moment. There will be a time when the money will run out and whales will stop paying.

Yeah, hate to admit, but I was once one of those whales and stopped backing in 2018. Still have my fleet and waiting for the ability to fully use. CIG's latest focus? A new battle royal mode. Yeah, they now have Halo in a space sim. My current hope is I see a reasonably playable space game before I retire in 5 years, and/or I don't die before that.