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The space exploration game No Man’s Sky has released its first major update: the Foundation Update. We’ve seen indications that a 2.7 GB patch is live on PlayStation 4 right now, but the update does not yet seem to have been deployed to Steam just yet. News of the update broke on the game’s official twitter.

The Foundation Update gets its name from adding the “foundations of base building” as well as being “a foundation for things to come”. There are quite a few things that have been added to the game. An accompanying trailer was released with the news, so give it a quick watch if you’d like a good overview of some of the new stuff added to the game:

No Man’s Sky will now offer players the opportunity to select from three different difficulty modes. “Normal Mode” is exactly the same experience at launch in terms of the game mechanics. “Creative Mode” allows players to explore the universe with no limits and build large bases – you’ll have unlimited health and resources and you can make buildings at zero cost. (Achievements are disabled in Creative mode.) Lastly, “Survival Mode” creates a more challenging gameplay experience. You’ll face limited resources, more aggressive enemies, and increased hazards.

Players had hoped for the ability to build a base since before the game’s launch, and the Foundation Update finally brings this feature to the game. Players can lay claim to a home planet by finding an uninhabited base. You can then customize it using prefabricated building blocks that are created from resources in the game. Bases can contain storage containers, farm plots, landing pads, and other functional elements within them. You can also recruit alien life forms from space stations to work at your base, and Terminus Teleporters make transport between your base and space stations a breeze. If at any point you find a location that you’d rather call your home, you can dismantle the whole thing to reclaim its resources and start anew elsewhere. Judging by the language used here, it seems likely that base building may be akin to that of Fallout 4 in that it will be restricted to building on top of existing, unclaimed bases.

The building mechanics in the Foundation Update extend to more than just building your home base. You’ll be able to place new pieces of equipment out in the field wherever you are. Save points can be deployed and will do exactly what it says on the tin – the ability to save out in the wild is mentioned as being critical for Survival mode. Automated Harvesters can be attached to resource points to gather materials in your absence. Waypoints will allow you to mark a location to make it easy to find and return to later, and a Signal Scanner will let you discover nearby points of interest such as uninhabited bases, mineral deposits, and more. Players will also be able to place a Communications Terminal which will allow them to leave a sub-space message for other players to find.

If you’re more fond of flying through space rather than settling down on a planet, the Foundation Update to No Man’s Sky is also introducing Freighters. Freighters are huge, interstellar ships that can be purchased at “great expense”. You’ll be able to teleport resources to them from a planet which makes for an ideal mobile stockpile. Just like your home planet, you can use the new building system to customize the interior of your freighter, hire NPC aliens, grow crops, and expand its cargo capacity.

This is an example of how base building in No Man's Sky will work in the Foundation Update. It seems pretty likely that you'll be restricted to building on pre-existing uninhabited bases, but there also seems to be a lot of opportunity for customization.

This is an example of how base building in No Man’s Sky will work in the Foundation Update. It seems pretty likely that you’ll be restricted to building on pre-existing uninhabited bases, but there also seems to be a lot of opportunity for customization.

For you explorers out there, No Man’s Sky will feature some changes to the terrain, new resources to find, and a new biome. The new Advanced Mining Laser and Hazmat Gauntlets (crafted via base building) are necessary for collecting some of the rarer resources. Managing all of these new goodies will be made easier by a new Quick Access Menu which should result in less digging through virtual bags. Products can now be stacked 5 to a slot which gives you a little more breathing room.

The game’s UI and graphics have gotten a bit of an overhaul to coincide with this update. Some UI elements have been made cleaner, and certain icons have been changed in some instances to provide better information (such as detailing specific resources rather than general categories). TAA (Temporal Anti-Aliasing) and Motion Blur have been added as options if you’d like to make things look a bit prettier, and low-spec PC players can access settings.xml and enable texture streaming to make No Man’s Sky perform a bit better.

This is just a sampling of the new features – there’s also a very long list of general bugfixes and changes that weren’t standout mentions. There’s an awful lot to digest here and we haven’t covered all of the gritty details. Amazingly, there isn’t a clear indication of when the update will release in any official sources. We’ve poked around and found many players on PlayStation 4 reporting that a 2.7 GB update has been launched for No Man’s Sky but we haven’t been able to confirm that it has been deployed on Steam. According to the Steamdb.info page for the game, it hasn’t yet been updated at the time of writing so it looks like PC players will be getting it a little later.

Head on over to the page for the Foundation Update on the game’s official website to check out all of the specifics. If you’re considering purchasing No Man’s Sky, you can grab it for 40% off on Steam. If you’re more interested in the PlayStation 4 version of the game, you can grab a physical copy at Amazon [Affiliate Link] for $19.99 (a 67% discount).


Update: The Foundation Update is now live on Steam along with an accompanying news post on the game’s Steam community page.

What do you think of what Hello Games has added to No Man’s Sky in the Foundation Update? Do you feel that the scope and content of this update are enough to make up for the lackluster launch of the game? What do you hope to see in a future update? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!