No Man’s Sky celebrates its 7th anniversary with the Echoes update, which overhauls space combat and adds foveated rendering on PSVR 2.
Echoes is the 26th named update to No Man’s Sky, which originally released in 2016 to mixed at best reviews. The game added SteamVR and PlayStation VR support in 2019, and was a launch title for PlayStation VR2 earlier this year.
In our PSVR 2 review we described it as offering an “essentially endless, infinite universe to explore and a sense of scale that’s really hard to match in VR” with procedurally generated planets, unending oceans of space, and multiplayer support.
The Interceptor update earlier this year improved the wrist interface controls in VR and promised “significant improvement to image quality” on PSVR 2. But the new Echoes update goes even further by adding foveated rendering support on PSVR 2 and other “significant rendering optimisations” for all VR headsets.
Foveated rendering is a technique where only the region of the display your eyes are currently looking at is rendered at full resolution, freeing up performance since the rest of the image is lower resolution. Freed up GPU resources can be used for better performance, to increase the foveal rendering resolution, or to increase graphics settings. It leverages the fact that our eyes only see in high resolution in the very center of the fovea.
Developer Hello Games claims foveated rendering and the new optimizations mean “rendering quality, stability and performance has improved across the board” on PSVR 2.
Gameplay wise, the Echoes update focuses on space combat. You can now divert power to engines, shields, or weapons, and enormous Pirate Dreadnoughts have been added to bring “huge space battles” to the game. “Defend fleets from pirates. Fly through enemy trenches to sabotage their shields, and destroy them!”
Echoes also introduces a new “long-hidden” race of robots. Taking part in robot assignments earns mechanical parts for your own robotic avatar. Other notable changes include allowing Traveler’s to search for, trade and scrap weapons to become ‘multi-tool scrap merchants.’
No Man’s Sky Echoes is available now on all supported platforms, including SteamVR and PlayStation VR2.