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8 things you can do in No Man's Sky after the Foundation Update

No Man's Sky left many gamers with a sour taste in their mouth. But a major new update is a step in the right direction that brings many much-needed improvements and features.

No Man's Sky is a controversial game that's still a heated topic for many gamers. It over-promised and under-delivered, which is hardly unheard of in the gaming world. But the developer, Hello Games, did so in such a bombastic fashion that Sony and other retailers issued full refunds to buyers, even after they'd played it for dozens of hours.

The first major patch, the Foundation Update, aka version 1.1, appeared this past weekend and feels more like a proper overhaul than a mere update. Though the game stills leaves much to be desired, the update introduces many new features and fulfills many of the original promises.

The Foundation Update is a massive leap in the right direction for the game and its beleaguered developer. Here are eight things you can do now that were missing from the original release.

Choose a new game mode that suits your play style

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Taylor Martin/CNET

    At launch, there was only one game mode. It didn't have a name, and it certainly didn't come with a tutorial like most new games. It threw you into the thick of it and left you to figure everything out for yourself.

    There's still no tutorial, but there are now three different modes of play to choose from, each of which accommodate a different style of play:

    • Creative mode takes all the elements of survival and gathering resources out of the game and just lets you go crazy with building your base.
    • Survival mode is for those who want more of a challenge. The difficulty is cranked up, creatures are more aggressive, essential elements for survival are more rare and you don't start directly beside your ship. You'll have to work your way to it, only to find it in need of serious repair.
    • Normal mode is the standard game. It features all the upgrades introduced in the Foundation Update but, for the most part, has not changed.

    Call a planet home

    Before, the only way was forward. You started out, crashed on a random planet and made your way to the center of the galaxy. There was no place to call home, nowhere to setup camp.

    Now, if you find a planet with plentiful resources, you can claim it as your home and return to it at will, without having to search through billions of planets or a waypoint system to find it again.

    Build a base and other things

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    Taylor Martin/CNET

    What good would being able to return home be if you couldn't build a base? The Foundation Update introduces basic base building. Find an abandoned base, build it out and upward, fill it with technology and decor and start stockpiling those precious resources inside storage containers.

    That's not all you can build, though. You can place save points, waypoints, communication terminals and more almost anywhere.

    There is a lack of variety in the buildings, but a place to store your goods is better than nothing.

    Teleport

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    Taylor Martin/CNET

    The mystery behind portals was a disappointing one. They didn't actually work in the original release. However, something new was introduced with the Foundation Update: Terminus Teleporters. You find these at space stations and can use them to teleport to and from your base.

    The catch is that after you claim a base, you must then travel to a nearby space station to connect the teleporter from your base to the network. After the initial teleport, your Terminus Teleporter will be able to send you and your ship home from any space station, sans warp cells.

    Buy a freighter

    One of the downfalls of the vanilla No Man's Sky was inventory management. There never seemed to be enough storage space. Rather than a journey to the center of the galaxy, it felt like a race to get more storage slots in your ship and suit, to avoid having to toss valuables in favor of necessary resources.

    Now you can store resources in your base, but you can also buy a freighter for transporting more than your standard loot run. You can build more storage space inside your interstellar 18-wheeler, as well as grow crops and customize it, just like you would your base. And best of all, you can teleport resources to your freighter from the surface of a planet.

    With your freighter stockpiled with valuables, you can travel between systems and sell resources in places where they're more valued. You can even hire crew members, like engineers, farmers and science specialists to help man the ship, learn new technologies and farm crops.

    Stack items in your ship inventory

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    Taylor Martin/CNET

    Another way the inventory system has been improved is by allowing items to be stacked in the ship and freighter inventory. Before, only scavenged resources from wrecked ships could be stacked. Now, items that you craft or gather from crates can be stacked in units of five, meaning you can carry more items in your ship and freighter.

    Grow your own resources

    The Foundation Update also allows you to farm your own resources. You can grow crops indoors or outdoors and harvest rare resources so you won't need to find a distant planet with that one plant you can never seem to find enough of.

    Automate the mining of minerals

    If you find yourself needing a ton of a specific resource, you can place an automated harvester on a mineral deposit to mine the resource when you're not around. That said, to get the harvester blueprint, you're going to have to do a lot of legwork first.