Astroneer gets colourful with new painting tools

I did enjoy Pip’s tour of her space base in Astroneer [official site] and I’m quite keen to see what she might do after the explore-a-craft-o-sandbox’s recent bug early access update. It adds ways to paint terrain, see, along with new ways to shape it. And sure, I guess it overhauls the research system and fixes bugs and blah blah but the point is: spacepaints. Have a look in this trailer for the ‘Augments & Research Curve’ update:

Some of those painted bits look lovely. Others are garish but hey, they’re your spaceworlds.

Painting arrives through Astroneer’s new ‘augments’, little context-sensitive modules that snap onto objects to change their behaviour. Eventually the augments will work with everything from printers to vehicles, with all sorts of strange and wonderful consequences. To start, though, augments only work with the Deform Tool.

A Terrain Analyzer augment will react to terrain in some way, which for Deform Tool means players can create new terrain in that colour or only remove terrain of a certain colour. Or an Inhibitor augment stops the main function of deforming terrain but still lets it clear surface objects. Combine the Analyzer and Inhibitor and voila, you can paint terrain. Narrow and Broad augments are in too, making deformation nozzles, y’know, narrow or broad.

I’m curious to see how these augments will work on other objects. What would an Inhibitor do to a spaceship? Will a Narrow module on a printer make it create teensy items?

Developers System Era Softworks have also introduced a new Research system. They have diagrams and everything to explain but, basically, they want to make it more fun.

Full patch notes for Friday’s update 153 are this-a-way. System Era have since followed that up with a small patch which makes the Medium Printer unlocked from the start, rather than being something that takes research.

Astroneer is £15.99/19,99€/$19.99 on Steam Early Access. Our Graham is into Astroneer too, and The Mechanic has taken a good look at its crafting and inventory.


  1. Shiloh says:

    I wish I’d enjoyed this, but I couldn’t really get into it (mostly down to the fact that I couldn’t get on with the controls at all) so I refunded it. Might have another look when it’s finished though.

  2. noodlecake says:

    I bought this about 6 months ago, I think? Had fun for a couple of hours but then spent the whole time thinking how much more fun it would be with friends, and then realised I didn’t have any. :( Well! Not any that have a PC and play anything other than AAA FPS games or AAA racing games. So I stopped playing in the hopes that one of them might end up accidentally getting it in a Humble Bundle. I’ll probably be waiting a while.

  3. KDR_11k says:

    Locking the printer was quite the mistake, meant that 90% of the research you could get was completely useless until you randomly found the printer or vehicle bay. Fortunately they pushed 154 to beta almost immediately afterwards so you could play the beta branch at least.

    • foszae says:

      I hopped into that update and promptly spent three hours just looking for research fruit so i could unlock the printer. I did get the buggy quickly which allowed me to roam around finding new research ‘chests’, but eventually walked away once i started discovering new technologies i’d never heard of which i couldn’t actually craft yet because i was missing the printer.

      • KDR_11k says:

        At least you got lucky enough to find the vehicle bay. I got neither until the printer patch came.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I played this a few weeks ago, it was fun for a bit but there’s just not much to do.

    There’s what, five planets? The starting planet has all the resources. It also is the least hassle to live on.

    The other planets are objectively worse.

    So you sit there and build a little base and the research is all done in a couple hours, and then… What?

    I look forward to revisiting the game in a year to see what all has been added.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      Oh hey, thanks, you preemptively answered my question – what is there to do in this game, what is the goal? So yeah, I’ll have to keep this one in mind, but I’m not sure how much more “directionless” survive-em-up Minecraft-alikes I can stand, especially without regular PC gaming friends nowadays.

      Looks like a gorgeous game though.

  5. defunct says:

    I’ve been having a lotta fun with this game. Running around finding stuff (even this early they put in a couple odd things), and every update keeps making it better. “Improved vehicle performance” will help me a bit. I bounced off the terrain when i first got it (last year) and I was about 10 vehicle heights in the air. That little maneuver on the ramp would have been impossible, although I’ve made quite a few ramps to get underground, too.