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Satisfactory upgrades with guns, bombs, cars and vertical conveyor belts

We have (slow, mechanical) liftoff!

Today, Coffee Stain rolled out their first major early access update for Satisfactory, their 3D Factorio-like space-industrial sandbox. While shockingly good even in its first release, it still felt like the game had some gaps to fill. Today's update adds new vertical conveyor belts, an exploration vehicle with springy suspension, demolition charges and firearms which go a long way to filling out those blanks.  Below, a straight-to-the-point developer update video, made significantly more amusing by hair-dye interfering with their chroma key effects, or the full patch notes here.

Being a game about building huge automated structures, the most mundane feature of this update is the one people most wanted - vertical conveyor belts. No longer do you have to construct massive external ramp assemblies. Now, with no additional research required, you can just tear out those space-filling monsters and construct a simple conveyor lift in their place. Also of simple practicality (although less technical) is the Mk1 Rifle, a new Sulfur research project. Low-ish fire rate, but it's a reliable chunky gun to help dissuade alien fauna from eating your face.

Also in the Sulfur research line is Nobelisk demolition charges. You can throw or place them, then detonate remotely. While usable as a weapon, their main application is clearing rocks or other obstructions. On the Quartz research line is the Explorer buggy, a super-agile scout car, although completely unarmoured. Once you've travelled out a ways, you can build radar towers - the higher the better - to automatically fill in a large chunk of map around where you place them. Less drudgery, more actually doing stuff, which is exactly what a game like this needs.

Under the hood, they've done a lot of tweaking. More optimisation work has been done, resource nodes in multiple areas have been reworked, and more foliage can be destroyed by chainsaw or vehicle.  Some crafting recipes have been changed, and more alternate ones added in. The resource requirements of some projects have changed. There's too many small changes to list, so see the full patch notes here. All of this, and they've somehow managed to trim the game's download size by two and a half gigabytes.

Satisfactory, now updated but still in the first phases of early access, is here on the Epic Games Store for £27/€30/$30. Before he vanished into the ether, Alec Meer poked around a pre-release version of Satisfactory, and had a rollicking good time with it. Worth a read.

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Dominic Tarason