Astroneer research update makes huge changes to research and power systems

Astroneer, you may recall, is a crafty little survival game set in space. Chris gave it a look earlier this year, and developer System Era Softworks has been plugging away at it in Steam Early Access ever since. Its latest update is a doozy, and brings sweeping changes to the research system. 

Under the new system, when you research item using a research chamber, you receive accumulated data in the form of 'bytes' rather than a random item. From there, you spend bytes on new blueprints via the new backpack catalog. You can earn bytes by researching research chests and resources, with more researchable items due in future updates. 

The updated research chambers are at the heart of the new system, so System Era singled them out in the patch notes, saying: 

"The Research Chamber uses the new streaming power system to operate. That means rather than having base modules use a power bar that has to continue refilling, modules using the new mechanic search the network for sources of power and then stay connected to them as long as the power keeps coming in." 

Thanks to this new power system, players can also overclock their research chambers to improve their output. However, you can't stop the research process without destroying the research subject. 

The research update also brought a few usability tweaks to the UI, an improved tutorial which keeps up with old saves, and automatic crash reporting to help with ongoing bug stomping. You can read the full patch notes, and a roadmap of upcoming content, here

Austin Wood
Staff writer, GamesRadar

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.