If you're exploring the cosmos with Astroneer in Xbox's Game Preview program, your life is about to get a whole lot more colorful. Available in the latest update are two big changes: the introduction of Augments and tweaks to the research curve.

Augments, as the name suggests, can be attached to other items to modify how they work. Augments will eventually work with a number of items, they're limited to the Deform Tool with this release. With two augments, the Inhibitor and Terrain Analyzer, however, you can now use the deform tool to sample colors from one set of terrain and then paint terrain around you.

The second set of changes is related to making the research system more fun. You can read a full, in-depth description on the Astroneer blog, but the new system essentially utilizes reward categories and weighted randomization. Here's a look at the new features and general updates in the latest version of Astroneer:

  • Added tool augment system: Augment items can be attached to tools (starting with terrain tool) to upgrade or change behavior
  • Terrain tool can now be interacted with when backpack is open in order to slot in augments.
  • New unlockable augment items!
    • Terrain analyzer: Collect terrain of a particular material/color until meter is full. Once meter is full, adding terrain will use the equipped color, and subtracting terrain will filter on the equipped color.
    • Wide mod: Increases the size of the terrain tool brush while decreasing intensity.
    • Narrow mod: Decreases the size of the terrain tool brush while increasing intensity.
    • Inhibitor: Shuts down functionality. Applied to terrain tool, turns off adding/subtracting terrain, but maintains color changes and harvesting.
  • Complete overhaul of equipment unlock progression. Specific equipment unlocks are now dependent on researching certain types of chests while retaining some randomization.
  • Steeper difficulty curve: Fewer types of equipment are available at the beginning of a new game, requiring more chests to be recovered and researched to acquire everything.
  • Research chests are less common overall.
  • Hydrazine no longer tradeable at trade module.
  • Backpack now opens to one side, if space is clear, to support tool interactions, and clear the view ahead.
  • Backpack gets illuminated when opened to aid visibility in dark areas.
  • Default terrain tool brush size and intensity adjusted. Terrain tool now adds grey terrain when no augment mod equipped.
  • Terrain brush now indicates color
  • Added an interaction indicator between the Astroneer and held items.
  • In multiplayer, the indicators of other players are now visible and receive the accent color of that player.
  • Dynamite explosion power and radius now increases when multiple dynamite sticks are packed together.
  • Mellowed out camera behavior when backpack or terrain tool is out.
  • Updated vehicle code to increase stability.
  • Added new VFX for deformations.

All of the latest features and updates are now available on Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam. If you're already enjoying Astroneer, you can jump in and check out the new systems now.