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Starfield’s latest update will end the scourge of vibrating clouds

Clouds. I’ve never trusted them. Floating up there all high and mighty, constantly threatening rain. What makes you think you’re so great, eh? With your posh names like cumulonimbus. You’re just water vapour, you know. You’re not better than me!

It’s about time somebody put those fluffy reprobates in their place. Step forward Bethesda Softworks, which has spent the last eight years wrangling atmospheres while making sci-fi RPG Starfield. The studio’s been having particular trouble with clouds lately. Not only have they been doing regular, horrible cloud things like obscuring mountain summits and plotting hurricanes in the ocean, they’ve also been vibrating. It’s like I’ve always said, give a cloud a vertical inch, it’ll take a vertical mile.

Specifically, those vapoury monsters have been oscillating when PC players use DLSS performance mode. In other words, taking it out on the little fella with their early RTX graphics card. Mercifully, Bethesda has pushed a new patch to the Steam Beta branch that puts a stop to all that noisome reverberation. That’ll show those billowing berks.

The patch also makes a few other changes that aren’t cloud related (so if any of you sky marshmallows are listening, you can kindly scud off). It adds support for AMD FSR 3 and Intel’s Xe Super Sampling, thus facilitating better performance if you’ve got an AMD or Intel GPU. According to the patch notes, it also fixes a “minor visual artifact” that could appear when aiming a weapon or “task-swapping”. The notes don’t say whether this problem is cloud related, but I bet they’re involved somehow.

Elsewhere, the patch fixes a rather specific crash that occurs “when making changes to the ship that required all items to be moved to the cargo bay in the Ship Builder menu”. It also fixes an issue “causing the resolution scale to reset to 1.0 when switching from Fullscreen to Windowed mode when using DLSS”. Nothing worse than when a bug like that clouds your experience.

Bethesda encourages players to try out the new patch and “let us know your thoughts” before the update gets pushed to the main build. The studio also has bigger plans for Starfield in 2024. In December, Bethesda announced “new survival mechanics” coming to the game this year, alongside mod support, city maps, and an “all new way of travelling”. There’s no word, however, on whether Bethesda plans to eradicate all clouds from the galaxy, which to me seems like a far more practical use of the company’s time.

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