Eight Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Playing No Man’s Sky

Eight Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Playing No Man’s Sky
Image: Kotaku

As far as tutorials go, No Man’s Sky has a very minimalist one. It teaches you to survive, but when it comes to thriving, you generally have to figure it out on your own. Here are just a few things that I wish I had known when I started this game.

Our tips for getting started will teach you how to play the basic game, but some things you can only learn from experience (or from the little exploits discovered by other players).

Read Also: Tips For Getting Started In No Man’s Sky

Boost Jump

Boost jump! Everyone needs to know about boost jump. If you don’t, I am here to save your virtual life. Boost jump is a funny little thing that happens when you melee combat while running, then immediately hold the jetpack button down. It’s probably not something that’s meant to happen, but it sure is useful.

To do one, start running, then press the melee button, then the jetpack. It takes a bit to figure out the timing, but if it works properly the jetpack should speed you off in the direction you were facing instead of sending you upwards. The speed holds for the whole time you’re in the air, so you can cycle the jetpack on and off a few times to prolong your flight.

It’s really useful if you need to get somewhere on foot, fast — you can run until your stamina runs out, then boost jump until your jetpack runs out, by which time your stamina will have filled up again. Cycle through like this and you’ll get to your destination in no time.

Easily Collect Resources On High Security Planets

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It’s great to come across a planet that’s just littered with precious resources — except when those pesky sentinels start shooting you when you so much as look at a Gravitino Ball or Vortex Cube. It can be a pain to fight them off for every single item you collect (plus it fills your inventory with more common elements) but it turns out you don’t have to. In fact, using the aforementioned boost jump, you can actually outpace the sentinel forces pretty quickly — often without having to take damage at all.

Read Also: What Is The Deal With Vortex Cubes In No Man’s Sky?

The best way to do this is to run far enough away from the first item that they lose sight of you, but keep picking up items while the sentinels are hunting you. This means that no new sentinels get deployed, and as long as you keep moving you get to collect these items in relative peace. If you stop to wait for them to catch sight of you occasionally, you can draw out this ‘search’ period indefinitely, and continue filling up your inventory with rare items.

Add Extra Inventory Space

Image: Kotaku

Speaking of inventory, you’re going to need more space in your inventory if you want to get rich. There’s only one way to add extra space to your inventory — drop pods. These are little pods scattered around on every world, with each giving you one extra slot in your inventory for a price. The first upgrade is free, the second costs 10,000 units, and the price goes up by another 10k with every slot you gain. I’m at the point where they’re around 300,000-400,000 units each at the moment.

So how do you find drop pods? First, find a signal scanner, which are a bit easier to locate. These are the little conical pods with orange beams shooting upwards from them. Craft a couple of Bypass Chips (10 iron and 10 plutonium, both very common elements) and then use them on the signal scanner. Get it to search for Shelter, and hopefully it’ll locate a Drop Pod. Do this a couple of times to give yourself a few options and then go find yourself some upgrades. You can also spot drop pods fairly easily when you’re just flying over terrain, especially once you know what you’re looking for.

Exploit The No Man’s Sky Economy

Image: Hello Games

While you can rack up the units just by collecting endless resources, it’s always easier to make good money when you have a strategy. Lucking upon rare resources aside, here are a couple of ways you can do that.

Trade With Everyone

All space stations have trade terminals, and most of these have an item or a number of items that is extremely valuable, marked by a gold star. These will usually be items that can be sold at a vastly inflated price, often 95%+ of its regular price. Even if you don’t have any of these at all, you can go back into the main hangar and start buying some off the various ships that dock there. You can literally get into the trading game, buying at a low price and selling (just upstairs) at a much higher one. This can be a little labour intensive, so make sure the markup is significant enough to be worth it.

Craft Bypass Chips

Remember those things from above? They can usually be sold for around 3000 units each, but they only take 10 iron and 10 plutonium to make — elements that are easy to find and harvest. Making all the little chips are a bit of a grind, but in lieu of finding valuable materials, this is the best way to make money just foraging the resources from a challenge (especially if you need a lot of units and you don’t want to leave that planet.

Upload Discoveries On Empty Planets

Image: Kotaku

Have you ever discovered all the animal species on one planet? Not many people have. It’s fairly tedious, unless there are only a few species to discover. It’s pretty easy, however, if there are no species to discover. If you’re on a planet where there is zero wildlife, you can actually select the bar where it says “100% Complete” and upload the discovery. The reward is, fittingly, zero units, but if it works it will at least count towards the tally in your journey achievements.

Now, this doesn’t always seem to work, but it has usually worked for me only when I’m on the planet in question. As far as I can tell, it will only work if the bar on the discovery screen is cycling between “100% Complete” and “Upload for 0 Units”.

Keep Your Ship’s Fuel In Your Inventory

Now, I know inventory space is precious, but so are warp cells. At least, they’re a pain to make. It can be tempting to fill up your ship’s hyperdrive so you can jump around the galaxy as much as you want, but there’s one problem with this. If you happen to buy a new ship, all that fuel can’t be transferred, so you lose it. Keep your fuel in a form that you can carry, so new ships are always ready to go.

Find Trading Posts

Image: Berduu

Planetary trading posts are one of the most useful waymarks to find. They look like a kind of building with a couple of different landing platforms coming off the sides. When you’re flying around a planet, they’re pretty easy to spot.

Ships are constantly landing and taking off from here, and it’ll have a regular trade terminal as well. It’s a great place to sell all the products of your scavenging — but even better, once you find one it will be marked on your radar as a waypoint, at least until you exit the game or go off-planet.

Grenades Are Your Friend

If your multi-tool doesn’t have grenades equipped to it yet, get on that. Grenades are one of the most useful upgrades to your multitool for a couple of reasons (and you can further upgrade grenades with a number of features of their own.)

Firstly, you can dispatch sentinels, and most types of hostile creatures with a single grenade. You barely need to use the boltcaster at all if you have some ammo in your grenade slot, and surprisingly it doesn’t take too much either.

Secondly, you can use the grenades not only to quickly mine elements like Iron that take ages to mine with the beam, but it also destroys regular terrain. This means you can blast a hole in the ground to take shelter from a storm, or even blast your way upwards out of a cave if you find yourself stuck in one.

These are all the tips that I regularly use, what have you found useful to know in navigating No Man’s Sky? Let us know in the comments!


  • Having reached the centre now I have a couple of tips that are helpful.

    * Taking off from a landing platform does not consume fuel. But same with taking off if you parked near one of those little cylinders with the blinking lights with which you call your ship.

    * Omegon for your ultimate cannon upgrade can be bought at trade posts. They don’t all have it. Ultimate ship cannons are far superior to phase beams. Phase beams are better early on because of auto lock.

    * Farm zinc every time you see it in abundance on a planet. It is by far the hardest resource to get once you obtain all ship upgrades.

    * Look for abandoned ships. Spawn a bunch of them by using a transmission tower. Their capacity is determined when you approach them, not when you spawn them. It will always be +1 or -1 cargo space.

    * Graviton balls, vortex cubes and other such items that only use one slot of cargo space can actually be stacked. To stack these items, dismantle a piece of equipment which returns these items to you. There is one in particular that gives you multiple graviton balls back BUT it gives you back the balls in a stack. After that, you can transfer the stack of graviton balls between inventories and any you pick up will be added to the stack. The stack is 100. You will keep the stack so long as you have a couple in the stack. Sell all excess ones.

    • That stack one is super handy, I’ve got a permastack of carbite (or whatever they are) sheets and microdensity hero capes just because the ship parts I keep stripping keep giving them to me. Haven’t had anything else return any stacks though, could really have gone for a vortex cube stack back on that last planet.

      • Hero capes lol

        I had a graviton ball stack by accident when I dismantled something on my ship. Vortex cubes, I’m not sure about, to be honest.

        • The only upgrade I’ve seen that used vortex cubes used only 3, so when you scrapped it it gave you 1 (half, rounded down).

    • One little correction. The abandoned ships arent ALWAYS +/- 1 to your current ship. While its true almost all the time, I am on a planet thats defaulted back to just giving 15 or 16 slot options.

      Minor correction though, for the most part the +/-1 process works.

      Good to know the stacking trick as well. Just got to find something that gives 2 cubes as a deconstruct…

        • All good, I’ve only seen it on one planet and thought the same before this one. It has a lot of vortex cubes as well, so they may be tied to each other, who knows.

          I only noticed because the money I was making from the cubes meant I was looking to buy and upgrade, and the traders were all small ships. Plus there was a design I hadnt seen before (blue box kite type design) so had a look. Then saw the same model twice as a crashed ship.

          I also wonder if its design is tied to its capacity as well, as I got past the 15-16 ship range real early on and hadnt seen this box kite design before.

        • As a followup, last night I didnt see any 15 or 16 slot ships on the planet, so I expect it was just a glitch. Did a night of upgrading ships, each of which was +/-1 slot so the theory definitely held true.

          Was able to get a couple of single slot items to stack, and its a most helpful tip. Major difference farming cubes when you can stack 100 🙂

          Didnt spend too much time looking for any relationships between ship items and what you did or didnt have, will get to that tonight. But farming ships is definitely a straighforwad way to collect rarer resources. I went from ~200ish Omegon to 700 during the night just deconning ship upgrades.

          Start of the night, I had a full ship of stuff, and about 32 empty slots in my exosuit. By the end, those 32 slots were full of stuff, and important decisions needed to be made on what I was keeping and selling.

          Being able to keep a stack of plutonium was the biggest issue I had…

          • Plutonium is horrible. You need heaps and when you do have heaps it seems to run out quick.

            Not sure about different ships giving different cargo, as I’ve seen people on reddit with the little narrow fighters, like the kind pirates fly, and still have cargo of 48. I think it’s just a random assortment of snap-on modules. Possibly variety increases further into the centre, but that’s so hard to tell. I certainly saw a 110 million dollar ship not that long after I started playing so…

          • My experience was that MOST ships were within a certain range of what you were using, but there were exceptions. I was coming across 44 slot ships in my 2nd or 3rd system, with the pre-order ship and no upgrades. The rest were 18-24 gnerally, with an occasional 30ish.

            Plutonium was an issue because it was so easy to replace, so when I had a choice of what to get rid of, I flicked it without thinking. Then it clicked that I’d need it soon, and STILL had no empty slots. So getting some in a few minutes was going to mean making the same decision. Think I ended up dumping iron for similar reasons, though at least that isnt so crucial.

  • Mining Beam – when you are mining the bar at the top will fill up until it flashes red.
    If you let off for 1 second when it is flashing you can immediately start again at 0% without any downtime, effectively you can then mine indefinitely, only stopping to refill its power.

  • I’d toss in that you need to use F to scan objects. I went through a half dozen planets before I found that, thinking the C scan was doing the work for me…

    This game explains nothing to you at all. NOTHING!!!

    • Wait there’s a manual scan button? I’m gonna have to investigate that control screen a little more closely.

      • Talking about the sample option. Scan does the area thing to find resources, and I thought that was all there was. Then found out that you needed to use F to sample flora, fauna, rocks, etc for the discovery journey things. Which isnt explained at all.

        It was only after I paid attention to discoveries when I was uploading them, and noticed that none of the planets had anything against hte main discovery checks that I went looking to see what I’d missed.

        I’d also suggest making a backup of your starter planet save if you’re on GoG and its a nice planet. Because nothing is explained, there is always going to be something missed. Hence these sort of “I wish I’d known before” articles.

        • Ohh, you mean the analysis scan thing. I thought you were saying there was some extra button where you could manually trigger a scan of a creature or whatever, rather than just hovering on them waiting for it to take.

          • Nah, just the analysis thing. Wish there was a way to manually trigger it, those flying ones are a pita to sample. Would love to be able to do the equiv of clicking a camera button and sample…

          • The only way I’ve found to scan flying creatures is to shoot them down then scan their still twitching corpses. The mining beam hacks them out of the air very easily. You also seem to only need one specimen to get the record, while ground creatures usually need two

            The ‘F’ was explained when you first get the scanner. It may also be on the tooltip for the scanner in your Multi-tool, but I’m not ay home to check that,

    • Don’t forget after you press F, keep pressing right click to zoom the scanner in further and scan from far away. I used to climb up the top of mountains and jump off just so I can scan flying worms before I found this out lol

  • One tip: If you plan on doing the path of Atlas, don’t be a fool like me and sell your Atlas stones. You need 10 of them for the final part of it.

    • I’ve seen a fair amount of Atlas Stones for sale at space stations starting about halfway to centre.

      Edit: Also, you don’t need to do this to make it to… the next part. If you fill your tank you can jump that last 6000 light years to the centre.

  • Install the railshot adapter in your multitool (ignore the ingame subscription, it doesn’t do what it says), and remove all bolt caster fittings – railshot + a bunch of mining laser upgrades makes both mining and combat faster, no need to split your precious multitool space between both. Fit in a grenade launcher for making a cave, and don’t forget your scanners and range upgrades.

    In regards to upgrades, install them so that your most powerful upgrade is at the center of whatever formation you can fit. Eg, if you want the three jetpack booster upgrades, install them as 1/3/2 or 2/3/1 in a line – the 3 in the center gets a bigger overall boost from having the other upgrades touching it, and you’ll end up with a bigger bonus than if you do it scattered or 1/2/3 etc. Try to put everything in a “box” or “plus” shape for best results. Keep similar upgrades grouped together and touching each other (the border will highlight on linked objects if they are the same type, indicating that they are getting a bonus).

    When encountering a crashed ship, you can switch freely between your old ship and the new ship. Use this to your advantage and dismantle any upgrades you don’t need on either ship so that you can get the materials to add upgrades to your chosen ship quickly.

    When speaking to the aliens where they give you an option to give them a resource for a reward, if you don’t have the resource, you can cancel out of the conversation and go and get the resource and come back.

    • Ohh, I didn’t know that about the upgrades. Like, I knew to link them but not the ordering bit. May have to do a reshuffle or two now.

      • Yeah, didnt know here either, its good to know. As ship upgrading is where I’m at right now its not as relevant as it will be, but once I knew this it was interesting to see the color coding work (and not work) on the ship screen.

        Came across a nice looking ship last night, looks kinda like a cricket… And the field of vision in the cockpit is wonderful. Not sure I’ll be happy to see it go 🙁 But I’ll get over it.

  • I haven’t really seen this posted anywhere so I’m not sure if people know but in the article it mentions that you can only upgrade your inventory from drop-pods. However, once you have the ability to craft a v1 Atlas Pass, when you land at a space station, go to the door on the left hand side (from when you fly in) use the pass and there is always an exosuit upgrade station there for the same price as a drop pod. So it’s worth ducking into the station even if you are just jumping to the sector to progress.

  • You can get Exosuit upgrades in space stations as well – not just drop pods.
    When entering the station, the door to the left (opposite the door to the trading terminal) can be opened with an Atlas Pass. AFAIK every station has an Exosuit upgrade behind these doors.
    Your screenshot is even showing the space station in the background!

  • Also if you want to buy a ship from a trader the ships cost is tied to your current ships upgrades. Go to a space station make a save then dismantle all your ships upgrades. Look to buy a ship if you don’t find anything reload the old save.

  • Also, stacking like upgrades together on your ship (beam upgrades next to beam upgrads, shield next shield) grants bonuses. You know this is in place as the upgrades gain a coloured border. You can see the bonus on the rings that indicate subsystem ‘strength’ as the bonus will be a slightly different shade of the same colour. I removed phase beams altogether from my ship and loaded up on cannon upgrades, all installed in adjacent slots. The bonus is considerable. Not sure if this applies to the suit or multi-tool, but I don’t think so.

  • This is why the game isn’t for everyone. Personally, games are like jokes. If you have to explain it to me after delivering, it wasn’t that good to begin with.

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