No Man’s Sky Is Pretty Rough On PC

No Man’s Sky Is Pretty Rough On PC

All this week, PC gamers interested in No Man’s Sky have had to patiently watch PS4 players explore the universe without them. Today, they can finally play the game for themselves. Too bad it’s in such rough shape.

I’ve played about an hour on PC, after playing somewhere around 40 hours on PS4. The PC version of the game looks decent enough, certainly sharper than the PS4 version, but I’ve had some noteworthy problems, as well. For reference, I’m running an Intel i7 at 4.2Ghz and a GTX 1080 GPU, with a 1440p, 144Hz G-Sync monitor.

The game loads with some alarming default settings: 1080p and a 30fps cap. Fortunately, you can change all that, though many of the graphics options require a reboot for changes to take effect (boo).

The graphics options screen looks like this:

I maxed everything out, turned off the frame-rate cap and v-sync. The most immediate thing that struck me was the hitching — the game was hitching and stuttering hard in the loading screen, and continued with some frame-rate dips and hitches during gameplay. I turned antialiasing down from SSAA to FXAA and capped the frame rate at 90 and that’s smoothed things out somewhat, but the game definitely isn’t what I’d call smooth.

I’ve encountered other issues as well. For starters, the mouse and keyboard interface isn’t nearly as easy to use as I’d hoped. The cursor functions identically to the console version, meaning you have to hold down the mouse button on every menu item you want to select and watch the “wheel” on your cursor fill up. I also alt-tabbed out of the game to check on another application and found I couldn’t get back in; it was still playing but the display was unable to show it. I had to exit the application and reload it, which meant I lost all of my progress since my last restore point save. Switching from fullscreen to borderless has removed the issue, though it’d be nice to be able to play in fullscreen, too.

I’ve seen some people reporting that the field of view (FOV) sliders don’t do anything, which would be a shame since the FOV feels pretty limited on PS4. Turns out they actually do have an effect. Here’s FOV 80:

FOV 80

FOV 80

And here’s FOV 100:

FOV 100

FOV 100

Steam reviews are currently “mostly negative”, with players reporting issues along the lines of the ones I’m seeing. A bunch of people have been reporting that the game crashes at startup or won’t load at all — there’s a well-populated thread at the No Man’s Sky subreddit with loads of players reporting that issue and others.

Game director Sean Murray has been addressing some of the issues on Twitter, and the game has already gotten one patch.

Hopefully that patch helps some of the players who couldn’t get the game to load. The speed with which it was deployed indicates there will be more patches to come, so that’s good.

There’s definitely a possibility that some combination of game updates and new drivers could get No Man’s Sky running better, but for now, it’s a far cry from the PC version many fans were hoping for. Bummer.


  • For a few fixes follow this
    1) Turn off FXAA, set AF to 1, turn off Vsync, set to windowed borderless, set framerate to Max, exit game
    2) Pop nvidia (or whatever AMD has) control panel and set your FXAA and AF stuff there in a profile for the game. Force vsync on.
    3) Edit No Man’s Sky\Binaries\SETTINGS\TKGRAPHICSSETTINGS.xml and set
    4) Enjoy your slightly less boned game

    Some have reported Borderless is not needed if fps is capped at 90.

    Even with these I still get odd minutes of dropping down from around 60fps to sub 5fps. No real reason for it either.

  • I wonder when we’ll collectively switch from ‘oh this guy is a trooper/the Hello Games guy and his team are performing as well as can be expected’ to ‘sue this bloke and claim his children this is pathetic’.

    I have had no real interest in the game but geez I do feel for the devs.

    I don’t think we’ll see many more games debuted at the silly bloody Game Awards like this was for a while yet. Hype overload etc etc.

    • I’ve been playing it a lot on PS4 and enjoying it. It does look like it could have done with being completely feature locked and had a good 6 month pass on UI, engine and bugs.

      I’d love to see the popup reduced. They seem to have had trouble with that. Flying around the changes from low to higher detail models are too iffy. Things that have been demolished look not demolished from a distance. Wouldn’t mind some more FOV and an option to turn off viewbob.

  • I didn’t even notice the FPS setting til after I’d sunk two hours into it and was looking to figure out where you save your progress. At which point I also noticed there was nowhere to set your name, turns out if you’re running the GOG version you need to run it through Galaxy for the online features, which they only added a notice for some time after release.

  • I avoided, but my son grabbed it. To stem the flow of tears we are having a riotous time reading the Steam reviews and related Reddit thread. We need more popcorn…

  • when have steam reviews not been ‘mostly negative’ on the first day/weeks of a major release? While, yes, all game should launch absolutely perfectly, some games are understandably more risky prospects than others. Especially the scope of this one compared to its staffing number. Common-sense would have said wait, WAAAAIT! give it a little time while those who are patient and understanding and helpful give feedback, then jump in.

    Sadly people who write nasty steam reviews are not quite that logical or forgiving.

    Its not a perfect game but damn its fun, even with frequent crashing on PS4, these devs have earned my respect.

    • Steam reviews are useless exactly for that reason. They’re not for legitimate reviews anymore, it’s just for people to bitch for the sake of it. Games are so complicated these days that it’s getting very difficult to launch with zero problems on PC, there’s just too much to consider. People won’t do much troubleshooting these days and will just toss up a negative Steam review because it didn’t work at 120FPS 1440p from the very first second of launch. Back in the 90s games rarely had patches and if they didn’t work you just didn’t get to play! They’ll need time to optimise it and for NVIDIA/AMD to release new drivers.

      That said I’m kind of glad I got it on PS4. Had one hard crash in about 8 hours of play and no framerate issues.

  • Well, the fact that the game requires OpenGL 4.5 means it’s not officially compatible with Windows 7. As specified on both NVidia and AMD websites, OpenGL 4.5 is only compatible with Windows 8 or more recent. (Note that I’m not saying it’s “not working on Windows 7″… but just that the it’s not officially supported.)

    OpenGL 4.5 (also known as OpenGL 2016) can also only be used on GPU (for NVidia) from GTX 6XX or higher and isn’t compatible with every mobile version yet. (The time at which mobile version (laptops) will receive OGL is unknown and should be asked directly to the manufacturers.)

        • Ssssssshhh – I’m too busy grinding words in an alien language to write a review. Grinding those words One. At. A. Time.

          But I’m loving it.

          • *Jams another 20 carbon in random alien’s face”

            Give me a usefull word dammit!!!!

            You learned the Vy’keen word for Glur


          • Apparently I learned enough to (successfully) say ‘gimme half your stash you dirty embezzler’ to a random trade Gek.

  • It’s a bit sad to see a small Dev struggling to keep up with the myriad of issues. We can all enjoy slagging off a large Dev, but these guys clearly haven’t dealt with anything of this magnitude before. Hopefully they sort it out in due time and it doesn’t ruin the overall longterm appeal of this game.

  • I was wondering if it’s because it’s using OpenGL.

    I mean, when was the last time you ever read a document where graphics card vendors optimized their cards for anything but DX9/10/11/12?

  • Not having too much issues with my PC, i can run it at mostly high at @1440p at 60fps, thats with a GTX 980 and a i7 4790k.

    • Yep, no issue with same setup (SLI but not running 2nd card) and no overclock on CPU/GPU. Feel bad about how much this is stuffing up for devs and players though.

    • Couldnt give you the specifics on my rig. i5, midrange GPU, 16 Gb ram is about all I could tell you, but I aint had any problems outside of an issue if I switched out to desktop. Kind of a big one though, the game wouldnt let my switch back to NMS. Could hear the game going, but the graphics wouldnt show, so it meant cancelling the game and restarting.

      Not a BIG issue, it only happened a couple of times (once when my recharging mobile decided to jigger its cable…) and both times I had only just found an outpost or got out of my ship, but it was mildly annoying. Then I switched to windowed mode and everything was fine.

      My biggest annoyance is the languages. Why is the player the only person in the galaxy/universe that cant understand anyone? We have a warp capable ship, using the same resources as anyone else. At the very least we’d have a basic understanding of a few dozen common words.

      Small thing, and I do like the grinding of languages, but it would make a little more sense if you started with a small handful of words for each language in your starter area at least.

  • Yes day one and a heap of optimization is needed (mid range gaming lappy, defaults high end graphics, but still bawks when everything turned to low or off). But the menu? By God it’s awful. Instead of just selecting what I want I’ve got to hold down and wait for the circle to complete. OK for five minutes, but a few hours in it’s excessively grinding.

  • Ran like crap for the first time. Put everything to max and unlocked the fps count now runs ok and that is on a Titan x. I can only imagine the hell other people with lower species cards are going through.

    Still having fun though. 7 hours in and I haven’t even left the first solar system. Ducking always something new to explore. Also is it just me or are units really easy to come by. I’m at 2m :S

  • my i5-2500K and ATI HD 7870 GPU seem to be running it smoothly at 1080p resolution, with FPS set to MAX (not 90), with FXAA enabled and all details set to HIGH as well. Game is smooth and I’ve had no crashes in the 5+ hours I’ve been playing the GOG version.

    • May be an issue with nvidia drivers if that is the case because what my card is putting out is just ok. When I can play all latest release games at 144fps with no issue at 1440p and this game struggles, there is something wrong.

  • It utterly astounds me the level of denial the developer seems to be in over this? His updates sometimes seem to absolutely discredit that some people are having issues?

  • I feel super lucky that the game is running flawlessly for me at max detail 3440×1440. Hope there’s a patch soon to sort you guys out. Do keep in mind that they’re a tiny dev and hopefully will iron out the kinks!

  • Gotta love how people seem to take great delight in seeing such an ambitious game have teething issues.

    I am saddened by the fact that Kotaku would feature an article like this, which does nothing but give all these entitled crybabies an excuse to make more noise. I guess that’s an indictment on the state of the industry, and I guess society. These sorts of negative articles create more outrage, generate more clicks and make more money.

    Everyone needs to relax, take a chill pill, wait a couple of days and let the devs patch their work. There is NO situation that can prepare a game for launch, except for the launch itself.

    Why would people stick their neck out these days, considering the potential backlash? It’s like everyone would be happy if devs kept churning out endless Call of Duty’s and Assassin’s Creeds.

    For the record, I don’t have No Man’s Sky and played it briefly with a friend on his PC. Where it ran fine 99% of the time and then dropped to 5fps, which required a reboot.

    • There is NO situation that can prepare a game for launch, except for the launch itself.

      Except beta testing. Lots and lots of beta testing on various machines, with various cards and various setups.

      This is why companies do strenuous amounts of beta testing, opening up the floodgates to a couple thousand people time to time, allowing them to actively help, seeing whose game crashes, whose game works brilliantly etc. Clearly, this was not done here but released according to their own idea of what specs were meant to be (and in fact weren’t). Beta testing was clearly not effectively done.

      If you shell out premium price for a game mate, you expect that game to work, you don’t expect to be sitting there with almost top of the line gear, watching a game not even boot to the title screen, crashing to desktop *no matter what you do*. You don’t expect to see a pc sitting there with computer gear that *doesn’t* meet the requirements actually running it properly.

      They did not optimise the game effectively, didn’t beta test it effectively and released it broken. They should be chastised for this at every twist and turn and should not have people out there playing insipid apologist for them. *That* hurts the goddamn game industry more than anything else, people saying “Hey it’s ok to release a broken as fuck game, it’s cool, charge full price and get around to fixing it as some point”. Because that’s just an awful way to set precedents for others to follow (as they have) in the gaming industry.

      It’s not unrealistic to expect better standards, it’s common decency.

      • Couldn’t agree more. The game in it’s current state is pretty broken for a lot of people. It’s almost like Arkham Asylum all over again, only they are yet to pull this game from sale yet due to “Performance Issues”.

          • they had a Sony Q&A team before release, I guess the new inhouse team is to help with patches going forward

          • Sony Q&A team sure tells you a lot, not going all conspiracy theory but I’d say it’s not a far reach to say they concentrated on troubleshooting the ps4 over the pc.

          • Lol. That actually sounds spot on. I’ll never forget when Sony (& Square Enix) ported Final Fantasy 8 from Playstation to PC….they never added an option to quit out of the game. Nothing says quality control fail like Sony’s Q&A team.

  • A fix for the alt tab issue is:

    Once you alt tab, to get back into the game hit play from within the steam menu.

  • You can also fix that by switching to the application in Taskmanager, or playing in borderless or windowed modes

    • Yep can verify task manager definitely works, thanks for that hint!!! Still sucks alt tabbing doesn’t straight up work :\

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