No Man Sky Replaces OpenGL With Vulkan

It's not often that games replace their entire graphics renderer years after launch - but that's what No Man's Sky has just done, ahead of their Beyond update later this year.

Hello Games announced in a blog post that the Vulkan renderer should result in a performance bump for most players, including those with AMD graphics cards, and it would replace OpenGL in-game. "We have been able to do this not only for Beyond, but for the current live version of the game. As such, we wanted to release this to you as soon as possible."

The patch is currently available for the beta branch of No Man's Sky, but "it will be rolled out to all players" in the near future. Hello Games have also updated their HDR implementation on PC, and made changes so that players no longer need to restart the game when changing v-sync settings, shadow detail, resolution, windowed mode or reflections.

The infamous "loading shaders" step at the beginning of No Man's Sky has also been removed, and the PC version now supports crash reporting in line with consoles.

Here's the full list of patch notes:

  • OpenGL has been replaced by Vulkan. Many players, particularly players with AMD graphics cards, should see a performance improvement
  • Revised HDR support, updated output curve in line with advances in HDR calibration
  • Adaptive and Triple-Buffered V-Sync are now selectable from Graphics Settings
  • Players with more than one GPU can now select which is used from Graphics Settings
  • Changing the following settings no longer require restarting: Window Mode, Resolution, V-Sync, Shadow Detail, Reflection Quality
  • The ‘LOADING SHADERS’ load step has been removed, improving the loading experience.
  • Crash data is gathered via Steam to help us track down and fix issues.

The developers note that "more so than normal", users should also update their GPU drivers.


    Dam, that's a major under the hood change. The ability to change settings without restarting the game is a godsend.

    Ah, nuts.
    In the meantime, we have some news for players on PC. As part of our optimisation work, we have added Vulkan support to the game.

    Looks like it's a PC change only. Shame. I'd love to see a performance/quality improvement for PS4 so there's not as much pop-in.
    Watching the world randomly generating itself a few dozen metres in front of your ship while flying was always a bit of a buzz-kill, not to mention thinking you could see mineral desposits in the distance only to discover that at a certain distance the game only shows you the ghost of the deposit, rather than the actual depleted status.

      The PS4 already has a Vulkan-like API, or at least, a low level graphic API (GNM) that performs better than OpenGL or Direct3D. It's one reason why the console is more efficient with its hardware. There's no scope for performance improvement here.

      I thought the last NMS update did quite a bit to alleviate pop-in. At least, on a Pro. I don't notice it anywhere near as much. The mineral thing is still the same. ;)

        Awh nerts. I was really hanging out for that kind of upgrade. I only own it on PS4, not PC. Looks like this makes PC the only real option. It's just... not great, graphically, at all on the Pro. At all.

        That needs some Digital Foundry analysis right there!

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