No Man’s Sky Tips & Tricks — How To Get The Best Start

***If you’re looking for my review of No Man’s Sky, try here.***

One of the best things about No Man’s Sky is the expectation of adventure and discovery. But there are a few things I’d have liked to know from the beginning. In fact, some of the things mentioned here, I may never have learned if I wasn’t publicly streaming the game.


First Steps

The first things you should do at the crash site is repair the analysis visor. Eventually, you will make units by collecting resources and taking them back to a Galactic Trade Station to sell, but in the early game this is an extremely difficult proposition and costs proportionately more to do so.

NMS scanning

You can access the analysis visor by pressing F (PC) or L2 (PS4), and zooming up to 3x by pressing Mouse 2 (PC)/R3 (PS4). The best way to make early units is by scanning (“discovering”) flora and fauna and uploading it to the Atlas Directory. Significant bonus units are awarded for discovering all of the fauna on a given planet. To do this, click options (PS4)/ESC (PC)  -> Discoveries. Highlight anything with a red triangle next to and either upload or, and this is pretty cool, you can rename it and upload it to the directory. Individual discoveries are worth 500-2000 units, with bonus and planets worth much more.

NMS upload

As you set out to collect the resources you need for your ship repair, know that you can really stay out indefinitely. Given you scan frequently and collect isotopes and oxides, the life support and protective gear you’re wearing can be renewed as much as needed

NMS charge item.

Walking around in No Man’s Sky is very slow. You can sprint using R3 (PS4)/Left Shift (PC). Early in the game the sprint bar is used up pretty quickly. Upgrade your stamina as soon as you can, it’s worth taking up the inventory slot to do so. This is especially since exploration is almost exclusively done by foot in this game.

Some people use a dash method to get around faster, which means melee (Q/R1) + jetpack (space bar/X). This jetpack dash is excellent for a quick burst to evade attackers.


Navigation Tips

As you move around the planets, you’ll often get pretty far from your starship. Many of the settlements and scanners you run across will place markers on your map for various points of interest. These can help you navigate around, especially if you can keep track of your position relative to them.

Each signal scanner you come across has four points of interest, it’s worth your time to craft four bypass chips (which are very cheap plutonium x 10, iron x 10) and have the scanner mark all four places on your map.

NMS Bypass Chip

An extra option for finding your way is setting a custom waypoint. You can do this by bringing up your analysis visor and zooming in on a space in front of you to create a custom waypoint.


Exosuit Inventory Upgrades

The easiest upgrades in the early game are to your exosuit. Exosuit upgrades are granted by locating drop pods and buying upgrades. The first upgrade is free. Subsequent upgrades increase by 10,000 units each time you upgrade. This is your primary expense in the early game.

NMS Drop Pod

Drop pods can be located by utilizing the signal scanner mentioned above. When you locate one, visible from afar by the beam of orange light shooting up into the sky, you’ll need to craft a bypass chip. “Shelter” has a chance of locating a drop pod, which will be labeled as such if the signal scanner locates one.

NMS Scanner

Later, other exosuit upgrades can be found in space stations behind atlas doors. Currently, it appears that 48 slots is the maximum for exosuits.


Starship Inventory Upgrades

Starships are upgraded by acquiring a new ship. There are two ways of doing this. The first is to approach traders in a space station or landing pads in various locations on the planets. You can buy any starship you can afford, upgrading as many slots as you have units to afford.

NMS new ship

The second way of acquiring a new ship involves locating a brand new (slightly used) crashed starship. One way of locating the starship is by choosing “Transmission” from the signal scanner. Sometimes the scanner will point towards a “distress signal.” Follow it to discover a wreckage that will appear very similar to the opening scene of the game.

NMS Abandoned Starship

Wrecked starships will be one inventory slot smaller or up to two inventory slots larger than your current starship. Anytime you see a wreck you should accept it, even if you don’t keep it. You don’t lose your starship, it stays right where you left it and you can go right back and re-transfer to it. However, you can dismantle any items found for rare resources and take them with you. Over time, you can gradually build starship inventory.


Multi-Tool Inventory

The only way to get increased multi-tool inventory, and thus a more powerful multi-tool, is to buy or find new guns. On occasion, if you interact with an alien optimally they will offer you a multi-tool upgrade (at no cost). Additionally, some alien establishments have an orange box on the wall. When you interact with it, the box will offer you an upgrade. This upgrade will cost units.

NMS multi tool


Do you have any Tips & Tricks or additional questions you’d like to see answered here? Leave me a comment!

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