(Pocket-lint) - No Man's Sky originally launched back in 2016 full of promise but left many feeling underwhelmed and grumbling at the lack of multiplayer options.
Recently, a massive update arrived in the form of No Man's Sky Next. This new release adds a swathe of changes to the game that make it worth picking up and diving into (or back into if you purchased it before and felt let down).
With multiplayer options, improved space stations, enhanced freighter and frigate systems and more available, the game is suddenly much more appealing.
With 18 quintillion procedurally generated planets available to explore though, the No Man's Sky universe might seem a bit intimidating at first. To help you get started with your space adventures we've put together this guide to the best ways to get ahead. Tips and tricks to help you make the most of your exploring and avoid dying too early on.
Getting started with No Man's Sky
Starting out in the No Man's Sky universe you'll find yourself alone on a planet in the deep dark depths of space. Planets are procedurally generated, which means the one you're standing on is entirely different from the planet any other player starts on. It also means that where your game starts is hit and miss.
If you found you've started out on a nasty planet that's immediately trying to kill you, our first tip would be to start again. We found ourselves spawning on a world where high levels of radiation where immediately draining our life force. Creating a new save and starting a fresh game put us on a more hospitable planet and made for a much less frustrating beginning.
There are dangers wherever you go though - acid rain, environmental radiation, firestorms - it's worth learning how to deal with these threats as soon as you can. Sheltering underground can help protect you from storms and regain some warmth or cool down a bit, while your spaceship will also provide some protection from the elements.
Hopping in and out of your ship also creates a save point at any time, so we'd recommend doing this regularly to ensure you don't come a cropper.
Once you've adjusted to your surroundings, the best way to get ahead is to follow the story. The game will teach you the basics of how to play by taking you through the steps of gathering resources and repairing your damaged spaceship before you can blast off out of the atmosphere to explore new worlds.
Minerals and materials are the building blocks you need to acquire in order to both build and to power your equipment. Whether that's keeping your life support systems working or fixing, upgrading and launching your spaceship. Gathering resources is fairly straightforward.
You start the game equipped with a mining beam attachment for your multitool. Use this to shoot boulders, plants and everything and anything else in sight to collect various different resources. Each resource has its own use and there are a few things worth knowing.
Pointing your multitool at an object will show you what resources you'll gather by blasting it. Carbon is commonly gathered from plants, while ferrite dust can be collected by disintegrating rocks. Both these basic elements can be used to power your equipment.
Watch your mining beam's power reserves as once the juice drops to zero you won't be able to blast anymore without recharging. If you do, however, find yourself with no power - don't panic. You can gather carbon by meleeing plants with your tool. Walk up to the nearest plant life to bash it and gather carbon, then recharge your gun. This is not as efficient and takes longer to produce the resources you need, but it's a good backup plan.
Being efficient with your resources
Early on you'll learn how to craft a Portable Refiner. This device can be used to convert one resource type into another one. Quite often this is an improved version of the basic resource. Carbon, for example, can be refined into condensed carbon. Condensed carbon is a much more efficient resource for recharging equipment. You need less of it to recharge your mining beam than you'd need from carbon in its standard form.
This logic applies to nearly every resource you gather that is used as energy or fuel for your equipment or spacecraft. Gather as much of a basic resource as you can and process it in a Portable Refiner to become an efficient space adventurer.
Like your mining beam, the Portable Refiner uses carbon for fuel, but again, condensed carbon is more efficient for powering it.
You can also pick up the Portable Refiner and take it with you. It will take up an inventory slot, but carrying it with you saves having to find the resources to build a new one wherever you go.
Another tip here is if you're running low on carbon but your refiner has fuel, picking it up will return the carbon to your inventory.
While gather resources, don't shoot everything in sight. You can befriend some alien creatures by feeding them and they'll then help you find hidden goods and secret locations of interest.
Watch out for sentinels
You'll find sentinels patrolling various worlds you visit. These little flying drones are essentially the planetary police force. If they spy you destroying things they'll come over and investigate. If you carry on regardless you'll soon find they'll start shooting you. Don't be tempted to pick a fight with these robots, especially early on, as things will turn very bad, very quickly.
If you find a sentinel is flying nearby and you see they've developed an interest in you, stop shooting and whistle innocently, like nothing ever happened. Eventually, they'll leave you alone.
If you do manage to alert them (you'll see a red exclamation point) then we'd recommend running and hiding. It's fairly easy to lose a sentinel, as long as you run far enough and don't shoot back.
Managing your inventory
As with many other games like this, you'll soon find you're not only constantly running out of resources, but also out of inventory space. Storage space is incredibly limited when you first start out.
You can minimise this problem by cleverly managing your inventory. As well as storing in your exosuit, resources can also be stored in your spaceship. Resources can be stacked, so it makes sense to distribute important resources into your spaceship and only keep the essentials with you.
You can also upgrade your spaceship and exosuit to improve storage once you've earnt enough money.
How to earn money
Gathered resources can be used for building and powering equipment, but money needs to be earnt to buy better tech and to upgrade things you already own. Once you get off planet, you can use money earnt to buy items from traders on the local space stations.
There are various ways to earn money, some are easier than others but you can start earning almost straight away.
Use your visor to scan your surroundings
One of the first things you'll do as part of the storyline is to equip a visor which allows you to scan your environment. Use this visor allows you to scan flora, fauna and minerals in your surroundings. Each of these scans counts as a "discovery" as you're finding new life in the universe. Scanning earns you units - the universal currency of No Man's Sky.
Scanning an entire planet can earn you quite a bundle. Scanning also allows you to assess the resources an item has to offer. Sometimes you'll find once an object is scanned it actually has more to offer than at first glance and you can gather two different resources from a single object.
You can find scanner upgrade modules for your multitool at space stations which increase the amount of money you earn with each scan completed.
Find exotic items to sell
All items you gather in your travels can be sold and traded at the local space stations. Some things are worth more than others though.
While scanning with your visor you'll often see yellow diamonds with white stripes on the display. These are exotic items worth investigating. Often they're hidden underground. Once you see them on your visor press the highlighted button to mark them and make them easier to find. Then set about gathering.
Exotic items like Albumen Pearls can be found on toxic planets, underground inside humming eggs. Opening the eggs gives you access to the pearls. Gather as many of these pearls as you can carry as these can be sold for hefty amounts of units at space stations.
Subterranean Relics like Vortex Cubes can be found on other planets and are similarly well priced.
Crafting a signal booster is a good way to find items worth exploring. As well as drop pods and alien structures, signal boosters sometimes unveil abandoned buildings on the planet's surface.
Similarly, you can use your spacecraft to cruise around the planet just above the surface. If you scan as you go you'll find different locations revealed worth looking into.
Abandoned buildings are incredibly profitable. Outside these buildings, you'll find whispering eggs. These can be shot with your mining beam. Doing so produces luminous cores. These glowing balls are worth around 100,000 units each, so they're well worth gathering.
Shooting the whispering eggs, unfortunately, causes "biological horrors" to spawn in the local area. These are angry alien creatures who aren't too happy about you shooting their eggs. They're a force to be reckoned with and will be your end if you're not careful.
They can, however, be outwitted by simply using your jetpack to fly on top of the nearest building. You're safe up there as they can't get you and eventually they'll give up and burrow back underground.
The best way to get the luminous cores is, therefore, to shoot, grab the core, then fly out of danger until the creatures disappear. Then rinse and repeat until you've reaped a beautiful bounty.
It might seem obvious, but completing missions is a good way to earn units, nanite clusters and other rewards. You can acquire missions from space stations, as long as you have a good reputation with the local populace. We'll cover this in more detail in a moment.
How to upgrade your exosuit
You'll almost immediately find out how frustrating a lack of inventory space can be. To stifle this frustration you can set about upgrading your exosuit.
Finding a drop pod
There are a few different ways to do this, one of which can be found on the planet's surface.
Building and using a signal booster will often reveal a nearby drop pod. These pods allow you to upgrade your exosuit once you've completed some specific repairs by gathering the right resources. Finding and producing the right resources straight away can be a bit tricky as you need to craft them and might not have the right blueprints yet. But it is a "free" way to upgrade your inventory space.
Finding upgrades at space stations
Each space station you visit has a number of technology merchants you can visit. These merchants sell upgrades for your suit, ship, and multitool. The one on the far left has a machine in it with a glowing hologram. If you go up to this you'll get the option to purchase an exosuit upgrade in exchange for units.
You can repeat this process at each space station you visit - i.e. a new upgrade for every system you visit. However, they become more expensive with each that you buy - 10,000 units for the first, 20,000 for the second, 30,000 for the third etc.
Upgrades for your exosuit can also be found and purchased from some merchants in exchange for nanite clusters.
Upgrading high-capacity storage
As well as upgrading your main inventory space in your exosuit, you can also use the upgrades you earn to add slots to your cargo storage on your exosuit. These represent high-capacity storage slots that can hold more materials than a standard inventory space. They're more expensive to upgrade, but are worth doing if you want to horde masses of a certain resource.
On the exosuit screen, you'll see three slots - inventory, cargo and technology. Simple select cargo and spend your upgrade point there instead. You can then transfer resources into this slot for easy high-capacity storage.
How to earn nanite clusters
Nanite clusters are another form of currency that can be used for buying upgrades at space stations and blueprints for crafting your own upgrades. These upgrades can be used to improve your spaceship, exosuit and multitool, so they're well worth having.
Scanning and uploading your discoveries
We mentioned earlier that using your visor to scan flora, fauna and minerals on a planet will earn you units. What the game doesn't tell you is this process can also earn you some nanite clusters.
Open the menu and go to the discoveries tab. Here you'll see everything you've scanned for each planet you've visited. This includes all the wildlife, plant life and rocks you've scanned, as well as places on the planet you've come across. Each of these can be uploaded one category at a time to the database.
Doing this earns you nanite clusters and is one of the easiest ways to earn them in the game. Scanning an entire planet will net even more units and nanites, so it's worth spending time exploring and scanning as much as you can.
Talking to aliens
Whenever you visit a space station or alien outpost, be sure to talk to everyone you can. Talking sometimes leads to small gifts of nanite clusters or missions that may lead to more clusters in future. You will also find you can trade with these creatures to give them things in exchange for clusters too.
How to make friends and influence aliens
Aside from earning nanite clusters, talking to aliens you meet has other benefits. Engaging with the local race will improve your standing over time. This not only unlocks the ability to access missions which can earn you units, equipment and nanite clusters but it also leads to immediate results as well.
Learning their language
Learning an alien language helps improve your standing with that race. It also helps to decipher their words and choose the right conversation response to unlock better rewards.
You can learn an alien's language by discovering Knowledge Stones on a planet's surface. These can be found by scanning the surface and by searching the horizon with your visor. Visiting a Knowledge Stone will unlock knowledge of a single alien word. The more stones you visit, the more words you'll learn and the better your progress will be.
When talking to aliens on space stations you'll often see the option to ask them for directions. Sometimes these directions will lead to Alien Monoliths on nearby planets. These locations have three or four knowledge stones, as well as a puzzle to decipher which unlocks other items of interest.
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Alien Monoliths can also be found using navigation beacons. When you visit a space station you'll sometimes see different colour and shaped devices on tables scattered around the station. These devices can be different colours, but we've seen blue and orange cubes and small hologram projectors. If you interact with these you'll get navigational coordinates which can be deciphered using a signal beacon on a planet's surface. Again, these might lead to Alien Monoliths and other interesting locations.
Scanning an alien planet while flying over the surface in your ship is another way to find monoliths and unlock more and more language knowledge.
Learning languages allows you to open up missions which, in turn, further improves your standing with that race.
Bartering and trading
Some aliens can be encouraged to share interesting things with you in exchange for exotic items, small amounts of cash or resources.
You can get an idea of what you need by talking to several of them - then purchase or find those goods to get more rewards from your conversations in future.
Talking to them also sometimes leads to things like offers of a better multitool which is always a handy thing to have. Other exchanges may just be extra nanites or units, but it's worth doing to build your friendships.
How to get a new spaceship
Like your exosuit, you'll soon find your spaceship isn't up to scratch. Limited storage space, underwhelming stats and a pretty basic loadout will soon have you wishing for more.
You can acquire a new spaceship in different ways. The easiest (though most expensive) option is to offer to buy a ship from aliens you've found landing at local space stations. These often cost a lot of money, so it may take some time for you to earn enough, but they'll invariably have a few upgrades that make them worth saving up for.
Another way is to find a crashed ship and repair it. You do this by looking out for a distress signal. These can be found via navigational data that's input into a signal booster or by solving a simple puzzle at a transmission tower.
Once you've got the location of the crashed vessel, you then visit it to claim it as your own. You will need to repair it though, which might require a massive amount of different resources, but once repaired it can be swapped or sold in exchange for a better ship at a nearby space station.
How to get a freighter and space armada
One of the most exciting things about No Man's Sky is the potential for creating your own space army in the form of a freighter and accompanying frigates. These enormous vessels can be sent off into the depths of the space to carry out missions for you and earn you rewards with very little effort on your part.
If you thought spaceships were expensive to buy, then it's no surprise that freighters are real piggybank destroyers. Even a basic one will set you back several million units. You can, however, acquire your first one for free.
Once you've upgraded your ship with a warp drive, you'll find the ability to warp to another galaxy. Doing this a few times you'll find yourself in a new region of space and you might find a nearby freighter under attack. Destroy the attack ships and the freighter commander will ask you to come aboard.
Dock in the same way you would a space station, then visit the command deck to talk to the captain. If you're lucky, he'll be so grateful for the help that he'll offer to give you his ship for free and so begins your path to a spaceship armada.
How to earn money with freighters
Once you've talked to a commander and acquired his ship, you can then talk to his crew and unlock the ability to build a freighter command centre.
This command centre is a simple room that allows you to control freighters and send them on missions. You'll first need to gather the relevant materials - these can be collected by shooting up local asteroids. Once installed you can then send your freighters on various missions.
Once initiated they'll be off earning you money for a while. You need to be sure they'll survive any threats they might come across. Missions have a certain difficulty level and your fleet will have a rating based on how many ships you're sending and the stats of those ships. Make sure your rating is equal to or higher than the difficulty level or you might find your freighters failing and coming back broken and in need of costly repairs.
Freighters are more likely to succeed if they're accompanied by frigates. Frigates are support ships you can hire to work alongside your freighter and become part of your growing armada. They cost a lot of units, but bigger and better frigates will ensure mission success.
Frigates also have their own specific stats and so its worth playing around with different combinations to get the best results from your deep space missions.
Enjoy your adventures
We hope you've found these tips useful. There's plenty to do in No Man's Sky, you'll soon find you're lost in a universe of possibility.
Let us know in the comments if you think we've missed anything essential that might help out fellow space adventurers in the early stages.