Since originally launching in August 2016, No Man's Sky has only got bigger and more ridiculously complicated with each mind-blowing update, and the latest patch - Next - has turned the space tables once again, adding multiplayer, freighters, and so much more. Keeping track of all the smaller details as you hop from planet to planet is a task of its own, but hopefully our following list of useful mechanics that the game never really tells you about can ease some of the burden. From secret speed boosts to fuel-saving landing tactics, here's every hidden mechanic you should know about No Man's Sky, including some of the new things added with Next.
- 14 essential No Man's Sky tips for successful galactic exploration
- 10 essential No Man’s Sky multiplayer tips you should know before playing
Switch between perspectives on the go
Next has finally added the third-person perspective as a playable feature in No Man's Sky, but what you might not know is that you can easily switch between first and third person in-game, without ever going into the main menu. Just press up on the D-pad to access your quick menu, and select Utilities to find the option to toggle between the two perspectives on the go, regardless of whether you're on foot, or piloting a space ship ten thousand feet above the ground.
Edit your camera filters
No Man's Sky has had a photo mode for some time, and it's a pretty good one too, letting you float around wherever you want in real time. When you select the camera tool from the quick menu, however, there's no UI to speak of, which implies a lack of customization tools. Hit the Square/X button while in the Photo Mode, however, and you'll suddenly be met with a whole bunch of options for making your pics look as Insta-worthy as possible.
Upload your discoveries
First, make sure you've crafted the Analysis Visor, which lets you scan your surroundings and zoom in on points of interest. After scanning any planets, flora, or fauna, hit Options and go to the Discoveries page then hold the upload over any item marked with a red dot to send it off in exchange for units. You can either do this on a case-by-case basis, or hit "Upload all" near the bottom of the menu to get it all done at once. The "Records" and percentage completion section in the middle of the right hand side relates to the individual wildlife species on the planet, and you'll receive a massive units bonus if you can scan them all then upload your 100% collection.
Feed the animals
You can feed certain wildlife by approaching them and supplying the prompted element. This will make them happy and if you follow the magnifying glass prompt when it appears they'll give you items in return - either by leading you to them, digging them up, or otherwise 'producing' them. Not all of them will respond in this way, however, so don't get too close to the dangerous looking ones.
Keep your mining laser cool
When harvesting elements with your mining laser, fire it until the bar is full and flashes red then release it briefly before firing again. Doing this will instantly reset the temperature to minimum, meaning you don't have to wait for it to cool down and can maintain a steady stream of materials being collected.
Learn alien languages
After examining Monoliths and Knowledge Stones to learn new words in alien languages, those words will be filled in when accessing terminals and during dialogue with aliens from that race. As your standing increases with certain races, you will also get the option to request dialect help for a small offering of materials when speaking to aliens. Try and work out what's being said using the words you understand, as this can help you pick the correct response if you're given a choice of options. If you have a relic relating to that race, transfer it to your Exosuit inventory as you may be given the option to trade it for a gift, which is usually a blueprint for an upgrade.
Take off for free
When flying over a planet in your Starship, if you see an Outpost with a landing pad outside then aim for it and hit Square/X when a reticule appears around it (or you're over the top of it) to automatically land on the pad. When you next take off you'll receive a boost from the pad, so won't expend any Launch Thruster fuel to get going again.
Fast travel on foot
While you explore a planet on foot, you can travel much faster by performing a melee hit then immediately boosting with your jetpack and using the burst of momentum to propel yourself forwards. This is much faster than the standard sprinting option, though for covering larger distances it's always best to return to your Starship.
Manage your inventory
If you have a red icon in the bottom right of the screen, this means your inventory is full and you won't be able to pick up any new items. You can stack identical elements up to their maximum capacity per slot, but some non-element items can't be stacked and take up a slot each. If you're close enough to your Starship you can transfer items between inventories by holding Triangle/Y, and if you have a matching element onboard then it will stack automatically - bear in mind the the maximum capacity per slot is larger on your Starship, making it more efficient to store elements there. If you're desperate for extra space you can always discard items by holding R3/RS, ideally common elements that can be easily replaced.
Find Drop Pods and upgrade your Exosuit
Interact with one of the laser beam emitting Signal Scanners found near structures on planets, by using a Bypass Chip which is very cheap to construct, then choose to scan for a Shelter. This will often lead you to a nearby Drop Pod, where you can buy an extra inventory slot for your Exosuit. You can use several Bypass Chips in a row to rack up a number of markers on your map, including multiple instances of the same type of location, then go off and explore them all without having to return to the mast to scan for more.
Watch for Sentinels
On your HUD in the top right corner, the 5 boxes represent the level of Sentinel interest in you if they are attacking. Should they come after you, either take them out as quickly as possible or hide from their view (represented by their markers changing into eyeballs), as otherwise the interest level will continue to rise and more powerful Sentinels will be sent in to attack.
Get your Atlas Passes
You can unlock your first Atlas Pass by following and progressing the Atlas Path storyline, triggered at the start of the game - don't worry if you decided to ignore the glowing red orb though, as you'll be guided down an alternate path which also yields an Atlas Pass. Once armed with the blueprint, you can craft passes that give you access to locked rooms in Outposts and Space Stations, containing inventory upgrades and useful items.
Looking for more No Man's Sky? Then check out our interview with Sean Murray on the shaky past, exciting present, and bright future of No Man’s Sky.