No Man’s Sky Mod Lets You Fly Lower To The Ground

No Man’s Sky created dreams of swooping through canyons and under rock formations on strange alien worlds, but in practice the game’s flight model doesn’t let you get closer to the ground than 100 feet. Now a mod has been released to change that: Lowflight by Hytek allows you to crash into the ground and get trapped in caves till your heart’s content.

I’ve had a play around with the mod, wrecking my ship three times in the name of research. It works exactly as it professes to, letting you get closer to the game’s terrain and even fly underwater.

However, there are decent reasons for why this limitation existed in the first place, which this mod doesn’t address. For one, moving quickly close to the ground is a recipe for getting your ship stuck, especially since collision boxes don’t quite match the geometry. For another, moving quickly while close to the ground seems to accentuate the game’s already obvious fizzing effect when new detail appears in the world as you draw near.

Whether these trade-offs are worth it is up to you. I do quite like being able to poke around underwater, and I now have hopes of finding an archway or cave large enough that I can fit my ship through. For now, my best efforts will have to do:

The mod can be downloaded at the link above and is easy enough to set up, as there’s only a single file that needs to be copied into one of the game’s folders. From the readme.txt:

Drag and drop _MOD.Hytek.LowFlight.PAK into your PCBANKS folder (for Steam this is located at Program Files (x86) > Steam > steamapps > common > No Man’s Sky > GAMEDATA > PCBANKS)

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  1. golem09 says:

    So they weren’t able to development a crash animation/behavior in time, and chose to just make us unable to crash?

    • Henke says:

      A crash animation is probably easier to do than the issues with the hitboxes and pop-in, as the article mentions.

    • Okami says:

      I doubt that this was a last minute decision. Stuff like this usually flies out of the window very quickly when you compare effort against pay off.

    • Bull0 says:

      They read a bug report – “frequent crashes” – and mistakenly logged it as a completed feature.

      Just kidding. They clearly didn’t have a QA to log bug reports during development.

    • ChrisGWaine says:

      There is a kind of behaviour for crashing: I had my ship blow up during take-off, because the landing had glitched and managed to put me under a cliff. I revived on the space station. It was pretty clearly not supposed to happen, but do think trying to prevent it being possible must have been by design.

    • fdel says:

      I think its merely one flight model for all, to bind them in wait wrong movie.
      Its merely one flight model and flying low has been removing so there could be AI flying on planets.

  2. Thurgret says:

    So, how do modified games work with the multiplayer?

  3. aircool says:

    The flight model was/is one of my biggest disappointments. Whilst I understand and from time to time appreciate the semi-auto pilot, it rips out a huge chunk of possible gameplay.

    Anyone who’s been pursued by pirates into the atmosphere knows that fighting them will be an impossible task, especially as they bugger off when they land. Or even better, if you land at a trading platform (or whatever they’re called), they’ll land at adjacent landing pads as if they’ve had a change of heart and would now like to sit down over a beer and chat about our differences.

    I’m glad Deus-ex is out in a few hours. I can’t stop playing NMS, but whenever I do, I feel like I’m in an eternal Health & Safety briefing, or some other appalling waste of time.

    • aircool says:

      Bugger off when you land… when ‘you’ land ok?

    • fdel says:

      Strange they never followed me. And i started some fight in atmosphere, with passive ship and won them all.

  4. Paxeh says:

    So, do these mod makers receive a share of the $60 per purchase for fixing or adding features Hello Games didn’t fix or left out?

    Also, the silence of Hello Games on the plethora of threads and posts about the lack of features promised is damning as hell. Not even a single statement!

    • aldo_14 says:

      Wait, so do you want them to work on the game or post in forums? Or are you saying they shouldn’t have said anything in the past, but now should respond to everything? Or… oh, I think I went cross-eyed.

      • xcession says:

        At the least I would have hired a dedicated PR/community manager by now. Or replaced the one they apparently already have. Perhaps they have and they’re just getting up to speed, who knows.

        • aircool says:

          Yep, they must have enough stashed in the bank to shell out on some staff, and perhaps a few veteran game designers as well to sort out the total cluster of this game.

          If this game had just hit early access, there’d be a ton of positive good will and plenty of people getting on board. As it is, well, they fucked up.

          • fdel says:

            Agree, instead of loosing time with PR useless staff, hire decent programer and above all 1 or 2 game designer so they fix the design flaws and put the team to the right track would be awesome.
            Unless they did a shitty job at contract and Sony is cashing all, which is another possibility.

    • Petre says:

      Paxeh – please check your info before u make such a comment. HG announced in the past 48 hours that they will firstly – fix up PC problems as much as possible in a new patch by the end of the week. Then they stated that they will then concentrate on adding new content/features. So again, research before u make foolish statements!

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        You. Y-O-U. It’s three letters.

        Grumble grumble kids these days grumble.

      • Paxeh says:

        If only Hello Games did their research on what they actually said what would be in the game and didn’t release a buggy port we wouldn’t be having this problem.

        Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world where you handed in your final essay, left out most of the details, didn’t spell check, having spilled ink all over the paper, and you demanded the teacher to give you an A? And he/she did! Just because you said you’d fix it after getting the mark and you pretty please promise to add the missing content later on) and you’ve been such a good boy promising the world to your teacher.

        Oh wait… we don’t.

      • fdel says:

        That s the scarry part, before adding anything they should fix a lot!!! From space combat (pirate travesing hull of the freighters) trade ui design, and a bazillion of stupid or botched features.

      • dorobo says:

        “ the end of the week” :DDD

  5. gschmidl says:

    Simple solution: use the mod that prevents the fizzing effect, also available on nomansskymods.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Does that make stuff just pop in instead of using the weird fizzing effect? Does it look better?

      • spacedyemeerkat says:

        I’m hoping – and I’ll doubtless be disappointed – that it does away with fizzing AND pop-in. Ah, we can but wish.

        • gschmidl says:

          It looks better, subjectively, but it doesn’t fix the pop-in, just the weird “dot matrix” effect.

        • TheMightyEthan says:

          It doesn’t reduce pop-in, just removes the fad effect, so things just pop instead of fading:

          link to

          I actually think it looks worse than vanilla.

          • Minglefingler says:

            Actually, the fad effect is a pretty good phrase for talking about No Man’s Sky in general.

      • aircool says:

        That fizzing is something that I’ve noticed on multi platform games, from GTA V to Witcher 3.

        I’m pretty sure that PC games usually use some sort of foggy fade in, or at least have the pop-up so far away it’s hardly noticeable.

        Stupid consoles (not the users, just the machines) messing with the quality (subjective) of our games :/

        • Zenicetus says:

          It’s usually a memory constraint. You get scenery pop-in with the FSX flight sim, because it’s trying to do so much (especially when loaded with add-on scenery) with 10-year old, 32-bit code. Doesn’t happen on X-Plane, because it’s 64-bit and can pre-load tons of scenery in the distance before you can even see it.

          In the case of NMS they’re also using a voxel graphics engine, which is nice for creating procedural stuff like arches, and being able to carve out the scenery with grenades and such. But it looks like they don’t quite have a handle on how to optimize what they’re showing within the memory cap they’re using. Hence, the pop-in. Or “fizz,” which is just a dithered pop-in.

          • Izzard says:

            I understand the dithered pop-in to be a compromise on account of using deferred shading…
            – Lots of dynamic lights
            – Efficient
            – Needs modern graphics cards
            – No true anti-aliasing
            – No alpha, hence dithered pop-ins rather than fade-ins.

            Source: a friend who used to work with Sean Murray and has written their own deferred rendering-based games.

    • JohnGreenArt says:

      Do you have a link to that specific mod?

      • JohnGreenArt says:

        Ugh, never mind. Unless it gives a significant FPS boost, the instant pop-in is more distracting.

        • hpoonis says:

          @JohnGreenArt “Ugh, never mind. Unless it gives a significant FPS boost, the instant pop-in is more distracting.”

          Gaaa! F**king acronyms. I wish you guys would go back to using a complete language. Took me a minute to realise that the ‘FPS’ referred to is not ‘first-person shooter’ but ‘frames-per-second’.

          Why do you find it so hard to write fully? I have no problems with complete words even when texting on a mobile ‘phone.

          Wars get started through miscommunication.

          • Jay Load says:

            Acronyms are part and parcel of using computers, and have been since the sixties, friend. Join us. JOIN US.

  6. rommel102 says:

    While flight can be a bit wonky at times I generally have no issue with the auto-pilot. Allowing players to crash into the ground and get stuck on terrain would be far worse. This was never meant to be a proper flight sim (again, gamers putting their expectations and desires over reality).

    The one thing I would love is some better combat mechanics, it wouldn’t take much even with the current system to “X-Wingify” it. Give me some more weapon types and better AI and the ability to interact more with bigger ships and it would be a nice improvement.

    • aircool says:

      If only they would X-Wing it. Such an easy control system, especially when they tied turn radius to speed. Would be nice if they had different cornering speeds for different ships.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I think it’s reasonable to ask why it was “never meant to be a flight sim.” Flight sims aren’t scary and overly complex unless you go for total realism.

      They could have have made atmospheric flight far better with just a nod towards more conventional flight control and aerodynamics. Instead they took the lazy route of having the ship fly just like it does in space, with a baby-sitter crash avoidance autopilot that only kicks in when you get close to terrain.

      It doesn’t feel like flying, it feels like I’m steering a camera around the scenery. Which is what every flight sim does, of course, but the difference is how well you can fool the user into thinking they’re flying.

      • ezbez says:

        There’s a little more to the fizz than that, since most people would assume that if you want to “fade in” objects you should just make them go from transparent to opaque slowly. But it turns out that transparency is one of the harder things to get right in computer graphics, largely because you need to draw everything “in order” from furthest away to closest in order to get it right. Doing that requires sorting everything you’re looking at, ruins the optimization where you draw front-to-back so that back pixels can actually be discarded before they’re finished since you won’t see them, and is actually impossible to do correctly for situations (two intersecting surfaces: each surface is both in front of and behind the other surface). Plus modern deferred rendering doesn’t play well with it, usually needing a separate pass for transparent objects and probably would need more than one if there are lots of transparent objects overlapping.

        So instead of doing transparency, you just display part of the object, much like was done back in the old days for shadows, etc. (Warcraft 2 screenshots provide a good example of this.) It eliminates all of the downsides and in the limit of extremely high resolution displays would be indistinguishable from the actual transparency. But, alas, at real resolutions it’s often of poor quality.

    • Marr says:

      In this case, gamers’ expectations and desires were simply for a completed flight engine and reality was an unfinished flight engine hastily papered over with a glass floor. Even with the occasional getting stuck in a rock and losing a few minutes progress, the game is massively more fun with this mod installed.

    • skorpeyon says:

      Considering my expectations were based upon the company’s trailers, as can clearly be seen here, I do not believe expecting it to have dogfighting in-atmo and flying in and out of crevices (check the 4 minute mark on) is even remotely spurred on by anything other than what they claimed would exist in-game.

  7. CartonofMilk says:

    I doubt if the easy dumb flight was because of technical issues. I’ll just continue to think it’s because they wanted to make a “My First Space Sim” game.

    I criticized this game heavily since release and despite all this found myself playing it anyway but now I put about 35 hours in and even with those mods coming out i don’t see myself going back. I upgraded my inventory to max. I bought a 35 slots ships (i know 48 is also max for ships but i don’t feel i need more). I got my rep to max with all three alien factions. I’ve got about 360 words and i’ve visited about 15 planets in 4 systems. I’ve gotten most of the highest journey achievements except the one where you have to visit systems. I feel like this game has already nothing more to offer i haven’t already seen or experienced in one way or another.

    Contrast this with the like thousand hours i put in Elite Dangerous, a game which i still consider very flawed and incomplete…

  8. Mr.Bats says:

    ED can become NMS and better. NMS will never be ED.

    ED has the systems and is being build up, NMS is a poorly designed fad.

    • darkhog says:

      ED has impossible AI that uses glitches in the game (kinda like in the case of TAS), NMS doesn’t.

    • gabrielonuris says:

      And still I see noone remembering Evochron Legacy or its existance; it already does what Elite tries to do with Horizons, and even some promises made by Star Citizen. It has full planet landing, with a complex flight system with avionics and atmosphere entering.

      I’ll never understand why tech demos like NMS get all this praise, while full working space sims like Evochron are rarely talked about.

      • Mr.Bats says:

        @darkhog Still…

        @gabrielonuris You’re right about Evochron.

      • fdel says:

        So sad Evochron is such underdog. It is way better than ED or whatever. Even with many features i don t like. But then i didn t loose time with ED. I m waiting for SC.

  9. Psychomorph says:

    And this is why I don’t buy this fucking shit.

  10. Odoakar says:

    So will RPS ever take time to write about the truth about this game, how it was a biggest case of false advertisement since Colonial Marines? How the game is missing 90% of promised features.

    Anything comment about this list:
    link to

    It is really wierd that only outlets speaking about what happened with this games are YT streamers and reddit. Gamespot, Kotaku, RPS…not a single criticsm of Murray, HG, their marketing ,their unfulfilled promises and so on.

    • Catchcart says:

      I take it you actually researched what you’re saying before you commented but somehow you missed Brendan’s critical report:
      link to

      Of course if what you’re really after is the raging, the venting and the hating on developers, the comments on same article should provide plenty. Depressingly so.

    • hpoonis says:

      I have been avidly reading the comments sections of a few sites regarding this software and the number of times ‘unfulfilled promises’ has been used is alarming. so, once again, where do you get ‘unfulfilled promises’ from?

      Everyone who bandies this about comes across as a dumped bride at the altar. There is a world of difference between someone stating that a product will consist of some components and then delivering a product with less than previously stated, and ‘promising’ to deliver a product…

      Find me ONE example where anyone at Hello Games ‘promises’ to make YOUR gaming experience exactly as stipulated in historical interviews, or statements? I would support your whining if a representative of Hello Games agreed to a contract where they firmly state that they will deliver what they say they will deliver.

      Do you write to the makers of ‘Mars’ chocolate bars and berate them for delivering smaller products for the same price? Care to contact Kentucky Fried Chicken people and demand to know what makes up the 11 secret herbs and spices because you want to know beforehand exactly what you are getting for your money?

  11. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    Odoakar, most of things in that Reddit list ARE in the game, the original writer admitted it and deleted that list.

    The witch hunt against HG has become totally ridiculous, game is quite like what has been announced and people just had unrealistic expectations.

    Here’s a great blog post from another dev that explain how such a misunderstanding could take place, if you care to read and think about it instead of spreading the same old criticism :

    link to

    • Marr says:

      According to Vice, that poster was driven to delete everything by the toxicity of the NMS subreddit. “I wanted to take part in an interesting discussion, not put the gavel down on it,” said Alex, who asked his last name be kept out of this story to protect his identity. “The torrent of negative attention I was getting was just more than I could handle.”

      Yes, they show every sign of a developer honestly trying their best to create the impossible, but what they released at full price is a minimally functional shadow of game still being demonstrated in the official trailers. Expecting a game to be playable as advertised without installing mods is not an unrealistic expectation.

  12. Bashmet says:

    Love it. Makes the game so much better. Sure, half the time I land my ship is missing parts and the cockpit remains open, but hey, I can deal.

  13. hpoonis says:

    @Odoakar – If you pre-purchased the game and are unhappy that you didn’t get what was shown, you learned a valuable aspect of life: nothing is guaranteed except your death.

    If you purchased the game on release day, you got EXACTLY what you paid for.

    If, however, you have NOT purchased the game and are merely bleating like a stuck pig, for fuck sake quit! All your posts are rants regarding the promotional content of the game studio, fuck all to do with the game itself.

    We get it: you are an unhappy individual but constantly harping on about how Sean Murray said this, Hello Games said that, previous videos showed this, that and, also, the other is neither constructive, informative, or objective. Trying to sway public opinion to your way of thinking is best left to the charismatics, or determined, of this world: Mandela, Gandhi, Hitler, Martin Luther King Jr., etc.