No Man’s Sky Guide: Top Hints And Tips For Survival

No Man’s Sky is, at its heart, a game about exploration, and the wondrous yet frightening discovery of just how small you are. Its systems are built to encourage this discovery on every level, from logging new plant species to new planets. Its much-hyped procedurally-generated universe is designed to make you feel overwhelmed, but just like our universe, it obeys its own laws. If you’d like a little help understanding those laws, read on.

Surviving and finding resources on the surface of a planet is the first thing you’ll need to do in No Man’s Sky as you repair your ship. See our resources guide for a full run-down on the different types of resources you can collect, check our gathering guide to learn how to collect them with full efficiency, and read on for a few tricks to survive and indeed thrive while exploring, even on hostile planets.

Use the sprint, melee, jump trick liberally

Try this: sprint, then use your melee attack, and jump as soon as you can after hitting the melee button. Sprinting appears to turn your melee into a kind of shoulder drop – the attack animation differs from the usual downward smack with your multi-tool – and if you engage your jetpack while the momentum is still carrying you forward, you’ll fly through the air at great speed.

Exploring planets on foot can be frustratingly slow in No Man’s Sky, especially if you’re trying to get under cover from toxic rain or some such hazard. Learn this trick and use it often; it’s very helpful for getting around.

Scan everything and don’t forget to upload

Your analysis visor can analyse and catalogue the many new species of flora and fauna on each planet you visit, and these discoveries are worth money. In many cases though, you’ll only get paid if you go into the pause menu and upload your discoveries. There’s no “upload all” button, which is a bit annoying, but it’s a simple thing to do after a session and usually nets you a few thousand credits, which is a big help with those early-game expenses.

If you can discover and upload every single animal species on a planet, you’ll get a bonus payment that’s well into the hundreds of thousands, so dedicated explorers can use this to make money well into the end-game. If you like the sound of that, see our guide on animal hunting for more details.

Your jetpack can climb almost anything

Besides giving a huge boost to your speed via the melee boost method, the jetpack is an excellent tool for ascending No Man’s Sky’s irregular terrain. And we’re not talking a quick jump out of a cave here; it seems the jetpack gets infinite fuel when scaling a cliff, so even the highest mountain can be conquered.

Try it for yourself. At the next cliff you see, stand directly in front of it and run forward, into its face, while holding the jetpack key. You should be at the top in no time, with fuel to spare.

Oxides are your friends

Oxides are a type of element denoted by yellow icons in your HUD as you explore, and include iron, zinc and titanium. They are used in crafting and repairs – with zinc especially valuable as a component in antimatter – but they are also important in charging various protective technology.

Oxides can recharge your starship’s deflector shields – an important tip if pirates ever sniff out your cargo – but most importantly, they can recharge your exosuit’s environmental protection. Few planets in No Man’s Sky are completely benign, and the most valuable resources are typically found on very hostile ones. Given this, it’s good practice to keep a healthy stock of an oxide – iron is common – in your exosuit at all times. Double up if your planet is extremely hot, cold, radioactive or toxic, just in case.

Caves are your friends and your enemies

Cave systems in No Man’s Sky are generated with their own bit of procedural code and, while we’re on the subject of hostile planets, can give you valuable shelter from the elements. Your environmental protection will recharge when you’re in a cave, so if you should stumble upon one while on an extreme planet, make a mental note of it in case you need respite in the future.

Caves can also be rich in resources, as well as a possible source of hugely valuable vortex cubes (see our resources gathering guide for more), but be careful: if you delve too deep into one of the larger cave systems, it can be frustratingly difficult to find your way back out again. Many caves are near the surface, so you can look for cracks in the ceiling (or create your own with your grenade launcher), but it’s best to not get lost in the first place. If you’re determined to go spelunking, consider parking your ship right outside the cave entrance, so you have a waypoint to guide you back out.

Use signal scanners to find blueprints

Apart from upgrading your inventory size, crafting new technology is the main way to strengthen your equipment. This leads to more efficient mining, better performance in space and planetary combat, longer warp jumps and more, so it’s pretty important.

Before you can get crafting, though, you need blueprints. A major source of these are the various colonial buildings you can find on planets, and apart from flying low over the surface and spotting them with your naked eye, a good way to find these buildings is by using signal scanners.

These are the stump-like antennae emitting a beam of orange light. You can use them to scan the planet for nearby points of interest, which will then be marked with a waypoint on your HUD. You’ll need to craft a bypass chip from 10 iron and 10 plutonium to do so, but after that, you’ll have a choice of the following categories:

  • Monolith: marks the position of either an alien monolith or a plaque.
  • Colonial Outpost: marks either a manufacturing facility or operations centre.
  • Transmission: marks a transmission tower, observatory or beacon.
  • Shelter: marks a shelter or a drop pod.

Drop pods and transmission towers are covered in our guide to upgrading your inventory size, but other buildings here are great sources of technology blueprints, with multi-tool tech, damaged machinery and loot boxes sometimes spawning randomly inside them. Manufacturing facilities and operations centres are guaranteed sources of tech blueprints, while operations centres are the only known source of the very rare and desirable Atlas Pass V2 and V3 blueprints.

Alien monoliths and plaques will usually have knowledge stones granting alien vocabulary, and the central interaction with a plaque will always give some alien-related lore, vocabulary and faction standing. The central interaction with a monolith may award blueprints, but only as one of several other options.

A few general tips on crafting, trading and exploration as you leave your planet and head out into the star system.

Escape the atmosphere to circumnavigate a planet faster

Perhaps you’re farming abandoned starships to get a 48-slot hulk, or drop pods for more inventory slots (check our guide to improving your inventory space if so). You’re using signal scanners to mark waypoints all over the planet, and getting from place to place in your ship is taking longer than it should.

Here’s the problem: atmospheric resistance. Escape the planet’s atmosphere by heading up into space and you’ll notice an immediate improvement in your estimated arrival times as your thrusters pull you through the vacuum. You can also use your pulse engine to get there even faster.


What you can’t gather from a planet, you may be able to buy on the galactic market. This interstellar bazaar is accessible from the terminals that look a bit like Portal 2 personality cores, found in space stations, trading posts and outposts in every star system. Its prices and stock change to some degree at every terminal, and you can get another set of prices and inventory from the alien traders you’ll meet as their ships come in to dock. You can use any discrepancies in the two rates to make money, by buying certain goods at a low price and selling them for a profit, but this is only worth it if the difference between the two prices is substantial and the travel time between the two markets is not. It’s also rather boring.

Check our guides on the galactic market and on resource gathering for more practical advice on making money. Many important goods may only be available at the galactic market, and you can’t beat the convenience of such a range of inventory in one easy place, so stacking those units is one of the major goals in No Man’s Sky.

Take risks when speaking to aliens

Until you learn enough extraterrestrial vocabulary (by visiting alien monoliths and knowledge stones), you won’t understand most of what’s being said whenever you speak with an alien. This sucks, as making the correct choice in an alien dialogue can often yield significant rewards, including free multi-tool upgrades and valuable technology.

A good rule of thumb until you can speak the lingo is to always pick the dialogue option that’s most dangerous, least obvious, or any option that’s locked behind a reputation level. Brain extraction? Sign me up. If you’re asked to donate resources of some kind, hand over the most expensive. If you don’t have any in your inventory, remember you can always back out of these dialogues without making a choice and come back after you’ve restocked.

Some final advice for those of you ready to warp between stars, and onward to the centre of the galaxy.

Upgrade your warp drive by hunting down starship blueprints

Blueprints are No Man’s Sky’s crafting recipes, and will enable you to make items in three broad categories: processed goods used for yet more complex crafting, energy sources to recharge your equipment (e.g. warp cells for interstellar travel), and technology or “companion units” installed on your gear to improve its effectiveness.

In our experience, multi-tool tech is the most helpful – particularly on your mining beam. Exosuit technology falls into the category of “nice to have”, but when that toxic protection theta is keeping you safe from a storm of toxic rain, it’s really nice to have. Starship technology, by contrast, is mostly useless; unless you fancy a bit of piracy yourself and want to attack freighters for loot – in which case, fair enough – you can avoid almost all space battles, and your basic thrusters and pulse drive work just fine.

However, there are three ship techs that are so important we recommend seeking out ship technology whenever you can in the slim chance of getting them. They are the hyperdrive upgrades: Warp Reactor Sigma, Warp Reactor Tau, and Warp Reactor Theta.

Each upgrade increases the range of your hyperdrive, enabling you to jump more than one star system at a time. Furthermore, some star systems are completely inaccessible without them. You begin with the ability to warp to yellow stars, but red stars require the Sigma drive, green stars the Tau, and you can’t warp to blue star systems without the Theta warp drive.

Since these stars produce way richer and more interesting planets than yellow ones, you’re potentially missing out on No Man’s Sky’s greatest spectacles if you keep flying without an upgraded warp drive. Not to mention, by limiting your range and the stars you can warp to, your progress to the centre of the galaxy is massively hampered.

Look for every technology source you can for ship upgrades – particularly damaged machinery. Check out our ship design tips and tips for reaching the centre of the galaxy quick for more.

To the centre of the galaxy

As you set off into the depths of the galaxy, you have three paths before you. You can continue to follow the guidance of the mysterious Atlas, or explore the black holes charted by dynamic duo Nada and Polo. Alternatively, you can go your own way, unfurling the galaxy’s mysteries with nothing but your wits and your warp drive.

Regardless of your thoughts on future exploration, you should hunt down Nada and Polo as soon as you can. They’ll give you the blueprint to make your Atlas Pass V1, which gives access to more loot and a consistent source of exosuit inventory upgrades. Check out our Atlas Pass guide for full details.

You’ll continue to encounter Nada and Polo randomly throughout your adventure, and can ask Nada to point you towards an Atlas Interface to pick up the Atlas path if you’ve strayed, so don’t worry about locking yourself out of any of these options. Check out our guide on getting to the centre of the galaxy in a hurry if you’d like to know more about them. Or hit up our No Man’s Sky guide hub for everything.

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  1. Arcturan Megadonkey says:

    you’ll notice an immediate improvement in your estimated arrival times as your thrusters pull you through the vacuum

    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Well, technically, they DO pull you. Thrusters push themselves, and by virtue of being attached to your ship, drag it along for the ride.

  2. PancakeWizard says:

    Wow the saltiness in these comments is unreal. You didn’t buy the game that you ‘knew’ was going to have issues all along well done you.

    Anyway, further tips:

    * I wouldn’t say upgrading your guns is useless for non-fighters, certainly the photon cannons deserve a little love as you’ll surely have the space and it means asteroid mining without overheating. Plus, if you’ve got an inventory full of exotic goods you’ll be targeted by pirates pretty quickly and you can’t pulse drive in battle.

    * The ships are actually divided into 3 classes (fighter, explorer, trader) denoted by the cockpit design. Each class has some differences. Hit points differences we know about (weakest to strongest respectively), manoeuvrability is suspected but not fully tested. AFAIK Explorer-types are the only ones with headlights while parked.

    * It’s suspected that higher grade blueprint drops are governed by Journey milestones, so make sure you give everything a try if you’re trying to get them (especially the atlas pass blueprints).

    • Koozer says:

      I am having a lot of fun with this videogame.

    • Cinek says:

      TIL: People mine asteroids. There’s so many resources all over the place, that other than blowing them up for fun I never, ever had any need or desire to mine them. I got more than enough of isotopes by simply collecting them on my way.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        The big asteroids and the crystaline ones often have resources you might not find on a planet’s surface, or at least not in abundance.

  3. Cinek says:

    Yea, I was wondering why would anyone need survival tips in this game? It’s laughably easy. One could argue that it’s more difficult to die than to survive, lol.

    • jhk655 says:

      This was my thought exactly. Its almost as if a game publication was taking advantage of a recent consumer trend in order to mine clicks for advertisers…… hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  4. Mezelf says:

    I’ve been reading Rock Paper Shotgun for a while now (ever since the Peter Molyneux interview actually) and I really believed this was the best website outside of Gamasutra centered around gaming and gaming journalism… Up until today.

    Now I understand WHY RPS pumps out The Division, Overwatch and NMS articles. Gotta make money somehow, right?

    What I will not accept nor forgive is the fact that dissenting comments are being DELETED. These deleted comments don’t contain foul language and don’t contain personal attacks. The deleted comments in question only contain criticism towards RPS and the recent spade of spammy articles. The readers are upset and not only does RPS refuse to listen, it straight up removes criticism like an insecure hack developper in charge of his own forum.

    Censorship DOES NOT work!! We’ve seen it over and over and over and it never works. I don’t know what’s going on with RPS lately but you better put a stop to this folly.

    Shame on you, RPS.

    • Gothnak says:

      I completely agree. I’ve supported NMS in a few of the articles and my comments have stayed up. Yesterday i questioned why there are so many NMS articles on RPS for a game they themselves have laid into on a number of occasions, and for the first time in 5 years, my post was deleted.

      Can someone explain what’s going on?

      • Premium User Badge

        Nauallis says:

        Why the entitlement? You’re clearly not a supporter of the site, financially, missing the tag next to your username. You’re also not required to read these articles. If you don’t like it, go shit someplace else. It’s not that hard to do.

    • Magical Pedro says:

      yeah, i also wrote a comment wich included critisism toward NMS spammy coverage on, without personnal attacks or strong language. hell, I even tried to make it funny and creative. Censorship was quick.

      • John Walker says:

        You need to understand that calling our content “spammy” is indeed a personal attack on us. These articles are enormously popular to a large proportion of our readers, and that they don’t interest you does not invalidate them in any way.

        But I’ll tell you what, when you go into the supermarket today, make sure to let the manager know which products they sell are too “spammy” (I suggest Spam) because you don’t like them, and demand they remove them from the shelves.

        • Jediben says:

          Are you saying you have a cash investment in the game then John? Supermarkets advertise their products because they have invested capital in them and want to make a profit on every item sold. Is it the same here one wonders.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Clearly, in this analogy the ‘products’ represent articles about the game, not the game itself. Surely it’s acceptable to you for RPS to have a financial stake in the popularity of their own articles? In any case I suspect that John is less invested in the integrity of his analogy than he is in it’s affording him an opportunity to poke fun at the use of the word “spammy”.

          • John Walker says:

            What’s important is that you tried.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            I’m not sure if John’s reply is directed at me, but I should clarify that I liked his analogy, and also the fun jibe at the word “spammy”, and meant no offence to anyone, though I am feeling less charitable than usual towards those who would transmute their own disappointment with a game into hostility towards anyone who mentions it. Condescension is also hostile.

          • Gothnak says:

            If you partly mean me by that remark, i am not hostile to the game at all, knowing a decent number of the team personally, and i wish them the best. I have just been confused by the incessant coverage on RPS while at no point saying the game was in fact worth getting.

            My analogy would be saying ‘Eastenders has loads of things wrong with it, i hate this, i hate that, but i keep watching it’ and then constantly discussing Eastenders with everyone without ever saying you actually enjoy it.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            John and others have been quite clear that they do enjoy the game. Otherwise I like your analogy a lot. I feel like I have typed the word “analogy” too much today, and sound like an ass.

          • Gothnak says:

            Yeah, i think i missed the general ‘i enjoy this game’ part of any of the coverage on RPS. It always came across as ‘This is a missed opportunity’ or ‘if only it had done this’.

            Now that someone on the team has actually come out and say they do love it (Even if just in the comments), the coverage makes a bit more sense.

        • Magical Pedro says:

          Hey sorry about the spammy word, that was maybe exagerated, because all this is clearly far from traditionnal unavoidable clickbaity articles made by dedicated clickbait sites. My point was that RPS coverage of hot topic games is slowly leaning toward it, perhaps unintentionally, and that’s worrying me. There are RPS articles I don’t care, and I just dont read them. Here this is different. I DO want to read things on NMS! Especialy by any RPS writers. My problem with thoses types of articles is the content, not the subject.

          Sure I wouln’t complain about not interesting products in a supermarket, because it’s a supermarket who sells goods, not a important and lovely internet media who write things on games that I love. The pun is funny, but the comparison is actualy very sad.

          But reading your other comments, I can see that you really like the game, and writing on it. Sorry. I wont spam this comments section anymore after this one.

    • John Walker says:

      We curate our comments to keep them relevant to the subject of the article. If people wish to complain more generally, or state that they don’t like that we published an article, our email addresses are abundantly available. There is no need to make these complaints for an audience.

      That someone doesn’t like the existence of an article on a website is of no interest at all to the universe, and saying so on the article which they don’t want to read is absolutely bizarre. It makes the comment section ugly and unhelpful for those who read an article because they were interested in reading it.

      That people are not capable of scrolling past an article that doesn’t interest them is a problem that mystifies us, and one we are unable to fix. We will continue to edit and delete comments as we see fit.

      PS. To be absolutely clear, your noticing something for the first time does not make it a new trend. We have always deleted such comments for nine years, because they’re tedious, and we like to keep our garden pretty and full of nice flowers, not dreary ugly weeds.

      • Gothnak says:

        I think people are just surprised at the sheer amount of it. after a quick check, there have been 21 articles solely about NMS in a week and a half, that is a lot of coverage to just scroll past.

        My personal question was that if everyone says the game is so massively flawed (As your personal ‘wot i think’ alluded to) why spend so many articles on such a deeply flawed game and not instead direct your readers to something which isn’t? Unless the game is actually better than you thought? (No that’s not sarcasm, it’s an honest question)

        The more articles you post, the more likely someone will see something they like, and then in your opinion, the more of your readers will buy a deeply flawed game.

        • John Walker says:

          Because our readers (and me) are already playing this very flawed but lovely game, and not starting to play it because a guide article was published. We’re also pointing people to hundreds of other games in hundreds of other posts.

          You are very deliberately wildly misquoting my opinion on NMS. The review painstakingly explains that despite the very many flaws, and its lack of depth, I’m loving it and compellingly playing it. It’s still true. That was very much the point of the review.

          We always post big on big games, because we’re a games site. It’s doing no one any harm at all.

          • aircool says:

            Lots of people bought the game and lots of people play the game. There’s also a whole bunch of other issues surrounding this game which make it a hot topic.

            There’s always lots of articles about Dota (I think) which I don’t read because I’m not interested; RPS isn’t designed for me alone, but it’s one of the five websites on my browsers shortcut bar.

            It’s the only website that I know of that offers articles with the reviewers personality stamped all over the review, which often gives a better insight into a game.

            Even though I’ve stopped NMS for the time being (thankyou Deus Ex for dragging me away), I still like to read about it, and one day in the future I’ll hopefully read about something that will make me pick up the game again.

          • Gothnak says:

            In that case i apologise for genuinely mis-reading your ‘Wot I Think’ as a primarily negative article. I just re-read it and it is 75% talking about all the failures and the only positive thing you say is that ‘you can’t stop playing it’ or that ‘sometimes i’m just delighted’. At no point do you say you love it, like you do in these comments, and i can only see that you say you ‘enjoy’ it in the comments on that article which when i read it previously was not there.

            Anyway, you have replied to my question and i thank you for that, and i’ll shut up now.

    • Silvarin says:

      Deleted comments are off-topic comments, plain and simple. If you have issues with the creative direction of the site, you can use better ways to reach the writers/editors. Also, you can just not read articles you don’t like. Imaginary problem solved!

    • FrumiousBandersnatch says:

      I do not really care if there are few or many articles on NMS, but deleting critical comments for the sake of it? That’s low. I had a high opinon of RPS until today.

    • Creeping Death says:

      I’ve been reading RPS since the John, Jim, Alec, Kieron days and yeah… this is the first time I’ve ever had a comment deleted :/ I dont think it was offensive to anyone or even critical, but it was in reply to someone that was being so, so I guess the whole thread just got deleted.

    • Thurgret says:

      I don’t really care about the quantity of articles. I haven’t been reading them – last one I read was Brendan Caldwell’s piece. I clicked into this one yesterday because I saw a bunch of comments, and now that I look again today, some are gone. I reckon that’s a bit unwarranted, but it’s not my website. Though if it’s going to be that way, then bring back the old ‘rule’ above the comment box.

      Also, an edit button. Mostly that.

      • klops says:

        The Rule is above the comment box.

        • Thurgret says:

          I only see:

          “We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community – you lot are great – and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is “be excellent to each other”. We have the same principle on our forums where you can find out what “be excellent” means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.”

          It’s new.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    Despise his flaws, NMS is a game that many regulars of RPS enjoy, including some member of the team.

    It’s a divisive game that is not at the taste of everyone, but you don’t have to read and comment news about it if you are not interested…

    There not even hyping the game as they commented many times about the problems, they just keep on sharing informations about it and giving advice to those who choosed to play it.

    • Inph says:

      Yep. It’s a niche game, that Sony got a bit carried away pushing as a game for everyone. After a few hours of frustration, I began to enjoy it. A few hours more and it’s turning out to be one of my favourite games. I’m totally hooked!

    • Quite So says:

      Well said. I see it the same way.

      The game has its issues, which are fair to comment on, but to criticize RPS for even covering the game just seems bizarre.

      TIP: The middle mouse button is handy for scrolling past articles one doesn’t want to read.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Otamono says:

    I wasnt on the hype train, i bought the game after 5 days and reading the reviews. I like it, and the at least the mods maight make me love it.

    Thanks for being able to write neutrally about it, thats why i frequent rps.

  7. Samuel Erikson says:

    So hey, back to the tips!

    If you don’t care about naming things, hold down E (or whatever you’ve rebound that key to) while moving the pointer over anything you’ve not yet uploaded. This should immediately upload each waypoint/animal/plant/plain old rock as you pass over it.

    Similarly, hold down X while in your inventory to quickly transfer multiple items between your suit and starship. This also works with the middle mouse button, which I discovered the hard way.

  8. oafish-oaf says:

    I’d like to add that not only is the punch/jump/jet thing a good strategy, it’s also FUN. That is all.

  9. shrieki says:

    glad RPS is doing this articles – love the game.

  10. fearandloathing says:

    “There is no need to make these complaints for an audience.”
    ugh, just ugh

    • Jay Load says:

      There actually isn’t. Some of us other commenters don’t really want to wade through a comment section filled with people moaning about the content.

      It’s nice when people, you know, discuss the topic rather than the presentation of said topic? I don’t play DOTA or League of Legends but I’ve been well able to scroll past the many many article these, and other games I don’t play, have generated without so much as shaking even a mental fist at RPS for indulging their own or other’s passions instead of my own. Seems like many others could take a lesson or two in doing the same.

  11. Jay Load says:

    Try this: sprint, then use your melee attack…

    Wait…the game has MELEE??? 20+ hours in and I didn’t know this! D’oh!

  12. xcession says:

    In the same vein of finding ways to enjoy the game more, its probably worth mentioning the exploding mod scene too:

    For example ‘Fast actions’ (removes that ridiculous action counter), ‘Low flight’ (removes the altitude limit, which makes it almost impossible to judge a landing pad) and ‘Deep Space’/’Immersive Space’ (which makes space actually dark and somewhat thrilling).

  13. Niente says:

    I’m enjoying NMS immensely and I’m also enjoying reading these articles about it. They have had some very useful info, as have the comments for each article.

    The poster who reminded players to destroy the tech and upgrades in your old ship when transferring to a new ship being the salient example that springs to mind.

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