Getting Started in No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky offers over a quintillion planets to visit and a whole universe of wonders and mysteries to behold. You start with a meager ship and few resources, but very little in the way of anything blocking you from doing whatever you want. 

No Man's Sky does very little handholding. Unlike most games that give you a long tutorial to explain everything to you, you're on your own from the outset. It can be incredibly daunting just to be thrown out into the cold and hostile galaxy, but this guide will show you some of the best first moves you can take to get used to playing the game and see some of its features.

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Get a Better Weapon

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The mining beam you start out with is perfect for, well, mining. With the mining beam, you can blow apart your environment around you to collect resources which you'll need to repair and fuel your ship as well as craft new items and generally survive. However, if you start harvesting too much of the environment too fast, you'll find yourself surrounded by hostile robots called Sentinels that preserve the galaxy's natural order.

For defending yourself, you'll need something with a bit more oomph than the mining beam. To get a weapon that gives you a fighting chance, you'll need to craft one. Your first weapon will be the Bowcaster, and although you can mine with it as well, its primary purpose is defending yourself against those that would try and kill you.

To craft the Bowcaster, go to your inventory and select an open slot. Select the craft option and move the cursor to the icon that looks like a pistol. Once you've highlighted that you'll see the option for the Bowcaster. To build the Bowcaster, you'll need 25 iron and 25 plutonium which you can find by exploring your immediate environment. 

Once you've built the Bowcaster you can select it by pressing Y(PC)/Triangle (PS4). It can be recharged using the same isotopes that recharge your mining beam. As you quest through the game, you can upgrade your Bowcaster to be even more powerful.

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Discover Fauna or Flora

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One of the key features of No Man's Sky is the ability to discover and catalog flora and fauna throughout the galaxy. By using your Analysis Visor, you can record plants and animals that you can then upload to the Galactic Catalog. 

If you've happened to have landed on a planet someone has already visited, you'll get to see the names they've given the inhabitants of the world they've discovered. You also get credits for each discovery, and with the massive influx of currency, you always need for upgrading ships and buying rare material every cent counts.

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Tame an Animal

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One of the things you can do in No Man's Sky that is often overlooked is taming animals. Though you can't make any permanent friends that you can take on your journey with you, unfortunately, you can make a whole host of temporary friends on each planet.

To make an animal friend, you first have to find an animal that won't try and kill you. Typically animals will either charge right for you viciously or run away. You want the ones that run away.

Once you find an animal that runs away or is at least indifferent to your presence, slowly approach it. Once you get close enough, if it's a tamable animal you will get a prompt that will give you the chance to feed the animal some sort of raw material. When you give it to them, you'll see a smiley face pop up over their head, and they'll begin following you around for a while.

Some of the animals you befriend will even show you to some rare or valuable materials. Hopefully, sometime in the future, Hello Games adds a feature where you can keep some of your favorite friendly species in some sort of zoo.

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Learn an Alien Lexicon

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Throughout the galaxy of No Man's Sky you'll encounter several species of intelligent alien life. These alien NPCs will trade with you, give you new items and parts for your ship or multi-tool, and generally improve your life. However, if you can't understand them then it's a crapshoot on choosing the correct responses to their inquiries.

As you're exploring planets you'll encounter black cylindrical stones called Knowledge Stones. Fittingly, upon interacting with these stones, you'll gain knowledge of a new alien word and you'll be able to better communicate with aliens you meet. 

Finding as many Knowledge Stones as possible early on will give you more chances to use this knowledge of alien languages. The more you're able to use this knowledge the more benefits you'll receive.

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Upgrade Your Ship and Suit Inventory

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Collecting resources and managing your inventory space is one of the key parts of No Man's Sky's gameplay. Your life support, handheld mining beam and weaponry, ships thrusters and engines, and your ship's weaponry are all fueled by various isotopes and chemicals you'll find during your travels.

Since all these systems tend to burn through all these materials pretty quickly, you always have to have plenty on hand to make sure you don't get stranded. Unfortunately, any upgrades to your ship or your exosuit take up valuable inventory space. This means the more room you have, the more room you have to make upgrades so that you can use fuel materials more efficiently. However, you also need that space to store fuel, meaning the whole inventory system makes you engage in a constant balancing act.

Upgrading your suit is easy enough in concept. There is only one way to do it, and that's to find drop pods on planets. Drop pods appear as points of interest on planets, and the easiest way to find them is by using Signal Scanners located at save point outposts. Using 10 Iron and 10 Plutonium, you can build a bypass chip which you can use to activate a Signal Scanner.

When you activate the Signal Scanner, have it search for "shelters" and there's a chance that one of the "shelters" the Signal Scanner highlights will be a drop pod. Drop pods don't always contain suit inventory upgrades, so prepare to have to find a few before you get your desired outcome. The first suit inventory upgrade is free, but they cost 10,000 additional credits each time you find one. So the first upgrade is free, then the next is 10,000 credits, the one after will be 20,000 credits and so on.

Improving ship inventory space isn't as straightforward, unfortunately. There's no way actually to add inventory space to ships. Instead, you have to purchase a new ship with more space. You can do this on space stations or on planetside bases. However, the investment can cost hundreds of thousands to millions of credits, so if you find yourself running out of space on your ship you might be better off selling off some of your stuff to afford a bigger ship.

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Get Your Hyperdrive and Start Startripping

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Until you build your Hyperdrive you're going to be stuck in the star system you begin the game in. Before you can travel between stars you have to make it off the planet you start out on by repairing your ship.

Once you've done that you'll receive a waypoint for a distress signal on a nearby planet. Once you head over there, you can find the alien that sent the distress call. You'll probably find him fighting off indigenous wildlife, and once you help him fend them off and heal him, he'll give you the crafting recipe for the Hyperdrive. 

Most parts can be built with mineable materials, but you'll have to head to a Space Station to buy the Dynamic Resonator you need. Now you'll have to get some Antimatter to build a Warp Cell you need to fuel the Hyperdrive.

Your best bet is to simply buy some Antimatter from someone on the same Space Station you got the Dynamic Resonator. Once you've obtained that, craft your Warp Cell and you're ready to go to Xanadu!

See You, Space Cowboy!

There you have it! With these initial actions, you'll start getting into the swing of what you'll have to do to travel across the galaxy and stay alive. While the initial few jumps to new star systems will be hard affairs while you're getting more powerful ships and upgrades before long space travel will be routine to you!

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