No Man's Sky is a dense, occasionally obtuse game that doesn't always make its systems clear. We've been playing Hello Games' opus for a good while now, and have compiled a list of ten spoiler-free tips that should make your introduction to outer-space that little bit easier to understand.
Plutonium is your best friend
There are many elements that you can collect in No Man's Sky, but plutonium is arguably the most essential of them all. Early doors your ship's thrusters rely on this material to get you off the ground, so make sure you have a stock in your inventory at all times. It can take up to 25% of a full fuel tank to take off, and if you haven't got enough, you could be in for a long walk in search of more. Fortunately, the substance can be mined from crystal clusters which are quite common on most – if not all – planets. Remember to ping your scanner and look for the lightning bolt icons if you're not sure.
Where's the best place to find Plutonium, Thanium9, or Carbon?
You'll find Carbon practically everywhere in plants, while Plutonium is a little harder to come by – this is generally stored in crystal-like structures, and can be a bit rarer than Carbon depending on the planet. Thanium9 can be found in plants, too, but the easiest way to get it is to blast off into outer-space and shoot asteroids from your ship using the X button – you'll have enough to power up your warp drive in no time.
You don't need to walk everywhere
Picked up a stress beacon or faraway stronghold that you'd like to investigate, but can't be bothered to walk there? One super simple tip is to hop into your ship and fly there instead. It may sound obvious, but your aircraft isn't just there for blasting into space – it can also be used to orbit a planet's surface. Remember to hit the circle button to use your boost if you want to move even quicker. If you enjoy 30 minute treks then that's all well and good, but there's nothing wrong with saving a spot of time, is there?
Ships in space stations can be traded with
The galactic trading system may be your first port of call for buying and selling, but did you know that you can trade with all of the ships that pull into space stations? Just wait in the landing hull for some alien creatures to arrive, and then approach them and press square to bring up the trading options. You can even barter for their ship if you fancy a new set of wings.
Where the heck do you find antimatter?
One of the game's early "quests" requires you to use antimatter in order to create a Warp Cell for your Hyperdrive module. But where can you find it? Well, early on, the best way is to try to speak to as many alien NPCs as possible – one may give you a freebie. Alternatively, try trading with the ships that enter your local space station – someone may have some fresh antimatter on board for you to buy.
How the devil do you save the game?
This one tripped your not-so humble host up, too – in fact, we lost about 30 minutes of progress because we couldn't figure out how to save and quit. The easiest way is to enter then exit your ship; you don't need to jet off, but this will create a restore point, which will be displayed on screen when successful. You're then safe to quit the game. Some planets also have save beacons which will store your progress. It's not the most elegant of solutions, but once you get used to it, you should be safe.
Keep your inventory clean
No Man's Sky has a fancy but not particularly functional inventory system. You're going to want to keep it tidy as best as you can, because you don't start out with an enormous number of storage slots – hoarders, be warned. Sell off everything that you don't think you're going to need – preferably at a profit, if possible – while keeping key resources like Carbon (for Exosuit and Mining-Tool repairs), Thanium9 (for your ship's Pulse Engine), and Plutonium (for your Launch Thrusters). Remember that you can stack and move items by pressing the X button. You'll need an open slot to craft new items, so always make sure you have a few free spaces if possible. If the worst comes to the worst, you can discard objects with R3.
There's a run button
Another obvious tip, but there's a run button in No Man's Sky – it's just mapped to a different button than you're used to. Pushing R3 will cause your explorer to sprint for a limited time, though you will need to give them a moment to breathe if you've been trying to impersonate Mo Farah for too long. It's worth mentioning that there are upgrades you can craft for your Exosuit that will increase your stamina, so always keep an eye out for those.
How do you find your ship?
Wandered off too far and got lost? No problem, your ship is always displayed on the compass at the top of the screen. Just spin the camera around until you see a white icon, then try to find this projected into the game world. If you point your cursor at the icon, it will even tell you how long your trek's going to take.
You can free-roam the universe if you prefer
While the journey to the centre of the universe is your primary objective in No Man's Sky, you don't necessarily need to follow the path outlined for you. When in outer-space, press down on the d-pad to view the intergalactic map. You can then choose to toggle between your journey to the centre of the universe or a free-roam mode. Using the free-roam option allows you to explore at your own leisure, free from the shackles of the main campaign.
Do you have any great hints for No Man's Sky beginners? Trade tips to your heart's content in the comments section below.