Posted by Marlon McDonald @epsotron
Umm... are you going to drink that Skooma?
Marlon McDonald

Can you feel that? The slow-buzzing excitement and slight tingling in your fingers? That means No Man's Sky is a mere few weeks away from release, and I for one am severely stoked for its arrival.

More No Man's Sky coverage

But with the cacophony of news that rightfully follows in the wake of No Man's Sky's hyperdrive trails, it could be pretty bloody easy to get yourself lost in the nuances of the game's economy, or exactly how many friggin' planets will be seekable in-game.

Well, be stilled adventurer, because that's where Now Loading comes in! Cast your eyes down this here page and ready yourself for the video game galactic expedition of a lifetime with my:

Handy Guide To Surviving 'No Man's Sky'

The Universe

The sheer depth of NMS' galaxies
The sheer depth of NMS' galaxies

First things first, No Man's Sky isn't actually infinite. You can reach the very edges of the galaxy and reach the centre of the universe, but what is truly impressive is the sheer scale of the thing. There are 18 quintillion celestial bodies to find in the game. 18,446,744,073,709,551,616... how obscene is that?!

Comparing that to that other super massive space 'em' up, Elite: Dangerous, which has 400 billion star systems to visit, and you kinda begin to understand just how supermassive this game is. It's an incredible feat, and one that will take you roughly 585 billion years to see all planets. No pressure!

Exploration

Spacecraft

Alright we're here for spacecraft, and this game sure as heck will not disappoint. There are reported to be three different types of spacecraft available in No Man's Sky from the get go; fighters, explorers and traders. And here's a handy little run down of each:

  • Fighters are pretty self-explanatory. These ships are designed to be swift, nimble and, obviously, dangerous. Considerably lighter than the other craft, these bad-boys were designed with two things in mind: outmaneuveroutmanoeuvre and conquer.
  • Explorers come complete with a considerably better hyperdrive engine to travel greater distances into the galaxy, and stealth capabilities so you can GTFO when things get too hectic. As they more than likely will.
  • Traders are larger, more cumbersome ships with heavy weaponry and, I assume, way better armor than the two prior. Slower than the average, these ships are used to ferry goods from one side of the galaxy to the other in order to trade said goods for units, which is the game's currency. But more on units later.

Hyperdrive fuel is, unfortunately, also not infinite in No Man's Sky, meaning that as soon as it runs out you won't be able to make those time-saving jumps across the black. Though fuel can be purchased at space stations, and can be mined from the surfaces of planets.

Also, ships are pretty damn easy to come across. When you die in-game, a vanilla craft will come into your possession. Vanilla due to its lack of a hyperdrive and even weapons! So it'll be back onto the mining and upgrading bandwagon for you, due to ship upgrades also not carrying over!

Alternatively, if you fancy a better ship upon the eventual respawn, head to your nearest space station and buy one! Space stations will be one of the main sources of grabbing ships. So I'd advise you to move swiftly before the stock rotates and you lose your dream interplanetary whip!

On Foot

On foot combat
On foot combat

Now when you're exhausted from all the badass dogfights and journeying through the stars, the game opens up even more so when you touch down on the surface of a planet. Or... literally a few moments beforehand.

Over your time with the game, scanning will come to you as easily as breathing. In order to decipher how safe the planet you're about to touchdown on is, and the amount of goodies it has in store for you, scan before and when first encountering the surface. Then you can go hunting for all the rare artifacts, resources, trade routes and Atlas beacons you can shake a space-stick at.

Each planet has its own night and day cycle that depends on the angle at which it faces the sun. And traveling across the face of certain planets would become quite the slog, seeing as the radius of a planet could be anything up to 80 square miles. And lower... or higher. Gotta love procedural generation!

Combat

Now this is where the game gets exciting, unless you particularly adore the art of mining that is. Both aerial and ground combat will be available to you in-game, but that, in no way, means you have to indulge in it. You can live a perfectly peaceful life exploring the hidden corners of No Man's Sky! But if you decide you really want to tear shit up, here's how you will get into trouble:

  • The Star Police, or whatever you want to call the long, floating arm of interplanetary law, are the hombres that will attempt to stop you after your attacks on innocent freighters and spacecraft. They will be difficult and adept at neutralizing any threat you may cause.
  • If the Space Cops don't get you, the Military's advanced fleet of powerful and deadly starfighters most definitely will. So don't go picking a fight with the cops, unless you want their big bro getting involved.
  • Now planet-side, if you are caught mining too thoroughly, attacking a planet's wildlife, or generally interrupting the natural equilibrium of a planet's ecosystem, a sentient race of killer robots will be dispatched to... well... dispatch you. Sentinels, as they are ominously designated, are self-replicating, robo-badasses blessed with the glorious purpose of grinding you into dust if you mess up their living room. So remember to plant a few units in the ground if you're tearing up space-weeds, yeah?

The Economy

Units

As I said earlier, the game's main source of currency is "units", and units can be acquired in No Man's Sky by selling resources and goods at trading posts, uploading new discoveries into the Atlas (No Man's Sky's central database system) and gunning down pesky pirates.

Whilst out discovering new parts of the galaxy, you may even come across trade routes that are in desperate need of a particular resource you have in droves. So it would be good to skirt around the corners of the galaxy seeking out new routes to trade on, and earn those sweet, sweet 'nits.

Player Progression and Craft

No Man's Sky monolith
No Man's Sky monolith

Craft or purchase, how do you do yours? The key to surviving the potentially arid landscapes of No Man's Sky is collecting any and every blueprint you come across on your travels. Blueprints are the key to upgrading your ship, your suit and weapons, and you'd better see to advancing their progress as quickly as possible.

Some planets, naturally, will have atmospheres, wildlife and conditions impossible for our travelers to survive on. Think of how Samus Aran and Link have different outfits for particularly firey or watery stages and temples/dungeons. The more resources and blueprints you have means you can craft and upgrade your stuff with your own two hands. Otherwise get flashing that cash to make it rain like a veritable monsoon o' goodies.

There we have it! Keeping an eye on these hints should keep you alive a little longer out in the wilds of space. Well, hopefully anyways! Happy travels.

(Sources: IGN, Imgur, The Bitbag)