Rather unceremoniously, No Man's Sky will dump you on your first planet with not much more than a broken ship, multitool, and gradually-depleting life support system to your name. Your first task? Fix your ship and get off your planet.
Aside from that official objective however, mending your starship and leaving your first planet is generally a good idea anyway. Travel - both in and outside of orbit - is of course vastly simplified when you have a ship to whip you across a planet's surface to the next point of interest, whilst breaking out into open space for the first time is akin to exiting your first Elder Scrolls dungeon, or riding out of The Witcher 3's White Orchard. You'll inevitably want to get going as soon as possible: with your maiden galactic voyage, you're essentially starting the real No Man's Sky for the first time.
No Man's Sky - What to do first: repair your Scanner and Analysis Visor
There are a few things you'll want to do right off the bat in No Man's Sky to give yourself the best shot at a good start and smooth early game. We've got more advice on what to do next - such as where to find the elusive Antimatter for crafting Warp Cells, too - but after several cracks at exploring your first planet, our suggestions for starting out are as follows:
- Check your surroundings - Whilst No Man's Sky will seemingly always spawn you on a planet which actually has the resources required to let you fix your ship and leave, there's no guarantee that planet will be particularly hospitable. Our first spawn involved a -72 degree Celsius temperature, plus a spot of background toxcity. Rather than save-scumming your way out and hitting the restart button, you can quite easily face the challenge - so long as youi don't go bounding into the wild unprepared, which will be tempting. Take a moment to assess the environment, keep an eye on any meters in the bottom left of your HUD - such as temperature control or toxicity - and figure out what resources are needed, such as Zinc or Carbon, for regulating temperature, toxicity, and life-support.
- Take a peek in any nearby crates and containers - Again, something to do before you go galloping away into the unknown: take a look at the area around your crashed starship. There should be a few open containers for you to scavenge through and get a head start on the resource hunt, along with something else interesting which, for spoiler reasons, we won't discuss any further here...
- Take note of what resources you need for repairs - We've logged the necessary resources for repairing your ship, but do double check them against your own game. Seeing No Man's Sky is a world of near-infinite possibilities, we can't confirm that everyone's starting requirements for ship repairs will be exactly the same just from our own experiences - even if it looks as though they almost certainly are. Likewise, you really don't want to go do an hour's round trip on foot, only to realise you forgot to pick up any Heridium from that faraway column.
- Repair your Scanner and Analysis Visor - You'll likely need to do a little exploring first to get the required resources for these, but repairing your Scanner and Visor is both cheap and hugely beneficial. With those sorted, you'll be able to scour the environment far easier than before, spotting rare resources, points of interest, and of course logging new flora and fauna as you go. You can repair these by selecting them in the multi-tool menu and, if you have the resources, selecting Repair from there.
No Man's Sky - How to fix your ship, repair Launch Thruster, repair Pulse Engine
To actually get exploring through space however, you'll need to repair your starship, which requires a selection of resources that you can find on your current planet. We've tried multiple spawns here at Eurogamer and each time the required resources, their amounts, and their relative scarcity have all been the same.
The Launch Thruster requires:
- Carite Sheet x 4 (requires 50 Iron per sheet)
- Some Plutonium to charge the thruster.
The Pulse Engine requires:
- 200 Heridium
- Carite Sheet x 2
- 20 Zinc
- Some Thamium9 to charge the engine.
No Man's Sky - Where to find Thamium9, Plutonium, Iron Carite Sheets and other resources for repairing your ship
Fortunately, all of the required resources for repairing and fueling your starship can be found locally to the planet on which you spawn. Here are the best ways to find each resource, item, isotope and oxide needed to leave you planet for the first time:
- Carite Sheets - Probably the easiest item to acquire, you'll need 50 Iron per sheet (although you'll start with one already in your inventory when you spawn). From our experience Iron is highly abundant, most prominently appearing in largish, cuboid, dark objects jutting out of the ground. It also appears very frequently as clusters inside subterranean caves. You'll need a total of 250 Iron to make the five Carite Sheets required, although it's worth mining a little more so you have some to spend on other upgrades and maintenance, too.
- Plutonium - The second most abundant resource you'll find, alongside Carbon (which you don't need for you ship), Plutonium is generally found from red, roughly human-height formations which sprout from the ground in a jutting, crystalline manner. Think Superman's Fortress of Solitude, if it were growing like a weird space-bush, instead of a weird space-igloo.
- Thamium9 - At first, Thamium9 can appear pretty scarce. Depending on how lucky you are, it could take anything from 30 seconds to half an hour to find some, but it absolutely is there. Thamium9 is generally found from small, red plants with egg-shaped pods, and often you'll find an area with several of these growing in close proximity. You won't need too much Thamium9 to actually get off the planet however, so don't fret too much about finding swathes of the stuff.
- Zinc - Much like Thamium, Zinc is relatively rare, and can be found from harvesting - rather than destroying - small plants dotted around your planet. The plants will normally be yellowish in tone, and appear similarly small and flower-like to Thamium. Zinc is also highly important for your temperature management - as in, stopping you from dying as a result of freezing or overheating - so if you're unlucky enough to spawn in an inhospitable environment, you'll need to collect a fair amount of it if you plan on staying outside for long periods. We've got more on Zinc specifically in No Man's Sky here
- Heridium - Probably the rarest of the required goods for fixing your ship, Heridium is highly scarce until you find one of the singular towers of it that sprout out from the ground. Appearing in a large, dark-coloured column, it took us between 10 and 20 minutes to find some in our experience, although this will of course vary depending on if you happen to run in the right or wrong direction from the outset. Fortunately, the columns will provide you with plenty of the Silicate element once you find one.
It's also worth noting that these resources are a little easier to find when you repair your Scanner, found in your multi-tool inventory. Using that, you can send out a radar-like ping of your nearby surroundings, and small icons will appear showing you any nearby resources. Likewise, your Analysis Visor, also in your multi-tool inventory, will help you spot any glowing flora or fauna which can be mined - which is particularly useful when you're searching for specific flowers in the dark, or densely-forested areas.
No Mans Sky - how to leave the first planet
Now you have the resources to hand, it's just a case of taking them back to your ship, and repairing it. To do so, you'll need to quickly hop inside the starship before bringing up the inventory menu and selecting the part you'd like to repair. You'll also need to craft the Carite Sheets from the Iron, too, which is done by selecting one of the grey cog icons where you have any spare space in the inventory, and selecting Craft Product.
Want to get the most out of No Man's Sky? Check out our main No Man's Sky guide, tips and tricks page, plus our advice on the best, fastest way to earn money, how to fix your ship, what to do first, and how to increase inventory space. We also show how to use a massive No Man's Sky exploit for infinite rare resources, along with explaining how to save, how to get the elusive Atlas Passes, the Antimatter recipe, Zinc, and how to get the Hyperdrive and its required Warp Cells in No Man's Sky. Finally, for the completionists, we also have walkthroughs for the Atlas Path, reaching the centre of the galaxy, and achieving all of No Man's Sky's Journey Milestones.
Once that's done, you're ready to hit the thrusters and head out into the grand expanse of your local Solar System. That being said, there will be plenty to explore on your own planet, along with it's neighbours. You can quickly skim the surface of planets with your starship, so feel free to take your time to enjoy the sights before you go launching off into the unknown.