No Man’s Sky

In an effort to make the game play experience in No Man’s Sky more similar to what I was expecting, I’ve made a series of adjustments to various aspects of the game and set personal boundaries to observe while playing. I refuse to refer to these adjustments as “mods”, because changing values in existing text files is not real modding. Legend of Hondo, that’s real modding! Anyway, you can view the update history and download the game balance adjustments on Github:

https://github.com/Tatwi/nms

At some point I might try my hand at modifying some exiting 3D models and adding some new ones, but I’m not really inclined to share those mods with the general public – it takes a lot of work and talent and frankly, people don’t appreciate it. If I change my mind, those items will be posted in the Github repo.

My Game Play Boundaries

No Man’s Sky is an amazing game, but it’s so easy even on Survival Mode. I just started playing the game in 2019 and from what I have read it used to be much harder than it is now. They’ve added so much convenience that they’ve undermined the challenge of the game beyond the first 20 minutes. I enjoy using online references for the game, such as Martin Kilcoyne’s very handy refiner recipe site, but I don’t use bugs/quirks in the game mechanics to undermine the intended game play experience. With that in mind, these are the boundaries I have learned that are fun for me to live within.

  • Survival Mode: It’s not any really harder, it’s just not crazy easy
  • Station/Base Portal used only to get to my bases, rather than as a way to circumvent the hyperdrive travel system.
  • 48 Exosuit Inventory Slots (First 36 purchased, the rest only from drop pods that I happen to find randomly).
  • 9 Exosuit High Capacity Inventory Slots. 48 by default is just insane – that’s as much storage as the best ships!
  • 12 Exosuit Technology Slots.
  • Max B Class Radiation/Toxic/Heat/Cold Protection. These are still too powerful for normal weather, but are handy for super storms.
  • With the other upgrade modules, it’s fun to use them so I try to do it in a way that doesn’t make me over-powered.

I do have a Normal saved game, which I have adjusted to be a bit more dangerous than normal, but it’s a lot more fun to play on my Survival Mode save. When it comes to the jetpack, while an upgraded version does make it easier to run away, it also makes it so much more fun to use! So, I gotta take the good with the bad there, because it’s not about punishing myself, it’s about having fun. Same goes for the Exocraft, because without the higher level mods they’re pretty much pointless to use for both mining and combat (it makes more sense to get out and use your Multi-Tool!).

Game Balance Adjustments

Initially I figured that adhering to a personal challenge would be enough to satisfy my desires for how the game should feel, but it was still too easy. Next, I came up with the ill conceived idea of using the NMS Save File Editor to basically nerf every ship and Multi-Tool I found, but that was both a huge pain in the rear and it kinda sucked the fun out of finding new things. So I decided to just go ahead and “mod the game”, because it wouldn’t require any regular fiddling around, allowing me to “just play the game”. You can read the most up to date balance changes on GitHub here, but the list below covers most of it.

More Danger in Normal Mode

  • Doubled energy discharge rate (still lower than Survival Mode).
  • Hazard damage and underground recharge rate same as Survival Mode.

Freighter Nerf

  • Can’t magically transfer items to it from anywhere.
  • Hyperdrive upgrades required to travel to different colored stars.

Ship Inventory/Tech/Prices

  • Storage and tech slots are based on the role of the ship type, rather than size.
  • Normalized ship prices. It’s based only on units/inventory slot cost, so I made Haulers more expensive than the rest. All ships are considerably more expensive than default.
  • Normalized ship stats based on a max bonus budget of 15%/30%/60%/120% for C/B/A/S class to spread between the three stats (Damage/Shield/Hyperdrive). Generally, this was a buff to Shuttles, a small nerf to C/B/A classes (with the exception of Explorers), and buff to S classes.

Fighter

  • Inventory 15-20
  • Tech 5-12
  • C 5/0/0 – 15/0/0
  • B 10/5/0 – 20/10/0
  • A 35/10/0 – 45/15/0
  • S 60/40/0 – 70/50/0

Shuttle

  • Inventory 20-33
  • Tech 3-8
  • C 2/2/2 – 5/5/5
  • B 5/5/5 – 10/10/10
  • A 15/15/15 – 20/20/20
  • S 30/30/30 – 40/40/40

Explorer

  • Inventory 15-28
  • Tech 5-12
  • C 0/0/7 – 0/0/15
  • B 0/2/15 – 0/5/25
  • A 0/10/35 – 0/15/45
  • S 0/30/60 – 0/40/80

Hauler

  • Inventory 36-48
  • Tech 2-4
  • C 0/5/2 – 0/10/5
  • B 0/10/5 – 0/20/10
  • A 0/35/10 – 0/45/15
  • S 0/60/40 – 0/70/50

Exotic

  • Unchanged

Freighter

  • Unchanged

Multi-Tool Nerf

  • Tech Slots 5-15 for all types. Too many slots is just crazy over powered and having fewer slots than something else makes that tool simply undesirable.
  • Stat based roles more clearly defined.

Pistol

  • Mining/Scanning
  • Damage C:0, B:0, A:0, S:0
  • Mining C:5-10, B:15-20, A:20-25, S:30-35
  • Scanner C:10-20, B:25-30, A:35-40, S:45-50

Rifle

  • Damage/Scanning
  • Damage C:10-15, B:15-20, A:20-25, S:25-35
  • Mining C:0, B:0, A:0, S:0
  • Scanner C:0-5, B:5-10, A:10-15, S:15-20

Experimental

  • Scanning with some Mining and Damage
  • Damage C:2-4, B:2-6, A:2-8, S:2-8
  • Mining C:2-8, B:8-10, A:10-20, S:20-25
  • Scanner C:40-50, B:60-70, A:80-90, S:100

Alien

  • Balanced
  • Damage C:4-6, B:6-9, A:10-15, S:15-20
  • Mining C:4-6, B:6-9, A:10-15, S:15-20
  • Scanner C:4-6, B:6-9, A:10-15, S:15-20

Item Balance

  • Ion Battery and Advanced Ion Battery: Increased stack size so that there is actually a benefit of using them to recharge, because it was many times more effective (and cheaper!) to just use stacks of plain resources in the High Capacity Inventory slots. Now it’s slightly better to use the batteries. Even with this higher stack size (which allows for more charges per inventory slot), one is likely to have the charging resoures anyway, because they are needed to repair broken tech, etc. Anyway, it bugged me, so I did this!
  • Life Support Gel: Same idea as with the batteries. Slightly more effective than a stack of 500 Oxygen.
  • Oxygen Capsule: Same idea as with the batteries. Slightly more effective than a stack of 500 Dioxite.

Mods By Other People

Rather than reinventing the wheel, I decided to use the following mods to help make the game more like what I was hoping it would be.

While I did very much enjoy both the suit voice and the post processing screen effects, both ended up bothering me after playing the game for a month or so; I like the default art style, but it gets hard to look at for long periods; The voice, I’m sorry but I have always found that particular accent annoying (“faawwling” for falling… like nails on a chalkboard, man…) and to hear so frequently… ugh, please stop! Couldn’t have picked one of the countless awesome accents from around the world, eh? Scottish? Irish? You know what, even Rick Mercer’s kinda-sorta-Newfy would be way better, but Jonny Harris would be ideal! 🙂