No Man’s Sky PC port impressions

No Man’s Sky‘s PC version is finally here, so let’s take a look at the highly anticipated space exploration game’s performance on our beloved platform.

Test setup:

Intel i5 3570k @stock speeds

16gb DDR3 1866 RAM

Nvidia GTX 970/Nvidia GTX 1070


Version tested: Steam


PC graphics options menu:


The game supports fullscreen, windowed with borders and borderless window modes. There is support for high resolutions going further than 4k, though performance will probably be abysmal at ultra high resolutions.

The game supports both FXAA and 4x SSAA as antialiasing solutions, with FXAA offering better performance, at the cost of worse image quality.

Field of View goes up to 100, but the .ini files can be edited to achieve up to 140 FOV.


<Property name=”FoVOnFoot” value=”140.000000″ />
<Property name=”FoVInShip” value=”140.000000″ />

Sadly, our first impressions weren’t so great. The game currently has an issue with its shader caching system, which generates stuttering until some time has been spent gaming. I tried lowering the graphics settings but nothing fixed the stuttering, which gets pretty noticeable, and can cause discomfort while playing.

If the player manages to get through the initial stages of stuttering and continues playing, the game’s performance improves, though this usually only lasts until a hyperspace jump has been completed and the player arrives at a new system. This issue persisted on both the GTX 970 and the newer 1070, proving that it’s not a graphics memory issue, as the more modern card relies on a 8gb memory chip, which should be more than enough to handle any game at 1080p.

Another issue that I didn’t encounter, but will affect a huge number of PC gamers is that No Man’s Sky currently doesn’t launch on CPUs that don’t support the SSE 4.1 instruction set, even if they are otherwise powerful enough to run the game. That includes AMD Phenom II CPUs and similar chips.

A Hello Games representative posted today that the development team is aware of the issues that plague the PC port of the game, and they are working on fixes.

We are going to create an experimental branch with hot fixes for these most common known issues:
• Shader Cache issue – means that framerate is initially stuttering on some cards. Whilst it resolves itself over time (~1 hour of play), we will fix this issue in a patch.
• SSE 4 – for CPUs that do not support SSE 4, it is causing the game to crash on boot (some of these area technically below min spec, but we don’t want it to crash!)
• Mouse controls jitter on foot – this caused by a combination of certain resolution and GFX card. A fix is in progress.

That the game launched in this state even after a delay is a really disappointing thing for PC gaming fans. It is true that the development team is quite small, but gamers should expect a competent PC release after paying sixty dollars for a game. Hopefully the talented people working at Hello Games will be able to fix this, but right now it’s not a pretty sight.

From a technological point of view, this is still the best version of the game, as the console release also suffers from framerate issues, and the draw distance has been improved for the PC port, but we expected a more polished experience after the PC specific delay.


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