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No Man's Sky - General Performance Tips

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#1

    Mere Morsel

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No Man's Sky - General Performance Tips

 

 

This guide is based on my experience running the game on laptops, and information from the No Man's Sky official site Help Centre articles. For a point of reference, my laptop runs No Man's Sky smoothly averaging way above 60fps ( since the Vulkan / Beyond updates ), I have the odd dip below 60 but mostly fps is above the game settings fps cap .. If you have a desktop then more than likely you will be able to have higher settings than any in my screenshots ( depending on your spec' ).

Laptop Dell G3 :

CPU Core I7 8750H 4.1ghz, RAM 16gb DDR4 2666mhz,
GPU NVidia Geforce 1050 Ti, VRAM 4gb GDDR5,
M.2 NVME + WD Blue SSDs (both Internal)
 
You can watch a ( slightly blurry ) video of me throwing a fighter around here in the spoiler ..
 
Spoiler
 
I used MSI Afterburner to show the GPU / CPU use and FPS, and Win 10 Game Bar to record it at 60fps.
( I'm not too good at videos, recording quality a bit blurry, not as smooth as actual gameplay, After YouTube has processed it the video degrades a little, but it serves the purpose. If you click the YouTube logo you can watch it there and switch to Cinema mode for a bigger screen. It shows me flying around using the Graphics settings mentioned below, and MSI Afterburner readings. )
 

 

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Hard Drives

 

Ideally installing games to a different Internal hard drive than the Hard Drive you have Windows installed on is better for performance loading the games resources.

 

If you have a machine with just one SSD then you obviously have to use that, and share read / write access to the same drive with whatever Windows is doing in the background while you play.

 

Having a second Internal SSD drive which is purely dedicated to games installations is a good idea, and because games mostly only ever read from the drive, an SSD that is not written to as much as the system drive, will last a lot longer ( SSD lifespan degrades the more it is written to ).

 

Note : Do not use any kind of external USB Hard drive for games installations, due to how they transfer data between the drive and the machine, the USB connection will become a performance bottleneck, severely degrading however fast the Hard drive is.

 

 

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Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) & Graphics Card drivers

 

First ensure you have the most recent Graphics card drivers installed.

 

I would also recommend you do a Clean Install if you have never done one - NVidia drivers installer for example has a Clean install which is selectable as part of the custom options to follow in the installation. Clean Install removes all drivers previous legacy files and settings ( including individual game Profiles )

 

Spoiler

 

Computers which have both an Intel Integrated GPU ( iGPU ), aswell as a Graphics Card Discrete GPU ( dGPU ) - Whats known as an Optimus system - ensure you also update the Intel Graphics Drivers

 

 
 
Intel Integrated graphics drivers http://www.intel.com...en/support.html
 
Optimus setup machines when using the dGPU for rendering the game, still output to the screen via the iGPU. So even though for example you may set No Man's Sky to use the "High Performance" dGPU specifically, keeping the drivers up to date for the iGPU is still important.
 


Operation

When a user launches an application, the graphics driver tries to determine whether the application would benefit from the discrete GPU. If so, the GPU is powered up from an idle state and is passed all rendering calls. Even in this case, though, the integrated graphics processor (IGP) is used to output the final image.

 

 

When checking a games specifications, a laptop mobile dGPU grafix card ( with an M suffix after the model number ), these cards do not equal the desktop equivalent in performance. Compare for example a desktop NVidia GTX 970 with a GTX 970M ( M=Mobile laptop card ) - GTX 970 ( Desktop card ) has a 126 MHz higher core clock speed, 24 more Texture Mapping Units and 8 more Render Output Units than the GTX 970M.

 

A GeForce GTX 970M is approximately equal in performance to a desktop GeForce GTX 670

Minimum requirement for No Man's Sky is a desktop Geforce GTX 480.

So a 970M is suitable, but a GTX 480M would be below minimum spec'.

 

Further reading - https://www.windowsc...nd-desktop-gpus

 

https://www.notebook...9.247598.0.html

 
 
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Unnecessary Background Processes
 

Try to stop resource heavy programs running in the background. Having your browser open / playing videos / playing music, or Social media apps, can affect the game performance. Some machines also have cloud storage / backup system software running in the System Tray.
 
Windows 10 users - If you do not use OneDrive for cloud storage of your documents etc, and use for example a USB Hard drive to backup your documents to instead, you can turn off OneDrive too https://www.howtogee...-on-windows-10/
 
If you’re running Windows 10, it may be worth looking into the Windows 10 Creators Update. This brings with it a new “Game Mode” that focuses on improving performance for game applications.
You can find more information on “Game Mode” here:
 
Windows 10 also recently introduced Focus Assist, dont turn this off because it does also contribute to helping game performance when a game is running, by reducing background processes.
 
Disclaimer : It is your responsibility to understand what programs you are closing / disabling and what they do. Some System Tray apps especially for laptops may be necessary for special function setups.

 

 

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Apps Overlays and third party software
 
 
In game Overlays from Apps such as NVidia Geforce Experience, and Discord overlay, have been known to affect NMS game performance. MSI Afterburner and EVGA PrecisionX can also affect it, if you use tools like these dont run them all the time, MSI Afterburner may be giving you a ball park idea of how the game performs, but it can also contribute to interrupting and slowing down the game engine.
 
If you're experiencing frame rate issues with Nvidia cards, disabling the Nvidia Geforce Experience Overlay has been known to help improve frame rate. To disable the overlay, follow these steps:
 
1) Open up Geforce Experience
2) Click on the Settings Icon in the Top Right
3) Go into the General Tab
4) Select disable In game Overlay
 
Allowing Geforce Experience game setting tweaks can be a problem, these settings may not be suitable for your unique machine setup ( Source for those settings is I believe an internet crowd best guess ). Or - Don't let GeForce Experience install when you update your Graphics drivers, GE is just another unnecessary background process you dont really need.
 
 

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Game settings that have the most impact on performance
 
 
Listed below are some recommendations from HelloGames Help Centre, with a few additional details.
 
Generally its now good to let the game set itself up, and then only tweak down any settings. Tweaking up settings will put more load on your machine causing poorer performance - No Man's Sky ( since the Vulkan / Beyond updates in my experience anyway, your mileage may vary ) is now much better at assessing your system and the games appropriate settings.
 
After an update to the game / drivers, I delete the old settings files in ..
 
No Man's Sky\Binaries\Settings\
 
.. And let the game regenerate them. You may have to tweak a few settings for your own preferences in game afterwards, but the game will re-assess your machine better and create new settings files which are probably better suited to any New Graphics drivers, and also more suited to the Vulkan API implementation that is now in the Beyond update, and future updates to No Man's Sky.
 
 

 

Video Options
 
 
133263-1568574525.png
 
 
Screen Resolutions
 
If you are running No Man’s Sky at 4k ( 3840 x 2160 ) try reducing your resolution to 2k ( 2560x1440 )
 
If you are running No Man’s Sky at 2k ( 2560x1440 ) try reducing your resolution to 1080p ( 1920x1080 )
 
If you are running No Man’s Sky at 1080p ( 1920x1080 ) try reducing your resolution to 900p (1600x900) or alternatively 720p ( 1280x720 )
 
On my machine ( See spoiler at the top of this post ), I set 1360 x 768 for my Laptop GPU to run this game nicely - I have tried 1920 x 1080 a few times, but even though it looks a lot better, it makes a mobile GPU run a bit hotter than I am comfortable with, and would rather have my machine last a few years longer than melt the solder on my dGPU. I could run quite comfortably at 1600 x 900, but that resolution doesn't fit well with my laptop LED screen size which is a bit unusual.
 
 
V-sync.
 
To prevent “screen tearing” V-sync forces a constant frame rate. If you are expecting a consistent 60fps frame rate, but you frequently drop just below 60fps, V-sync is likely to force your frame rate to remain at 30fps.
 
If you alter your V-sync settings check that your V-sync settings are also the same in your PC’s Nvidia / Radeon dashboard.
 
Tripple buffered VSync is better for performance, or Adaptive VSync which limits the GPU render rate similar to VSync On, however if render rate drops below refresh rate this setting then allows screen tearing which is a compromise between latency and visual clarity.
 
Try Tripple Buffered first, Adaptive if you need more of a compromise, and VSync off if you are desperate.
 
 
Motion Blur Amount
 
If you are experiencing a bit of lag in Planetary flight, try reducing this setting drastically to 30 ( or even 0 first to see what a difference this can make from the default setting ). Combined with some of the Graphics settings below ( for example Post Processing Effects ), reducing this heavily can make quite a difference to smoothing your flight experience.
 

 

 

Graphics settings
 
For my laptop, the game will set up all Graphics Settings to Enhanced.
I wanted NPC Animations to start occuring further away on High, that setting affects CPU usage, and my I7 8750H CPU handles this game with horsepower to spare consistently so no need to compensate for this setting being higher than recommended with anything else in my case.
I down tweak Shadows because Standard is good enough and saves a bit on GPU performance. I down tweaked Post Processing ( Motion Blur and Light Shafts ) to Standard ( along with reducing Motion Blur amount in the Video settings ) which makes low level fast planetary flight smooth. I also wanted a bit more Anti-Aliasing than TAA ( Low ), set it to TAA and then balanced that by down tweaking Terrain Tessellation which also affects GPU performance.
I also wanted Planetary LOD to increase a little to High, which some of the down tweaks above also helped compensate for.
 
If you haven't already, check out the video at the top of this post using these settings
 
 
133263-1569680486.png
 
 
Textures
 
HelloGames has increased game texture resolutions since it was first released, so if you have a graphics card like my old machine before I upgraded, which had only 3gb VRAM, coming down one setting may help if you have kept the textures setting the same since No Man's Sky v1.
 
My new machines dGPU can run Textures set at Enhanced nicely ( 4gb VRAM ), which is what the game now sets by default for my machine (since the Beyond update), it used to set them at Ultra in older versions of the game, but now the base textures are 4k, Ultra would be too high.
 
Note : The game self setup setting the textures correctly for my machine is new as from the Vulkan / Beyond update. Prior to that if I deleted the games settings files so that on next load the game re-assessed my machine it would always get it a bit wrong ( resulting in my Graphics card running a little too warm for my liking ). Which is why I think the games settings assessment is maturing at last for more machine specifications ( See the last paragraph in "Clearing up some Legacy No Man's Sky game files" below ).
 
Texture setting Affects GPU performance and VRAM usage.
 
 
Animation Quality
 
This setting controls the fidelity of Animations and the distance at which animations start
Affects how many 1k iterations are done for player models and NPCs
 
Affects CPU only
 
 
Change Shadow Detail
 
Shadow detail can also have a noticeable performance impact, if you are running shadow detail at Ultra, or even High depending on your hardware, try lowering this setting ( they are still pretty sharp even at Standard setting ).
 
Affects GPU only
 
 
Reduce Post Processing Effects
 
Reducing Post Processing Effects ( which includes Motion Blur and light shafts ) will provide a marginal improvement in frame rate in No Man's Sky. But combined with reducing the Motion Blur Amount ( in Video settings above ) can result in a bigger improvement for those experiencing any lag in game especially in low level planetary flight.
 
Affects GPU performance
 
 
Volumetric Effects
 
This setting controls the Quality of Clouds and Planet Environmental Particles
 
Heavily affects GPU performance
 
 
Terrain Tessalation
 
Dynamically adds geometric detail to Planet Terrain and controls
fidelity of the geometric detail
Standard setting disables Terrain Tessalation
 
Affects GPU Performance and VRAM usage
 
 
Planet Quality
 
Controls the LOD and draw distance for Planet Terrain, Flora and Minerals
 
Heavily affects CPU and GPU performance
 
 
Base Complexity
 
Controls how many Base Parts are visible at the same time
Decreasing this setting will help performance when near large player bases
 
Affects CPU and GPU performance
 
 
Anisotropic Filtering
 
Anisotropic Filtering can also have an impact on performance. Try lowering your setting from 16x to 8x or 4x can have a noticeable increase in performance.
Depends also on screen resolution ( see Screen Resolutions above ), the higher the resolution the more impact this setting has.
 
Affects GPU performance
 
 
Anti-Aliasing
 
If Anti-Aliasing is set to Ultra setting or TAAxFXAA,  try lowering your Anti-Aliasing by 1 or 2 settings, to see if this positively affects your frame rate.
In particular, SSAA ( Ultra ) is very resource intensive and will affect your frame rate.
Settings in order of lowest to highest performance hit are as follows :
Off - FXAA - TAA ( Low ) - TAA - TAAxFXAA - SSAA
Depends also on screen resolution ( see Screen Resolutions above ), the higher the resolution the more impact this setting has.
 
Affects GPU performance
 
 
Lower or Disable GTAO
 
GTAO ( Ground Truth based Ambient Occlusion ) Creates realistic shadowing around objects. Unlike traditional shadowing, GTAO can account for the occlusion of light, creating non-uniform shadows that add depth to the scene. It can have a negative impact on performance, and may be worth lowering or disabling this to see if it improves things. Though GTAO is better in performance than the old HBAO which NMS used to use. Read more about Ambient Occlusion here.
 
Affects GPU performance
 
 
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Clearing up some Legacy No Man's Sky game files
 
Some of the following is not necessary, but as far as I have seen you do not need the old Cache files lying around your hard drive anymore since the Vulkan / Beyond updates.
 
After the Vulkan / Beyond update, you can delete the old files in ..
 
No Man's Sky\GAMEDATA\SHADERCACHE\
 
.. all of the files within that folder, the game no longer saves them to the hard drive ( if you used to delete them typically after a major update, the game would regenerate them again on the next load ). The shadercache folder will still get regenerated ( if you deleted the whole folder ), but nothing more gets saved in there on subsequent loads of the game.
 
Also in ..
 
C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Hellogames\NMS\Defaultuser\Cache\
 
.. There used to be a heap of old .dds files, you can delete all of those too, they do not get regenerated anymore. There are two other files among all these .dds files, INTRO_FEED_CACHE.JSON and INTRO_FEED_CACHE.MFT, but don't worry about accidentally deleting them, if you do the game regenerates them again at next load.
 
 
I also delete the old settings files in ..
 
No Man's Sky\Binaries\Settings\
 
.. And let the game regenerate them. You may have to tweak a few settings for your own preferences ( see above guide ) in game afterwards, but the game will re-assess your machine better and create new settings files which are probably better suited to any New Graphics drivers and Vulkan API implementation that is now in the Beyond update, and future updates to No Man's Sky.
 
 
---------------------------------
 
 
Note on "Core Threads settings"
 
Around the forums you may see various results both positive and negative where people try tweaking the core settings in TKGRAPHICSSETTINGS.MXML.
 
I have not seen HelloGames recommend this practice anywhere.
 
My new CPU has 6 physical cores, 12 logical cores. No mans Sky sets itself up to use 3 logical cores for High threads, and 6 logical cores for Low threads .. Leaving 3 logical cores free for windows background processes.
 
My old CPU had 4 physical cores, 8 logical cores. No Man's Sky set itself up to use 2 logical cores for High threads, and 4 logical cores for Low threads .. Leaving 2 logical cores for windows
 
The ratio of spreading core use then would seem to be quarters. 1 quarter for High, 2 for low, 1 for windows

 

I have experimented with various recomendations made by people with similar machines to mine in the last 3 years, and can not agree that the settings they recommend were positive in any way, but in a few experiments were definitely worse.

 

From personal experience with two different laptops running this game, I would recommend keeping them as the game sets them, HelloGames knows what the game needs ( this may not have been 100% true in the past - your system dependant - But since the Vulkan / Beyond update at least, the game is maturing now in this department ).

 

 

 

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Some of the above information is taken from the official Help support topics ..

 

https://hellogames.z...sk.com/hc/en-us

 

.. If you have any genuine bugs with the game ( and not due to having mods installed which have not been updated for the version of the game you have installed ), then use the "Submit a Request" at the top right of the official help support site, giving as much relevant detail as possible.

 

To help them solve the issue, you can attach :

 

DXDiag reports ( zipped up )

Screenshots

Save files

and ( after the Vulkan / Beyond Update ) Vulkan Info ..

 

Open CMD prompt, and type ..
vulkaninfo > "%UserProfile%\Desktop\vulkaninfo.txt"
.. Then press return.
 
A .txt file will be saved to your desktop which you can also submit.
 
 
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Mods
 
 
For any update to the game, Any mods you use may need to be updated to be compatible before you start playing the new game version. Or at least check with the mod author who will no doubt be taking the games scripts apart and looking for differences with the ones the mod will replace and see if the mod you have installed is okay to continue a save with.
 
Playing a new update to the game, with old mods installed which have not been updated ( or at least checked for compatibility by the author ), may well be reverting fixes done by HelloGames and / or causing problems you would not have with just the vanilla game - Making Bug Reports to HelloGames based on a game with old mods installed is just wasting developers time.
 
With a vanilla game, no mods, all game settings regenerated, all old cache files deleted, and only tweaking the settings above, the game performs really well in my experience. Your Mileage May Vary ofc.
 
 
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#2

    Mere Morsel

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Since the Beyond update, Textures settings have changed a little ..

 

And there is a helpful screenshot on the official site Beyond Update notes, showing tips for Texture settings, which strangely does not appear in the PC game settings

 

Spoiler

 

As you can see the text on the right is a good guide for Texture setting, depending on how much VRAM your dGPU Card has

 

At time of release, Beyond settings in game (or at least on the PC) does not include the same information, I have given Hellogames a prod about this issue. Whether they intended to include it, but somehow it did not make the public release or not I dont know. It would be strange if such useful info was left out intentionally.

 

 

Anyway, given the info in the Text in that screenshot, if you have less than 4gb VRAM on your dedicated Graphics card, you need to set Texture Quality to Standard

 

4gb VRAM you can set Enhanced

 

6gb VRAM and you can set High for Texture Quality

 

8gb VRAM and you can set Texture Quality to Ultra



#3

    Mere Morsel

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The section in the OP titled "Clearing up some Legacy No Man's Sky game files"

 

Might be worth looking into if you have had CTDs since the Beyond update was released

 

One user on GOG forums said following the same procedure stopped his problems

 

My rep on GOG forum was upped about fifteen times from other users too since then so I presume it helped quite a few people.



#4

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Added a note in the OP Graphics settings, reference Motion Blur Amount ..

 

Motion Blur Amount


#5

    Mere Morsel

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HelloGames have recently been updating the official website help articles :

 

https://hellogames.z...sk.com/hc/en-us



#6

    Mere Morsel

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At time of release, Beyond settings in game (or at least on the PC) does not include the same information, I have given Hellogames a prod about this issue. Whether they intended to include it, but somehow it did not make the public release or not I dont know. It would be strange if such useful info was left out intentionally.

 

 

 

Those settings descriptions have now been fixed to display correctly in the latest beta of the game, so the update that follows 2.11 will have them.

 

Really helpful too, describing which settings affect GPU or CPU or both and a few other useful bits of info - I haven't seen a game explain the settings so well before.



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Overhauled the OP, HelloGames have made a lot of changes to the Help Desk articles and in game settings recently, so changed it all accordingly.

 

Notably the information about changing a setting which controls Texture Streaming in one of the .xml files has now vanished, so I presume since the more recent Beyond patch updates it is no longer an advised practice, and probably better controlled .. or maybe compensated for .. by a few of the new Graphics settings.

Its not something I have ever needed to change from its default anyway.



#8

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Updated the first post - I am running the most recent Experimental version of the game ( after 2.12 ) which has a new setting, GTAO instead of HBAO. So remade the settings screenshot and video to show how the game performs now. I also increased the Graphics setting for Planet Quality in my game, I am finding with this new version of the game, and with the few down tweaks to compensate, I can have better LOD etc on planets without degrading performance.

 

Anyway, if you are wondering about GTAO, and not running the experimental, you will catch up with the next public update to the game.





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