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Tips for surviving your first hours in 'No Man's Sky'

Are you ready to explore an entire galaxy?

Of course not. You've just fired up No Man's Sky for the first time and you have absolutely no idea what's going on. There's very little preamble to the introduction — you're just deposited on the surface of some random planet with a broken ship and a weak-ass mining laser.

The first steps you take can be pretty disorienting. But in truth, you're really no more than an hour or two from being able to fly off into space and explore. 

Keep reading if you want some help escaping that starter planet. And keep in mind, too: Most of the basic survival tips we're sharing that help you in the first hour still apply in hour 30 and beyond.

If you're just starting a new game of No Man's Sky, the first thing you see will look something like this:

The world that you see might look a little different due to the procedural generation in No Man's Sky, but the crash site — including the ship, the white orb (it's a distress beacon) and the random debris — are constants.

The ship is initially useless, as its Launch Thrusters and Pulse Drive are both busted. So begins your first real task: resource-gathering.

To fully repair both drives, you'll need the following resources: 200 Heridium, 20 Zinc and 6 Carite Sheets, a craftable item that costs 50 Iron apiece (so 300 Iron is what you need). You'll also want to gather some Plutonium, which is the fuel for your Launch Thrusters.

Before you wander off into the untamed wilderness, check out your Multi-Tool screen. You'll notice that two of its systems are also non-functional. The Scanner can be fixed for 25 Carbon and the Analysis Visor, for 25 Iron.

You'll want both of these back online. The Visor allows you to zoom in your scope and add flora/fauna that you find to your Discoveries database (which gets you money). The Scanner sends out a pulse around you that highlights objects or resources of interest.

Now that you know what you need, you can set out to explore this alien world you've been stranded on.

You shouldn't have to travel far to find Carbon or Iron, as they're two of the most common minerals in No Man's Sky. You can get Iron from any of the rocks on the ground around you and Carbon from nearby trees or other plant life.

It's possible to punch most things until they break down into their basic element, but you have a Multi-Tool with a mining laser. Use it. Much faster. Point it at a rock or a tree and, if you're close enough, you'll see a pop-up letting you know what type of mineral its destruction will yield.

Focus on fixing your Multi-Tool first, particularly the Scanner since that can help with finding the other materials you need. It shouldn't take more than a minute or two of mining right near your ship regardless of the world you start on.

Once you've got the Scanner fixed, use it. You should see some different-colored icons pop up. Yellow is the one you're looking for. Yellow plants — which you can simply interact without using the laser — provide Zinc. It shouldn't take more than one or two plants to get your 20 Zinc.

While all of this is happening, you should also be grabbing more Carbon and Iron, at least enough to have a stack or two of each (one full stack is 250 or 500 units, depending if they are in your Exosuit or on your ship). Also keep an eye out for red crystals on the ground; this is Plutonium, and you can never have enough of the stuff.

Heridium is a little harder to find. It's a mineral deposit that often appears jutting out of the ground as a large column of shiny, blue-black rock. You can see it in this screenshot, center-frame:

You don't need anything fancy to mine the Heridium once you track it down; the Multi-Tool does the trick. Don't be afraid to overdo it when you're mining, either. Make sure you have the minerals you need, but fill any extra space in your inventory with more.

Even if they're resources you can't use immediately, they'll come in handy later. Also, you can always sell anything you collect as a source of income (there are many in No Man's Sky).

Spending time outside on an alien planet comes with some drawbacks. The climate isn't always so friendly, so you need special shielding to protect you. And for all there is to mine, your mining laser's power supply is finite. 

This eventually extends to your ship as well; certain systems require fuel of some kind to function or recharge.

That's why it's important to understand how mineral resources are organized in No Man's Sky. There are three main types — Isotopes, Oxides and Silicates — and each type is identified by a color: red, yellow and blue, respectively.

There are many different individual minerals under each umbrella — for example, Carbon is an Isotope and Iron is an Oxide. Crafted items and upgrades require specific minerals, but recharging your laser, Exosuit and various ship systems often calls for any mineral from one of the three color-coded umbrellas.

Your mining laser, for example, takes any kind of Isotope. That means Carbon, Plutonium or Thamium9. Your ship's Launch Thrusters and Pulse Drive, on the other hand, require more specific minerals: Plutonium for the former and Thamium9 for the latter.

Resource management in No Man's Sky comes down to keeping your various meters full. When you're on foot exploring a planet, that's your Multi-Tool's mining laser (and any individual weapon upgrades you have), and your Exosuit's life support and hazard protection.

The mining laser drains with use and life support drains simply as you walk around outdoors in a hostile environment. Hazard protection works a little differently, however.

The nature of your hazard protection changes with each planet to suit the local conditions, but it always works the same way: it drains as you spend time outside and it refills as soon as you enter a dwelling or your ship.

Hazard protection can be recharged using minerals, but it's a little more restrictive. You can feed it either Zinc or Titanium. The former is easier to find, but those yellow plants aren't abundant on every world. 

You can also recharge hazard protection with a Shielding Shard consumable, but they don't stack and take up valuable inventory space. Don't bother with them. If you randomly find one and can use it right away, do that; otherwise, discard it.

Titanium can sometimes appear in the environment for mining — it's a yellow crystal that otherwise looks identical to Plutonium crystals — or you can destroy the drone-like Sentinels. Fair warning, though: the latter draws more Sentinels to your location, similar to the police "heat levels" in Grand Theft Auto games.

There's one other option for recharging your suit's hazard protection: finding shelter. Enter any indoor space — either a planet-side structure or your ship — and the meter will rapidly refill. Simple.

Once you've gathered all of these valuable materials and fixed your ship up, you're good to go. The Plutonium that you've been collecting will be necessary for refueling those newly-repaired launch thrusters that allow you to take off.

There are any number of things you could do at this point. 

The game will eventually prompt you to follow its loose tutorial script, which involves searching a manufacturing facility, visiting the local space station and building a hyperdrive that allows you to warp between systems.

You don't have to do any of that immediately, however. Try exploring the planet in your now-functional ship. Find some points of interest — mining deposits, alien structures, anything that looks unusual — and land near them. 

You might find some blueprints or rare minerals. You might learn shreds of an alien language. You might get into trouble and accidentally die — in which case, you can return to your last location and recover any items you were carrying before.

You sat down with this guide to learn the game's basics and get some help escaping from the first planet. Now that that's done, there's a big galaxy waiting for you. No Man's Sky is about exploration and discovery — so get out there and go do it.

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