All this week, PC gamers interested in No Man’s Sky have had to patiently watch PS4 players explore the universe without them. Today, they can finally play the game for themselves. Too bad it’s in such rough shape.
I’ve played about an hour on PC, after playing somewhere around 40 hours on PS4. The PC version of the game looks decent enough, certainly sharper than the PS4 version, but I’ve had some noteworthy problems, as well. For reference, I’m running an Intel i7 at 4.2Ghz and a GTX 1080 GPU, with a 1440p, 144Hz G-Sync monitor.
The game loads with some alarming default settings: 1080p and a 30fps cap. Fortunately, you can change all that, though many of the graphics options require a reboot for changes to take effect (boo).
The graphics options screen looks like this:
I maxed everything out, turned off the frame-rate cap and v-sync. The most immediate thing that struck me was the hitching—the game was hitching and stuttering hard in the loading screen, and continued with some frame-rate dips and hitches during gameplay. I turned antialiasing down from SSAA to FXAA and capped the frame rate at 90 and that’s smoothed things out somewhat, but the game definitely isn’t what I’d call smooth.
I’ve encountered other issues as well. For starters, the mouse and keyboard interface isn’t nearly as easy to use as I’d hoped. The cursor functions identically to the console version, meaning you have to hold down the mouse button on every menu item you want to select and watch the “wheel” on your cursor fill up. I also alt-tabbed out of the game to check on another application and found I couldn’t get back in; it was still playing but the display was unable to show it. I had to exit the application and reload it, which meant I lost all of my progress since my last restore point save. Switching from fullscreen to borderless has removed the issue, though it’d be nice to be able to play in fullscreen, too.
I’ve seen some people reporting that the field of view (FOV) sliders don’t do anything, which would be a shame since the FOV feels pretty limited on PS4. Turns out they actually do have an effect. Here’s FOV 80:
And here’s FOV 100:
Steam reviews are currently “mostly negative,” with players reporting issues along the lines of the ones I’m seeing. A bunch of people have been reporting that the game crashes at startup or won’t load at all—there’s a well-populated thread at the No Man’s Sky subreddit with loads of players reporting that issue and others.
Game director Sean Murray has been addressing some of the issues on Twitter, and the game has already gotten one patch.
Hopefully that patch helps some of the players who couldn’t get the game to load. The speed with which it was deployed indicates there will be more patches to come, so that’s good.
There’s definitely a possibility that some combination of game updates and new drivers could get No Man’s Sky running better, but for now, it’s a far cry from the PC version many fans were hoping for. Bummer.
Update 10:11 PM: The game’s developers have posted an update on the No Man’s Sky Steam forums. That post, in full:
No Man’s Sky Support
Whilst many people are enjoying No Man’s Sky, we are tracking several issues, and we’re working hard to resolve them as quickly as possible.
1. We have updated our support page with some common issues and workarounds http://www.no-mans-sky.com/2016/08/pc-sup…
2. We have updated the auto response from email@example.com to help suggest common fixes, and help gather better info
3. We have filed tickets for everyone who has mailed support and are responding to them in turn.
4. We have gotten back to a lot of people already, who were trying to run the game significantly below min spec.
5. Additionally your bug reports have shown us a handful of key issues we are working to resolve
We’re pulling an all nighter to get through as many issues as soon as possible. Please try to be nice :)
We have been working to get back to people on our three most common crashes on start up:
• Running the game with an Intel card. This is not supported
• No Man’s Sky is an OpenGL 4.5 game, and requires latest drivers on most cards, please update
• VC++ Redist 2010 was not included by default. We have updated in a patch, please restart
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.
Some players who have filed a support ticket will begin to be directed towards the experimental branch whilst we test solutions to these issues.
If your issues are not listed above please do mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 8/15/2016: The PC version is still in generally rough shape, but by opting in to the experimental branch and with a few tweaks, I’ve been able to get it running a lot more smoothly. (I have a pretty powerful PC, so your mileage may vary.) The most popular tweaks have been assembled in a helpful post on the No Man’s Sky subreddit.