User:TechAngel85/NoMansSky

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Tech Enhanced - No Man's Skyv1.2
A guide for modding No Man's Sky
by: TechAngel85


Contents

Introduction

This is a guide for my personal take on an enhanced, modded build for No Man's Sky (NMS). While there are mods available that provide similar changes, they're all personal preference and few matched what I was looking for. Some mods are good in one area but felt "cheaty" in others. Other mods are either completely removing gameplay elements with their edits or are stylistic overhauls, which can make the game feel completely different. Besides not finding what I desired, several of the mods I wanted to use conflict in ways that require manual editing to resolve and merge changes.

Thus, the goal of this guide is to combine desired changes from specific mods, while balancing the rest of the settings in a consistent manner to retain the vanilla feel. These changes enhance certain features of the game that are somewhat clumsy in their execution. Certain annoyances are also lessen without completely nullifying their gameplay elements. The guide is aimed toward users that are newer to No Man's Sky and have barely dabbled or are just starting to mod their game. Thus, a user that has already modded the game isn't likely to find any use in this guide.

I would release this as a mod, however, a couple of the included mods don't have open permissions, thus, users are required to manually make the changes from these mod themselves. Don't worry, everything that is required is included below. The other reason for not seeking out permissions is the fact the game is updating so often. It's not really feasible, imo, to do really in-depth changes when they could all be nullified by the next update.


Initial Setup

Users will need to create a new folder for installing tools to and working with the game files. This folder can be located anywhere outside of Window's UAC influence. For the purpose of this guide, the following directory will be used: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\

Users will also need to create folders to house their unpacked game files and Project files. At least one Project folder is required for this guide. The following folder structure is suggested:

C:\Modding\NMS Modding\TechEnhancedNMS\
C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Tools\
C:\Modding\NMS Modding\ModProject2\ (optional)
C:\Modding\NMS Modding\ModProject3\ (optional)
C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Vanilla Game Files\

Essential Tools

The tools below are used for the modding process in this guide. They should be installed to a central location. The following will be used for this guide: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Tools\.

Users will also require a text editor. Notepad++ is highly recommended!


MBINCompiler

Description: This is a simple, standalone application used for handling MBIN files. It can decompile MBIN files into readable EXML files and recompile edited EXML files into MBINs. Users should always use the latest version available.
Installation:
  1. Create a new folder for the tool: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Tools\MBIN Compiler\
  2. Download the .DLL and .EXE files from GitHub
  3. Move the downloaded files to the MBIN Compiler folder


NMS Modding Station

Description: This tool is used for unpacking the game files to a specified location, moving unpacked files to specific "project folders" for editing, and compressing edited files into PAK archives that the game can use.
Requirements: MBINCompiler (above), .NET v4.5.2 (Windows 10 users only)
Installation:
  1. If required, download and install .NET v4.5.2
  2. Download the file from Nexus Mods
  3. Extract the archive to it's own folder: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Tools\NMS Modding Station\


PSArcTool

Description: This is another simple application used to archive or extract PAK files.
Installation:
  1. Download the file from Nexus Mods
  2. Extract the archive to it's own folder: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Tools\PSArcTool\

MBINCompiler and PSArcTool

The use of these tools are very simple. Users only need to drag and drop the supported files onto their EXE files for the applications to execute their tasks. Use these tools for extracting and compressing MBIN and PAK files, when necessary.

NMS Modding Station

This tool needs to be set up for use.

  1. Navigate to its EXE and run the the program
  2. On the Menu Bar, navigate to Setup >> Settings
  3. Fill in all the paths correctly for the folder used. The following are provided as examples:
    • Unpacked Game Files Path: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Vanilla Game Files
    • MBINCompiler Path: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Tools\MBIN Compiler\MBINCompiler.exe
    • Your Projects Path: C:\Modding\NMS Modding
    • PCBANKS Path: ..\Steam\steamapps\common\No Man's Sky\GAMEDATA\PCBANKS
    • EXML Editor Path: C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe
  4. Ensure the checkbox for Make Unpacked Game Files Tab Read Only is checked.
  5. Ensure the pak EXML Files is unchecked. Leaving it unchecked will skip EXML files when compressing PAK files, else they will be included (they're not needed).
  6. Click [OK] to save the settings.
Step 2

Step 2
Step 3-6

Step 3-6

Unpacking Game Files and Project Files (optional)

This section is optional since all the files required for this guide are included. However, it's important that users know these steps so they could update their own setups, if this guide ever becomes outdated. For this, NMS Modding Station is used and it will require ~24GBs of disk space.

The vanilla game files need to be unpacked from their normal state for development use. This process will take several minutes to complete, even on SSDs. Let it set, even if it looks like it's not doing anything...users should have ~17 folders, ~29 MBIN files, and a few other files when complete. To do this:

  1. Open NMS Modding Station
  2. Navigate to Setup and click on [Unpack Game Files].
  3. If prompted, navigate the desired folder to house the files (e.g. C:\Modding\NMS Modding\Vanilla Game Files )
Step 2

Step 2
Step 3

Step 3
Unpacked Game Files

Unpacked Game Files

Users are encouraged to not overwrite or alter the vanilla game files to keep them as a vanilla reference. Therefore, "Projects" are used to copy the vanilla assets for development purposes. This can be done manually by copying and pasting the files from their unpacked location to a Project folder, or NMS Modding Station can be used and it'll include the proper folder structure when doing so:

  1. Open NMS Modding Station
  2. Right-click on the desired file
  3. Select [Copy to Project Path].
  4. On the prompt, select the project folder to copy the file to (e.g. C:\Modding\NMS Modding\ModProject2 )
    This will "set" the project for the current session. To move additional files to a different project folder, users will have to close and reopen the program.

Users are now ready to start working with the game files.


Standalone Mods

The mods listed below, currently, have no conflicts with any other part of this guide. They can be installed, individually, as separate mods, skipped, or replaced by other alternatives. Installing individual mods for NMS is very simple. To do so:

  1. Download the archive from Nexus Mods
  2. Extract only the PAK file from the archive directly to the ..\No Man's Sky\GAMEDATA\PCBANKS\MODS\ folder.

Download and install the following mods:



Merging Mods

Now the real work begins! This section requires manual editing of game files in order to merge the guide's changes with changes from various other mods. This section is necessary due to mods not having open permissions. Since I don't care to seek these permissions, at this time, users are required to make these changes manually.

  1. Download the guide's resource files: Nexus Mods
  2. Extract the resource files from the archive to a Project folder: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\TechsEnhancedNMS\

Metadata

Some Metadata files are already included in the resource files, however, the following mods require manual merging due to their permissions. To do this for each mod:

  1. Download the mod from Nexus Mods
  2. Extract the PAK file from the downloaded archive
  3. Now extract the mod's PAK, itself, using PSArcTool.
  4. ...to continue, follow the instructions listed under each mod beneath Manual Edits, below...

Credits

The following mods were merged into the guide's resource files:

Manual Edits

The following edits have to be made manually for each mod below:

Exosolar's Abyss

  1. Once the mod's PAK file is extracted, copy only the METADATA folder
  2. Paste the copied folder into the guide's Project folder: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\TechEnhancedNMS\
  3. Do NOT overwrite any files, if prompted. Skip them.




Mod Credits

The reminder of the files included in the resources have either been created using the below mods as references, or by merging the mods due to open permissions. Beyond giving credit where it's due, I have separated out the features list of the Guide under each of the individual file headings to show the file the features are coming from.

Base Building Table

The game's Base Building Table is located at: \METADATA\REALITY\TABLES\
The provided resource file is located at: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\TechsEnhancedNMS\METADATA\REALITY\TABLES\BASEBUILDINGTABLE.MBIN

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

  • Some item's terrain cuts have been improved
  • Additional items will cut the terrain properly when placed
  • Item limits and restrictions have been removed for most items
  • Most items can now be rotated, scaled, change color, and change material
  • Removing most things will no longer remove attached items (prevents rework)

Credits

The following mods were either used as reference or merged into the guide's resource files:

  • Gumsk's Base Building (Open Permissions)
    All other edits, besides the ones below, were merged from this mod. This is a really great resource and a big shout out to Gumsk! Since it includes so many edits, this mod is a great resource to use as a foundation to build upon, as long as it's up-to-date with the latest version of the game.
  • Dig Out - this mod's changes are merged with permission from the author.

Building Globals

This file handles most general settings for buildings and other structures. There, currently, isn't any manual work for users here. Please read over the features provided and be sure to visit and endorse the credited mods.

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

  • Increased base radiuses
  • Increased Fade Distance of building LOD
  • Increased unknown buildings and icon range
  • Cable and wire length made to match the base radius
  • Increased the minimum and maximum buildings the ship will scan for

Credits

The following mods were either used as reference or merged into the guide's resource files:

Environmental Globals

This file handles a mix of settings for environmental features. There, currently, isn't any manual work for users here. Please read over the features provided and be sure to visit and endorse the credited mods.

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

  • Slowed the clouds to half the vanilla speed
  • Creature, Flora, and Terrain fade-in times reduced to reduce pop-in
  • Distances LOD switches to high res textures increased by 3x (higher res textures at twice the distance)

Credits

The following mods were either used as reference or merged into the guide's resource files:

Gameplay Globals

This file handles a mix of settings for gameplay elements. There, currently, isn't any manual work for users here. The entirety of the changes are custom edits made for this guide. Please read over the features provided and be sure to visit and endorse the credited mods.

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

Scanners

  • Survey Scanner speed increased by 3x
  • Survey Scanner range increased from 400u to 1200u
  • Terrain Resource compass and scanner range increased
  • Binocular and its scan speeds increased
  • Mining and Terrain beam distances increased
  • Visual Only scan pulse range and speed increased
  • Visual Only scan change time decreased
  • Zoom minimum scan distances reduced.
  • Zoom level 1 (L1) increased by 50% of vanilla, L2 by 125% of L1, L3 by 200% of L2, L4 by 750% of L3
  • Beacon, Debug Planet, Debug Space, Distress Signal, Observatory, Radio Tower, Ship, Tool, and Waypoint scanners pulse range increased
  • Beacon, Debug Planet, Debug Space, Distress Signal, Observatory, Radio Tower, Ship, Tool, and Waypoint scanners charge times and pulse times decreased

Miscellaneous

  • Refiners are 20x faster vs vanilla.
  • Ship interaction range increased from 50u to 500u.
  • Freighter battles (when exiting warp) happen twice as less vs vanilla
  • Reduced flashlight/torch strength to reduce blowout when close to objects
  • Pushed flashlight/torch a bit further in front of the player to reduce it catching the back of the head.

Credits

The following mods were used as reference for the guide's custom edits:

Graphics Globals

This file handles a mix of settings the control graphical settings. There, currently, isn't any manual work for users here. The entirety of the changes are custom edits made for this guide. Please read over the features provided and be sure to visit and endorse the credited mods.

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

  • Reduces pop-in of terrain
  • Increases the Shadow draw distances by 50%

Credits

The following mods were used as reference for the guide's custom edits:

Hazard Table

The game's Hazard Table is located at: \METADATA\SIMULATION\ENVIRONMENT\
The provided resource file is located at: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\TechsEnhancedNMS\METADATA\SIMULATION\ENVIRONMENT\HAZARDTABLE.MBIN

I've added the HazardTable to adjust hazard protections. Since you're nearly guaranteed to start on a hazardous planet, I found the default hazard protections severely lacking in good judgement. Coming from a sense of logic, if the chances of hazardous planets are so high, you'd start your journey with the right gear...or at least better gear! It's all to common to try to take on a planet only to die before you can even find enough resources to survive your first storm...

My adjustments are meant to address this "foolish" oversight of the character by beefing up the suit's default protection. However, I've also adjusted the damage rates of most of the hazards in order to bring some variety their otherwise, monotone settings. Overall, these adjustments will allow you to survive more comfortably in harsher environments.

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

  • All hazard protection times have been doubled from vanilla settings.
  • Radiation damage rates have been quartered because it's a slow killer.
  • Toxic Gas damage rates have been increased by 50% because gas/toxins are a fast killer!
  • Extreme Heat and Extreme Cold damage rates have been halved as they're more tolerable conditions.
  • Extreme Heat and Extreme Cold trigger temps have been adjusted to just beyond vanilla.

Player Globals

This file handles a mix of settings that control player-related features. There, currently, isn't any manual work for users here. The entirety of the changes are custom edits made for this guide. Please read over the features provided and be sure to visit and endorse the credited mods.

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

Player

  • Increased player swim, walk, and run speed

Jetpack

  • Speeds increased all around
  • Drain rates reduced
  • Fill rates increased
  • Ignition force and times tweaked
  • Increased force and brake
  • Tank times increased by 4x and then in 100% increments

Credits

The following mods were used as reference for the guide's custom edits:

Spaceship and Vehicle Globals

These files handle a mix of settings that control ship and other vehicle-related features. There, currently, isn't any manual work for users here. The entirety of the changes are custom edits made for this guide. Please read over the features provided and be sure to visit and endorse the credited mods.

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

  • Land, Pulse, and Space speeds increased
  • Land and Space trusts increased
  • Space boost speed increased by 50%
  • Small improvements to ship controls
  • Improved the overall landing of ships
  • Lowered initial takeoff hover height to 60u from 90u
  • Ships can now hover on land and come to a full-stop in space

Credits

The following mods were either used as reference or merged into the guide's resource files:

Water Globals

These files handle a mix of settings that effect water. Please read over the features provided and be sure to visit and endorse the credited mods.
The provided resource files are located at: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\TechsEnhancedNMS\

Features

The changes to this file provide the following features:

  • Improved water colors
  • Improved water ripples
  • Improved foam color at night
  • Fixes water rendering too low

Credits

The following mods were used as reference for the guide's custom edits:

  • Fine LOD (Open Permissions)
  • Exosolar's Abyss - edits from this mod have been included within the provided files from Nexus. Since this mod has to be downloaded for the Metadata, it was more simple for users if I just merged the edits into my file.




Compiling and Packing

To wrap up, the resource files need to be be recompiled and compressed into a PAK file that the game can use. This process can be completed manually or by using NMS Modding Station. Directions for both options are below for the sake of knowledge. Users should only follow one of the two options to complete the Guide.

Option 1 - Manual Wrap-up

To complete the process manually, PSArcTool is used.

Pack Project Files

  1. Open the guide's Project folder in an Explorer window: C:\Modding\NMS Modding\TechEnhancedNMS\
  2. Select all the files and folders in the Project's root folder.
  3. Drag and drop all selected items onto PSArcTool.exe
    This will compress the files into a PAK file.
  4. Rename the file to: TechEnhancedNMS.PAK
  5. Copy and paste the archive into the game's MODS folder: ..\No Man's Sky\GAMEDATA\PCBANKS\MODS\

Option 2 - Wrap-up using NMS Modding Station

The process using NMS Modding Station is similar to that of the manual process.

  1. Open NMS Modding Station
  2. Click on the Your Project tab.
  3. Double-click on the TechEnhancedNMS folder to open it
  4. Select all files in the root folder.
  5. Right-click on one of the files and select [Pack Mod]
  6. Give the file a name at the prompt: TechEnhancedNMS
    This will compress the files into a PAK file.
  7. Once complete, select only the newly created PAK file.
  8. Right-click on the selected file and select [Copy To Mods Folder]
    This will install the PAK file to the game's MODS folder for use.
Step 1-3

Step 1-3
Step 4-5

Step 4-5
Step 6

Step 6
Step 7-8

Step 7-8



Go...rule the galaxy!

That is a wrap on this short guide. I hope you enjoy your slightly enhanced gameplay!

Future Plans

  • Include more texture mods
  • Improve Biome Generation