Top 20 Best No Man’s Sky Mods You Should Be Playing With

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All hell broke loose back in 2016 when indie developer Hello Games released their intensely hyped space-exploration simulator No Man’s Sky.

They’d promised too much, painting the picture of a generation-defining game, and then released an incomplete work that felt bloated like a hot air balloon.

They made the incredible mistake of grabbing a game that could feel barren because of its sheer magnitude, and actually releasing it devoid of content!

It seemed like there was no hope.

Thankfully both the development team and a dedicated modding community have been working on the game ever since, releasing mods and entire updates that have slowly made it into what it was originally supposed to be. Planets are more varied, the gameplay is more engaging, and the world feels more alive than ever.

To celebrate this joint effort and help you pick out the most essential add-ons that you’ll need to make your experience best it can be, we’ve gathered our 20 favorite mods you can install, for free, right now, and radically improve the gameplay.

Let’s check em out!

20. Free Launch

Free Launch mod

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Just as we have free lunch at some schools, you can now have Free Launch in your No Man’s Sky.

Bad puns aside, the first mod in this list is one of those small changes with big repercussions.

Not having to spend 25%-50% of your hard-earned fuel at launch is a godsend usually only available in Creative, but shared across all difficulties thanks to this mod.

It’s one for the impatient and those who aren’t all that fond of resource management.

19. Fewer Bigger Clouds

Fewer Bigger Clouds mod

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For some reason everyone seems to have a problem with clouds in No Man’s Sky.

Despite being a normal part of any planet with water and other elements, the clouds often get in the way of enjoying the spectacle that is the sky(I mean, most of the time).

Well if you’re struggling with too many steam bodies in your atmosphere but don’t quite want to get rid of them all, NexusMods user Trevix has the solution for you.

It’ll tweak cloud distribution so that instead of a bunch of small high-altitude clouds, you only get giant marshmallows that contribute to the eye candy.

It’s simple but can seriously improve the experience for some people.

18. No Teleporter

No Teleporter mod

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Here’s one for those people that like to play through each world without fast travel.

Mod creator DarkSideRC always thought that having Teleporters at bases and stations made the game a bit too easy. So he turned both of them into save stations and nothing more.

I find the game feels considerably more realistic and reminiscent of a road trip with this mod.

Having to make my way to my objectives through planet-hopping every time is probably the way the game is meant to be played for maximum immersion.

17. Cloud Erasers

Cloud Erasers mod

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Cloud Erasers is a more aggressive version of Fewer Bigger Clouds, but it’s also much more customizable.

Creator Exosolar made it so you can choose what kind of cloud you want to eliminate without much issue. Install Cirrus Eraser to remove small high-altitude clouds from your game.

Install the Cumulus Eraser to get rid of the lower-altitude yet big cotton candy clouds. You can even use both and have permanently clear skies if you’d like!

A total must-have mod if you’re the screenshot photography kind of gamer.

16. Low Flight

Low Flight mod

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How in the world did Hello Games not include this in the vanilla game?

Thanks to user HytekGaming you can now fly as close to the ground as you want.

It’s a feature even old-timey biplanes had. So why would a high-tech ship with the power to jump to hyperspeed not be able to soar the skies?

Since the game wasn’t originally designed for you to do this, it’s highly likely you’ll crash into terrain, trees, and possibly even creatures while enjoying the landscape from your cockpit.

Well this mod makes sure to disable all collision damage while inside the atmosphere, so worry no more.

15. Spaced Out Asteroids

Spaced Out Asteroids mod

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From NexusMods user JustSpaceThings comes a mod that’ll solve your asteroid navigating issues.

With Spaced Out Asteroids, gone are the days of having a bunch of asteroids up in your face every time you enter an asteroid-rich area.

Now there’s much more space between them, making it easier to fly through them without problems.

On the flip side, you’ll also have to work more for your resources if you’re mining them.

It’s a somewhat minor thing for sure. But considering how many times I’ve seen people discussing this on forums, I’m sure more than a few of you will find this useful.

14. Immersive Space

Immersive Space Nomanssky mod

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Sometimes, traveling the stars in No Man’s Sky can kill your immersion by overpopulating what you can see on screen.

Colorful nebulae and pretty visuals are nice. But space is supposed to make you feel isolated due to its enormity and relative emptiness in comparison to what we’re used to.

This mod by Martius will make space look darker, less populated, and more real.

It still retains some very colorful nebulae. But now that there aren’t a dime a dozen, each one gets a chance to stand out.

And the sight may feel more beautiful than ever before.

13. Dark Warp

Dark Warp mod

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In the same vein of minimal-friendly mods comes Dark Warp by user Damanique.

In contrast to the eye-blinding Star Trek-like warp from the vanilla game, this mod offers a darker and less bombastic warping effect.

Regrettably, this mod doesn’t work with most graphic overhauls since most of them touch the warp effects one way or another.

Still, it’s a great place to start your modding journey if you want to kick-start with very basic and simple changes.

12. Deep Space V2

Deep Space V2 Mod

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One of the best and most complete overhauls for space travel in No Man’s Sky comes by the hand of user Emmett Brown, who has put together a mod that promises to make the experience much more immersive and cinematic.

Not only does it darken space and tone down nebulae, but it also increases the detail on planets that you fly by, and it tweaks color filters in a way meant to make everything look more “real”.

To that end it also removes scanlines, Depth of Field effects, and the vignette from space travel.

11. Nada’s Starmap Upgrade

Nada’s Starmap Upgrade mod

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While soaring through empty space, most of your decisions will be made while taking a look at the Galaxy Map to chart a course and figure out just exactly where you are in the grand sea of stars.

Proficient modder Exosolar found this process a bit inefficient and quite slow.

So he tweaked it a bit to make it fun and easier to use.

You can now peruse the map at increased speeds with less down-time when going in and out of the map screen.

It also makes Red, Green, and Blue star colors easier to tell apart(this is a small change but makes a big impact!)

It may seem minor, but use it for a couple of hours and you’ll never want to go back.

10. Start No Tuto

Start No Tuto mod

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Once you’ve started a new game a couple of times, you’ll see that going through the tutorial mission becomes progressively more annoying.

You already begin with a busted ship and basic multi-tool. So getting the basics explained to you again just adds insult to injury.

Modder DarkSideRC decided he’d had enough and released this mod which, as the name implies, simply removes the tutorial mission from the game.

You’ll still have to repair your ship and make it to space. But now you can get to work right away, and the story will just get going from Chapter 2 once you launch into the stars.

9. Big Things 4

Big Things 4 mod

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After exploring the base game universe long enough you’ll start noticing that every planet looks… the same.

Sure, lifeforms and biomes are procedurally generated. But the possibilities are so constrained that it’s impossible not to start noticing similarities left and right.

This mod promises to bring back that sense of wonder to all planets by making some trees, rocks, and plants much larger on some planets.

This gives each one a feeling of grandiosity they didn’t necessarily have before.

You’ll lose yourself in the scenery of dense forests populated by giant plants and realize, once again, that you’re just a tiny speck of dust in an endless universe.

8. Hard Start

Hard Start mod

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Similar to Start No Tuto(which is a required install to use this mod) is the Hard Start mod.

It changes the very beginning of the game to create a more interesting experience for seasoned players.

Once you’ve put hours into the game, simply repairing a ship is a walk through the park.

Now with this add-on your ship is busted to the point of disrepair, and your multi-tool is even worse-off than before. Good luck finding a way off the planet now, scrub.

7. Busier Space

Busier Space mod

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While some people feel that space in No Man’s Sky is way too full of celestial bodies to feel immersive, others think that what breaks their immersion is the notoriously small amount of activity all around the galaxy.

Busier Space increases the number of ships generated everywhere. And I mean it increases them dramatically.

So it’ll feel as if intelligent life is well on its way to conquering the stars.

Just be careful here though, as Space Pirates and random space battles are also affected by the change, turning each encounter into a much more treacherous situation.

6. NoFade FPS Booster

NoFade FPS Booster mod

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If you’re barely hitting the recommended specifications for No Man’s Sky and suffer from unreliable FPS specs then this mod by Lo2k may be what you need.

It removes the fade effect, which essentially blends items that are in the horizon into the background to mask them popping into view.

With this mod you’ll sometimes be reminded you’re playing a game by objects popping into existence far, far ahead. But a 30% FPS gain is worth sacrificing a bit of immersion in this gamer’s opinion.

5. Creatures Revamped

Creatures Revamped mod

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Many of the most downloaded mods for No Man’s Sky are centered around upgrading the procedural generation of many things, chief among them the different creatures you can meet while exploring the stars.

This mod by Pamehabai6 tweaks spawn rates and widens the critter generation possibilities.

It accomplishes this by both unlocking certain traits from presenting themselves in the same creatures, and re-introducing many unused assets found within the vanilla game’s files.

Now instead of each biome being ruled over by one or two main species, you’ll see a more contested land as well as creatures unlike what you’ll ever see in vanilla.

4. Shaidak’s Generation

Shaidak’s Generation mod

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We’re still in the same arena here but focusing more on biomes themselves. And in this space lies Shaidak’s Generation, a mod that enhances biome variety by adding bigger and more diverse flora and minerals.

Biomes now generally present taller plants as you make your way to the center, so you’ll feel like you’re penetrating a dense jungle when tackling a flora-heavy biome.

What makes this mod stand out among many options is the care put in by Shaidak to keep the game feeling like NMS rather than turning it into World of Warcraft in space.

3. Exosolar’s Stratos

Exosolar’s Stratos mod

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In a game all about the wonder of exploring new worlds, the skies in NMS feel a bit repetitive.

There’s a total of six(6) stock sky color palettes, and every sky in the game is a slight variation of these six.

Well thanks to modder Exosolar, the game can now have a whopping 2028 more palettes to choose from.

This makes it so that you’ll essentially never see the same sky twice. Frozen planets are also affected, and the night sky as well.

Other than that, the mod makes fog more colorful, reduces sun-glare, and even improves shadows to make sure you can enjoy your sky-gazing to the fullest. It’s a complete overhaul of lighting and colors in the one place you’ll be looking most often.

2. Project Atlas

Project Atlas mod

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If you’ve already experienced everything that the vanilla game has to offer and you’re looking for a big change, Project Atlas may be something to look into.

This mod overhauls biome generation completely, making each world truly unique.

The amount of possible biomes and biome combinations is so expansive that it’s statistically impossible for you to run into two separate planets that feel even vaguely “the same”.

1. NMS Fantasy Synthesis

NMS Beyond Fantasy Synthesis mod

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However, if what you’re looking for is a complete overhaul to No Man’s Sky then this compilation of over two years of modding by user Redmas is a must-try.

Better clouds, darker nights, more blue water and diverse gameplay tweaks to streamline the experience are just scratching the surface of this gigantic mod.

It also overhauls creature and biome generation following a more fantasy-oriented aesthetic. Something I’m quite a fan of.

The mod touches almost every aspect of the game in some way, helping it feel entirely new if you begin a new run immediately after installing this bad boy.

You’ll get a random ship and multi-tool at the start of the game so you can jump into enjoying the all-new content right away. Totally worth your time to play around with this if you’re a big fan of No Man’s Sky.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.