No Man's Sky

If there is one thing that is critical to a game having VR support, it's making sure that the base game can run well on capable hardware. A VR experience with poor performance and framerates isn't a VR experience that you want to have. Fallout 4 VR, I'm looking at you.

It's perhaps a good thing then that Hello Games just launched a new experimental branch update for No Man's Sky that adds Vulkan support to the game. The performance gains should be felt by most players, especially those on AMD video cards. More performance in the game is great because No Man's Sky is set to receive VR support in this Summer's big Beyond update.

Hello Games also notes that this update will allow them to have a greater number of options as they continue to make "significant engine changes." Vulkan has outright replaced OpenGL with today's update. Here are all of the changes made in today's update. Please note that this update isn't live to the main branch yet, but you can access the Vulkan support and the following by opting into the Experimental branch via Steam for No Man's Sky.

  • OpenGL has been replaced by Vulkan. Many players, particularly players with AMD graphics cards, should see a performance improvement
  • Revised HDR support, updated output curve in line with advances in HDR calibration
  • Adaptive and Triple-Buffered V-Sync are now selectable from Graphics Settings
  • Players with more than one GPU can now select which is used from Graphics Settings
  • Changing the following settings no longer require restarting:
    • Window Mode
    • Resolution
    • V-Sync
    • Shadow Detail
    • Reflection Quality
  • The ‘LOADING SHADERS’ load step has been removed, improving the loading experience.
  • Crash data is gathered via Steam to help us track down and fix issues.
Accessing the Experimental Branch
More so than normal it’s important that you update your video card drivers.

Please note there is the possibility that experimental builds may introduce new issues that haven’t been caught in test. We’d like to recommend that all players back up their save files, by making a local copy of the st_[userid] folder found here: %appdata%\HelloGames\NMS\

Note that we don’t anticipate any issues here. However, performing your own backups could mean the difference between resuming play immediately, or waiting for the next patch.

If you decide to opt out of experimental and return to the main branch, we strongly recommend resuming from a backed-up save from the main branch, rather than taking an experimental branch save back to main, which may cause unexpected behaviour.

Feedback and reports of new bugs/issues being found on Experimental are welcome, so please submit a ticket to with the phrase “Steam Experimental Vulkan” in the ticket title. If you are running any mods for the game, please list them along with your bug report.

To play in Experimental, right-click on No Man’s Sky from the Steam library page and select “Properties”. Among the available tabs will be the “BETAS” tab. Enter “3xperimental” in the textbox and click “Check Code”. “experimental – Experimental” will now be available in the dropdown menu under “Select the beta you would like to opt into”.