From Step Mods | Change The Game



This guide is out of date and is NOT supported! It may contain information that is incorrect or not in line with the current state of the game.
Go to the latest supported NoMansSky Guide.

Step NoMansSky Guide[edit]

This is the official Step modding guide for No Man's Sky. Its goal is to provide an "enhanced vanilla" look and feel and is built for No Man's Sky on the PC without VR. Other situations by vary.


The following nomenclature is used throughout this guide and should be understood before proceeding.

  • 'tick' means 'check': Frequently, the word 'check' or 'checked' can mean 'ensure' in addition to "check mark", so 'check' is not used where it is synonymous with 'tick' to avoid any mistakes that can (and have) happened from this conflation.

Reference System[edit]

The following hardware configuration was used for building and running this Guide at a resolution of 1920x1080 on Ultra settings. This configuration will allow most users to run at these game settings. For those wishing to use high quality settings at resolutions higher than 1920x1080, be advised that a more powerful system will likely be required.

Name Hardware
Windows OS: Windows 10 64-bit
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K (overclocked to 4GHz)
System RAM: 16 GB
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB VRAM
Disk Drive: SSD
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Game/graphic settings used on the system:

  • All settings on Ultra
  • Antisophic Filter: 16x
  • Anit Aliasing: TAA
  • GTAO: High
  • In-flight FOV
    I recommend users turn this up to 85. This will help prevent the HUD clipping on some ships. Users playing at screen resolutions other than 1920x1080 may have to adjust for their systems.

With the above hardware and game settings, the game is smooth and steady. Keep in mind that changes as simple as using a higher monitor resolution can cause a drop in performance.

STEP 1[edit]

Installations & Setup

First, users need to configure a folder structure to supportNMSmodding. Before doing so, there are a couple considerations:

  1. Due to issues with some modding programs and Windows User Account Control (UAC), Step recommends using a location outside of C:/Program Files/ or C:/Program Files (x86)/.
  2. Consider the space requirements for modding games, which can be significant. Step recommends using the C: drive for convenience, however, users who don't have enough space on their C: drive can create their folder structure elsewhere.

Folder Structure[edit]

For all our Modding Guides Step recommends users create the following folder: C:/Modding/. For supporting No Man's Sky, Step recommends creating a sub-folder here and naming it NoMansSky. Now create the folder structure:

  • /Modding
    • ../NoMansSky
      • ../StepNoMansSky
      • ../Tools
        • ../MBINCompiler
        • ../NMS Modding Station
        • ../PSArcTool
      • ../Vanilla Game Files

File Extensions[edit]

It's recommended to unhide file extensions so that they are visible. This makes working with files much easier when modding.

Click here to show instructions for unhiding file extensions

  1. Click on the Windows button.
  2. Type in the search, File Explorer Options.
  3. Click on the File Explorer Options listing.
  4. Click the View tab on the window that opens.
  5. In the Advanced settings pane, remove the checkbox next to Hide extensions for known file types.

Steam Installation[edit]

Steam is a digital distribution platform and application from Valve used for purchasing, downloading, installing, and playing digital copies of video games. User's can download the program from their website. When installing Steam...

  • Users should avoid installation in a location controlled by UAC...
    • ...unless the game installation location is changed to a location outside UAC control.
  • When choosing an installation location for Steam, keep in mind the space requirements for the games that will be installed.
  • Users may opt to install their games to another drive other than C due to space constraints on the C drive.

Step recommends: If space permits, we recommend the /Modding/ folder created above.

Steam can be installed one of two ways:

Show Steam installation instructions
  1. Purchase the physical copy of the game from a retailer:
    1. Insert the game disk into your disk drive.
    2. If the installer doesn't run automatically, open the disk from Explorer and run Setup.exe.
    3. Follow the on-screen instructions to install Steam (see video link below)
  2. Download Steam from their website and install it:
    1. Navigate to the Steam website
    2. Download the Steam installer.
    3. Navigate to your downloads location and launch SteamSetup.exe (see video link below).

Moving Steam and Installed Games[edit]

Some users may already have Steam installed at C:/Program Files/ or C:/Program Files (x86)/. This is okay, as long as the games are installed to a separate location outside UAC control. However, if the game and Steam are installed within these locations, users can utilize Steam to move the installation locations. Follow their instructions on thier website.

Game Installation[edit]

Games are installed using the Steam application, and this can be done on one of two ways:

  • Users who purchased a physical copy of the game from a retailer should already have the game installed from the Steam installation above.
  • Use Steam to download and install:
Show game installation instructions
  1. Open the Steam application.
  2. Those who need to purchase a game can use the search bar to search for and purchase it from the app.
  3. For those who have already purchased a copy of the game, click Library at the top.
  4. This will reveal a list of purchased games. Games in grey are not installed. Click on the game needing to be installed.
  5. On the game's page (right pane) click the Install button.
  6. Check the shortcuts desired and ensure the path is correct (e.g. C:/Modding/Steam/ ).
  7. Click [Next], accept any EULA/Agreements, and install the game.

Initial Launch[edit]

Once the game is installed, it needs to be loaded with the default launcher to register it with the system and create necessary files. To do this:

  1. Click the Play button on the games page in Steam.
  2. Load the game to the game menu.
  3. Exit the game.

Enable Mods[edit]

Mod support for No Man's Sky is disabled by default, thus, users need to enable support after the game is registered with the system. To do this:

  1. Navigate to the game's PCBANKS folder (e.g., C:/Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/No Man's Sky/GAMEDATA/PCBANKS)
  2. Locate the DISABLEMODS.TXT file.
  3. Rename this file: ENABLEMODS.TXT

In fact, this file can be renamed to anything or simply removed from the folder structure. To disable mod support again, simply rename the file back the the original name, or place it back in the PCBANKS folder. Users will have to do this step every time the game updates because Hello Games resets this file every update.

This completes the initial game setup.

Tools Installation and Setup[edit]

Users should install the tools to the location created above (i.e., ../Modding/NoMansSky/Tools/). Install the following tools to that location:

Mod Name Baseline Instructions
MBINCompilerLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download the latest version of the tool's .DLL and .EXE files from GitHub.
    Users may get a warning from their browser or system when downloading these files. Allow the browser or system to keep or retain the files.
  2. Move the downloaded files to the MBINCompiler folder (e.g., ../Modding/NoMansSky/Tools/MBINCompiler/)
NMS Modding StationLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Windows 10 users should ensure that .NET v4.5.2 or later is installed as NMS Modding Station requires it.
  1. Download the file from Nexus Mods.
  2. Extract the archive to new NMS Modding Station folder (e.g., ../Modding/NoMansSky/Tools/NMS Modding Station/).
PSArcToolLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Manually download the file from Nexus Mods.
  2. Place the EXE in the new PSArcTool folder (e.g., ..\Modding\Tools\PSArcTool).

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

STEP 2[edit]

Tool Configuration

MBINCompiler and PSArcTool[edit]

The use of these tools are very simple and require no configuration. Drag and drop the supported files onto their EXE files for the applications to execute tasks. MBINCompiler is used for extracting and compressing the game's MBIN files, while PSArcTool does the same for the game's PAK files.

NMSModding Station[edit]

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/NoMansSky/Vanilla Game Files
    • MBINCompiler Path: C:/Modding/NoMansSky/Tools/MBIN Compiler/MBINCompiler.exe
    • Your Projects Path: C:/Modding/NoMansSky
    • 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.

Unpacking Vanilla Game Files (optional)[edit]

This section is optional since all the files required for this guide are included; however, it's important that users know how to perform these steps as the vanilla files may be needed for a variety of reasons while modding. For this,NMSModding Station is used and it will require ~27GBs of disk space.

Even on SSDs, the unpacking will take several minutes to complete, so give it some time if it looks like it's not doing anything. Users should see "Ready" displayed in the status bar when complete:

  1. OpenNMSModding 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/NoMansSky/Vanilla Game Files )

It is advised not to overwrite or alter the vanilla game files to keep them as a vanilla reference. Therefore, copy the vanilla assets for development purposes rather than altering them. These assets can be copied manually, andNMSModding Station can be used with the added benefit of including the folder structure when doing so:

  1. OpenNMSModding 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/NoMansSky/ModProjectName )
    This will "set" the project for the current session. To move additional files to a different project folder, close and reopen the program.

The game files are now ready for fine tuning.

STEP 3[edit]

NoMansSky Mod List

At this point the modding environment should be fully set up and ready to install mods. The mods below are either standalone or require merging files. The mods not being merged into the Guide's project folder (e.g. ..Modding/NoMansSky/StepNoMansSky) can be skipped or replaced by other alternatives; however, if the instructions say to merge any files into the Guide's project folder, then the mod is required and can not be skipped or replaced.

Installing individual mods for NMS is very simple. To do so:

  1. Download the mod's archive. If downloading from Nexus Mods, download manually.
  2. Extract only the PAK file from the downloaded archive directly to the ../No Man's Sky/GAMEDATA/PCBANKS/MODS/ folder.

Mod Table Legend[edit]

Supported Game Version: NMS:Companions v3.22
Flags A green vertical bar indicates that the mod works with supported game version and is okay to install.
A red bar indicates that the mod requires an update and should not be installed.
Mod Name Mod name presented as a link to download the mod.
Wikilink.png Link to the mod's wiki page, which includes various information about the mod.
Baseline This notes the Step Baseline version or option of the corresponding mod that should be installed, and usually refers to options affecting performance/quality. General suggestions are located in the "Instruction" column; see below.
Instructions Brief notes that apply to the mod or installation.
In some cases, mods with several options will include a suggested option. These suggestions will take the form of: "Step recommends: Option A Main File."
In other cases, there may only be one appropriate option, which fits the Step Mandate. These instructions will take the form of: "Install Option A Main File."
Users will also see links displayed as: [Expand]. Users should click these links to expand the mod row to reveal detailed instructions for installing the mod.

Models & Textures[edit]

Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Black CarbonLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Clean Analysis VisorLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Clean_Analysys_Visor_With_Helmet_by_RogerHN
Clean Ship Space MapLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Exosolars AbyssLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Manually download the mod from Nexus Mods (do not use MO)
  2. Extract the mod's PAK file from the downloaded archive
  3. Now extract the mod's PAK file, itself, using PSArcTool
    ...just drag and drop the PAK on top of PSArcTool's EXE
  4. Copy only the METADATA folder. Users can delete the other files.
  5. Paste the copied METADATA folder into the guide's project folder: ..\Modding\NoMansSky\StepNoMansSky
HD CloudsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K


Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Better Ship Transfer RangesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install: Better Ship Teleport Module Range main file
Sensible Planetary ChartsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Only install the Main File.

Lighting & Weather[edit]

Mod Name Baseline Instructions
LightFixLink to the mod's Wiki page. Soft Detailed Instructions available
Step recommends: _LightFixSoft main file
  1. Whichever option is chosen, rename the PAK by removing any underscores from the name
    Example: _LightFixSoft.pak renamed to: LightFixSoft.pak
ReLightLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Rotating AtmosphereLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Integrated PlanetsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Natural NightsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Manually download the mod from Nexus Mods (not using MO)
  2. Extract the mod's PAK file from the downloaded archive
  3. Now extract the mod's PAK file using PSArcTool.
  4. Copy only the METADATA folder. Users can delete the other files.
  5. Paste the copied METADATA folder into the guide's project folder: ..\Modding\NoMansSky\StepNoMansSky
No Atmosphere No DustLink to the mod's Wiki page.

Resource Files[edit]

Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Step NoMansSky Resource FilesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download the guide's resource files.
  2. Extract the archive to the project folder: ..\Modding\NoMansSky\StepNoMansSky
  3. Overwrite any conflicts.

STEP 4[edit]

Compiling & Packing

To wrap up, the resource files need to be be recompiled and compressed into a PAK file so that they can be used by the game. This process can be completed manually or by using NMS Modding Station; however, doing it manually is quicker and easier:

Manual Wrap-up[edit]

To complete the process manually, PSArcTool is used.

Pack Project Files[edit]

  1. Open the guide's project folder in an Explorer window: ..Modding/NoMansSky/StepNoMansSky
  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: zStepNoMansSky.PAK
    The "z" is intentional to force the archive to load last.
  5. Copy and paste the archive into the game's MODS folder: ../No Man's Sky/GAMEDATA/PCBANKS/MODS/

Go...rule the galaxy![edit]

That is a wrap on this short Guide. Enjoy your enhanced gameplay!


Thank you all!

The STEP administrators would sincerely like to thank (from the bottoms of our fuzzy little hearts):

  • The authors of mods recommended within our Guides
  • The authors of mods who granted permission for their mods to be incorporated into the Resource Files
  • The core Community for feedback, suggestions and input
  • The Beta and Mod Testers for their good humor and rigorous analyses
  • The Nexus community
  • Hello Games for their games

The following mods had open permissions and were either merged into the guide's resource files or used for references:

STEP Staff[edit]


  • TechAngel85
    • Lead Release Coordinator, Patch Coordinator, Lead Forum Administrator, Mod Author
  • z929669
    • Project Founder, Lead Site Developer, Lead Site Administrator


Help build STEP

Step Modifications can only get bigger and better with help from the community. It is very time consuming for the Step team to ensure that our Guides are consistently maintained at the highest quality possible. We need people to help us identify mods that improve the vanilla game while adhering to our Mandate. We also need ongoing bug reports, reviews, and updates on mods that may cause problems or that stray from the Mandate.

In order to suggest a mod for inclusion, visit the Mods section of the Forums.

Call for Mod Testers[edit]

Community members interested in becoming Mod Testers, please contact TechAngel85 via PM on the forums. Once registered, Mod Testers will be given access to Staff forums that houses useful information. For more information about our mod testing process, read through the Mod Testing Guide to get a sense of what's involved.

Call for Forum Moderators[edit]

Regular community members interested in becoming moderators, please contact TechAngel85 via PM on the forums. Forum Moderators will be determined based upon level and quality of activity within our community.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the game!