No Man's Sky on PC receives Vulkan API support, gaining performance improvements

While the Beyond update to No Man's Sky is still in the works for later this year with VR support and more, PC version owners have something new to try out now that promises performance improvements. Hello Games announced today that it has implemented the Vulkan graphics API to the space adventure title, which is now available as an option on PC via the experimental branch.

With Hello Games calling this "a complete overhaul of the graphics API," Vulkan arrives as a replacement to OpenGL. While we will have to wait until the final implementation of the new rendering pipeline to see how far the performance improvements will go, the studio says even with this version, many players should see frame rates go up. AMD graphics card owners will see the biggest improvements.

To detect any "serious issues" that pop up, the studio will be collecting crash report data via Steam. The experimental branch release today is to help with "wider compatibility testing" before the update is rolled out to all PC players.

Here are the full patch notes for the new PC experimental build:

  • OpenGL has been replaced by Vulkan.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.

For PC players interested in helping with the testing, the experimental build can be opted into by going to the No Man's Sky properties on Steam, then entering the code "3xperimental" in the BETAS tag. This will give the experimental build as an option in the beta dropdown menu.

Hello Games is advising interested players to update their respective AMD and Nvidia graphics card drivers to the latest available versions before jumping in. Also, the studio recommends players to back up their standard branch save files before switching to experimental, which can be found in the "%appdata%\HelloGames\NMS\" directory.

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