How to build bases in No Man's Sky

Building bases has been a staple in No Man's Sky for a while now and with the latest update comes a whole new raft of building materials. With the influx of new players, and players returning to the game from years prior, we thought a base-building primer might help you get started in your new construction career.

What are bases?

Bases are your home in No Man's Sky. They are permanent structures that can house all the equipment you need to play No Man's Sky. From refineries, all the way to huge power stations and portals, your base can house them all.

Bases are also safe havens from the trials of the world you choose to live on. A lot of the planets on NMS have hazards that drain your life support and even if they are relatively clear, big storms can come from nowhere. As soon as you have a base with walls and a roof, you are safe from all the elements.

Location Location Location

Where to build bases

Finding the right place to build your home base is key. The game actively tries to get you to build your base early, on a planet it selects for you at random. This isn't ideal as, more often than not, the planets around you are poisonous balls of deathly death, and you may not want to set up your permanent base there.

It always pays to take a look around the solar system you are in first, to find the best planet you can. Building the Hyperspace engine takes a little while, so you may not be able to go out of the system, but you don't have to pick the nightmare-scape that Hello Games will randomly choose for you.

As far as building supplies go, you will want to look for planets with high concentrations of copper and carbon to start with. Of course, the more precious metals you have, the better — eventually you will need some money — but copper and carbon are the two building blocks of the game.

Where to find carbon

Everywhere, that's where you can find it. Almost every planet has an abundance of carbon, especially if it has any fauna. Trees and plants give you a lot of carbon, though there are other ways to get it if you choose to live on a lifeless planet.

I cannot stress this enough; you can never have too much carbon. Early in the game, your buildings will be made from it, your refinery is powered by it, even the tool you use to get carbon needs carbon to power it. In other words, spend some time farming carbon from around the location you want to build your base. It will help clear the land for building anyway.

Where to find copper

Copper is a fairly common element in No Man's Sky, but you may have to go off the original planet to find it. The easiest way is to head out into space once you have fixed your ship and use your scanner to scan the nearby planets once you are out of the atmosphere. This will highlight the common elements they have on them and you should be able to find a copper one in short order.

Head over to the area where you found the copper and start the harvest. You will need to have your terrain manipulator ready to go to get the copper out of the ground, and you will want to spend some time stocking up if you aren't interested in staying on the copper-rich planet.

Machines you will need

There are several pieces of equipment you will need to build before you can start construction of your dream house, and one you will need to make that house a home.

Portable refiner

The portable refiner is one of the most important pieces of machinery in No Man's Sky because it allows you to make all the complex metals you'll need from the base elements you find on the worlds you visit.

Making a refiner is easy and uses just base elements, Ferrite dust — made into metal plating — and Oxygen. The blueprint for it is given to you as part of the main tutorial, so you should be able to find it by pressing up on the D-pad and selecting the Tech section.

Once you have a portable refiner built, you can use it as much as you like as long as you have the carbon you need power it. Remember the refiner is portable, so it's often worth having one with you at all times — you can pick it up by holding square — while building another to leave at home.

Base computer

The base computer is the central hub of your base and is required to actually call a place your "Home base" in-game. Now that you have built your portable refiner, you can make this easily enough. The blueprint for the base computer is given to you as you play the game so by the time you are ready to build one, you should have the blueprint.

You will need to use the refiner to refine copper into chromatic metal, but that's all you need. The base computer can be found in the Tech section of your build menu.

I would recommend finding a good spot for your base computer before you lay it down. It isn't portable, so once you pick a place, that's where it will stay. I made the mistake of putting it too close to a piece of scenery and it stopped me being able to build my base around it. Mine just sits outside now.

Construction Research Unit

While the Construction Research Unit (CRU) is not needed to make your original base, it will be needed to upgrade your base to new materials like metal or cement, as well as for adding new types of building pieces, like corner roofs or iris doors.

The construction needs only one carbon nanotube — you can make that in your backpack inventory out of carbon — and 20 magnetized ferrite. Magnetized ferrite is a double refined material that can be found in the world like copper, or refined from pure Ferrite. If you refine ferrite dust into pure ferrite, then put that pure ferrite back in the refiner it will become magnetized ferrite.

You do lose half your supply if you do it this way — it takes two ferrite dust to make one pure ferrite — but that's better than walking across the whole world looking for it in some rocks.

How to build a base

The actual placement of buildings is pretty straightforward. The game gives you a lot of visual cues, as well as using a snapping technique to line up the corresponding edges so it's easy to lay stuff down.

Once you have all the resources you need — you don't have enough carbon, go grab some more — and all the machines pre-built, it's time to start building!

  1. Find a large, clear area.
  2. Press down on your controllers D-pad to access the build menu.

  1. Use the left/right D-pad to navigate to Structures.
  2. Press up on the D-pad to access the Wooden structures.

  1. Select the piece you want to lay on the floor.
  2. Move the left thumbstick to choose its position.
  3. Press the R2 button to place the object into the world.
  4. Select the wall piece you want to use. Remember: each base needs at least one door panel.

  1. Use the ghostly outline to line up the walls where you want them.
  2. Press R2 to set the wall in place.
  3. Repeat until you complete your awesome house.

Upgrading your base

Everything we have spoken about above merely scratches the surface of what is possible with base building. We have provided you the building blocks (pun intended) but you will need to spend a lot of your time in the game perfecting your building skills.

Remember, building materials are key to the game, and if you want to build giant fortresses of glass and metal, you will need to find a place that has plenty of materials to make that happen.

I would also suggest building a portal, or finding an area with a terminal to build near early on in your building process. There are materials you will need to buy and having an easy way to buy things is extremely important.

Show us your creations

We would love to see your bases and for you to give us and the other readers your tips for making amazing bases. Head over to our Twitter and post us some screenshots!

James Bricknell
Since the days of the HTC Hero James has had two or three Android phones stuffed into pockets. James is always on hand to offer advice on phones, apps and most recently, PlayStation, especially VR, It's now something of an obsession. Find him @keridel wherever Media Socials itself.