First Video of “No Man’s Sky” on the Steam Deck Surfaces

First Video of “No Man’s Sky” on the Steam Deck Surfaces

[ Update – April 11: A longer gameplay video than that shown here has since surfaced and is featured in a more recent post elsewhere on this blog. ]

Last Friday Valve’s Steam Deck embargo ended and those with Steam Deck units in their hands have begun sharing thoughts, experiences, and gameplay videos. One such individual is Italian YouTuber On Friday, they shared a short video showing a person playing three games on the Steam Deck: Nier Replicant, Persona 4, and No Man’s Sky.

Within, about two and a half minutes of No Man’s Sky gameplay is shown towards the end of the video, starting at about the 5 minute, 47 second mark. An on-screen system monitor shows some interesting system performance metrics during gameplay.

The video shows the Italian version of the game being played at the Steam Deck‘s native 1280×800 pixel screen resolution. Framerate stays locked at 60fps for nearly the entire video and, while the GPU remains pegged at near 100% utilization, the CPU load rarely rises above 50% and stays at around mid-40% most of the time. Halfway through the NMS demonstration, the player jumps to the in-game graphics options screen and changes the settings from the Standard preset (with no anti-aliasing) to the Enhanced preset (with TAA enabled) — and this has no measurable effect on either CPU or GPU load, interestingly. With the CPU utilization so apparently low, there is likely room to edge up the settings further before seeing a performance hit.

And, here we should remember that SteamOS on the Steam Deck is Linux-based, and that the system is running the Windows version through Valve’s Proton compatibility layer / translation software (this has been verified) which necessarily impacts game performance to some degree.

The NMS graphics settings as well as the screen overlay also reveal that AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) scaling is not enabled during the demonstration video.

Traveller’s out there debating the purchase of a Steam Deck to play No Man’s Sky on the go should have a look at our recent post, “No Man’s Sky” on Nintendo Switch – So, How Will They Do It?, which looks at some likely approaches Hello Games is taking with their recently announced Switch version.

[ Proton performance is discussed in the comments ↓ ]

11 thoughts on “First Video of “No Man’s Sky” on the Steam Deck Surfaces

  1. Not bad at all. And the battery life says 1 hour 42 minutes on 53% battery, so about 3 hours 15 minutes of battery life from full.

    1. Yea, during the NMS video section the Steam Deck lost 2% battery, going from 53% to 51%. But, there are some cuts in the video, so it’s a longer session than just two and a half minutes. Maybe notably so. Not bad!

  2. Valves proton should actually improve fps in most cases as Linux/steam is more efficient and it translates graphics to a newer graphics renderer meaning more fps in most cases

    1. That seems strange to me. I did a quick look through several videos comparing games running under Proton on SteamOS vs. native Windows and it seems that sometimes the game does perform better under Proton, but in a minority of cases.

      For example, this video compares five different games running under Proton vs. native Windows 10 on the same hardware: Injustice 2, Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Project Cars 2, and Skyrim SE.

      Four of the five performed better under native Windows 10, but Witcher 3 did, indeed, show a notable performance win under Proton. This surprised me, but it’s interesting and nice to see. And perhaps performance can be improved with Proton settings tweaks — I’ve never used it, personally.

      At any rate, this speaks well of the Steam Deck being a solid platform for No Man’s Sky, certainly.

  3. I’m primarily (almost entirely, really) a PC gamer. But while researching applications available on M1 Macs, I noticed that No Man’s Sky was absent from the list. I wonder, does Hello Games has any interest in bring NMS to the Mac? The Mac with M1 may finally be in a better place to support games with heavy 3D acceleration.

    1. I’d, personally, love to see that. For all but gaming I am a Mac guy and have been since that Mac’s OS became based on the NeXTSTEP OS (I am a UNIX fan). And, yea, the M1 is amazing in my experience using my M1 MacBook Air and iPad Pro. You can see that the M1 CPU dramatically outperforms the PC upon which I play No Man’s Sky:

      And the GPU even on the base M1 is pretty good, if not a monster. M1 Pro, Max, and Ultra take it much farther, obviously.

      But, I feel that the Mac gaming market is presently too small for it to make much sense for HG to target the Mac. What’s more, Apple hasn’t updated OpenGL in macOS in many years and are now entirely focused on their (strong) Metal framework. Vulkan does not run natively on macOS, though there are wrappers that let Vulkan-based apps run through Metal (such as MoltenVK). HG would have to either create a new compile chain to utilize Metal or take advantage of a Vulkan wrapper, the PC version of No Man’s Sky being Vulkan-based, presently. Neither is ideal. But then, who knows… New platforms means new people get to experience the game, and that’s always a good thing.

      So, fingers crossed. 🙂

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