No Man’s Sky starts you off with a character with a tiny backpack, a multitool with a capacity for a few attachments and a ship with a small hold.
We’ve already shown you how to increase your inventory space: You use the signal scanners you find at various facilities to search for "shelter" until they show you the location of a drop pod. The pods will offer you an additional slot at a cost that increases by 10,000 units every time you use one.
But how many total slots can your inventory contain and how many hold slots can you get in a ship? How many attachments can a multitool have? More importantly, what’s this going to cost you?
It would have been cool if the answer was 42.
It’s not though: Your inventory will eventually expand from its original 12 slots to a six by eight slot rectangle with 48 total slots. You can find some inventory upgrades locked behind Atlas doors if you have an Atlas Pass but, if you buy them all from drop pods, the final upgrade will cost 350,000 units. That means that the total cost of a maximum-sized inventory is 6.3 million units if you only use drop pods.
I haven’t maxed my ship out yet, but Redditors have found ships with inventories the same size. A ship with 48 inventory slots was priced at 80 million units for the redditor who saw it, but reports of prices vary.
Someone in the same thread mentions seeing a ship with only 43 slots priced at 117 million units. My theory is that your reputation with the different alien factions impacts the prices they charge you for things. Minor upgrades to my starting ship were over one million units upon my first visit to a space station, and when I returned with "special relationship" status with the Vy’keen, those ships cost only about 400,000 units.
Remember that ships can hold 500 of an element in a single inventory slot, while your Exosuit holds only 250 per slot, so a giant ship can mule a whole lot of goods.
The maximum size for a multitool is 24, or a 3x8 rectangle.
Why This Matters
Upgrades to your life-support, armor and jetpack occupy space in your Exosuit. Attachments and upgrades for your mining laser, your bolt-caster and your plasma grenade launcher take up spaces in your multitool. Augments for your engines and ship weapons take up ship space.
Things become cramped very quickly if you’re not upgrading your inventory space as you upgrade your equipment.
You lose all the attachments or upgrades to your current ship or tool once you find or purchase a replacement as well. You can recoup some of the resources by dismantling all your upgrades before you trade in your old model, but it’s still good to know what your upgrade path is before you commit scarce resources like Nickel and Iridium to your current tool.
How to find better ships and tools
You can buy new ships from aliens at space stations or trading posts, or you can find crashed ships by searching for transmissions at signal scanners, and repair those with your resources.
You can get new multitools by interacting with monoliths or buying them from aliens. Usually if you find an outpost with a trade terminal, there will also be a case on the wall with a multitool you can buy. There are also some circumstances in which they will be given to you if you understand enough of an alien language to interact with the lifeform in a positive manner.
The ships and tools are all procedurally generated, but the number of inventory slots they’ll have will be dictated by the number of slots in your current tool or ship. For example, when I visited a space station with my starter ship, the biggest hold I was shown was 23 slots. But once I had a 23 slot ship, I immediately started seeing ships with 31 slots.
For this reason, it’s never a good play to turn down a multitool upgrade if you can afford it. If you have a multitool with 14 slots, and you’re being offered tools with 16 slots, don’t wait for an 18 slot model. That middle step may be necessary.
That means that, while each individual multitool upgrade costs less than 200,000 units, you may still wind up spending a couple million to get to 24 slots. It’s worth the slog.
Scavenging for shipwrecks is probably a more effective way to get a max-sized ship than buying one, since the prices for the largest ships represent several dozen hours of farming, even using the most efficient moneymaking strategies.
A larger inventory means a better experience
No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and freedom, and it’s a game that incentivizes you to use that freedom to travel the universe farming for resources. The more space you have to haul around resources, the freer you are!
If you’re wandering the galaxy and unsure about what you should be doing, it’s a good idea to focus on increasing your inventory, your ship size and your multitool.