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No Man's Sky guide: Understanding your HUD

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

No Man's Sky presents you with a ton of on-screen information. Your HUD does a great job of only supplying you with pertinent details, but it can still get a little overwhelming. Below, we'll break down your HUD's various icons and bars and let you know what each means.

Top left: shields and health


In the top left corner, you'll see information about your current shield power and your health. The white bar indicates your shield. If you take any damage — from Sentinels, hostile creatures or by falling — you'll see the bar drop. Your shield will recharge over time.


Below that are white circles that indicate your health. A circle will disappear when your shields are down and you take critical damage. If your shield is fully charged and you're not currently taking damage, this information will fade away until you need it again.

Top center: minimap

Along the top of your HUD, in the center, is an arc that serves as a kind of minimap. Locations generally ahead of you and that you're aware of — such as your ship — will appear here. If you ever get lost, you can turn in a circle until you notice your ship's icon appear here.

Top right: Multi-Tool

When you have your Multi-Tool drawn, information about it will appear in the top right corner of your screen.

The top bar indicates overheating. You can also find information here about your Multi-Tool's charge or ammunition, as well as how many grenades you have loaded (if your Multi-Tool has the Plasma Launcher Companion Unit installed).

Wanted Level

Below the overheating bar, you'll see five diamonds. These indicate your current Wanted Level. If you catch the attention of the Sentinels, the first of these will glow blue. If you upset them to the point where they attack, it will switch to red. If you continue to press your luck and fight back, more of them will light up as the Sentinels take the threat you pose more and more seriously.

Bottom left: environmental information

The bottom left of your HUD shows you useful environmental information about the planet you're on.

When it's displayed, the topmost bar will show you information about how well your Hazard Protection is managing this particular planet's challenges. These are color-coded and have a helpful icon to indicate what type of hazard your suit is currently handling. In the picture above, for example, it's hot and storming.

Below that is your current Life Support status, the name of the planet, the temperature and the radiation level and toxicity levels.

Bottom right: inventory status and meters for your jetpack, scanner and stamina

The bottom right of your HUD has up to four icons, depending on what you're doing at the moment.

One that you'll see quite often is a shape that looks vaguely like your Exosuit's backpack (above, left). As you fill your suit's inventory, the bar on this icon will move up until the icon turns red, indicating you've run out of inventory slots.

The other three icons show you the current discharge or recharge status of your jetpack (above, center), your stamina (above, right right) and your scanner (below). When these are fully recharged, the icon will disappear.

Would you like to know more?

No Man's Sky is a largely solitary experience, but that doesn't mean you have to travel the universe alone. This is but one small section of Polygon's No Man's Sky guide.

Be sure to check out the rest, where you can learn all about your ship, your Multi-Tool and Companion Units and even get answers to some of the biggest questions about No Man's Sky. We also have a guide to No Man's Sky's resources that'll teach you the difference between Oxides and Silicates and No Man's Sky's various elements.

If you're just looking for a quick reference guide to locations— like where you can save and trade — we've got you covered, too.