The music in No Man’s Sky is great. Suitably ominous and uplifting at the same time, but much like games such as Elite Dangerous which also involve traversing the great expanse, sometimes you want a bit more variation in the soundtrack.
No Man’s Sky has no such option, but what it does have is one of the most uniquely weird options ever seen in a game, in the form of its own chiptune synthesizer, so you can actually compose your own soundtrack - with a few caveats we will discuss later on. But first, let’s find out what No Man’s Sky ByteBeat Device actually is, and does.
What is the ByteBeat Device in NMS?
Costing 10 Salvaged Data the ByteBeat Device is a programmable synthesizer for your base. It’s hard to imagine it was ever in the initial plan for the game, more a side product a developer worked on in their free time before showing it to Sean and then him deciding it was so cool it should be included in the game itself.
The ByteBeat Device is not something you can make music on that you can listen to throughout the game - you will only be able to hear it when you are close to it on your base - which probably stops your horrifically squeaky compositions from getting too annoying after a minute or so. It is fun, however, that any other players visiting your base will be able to hear your music as well though.
How to get the ByteBeat Device
Firstly you are going to need the Blueprint, which, as mentioned above costs 10 Salvaged Data. It’s worth having 12 with you really as then you can also unlock the ByteBeat Switch (2 Salvaged Data) and ByteBeat Cable (which is actually free)
Once you have the Blueprint you need the materials next - 3 Metal Plating, 50 Gold, and 1 Antimatter. By the time you are at the point in the game where you are considering adding one of these devices to your base, none of these items should be an issue and you may already have them “in stock”.
The ByteBeat Device needs to be hooked up to Power to work so make sure you can run an electrical cable to it easily. Once connected it will burst into life and you can then enter its interface and begin to play around with it.
How to use the ByteBeat Device in NMS
If you have never messed around with synthesizers in real life, either using hardware or the many amazing software synths you can get these days, the next few minutes of your life may well consist of you clicking aimlessly around before leaving the device never to return, but you should persevere.
If you turn the audio on above in the video you will see how within a few seconds you can take the default noise being emitted and tweak it into a rudimentary four-on-the-floor techno drum pattern, and from then on in you can tweak it until your heart is content.
As with most synths, you can choose the waveform of the noise that you will build the rest from. The standard saw and sine waves are here along with a few others. Generally, though, click around the step sequencer (the bit at the bottom where you can add notes and the like.
Tempo is controlled at the top - the default is 115 beats per minute but you can soon raise or lower that.
The other thing you will want to alter soon is the Arpeggiator (the device that breaks down notes and chords into smaller parts). This area is the section above the step sequencer where you can see rows of dots that can be turned on or off - each dot representing a note stab. You can alter the number of notes the Arp plays to make things a bit less bouncy and childlike.
What is the point of the ByteBeat Device in No Man’s Sky?
From what we can tell absolutely nothing, other than something to play joyfully around with. It is your very own chiptune synth that you can simply pass time with and No Man’s Sky is all the more amazing for including it.