Sentinel functions


The Atlas Rising v1.3 update brought added data about sentinels. Steam user Anga Hakuna has posted view access to his Sentinel tasks Excel workbook about this. It currently lists observed data for drones – Status, Function, Current Subroutine, and Directive. Some seem pretty scary.

No Man’s Sky—v1.3 Screenshots & Art

Nice list. I have also found some of these to be unnerving. Here is one I don’t see on the list.


Thanks for making me notice that every single drone has its own identity somehow!
I will look into it tomorrow to find some cool drone patrols to post here!:slight_smile:

Now I feel bad for killing almost 300 drones!
@sheralmyst now I hope I only have killed those sacrificing fanatics…

In Honor!


Thanks. I’m passing along any new finds.

The same drone appears to have multiple functions and directives. I watched and periodically scanned one for a while. The scan results changed. Now I wonder … is that random or does each change mean something? Also, are the sentinels receiving instructions or is the “logic” built-in?


I wonder as well. The one I scanned was in a system with an Atlas interface so his directive makes sense. I will try to check sentinals more carefully on exotic/rare planets.


I believe the Sentinel functions to work as follows:

Each sentinel has 1 of 3 states and within this state it picks a random Status, Function, and Current Subroutine, belonging to that state. It finally picks an additional random Directive, which is independant of state. I have created a table below to show the possibilities. Hope it makes sense :wink: Spoiler ahead!

Sentinel Functions - Spoiler!
State Status Function Current Subroutine Directive
:one: Investigate Support Investigate Directive
Investigating… Support Unit [ Lifeform Search ] Civilisation Destruction
Searching… Rapid Response [ Anomaly Detection ] Suppress Sentience
Inspecting… Active Suppression [ Event Processing ] Locate Beauty
Scanning… Anomaly Destruction [ Trend Analysis ] Portal Deletion
Auditing… Combat Support [ Boundary Test ] Lifeform Immobilisation
Probing… Breach Repair [ Waveform Analysis ] Civilisation Delay
Reviewing… Anomaly Repair [ Preparing Alarm ] Sow Division
Analysing… De-escalation [ Depth Testing ] Harvest Data
Studying… Counter Attack [ Temporal Analysis ] Observe All
Anomaly Detected… Advanced Combat [ Boundary Reinforcement ] Replicate Sentinels
Detecting Breach… Retaliation [ Safeguard Deployment ] Sanitisation
Oversight Initiated… Rapid Suppression [ Ocular Testing ] Spread Decay
Observing… Retribution [ Low Frequency Ping ] Reinforce Boundaries
Irregularity Detected… Anomaly Neutralisation [ Probability Sort ] Traveller Detection
Analysis Required… Sentience Destruction [ Data Siphon ] Sow Discord
Sensors Deployed… Prevent Sentience

Predator Suppression
:two: Patrol Patrol Patrol Herbivore Protection
Patrolling… Ambient Protection [ Patrol ] Mineral Protection
Uploading Report… Active Patrol [ Idle ] Botanical Protection
Cruising… Anomaly Suppression [ Route Optimisation ] Specimen Collection
Watchful… Intelligence Suppression [ Path Optimisation ] Specimen Preservation
Registering Activity… Field Scout [ Kinetic Recovery ] Data Harvest
Sensors Ready… Anomaly Hunt [ Self-Analysis ] Surveillance
Patrolling… Area Suppression [ Background Diagnostics ] Lifeform Supervision
Patrolling… Boundary Protection [ Fuel Cell Cleaning ] Sentience Degradation
Patrolling… Boundary Enforcement [ Defragmenting ] Delta Wave Detection
Low Power Mode Breach Detection [ Long-Distance Scanner ] Memory Protection
Recharging Anomaly Ward [ Short-Range Scanner ] Encryption Block
Reconnecting… Passive Enforcement [ Portal Detection ] Load Balancing
Processing… Oversight Patrol [ Patrol Iteration ] Null Checker
Optimising… Ambient Protection [ Distributed Analysis ] Innocence Preservation
Awaiting Orders… Mobile Aegis [ … /// … /// … /// … ] Universal Detranslation

Digital Cartography
:three: Alert Guard Alert Leyline Mapping
High Alert Guard Duty [ Weapon Deployment ] Calculate Probabilities
Combat Security [ Active Pursuit ] Sacrifice to Atlas
Requesting Assistance Local Defence [ Signalling Reinforcements ] Authenticate Threats
Engaging Active Defence [ Preemptive Destruction ] Anomaly Spoofing
Targeting Escort [ Target Prediction ] Data Interception
Target Acquired Localised Suppression [ Ammo Fabrication ]
Repairing Breach Sentry [ Field Suppression ]
Repairing Anomaly Active Protection [ Trend Analysis ]
Cleansing Anomaly Guardian [ Seal Breach ]
BREACHED Active Oversight [ Anomaly Repair ]
Combat Local Overwatch [ RED RED RED ]
Weapons Deployed Active Protection [ A T L A S ]
Targeting Area Defence [ Firing Eye ]
Combat Specific Patrol [ Hardpoint Repair ]
High Alert Anomaly Buffer [ Hunting ]

For full tables of Sentinel data found in the localisation files, see here.


@DevilinPixy thank you so much for this! That is so interesting now as I learn more and more about the game!

In Honor


Thats quite intetesting.
I hadn’t seen all of those.
Busy little fellas…


This is another interesting take on the sentinel behaviors. Has anyone scanned the walkers or “dogs” yet?

It seems to me that a hierarchy of these would place “Directive” at the top, then Function, then Sub-Routine, then Status lowest.

BTW, Anga Hakuna (Steam) seems to be monitoring this discussion now. His [I assume male] Sentinel behaviors workbook now has an added worksheet (tab) that follows the above sequence.

I hope that future updates to No Man’s Sky will embellish and explain more the sentinels’ role & actions, and expand on past history.


It’s difficult to get a dog or a walker to stand still long enough to be scanned, without them killing you.

It’s possible to make them become passive by hiding in a building for 5-6 seconds, but then their behaviour changes.

Once they become passive, they will always walk away from you. Their only objective seems to be to get far enough away from you that they can despawn (they can’t despawn so long as you are close to them, and have them in sight).

You can follow them for miles, if that’s what you want to do. You’ll need an exocraft to follow a walker - mostly they wander in random patterns, but every now and then they’ll take off in a straight line - and they can walk faster than you can run.


So go ahead … scan and die several times. Take one for the team!


The grouping for ‘Status’, ‘Function’ and ‘Current Subroutine’, depending on what I personally called ‘State’ in my table above, is based on lots of screenshots. These 3 columns are also categorised by their IDs used for them. The only odd ones out were ‘Support’ and ‘Guard’ within the Function IDs, where I expected ‘Investigate’ and ‘Alert’ respectively to match the others.

What actually decides on the so called ‘State’ is unclear to me and I have not (yet) been able to verify how this functions in code. Those ‘Directive’ IDs are not categorised at all, just numbered as one large group. They are also shown last on your scanner view, as well as listed last inside the file. They seem totally random and appear to be the only ones that can show regardless of the 3 ‘State’ groups.

See below images for example where one has the status ‘Patrolling’ and another has the status ‘Auditing…’. Both are different ‘State’ groups, 2 vs 1, while both show the same Directive ‘Reinforce Boundaries’. In my opinion, this makes it unlikely for Directive to be the decisive factor, when this grouping according to the State in my screenshots has not failed me yet. I could be wrong though.

As for the Quads and Walkers, I don’t believe they show anything else besides their name. It would certainly be interesting to see more scan results added in future updates though :wink:


I’ve been working on a little video, covering “How to Follow a Walker”. It wasn’t quite finished, but then this subject came up, so I decided to render it out and post it anyway.

Here it is:

PS. I normally use Sony Movie Studio as my editor. But for this one, I was experimenting with Openshot - which is a free, open source video editing project. It doesn’t (yet) have all the fancy features of a professional editor, but I think it’s pretty good.


I have investigated drones in my worlds so far and as far as I can tell, all drones in ATLAS systems seem to be sacrificing… Odd enough their attack mentality is softer, they seem to be willing to die…

In Honor


I’m not sure if this is helpful or not but I have a sentinel captured in my base and every scan shows a different result. It’s as if it’s purpose is constantly changing until it observes specific behavior that requires action. I haven’t taken the time to test this outside.


Yeah… I’ll be leaving now.


i scan outside ones and they do change per scan
no wonder they are confused


I scanned a Walker. No objectives or functions - just titanium and iron.


Cute. Sentinel walkers (and likely dogs) as a resource. Thanks for checking. For this particular photo, though it appears that the scanner is focused on the cliff in the background. Note that the scan result shows the overall ID is “Mineral” ?

It does seem odd that since all sentinels were AI created to “protect,” that only one class would have “Directives” and specified actions. We’ll have to check future updates to see if there are changes. Maybe changes will only come with added lore that can be discovered.


Honest, it’s the sentinel. Same here:

The first one was just a nicer picture.