When solving the riddle at Monoliths you can learn Atlas words. For the 3 species there are more than 400 words to learn. Are there as many words in the Atlas language?

Are there other ways to learn these words? I think the white bubbles on the floor on the Atlas stations do give them too. Anything else?

3 Answers 3


In my own experience with the game, I have run into the following situations:

  • The Atlas Station "floor bubbles" have never taught me an Atlas word, and if they have, it wasn't shown on my screen. It is still possible that I learned some, though, but next time I find an Atlas Station I will pay closer attention.

  • The only place that I have learned Atlas Words is from Ruins/Monoliths that involve a puzzle. For example,

    I came across a Ruin that asked me to Kill or Spare a bird that the monolith was keeping alive, even though it was broken and should have been dead. The right answer was to kill the bird out of mercy,

    and the monolith awarded me with 3 Atlas words.

  • Normal species-based words can be learned from certain Ruins/Monoliths, Knowledge Stones, Encyclopedia Terminals, and of course from that lonely alien you find in space stations and planet-shelters.

Again, this has only been my experience with the game, and I still have trouble deciphering the difference between Atlas monoliths/ruins and species specific monoliths/ruins. I will try to pay more close attention in the future, however, and edit this answer if anything new comes up.

  • 2
    I've learned about 60+ words from the bubbles on the floor. I make it a point to run around and walk over all of them. Might want to also add that you can learn words from encyclopedias in various locations. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 13:43
  • @JasonHeine You have learned Atlas Words from those bubbles? Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 13:48
  • Okay, Atlas words, I think I had misread what you originally put. I had read it that you hadn't learned any words. I think I've learned 1 or 2 Atlas words, but I could be wrong. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 14:11
  • Running across the floor bubbles will sometimes give you an Atlas word. It's very inconsistent.
    – Schwern
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 2:18

My experience has been that the only way to learn Atlas words is to resolve Monoliths and maybe Ruins.

I'm not sure that the correct answer is required. (Edit) I'm not sure that you are required to get the correct answer at a monolith in order to get the Atlas word as a reward. I have had instances where I've been punished with damage for my answer, but still learned an Atlas word. (/Edit)

There are 5 types of alien structures:

  • The small word knowledge stone cylinders: Gives 1 word of the planet's species. These can be found using your multitools scanner.
  • The larger 'plaques': Gives a bit of history for the planet's species, +1 word for that species. One possible result for a 'monolith' search from the orange laser sites (Signal Scanners).
  • The large 'monoliths': Offers a decision, with a 'clue' that effectively tells you the answer. Always surrounded by exactly 3 knowledge stones. Reward is a random reward (healing, tech, etc) and 1 atlas word. The other possible result for a search for monolith from a signal scanner.
  • The building sized 'ruins'. Contains stairs, and at least one building. Usually has several knowledge stones placed on it. Always has an interaction site as well, plaque, (it might could be a monolith?). Can be found by correctly answering a math sequence puzzle in a colony building with a radar dish on top. These buildings are themselves found by searching for 'transmission' from orange search sites and selecting 'transmissions'. They are the 'observatories'.
  • The useless 'portals' (I'm not sure that's the actual name) huge alien towers with no obvious way to locate them, no activation sites on them, and no obvious purpose.

There are many MANY ways to get normal/non-Atlas words though.

I currently only have 550 total words. It's possible that upon completing a normal language like Gek, you'll start getting Atlas words. If you look at it, there are 3 species with ~400 words. The only current way(I know of) to get Atlas words is through solving monoliths, each of which comes attached to 3 non-Atlas words. If all you do is get words from monoliths, you'll complete atlas at the same time you get the last word from the other 3 languages. That's ignoring all the plaques (which have unique story), atlas globes, and encyclopedias you find.


I have mastered all three languages, and quite a few atlas... for a total of 1,004 words.

I can confirm that once languages are learned you do not pick up the atlas language. Even after the most recent patch. Only way I have found to get atlas words is via monoliths.

However since the patch, I have not seen any of orange light beacons on any stops on 5 planets, and have only come across 1 or 2 monoliths in that time.

As for the gates/portals, I have tested it a little, though not extensively, and it appears that if you follow the monoliths, then you get to a portal. Whichever way the blue light from the stones are facing, go that direction.

Unsure if that works since update though.

  • 2
    This doesn't really say how many Atlas words there are in the game, which I think was the point of the question.
    – Vemonus
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 19:53

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