One of the greatest aspects of the PC gaming community is the modding scene. The idea of community produced content is something that consoles have dabbled with in games like Little Big Planet but the PC still remains the go to platform for open source community content. Sometimes modding can be a daunting process, with the sheer amount of mods available and the technical knowledge required. This might turn people off. Here I aim to explore the modding scene of individual games and recommended some of the best mods available.
To start off, we can begin with some of the most easily modded titles that happen to have a vibrant mod scene. The Fallout games. Specifically Fallout 3.
The Fallout 3 modding scene has sort of slowed down over the last few years but the 14000+ mods on the Fallout Nexus alone demonstrates how dedicated people were to this game. The mods below are what id recommend for someone who wants an enhanced Fallout 3 experience without any fundamental changes to the game. I have categorized them and included a brief description of what they do.
If you are wondering how to install any mod mentioned, please refer to the linked pages. If you have never modded a game before, check out Gopher’s tutorials on modding Fallout 3.
Why mod fallout 3?
- Fallout 3, sadly has a pretty lackluster PC port. Windows live DRM, constant crashes on modern OS’s and framerate drops everywhere. A lot of mods aim to minimize these issues.
- Fallout 3 is one of the most easily modded games ever released. The GECK (a freely available dev tool) gives potential modders a developer like influence over the title to tweak the game however they, or you see fit.
- Fallout 3 is looking and feeling a bit dated at this point, modding is a great way to restore the game to its former glory.
Fallout 3 is a notoriously buggy but well performing game. While the Vanilla Fallout 3 can be played on an intel hd4000 at low to medium settings. Id recommend a HD 7770 1gb, 4gb RAM and a pentium g3220 at least in order to run this game at an acceptable framerate (30-60fps) with all of the mods installed. If your PC doesn’t meet these requirements you can always lay back on the texture mods or play at a lower resolution.
So lets begin…
INI files are basic text files that are comprised of various configuration information for programs. Fallout 3 has two .ini files you need to worry about, the ‘Fallout.ini’ and the ‘Fallout_prefs.ini’.
If you have anything over a single core CPU (which most people do now), editing a few of these lines of text will help improve stability and prevent crashing on multicore systems.
- Find the Fallout.ini file This generally found in the folder path: /my documents/my games/Fallout 3.
- Open the Fallout.ini with notepad or a similar program.
- Search for the line ‘bUseThreaded=0’ and change the ‘0’ to ‘1’.
- Add the line ‘iNumHWThreads=2’ just below ‘bUseThreaded=1’
- Save the file.
Now your game should handle utilizing multiple cores more effectively.
These are necessary tools and mods that you absolutely need to get Fallout 3 in a suitable and stable enough state for modding. If you are just looking to fix the issues Fallout 3 has on modern day systems, these are for you.
- NMM - First and foremost, this is what you’ll be using to instal the majority of your mods. There are other options but this is my mod organizer of choice. Most mods on the Nexus have a ‘download with manager’ option in the ‘files’ tab. You can use this to instal the majority of mods.
- Archive invalidation inalidated! A program that allows you to override the base games textures and meshes. (select the 'Download manually' option in the files tab.)
- Fose - Fallout Script extender does exactly what it says on the tin, it ‘extends the scripting capabilities of Fallout 3’. This is a requirement for the majority of mods. The fose_loader.exe is what you’ll be using to launch Fallout 3 from now on.
- FSR - Maybe not a ‘requirement’ but the stutter in Fallout 3 can completely spoil the experience, FSR, while not removing it completely, did help minimize it to a bearable degree.
- Unofficial patch - This patch will fix the majority of the recurring bugs in the game.
- Casm - Fallout 3 has a lot of bugs related to the quicksave system. CASM presents an alternate method of quicksaving that works around these issues. It also allows for multiple quick save profiles which is something that should have been a necessary feature of CRPGs from day one.
Mods for later modding
Some larger mods rely on assets and tweaks from other mods to function properly. These 2 are necessary installs for a fair amount of the later suggestions.
- Craft - Allows for modders to customize and add features to workbenches.
- Calibr - Makes ammunition and weapons added by modders compatible with the vanilla games counterparts.
The HUD for fallout 3 was designed to function on a console as well as PC, this meant low res and stupidly large ui elements constantly obscuring the screen. Both these mods aim to fix this.
- Ihud - Automatically hides your UI elements and allows you to customize when they appear.
- Darnified ui - Replaces the UI text with smaller, higher resolution and overall cleaner fonts (requires editing an .ini file and manual installation).
While purists will not want to touch the gameplay, a few mods have been released that add a new spin to the games mechanics.
- FWE - A collection of gameplay tweaks and added features that many see as a necessary install.
- RH_ironsights - Adds iron sight aiming to the game.
- WMK - Adds weapon customization to the game.
- FOIP - What you need to get the above mods, and some later ones, to behave properly together.
- FWE combat - An overhaul of the games combat mechanics.
- Alternate start - Lets you skip the opening ‘vault’ section of the game and customize your starting location, karma and character history.
Fallout 3 was never an example of extreme graphical fidelity. Thankfully, there are mods that update visuals significantly.
- Dynavision - Adds a customisable Depth of Field effect to your game.
- Realistic wasteland lighting and weather - A complete overhaul of the games exterior lighting and weather, aiming to create a more realistic look.
- Realistic interior lighting - Same as above but altering the interior lighting.
- Dynamic weather - Adds a whole new array of weather such as rainstorms and lighting.
- Energy Visuals Enhanced - Changes the energy weapon effects. Everything from how people explode to the muzzle flash of the weapon.
These are a collection of textures that will replace the dated 512px textures with higher resolution HD textures. This collection covers the vast majority of the vanilla game textures.
- MGs neat clutter
- UHQ Terrain overhaul
- Terrain pack rocks (requires a manual download and installation)
- F3R retextured
- HI res cave texture
- Fallout 3 redesigned
- Realism ENB grass file
- Pipboy 3000 HD retexture
Some of the interiors in Fallout 3 feel a little copy/paste. These mods change or add interior areas the Capital Wasteland.
- Taller truer skyscrapers - Adds a sense of grandeur to the rather dull DC area by increasing the height of a few buildings.
- DC interiors Project - A mod that gives a lot of the shells of buildings in the DC area explorable interiors. Making what many people consider the worst area in the game actually worth exploring.
- Hunters ridge - A simple player home in the wasteland.
An ENB alters and add rendering functions. This means an overall more pretty looking game in simple terms. There are a number of ENB presets for Fallout 3 and these are some of the best.
WARNING: These will crash and burn your PC if you don’t have a very high end system. A 280x, i3 and 8gb RAM will probably give you 60fps with a few dips. If you can handle the hit, its worth it. Also, ENBs are not added through the NMM.
The necessary ‘d3d9.dll’ and other files needed to apply ENB presets can be found at http://www.enbdev.com/.
And you're done!
There you have it, a collection of mods for Fallout 3. Hopefully you can now enjoy a more functional and interesting game. There are thousands more mods available which can be found on the Nexus, Bethesda forums and Moddb and id recommend you check them out. This list should act as a general recommendation but go out and look for mods yourself. See if others have created something you feel would make a good addition. Shape this fantastic game to how you want to play it.