With the positive reception of the Modding-Fallout 3 article, a follow up for the sequel seemed like a good idea. This article is an overview of a few of the best tweaks and mods for improving the Fallout New Vegas experience, no drastic changes, but a refinement and expansion upon the the base game. This means no lightsaber or anime face mods. Owning all the DLC is required as a lot of mods require DLC assets to function properly.
I will not be giving installation instructions for every single mod as most mod authors provide these instructions on their respective mod pages. The majority of mods on this list are from the Nexus and can simply be downloaded using the Nexus Mod Manager by choosing the 'Download with Manager' option. Those mods that don't have this option will require you to extract the files manually. In this case, read the instructions on the mod page or document included carefully. Remember, back up your game files before modding so that you don't have to re-install the game after having unintentionally messed it up.
Keep in mind also that some of these mods are incompatible. There are compatibility patches for certain mods which get around these issues, if you cant find one for a certain mod however, you just flat out can't install the mods at the same time. I have tried to highlight the ones I know to be incompatible. Finally, the load order of mods is also greatly important. Some mods might require being higher or lower in the 'load order list' so keep on the lookout for that.
Fallout New Vegas is far better optimized than Fallout 3. The issues that plagued that game, such as the constant stuttering and crashes to desktop, occur far less frequently. However, adding more mods generally makes the game more unstable so here are the PC specs id recommend in order to use the majority if these mods:
- GPU: A 650ti or hd 7770 (preferably with 2gb VRAM if you are adding a lot of Hi-res texture packs).
- RAM: 4gb+ of DDR3 1600mhz.
- CPU: Pentium g3220 or x4 640
This should be perfect for running a slightly modded Fallout at 1080p 60fps. For those who want to go all out with ENBs and complete hi-res texture mods, you’ll need a slightly more beefy machine more akin to this.
If you want the game to utilize the full potential of your PC, you might need to fiddle about with some .ini files. The falloutPrefs.ini and the Fallout.ini are located in Documents/my games/falloutnv. The values you will want to change are the ‘Threaded’ such as bUseThreadedAI and iNumHavokThreads values from 0 to 1 in order to fully utilize more than a single CPU core/thread.
Also depending how much RAM you have, you might want to increase or decrease these values:
- uInterior Cell Buffer = 3
- uExterior Cell Buffer = 36
Altering these values may reduce stuttering. Assuming you have 2gb+ RAM, changing the values to 16 and 102 respectively should almost completely prevent microstuttering. If you alter these values, you should also fiddle around with:
Try doubling the value to see if you notice a difference in stuttering frequency. The sweet spot for a 4gb/8gb system should be around 104857600.
- NMM - A good mod manager is key, I opt for nexus mod manager due entirely to the easy to handle direct downloads.
- Archive Invalidation invalidated! - Allows you to replace textures. Pretty important for half of the mods on this list.
- New Vegas Script Extender - Does exactly what it says on the tin: it extends the scripting capabilities of New Vegas, allowing mods that utilize scripts (a lot of them) to function effectively.
- Yuckiagai Unofficial Patch - A Fallout game would not be complete without a fan made patch to fix everything. This clears up most of the bugs in the game.
- NVAC - One of the most common bugs involves seemingly random crashes to the desktop. This mod does its best to fix that.
- 4Gb enabler - Allows the x86 .exe for Fallout to address 4GB of virtual memory instead of 2GB. If you are installing a lot of mods (50+) this should be a necessity. Can also be used with NVSE.
Mods for later modding
- CaliberX - A mod that unifies the ammunition type added by mods and makes them compatible with the vanilla games ammo mechanics.
- The Mod Configuration Menu - Pretty self explanatory, adds a menu in the pause screen that allows you to customize certain mods. A lot of other mods include a use the MCM to allow for easy in-game customization.
- YUP compatibility patches - A set of patches that ensure compatibility between a few bigger mods such as Project Nevada or EVE and Yuckiagai’s Unofficial Patch.
The HUD in Fallout New Vegas on PC is completely unchanged from the console version. This means it was designed to be seen from 6 feet away on a TV screen. These mods allow you to customize the UI to how you see fit.
- IHUD - Allows the player to determine when the HUD is visible or even hide it all together. It Also supports many other mods that alter the games UI such as Project Nevada.
- DARNUI - As with Fallout 3, the UI and text is just too big and pixelated for PC so having a cleaner UI works wonders.
As fantastic a game as New Vegas is, it falls into the awkward category of the gameplay not being as polished as similar RPGs such as, Dragons Dogma or even Skyrim, nor the Role Playing aspect being particularly in depth. These mods add a little something to the gameplay.
- Project Nevada - THE gameplay overhaul for Fallout New Vegas (produced by the same team as FWE for Fallout 3). It offers an extraordinary amount of little gameplay tweaks and new mechanics that allow for a refreshing Fallout experience.
- CCO (Cirosans Classic Overhaul) - Some might argue that New Vegas is a little light on the RPG side of things. CCO introduces a wealth of perks that drastically alter playstyle, makes stat levels have a greater effect, overhauls the follower systems etc. Check the mod page for a full list.
- JIP Companions Command and Control - Adds a whole load more depth to the companions in New Vegas, including the ability to recruit any NPC as a follower, have your followers heal or repair, pickpocket etc.
- XRE - CARS - Adding cars to New Vegas might sound ridiculous but this really is a nice little mod. Adding vehicles, garages and somewhat decent driving mechanics allowing for quick travel around the wasteland for those who dislike fast travel.
- Warzones - As New Vegas supposedly takes place in a conflict zone, there is very little actual 'war' going on. Warzones adds random conflicts to the wasteland as well as the ability to customize the amount of battles and the spawn rates.
New Vegas is looking very dated now. These visual mods and the texture mods aim to fix that.
- WAR (Weapon Animation Replacer) - The vanilla weapon animations in New Vegas look more than a little clunky. This mod simply allows you to replace them with a variety of alternative animations.
- EVE - Essential Visual Enhancements - A mod that replaces the animations and effects of energy weapons with ones that pack a bigger ‘punch’.
- Realistic Wasteland Lighting - Both 3D Fallout games had utilized color filters to give inject a certain atmosphere. Fallout 3 had a green tint, New Vegas has an orange tint. If you fancy a more realistic atmosphere this is for you.
- Interior Lighting Overhaul - Much the same as the above but alters the interior lighting.
The textures in New Vegas are not particularly great, in fact they are pretty awful. Thankfully, there are plenty of mods available that vastly improve the look of the game.
- OJO/POCO BUENO - These are two big texture overhauls that replace almost all major textures in the game with higher resolution counterparts. Choose OJO for the higher quality and POCO for higher performance.
- MGs Neat Clutter - Replaces textures of the more incidental objects/ parts of the scenery.
- UHQ Terrain - For those who want the best quality possible. adds 2k or 4k road, rock and terrain textures.
- Wasteland Flora Overhaul - Vurt continues his quest to add some variety to the flora of the big open worlds we know and love.
- Vault 22 Flora Overhaul - It may seem incidental but it makes one of the most fascinating areas in the game even more so.
- Wasteland Clothing Hires retexture - Another little facet that the big texture packs rarely cover.
- Weapon Retexture Project - As you’ll be staring down the sights of a gun half the game why not make the models look nice?
- Fallout Character Overhaul - Fixes the notoriously bad vanilla faces with far better alternatives.
Pretty straight forward, these mods either add buildings or alter the interiors in some way.
- Goodsprings Home - Broadly speaking, player home mods are far too overblown. Many feature robots, security systems and even whole armories. This is a little more on the quaint side with just being a single room and basement in the small town of Goodsprings.
- NVInteriors Project - If you are bored of exploring the same old wasteland again, this is the mod for you. NVInteriors adds a multitude of buildings to the wasteland for you to explore.
- Populated Casinos - Its doesn’t really make sense that the cultural haven of the Nevada wasteland would only have 15 or so people wandering around the local drinking and gambling establishments.
Even a game world as big as New Vegas can get a little dull after having trudged around it for 250+ hours. These mods add whole new lands, quests or even campaigns to the game.
- The Someguy Series - Perhaps the most impressive selection of mods are the Someguy Series. The New Vegas Bounties is especially note worthy and could easily be official content.
- Project brazil - Whilst this mod is still in the early stages of development, Project Brazil offers an entirely new campaign and world to explore. From what we’ve seen, the first available chapter is damn good.
- New Vegas Uncut (series) - The Uncut series is perhaps the most intriguing of mods for a New Vegas fan. The Uncut series attempts to restore cut or patched out content from the original game including quests and NPCs.
- Repopulated Wasteland - Adds many new settlements and NPCs to the wasteland in an attempt to make the Nevada desert feel a little more populated
- Tale of Two wastelands - A mod that literally puts Fallout 3 in your Fallout New Vegas. If you own a copy of both games, you can essentially add the whole Capital wasteland (including items, quests, NPCs DLC’s etc.) to your copy of New Vegas. This allows you to reap the benefits of Fallout New Vegas's improved game engine, mechanics and loot in the Fallout 3 world. Not only this, but a lot of Fallout 3 mods come with compatibility patches for TTW, allowing you to mod Fallout 3 before using TTW.
- Beyond Boulder Dome - This mod is best described as fan made DLC for New Vegas. Adding a massive and interesting new area with its own lore, quests and brand new loot.
ENBs completely change look of the game, adding lighting and rendering effects that are far superior to the base game. However, Using an ENB preset does come with a very heavy performance cost. Those of you wanting to go all the way with hi res textures and ENBs will have to have a pretty capable PC in order to run the game at 45-60fps.
For the As with all ENB presets, you will first need to download the latest ENBseries for Fallout and extract the d3d9.dll file into your main Fallout folder (or the exes folder if using the 4GB enabler). From here you can extract the ENB presets into the main folder.
- Cobalt/Rust ENB - Some ENBs can be a little overblown with the saturation or effects and end up looking ridiculous. The Cobalt and Rust ENB presets fall right on the line but manages to pull off an atmosphere that fits in perfectly with New Vegas.
- Jay's ENB - A very recent ENB preset that is seriously impressive. For those who want an absolute focus on realism. (incompatible with Realistic Wasteland Lighting).
- Enhanced shaders - A nice overhaul graphical enhancement that doesn't completely kill performance.
That's it. Now you can enjoy a whole new New Vegas experience that should provide a good starting point to modding this game. There are a wealth of good mods that aren't on this list so go out and search for yourself.