Make a better wasteland
When you consider that the vast majority were released well before the company put out its official modding tools, that's nothing short of spectacular. So with the community in full swing, finally having access to not only the G.E.C.K. editor but also content-expanding DLC like Automatron and Wasteland Workshop, we here at TechRaptor figured it was time to showcase some of the best talent currently on the menu.
And by "we," I mean "me," because every time anyone mentions Fallout 4 around the office, our very own "Dandy Don" Parsons table-flips a hefty chunk of the Internet. We love ya, Donnie! Honest!
Let's lead off with one of the best options for improving Fallout 4's immersion: Fadingsignal's True Storms.
Weather overhauls have always been a big hit for Bethesda's sandboxes, and this upgraded port of the popular Skyrim mod is, hands down, the best I've ever seen. Not only is it an audiovisual feast—describing it as merely "pretty" would be misleading—but its effects will definitely change the way you play. Fog, drizzle, and hard rain can improve your chances at stealth, duststorms can virtually destroy visibility altogether, and nothing quite says "hell on earth" like traversing the Glowing Sea during a heavy radstorm!
Here's a great example of how dedicated modders can be; Cirosan's Full Dialogue Interface replaces the "Mass Effect-like" conversational system, which Bethesda meant to be friendlier to console players.
The problem was that this was a bit clunky for those using a keyboard/mouse interface, and additionally the dialogue options had to be short to fit into the new style of menu. As with Mass Effect, the difference between what you selected and what you said often made the choices somewhat misleading. Full Dialogue Interface now shows you exactly what you're going to say, which took not only recreating the menu style from past Fallout games, but also manually typing all the responses into the mod for each and every encounter. With translations for nine different languages!
One thing folks loved about Fallout 3 and New Vegas were the musical options you could pull up on your trusty Pip-Boy radio.
Fallout 4 can be a bit lacking in that department until you get a couple dozen hours of gameplay in, so why not spruce up the airwaves with Old World Radio Boston? This one's a "mega-mod," bringing most of the community's radio-channel talent together under one banner. You can pick and choose from the likes of Cadillac Jack's Radio Shack, Galaxy News Radio Boston, Tumbleweed Tunes, Gopnik Radio, Agatha's Song Returns, and many many more—eighteen, so far!
Craftable radios with station-related skins are baked right in, giving your settlements more of the ambiance you were (probably) shooting for.
In my original vanilla playthrough, once I got power armor there seemed virtually no use for any clothing or armor except "specialty outfits"—you know, for things like maxing out Charisma prior to selling off a bunch of rusty assault rifles. The only reason to grab anything else was to improve my settlers' gear.
Armorsmith Extended, by Gambit77, changes all that, bringing the same level of customization to clothing and armor that Bethesda brought to weapons. Improve that radiation suit's lining, add ballistic-weave protection to your duster, put leaden weights in those gloves for a proper sucker-punch.
Not only can you mod all of your outfits, hats, helmets, eyewear, and accouterments to your liking, but they can also now be worn beneath armor. The cherry on the sundae is that anything you'd expect to be able to combine in real life—like, say, a gas mask and a helmet—you can do that now. None of this breaks the game, being so smoothly implemented that it feels like it was meant to be there all along.
Let's make no bones about it: for the most part, settlement development is pretty boring. Most of that's due to how samey it all can get. NovaCoru's Homemaker - Expanded Settlements adds an entire spice-rack of modding flavor to what was once such a bland chore.
Over a thousand new settlement items have been added, including entire sets for brick buildings, coastal piers, greenhouses, bunkers, diners, and warehouses. For those who don't want to fiddle around so much, the "prefab" options have also been expanded, so you can just slap down entire buildings, such as Covenant-style homes or lighthouses as needed (so long as you have the necessary construction materials, of course). There's a positive glut of decoration and lighting options now, and for the practical-minded, Homemaker also expands on farm crops and defensive barriers!
Speaking of settlements, isn't it time you had the chance to build some on your own terms? Conquest, by Chesko, lets you do just that.
It works like this: if you're far enough away from any cities or other settlements, you can set up a campsite. This doesn't even have to be a settlement per se; it can function as a basic forward operating base with campfire, stove, tent, sleeping bag, and maybe a small generator for lights and such. But if you want to, it's as simple as building a Workshop and choosing a name for your new settlement. Up to ten such sites can be placed, anywhere you like (within the aforementioned restrictions). If you get "settler's remorse" later on, you can just Dissolve the settlement.
Supply lines to Conquest settlements work just fine, though they need to "load" when examining the network on your Pip-Boy. Also, these settlements can be placed within interior spaces—they just won't get a marker on the world map. So if you want to take over a skyscraper, ala Tenpenny Tower from Fallout 3? Go for it! Just remember your would-be settlers need to be able to access the place on foot ... few people will want to swim mirelurk-infested waters just to join your island commune, even if it does have a spiffy jukebox.
And what perusal of Fallout modding would be complete, without something that gives you literal (not actually literal) cancer?
My Little Pony - Special Stats Replacer by Me—no, seriously, "Me" is the modder's nom de plume—began as a minor aesthetic swap, but quickly mushroomed from there into realms no sane mind was meant to travel. If you have this loaded before you obtain your Pip-Boy in Vault 111, it will seem to start up normally, only to be hijacked by a virus-like "ponification" process. At this point, it's not just the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat entries which have been ponified, but also the perk tree, event notifications, and pretty much anything on your Pip-Boy, which would normally show Vault-Tec's traditional mascot. Many of these are also animated in the same retro-ish style as the vanilla version.
If you're feeling particularly insane, you can even opt for the MLP font pack, which certainly won't be something you'll deeply regret by the three-thousandth round of inventory micro-management.
What do you think? Is the Fallout 4 modding community coming through with the goods, or have they only scratched the surface so far? Tell us in the comments below!