Basically making this guide for players who, like me, want to improve the experience without totally changing the game. Mods will range from behind the scenes improvements, to minor QOL tweaks, to some more drastic stuff like visual overhauls, but nothing that strays from the base games’ original vision.
Keep in mind that most items in each section aren’t in any specific order, make sure to double check for load/deploy order conflicts.
Part 1: Preparations and Behind-the-Scenes Improvements
These are mainly mods and tools that you’ll never/very rarely have to interact with directly, but other mods and tools rely on to work properly (or tweaks that effect the game in an indirect way).
1. Either Mod Organizer 2 ( https://www.modorganizer.org/ ), or Vortex Mod Manager ( https://www.nexusmods.com/about/vortex/ ). Allows for a streamlined download/install process. Note, I’ve only installed the mods in this list using Vortex. The installation experience with MO2 may differ than what I experienced, because of that I won’t be going into any installation instructions.
2. Fallout 4 Script Extender ( http://f4se.silverlock.org/ ) – A massive amount of mods require this. Pretty much mandatory no matter how far you want to go with modding.
3. Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/4598/ ) – Fixes a large number of bugs. If you only ever use one mod for Fallout 4, make it this one.
4. Armor and Weapon Keywords Community Resources ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/6091 ) – Resources for other mods to pull from.
5. Disabling VSync+FPS Cap (Optional, mainly to take advantage of high refresh rate monitors)- Disable VSync by going to %YOURUSERNAMEHERE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout 4, and edit the file “Fallout4Prefs.ini”. Under “[Display]”, find the line “iPresentInterval=1”, change the 1 to a 0 and save. This allows the game to run at speeds higher than 60 FPS.
HOWEVER, the creation engine notoriously has problems with high FPS. Fallout 4 is no different, seemingly having physics/game speed related issues past ~115-120 FPS. To combat this, you need to set an FPS cap. There are several ways of doing this.
Those with NVidia Graphics cards can do it via the Nvidia Control Panel: Go to “Manage 3D Settings”, “Program Settings”, select Fallout4.exe as your program, then scroll down the list of options until you see “Max Frame Rate”. Set this to “On” and set an FPS cap. I recommend setting it to 110.
I believe AMD has a similar method of setting an FPS cap, however I have no experience with AMD so I won’t cover those methods. An FPS cap can also be set with external software, but those programs have the downside of needing to be launched alongside the game.
Part 2: QOL Improvements/Minor Tweaks
Small mods that change the games’ behaviour in subtle ways, mostly just to improve overall feel.
1. Mod Configuration Menu ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/21497 ) – Allows you to change the settings of certain mods from the pause menu.
2. FOV Slider and Player Height ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/36768 ) – Pretty self explanatory. Gives you sliders to change your field of view as well as player height.
3. Disable Depth of Field ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/4172 ) – Optional for those who like DOF. However I recommend it because FO4’s DOF effect looks pretty bad in my eyes, especially when aiming down your sights. It can be disabled from a .ini file, but that also disables the blur effect when swimming underwater. This mod disables DOF while keeping the underwater blur.
4. RAW INPUT ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/27019 ) – Okay, I lied about the Unofficial Patch being the only mod you ever really need. There are 2, and this is the second. Makes vertical/horizontal mouse sensitivity match, allows you to set your ADS sensitivity scale, and disables acceleration.
5. Realistic Movement Speed ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/25495 ) – In the base game, walking is an absolute crawl, and running and sprinting are practically the same speed. This mod decreases running speed and increases walking speed. The change is subtle but drastically effects how the game feels.
6. Realistic Sprinting ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/41499 ) – Adjusts the speed at which action points are used by sprinting. Allows you to sprint for much longer than in the base game without feeling like a cheat.
7. Hold Shift To Sprint ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/50145 ) – This is a preference thing but I thought I’d throw it in. Makes it so sprinting isn’t a toggle key. Skip this if you prefer a sprint toggle.
8. Separate Grenade Keys ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/18037 ) – Someone at Bethesda had the… ahem, *creative* idea to have you throw your grenade by holding the melee key. Went to wallop an enemy and held the melee key down slightly too long? Chuck a molotov right at your feet. This mod separates the melee and grenade key.
9. No Crippled Popups ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/11082 ) – Having a limb crippled or reaching critical health in the base game pauses the game and shows you a massive popup blocking most of the screen. This mods turns those messages into small notifications similar to the “Level Up” popup, without pausing the action.
10. Full Dialogue Interface ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/1235 ) – Changes the dialogue interface from four directional options (clearly designed for a controller) to a simple list more in line with previous Bethesda games.
11. Improved Map with Visible Roads ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/1215 ) – Self explanatory. Makes the Pip-boy map much higher contrast. Also adds a proper notated grid.
12. Any Mod, Any Weapon ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/4515 ) – Allows you to put any mod on any weapon. Can cause some weirdness but also opens up a ton of options.
Part 3: Visual Changes
Mods that change the look of the game. Pretty simple.
1. Darker Nights ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/191 ) – Makes nights darker, and optionally start sooner. Customizable, nights can be made just slightly darker than vanilla, or near pitch black.
2. Pip-Boy Flashlight ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/10840 ) – Could be put in the next section but this effects visuals more than gameplay, and goes hand-in-hand with Darker Nights. Hold Tab to turn on a flashlight.
3. Visible Weapons ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/10317 ) – Shows weapons on your back or hip when “Sheathed”.
4. Fallout 4 Seasons; Autumn ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/5810 ) – This mod has versions for each season, some seasons having multiple versions. It overhauls the grass, trees, shrubs, etc. I went with Autumn because it makes the game look more detailed while not feeling like a tropical paradise (I mean, it takes place in an irradiated wasteland after all).
5. True Storms ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/4472 ) – Overhaul of the games’ weather system. Includes visual and sound effects, and minor gameplay tweaks depending on type/intensity of weather event.
Part 4: Gameplay Changes and Additions
Mods that alter gameplay mechanics, or make minor additions. Most of the mods I use are tweaks rather than brand new things (items, weapons, etc), so I didn’t see the need to make a separate category for new additions.
1. Journal of the Sole Survivor ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/13462 ) – Allows you to use your Pip-Boy as a journal. Take notes about unmarked points of interest, keep a survival log, write a novel.
2. Button Lowered Weapons ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/6364 ) – Hold R to lower your weapon, hold R again to sheath.
3. Companions Heal Thyself ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/22744 ) – Allows companions to give themselves stimpaks so you don’t have to.
4. Everyone’s Best Friend ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/13459 ) – Lets you have dogmeat and a regular companion at the same time.
5. The Mercenary Pack ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/20088 ) – Adds a few outfits. They all feel very much like outfits you’d find in the base game.
6. Mosin Nagant Sniper Rifle ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/23258 ) – Adds the classic Russian bolt-action rifle. Felt like there weren’t quite enough sniper rifles in the base game, and wanted to add something that fit in.
7. Service Rifle ( https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/32361 ) – Classic weapon from Fallout: New Vegas. Extremely high quality and feels/looks vanilla. Allows for full modification/conversion. Make it a carbine, DMR, assault rifle, etc.
Loosely following this guide should give you a game that’s very similar in scope, looks and spirit to the vanilla game, but with a number of tweaks and additions that greatly improve the overall experience. I’ve been playing with this list for a few days now and noticed no issues in stability.
Enjoy the wasteland, vault dwellers!
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