Fallout 4 Modding Guide (wip)

Last bit to add: a Troubleshooting section.

Having just done a fresh install and mod-stack of Fallout 4, I thought I’d write a guide for how to mod the dang thing. The format and inspiration of this guide owes a lot to the Skyrim Total Enhancement Project.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Some Useful Terms
  3. Utilities
    1. Summary
  4. .ini Tweaks
  5. Performance Mods
  6. Patches, Fixes and Resources
  7. Interface
  8. Models and Textures
    1. Base Texture Packs
    2. Landscapes and Buildings
    3. Clutter and Items
    4. Creatures and Characters
    5. Weapons and Armor
    6. Body, Face, Hair
  9. Animations
  10. Weather, Lighting, and Environment
  11. Visual Tweaks
  12. Character Creation
  13. Radio and other Audio
  14. Gameplay Effects and Changes
    1. General
    2. Survival-Specific
    3. Crafting
    4. Immersion
  15. NPCs, Factions and Companions
  16. Weapons, Armour and Clothing
  17. Cheats/Quality of Life
  18. Mod Patches
  19. Cleanup
    1. Sort Your Load Order
    2. Clean Your Mods
    3. Merge Mods
  20. Actual Final Steps

Introduction

I am playing on the latest patch, with all DLCs. My rig is as follows:

Intel i5-4570  
Nvidia GTX 970 4GB  
12GB DDR3 RAM  
1080p resolution  
Game installed on SSD

I’m just using the game’s Ultra preset, with Godrays on low and shadow distance on Medium. Load times are a little long when starting up and if alt-tabbing back into the game, but honestly? It’s fine.

I’m also assuming that you’ll be playing on Survival mode, so I’ve got that in mind when picking which mods to use.

If there’s the option to take a more- or less-intensive version of the mod, I will mark it. These are all mods I’ve played with, so I can confirm that they play nicely together.

My ultimate goal in modding a Bethesda game isn’t to turn it into an entirely different game altogether, which is why you won’t see me install radical overhaul mods or total conversion mods. Where possible, I want to keep it recognisably Fallout 4, but just with the rough patches smoothed out and a lot of fun new things added in, and also much higher resolution. I’m not particularly into making the game more difficult, though the modular nature of these mods means that you can make the game far harder if you want. I’m also not averse to a bit of cheating to skip past the bits that are grating and irritating. I promise to guide you around the waifu mods and the naked women mods and so on and so forth.

Things you’ll need:

  • A copy of Fallout 4, all DLCs installed (except the High Resolution Textures DLC), latest patch
  • A stable internet connection
    • (optional) A couple bucks (£2.99) spare for a Premium Nexus Mods account
  • A hell of a lot of hard drive space. I really do mean it.
  • Too much time on your hands.

Things I Assume About You, Dear Reader:

…that you’re going to READ THE INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS, for each component, as written by their author. Seriously, it’s going to save me (and you) so much time and pain and heartache.

Only ignore ’em if I explicitly tell you! My word overwrites theirs!

Some Useful Terms

…as explained by someone who doesn’t really have the technical chops to explain how it works, only what it is.

Why do you keep talking about vanilla? Vanilla = “plain” = unmodded, baseline Fallout 4.

Where do the mods live?
The ultimate destination for all of these files is your Fallout 4/Data folder, more or less, and from there everything kind of flows.

What’s an .esp or .esm file?
In Bethesda’s moddable games (so from Morrowind onwards), you’re gonna see the file extensions .esp and .esm thrown around a lot. .esp stands for Elder Scrolls Plugin file, and .esm for Elder Scrolls Master. When you first load up a mod manager, or just take a peek in the Data folder, you should see these files (if you, like me, have all DLCs):

Fallout4.esm  
DLCRobot.esm  
DLCWorkshop01.esm  
DLCCoast.esm  
DLCWorkshop02.esm  
DLCWorkshop03.esm  
DLCNukaWorld.esm

These are basically the files for the base game and all the DLCs, in order.

What is load order and why should I care? Basically, the game will load all those .esm and .esp files, top to bottom, meaning that those further down in the load order will overwrite those higher up. Loading mods the wrong way around can cause all sorts of fun incompatibilities. Nine times out of ten, if something has gone wonky in my modded game, it’s a load order issue.

How many mods can I have? The game engine can only deal with a maximum of 255 plugins. You can perform some workarounds (mostly merging mods—more on that later), but it’s a hard limit. That is, if your computer doesn’t grind into a halt first.

Where will we get these mods? On Nexus Mods, which is the premier mod repository. Do NOT use HTTPS with the site, it’ll break.

Utilities

Third-party tools that make handling the 100+ mods you’re about to install miles easier.

Nexus Mod Manager

For mod installation, I use Nexus Mod Manager. It’s free, maintained, and hooks into the biggest mod repository for this game. You’ll need a free Nexus account to use it. In fact, I paid the £3 for a one-month Premium account to get uncapped download speeds from the site, otherwise you’re capped at 1024 kbps. Which is going to get painful very soon.

NMM lets you download with nxm links (the “Download with Manager” button on Nexus Mods), set different mod profiles that you can switch between, and uses a virtual install which lets you revert to a clean install of Fallout 4 easily. It is also compatible with various mod installers that allow you to pick optional files in a nice GUI. It’s much better than doing manual installation.

You can set its mod install path wherever you want. Once you install it, it should auto-detect your Fallout 4 installation path. Confirm it, then you’re ready to go. You can set whatever categories you want for the mods.

When we use it, we’ll mostly be looking at the Mods tab, which is the window you’re immediately looking at. For the sake of expediency I will assume you can figure out the buttons on your own.

The Plugins tab lets you activate or deactivate specific .esp files, which can be handy when one mod installs multiple .esp files. This can happen if the mod’s folder structure is a bit wonky. It’s also useful if you merge patches.

NMM Tool Integration

Because NMM uses virtual installs, we need to run all of our third-party tools through it to make sure it detects the appropriate plugins.

F4SE

The second-most vital bit of our installation. The Fallout 4 Script Extender (F4SE) lets modders vastly expand the functionality of their mods. Presumably it runs on magic. I don’t know, I just know all the best things need this.

For it to work properly, you need to extract it to the directory where your Fallout4.exe file is kept. Then, you must start your game via the f4se.exe file it installs. NMM should auto-detect the presence of F4SE if it’s been correctly installed. Set NMM to run F4SE to open via the drop-down menu.

Launch F4SE via NMM.

ENBoost for Fallout 4

This is a two-part install.

  1. Download and install ENBoost.
  2. Download and install Stuttering and Memory Patch ENBoost.

ENBoost does more than just make your games look pretty! It smooths out framerates, reduces stuttering, and fixes texture pop-in, plus it lets you limit framerate without having to mess in driver software.

Read the install instructions for the Stuttering and Memory Patch ENBoost, since the files you should choose are dependant on your hardware.

Lastly, find enblocal.ini in your main Fallout 4 install directory, and edit these lines to cap our FPS at 60. Fallout 4 gets weird if it goes significantly over 60 FPS.

[LIMITER]
EnableFPSLimit=true
FPSLimit=60.0

Load Order Optimization Tool

Remember load orders? Actually doing them manually would be crazy. This tool will do it for you automatically.

You can download and install this utility anywhere you like. Once done, point NMM at it by clicking the Supported Tools button, and selecting Configure LOOT. Find the appropriate directory, and you’re golden.

FO4Edit

A very powerful plugin creation tool, a lot of Fallout 4’s early mods were made purely with this. We’re basically only going to use it for cleaning plugins, though.

After installing, point NMM at it again. Same dealy as with LOOT.

Summary

Make sure you’ve got these tools:

Make sure NMM is set up to launch F4SE, not Fallout 4. Configure LOOT and FO4Edit to run through NMM.

.ini Tweaks

Before we get into modding, there are some things we can do with Fallout 4’s ini settings to make it more pleasant to play. For this to work, you must have run the game at least once. Just open it via Steam or NMM, get to the main menu, and exit again.

There are two ways you can do this: you can either use this Fallout 4 Configuration Tool or you can use a text editor of your choice. The files we want are located in C:\Users\user\Documents\My Games\Fallout4.

First, add these files to Fallout4Custom.ini:

[Archive]
bInvalidateOlderFiles=1
sResourceDataDirsFinal=

Then follow this short guide.. It fixes some odd console-focused tweaks that made it through to the PC version.

Performance Mods

Makes your game run better. If you have a powerful rig, you can skip some or all of these.

Mod Name Description Notes
Ultra Quality God Rays Performance Fix Tweaks godrays to look good with a lower performance cost. Add sStartingConsoleCommand=bat godrays under [General] in your Fallout4.ini file. Make sure god rays are set to low in-game.
Shadow Boost Dynamically controls shadow draw distance to hit target FPS.
Insignificant Object Remover Removes rubble, grass stubble etc. for FPS boost with minimal visual impact.
Fog Remover Gets rid of fog effects for a bit more FPS.

Patches, Fixes and Resources

Because I assume you’re installing these the in order that I’m listing them. These fix the things Bethesda has overlooked.

Mod Name Description Notes
Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch Comprehensive bugfixes.
Achievements Uses F4SE to re-enable achievements in a modded game.
Keep Commonwealth Radiant Quests in the Commonwealth Stops radiant quest targets from picking areas added by DLC or mods.
Armor and Weapons Keywords Community Resource Standard framework for modders. Required for many files.
Settlement Keywords Expanded Standard framework for modders, frees up your settlement menu some by decluttering it. Install after you install all the settlement mods.
Lever Action Reload Fix Fixes reloads for the lever action rifle. Yeah, it really bothered me that much.
Pipe Reflex Sight Fix Because the vanilla ones are truly awful.
3rd Person Beard Fix Makes beards look solid in 3rd person.

Interface

Make the game more pleasant to use.

Mod Name Description Notes
Immersive Maps Higher-resolution maps with marked roads. I use the 2K – Blueprint – Big Squares, ditto for Far Harbor DLC.
Full Dialogue Interface Lets you read the entire string of text. Pick your desired layout in the installer.
Valdacil’s Sorting Mod Adds tags for sorting items. Compatible with DEF_UI, huge number of patches for other mods. This interacts with DEF_UI interestingly. Follow this guide. Select the chem redux compatibility options, we’ll install it later.
DEF_UI Comprehensive UI changes. Again, refer to this guide. You can use my presets, designed for 1080p.
HUD Framework Framework for new UI widgets. Remember to install the DEF_UI patch.
Immersive HUD Selectively hides and shows UI elements depending on context.
Power Armor HUD Changes power armor HUD to something more standard, removing the dials.
Better Dials for Power Armor I use default amber.
Value-per-Weight Indicator Adds value-per-weight to container and Pip-Boy UI. Useful for packrats trying to sell stuff. I’ve let it override the other mods with no adverse effects.
Better Mod Descriptions Makes weapon and armor mod descriptions be more descriptive. With real numbers, and all that jazz.
LooksMenu Changes the character creation menu to allow for much more text. Useful with expanded character creation options.
Customizable Targeting HUD I use red enemy/green friendly, with scan lines, weapons raised only.

Models and Textures

These are going to be the biggest downloads. Where possible, I go for the 2K versions. If you have a strong rig, go 4K.

Base Texture Packs

These are extensive overhauls that we’re going to install first, with the understanding that we will be overwriting them later.

Mod Name Description Notes
[optional] Fallout 4 Texture Optimization Project Selective compression for textures. I didn’t bother for my rig. But here’s an install guide.
All Weapons HD Better-looking weapons.
Fallout 4 HD Reworked Project
FlaconOil’s HD Texture Project
Langley’s HD Texture Workshop Look! Not a project!
Vivid Fallout – All in One Landscapes, trees, rocks, roads, bridges and some concrete. Less VRAM intensive than vanilla. I use the “Best” option (2K).

Remember, if any of the other texture mods conflict with these ones, overwrite these base packs.

Landscapes and Buildings

Mod Name Description Notes
Better Quarry Sites
Diamond City Signs Overhaul Hi-res versions of the posters found around Diamond City.
Haul’d Out Pier and warehouse retextures.
Jesters Better Destroyed Vehicles Pretty handy given how many bombed-out cars there are.
OJO BUENO Texture Pack Hi-res Nuka-Cola machine, milk machine, cooler, port-a-diner, espresso machine, and ham radio. Keep all default except the ham radio (metal, no logo).
Prydwen 2K Textures Makes that airship look good.
Realistic Roads I use the faded versions.
Shack Floors Redone I use 2K – Dull.
Street Signs Retextured

Weather, Environment, Flora

Mod Name Description Notes
FTO Moons
FTO Stars
FO4 Rain Hi-res rain, ripples tweaks.
FO4 Sun Less bloomy sun.
Delightful Dead Fish Hi-res dead fish. With a name like that, how can you not get it? I used all healthy versions because I found the diseased ones comical.
Delightful Ivy Hi-res vines. I use olive green.
Water Enhanced

Clutter and Items

Mod Name Description Notes
Immersive Toilet Paper The single most important mod ever made for FO4. Remember to pick up the Far Harbor version, too.
Ammo Retexture Retextures casings and ammo boxes. I use the weathered options.
Better Computer Terminals I use 2K/Standard.
Bobblehats FO4 Edition New design for the bobbleheads! I use the glowing option to make them easier to spot.
Bobby Pin Box Retexture
CC’s Improved Flags Stick to option 1 for all of them. But the “definitely not MIT” version for the Institute is extremely tempting.
Chem Redux Retextures all chem items in game. I pick the no-glow versions.
Detailed Urban Food Hi-res textures for pre-war junk food. I use the faded version.
FTO Pip-Boy UHD Several 4K textures for the Pip-Boy. I use 4K, vanilla colour, clean screen, with the holotape add-on. Because you’ll be staring at it a lot.
Fusion Core Retexture I use the Used without Glow version.
Hi-Poly Immersive Bottlecaps I stick to the WornVivid option.
Hi-Res Pre-War Money I use the worn version, which is listed under “Optional Files”. You only need to download that one.
Institute Food Packet Retexture Makes them look like MREs. You do have to pretend the Institute loves spaghetti with meatballs above all other foodstuffs, though.
Magazine Rack Retexture
Overdue Book Retexture More vibrant version. Side benefit: makes them real easy to spot.
Radio Re-Done Hi-res radio texture. I use Cherry – 2K.
Real Troughs So that your brahmin can eat out of an actual trough, not just an old bathtub.
Retextured First Aid Kits I use V2 for the red. You can use V1 for green kits.

Creatures and Characters

Mod Name Description Notes
Alternative Synth Eyes Hi-res synth eyes. I use Detailed – Yellow.
Enhanced Blood Textures Hi-res blood decals.
Wasteland Creatures Redone Pick everything.
Detailed Deathclaws I go 2K.
Valentine REBORN Retex of Valentine. Pick the Yellow Eyes option.

Weapons and Armor

Mod Name Description Notes
4K HD Power Armor
4K Silver Shroud I stick with the defaults.
AS Synth Armor Redone I use the White – 2K version, no glowing helmet.
AS Institute Weapons Redone Brings them in line with the Synth Armor Redone mod. Do not install the optional fusion cell retexture.
Better HandMade Weapon Textures Retextures the pipe weapons in game. I go for the regular rusty versions, no carbon fibre or alternate wood texture.
Better Recon Scope Makes the recon scope weapon mod match the body of the rifle.
Clear Reflex Lens Changes the reflex scope glass to be clear instead of slightly shaded.
Eyewear and Mask Retexture Stops sunglasses looking like frosted plastic.
HD Bandanas Take your pick.
ScratchMade Combat Shotgun and Rifle
ScratchMade Double Barrelled Shotgun
Unique Uniques Makes unique weapons look unique.

Body, Face, Hair

A lot of these preview pictures are NSFW :/

Mod Name Description Notes
CBBE – Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies Enhancer NSFW PREVIEW IMAGES. Choose Vanilla body, Never Nude. This mod disables decapitation and dismemberment (limb chunks will not fly off) because the CBBE mesh exceeds the engine’s triangle limit.
FCO – HD Eyes
Immersive Mouth and Teeth I stick to the default options.
Wasteland Salon Hair retexture. I use the rough version.

A note on skin texture mods: for many of the female skin texture mods, they create uniformly smooth, blemish-free skin that belongs only to a Photoshopped cover model. I don’t like these. I would rather have slightly blobby skin textures than use those. If you would rather find a skin texture, I wish you luck wading through them titty mods.


At this point, go take a break, stretch, drink some water, because that was probably the worst of it.

Animations

Mod Name Description Notes
Alternative Walk Animation Walk with a straighter back. Use this OR…
Tactical Animations Makes you use the 3rd person NPC animations, for a less casual Lone Survivor. Use this or Alternative Walk Animation.
Button Lowered Weapons Hold the Sheathe button (default R) to lower your weapon. Use this or Lowered Weapons, but don’t get both.
Lowered Weapons + Lowered Weapons DLC Patch Automatically lowers your weapon if it’s not being aimed or fired. Use this or Button Lowered Weapons, which gives you manual control. Don’t use both.
Laser Weapons 1st Person Reposition Slightly lowers laser weapons in 1st person view so you can actually see.
Stay Focused Son! Drops pistol/weapon to lowered position instead of totally at your side when in “relaxed” posture. For the hypervigilant among us.
Grab the Damn Mag Fixes reload animation clipping on weapons with straight magazines. Catastrophically breaks the Thompson sub-machine gun because of its unusual mag shape. I consider it a worthy trade-off (and the tommy gun in this game as vendor trash).
Power Armor Animation Changes Changes PA enter/exit animations to be MUCH FASTER. I use the Quick Enter and Exit version.
Better (Manly) Female Sitting Animation Look less prim and proper when seated. I mean, I sit more like this IRL. 100% Realism.

Weather, Lighting, and Environment

Mod Name Description Notes
True Storms – Wasteland Edition Adds new weathers, overhauls existing ones (textures, sounds, particle effects etc.) Conflicts with other weather mods. This is my preferred. You can also try Vivid Weathers, or Natural and Atmospheric Commonwealth.
More Grass Adds more grass. Installing through NMM will make it add all three versions as .esps. To fix this, go to your Plugins tab, find the three More Grass.esp files, and untick the ones you don’t want.
Fr4nsson’s Light Tweaks Removes “fake lights” (skylights) so all light comes from in-game light sources. Fixes blown lights, interior and exterior. I got the interior and exterior version.
Darker Nights Makes nights darker. Also changes stealth detection at night. Pick whatever you want.
[opt] Fallout 4 Seasons Pick ONE of the four files. Bam, you’re in that season. I don’t use it because I’m lazy, but it seems cool.

Visual Tweaks

Mod Name Description Notes
Dynavision – Dynamic DOF Customizable and dynamic DOF in-game. Looks rad as hell, also great for screenshots.
Remove DOF Removes DOF while avoiding underwater visual glitch. This is the other end of the spectrum.
Remove Interior Fog

Character Creation Options

Mod Name Description Notes
Lots More Facial Hair Stacks vanilla assets to create many more combined facial hair options.
Lots More Female Hair See above.
Lots More Male Hair See above.
Ponytail Hairstyles Adds a bunch of ponytail styles, including dreads.

Radio and other Audio

Mod Name Description Notes
Quieter Settlements Preserve your ears when walking into settlements.
Silent UI Customizable, silence certain aspects of the UI. A godsend especially if you scan your surroundings with VATS, like me. Also removes often-triggered perk sounds, like Idiot Savant or Grand Slam or Nerd Rage.
True 3D Sound for Headphones Simulated binaural sound, designed for stereo headphones. This is kinda great! You really do need headphones for this though.
Power Armor Movement Sounds Weighter power armor steps. I use the Light version.
Reverb and Ambience Overhaul Revamps and balances reverberation and ambient noises, with two separate audio sliders in game settings. I like turning ambient sounds down just a touch.
Realistic Weapon Sounds
Radiant Birds Makes birds louder. Might make them too loud, even.
Quiet Dogmeat Paws Put little mufflers on Dogmeat’s paws and make them 60% quieter.
Dynamic Music Overhaul Changes music behaviour. Reduces or removes audio spoilers for combat.
More Where That Came From Adds 111 tracks to Diamond City Radio. Also removes Travis’ introductions…
Elvani’s Track Pack Adds 36 tracks to Diamond City Radio. …and this brings Travis’ song intros back!
Atomic Radio Pre-war variety radio channel. Complete with ads, even.

Gameplay Effects and Changes

General

Mod Name Description Notes
Realistic Humanoid Walking Speed Boost walking speeds, lower running speeds. Significantly lower sneak-running speeds so you no longer feel like you’re ice-skating.
Longer Headlamp Light Power armor headlamp lights go further. I stuck with 1.5x for my install.
Give Me That Bottle Gives you an empty bottle when drinking a beverage. You can also use packaging for crafting materials. Get the Valdacil’s Item Sorting patch. Handy for Survival Mode, you don’t have to scrounge for as many bottles, plus you can make more.
Move (Get Out the Way) Makes NPCs get out of your way faster after bumping into them.
FO4 Hotkeys Adds hotkeys to FO4! You can hotkey damn near anything and it’s great. Read the articles for the info needed.
Outfit Switcher Lets you toggle through preset outfits with a single hotkey. You know, for when you need to change from your casuals to your formals to your wasteland-ready getups.
Craftable Vault 81 Cure Goodbye, moral dilemma. I use the “earned” version.
D13 Settlement Spy Detection Are you now, or have you ever been, a spy sent by the Institute? Slightly spoilery, but also, extremely convenient.
No Wild Fruits Makes foraged fruits equivalent to their farmed variants. Which lets you use them for crafting.
Durable Vertibirds BoS quality control now ensures Vertibirds are made out of metal, not paper.

Crafting

Mod Name Description Notes
Campsite Craftable, modular camping kit. Extremely well made and extra handy for survival mode. Comes with portable cooking station.
The Mobile Mechanic Portable, craftable scrapping and crafting benches.
Better Crafting Station Perk Requirements Stops gating some crafting stations behind Local Leader, reassigns to more logical perks.
Cook With Purified Water Changes recipes that need water to use purified water, which is easier to get.
Mo Betta Scrap Changes junk components to make sense.
New Recipes More food! More vegetarian food! Survival compatible. It is surprisingly hard to find a good, still-maintained food mod.
Wasteland Imports Adds items from older Fallout games, like throwing knives, Sunset Sarsaparilla etc. No longer maintained, but still works.
Craftable Ammo I use x25 per type.
Craftable Armor Size Lets you modify armor pieces to change size (light/sturdy/heavy).
Legendary Modification Lets you scrap legendary gear to use as mods that can be attached onto other weapons or armor pieces. I would recommend using either Hard or Survival options.
Crafting Workbenches Adds crafting stations for armor, weapons, clothing and ammo. I would choose either Craftable Ammo or this, and probably I’d stick with this. I went with: Extended Ammo Crafting, Automatron DLC, Faction Requirements, Removed Crafting XP, and DEF_INV compatibility.

Survival-specific

Tweaks for Survival difficulty.

Mod Name Description Notes
Survival Options Tweak every setting in Survival to your heart’s content. Want autosaves? You got them. Change needs rates and penalties, adjust sleep options, change damage rates. Extremely powerful. Use my Give Me That Bottle patch if needed; it’s built with the latest version of GMTB, and won’t throw up a LOOT error.
Survival Quicksave Adds a hotkey-able item that lets you force an autosave in Survival mode. In Gopher’s words, “you no longer have to roleplay a narcoleptic if you want to save.”
Hunger and Thirst Effects Change Changes the ramp up, as well as the specific debuffs. Plus, it fixes a typo.

Immersion (sigh…)

God I hate the word. But I still want it in this game :c

Mod Name Description Notes
Time Scale and Fast Travel adjustments Slows down time. Sets timescale = 6 and fast travel timescale = 2, significantly slowing things down (default timescale = 20).
Immersive Vendors Crafted stalls look like they’re actually being used.
Rain of Brass Make spent shell casings last longer before disappearing.
Long Range Bullet Holes Bullet impact decals appear at longer range. Wound and bullet decals last longer.
Immersive Generic Dialogues Overhauls generic dialogue to change based on your reputation.
Journal of the Sole Survivor Adds a holotape that acts as your in-world journal. Handy in Survival for taking notes.
Publick Occurences Expanded Makes it so Piper’s newspaper puts out more than three measly articles.
Subway Runner Connects subway stations together.

NPCs, Factions and Companions

I have a strong Minuteman/Railroad bias, so have no recommendations for BoS or Institute overhauls.

Mod Name Description Notes
We Are The Minutement Minutemen overhaul, giving them better equipment as their influence grows. I use the extended version.
Better Companions All-in-One Major fixes and boosts to companion AI. What doesn’t this do? Honestly. It makes companions usable.
Everyone’s Best Friend Lets you have Dogmeat as a secondary companion all the time. Apparently this was functionality that was baked into the game at the start.
Visible Companion Affinity Lets you see, with numbers, how much they like you.

Weapons, Armour and Clothing

These are all for CBBE bodies.

Weapons

Mod Name Description Notes
MK14 EBR Beautifully made custom-animated rifle. Comes with wearable version for Visible Weapons (see below). Don’t forget all the compatibility patches for AWKCR and DLCs.
M2216 Standalone Updated M16-style rifle.
M9 Standalone Pistol Beretta M9.
The Widow Shotgun Custom double-barrelled shotgun.
See-Through Scopes Removes scope shadow overlay when using a 4x scope. I use the “add” option, and don’t forget the add-ons for custom weapons (there’s one for the M9 and the M2216).
No Scope Fade-In Removes or reduces fade-to-black when using a scope. I use the recommended 50% version.
Improved Scope Reticles Overhauls and cleans up vanilla scopes. Use this or Modern Scope Reticles, below.
Modern Scope Reticles Changes scopes to remove shadow overlay and bases them on real-life scopes. Use this or Improved Scope Reticles, above.

Armour and Clothing

Mod Name Description Notes
Armorsmith Extended Lets you layer more things, plus a LOT of other stuff. Required file for most of the following mods.
Concealed Armor Lets you add a “concealed” mod to armor to make it invisible, to solve clipping issues coming from using Armorsmith Extended. Remember to get the Far Harbor and Nuka World DLC patches.
Armored General Custom, armoured version of the General’s Outfit from the Minutemen faction. Hothtrooper’s stuff is always rad.
Wasteland Sniper Basically a wasteland ghillie suit. See above.
Eli’s Armour Compendium A whole bunch of very well made original clothing and armour.
K-9 Harness – Tactical Body Armor and Backpack for Dogmeat With side pouches, 8 colours, patches and more! FASHION DOG
Survivalist Go-Bags Huge collection of craftable backpacks. Again, very handy for Survival with the reduced carry weight.
Jackets and Coats of the Commonwealth Craftable jackets, including some unique ones, so you can stop murdering Maxson for his jacket.
Canteens of the Commonwealth Craftable, wearable water canteens. Fill from new stations in the settlement menu.
Just Visible Holstered Weapons Lets you make apparel items that show holstered vanilla weapons. Best used in conjunction with Visible Weapons.
Visible Weapons Lets you link an equipped item with the holstered apparel version, such that you auto-equip the apparel item when your weapon is holstered. In effect: equipped weapons now show up on your character! Works with any apparel (i.e. “worn”) weapon.
Tactical Flashlights Craft flashlights for different armor slots, with different bonuses. Get ~tacticool~. I use left offset, no shadows. But do whatever.
Wasteland Scarves Adds 3 scarves. SCARVES👏ARE👏GOOD

Settlements

Mod Name Description Notes
Settlement Keywords Expanded Modder’s resource, needed for the upcoming mods.
Sim Settlement Zone your cities and let your settlers build their own homes! Now with expansion pack, Sim Settlement: Industrial Revolution.
Homemaker – Expanded Settlements Adds over a thousand new items to craft for your settlement.
Better Cooking Stations Adds lots of new functions, new cooking stations, new lighting etc. to cooking stations. Lots of compatibility patches!
Functional Displays Craft displays that let you show off your gear. Recreate that opening-menu gunboard!
Gruffydd’s Signs and Posters New decorations for your settlement.
Gruffydd’s Signs of the Times Adds new craftable signs as well.
Immersive Fast Travel Lets you make automobiles, teleporters, and vertibirds that serve as a fast travel system. Also works for Survival Mode. Up to you if you think this qualifies as cheating.
Lore Friendly Flag Pack Show your allegiances.
NorthlandDiggers Resources Adds new resources for settlers to work.
OCDecorators Lets you make static versions of junk/decorative items for decoration. More greeblies to craft! Make your home looked lived-in!
Old World Plaid Adds new textile items to craft, that are colourful and extremely 50s. Finally, some time in the intervening 200 years, wastelanders have learned how to launder clothing.

Settlement Tweaks

Mod Name Description Notes
Higher Settlement Budget Lets you put more stuff in your settlements. The sky’s the limit! Or, you know, your rig.
Vanilla Extension Improves meshes, adds new snap points for vanilla objects. You’ll need this master mod for it to work.
All Settlements Extended Widens the settlement areas, in many cases to include water inside them. No enemy spawns inside build area. Pick up the Far Harbor version, too.
Better Generators Makes vanilla generators produce more power.
Brighter Settlement Lights Craftable settlement lights are brighter.
Longer Power Lines Stretch those wires!
Place Everywhere Put stuff down wherever. Clipping is no longer a concern. Great for making actually impenetrable walls.
Scrap Everything Lets you scrap everything. Be very careful with what you target, because it will fuck up physics if you scrap the wrong things.

Player Homes

Mod Name Description Notes
Basement Living Adds 10 new bunkers, which can be entered from a craftable hatch. Works like the Home Plate, so you can redecorate however you want.
Faction Housing Overhaul – Institute Director’s Quarters Make them swankier.
FHO – Prydwen Quarters As above, for the BoS.
FHO – The Castle etc. for the Minutemen. Actually private, no settlers will set up shop in “your” quarters.
FHO – Railroad HQ Adds a private room for you.
FHO – Vault 81 You know the drill by now.

Cheats/Quality of Life

Some call them cheats. Me, I call them “I’m so sick of missing X”.

Mod Name Description Notes
Faster Terminal Display Makes terminal text show faster. I use the x20 version.
Easy-to-See Glowing Stuff Makes holotapes, skill magazines, and bobbleheads glow. If you’ve installed an alternate already-glowing bobblehead retexture, then don’t override that mod with this one.
Easy Lockpicking Lockpicks can be unlocked with bobby pin in any position, meaning it’s only gated by your Lockpick perk rank. Opposite version available, Player Lockpicking. Ranks in Lockpick increase sweet spot size.
Easy Hacking Only the correct word will be shown, so terminals are only gated by your Hacking perk rank. The opposite version is available, Player Hacking, making it gated by your actual skill at the minigame. Ranks in Hacker give you more attempts.
Rich Merchants Gives merchants more caps so they can buy more stuff off you.

Mod Patches

Mod Name Description Notes
Radrose’s Usability Patches Makes various mods work for Valdalcil’s Sorting mod. Automatic installer.

Housekeeping and Cleanup

Some final steps before you can actually play. We’re so close.

Sort Your Load Order

Firstly, we need to sort all of these new mods into the proper load order. Open LOOT via NMM, make sure it’s set to sort for Fallout 4, and let it download the masterlist.

If you have my personal Survival Options + Give Me That Bottle patch (PATCH-GiveMeThatBottle+SurvivalOptions.esp), find it (there’s a search function). Click the three vertical dots, Edit Metadata, then go to the Load After tab. Add two new lines, and set one to Give Me That Bottle.esp and the other to Survival Options.esp, order doesn’t matter. Then save it.

Now, click the “sort plugins” button. Apply changes. Don’t close LOOT yet.

Cleaning mods

Next, you need to clean your mods. This is, essentially, removing redundant stuff and reducing conflicting instructions that all these mods are giving out. There’s an excellent step by step cleaning guide that you should read. It’s a pretty simple if mindless process.

In this case, use LOOT as your guide for which plugins to clean. It’ll flag them up after sorting.

Merging Mods

Congratulations! You’ve installed all the mods! (Don’t do that.) If you have actually installed all the mods, you’ll be far too close to the 255 plugins limit for comfort. So now, we will merge our plugins to get around the limit, plus clean it all up. The two biggest offenders are all the Valdacil Item Sorting plugins, and the Radrose Compatibility Patches. So we’ll merge those two. I use this program, Merge Plugins, which makes everything easier.

Install it wherever and point the program at your Fallout install. Then, open MergePlugins.exe. Right click any of the names, Uncheck All plugins. Then, tick all the plugins you plan on merging – we’ll do all of the Radrose ones first. Only pick the ones that begin with Radrose - Valdacil Patch.

Check them all, highlight them all, right-click and choose Masters > Check Masters. If you can’t click OK to move on, scroll through the list of plugins. If there are any plugins that are in red italics, check those too. Let everything load.

Open Merge Plugins’ Settings. Under the Merging tab, select a destination directory for our merges – I like to put it under .../Nexus Mod Manager/Fallout 4/Mods/Merges. Then, under Integrations, click “Detect Integrations”. If it doesn’t detect NMM, check that box, as well as “Copy general assets”, and point it towards the relevant directories.

Now, exit the settings menu. Under the Plugins tab, highlight all the plugins you want to merge. Right-click them, “Errors > Check for errors”. Hopefully it should all turn out fine; if the only error is that they aren’t next to each other in load order, you can tell Merge Plugins to ignore that.

Then, click the big green + to add a new merged patch. Give it a name, and a filename, but remember to make it unique. Then, highlight all those plugins you want merged, right-click and choose “Add to merge > [whatever you called your merge]”. Lastly, click the hammer button to Build Patches.

Open up the destination directory (you can go to the Merges tab, right-click the merge and choose “Open in Explorer” as well). Highlight everything, and zip it up. Then, go back into NMM, add a mod from file, find your new zipped-up merge, and add it. Under NMM’s Plugins tab, untick all the plugins you’ve just merged.

Congratulations, you’ve created a merged patch. It’s one .esp file that’ll do everything that the plugins you jammed into them do. Repeat the process for all of the Valdacil’s Item Sorting .esps. You should be under limit now.

Actual Final Steps

  1. Run LOOT one more time and apply changes.
  2. Open F4SE through NMM.
  3. Hope your game doesn’t break catastrophically. It will take a LONG time to get to the main menu on account of all the extra textures the game must now load.
  4. PLAY THE DAMN GAME. Preferably from a new save.

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