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Fallout New Vegas Modding


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#1 TheWinslow

TheWinslow

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 06:50 PM

Intro:

Bethesda passed the torch for the next FO game, having Obsidian develop it. While this made the game have a more interesting story (in my opinion, I thought the world was crafted a bit better as well), it also means that, on top of Bethesda's usual problems with crashing (a result of the Gamebryo Engine which was also used in FO3 and Oblivion), it also had the added problems that Obsidian has with their games: a solid story that had to have parts hacked away and added mechanics that are close to being good but fall short.

 

This guide is here to discuss a few of the more interesting and necessary mods out there for NV. Unlike with FO3, the mods for NV tend to have pretty current updates, instead of being 1-2 years out of date. There are also some really interesting new mods like TitanFallout that gives you a giant robot that you can call from the sky at lvl 30.

 

If you would like a step by step video guide to installing the mods, take a look at Gopher's Modding NV guide and his NV mod clinic. The mod clinic is still being updated with new mods (the latest video is Mar 12 of this year).

 

This is how my game looks using a few graphics mods and an ENB. The FPS hovers around 40-50 for the most part with a 7950, even with large numbers of explosions and enemies.

 

Important Note About Installing Mods:

There are a few things you absolutely must keep in mind when modding a game, if you don't you are going to end up with a game that crashes and you will have no idea why.

  1. Read the install instructions. I will do my best to provide information when the mods are not simple download and install with a manager mods, but reading the instructions first can alleviate a whole lot of problems later on. Also check a mod for compatibility information, chances are that someone else has figured out if a mod doesn't work well with another mod.
  2. Try to install a small number of mods at a time. This is probably the most important thing to remember and one I actually learned the hard way (crash on start...50 mods that could be the cause, had to uninstall and reinstall them again). Not all mods work well with one another and not all systems can handle every mod. If you install every mod you want all at once and the game crashes, every one of those mods could be the cause (or an interaction between 2+ mods could cause it). If you install in small batches (I would argue no more than 3 at a time if you haven't tried the mods before) and start up the game and try to break it, you will be able to easily see which new mod causes a problem. Now, this may not be a problem with the mod, it could be that it crashes when used with another mod!
  3. Mods will add bugs. The more complex the mod, the more likely it will have bugs, and the more likely it will crash your game. That doesn't mean that complex mods will do this, it just means that it is easier to break the game when using it. Save often with mods!
  4. The more mods you add, the less stable the game will get. FO:NV can only handle a certain number of mods before it will start crashing. That mod number is going to be pretty high, but if you go crazy with modding you will crash the game. It is possible to get a huge number of mods loaded and still have it be fairly stable (I run Skyrim with 200+ gameplay and graphics mods and an ENB. The game crashes every 1-3 hours I would say), it just takes a lot of work to get the mods to play nice.
  5. After you install a new mod/uninstall a mod it's usually best to start a new game (unless the mod adds no scripts, ie .esp or .esm in the load order). If you don't do this, you will end up with ghost scripts in your save that can crash your game. You can mitigate the problems, but you will not completely get rid of them.
  6. Save often! The more mods you add, the more you will have to quicksave spam as anything can cause your game to crash.

 

Necessary Tools:

  • Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) or Fallout Mod Manager (FOMM). FOMM used to be the mod manager to use, but NMM has gotten far better since it's initial release and is the one I use. Even if a mod recommends you use FOMM, it's usually because the mod came out when NMM was useless and it will work with NMM.
  • New Vegas Script Extender (NVSE). Basically no mods will work without it installed.
  • BOSS. Just like with skyrim (and FO3, and Oblivion) Boss helps to sort your mod load order to reduce the chance of causing overwrites or conflicts (essentially, helps make sure mods work properly and reduce the chance of crashes).
  • Fallout NV Edit (FO:NV Edit). A handy tool that can be used to clean up mods and help remove conflicts between mods. It will help improve stability if used correctly but can and will break mods and cause crashes if used incorrectly (so follow the instructions). It can also be invaluable when trying to find what mod causes a crash. You will use this program to create a Merged Patch of your mods (essentially combines changes from various mods to make sure that nothing is overwritten).

 

Set up:

  1. You will need to install NVSE. Download the latest build here, extract it, and copy the .dll files and fose_loader.exe into your FO:NV directory (this is where your FalloutNV.exe and FalloutNVLauncher.exe are found). From now on, you need to launch Fallout using fose_launcher.exe (you can't launch directly through steam anymore).
  2. Download and install the mod manager of your choice (I recommend NMM)
  3. If you have a multi-core cpu, go to Documents/my games/FalloutNV and open 'Fallout.ini'. Change 'bUseThreadedAI=0' to 'bUseThreadedAI=1'. Add 'iNumHWThreads=2' to a new line under bUseThreadedAI. This restricts the number of cores the game can use to 2, the game engine used tends to crash when more than 2 cores are used.
  4. If using NMM, click on the 'Tools' menu (the wrench and screwdriver icon) and make sure that 'Archive Invalidation' is checked. I remember FOMM having a similar option. Mods will not work without this. You can also download ArchiveInvalidation Invalidated if your chosen mod manager does not include it (the manager option also doesn't work sometimes).

And with that, you should be pretty much set up to mod the game.

 

Important Mods:

Mods that fix bugs, add stability, or improve performance. Not all mods work equally for everyone.

  1. Large Adress Aware Enabler: If you plan to install an ENB (discussed later in the guide), this mod may cause some problems. You need to download this mod manually (don't download with manager)! Essentially improves stability of the game particularly when using texture mods. It allows the game to use more RAM (the game without this can only use 2GB, this can increase it to 3 or 4 GB depending on the OS). For people using a 64 bit OS, this is quite simple to install. If you are using a 32bit OS, read the instructions in the mod post and see if it is something you want to use.
  2. New Vegas Stutter Remover: helps reduce micro stutters when playing. Makes the game look a lot smoother, though not everyone will notice a difference. Once you install the mod (you can use download with manager), you need to go to your Fallout NV directory, then go to 'Data\fose\plugins' and open 'sr_Fallout_Stutter_Remover.ini' either change 'bManageFPS = 1' to 0, or modify 'fMaximumFPS' to a frame rate that is stable for you (one that doesn't change a huge amount).
  3. Fake Fullscreen Mode Windowed: You need to download this mod manually (don't download with manager)! Fallout actually runs a lot better in windowed mode for most people and has fewer crashes and allows you to alt tab. This mod makes the windowed mode look like it is full screen. Install this by placing the 'Fallout_Fullscreen.exe' file in your fallout directory. If you use this, launch the game using 'Fallout_Fullscreen.exe' from now on (this will work with Large Address Aware Enabler). This prevents the in-game brightness slider from working, a mod covered later will allow you to change the brightness in game.
  4. Zan AutoPurge Crash Protector: A problem that pretty much every Bethesda game has (Oblivion, Skyrim, and FO3 also have this problem) is that the game tends to bog down and crash after extended play time. This is caused by previously loaded cells still remaining in memory and increasing the load on your computer. This automatically purges the cells and almost always improves stability and performance. Can occasionally cause crashes when moving between internal and external cells.
  5. Mission Mojve - Ultimate Edition (MMUE): A large collection of bugfixes (27,000+ according to the authors) that is still being updated. After installing with your mod manager, you need to go to your game directory and open "fallout_default.ini". You need to change line 92 'bLoadFaceGenHeadEGTFiles=0' to 'bLoadFaceGenHeadEGTFiles=1'.
  6. New Vegas Anti Crash (NVAC): Attempts to reduce the frequency of game crashes.

 

UI Mods:

These mods help to improve the function and layout of the UI.

  1. DarNified UI: The UI for FO:NV is definitely designed for someone playing on a TV. This mod makes the fonts and some other UI elements smaller among many other changes. If you click 'Add mod from file' in NMM and import the mod, it will install everything you need for you, otherwise, follow the instructions in the post (you will need to modify the font options in an INI file regardless of the method you use).
  2. Mod Configuration Menu (MCM): A very useful tool that allows you to change mod settings from an easy in-game menu. If you choose to install Project Nevada, I would recommend installing MCM after Project Nevada.
  3. Weapon Mod Menu (WMM): Modifies the weapon mod menu for added functionality. It allows you to remove weapon mods and gives information on what improvements the mod gives a weapon.
  4. Immersive HUD (iHUD): Hides all HUD elements until you need them (if you hit the 'i' key it will also unhide the HUD). So if you have full HP your HP bar will disappear, if you have full AP your AP bar will disappear, etc. Your crosshair also disappears when not in combat and your weapon is holstered. This mod needs to be installed after all mods that modify the HUD (this includes things like FWE). You can easily uninstall this mod and reinstall it if you install another mod that modifies the HUD. Hit 'yes to all' when installing. Pressing and holding 'i' will let you change the settings of the mod. You could install Unified HUD and iHUD last out of all your mods just to make sure you include all HUDs. With the MCM, you can easily customize when the HUD should reappear/hide.
  5. One HUD (oHUD): A combination of iHUD, Adjustable HUD, and Primary Needs HUD. Do not install iHUD, aHUD or the Primary Needs HUD along with oHUD. Install after all mods that modify the HUD except uHUD (so this includes things like Project Nevada), hit 'yes to all'.
  6. Unified HUD project (uHUD): Helps to integrate multiple HUD altering mods so that they will work together correctly. Install after all mods that modify the HUD (so this includes things like Project Nevada), hit 'yes to all'.

 

Graphics:

Make an older game look better.

  1. NMCs Texture Pack: A graphics overhaul. Makes the game look far better. There is almost no reason to get the High quality version as there is only a noticeable difference between High and Medium when you are very close to the textures.
  2. Poco Bueno Texture Pack: Another graphics overhaul. Makes the game look far better. NMC's texture pack covers more textures than Poco Bueno does, so you could install Poco Bueno over NMCs texture pack if you like them both equally. I happen to use NMC's texture pack as I only like a couple of textures from the Poco Bueno pack more.
  3. Fallout New Vegas Redesigned 2: You can't download this mod with the manager, you have to download it manually. Bethesda continues their tradition of making NPCs look ridiculous. This mod makes all NPCs look more human; it tries to make characters match their voice, personality, or even age. I will not play FO:NV without this mod, take a look at the screenshots as it is remarkable how much of a difference this makes. Installing this is a bit annoying though. You have to download your chosen file manually. Extract the .rar file you downloaded. Make a new folder called 'Fallout New Vegas Redesigned'. Go to your extracted files and copy the Textures, Meshes, the .esm file, the DLC support (if you have Honest Hearts), and either the Recoomended or Lore Version to your new folder. If you want the Voice Dissonance fix, copy the .esp from that folder into your work folder as well. Go to your work folder (the one you created), open it and create a new folder 'Data' in there. Move all the .esp, .esm, and the 'Texture' and 'Meshes' folders into the 'Data' folder you just created. Now the file path should be 'Fallout New Vegas Redesigned/Data/(Meshes, Textures, and the .esm and .esp files)'. Right click on the 'Fallout New Vegas Redesigned' folder and choose 'add to Fallout New Vegas Redesigned.rar'. Add your mod to your mod manager and install. This video by Gopher walks you through the installation (install instructions start at around 4:30) though I added the step of adding the files to a Data folder (probably not necessary though).
  4. Mojave Nights: A texture replacer for the sky and moon. It also allows you to customize your moon size and the glow from the moon.
  5. Enhanced Blood Textures: Better looking blood decals and wounds.
  6. Hectrol Duststorm: Increases the resolution of the dust storms. I use the 2048 resolution and it looks quite good.
  7. Weapon Retexture Project: The graphics overhauls above do not touch Weapon Textures. This mod makes weapons look quite a bit better.
  8. Improved LOD Noise Texture: Improves the look of terrain in the distance.
  9. Energy Visuals Enhanced (EVE): Energy weapons, explosions, and fire are all a bit boring. This improves visuals, sounds, animations, and even adds some new weapons. Ashpiles also look a lot better when you disintegrate people with a critical hit.

If you choose to use an ENB, there is not much need to install these next mods as the ENB can do many of the things these mods do.

  1. Imaginator: From the mod page "It allows you to separately control visual elements like Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Light Output, Depth-of-Field, Focus, Motion Blur and Tint all from within an easy-to-navigate PIP-BOY menu." Helps customize your game a bit. This will allow you to change the brightness even in windowed mode! No performance hit with this either!
  2. Dynavision: Adds depth of field and control over various aspects of it. Very little performance hit.
  3. Cinematech: Adds film grain. The film grain will have an effect on performance.
  4. Director's Chair: Combines Imaginator, Dynavision, and Cinamatech into an easy to use UI menu by hitting 'F7'. Otherwise, you have to access each one separately through the pip boy inventory screen.

 

ENBs:

ENBs can greatly improve the look of your game while providing some stability fixes. It will also greatly impact performance. This mod can add DoF, SSAO, different levels of AA and Anisotropic Filtering, Sun shafts, improved shadows, bloom, film grain, lens flare, better reflections, and can even impact weather. There are a lot of ENB presets out there, I would recommend looking by the most recently updated ones on this page as they use the most recent version of the ENB. You can also tweak these ENBs to improve performance and remove any effects you dislike. The later ENB versions also have an in-game menu that you can use to change settings while playing.

I happen to use the Enhanced Shaders ENB.

 

Animations:

Bethesda continues the tradition of having humans not actually move like a human, these help alleviate that.

  1. Weapon Animation Replacer: Improves the animations for weapons in the game. As usual, the animations are a bit jerky and weird looking. These make the animations look a bit better. I recommend that you do not install the 1st person animation tweaks, if you try to hip fire you will start firing before the weapon is aiming at your target.
  2. Weapon Animation Replacer FOMOD: a scripted FOMOD installer to allow you to easily choose the animations you want without having to copy the files. Follow the instructions for installing this mod (the video in the mod description also provides step-by-step instructions). I recommend that you do not install the 1st person animation tweaks, if you try to hip fire you will start firing before the weapon is aiming at your target.

 

Weather and Lighting:

  1. Project Reality: A weather and lighting overhaul. Adds multiple weather effects, changes the lighting in the world with different levels of night darkness to choose from, removes the orange tint in the game, and a couple other features (like radioactive rain with warning sirens that disables fast travel and will damage you). This is the lighting/weather mod I use. Also allows you to toggle different weather systems and effects on or off. This is not compatible with Fellout or Nevada Skies. This weather mod makes the wasteland seem more like a nuclear wasteland as opposed to a burning desert like Nevada Skies. This mod has a lot of options when using the MCM. This mod is harder on the system than Nevada Skies in almost all cases (except for rain).
  2. Nevada Skies: Another weather and lighting overhaul. Makes for a desert that looks pretty warm. You should look at the screenshots for the weather mods or watch this video to see the differences and choose which one you want.
  3. Fellout NV: Removes the orange tint from the game. Also tweaks lighting to make it look more realistic. Nights will be darker (instead of just greyer) and weather lighting has been overhauled (clouds do make days darker after all).

 

Minor Gameplay/Misc Changes:

Minor in the sense that they don't impact gameplay a large amount.

  1. NV Interiors Project: Adds a number of interiors to buildings that used to be boarded up. If you've ever been annoyed at the number of boarded up or locked buildings, this mod is perfect. The interiors are well done and fit perfectly into the game (you won't be able to tell which ones are new).
  2. Enhanced Camera: You can see your body and your shadow when in first person. Also prevents the automatic switch to third person when knocked down/killed. I have not tested this one, but it looks interesting.
  3. Delay DLC: Ever get annoyed that the DLC quests, radio signals, and messages all pop up right at the start of the game? This mod stops the messages from appearing until you are close to the radio broadcast. The quest will also not begin until you listen to the entire radio broadcast.
  4. Couriers Stash Pre-order Pack Selector: The courier's stash is a DLC that includes all of the preorder items for NV (if you have the Ultimate Edition you have the Courier's stash DLC). The annoying part of this is that, right at the start, you are loaded down with 80kg of weapons and armor. This tool lets you select the gear packs that you want (if you want any).

 

Gameplay Overhauls/Major Additions:

Mods that add quite a bit to the game. Most of these should probably not be used on the first playthrough. Save them for a second run.

  1. A World of Pain: More monster types, more monsters, and more locations (with some very nice loot). Be prepared to be swarmed and hurt.
  2. Project Nevada: From the same people that brought you Fallout Wanderers Edition. A complete overhaul of damage and perks among many other things. If you install this be prepared to play more strategically as getting shot or meleed will hurt you a lot more, but you will also do a lot more damage. This has an in-game menu to help you out.
  3. Project Brazil: This is a massive addition to the game. It adds a new campaign set in California that you select from the new game tab on the main menu. Currently only the first installment is out, with a second installment in the works.
  4. Vicious Wastes: A balance mod that seeks to make the game more difficult/more of an unforgiving wasteland. I haven't tested this one as it is quite new. If you use this with Project Nevada, disable the rebalance module from Project Reality as this covers far more than that module (though it currently offers fewer customization options).

 

Housing/Buildings:

  1. NV Interiors Project: Adds new interiors to buildings in the Mojave Desert. Makes the world seem that much larger.
  2. Lucky 38 Suite Reloaded: If you find the Lucky 38 presidential suite is pretty bland, this helps spruce it up and makes it more interesting while balancing it by requiring you to purchase many of the upgrades.
  3. Nipton Rebuilt: A new mod for the list. I have not tried this one, but it caught my eye. It does seem to work perfectly for other people however. This mod allows you to rebuild the town of Nipton and become its mayor. It also adds some new buildings to the town. WARNING: It seems that some people are having CTDs after installing this mod with no way to fix it except uninstalling the mod. You also should not use VATS on the prisoner if you upgrade the police station as it apparently causes the camera to glitch and you to fall through the floor.

 

Quests/Objectives:

New Vegas Uncut: An attempt to correct the problem that so many Obsidian games have by restoring a whole bunch of cut content that was almost complete but didn't make it into the final game. Some of these are minor, and some of them can cause some problems (particularly Freeside Open, it is very resource heavy, and I would recommend not installing it).

  1. NVU 1 - Rotface to Riches: restores a lot of cut content to Rotface, the ghoul who provides information for money. This restores his full quest that is a good example of Obsidian's quest crafting. Prepare for unforeseen consequences.
  2. NVU 2 - A Koch and Bohr Story: Not worth getting. Adds a couple robots to Vault 22. They are fully voiced, but really destroy the ambiance of Vault 22. They really don't add much of anything, and there are some real immersion breaking issues with the robots.
  3. NVU 3 - A Van Graff Scorned: Ever wonder why there is a guy kneeling on the floor of the Silver Rush? This restores a cutscene from when you first encounter the Van Graffs and adds some depth to the Van Graff Family.
  4. NVU 4 - A Thorny Situation: You know the Thorn fighting arena where you can pit yourself against various captured monsters? Ever want to release them and have the monsters rip their captors limb from limb? This mod restores that option. Unfortunately, the poor pathing system for the game means that the beasts may get stuck going through doors and walking across the walkways.
  5. NVU 5 - A Wilder Wasteland: Adds a few random NPC encounters back into the game: Gojira, the Sentry Bot Toy, The Wastland Adventurer NPC, and a cut encounter with Benny.
  6. NVU 6 - If it Wasn't for Betsy: Restores the cut companion Betsy, a brahmin, and her quest. She is unable to fight, but can carry a large amount of weight. Much of this quest is original content, as there was no VA for the quest and only an outline of the quest in the game files.
  7. NVU 7 - Pacer's Gambit: Restores options on how to deal with Pacer during the quest King's Gambit.
  8. NVU 8 - Welcome to Fabulous New Vegas: Not worth getting. Replaces the opening cinematic with 1 of 2 in-engine openings you can choose from. It's fun to see once, but it is also buggy and doesn't add anything to the game.
  9. Freeside Open: Merges the two different sections of Freeside into one and adds back a large amount of content cut from Freeside. This will most likely cause problems with your game, the Gamebryo engine is not built to handle the size of the area and the number of events and people this mod adds. Only use if you have a nice PC and don't mind dropping to 30FPS and occasional crashing. If you choose to use this mod, don't install Rotface to Riches, A Van Graff Scorned, or Pacer's Gambit as this mod includes those three.

 

The Someguy Series: Necessary for New Vegas Bounties 1 and 2, Russell, and The Inheritance quest lines. This master file allows choices in the 4 mods to carry over and influence events in the other quests. These quests will include a lot of violence and profanity, more so than the rest of the game. These also seem to be designed for higher level players.

  1. New Vegas Bounties I: Bounty Hunting quests! You are sent to kill/capture some very difficult opponents and also includes the ability to "taunt" bosses, making the fights a lot more difficult. Fully VA.
  2. New Vegas Bounties II: Requires NVB I. Picks up were NVB I leaves off. Again you are going after numerous bounties, this time pursuing bounties in any order instead of following a linear quest line. Fully VA, and improves on the choices and dialogue options of the first quest.
  3. Russell: Adds a new companion and quest line to pursue a bounty. The mod author warns that this mod contains a lot of profanity and some graphic moments where you witness the aftermath of a massacre. If you have Russell with you during NVB I or II, he will comment on the various bounties and have some unique dialogue choices.
  4. The Inheritance: A quest that begins when a dying man hires you to deliver a package. There are also side quests included, some of which have no bearing on the main quest. Again, there is some interplay between the different quests.

 

Sounds:

Want more music or ambient noises? Here you go!

  1. Did I forget an entire section? What can I say, there just aren't any that I have found and liked!

 

Armor/Weapons:

  1. Weapon Mods Expanded: From the mod author who made WMK for FO3 and inspired Obsidian to implement weapon mods in NV. This expands on the weapon modding system in NV.
  2. Advanced Recon Gear: A bunch of different mods that add new Advanced Recon gear and add functionality to the helmets (like nightvision and range finding). The linked mod (Advanced Recon Thermal Nightvision) contains links to various other mods in the series. Pick and choose the ones you want! I love this mod as the Ranger Combat armor is my favorite armor in the game and this adds more variants to it.
  3. Colossus Enclave - Lienas Squad Armor: Adds an Enclave patrol with unique power armor. I recommend picking up the Hardened Hazmat armor optional file as well.
  4. Colossus t49xv: Adds a few suits of custom power armor that look very good.
  5. Courier 6 Power Armor: A suit of power armor that has been beaten and repaired numerous times. No longer need to look like you belong to a faction to wear power armor.
  6. Courier 6 Armor - Compatability Patches: Adds patches for Advanced Recon Thermal Nightvision and Project Nevada. If you only use one mod, deselect the .esp of the patch you don't need after installing (or your game will crash).
  7. XV Enclave Rework: adds new areas around the Mojave with 8 sets of unique Enclave power and tesla armor.

 

Finalizing Your Mod List:

Once you have installed all of your mods, fire up BOSS and run it for FO:NV. Once that is done, you need to use FNVEdit to create a merged patch to help reduce mod conflicts and potential crashes. Watch Gopher's video on FNVEdit if you don't know how to use it or what it does. It is 20 minutes, but it is important to do this and do it correctly. If you understand how mod loading and mod order works, you can skip ahead to 9:00 where Gopher talks about making a Merged Patch.

 

Performance:

If you start up a game and notice a dramatic decrease in FPS, there are a few mods that can really be the cause.

  • Graphics mods will increase load times, can cause stuttering, will drop your FPS, and can cause crashes from VRAM bursts.
  • Weather and lighting mods can cause problems for the same reasons.
  • ENBs also can cause some serious problems,

Otherwise, most of these mods shouldn't increase the stress on your graphics card, they will increase RAM use a bit (which is why you really need the Large Address Aware Enabler) and CPU use a little bit.

 

I would also recommend using Optimizer Textures (I know this is a link to Skyrim Nexus, the program works for Skyrim, FO3, FO:NV, among others) to compress the texture sizes for some of these graphics mods (it won't look much worse, but can free up a bunch of RAM and VRAM in a game that already has issues with it).


Edited by TheWinslow, 24 August 2014 - 01:14 AM.

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