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If you're anything like me, you're bald, mildly concerned about the persistent pain in your right knee, and since childhood have been plagued by recurring nightmares about tidal waves that you secretly fear may be prophetic. You also enjoy running around in Fallout 4 in third-person perspective, but prefer first-person view for combat. You can switch between third- and first-person perspectives manually, of course, and it's not any kind of hassle. However!
There's now a mod that knows how you and I like to play shooters. It's called MGS Aiming, created by modder PeterTran, and when installed it will switch from third-person to first whenever you aim with your weapon sights. Stop aiming, and you snap right back into third-person. I love mods that solve problems you didn't even know you had, and this is a perfect example.
The mod is activated (and deactivated, if you decide you don't like it) with a holotape, and once installed you can enjoy Fallout 4 as it probably already should have been: with a quick snap to first-person when you aim in third-person.
Hannah just wanted to be a farmer. Not a male farmer. Not a female farmer. Just a farmer that didn’t have to suffer NPC after NPC lumping them into one gender or the other. Hannah’s hopes rose with the release of Stardew Valley, but after jumping into the farming sim they discovered it offered only male and female gender identities, with he/she pronouns to match. As someone who identifies as non-binary, Hannah couldn’t help but be disappointed.
“I ve almost come to expect little to no representation,” says Hannah. “Being able to play a character that is different from myself is fun and interesting, but playing one true to myself I find is often more fun. It feels more real if you are in the world rather than just an observer playing a person in that world.”
Unwilling to sit idly by, Hannah took it upon themselves to broaden Stardew Valley’s gender diversity, modding the game so that NPCs referred to the protagonist with gender-neutral pronouns and replacing the gender symbols in the character creator with ungendered body-type indicators.
I've been having a go at a mod called Sim Settlements, created by kinggath, (which I previously wrote about here). It's a mod that gives you a completely new way to create and manage settlements, and: 1) it does a much better and more interesting job with settlements than the base game does, and 2) it still lets you build them the old-fashioned way, if you like. It's one of the most creative and well-thought out mods I've seen yet. I think Bethesda should hire kinggaff or buy the mod or something to make it part of Fallout 4 officially, because it's great and everyone should use it.
The idea behind Sim Settlements, if the title wasn't enough of a clue, is that rather than building every last house and placing last piece of furniture yourself, you can zone your settlement for development instead (like a city-building sim). You place plots for residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial areas, and then watch (or leave and come back) as your settlers build their own houses, plant their own crops, and erect and work at their own stores. There's still things for you to do: place generators, water pumps, defenses, and so on, but your settlers won't just stand around waiting for you to micromanage them: they'll pitch in and build things too.
It's a great idea for a mod, and this is important so I'm going to mention it again: even with the mod installed, you can still build your own custom structures and stores and everything else as you normally do. NPCs will only build on the zoned plots you place, so it doesn't have to be an entirely hands-off experience. You can zone some settlements, custom build others, or do a bit of both on the same settlement. The mod doesn't replace the original settlement system in any way whatsoever, it just gives you an entirely new option for how to plan and create your communities.
The buildings your settlers construct aren't cookie-cutter affairs: they're all a bit different, right down to the clutter that eventually appears inside them. This means just about every house and store your NPCs build will look unique. I was oddly pleased to see my companion Curie build herself a home out of a trailer rather than a wood or tin shack like everyone else had done:
The trailer was pretty barebones inside, with just a small table, a chair (actually a toilet covered with a plank of wood), and mattress on the floor. But with Sim Settlements, NPCs gradually improve their homes. Curie later upgraded her trailer by hangings lights, moving furniture around, putting up shelves, and decorating a bit, including giving herself a place to relax outside (she even brought the toilet-chair outside and used it as a place to store a beverage):
I think that's my favorite thing about the mod—seeing what the settlers build for themselves, and how it changes over time. Sort of like, y'know, a real settlement would. This is why the mod should become an official part of the game: it makes your settlements feel alive, far more than the original game does. Your settlers feel more like real people and less like nameless, corn-shucking automations.
Plots for homes, stores, and industrial buildings come with an electrical pole attached, so you just hook up one power line to each, connected to a generator, and you're set as far as electricity goes. Settlers will start with a rudimentary shack, dark and dingy, but eventually (if your settlement is safe and has enough power, water, food, and defenses) add their own lights to the interior. No more farting around with interior powerlines! They'll do it for you.
Once you set up a settlement with zones, you're free to wander off. I was away attending to other business (killing things), and I'd get a notification that someone had improved their house, store, or farm, and I'd rush back to see what they'd done. Below is one settler's home that had essentially just been a mattress on a floor and a few random items on a table. When I returned, it was looking a lot cozier (despite the mattress still being on the floor) and even had some working lamps.
Same goes for shops. Stores won't be built right away: they're dependent on population count or number of homes in your settlement. Once my population began to grow, I was very pleased to see Nick Valentine (I pretty much dragged all my followers with me to live in this one town) open a bar on one of the commercial plots. Soon, he'd added a chemistry table inside and would chill out in there most of the day. Another NPC opened a tailor's shop, and even hung a painting inside. My industrial zone, staffed by a nameless settler, eventually turned from simple mound of junk she would gather scrap from into a proper garage, complete with a busted-up car inside. Cool. Even farming plots get upgraded, as those working on them will add scarecrows (mannequins).
All these little details are wonderful, and the items placed on shelves and left on tables and counters in the buildings' interiors make the homes and shops feel lived in, and real. Far more real than if you personally dictate what each settler has on their nightstand or dinner table. It's nice to return to a settlement not just because I want to craft something or defend it from raiders, but because I'm genuinely curious what my settlers have been up to while I've been away.
There's a lot of customization options, too. By default, your settlers pay you a small tax in exchange for living in your town, though you can raise, lower, or turn off the taxes completely. If you're looking to be a bit more hands-on, you can manually assign settlers to zones rather than letting them become auto-assigned. These, and many more options, are available to tweak through the holotape you use to get started with the mod: see this video on where to find the tape.
Even more good news: it's super easy to install since there's just a few files that need to be plopped into your Fallout 4 data folder. You can—and definitely should—grab Sim Settlements from Nexus Mods and give it a try.
Last month, the Entertainment Software Association announced this year's E3 conference in Los Angeles will be open to the public—having been exclusive to media and industry folk previously. If you're able to attend, there's a good chance you'll be able to get your hands on Fallout 4 VR.
Announced at the Bethesda conference at last year's E3, the developer's Todd Howard has since spoken excitedly about the Commonwealth's virtual reality incarnation on a few occasions, however vice president Pete Hines has confirmed it'll be at this year's LA event.
Speaking to Hip Hop Gamer (via GameRant), Hines told the prominent YouTuber that Fallout 4 VR will feature at E3 2017 and that Howard had recently told him it's "the most incredible thing you've ever seen in your life."
Expectedly enthusiastic, Hines adds: "You can’t even imagine what it’s like, playing in VR and how realistic it looks and everywhere you turn your head. It is going to blow your mind. It is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen."
While Hines doesn't say whether or not Fallout 4 VR will be playable at the conference, I'd wager something will be given the fact Howard has previously suggested it can be played "from start to finish right now", even if there's still work to be done. In an interview last year, Howard said movement was, at that stage, governed by teleportation, but that he and his team were "experimenting with a few other techniques."
And if something is playable, can we expect a concrete launch date this June? I guess we'll find out in less than three months' time.
The goal of reclaiming territory in Fallout 4 is a noble one, and the concept of building safe and livable settlements can make you feel like you're having a positive impact on the world. On the other hand, building multiple settlements is a bit of a pain in the ass since you—and you alone—are responsible for the placement of every single wall, window, door, and stick of furniture. Plus, NPCs arriving at your settlements need to pointed at the specific stalk of corn you want them to harvest and the specific bed you want them to sleep in.
This may be fine if you're into micromanagement, but there's something to be said for a town that takes care of itself and for citizens who take matters into their own hands. That's the idea behind Sim Settlements, a Fallout 4 mod that turns settlements into a SimCity/Cities: Skylines type experience.
Rather than placing foundations, building walls, attaching roofs and doors, and placing every last bit of furniture, you instead just place zones in your settlement for residential housing, commercial and industrial areas, and farming plots. If it's a residential zone, for example, a 'For Rent' sign will appear, and eventually a settler will wander over, claim the plot, and get to work. They'll erect a home, complete with a bed and other furniture, and move in. They'll plant crops or open shops. Their buildings will even level up if the health of your settlement is high enough, so when you return after an adventure or two you may see bigger buildings where once stood humble shacks.
I'm sure this isn't the experience every player wants—many people enjoy hours of building and arranging every last detail of their settlements. I do think it's an interesting take on the settlement system, though, one that requires less direct management from the player while at the same time providing more realism and immersion. Instead of returning to find a settlement exactly how you left it—except for a few new settlers standing around waiting to be assigned to something—you can see actual progress as the settlement you founded grows and thrives. It makes sense, too: while you're off killing mutants and robots, why wouldn't an NPC build a second story onto his home?
A lot of consideration has been put into Sim Settlements, from the randomization of the houses themselves—you'll probably never see two that look exactly the same—right down to the clutter you'll find when a home is built and a settler has moved in. For instance, if a settler has a table they eat their meals at, you may see dishes and bottles on that table, but at other times those items may be put away, as if the citizen tidied up after themselves. It sounds like a neat system that makes settlements feel like real, lived-in places.
There's a lot to it, and a series of videos from the modder, kinggath, does a good job at explaining the various features, and what may be added in the future. It's also highly customizable with a number of features that can be turned on or off. Sim Settlements is still a work in progress, but you can find the latest build here at Nexus Mods.
Are you the type of player who spends countless hours in Fallout 4 designing and building the perfect settlement? Or are you (like me) the type of player who spends those same hours working tirelessly but only winds up with a few crummy, uninspired, lopsided buildings and wishes they could enjoy the fruits of a more talented laborer's labor? Either way, here's some good news: there's a mod that lets you upload your awesome settlement for others to enjoy, or download someone else's superior settlement and make it your own.
Here's how the Transfer Settlements mod works. After you install the mod, you'll find a holotape in your inventory (you can also craft the tape at a chemistry station, if you prefer a little DIY). Load the tape while in one of your settlements, and you'll be able to create a blueprint of your entire settlement. You can choose how extensive this blueprint is: it can even collect tamed animals and creatures or items from DLC and other settlement mods. The only thing your blueprint can't grab (at least not yet) are power lines.
Close your Pip-boy and it'll export your settlement into a blueprint file. There's a bit more to it: make sure you carefully read the installation instructions on the mod's Nexus page. If you've done it correctly, you can now share these blueprints with a friend, or upload somewhere for anyone to use.
The mod is still in beta, but it certainly sounds promising. I, for one, look forward to importing some slick, well-designed settlements to replace the collection of dingy, cruddy buildings I half-heartedly clumped together and then gave up on. As an added bonus, when you import a new settlement, the mod will nuke the crap out of your existing one. Sounds cathartic. You can have a look at what players have already uploaded by visiting the 'Transfer Settlement Blueprints' category on Nexus Mods.
If you're looking for a new way to blow people up in Fallout 4, allow me to direct you to the Remote Explosives mod. It adds new C4 plastic explosives, plasma charges, and improvised explosive devices, plus a hand-held detonator that will set off any of the explosives you've planted with a single click. Nifty! Even better than simply dropping your new explosives at someone's feet, you can reverse pickpocket the devices into an NPCs inventory, shuffle nonchalantly away, and blow them up from a safe distance.
Below, modder FadingSignal lays out all the details in this short yet incredibly informative video.
The explosives can be planted in the same way mines are in the vanilla game, and the detonator is equipped like a pistol. The mod also features custom animations and sounds. You'll need rank 2 of the Pickpocket perk if you want to slip your charges into an NPCs pockets, and level 2 of the Sneak perk to avoid suspicion if nearby NPCs are hurt by the blast. With ranks in the Demolition perk, your explosives will do more damage—otherwise, the damage of the explosives is comparable to proximity and bottlecap mines.
The explosive devices can be purchased from vendors, found as loot, or crafted. According to FadingSignal, the mod won't conflict with any other mods you're using.
About a year ago, I bought myself a HTC Vive. Since then, it’s gathered a fair bit of dust. I swear, it’s not that I’m a VR skeptic, so much as someone without a whole lot of space to play with who prefers being able to go to the toilet at night without> tripping over what I’m going to call ‘a Maplin’ of expensive cabling. Of late though, I’ve been feeling the urge to go back in, largely I must say inspired by stuff I can’t actually play, like the intro to I Expect You To Die (Vive version is coming, I can’t be arsed with Revive) and watching the new Psychonauts and Arkham VR experiences from the PSVR.
So, I did. And I had some fun playing around with some new stuff.
My RPG based dreams though feel further away than ever.
Blood for the blood god, it’s only the weekly Steam charts! These are the ten games which sold best on Steam last week.
The debate has raged for an eternity. The infinite dilemma that has defeated even humanity’s greatest minds.
Which is best: guns or swords? Today, I have a definitive answer for you.