GameFront 2010: Essential Fallout 3 Mods
Bethesda Softworks is one of my favorite game companies. It produces game worlds large enough to lose yourself in, but as great as the games and add-ons the company itself produces are, Bethesda RPGs really don’t show their true potential until the mod community get their hands on them. Fallout 3 is no exception.
As this year winds down and we begin to highlight some of the best commercial games of 2010, this seems like a great opportunity to call out some of the essential modifications for Fallout 3.
Fallout 3 Utilities:
- Fallout Mod Manager
- Fallout Script Extender
- ArchiveInvalidated Invalidated
- Large Address Aware Enabler
- Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch
Fallout 3 Megamods:
Fallout 3 Visual Tweaks:
Fallout 3 Utilities
Before you dive into adding new monsters, companions and content there are a few less glamorous utilities that you should make sure are installed first. These tools will make your Fallout modding experience so much better:
Fallout 3, like Oblivion before it, has great mod support. However, the order the game loads your modules and any potential modifications caused by the add-ons can cause havoc with your game. The Fallout Mod Manager is just the tool to take those worries away. Aside from allowing you to customize and rearrange the order in which the game loads various modules, the tool also notifies you of conflicts and will allow you to download a load order and share it with others. This is a must have Fallout 3 mod tool.
Aside from disabling Fallout 3′s inane integration with Games for Windows, this little tool is a necessity to add some of the most interesting features of the mega mods below. FOSE adds a lot of functionality to the G.E.C.K toolkit that mod makers are leveraging to create additional companions, new quests and other gameplay tweaks. A word of warning however, if you’re a Direct2Drive player, this is not compatible. Luckily, the main mods still work fairly well even without this.
You can read the readme on this and not really get any idea what it does, so let me sum it up: This helps make mods work. Install it and move on to the more sexy subjects below.
Fallout 3 is a 32-bit game. As such, it has a few limitations that 64-bit Windows 7 users might want to consider.. or you can add this fix to enable the game to recognize and use over 2GB of memory. Applying the fix may change the way the game reads add-on content, and it breaks Windows Live! integration, but it’s a small price to pay when you consider it’s required to run the highest levels of NMC’s Textures Pack.
Since Fallout 3 is at version 1.7 you can assume Bethesda fixed a good number of the major show-stopping bugs, but in the rush to push out paid content and collect your money for their excellent work some things fell by the wayside. The unofficial Fallout 3 patch addresses those things; well, a lot of them anyway. This fix makes many quest and content tweaks and fixes some broken game functions. It’s a must have, though to use it you must copy any Fallout 3 DLC into the data folder just like a regular mod.
Fallout 3 Megamods
Sometimes one small tweak or change is just not enough. For those times, you have the MEGAMOD! Megamods are the closest thing to a total conversion mod without actually creating your own game and these add-ons alter fundamental parts of Fallout 3 in some pretty awesome ways.
The maker of the outstanding Martigen’s Monster Mod for Oblivion brings the special mod magic over to Fallout 3. Mart’s Mutant Mod introduces a greater variety of Fallout 3 opponents and tweaks the game’s auto-level feature to allow players to choose how and when enemies outmatch them. From the Night Vision Ghouls to the ginormous “Gargantuan” Super Mutant, the fresh new models and foes really add needed enemy spice to the post apocalyptic world.
Just as MMM greatly alters the mutant hunting experience of Fallout 3, FOOK2 is a huge change-up for gameplay systems. Along with tons of new items and some upgraded object textures, FOOK2 is a gameplay toolkit that allows players to enable tweaks that will mix up the Fallout 3 formula to challenge them or to better fit an individual play style.
Fallout 3 Visual Tweaks
Have you ever noticed that Bethesda’s games feature some of the world’s ugliest people? While it might be OK for super mutants and ghouls to look like.. well.. mutants and ghouls, the stock character and NPC faces in Fallout 3 are not very fun to look at during a 200 hour playthrough. There are a lot of nude body mods and some new hairstyles out there, but Project Beauty HD overhauls most of the stock people in the game giving them a more natural look. No, despite the name, it won’t turn everyone into supermodels.
After a few hundred years of radioactive waste, even the most damaged ecosystem would recover (just look at Chernobyl), so why is Fallout 3′s East Coast US so much like New Mexico? After wandering around in the desolate brown and grey world, it’s refreshing to add a little visual flair. Green World actually replaces many of the dead trees and brown grass areas with more natural objects. Aside from looking better, it also introduces a bit more tactical flair since hills and trees are more obscuring of approaching enemies than just barren hills.
Like Oblivion before it, Fallout 3 features passable textures. However, the engine is capable of so much more and all it took was a modder to spend the time making an already good looking game into something better. NMC’s Texture Pack comes in a few different versions, all including redone landscape and object textures that really do punch up the visuals even on lower end video cards. Be warned, the highest resolution textures do need a good bit of horsepower and memory.
Not so much armor, it’s more like a new saddlebag to make your favorite attack dog companion into a beast of burden as well. This is a nice little visual flair for fans of the Wanderer’s canine best friend.
Three Dog, the radio warrior of the wastelands is a pretty fun guy to listen to.. for the first few hours of Fallout 3 anyway. Aside from having limited announcements his selection of songs is more than a little limited. More Where That Came From adds a lot fo new “period” music to the game so you’re less likely to grow tired of Billie Holiday and The Inkspots.
Another add-on radio station, CONELRAD is modeled after actual Civil Defense Radio of the 1950′s. The public service announcements and cold war radio plays add a great level of authenticity to the Fallout 3 world.