How To Install Fallout 3 Mods

It’s a busy few weeks for Fallout fans: Barely 24 hours after New Vegas was released, extensive modding tools were released for it, and there’s already some truly epic New Vegas Mods – But let’s give New Vegas some time to breathe; why not spend some time with an old friend, and play some Fallout 3 mods instead. We thought you’d like that, which is why today, we’re going to show you how to install Fallout 3 mods, and then which ones you need to grab for yourself.

Pip Boy Activated? Great! Let’s get started.

Difficulty: Beginner

Table Of Contents

System Requirements


Installing Fallout 3 Mods

Dynamic Weather

Fallout Who

Warhammer 40K Conversion

RTS – Real Time Settler

Additional Resources

System Requirements

It’s been a few years, so it’s almost certain your PC can handle Fallout 3 Mods. Even so, it’s always good to be sure.

* OS: Minimum – Windows XP; Recommended – Windows Vista
* CPU: Minimum – Pentium 4 2.4 GHz / Athlon XP 2500+; Recommended – Intel Core 2 Duo / Athlon 64 X2 5200+
* Memory: Minimum – 1 GB (XP) / 2 GB (Vista); Recommended – 2 GB (XP) / 2.5 GB (Vista)
* Minimum – Graphics hardware DirectX 9.0c compliant card with 256 MB RAM (NVIDIA 6800 or better / ATI X800 or better); Recommended – DirectX 9.0c compliant card with 512 MB RAM (NVIDIA 8800 series, ATI HD 3800 series)


The first thing you’re going to need to install Fallout 3 mods is a compression utility such as Winrar, or 7-zip. Click either link to locate and download.

Next, you’ll also need to grab the following tools:

1) Fallout Mod Manager
2) FO3Edit
3) Fallout Script Extender

Let’s tackle them one at a time, ok?

Fallout Mod Manager

The Fallout Mod Manager (henceforth: FOMM) helpfully lists your mods in the order you installed them – as you can see above, Fallout 3 will be listed first. All mods and DLC listed below. This is particularly useful in troubleshooting – Some fallout 3 mods might break your game, particularly when it tries to load all of them simultaneously. Using FOMM you can disable and enable Fallout 3 mods one by one to find out who the culprit is.

In addition, FOMM also comes with a vast array of tools to make managing your mods a snap:

* Transactional Installation – If a mod fails to activate properly, any changes it made to your game are undone. (Prevents partially-installed mods.)

* File versioning – If a mod overwrites a file that has been installed by another mod, FOMM backs up the original file. Should you deactivate the second mod, FOMM will restore the original version of the overwritten file.

* Graphics Setting – This enables you to change these settings directly from the “Game settings” file, without having to launch the game.

* New Mod Version Checks – FOMM will search the Internets for new versions of the mods you’ve installed.

Head over to the Fallout 3 Nexus and grab a copy now, and to install:

* Open FOMM using your compression utility
* Once it’s decompressed, it will be assigned to a temporary folder. Open that folder.
* In a separate window, open C:Program Files/Bethesda Softworks/Fallout3.
* Back in the temp file containing FOMM, highlight everything in the file and drag/drop into the Fallout 3 file.
* Confirm you want to install.


FO3Edit will resolve many of the problems that result from having multiple Fallout 3 Mods installed. What it does is look through all your mods, identifies values that are being edited by multiple mods, and creates a merged path so that, instead of having each mod attempting to edit individual copies of the same value, they’ll be essentially accessing the same copy of that single value. Think of it like forcing your mods to carpool to work in a hybrid, instead of letting them drive in their individual SUVs.

You can grab a copy here (use the readme to install).

Fallout Script Extender

You’ll need the Fallout Script Extender (FOSE, henceforth) because a lot of Fallout 3 mods require additional scripting commands to properly work. Installing FOSE will allow you expand the scripting capability of Fallout 3 without altering its .exe or the Fallout 3 version of G.E.C.K.

You can get it here. Once downloaded, install:

* Open FOSE using your compression utility
* Once it’s decompressed, it will be assigned to a temporary folder. Open that folder.
* In a separate window, open C:Program Files/Bethesda Softworks/Fallout3.
* Back in the temp file containing FOSE, highlight everything in the file and drag/drop into the Fallout 3 file.
* Confirm you want to install.
* Done.

Should it become neccessary to use FOSE to install a Fallout 3 mod, you’ll be able to access it from inside FOMM. There’s a shiny “Launch FOSE” button for your convenience.

WARNING: FOSE is incompatible with Games For Windows Live. You might also review this page for additional restrictions.

Installing Fallout 3 Mods

Tools located and activated? Good. Finally, it’s time to actually learn how to install Fallout 3 Mods.

Step One: Assuming you’ve downloaded the mod you want to install, locate where the downloaded file was placed, and right click to open with whichever file extraction app you downloaded.

Step Two: Create a temp file to place the mod data into.

Step Three: now, open up that file and identify the game data and graphics information to make the mod function (.esp files, sounds, meshes, and texture files). Like so:

Step Four: Find your actual Fallout 3 files, most likely found at C:Program Files/Bethesda/Softworks/Fallout3. Click into the “Data” file.

NOTE: Duh.

Step Five: Now, go back to the temp file you created, and highlight those usable files from the Mod’s folder. Drag and drop them into the data folder.

Step Six: You will be asked if you want to merge the folders. Say yes.

Congratulations, you’ve installed your first Fallout 3 mod. Now, we’ll just need to activate it. This is where FOMM comes in.

There are a lot of different methods for getting Fallout 3 Mods fully working, but the routine we found most helpful was suggested over at Angry About Life:

A) Bring up FOMM

B) Click Help.

C) Check For Updates

D) Now, check boxes next to every mod you want to play. If you’ve played through the official game (including DLC), but haven’t yet added any mods, you’ll only see the actual game, + DLC, like so:.

E) Just to get into the habit, click Auto Sort; this will put files in the order you uploaded them.

F) Now, exit FOMM and bring up FO3Edit.

G) Once FO3Edit is finished, right click Load Order.

H) Select to create a Merged Patch.

I) Exit FO3Edit and bring up FOMM once more.

J) Everything should still be organized in the order you installed, and at the bottom of the list, you should now see the new mod. Check box to enable.

K) Close FOMM and bring up FO3MasterUpdate.

ONE LAST THING: Go ahead and bring up Fallout 3. You can either click “Launch FOSE” from inside FOMM, or load normally. Once there, you can do a final check to make sure the mod is ready to go by clicking the Data Files link on the Fallout 3 title menu:

If everything worked and you’re satisfied, so go ahead and click play.

Now you know how to install them – so which Fallout 3 mods are you going to want? No list can be truly comprehensive, but we’ve compiled a few of the best below.

Dynamic Weather

Dynamic Weather offers a more naturalistic, progressively changing weather environment for you to play around in. Gone is the basic pea soup grey that overshadows everything. Now you get dust storms, lightning, rain variants, crisper days and blacker nights. But really, look at that fog! What else do you need to know? Get it here.

Fallout Who

We reported on this one a few weeks back. This ongoing mod-in-development takes characters and conventions from the Dr. Who universe (including Torchwood!), and places them (courtesy of the miracle of Time Travel) into Fallout 3. You can get it here.

Warhammer 40K Conversion

Another Fallout 3 mod we reported on, Warhammer 40K Conversion does what it sounds like: Warhammer 40K + Fallout 3. SQEEEEEEEE. Get it here.

RTS – Real Time Settler

We’ll leave you with the greatest Fallout 3 Mod of all time. Real Time Settler is a RT strategy game crammed into Fallout 3, which allows you to found, build, and manage a wholly original village of your own within the Capital Wasteland. Start with a post office. Watch as wandering wretches show up to join your village and micro-manage it from tiny settlement to, well it’s worth playing to find out. It’s strictly for the hardcore: You have to be willing to put some mothafracking time into it, and then some, and then some more. This is probably the most ambitious Fallout 3 mod you’ll ever see, and you can get it here.

Additional Resources:

Angry about life provided a lost of assistance as we put this one together.

As is generally the case, the Fallout 3 Nexus is a vast repository. Visit is often.

You’ll also want to check out our Fallout: New Vegas walkthrough.

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1 Comment on How To Install Fallout 3 Mods

Salina Crider

On May 27, 2011 at 10:17 pm

This blog is great. There is continually all of the ideal info at the recommendations of my fingers. Thank you and maintain up the very good work!