Arwen's Fallout New Vegas Journal
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(updated September 10, 2013)

tweaks & tips

Page Menu:| Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | links

 
Index to Arwen's Tips

Introduction

- My Need to Tweak
- My Gaming Computer (opens a new page)
- My nVidia/nHancer settings

Game Play Tips (updated 10/23/10)

MODs 101 - The Basics (updated 2/23/09)

- What Exactly Is a MOD?
- How My Fallout New Vegas Journal Can Help
- My Goals

How To Add a MOD To Your Game

- My Basic Instructions on Installing a Mod using FOMM

How to Do a Clean Save

The Fallout.ini & FalloutPrefs.ini files: Basic Edits

- Remove Waypoints from Pipboy Maps

Console Commands

- Changing your Character's Appearance

Big Red Exclamation Points! (equals a missing texture)

- How to identify the mod that the missing texture belongs to

Links- offsite links to other Fallout New Vegas tweak resources


Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
Introduction

My Need to Tweak

When you run Fallout New Vegas for the first time, the program automatically sets the graphics for you, based on your PC. If you're actually happy with the way the program set things up graphically, then just play the game and don't change anything . . . and you're probably in the wrong place right now, because that's 90% of what this section is about. But if you want to find some ways to tweak up the graphics AND still get acceptable FPS, then you might want to try out some of my tweaks (Oh, I should probably point out that "my" doesn't mean that I come up with all these tweaks (although I did come up with a few of them on my own) . . . "my" refers to my collection of tweaks, that improved both the appearance and the performance of Fallout NewVegas on my previous computer.


If you have an NVidia graphics card, I strongly suggest that you use nHancer (Advanced Control Panel and Profile Editor for nVidia cards).

Arwen Note: The information below was written for Fallout 3, when I was using an older graphics card: an XFX NVidia GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB DDR3 @500MHz (but it should also apply to Fallout New Vegas, since they both use the same game engine).

Using nHancer, I was able to increase my FPS in Fallout 3 by 60-80%. This made a HUGE difference to how my game ran, looked, and it actually reduced my VATS lag and my crashes to desktop (now nearly non- existent)

First of all . . . make sure that you have the latest drivers for your graphics card installed!

My nHancer settings [Under Profiles: Fallout3]

Enhancements tab:
- I checked Anti-Aliasing / Miltisampling / 2x
- Then under 2x Multisampling: checked Enhance in-game AA setting (this gave me a big FPS increase)
- CheckedAnisotropic Filtering / 8x (this may slow down FPS a bit, but only very slightly on my system)
- Checked Vertical Sync / on

Optimizations tab:
- Checked Texture Filtering: High Quality
- Checked Trilinear optimization: On
I left everything else at the default setting, without checking anything:
- Aniso sample optimization: On
- Negative LOD Bias: Clamp
- Adjust LOD Bias: not used (0.00)
- Force DXT3 (OpenGL): Off
- Prerender Limit: checked and set at 2 (reduces input lag, without much of a performance hit)

Compatibility tab:
Under Direct 3D
- Checked Anti-Aliasing compatibility (and selecte "200100C5: Gamebryo (Oblivion, Fallout3)
- Checked CPU Multi Core support (since my system is dual core)

With these settings, I'm now GENERALLY getting 33 to 45 FPS (according to FRAPS) in the Wasteland . . . that's with all the graphic sliders at maximum, and with all the mods in my FO3 mod list installed (including the ones that add high resolution textures) . . . so I'm VERY happy!

nHancer

Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
Arwen's New Vegas Game Play Tips

I'll be adding more here as I figure out the game.


What is DT . . . or why doesn't my gun seem to have any effect against some creatures?
- DT= Damage Threshold.  It is the base armor, and will protect you from any damage that is lower than this value.
- And it can also apple to creatures.  For instance, if a rad scorpion has a DT of 5 and your pistol only does 4 DAM (damage), you won't hurt it at all. If you have a shotgun that does 6 damage then you do 2 points of damage each hit.
- When the DT is higher than your Weapon DAM, a red shield appears near the enemy's health bar during combat (both in and out of VATS).
- The information on DT is still a bit sketchy . . . I've also heard that a creature always receives a minimum of -1 HP when hit, even when the weapon has a lower DAM value than the creature's DT value.

Hard Core Mode: why does my character die in his or her sleep? Isn't the game suppose to warn me of this?
- I'm guessing that you've set the Timescale slower that default . . . as the two are often connected.
- In the default game, you gain a need point once every 10 seconds for water, every 25 seconds for food, and every 50 seconds for sleep. When you are in normal game-play, this is based on real-life seconds. When you sleep or wait (I'm not sure about fast travel, since I never use it), Timescale is factored in. I just know that it is all based on the game's default timescale, and decreasing your timescale inversely increases your needs rates. A 30 Timescale means that game time passes 30 times faster than real time. So, if your want the game to pass at the real time rate, you set your timescale to 1.

The Needs/Timescale Issue:
If you set your time scale at 15, so that game time passed twice as slow as default, your Needs accumulate at double the default rate. So with the default Timescale of 30, and Water Needs set at 10 (default), your Water Need increases at 12 points/game hour; which is 360 points for every real hour that you play, and you start having dehydration penalties after 200 points (after ~ 33 real minutes). If you set the Timescale to 15, you get dehydrated twice as fast; so you would hit 200 points after just over 16 real minutes. Fortunately all the Needs rates are set really low, so slower timescales actually work better (as long as you don't set it too low). A Timescale of 7 or 8 is about perfect (as in the Needs generally increase at a much more realistic rate).

Now for the Seeping Issue:
Using the default 30 Timescale, it takes about 16.5 game hours (33 real minutes) before you begin to get dehydrated. But if you set your Timescale to 4 (like I do), it only takes 2.2 game hours (33 real minutes) to begin getting dehydrated. See the problem? At the default 30 Timescale, your Water Need will increase by 96 points during 8 hours of sleep (12 points/game hour * 8 hours). But, if my Timescale is set to 4, my Water Need will increase by 720 points (90 points/game hour) . . . which can be a problem.

My Solution in my NV Realism Tweaks (for now): was to add a sleep/wait script that temporarily resets the timescale back to 30 while you sleep. It prevents you from dying in your sleep, but it is not a perfect solution. Once NVSE (FOSE for New Vegas) is released, I'll be able to add my script that automatically alters the Needs, based on whatever your timescale is set at. Essentially the three Needs rates will then be based on Game Time instead of on Real Time (like they should have been in the first place).
 

Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
MODs 101 (The Basics)

What Exactly Is a MOD?

One of the best things about Fallout New Vegas is that it came with a program called Garden of Eden Creation Kit [G.E.C.K.] This program is used to create, modify, and edit data in the game. And these changes and additions are added to your installed game through MODs. (Note: you do not have to use G.E.C.K. to install and use mods that were made by other people.)

So MODs are used to modify your game (the term "MOD" is just short for "modify").

- MODs can make graphic changes, like the ones that change the appearance of the characters in the game.
- MODs can even add new characters, and change or add new buildings, plants, clothing, weapons, wildlife, and many other types of items.
- MODs can even add entire villages, cities, and even new land masses to the game.

All that is pretty amazing, but MODs can do way more than just make graphic changes/additions. MODs can also change the way the game plays.

- There are MODs that change combat, change the behavior of the wildlife, slow down the speed that you level up, change how healing works.
- There are MODs that add alternative starts (allowing you to skip the tutorial), change the way that VATS works, make explosions more realistic
- There are MODs that I call my "comfort level" mods, which reduce the amount of gore in the game

And that's just the beginning.

- MODs can also make it so your character needs to eat food, drink water, and sleep.
- MODs can change the weather and lighting in the game - and make nights and interiors darker - so you will need your PipBoy light to see.
- MODs can add and change sound effects, voices, or add songs or even new stations to your PipBoy.
- There are MODs that do all that and even more.

There are now thousands of MODs that are available for Fallout 3.

Ok, so how do you even begin to know which ones to use?


How This Site Can Help:

You see, my Fallout New Vegas Journal is meant to be a role-playing guide, since Fallout New Vegas is a Role-Playing game (or RPG).

Adding the right combination of mods to your game can change Fallout New Vegas into a much better RPG (of course, everyone has their own ideas about what is "better" in a RPG, so you might not want to install all the mods that are my Fallout New Vegas Mod List).

Testing a ton of mods and trying to find the best combination is a long, and often very frustrating process. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience at doing this (see my Oblivion Journal and my Fallout 3 Journal), so I'm much fast than I used to be (and make fewer mistakes now).  I'm also a somewhat experienced modder now, having spent the last 15 month modding Fallout 3, including the creation of a huge FO3 Overhaul: my FO3 Realism Tweaks.


My Goals:

My main goal in adding MODS has always been to make the game more fun!

The MODs that I use in my own game will do at least one of the following:

1.) Made Fallout New Vegas more balanced (Rebalancing and Leveling Mods)
2.) Correct and/or improve the game quests (Quest Fixing Mods)
3.) Made Fallout New Vegas a better Role-playing game (Realism Mods)
4.) Improved the way information was presented to the player (Interface Mods)
5.) Improved the appearance of the game (Graphic Mods)
6.) Added some new things to the game (Expansion Mods)

I want Fallout New Vegas to be a Role Playing Game that will be a real adventure for me, so I'll be compiling a good combination of mods that give me that.

I also have my own ideas about what is wrong with Fallout New Vegas (and what needs to be fixed), so my preferences in selecting mods might be very different from what others might want in their game. So look at this more as a mod review (for a very small percentage of the mods that are available for Fallout New Vegas).

Are you new to Fallout New Vegas?

Do you need some help with mods (or with anything else)?

Or do you just have questions or comments about this journal?

I've put together a place called Arwen's Realm,

and you're invited to stop by and become a member of our group

For the mods that I am using, along with their download links, my reviews on them, and screenshots, check out my MODs Page.


Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
How to Add a Mod to Fallout New Vegas

Arwen Note: The information below was written for Fallout 3, and the Mod Manager has not yet been ported over to Fallout New Vegas.  So this is mostly just a place holder . . . once the NVMM is released, I'll update this section.

Adding a MOD To Your Game - Using FOMM:

Please Note: these are just my own personal BASIC instructions on how to use the Fallout Mod Manager  [FOMM] to install and manage your mods. FOMM does way more than I have explained here, so my instructions should not in any way be considered as an FOMM instruction guide. My only intent here is to provide some basic instructions on how to install mods - and FOMM is, in my opinion, the best way to do this.

1.) Find the mod and download it to your Desktop.
(Note: a mod can be just a single esp file, but most mods contain a number of files in what is called an archive - which is usually in compressed format, to make the archive smaller in size, so that it will be faster to download.)
I have included the download links for all the
mods that I have listed, so locating and downloading should be easy. To keep my downloaded mods better organized, I made a "Fallout Mods" folder on my Desktop, where I download all my mods to.
2.) If you need to Unzip the mod archive (extract the compressed files), you need to use a program like 7-Zip
NOTE:
if you use the Fallout Mod Manager [FOMM] to install mods, you usually don't have to unzip the archive. (If a mod is not packaged correctly to be used in FOMM, you will have to unzip the mod, rearrange the contents and then rezip it, making a new archive. But I'm not going to cover all that here.)
3.) Read the ReadME (the text file that came with the mod).
The ReadMe contains information on how to install, configure, update, and uninstall that specific
mod. With 7-Zip, you can read basic text files without unzipping it (just open the archive).
4.) Install the mod.
Since you really should be using FOMM to install your mods, the remainder of my instructions on how to install your mod will be on how to do this with FOMM. And I'm only covering how to do with mod archives, since this is the easiest way to install mods.
4.a) Open (start) FOMM.
Any esm or esp files that are currently in your Fallout/Data folder, should be listed in the upper left window. At the very least, you should see the Fallout3.esm. If nothing is listed, then FOMM (or FO3) isn't installed properly.
4.b) Click on the Package Manager button.
This will open a new window. Only the mods that you have previously install with FOMM will be listed here. This is actually the list of fomods, which are the converted mods, that FOMM uses (they are stored by default in your FOMM directory, in the fomm/mods folder).
4.c) Click on the Add New button.
This will open a new window. Navigate to the location of the mod you want to install, select the mod archive, and click on the Open button.
This will return you to the Package Manager window, where the new mod should be listed at the bottom of the fomod list.
4.d) Select your newly created fomod (click on it, which will highlight it) and then click on the Edit Info button.
A new window will open. This is where you can edit or add information about the mod, such as the version number (which really helps when you're wondering if you have the latest version of the mod).
Note: You can also add your own description of what the mod does - which will help you in keeping track of your mods - after all, you don't want to be adding mods that make the same changes to the game - which can cause conflicts, and mess up your game). You can assign the mod to a group (in the group list) - which also helps in keeping your mods better organized.
4.e) When you are done editing the information on the mod, click on the Save button (at the bottom).
Don't worry if you don't have all the information on the mod, as you can return and edit this information anytime.
Note: You can also view the mod's Readme file (if it has one), by click on the View Readme button.
5.) Activate the mod.
The fomod should still be highlighted (if it is not, click on it again).
Click on the Activate button.
The box in front of the mod's name should now have a check mark in it.
Close the PackageManager (which should return you to the main FOMM window).
6.) Put the esp and esm files in the correct load order.
The correct load order is sometimes given in the ReadMe (especially when the mod has multiple esps), but it also depends on what other mods you have installed (due to compatibility.
All esm files must ALWAYS load first (before any esp files).
When two mods make some of the same changes, the last one loaded (further down the list) will overwrite the earlier change.
In the
Fallout Mod Manager all you have to do is select the file and drag the esp up or down with your mouse (or highlight it and move it with your keyboard's up/down arrow keys)
Note: the mods further down the list load after any mods above them.
If you're not sure what order to put your mods in, you can use my
Mod Load Order Section as a guide.
7.) Other options:
You can also uncheck any esp (and esm) in FOMM (just click on the mod's check box)
This is helpful (and often necessary when a mod has multiple esp's)
You can also delete any esp that you don't need (by right-clicking on it and selecting delete).
(If you need to restore a deleted esp, just open the Package Manager, Deactivate the mod and then Activate it again.)

Important: if you want to delete the entire mod, follow my instructions at the bottom (#9)
8.) Play Fallout 3.
Click on the Launch button on FOMM (the Launch FOSE button if you have FOSE installed).
Play long enough to find out if the MOD (and the game) works properly.

9.) Removing a Mod (that you created with FOMM), you need to follow these instructions:
Open FOMM and then the Package Manager.
Select the fomod that you want to remove.
Right-click on it and select delete.
   

Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
How to Do a Clean Save

Some mods require a clean save when you uninstall them or when you upgrade to a newer version.

Follow these steps:

1.) It is generally best to go to an interior cell, and smaller cells are best. An interior cell is apparent because you have a loading screen when you "open" the door from the outside (such as when you enter most buildings).
2.) Save your game to a new save slot (do not overwrite an earlier save) and quit the game.
3.) Uninstall the mod.
4.) Start the game and load your last saved game.
5.) After the game full loads, make a new save (do not overwrite an earlier save) and quit the game.
6.) If you're upgrading the mod that you uninstalled, you can now install the new version.
7.) Start the game and load your previous saved game.
8.) Just to be safe: make one more new save (do not overwrite an earlier save).
9.) That's it!

 

Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
Fallout.ini & FalloutPrefs.ini Tweaks
 
Arwen Note: The information below was written for Fallout 3, and I do not yet know how much of it may also apply to Fallout New Vegas.
If you are launching Fallout through the FOMM and running FOSE, the FalloutPrefs,ini file apparently is bypassed (so edits to the file will have no effect on your game).
FalloutPrefs.ini Edits:
Remove Waypoints from Pipboy Compass

change bShowQuestMarkers=1 to bShowQuestMarkers=0 in the [Gameplay] section.
(This will disable the quest markers which appear at the very bottom of your compass.)


Video Card Bug Fix

change fGamma=1.0000 tofGamma=1.1867

 

Fallout.ini Edits:
IMPORTANT: Because of the way Steam works, your Fallout.ini (Documents/My Games/FalloutNV) gets over written.  The easiest work around for this is:
1.) Make a copy of the original fallout_default.ini file and save it somewhere safe.
2.) Then edit the fallout_default.ini file (\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\fallout new vegas folder)

Remove the Invisible Borders

change bBorderRegionsEnabled=1 to bBorderRegionsEnabled=0


Quad Core Fix

Find the line:
bUseThreadedAI=0
Change it to:
bUseThreadedAI=1
Add another line after it and insert:
iNumHWThreads=2


Mouse Acceleration Fix

Add these lines to the [controls] section:
fForegroundMouseAccelBase=0
fForegroundMouseAccelTop=0
fForegroundMouseBase=0
fForegroundMouseMult=0


Change the 1st Person Field of View (FOV) of the Pip-Boy

Find the following line:
fPipboy1stPersonFOV=47.0000
Change the default 47.0000 to a lower value to move your view closer (zoom in)
Change the default 47.0000 to a higher value to move your view back (zoom out / wide angle)

The screenshots below show the results (my resolution is set at 1680 x 1050). For me, increasing the value to 50.000 works the best , as it shows the entire Pip-Boy, while not making the screen too small.

Pipboy1stPersonFOV=47.0000 fPipboy1stPersonFOV=60.0000

Change the Field of View (FOV) for the computer terminal screens

Find the following line:
fRenderedTerminalFOV=0.15
Change the default 0.15 to a lower value to move your view closer (zoom in)
Change the default 0.15 to a higher value to move your view back (zoom out / wide angle)


Move to HUD Bars Closer to the Edge of the Screen

Find the follow and change the default 15 to a lower value (I'm using 5):
iSafeZoneXWide=15
iSafeZoneYWide=15
iSafeZoneX=15
iSafeZoneY=15


Increase Number of Cells that are Buffered into RAM (may help make performance a bit smoother)

If you have 1 GB of RAM:
try changing uInterior Cell Buffer=3 to uInterior Cell Buffer=6
try changing uExterior Cell Buffer=36 to uExterior Cell Buffer=72
If you have 2 GB of RAM:
try changing uInterior Cell Buffer=3 to uInterior Cell Buffer=16
try changing uExterior Cell Buffer=36 to uExterior Cell Buffer=102


To Reduce Tree Pop-ups

Note: This tweak may have a negative impact on your FPS, but it can really reduce that popping out effects of leaves if you're using one of the "greener" mods

Under [SpeedTree]
change bEnableTrees=0 to bEnableTrees=1


To Disable all Gore / Blood

Under General Settings, make a new entry:
bDisableAllGore=1

 


Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
Console Commands

To open the console from within the game: used the ~ key (above the TAB key on my keyboard)

Character Appearance: (if you're character's appearance didn't come out exactly right)
Changing Their Age (works on player and NPC (select with click), one can cycle from child, over teenager to adult to granny/grandpa)

enter agerace 1 to get older
and agerace -1 to get younger


Open the FO3 FaceGen

enter showracemenu

Note: you have to close the console (~) before you will be able to make any changes or even see your character.

 

 

Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
Big Red Exclamation Points (equals a missing texture)

To identifying the mod that the missing texture belongs to:

1.) Position yourself right in front of the red exclamation point
2.) Open the console (~)
3.) Use your mouse pointer to click on the object with the red exclamation point
4.) Write down the first two digits (letter and/or number) in the displayed string.
5.) Load FOMM and look at the characters in the right hand column.
6.) The problem mod is the one with the matching digits.
   

 

Page Menu: | Introduction | Game Play Tips | MODs 101 | FOMM   | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points!  | links 
Links

Coming soon.

 
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