Fallout 4 Mod Spotlight #2: Surviving in the Commonwealth

The second part of the Se7enSins Fallout 4 Mod Spotlight series seeks to improve on the vanilla Survival experience, added in patch 1.5. The...
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    Fallout 4 has broken records, received a plethora of awards, and occupied countless hours of many Fallout fans across the world. The post-apocalyptic FPS/RPG hybrid offers a unique experience from most other games, but most unique of all, perhaps, is the potential to mod the game and customize it to the preference of each individual player.

    Note: Any mods that are listed on NexusMods are exclusive to PC owners. Mods that have been approved and uploaded to Bethesda.net can be downloaded on either PC or Xbox One and eventually, PlayStation 4.

    Table of Contents (click the image to see that specific mod spotlight):

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    Mods included: True Storms, Darker Nights, Armorsmith Extended, Full Dialogue Interface, Legendary Modification, Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch, Spring Cleaning/Scrap Everything, Improved Map with Visible Roads, Homemaker - Expanded Settlements.

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    Survival was added in an update to Fallout 4 in patch 1.5. The mod was a hit when it was available as a beta and although it was changed significantly when it shipped as a public patch, Survival solidified itself as a totally new experience rather than a new difficulty. For those who didn't feel that it made that big of a difference, many modders took to building up on the framework Bethesda left for it and made a realistic and immersive Survival mode reminiscent of other survival-based adventure RPGs.

    This compilation of mods seeks to enhance the vanilla Survival experience by adding quality-of-life changes to full overhaul mods that change several aspects of Survival. These mods are not exclusive to Survival, of course, but they are designed to add things like immersive fast travel, more realistic damage ratios and weapon interactions, and an improved 'needs' system.

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    Campsite - Simple Wasteland Camping

    The quintessential Survival mod in Fallout 4 has to do with - you guessed it - camping! In the vast and expansive Commonwealth, it should come as no surprise that one of the most important mods to have would be Campsite. Campsite adds many new items and options into the game that allow players access to a new category in crafting stations: Camping Gear. The Camping Gear menu adds crafting options for sleeping bags, tents, fire kits and cooking accessories, and settlement-like items that give players the ability to create full campsites for themselves as well as their companions.

    The mod's book can be found in the Root Cellar in Sanctuary and after that, it's all up to the player to make sure they're geared up for their ventures in the Commonwealth.

    Campsite also adds its contents into settlement menus, allowing players to decorate their many settlements with items added by the mod. It also lets you have special interactions with Dogmeat, and who doesn't love playing with dogs?

    Campsite - Simple Wasteland Camping
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Enhanced Blood Textures

    Technically, this should have been covered in the first part of this mod spotlight series, but it's so much more interesting to see specifically in Survival playthroughs. In the battered and blood-soaked environs of the Commonwealth, death and decay is all around. Unfortunately for the faint-of-heart, that means that blood is all around as well. The detail-oriented will have noticed that vanilla Fallout 4 has blood textures that are a little... lacking, to say the least. So lacking, that Enhanced Blood Textures is one of the most endorsed mods on NexusMods.

    As one might expect, Enhanced Blood Textures replaces the game's default textures for environment blood, first-person splatters (combat/screen blood), and added different wound styles from many different types of weaponry. Some examples include wounds from "blunt, bladed, claws, unarmed, and energy weapons."

    The mod also fixes creature and character bloodstain glitches and contains many different options for how players want the blood details to look and how much blood is shown. All in all, Enhanced Blood Textures may seem like a minor mod, but it truly does enhance the game's atmosphere and it even makes Survival seem more grim by making blood look more realistic and scary to see.

    Enhanced Blood Textures
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Bullet Time - Slow Time

    It might seem like something straight out of The Matrix or even Wanted, but Bullet Time is a mod that can make or break several encounters in Fallout 4. For those familiar with Fallout: New Vegas's Project Nevada mod, this adds a similar feature that slows down time on demand to allow for the passage of time itself to slow down. As any Fallout 4 player will know (especially those playing on Survival) timing is almost always crucial, and Bullet Time will save players often by the skin of their nose in intense and near-death situations, even though time has slowed down in the advantage of the player.

    The mod was originally conceived as a more "realistic" alternative to V.A.T.S. where players didn't have to auto-aim in order to successfully dispatch opponents in combat. Bullet Time still requires skill and strategy, but it expands the window of time in which players are able to act before enemies are able to get the best of the player.

    The best part about Bullet Time is its customization. By default, Bullet Time uses a certain amount of AP to use, but it can be configured to either take more AP or take less; it can even take no AP at all to use. The change to the passage of time while using Bullet Time can be changed and it even allows for hotkey activation.

    Bullet Time - Slow Time
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Craftable Ammunition

    Craftable Ammunition
    sought to import the ammunition crafting system in Fallout: New Vegas into Fallout 4. The mod adds casings for each ammunition type as well as gunpowder and primer that can be found or scrapped from other ammunition. For the most part, this mod functions identically to the vanilla ammunition crafting in Fallout: New Vegas. Ballistic ammunition can be created with the components of ballistic ammunition, whereas energy ammunition must be recycled from other energy ammunition types. Fusion Cells, however, can be crafted from raw components.

    For those looking for the true Survival experience, crafting their weapons, armor, and even their ammunition, Craftable Ammunition is the right choice for the job.

    Craftable Ammunition
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Weapon Balance Overhaul

    Survival changes damage ratios from players and enemies alike, however, it doesn't change the damage certain weapons inflict. Mod author Vazeron1 sought to address this by making pipe weapons more relevant and rarer weapons more powerful. Each weapon hurts as it should, realistically, with weapons with higher stopping power and larger caliber ammunition being significantly more efficient at taking out enemies.

    The mod makes every weapon useful in their own way, though pipe weapons still struggle to compare with "real" weapons for obvious reasons. The adjustments to weapon damage applies to both enemies and players alike, so enemies toting Hunting Rifles will punch through armor and chunk your health bar just as players would to enemies.

    For Survival mode, this makes the player more threatening as well as enemies. It creates a tense atmosphere full of surprises that absolutely demands the player's attention. If the player does not take care in scouting out their enemies, said enemy may very well possess a sniper rifle capable of ripping through armor and taking out players in just a few shots.

    Weapon Balance Overhaul
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net (Note: NOT an official port)


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    Weapons of Fate - Ballistics Overhaul

    Weapons of Fate
    changes how ballistic weapons work as a whole, giving each gun and ammunition type new sets of behaviors and rules to follow. In vanilla Fallout 4, bullets work by being sent out as a straight trajectory, arriving at their target destination instantaneously. With Weapons of Fate, more skill comes into play. Different types of ammunition have appropriate weights, diameters, and speed after being shot.

    Weapons of Fate adds optional tracers for bullets as well as bullet speeds based on their real-life counterparts. Using Weapons of Fate, players will have to take into account gravity and other factors that can change a bullet's trajectory. The mod adds a good measure of realism and an added degree of skill into the game using ballistic weapons.

    Weapons of Fate - Ballistics Overhaul
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Impervious Power Armor

    One complaint seen in vanilla Fallout 4 was that Power Armor was not as imposing as it should have been. A rare sight, Power Armor was only seen from Gunners and leaders of massive Raider gangs (excluding the Brotherhood of Steel). Power Armor, being the forefront of protection for infantry in the Fallout universe, should have significant protections and although it does in Fallout 4, a crucial aspect of it was left out: Damage Threshold.

    Damage is reduced by a flat amount (total Damage Threshold) and lowers a weapon's damage by that threshold. If the weapon cannot penetrate the Damage Threshold, enemies flee in terror as their only choice of weapon fails to even dent the player's armor. Finally, walking up to low-level Raiders in full T-60 or X-01 Power Armor will feel as rewarding and domineering as it should.

    This mod makes no changes to armor Damage Resistance, but rather, adds a Damage Threshold to lower weapon damage by a flat amount. Damage Resistance and Damage Threshold are separate values in Fallout.

    Impervious Power Armor
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    War of the Commonwealth

    War of the Commonwealth provides an added challenge to those playing on Survival or other difficulties. Spawn rates and encounters were scarcely adjusted to accommodate the changes from normal difficulties to Survival, so War of the Commonwealth adds a greatly increased number of encounters and a higher spawn rate for all enemy factions.

    The mod changes the very setting of the game, turning the Commonwealth from a relatively tame area (side for enemy camps and territories) into a total war zone if one wishes it to be. To put it in the words of the mod author, "This really makes you believe that the Commonwealth had those 200+ years for the mutants to reproduce and the humans to build a base of their presence in the area."

    The mod adds customizable options for faction spawn rates and NPC enemy rates so players can opt for a slightly enhanced vanilla experience or a full-blown war in the Commonwealth.

    War of the Commonwealth
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Super Mutant Redux/Overhaul

    An incredible mod by MadMAX713, Super Mutant Redux completely overhauls Super Mutants, adding variety and a slew of new challenges to Super Mutants in Fallout 4. Super Mutants become challenging and competent enemies rather than moronic bullet-sponges that miss every shot and then shout obscenities at the player.

    This mod even adds Nightkin from Fallout: New Vegas, a Stealth Boy addicted sub-type of Super Mutant that strongly favor powerful melee weapons and stealth to overcome opponents. The mod also adds more boss-type Super Mutants, like Supreme Mutants that are so overcome with radiation that they can be seen glowing from miles away. The Supreme Mutant type can also apply to Behemoths, for those looking for a true challenge in the Commonwealth.

    This mod includes HD retextures of all Super Mutants, including Strong and Virgil, as well as redone FEV/mutant hounds. For those looking for realistic and threatening Super Mutants, this is the one and only mod that accomplishes that flawlessly.

    Super Mutant Redux
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Pip-Boy Flashlight (Pip-Boy - Power Armor - Lamp Overhaul)

    The perfect mod to go along with Darker Nights, Pip-Boy Flashlight completely changes how the player's Pip-Boy functions to provide light. Starting in Fallout 3, the Pip-Boy always created light in a circle around the player, rather as a tactical and practical light source to be used for wherever the wearer was pointing it towards. Pip-Boy Flashlight addresses this and even adds dynamic shadows, volumetric light, and contains over 100 unique textures for both Pip-Boy lights and Power Armor headlamp lights.

    Pip-Boy Flashlight also has 10 different distance settings and toggleable meshes and animations. It even comes with optional sounds to make it sound more like a traditional flashlight. Pip-Boy Flashlight is a simple, light, and quite possibly essential mod that makes vision and lighting more user-friendly and practical, especially with Darker Nights.

    Pip-Boy Flashlight
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Survival Options

    Survival Options
    adds a simple holotape tweak menu to adjust how Survival mode controls things such as hunger, thirst, sleep, and fatigue needs. It also allows for disease adjustments and can enable manual saving, quick-saving, and auto-saving for players. It even gives the option to change how players benefit from certain bed types, such as reduced benefits from using sleeping bags or dirty mattresses.

    Survival Options is ideal for anyone used to the Survival patch beta where the difficulty was much more challenging and unforgiving, or for anyone who wants a lighter Survival experience.

    Survival Options
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Lore-Friendly Survival Chems

    Survival added diseases and realistic needs and with them, new items into the game that helped players combat those diseases and stem the tide of hunger and fatigue. However, the meshes and overall appearance of these items were relatively unforgivable and they didn't stand out as much as many players would have hoped for. Lore-Friendly Survival Chems addresses this by redoing the meshes of each item added for Survival by making them stand out more while exploring, all the while making them look more realistic and "jury-rigged" as they should be out in the wasteland.

    The mod also adds two brand new items: a "serum," combining each disease-resistant medicine and; the MRE, or meal ready-to-eat, that heal players, reduce hunger level, and increase resistant to fatigue.

    Lore-Friendly Survival Chems
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Survivalist Go-Bags

    When the troubles of the Commonwealth weigh its weary travelers down, there are few better companions than a trusty pack to share the burden of carrying ammunition, medicines, and food supplies for trekking around the wastes.

    Survivalist Go-Bags adds a surprising amount of new packs into the game that increase carry weight and offer a fashionable and lore-friendly aesthetic into the game. The packs come in many varieties, from duffle bags to satchels to woven knapsacks. They come in several colors and even have multiple accessories for different styles of packs.

    Survivalist Go-Bags
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net


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    Dauntless

    I'll be honest, this is the first mod that's earned a spot in this mod spotlight series that I haven't personally downloaded and used, but it comes so heavily recommended that I feel it deserves a spot on here regardless of that. With Survival, fast travel is disabled, but that opens the door for many lore-friendly alternatives to fast travel for players who need to get around the Commonwealth quickly. While there is the Underground Railroad - manhole grates located around cities in the Commonwealth that connect to a singular base accessible to players - Dauntless takes a different approach altogether and offers more of a challenge for those who download it.

    The SSBN Dauntless serves as a player home as well as a vehicle for fast travel that can be anchored at several different locations around the map, including areas in Far Harbor. Dauntless took it a step further by adding the Marine Tactical Egress and Launch System (M.T.E.L.S.) into the game, capable of sending players to certain areas further inland through deep diving. A full map of mooring and M.T.E.L.S. locations can be seen on the mod page.

    Dauntless
    NexusMods
    / Bethesda.net



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    And just like that, part 2 of the Se7enSins mod spotlight is over and your Survival experience is most likely a completely different experience. Readjusting the various difficulty curves and creating unique ways to circumvent the many obstacles in Survival mode create a totally enhanced experience from vanilla Survival. The many different options allow for user-tailored settings to control how each player wants their own Survival playthrough to be like.

    Next up in the spotlight series is #3: Wasteland Weaponry. Check the comments section for more information!

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  1. Jet1337
    Another great list of mods! I have or have used a couple of these myself.

    The Impervious Power Armor mod is great except the fact that sometimes your armor will heal itself if you take very little damage. Other than that it's nice to see a pack of ghouls run away when they can't damage you. There are a couple other mods that incorporate the damage threshold .esm file included in this like the Tougher Vertibirds mod and there's also a patcher you can get from the nexus called Damage Threshold Patcher that will add DT to every armor in the game, but you have to tweak the values yourself.

    War of the Commonwealth is another great mod. I've used its earlier predecessor, Commonwealth Spawns Extended and had a lot of fun with it.

    I found a couple weapon mods you might like. The first is the old sniper rifle from Fallout 3 and the second is the plasma caster.

    http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/15909/?

    http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/15579/?

    Maybe in the future you can do some power armor mods. If so keep an eye on this one.

    http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/images/40436/?
  2. April 1udgate
    I love weapons of fate
  3. Feyfolken
    Red58, April 1udgate, Jet1337, Adolfin, SharpGhost, Sparfire, Pyroman @Fallout4SubscribersXD

    Thanks for your support, my friends. Please recommend any mods for the next series, which I'm thinking will be WEAPONS!

    Also, a slightly relevant update: I just got the Season Pass and have uninstalled every single mod I had. I'm starting clean and I'm going to be able to try out every mod now as I was previously unable to use mods that required Far Harbor or Automatron. Looking forward to using the many mods that were DLC-exclusive. Feel free to suggest any good DLC-exclusive mods that you know of as they will have definitely slipped under my radar since I could never use them until now.
      God likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Yojimbo
      I love some of the weapon mods. I'm not sure if they guy who made the deagle mod ever balanced its stats, but I enjoyed that mod. True storms is amazing too.
      Feyfolken likes this.
    3. Feyfolken
      I'm hoping for some all-in-ones or packs from the mod creators, but this may next spotlight may end up at around 20 mods or so lol. So many different weapons and they're all separate. I definitely want to include CROSS PlasRail, the 3 mods April recommended (already had those on my list) and the Desert Eagle would be cool, too, but I would like to see it balanced first.

      I'll get a more finalized list in the next couple of days and share it. I'd like to have this spotlight up on Wednesday for a Weapons Wednesday article!!! Haha xd
    4. April 1udgate
      I found a weapons pack by DOOMBASED which contains all of his weapons
      http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/16387/?
      Feyfolken likes this.