Fallout 3: The Lush Green Desert

I’d have enjoyed Fallout 3 a whole lot more if it had more than three colours in it. Fortunately, an enterprising modder felt the same way, and has taken it upon himself to restore the chlorophyll to the wasteland’s washed-out world. On paper, making the trees and grass clinging to life in a post-nuclear landscape a healthy shade of green sounds absolutely ridiculous, but in practice it makes an incredible amount of difference to a game that often coasts on limited artistic imagination. It doesn’t end up looking like Oblivion 1.5 – rather, it still looks very much like the devastated wasteland it’s supposed to. It’s just that, now, plantlife’s doing okay for itself even if humankind isn’t. And it makes me want to explore so much more.

Grab this green and pleasant mod-ette from here.


  1. Tei says:

    Obligatory: Oblivium with guns.

  2. PeopleLikeFrank says:

    Oblivion, even!

    This actually makes more sense – plant life would be doing more or less ok, at least if Pripyat is any indication…

  3. cyrenic says:

    (mild spoilers)

    This would make a lot more sense if it was integrated with a particular optional quest you can find. I was disappointed when nothing came out of that one, especially during the ending.

  4. l1ddl3monkey says:

    I agree with Cyrenic. It does look quite pretty though.

  5. clovus says:

    I recently took a vacation that involved driving through the hills of Kentucky and West Virginia (ie, the sticks, backwoods, etc.) I’ve always enjoyed old barns, trailers, houses, and other abandoned areas. Nature quickly starts to heal over abandoned areas and it looks really cool. Much cooler than metal and concrete. I don’t know if this mod pulls that off, but I would like to explore that kind of landscape in a game.

    I think previously dense jungle or forest couldn’t be rendered well, but Crysis and Far Cry 2 both come close. They just need to increase the foliage density a bit more.

  6. Sam says:

    This reminds me very much of what happened with Morrowind: modders took a landscape lacking any color at all and gave it some. And it looked much better for it.

  7. Xercies says:

    Obligatory: Morrowind with Guns


    I don’t think the plant life would be able to survive a Nuclear Fallout actually. I don’t know because of the fact that radiation kills any living thing, not to mention the initial nuclear blast which would kill off a lot of trees.

  8. Xercies says:

    And I didn’t really mind fallout 3 low colour pallet, it made me get immersed into the world a bit more. Alive plants would ruin the immersion for me. But then again I didn’t mind the low colour pallet of Morrowind for the same reason so maybe I’m just mad.

  9. frymaster says:

    if this was diablo 2 and not fallout 3, there’s be an Angry Internet Men thread about making it look too colourful and “too like WoW” about now…


  10. El Stevo says:

    Plant life is doing OK in Chernobyl.

  11. PeopleLikeFrank says:


    But this is centuries after the war. Plant life would have had plenty of time to grow back from the initial blasts. If there’s little enough radiation at this point for humans to be running around, then plants should be surviving OK as well.

  12. drewski says:

    No actual nuclear devices were detonated at Chernobyl; it’s not really a good comparison.

    But life is amazingly hardy; I’m sure plant life would survive in some form. Whether or not it’d be the exact greenery of today is another matter – I suppose if nothing else changed in the environment (nu nuclear winter, etc) then the same traits that give plants competitive advantage today would still be advantagous, and other mutations introduced by the high level of radiation that lessened a plant’s ability to compete for resources would be rapidly bred out.

  13. DigitalSignalX says:

    Great mod, I can for sure see this as a “consequence” addition either after the druid quest or the climax in combination with a ‘play-after-end fix.

    As some of the folks on the forum cited, the trees may suffer from LOD glitches as you draw closer and apparently might not have a collision mesh (you can walk through them). Hopefully either the author or other modders will patch that as well as offer options for density etc. Looks brilliant but might make sniping even more difficult.

  14. Flobulon says:

    Yeah, I installed this after *that* quest. Also works story-line wise after the main quest.
    You should really do a rundown of the best mods for Fallout 3, there’s a load of really brilliant ones out there.

  15. Matzerath says:

    I hope you fine people realize that with the addition of greenery to Fallout 3, and its locale of Washington D.C., that the inevitable Logan’s Run mod is creeping ever closer.

  16. Leeks! says:

    What? No song reference in the headline? “O, Green World” would have been so easy.

  17. jackflash says:

    @drewski :

    Nonetheless, the residual radiation there is still extremely high. In any case, atomic devices were detonated in Hiroshima, and there are plenty of plants there. I imagine there would be greenery somewhere in the world of Fallout 3 or everybody would be dead. Unless there really is *that* much canned food left. :)

  18. drewski says:

    @jackflash – you might be surprised at how relatively low the background level of radiation is in many parts of the exclusion zone, considering what happened there.

  19. Schmung says:

    gargh, now I regret getting this on 360, though in fairness when it was released my PC was utterly incapable of running the damm thing. One day, in our wonderful electronic future buying a game will mean buying the game and not just the game on one particular bloody format. We can but hope.

    Mod looks splendid though. I wish that I could try it.

  20. Katsumoto says:

    Sounds interesting, + 1 to the suggestion that a nice little round up of some of the better mods would be great!

    One I found was a mod to put the soundtrack from Fallout 1+2 into the game, which is great. I always thought the soundtrack in F3 was too “orchestral-for-the-sake-of-it” and the older soundtracks fit right in.

    Fascinating comments thread too guys, so far! Ever since Stalker came out i’ve had a morbid fascination in radiation and its effects.

  21. NateN says:

    @jackflash: Since there is a ton of plant life in the Red Forest it’s hard to imagine a Fallout-style wasteland actually existing for very long.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  22. suibhne says:

    This is an improvement not just for game aesthetics, but for game logic as well. The original FO was a wasteland because it was set in a semi-desert region, not because nuclear war killed everything green. Just as with Bethesda’s idiocy about irradiated water, their insistence on a lack of plant life betrayed a serious lack of scientific understanding.

  23. jsutcliffe says:

    I saw this somewhere yesterday and leaped for joy. The brown gloom prevented me getting more than ~50% through Fallout 3. A more verdant wasteland is much more appealing.

    @cyrenic: Wherever I read this yesterday suggested waiting til you’d done that quest to install it.

  24. James G says:

    I don’t think the fallout series ever pretended to be scientifically accurate, it was based firmly in the realms of 50’s pulp sci-fi.

  25. suibhne says:

    Sure, but there’s a difference between playing loose with the setting and basing your entire main plot on bald factual inaccuracy. FEV is pure fantasy, and an integral part of the setting; that’s fine. Project Purity otoh is a whole different kettle of fish.

  26. Jeremy says:

    Does it make the wasteland all trees or is it more of a smattering of greens? I don’t know if I could accept a lush forest in the area, but it would make sense to see some trees here and there.

  27. jonfitt says:

    Yeah, it would make *that quest* somewhat out of place if you installed this mod and started a game from scratch.

  28. psyk says:

    “their insistence on a lack of plant life betrayed a serious lack of scientific understanding.” Its a game which in no way is realistic I dont think they give a crap if there lacking scientific understanding.

  29. Tangent says:

    Why do pine for beauty in a wasteland?

    On a totally unrelated note, those Civony ads make me feel funny in the pants.

  30. Tangent says:

    Why do we pine for beauty in a wasteland?

    On a totally unrelated note, those Civony ads make me feel funny in the pants.

  31. Optimaximal says:

    Chernobyl is like a dirty bomb to Fallout 3’s theoretical nuclear war – plant & animal-life thrives when there are no humans to hunt & control them, but I cincerely doubt much can withstand the nuclear fire of an atomic bomb.

    Still, I think the Oasis quest works as a small example of life trying to start again – it’s like Wall.E

  32. Dreamhacker says:

    Look, you people seem to have missed one important piece of information:

    The Chernobyl Zone is a radiation hazard caused by a NPP meltdown.

    The Fallout Wasteland(s) were caused by ABC weapons, which means Atomic, Biologic AND Chemical weapons. In other words, it’s a veritable smorgasbord of murderous, lingering “spoils” of war.

    “Just” radiation is seemingly somewhat healthy: Research shows that modern day inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (for those of you who skipped out on history lessons: the two inhabited nuclear weapon “test” sites of WWII, located in Japan) show fewer cases of cancer than neighbouring and less radiated areas.

  33. piphil says:

    I’ve been putting off buying Fallout 3, despite liking Oblivion. I was however put off by the rather grey-looking world, so this mod gets me a couple of steps closer to buying. However, I’ve also realised that what I really enjoyed in Oblivion was simply exploring, thus my installation of a Main Quest delayer mod. Other mods also added to my enjoyment, so I’m also in favour of some kind of “Top of the Mods” post on this find site. :-)

  34. Erlam says:

    “Plant life is doing OK in Chernobyl.”

    Chernobyl wasn’t a nuclear war. Though. Try dropping a few dozen nukes around Washington and see how the plants do then.

    I mean like, think about.. not actually… oh God the FBI is probably on it’s way to my work right now.

  35. Trollwind says:

    Does it come with mutated zombie bees that pollinate the plants and trees?

  36. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    This thread makes me want to play stalker

  37. Jason Moyer says:

    Using real-life science to justify anything in the Fallout universe is seriously weird. Although, while we’re on the subject, I have a hard time imagining the earth being a tropical paradise after nuclear winter, even though it doesn’t apply to Fallout’s world.

  38. simonkaye says:

    Guys, it’s been a LONG time since the bombs dropped in fallout 3. Anything that moderates the “freshly nuked” feel of that game works for me. It wasn’t remotely believable.

  39. Riaktion says:

    I like trees, this will make this game a lot more appealing to get through.

  40. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Nice idea, but it kind of kills the ‘wasteland wanderer’ vibe for me. Without that the game loses a significant chunk of its appeal.

  41. Eschatos says:

    I’m not saying the game is colorful, but Fallout 3 has a lot more color than either of the first 2.

  42. suibhne says:

    @everyone arguing that it’s “seriously weird” to want scientific/physical consistency in the world of Fallout: does that mean you’d accept that water had a different freezing point in the game, or that gravity is 0.2 Gs, or that the sun was green? The setting has always been real-world but with a cultural twist; the gameworld has introduced new technology but has never (prior to Fallout 3) suggested that basic physical laws operated differently in Fallout versus our world. I guess I could accept the continued mass pollution of water, 200 years after the war, if some new Chinese biological weapon had been introduced into the setting to explain it…but the meager explanation that it’s irradiated is simply ignorant.

  43. Hidden_7 says:

    As to people saying that the artistic design betrays Bethesda’s lack of scientific understanding, they knew exactly what they were doing wasn’t accurate. They did research both into the sort of vegetation that would be around (quite a bit, actually) and the state of city ruins that would be around (basically nothing, actually). Having decided that would be less interesting from a game point of view and less in keeping with the aesthetic of the original games they decided to just do it the way it ended up, saying screw the science.

    Now you can then say that was a poor decision of artistic direction, which is fine, but they made it knowing full well it wasn’t accurate.

  44. Serondal says:

    Yah I mean there is an alien ray gun in here, it has more relation to old Sci-fi movies to actual science.

  45. Sciere says:

    @clovus: for a real forest, try playing The Hunter, it runs on Avalanche’s upcoming Just Cause 2 engine.

  46. Jason Moyer says:

    @everyone arguing that it’s “seriously weird” to want scientific/physical consistency in the world of Fallout: does that mean you’d accept that water had a different freezing point in the game, or that gravity is 0.2 Gs, or that the sun was green?

    If that were SCIENCE! then yes. But it’s not. Fallout is a depiction of a post-apocalyptic future as viewed through the goggles of late 40’s atomic paranoia, not some attempt at showing a realistic portrayal of post-apocalyptia. If it were aiming for realism based on current best theories about the effects of a global thermonuclear war, there would be little to no vegetation, it would be freezing all the time, and the “smokey sky” effect you get closer to the city would be persistent everywhere.

  47. Chis says:

    If only this did something about the colourless, bland writing, the tremendously artificial AI, and the general feeling that the game has been made by folks that have a lot of talent but no imagination.

  48. jamscones says:

    Fallout’s “cheery nihilism” colour palette is just fine as it is, thankyouverymuch. The only green I want to see is the sort that clicks when you get near it.

  49. Alex McLarty says:

    “a game that often coasts on limited artistic imagination”

    What a claim!