Fallout 4 Building Guide

Duncan Harris is adept at making games pretty at Dead End Thrills. He’s spent the past week crafting a more artful wasteland using Fallout 4‘s settlement tools, console commands and mods, and has written this guide to building the best settlement possible.

You can thank my five-year-old’s fear of practical special effects for this. Ever since I told him that Labyrinth was “sort of real, in a sense,” he’s fled the room whenever anything like it is on TV. I thought it’d spark his interest in being an artist when he grew up, but he just ended up hating The Muppets. As for George Of The Jungle… meltdown.

I’ll usually be on the computer in that event, and he’ll come in asking if “you can build things” in whatever I’m playing. That’s after I’ve deflected other awkward questions like: “What’s he going to do to him?” (Hitman), “Is he running them over?” (Arkham Knight), and, in the case of Fallout 4, “People died in this game, didn’t they?” And if that Nick Valentine quest breaks again, trust me, they will.

I hadn’t planned on building anything in Fallout 4. Big corrugated castles for carrots is what I’d gleaned from the tutorial, and there’s enough Minecraft in my house already. But what can I say? It got me. Something about the physically-based shading, the tumbledown game world, and the accommodating lore makes it incredibly easy to build things that feel right. Add mods to that equation and, well, you’re in trouble.

Building something in Minecraft requires an awful lot of forethought and experience. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like there’s little point starting something in it if you don’t know how it’ll end. This isn’t the case in Fallout 4. All it takes is a good kernel of an idea for any subsequent fumbling to play right into the game’s art style. Furthermore, if you want post-apocalyptic reference material, you only have to walk down the road.

I’m a firm believer in using case studies when doing guides for things like this. It’s in the spirit of the game to share what you’ve made, and ideas are much more valuable than soon-to-be obsolete tools and tweaks. I never was very good at following my own advice, though, so let’s begin with…

(Click any of the images to grab a larger version.)

Building tools and tweaks

Quick, before a beta patch stops them all working! Oh. Best you don’t download that.

Things you should have:

Settlement Supplies Expanded and Homemaker: More things, basically. Lots more. Be advised that both of these mods were made using the controversial FalloutSnip, the predecessor of which was linked to broken saves for Skyrim. Fallout 4 seems quite capable of breaking them by itself, but steer clear of these if you don’t want additional anxiety. I haven’t had any problems yet.

Place In Red: This is a Cheat Engine table, so familiarise yourself with that by reading the description. But don’t be scared, though, because it’s invaluable. You can’t place stuff anywhere with it, but it gives you a lot more freedom.

This console command: ‘player.placeatme c1aeb’. This spawns a workbench, which makes it possible to build a settlement anywhere in the Commonwealth. How cool is that? I’m not sure if you could, say, make a giant Mirelurk using ‘setscale’, spawn the workbench on its head, then make a roving ‘crabernacle’. Someone please find out.

Fallout 4 console commands

This is ‘Dead End Hills’. Hu-huh. I reckon it’s about a quarter finished – but it’s not going to get any bigger. That’s important. I find it much more fun to build something small and detailed than just a sprawling mess of boxes. This comes back to the point about having a neat idea at the start.

I have a thing for big radar stations. There’s one near where I live, and many a time have I nearly wiped out my family by staring at it rather than the road. This has come with me into Fallout 4, where I’ve abandoned the residents of Sanctuary for this dishy little number round the corner. It has a wicked basement, too – just don’t mind the raiders, they’re ‘sleeping’.

Initially, USAF Satellite Station Olivia has a mercifully small shack stuck to it. Without the GECK, I haven’t found a way to remove a lot of the stuff embedded in the game’s world cells, so the idea was to entomb the old structure in a new one. Somehow putting an armchair in the dish was a no-brainer, but that was it. The high-ceilinged workshops, which turned out to be the most fun to decorate, happened almost by accident. Ditto the wind turbines, and even the way the structure harmonises with the existing architecture, making it a bit more interesting that the usual pile of wood and metal.

There are other console commands you should learn.

tgm

Cheat. Go on. Admittedly, it took the game breaking one of the main quests for me to finally snap, but I’m glad I did it. I don’t use it for regular play, but I also don’t see the benefit of ‘gamifying’ an editor environment with endless resource-related limits. If you want this stuff to look good, don’t let the game effectively paywall your options. Not only does god mode gives you unlimited resources for building, it also avoids any feng shui-related deaths when decorating your balcony.

tcl

The ‘tcl’ console command toggles the game’s clipping, which in the building editor lets you fly around. This makes it a lot less painful to find those initial placements. A side-effect is that you might not be able to correct the position of something without toggling it off and on again, as it seems the clipping is needed to register the new object with the editing tools.

getpos/setpos/setangle

Can’t overstate how important these are. I’ve used them literally thousands of times. The ‘Place In Red’ table frees your hand a lot, but not enough. If you want to really set off the PBR materials and ambient occlusion to make everything click, you want to ground things more than the game’s inclined to. Placed using the vanilla tools, or even modded ones, things sit awkwardly and leave massive, obvious holes. Opening the console, clicking an object, then using ‘getpos’ – you’ll need to supply a x/y/z axis as well – gives you its coordinates. You can then use ‘setpos’ the move it pretty much anywhere: into the ground, on a table, in the air, and even into other objects. What’s more, the game honours these positions across saves and relaunches. If you’re brave, you can also use ‘setangle’ to control rotation.

Fallout 4’s dilapidated art style (and asset quality) is great for this, because you can just mash things like walls together and arguably improve their look, adding variety to otherwise simple surfaces. I have found, though, that objects start jittering when you use setpos, which you’ll notice immediately. The solution is to just repeat the command to fix them in place. Setpos means you can align walls, floors and ceilings with pixel precision – and quickly, because a lot of those values will be the same. Bear in mind, though, that trying to use the exact same values for floors will result in z-fighting between the textures – an unmistakable flicker – which can be solved by just nudging one of the objects off by a pixel or two.

The ‘lived-in’ look

There are two facets to this. One is about placing lots of junk around, which again is why it’s good to keep the place small. The other is about making that junk believable. This is the most addictive part of the process, because it very quickly starts crossing the line between incongruous modding and Bethesda’s own world-building. Embrace the role-play: where would your character want items and furniture, what would they do, and what would they leave around? This gives new value to the ‘Junk’ category in your inventory, because suddenly you do need a screwdriver and that poisonous box of peanuts.

What comes in extra handy here is grab-and-move. You know the button for picking things up – but if you hold that button down, you can move things instead. Again, against all odds, the game doesn’t mess it all up when reloading. You will, though, if you clatter about the place too much.

Creative solutions

Some problems just can’t be solved directly. The more you start kitbashing the game’s assets into strange new forms, the more of those you’ll find. Maybe you’ll notice textures starting to tile when used in sequence, or a spot where the asset quality is just conspicuously bad. Chances are you put those objects there for a reason, though, so try and ‘fix forward’ by covering the problems, not removing them. The settlement mods give you a few stickers and signs to play with, and future versions will hopefully introduce many more decals. I’m waiting for posters, personally.

You’ll also find that the simple marriage of two random objects just isn’t realistic. The seams will show as badly, if not worse, than any glitch. I’m not sure the building inventory has grown enough for this yet, but developer Luis Antonio covered it neatly when talking about his work on The Witness, and how quickly you can dress these ‘connections’.

Lighting

You’ve played enough open world games to know that even the most sophisticated time-of-day cycle can’t light a game on its own. Christ, there are points in some recent games where you’d think there was no lighting at all – and in some situations you’d be right. Even with mods, the lights available in Fallout’s building editor aren’t great. Most are too bright, but some are quite good for breaking up monotonous spaces and picking out certain ‘flavour assets’. Just remember that light needs the dark, so try and avoid washing everything out.

Ultimately, the best light in the game is still the one that rises in the morning and sets in the evening. Putting lights down everywhere is going to look rubbish very quickly, so think about maybe knocking a wall panel out, or replacing it with one with some holes or mesh in it. Giving the sun or moonlight a route through your base can have spectacular results, but it has to be done with care.

The end, for now

I think that’s it. I haven’t covered those famous light panels because I haven’t got round to turning the dish into a tribute to the Death Star yet. I also don’t want a base that’s just a platform for a humongous neon sign.

Spawning the workbench where it shouldn’t be doesn’t quite build a complete settlement. A lot’s being written about what does and doesn’t work, and you’ll find that settlers don’t behave as they should, assuming you can even get them there. No doubt this’ll all be fixed when the official modding tools arrived.

I’m glad I started doing this all now. Having fewer items has probably helped with building a skeleton for my base, and is always good for creativity. It’s also given me something to subscribe to as the modding takes off: I’m already buzzing with the thought of numerous potential updates, none of which is the usual texture or ENB mod. And when I finally stop decorating and return to Nick Valentine standing at that guy’s door, you can bet I’ll be frisking every corpse to see what tat I can put on my mantelpiece.

Speaking of which, who brings a broken desk fan to a gunfight anyway?

77 Comments

  1. coppernaut says:

    I like how your sons baby bed is your gun holder now. Haha.

    • unacom says:

      That also adds to the fact that his son is walking in on him while he´s murdering people…

  2. Razumen says:

    Interesting post, the Place in Red mod looks absolutely necessary to me, Though I’ve been a wee bit wary of the expanded settlement objects simply for the fear of ruining my save.

    • Duncan Harris says:

      I guess it boils down to how much you want to integrate these quite flawed little projects into your Fallout 4 ‘career’. You can’t really consider them settlements as most of the settlement systems don’t work with them, and not even your companions can navigate them properly. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you having a separate save for your building, which is certainly the sensible thing to do. It would also mean you don’t skew your progression with the constant use of god mode, and any accidental XP you gain just by putting the thing together.

      Not that I’m doing any of this. I’m off to carry on the story missions now, hoping nothing breaks.

  3. McDan says:

    Excellent article, and must say always greatly enjoy Deadendthrills. Spectacular stuff.

  4. Jakkar says:

    Beautiful work.

    You’ve just made someone with no interest in Fallout 4 at all considerably more curious. Everything it may lack as an RPG might not matter if I get to make beautiful things in it and take pretty pictures of them. Still, not at full price, and not until there are many mods to play with.

    Though judging by NV and Skyrim, the number of mods might become so overwhelming at to simply blank me out when I do eventually arrive, as your late comment regarding the skeletal paucity of items noted…

  5. Hyena Grin says:

    “Again, against all odds, the game doesn’t mess it all up when reloading.”

    What? Is it just me that finds that every time I re-enter my home in Diamond City that objects I have placed on surfaces tend to fall through them? Not, like, reliably, but over time every single item I have placed has fallen through whatever I’ve put it on. Through tables, through desks, through boxes and crates and dressers and counters.

    What the heck? I’ve actually put off building more in the world because of this bug, hoping a patch would fix it.

    • cqdemal says:

      I honestly don’t think a patch will fix this. It’s just a kind of natural attribute for this engine…

      • Canazza says:

        If you’ve ever seen speedruns of Fallout 3 you’ll know they abuse the fact that there’s 3 or 4 frames you can move through geometry during loading to clip through some walls. It’s the same issue with items clipping through tables on load. Certain collision physics just don’t exist for a couple of frames.

        link to kraflab.com (see Load Clipping)

    • Duncan Harris says:

      I probably should have put a yet disclaimer at the end of every paragraph. I fully expected a reload to send everything in my house about fifty feet up in the air, but I continue to be surprised that it stays precisely where I left it. The only exception is this really neat Protectron ‘autopsy’ scene I’d set up in the workshop, for which I used ‘tai’ to freeze it, but that just made it disappear completely in the end. Ended up swapping it for a turret.

  6. OmNomNom says:

    How do you find time to build bases like (which don’t really have anything to do with the actual game/story) and still get through the real content?

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Well, it’s because you got it all on reverse!

      The real content is exactly what he’s playing.

  7. jwoozy says:

    Are you guys about done with all the Fallout 4 coverage yet? You’ve got like 3 simultaneous features running for a game you all agreed was basically mediocre (or rather would be mediocre, if not for some mysterious, inscrutable “Bethesda Effect”).

    Just curious when the return to sanity for games press is scheduled.

    • Catweasel says:

      impending comment deletion for questioning the relentless FO4 coverage

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        Harlander says:

        *watches comment stay here forever*

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        John Walker says:

        Don’t you look a twit.

        • Sakai says:

          He doesn’t, actually. That’s a fair question.

          • Baring says:

            if you’re a twit..

          • Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

            The thing is.. Fallout 3/4 had/has such a substancial fanbase and modding community that while as a game it could easily be described as a steaming pile of crap, it’s RPS column worthy because it has such a large, long term userbase.

          • Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

            ..that is, to say; you play to your audience.

        • Catweasel says:

          I might if similar comments weren’t purged from other articles. :)

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      It’s true that the RPS staff agreed on some serious drawbacks, but maybe, just maybe, you have to properly weight all of that? I mean, with your reasoning Dwarf Fortress would just be considered junk.

      I’ll tell you the truth then, “everyone” in RPS is currently equipped with explosive slave collars and they are forced to keep going with this coverage for at least before christmas, ideally to convince everyone who still doesn’t own the game to buy it before a sale.

      But i guess at least you’re honest about your issues and you’re not hiding behind “Where’s Life is strange?” or “Yeah, but the GOTY is TW3, right?!?” excuses, so you get 100 respect points.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        although seriously, I’ve tried to avoid griping but I would love to see some articles on Life is Strange. Especially since it’s currently on quite a natty sale

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Yeah, point taken, it’s undeniable that it still disappeared from the radars.

          Then again, human beings and all, some games are horribly hungry of time and commitment, and when someting is so big this stuff can happen i guess.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        “just maybe, you have to properly weight all of that?”

        A ‘due weight’ argument when it’s been Rock, Paper, Fallout all week is a little hard to swallow.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          What i meant is that the flaws have to be weighted against the good bits, that’s why i mentioned Dwarf Fortress as a random example.

          At the end of the day it appears that a good part of the staff is enjoying the whole package a lot, and that’s probably an understatement.

          I mean, considering all the coverage it’s either this or straight out accusing them of click baiting or even being bought, which one do you think is the case?

          • pepperfez says:

            It’s always clickbait. No matter what, if you don’t like it it’s clickbait.

    • Stevostin says:

      The oddest part is that ppl with interest in F4 actually avoid to read those columns because of spoiler.

    • mukuste says:

      Can’t upvote this enough– wait a second, I really can’t!

      I haven’t played a second of this game and already feel like I’m burning out on it.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      +1. I have no intention of buying Fallout 4, and yet I’m already feeling like a need to design a browser filter plug-in for it on RPS.

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        Graham Smith says:

        I’m sorry that none of you like a game that lots of other people like. I’m sorry that none of you want to read about a game that lots of other people want to read about. I’m sorry that you can’t find something else to do other than complain about the site not catering at all times solely to your desires and your desires alone.

        Here is a soothing picture of some deer instead: link to pbs.twimg.com

        • lglethal says:

          lol. well said Graham, well said…

        • Sakai says:

          I’m curious as to why a simple question like that gets that kind of response. I don’t think i remember RPS giving so much coverage to any other game, so it is completely fair to ask why exactly Fallout 4 of all games gets so much of it. I mean… It’s not like it’s Witcher 3 or something, so what’s up with so many articles? :)

          • welverin says:

            It was not a simple question, it was borderline rude, if not outright rude, and Graham made a good point, if you don’t want to read about it go do something else.

            As to your point, they absolutely have covered other games as much, and in some cases more. You either weren’t around for it or didn’t notice because it was something you were interested in.

          • Zenicetus says:

            I think it’s because the game is huge and allows many different points of entry, unlike more linear story-based games. You can take it seriously, or just mess around with the systems like this article. The RPS crew is taking advantage of that, by writing posts from different perspectives on the game.

            A few of the recent posts were also about technical issues, which I see as a separate category from “normal” game coverage that competes with other titles.

            Anyway, I don’t see a problem with the number of articles, but then I’m one of those enjoying Fallout 4 as a seriously flawed jewel that’s still worth playing, even before it’s heavily modded. So I guess I’m biased. I did avoid reading these articles until I was far enough into the game not to spoilerized too much.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            “I mean… It’s not like it’s Witcher 3 or something”

            That’s the point though, is it not? There are people enjoy Fallout just as much, if not more. I personally love them equally.

            There was a lot of hate and whining here even when TW3 was released, just like there was for other big hitters, now it’s apparently the best game in the universe.

            Skyrim? Same thing, and don’t get me started on NV with it’s mixed ( and almost violent ) initial reception. Now any game that releases with a new and advanced engine for some reason still “doesn’t look as good as modded Skyrim” or any RPG “doesn’t have the deep writing of NV”.

            Now, before the same happens when FO4 gets gradually accepted by more people and mods are out, can people be more consistent with their emotions starting from now, so we can avoid all the tears and pitchforks?

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            Graham Smith says:

            It wasn’t a question asked with honest intentions. Because the answer is obvious: we’re writing about it because we like it, and because readers like it. Same as every other game.

            The implicit and explicit point of the question was, “I don’t like that you’re doing this and want you to stop.” To which: fair enough that you feel that way, but no, and do you have to say so under every Fallout 4 article?

            No one asks these supposedly simple questions when the articles are about a game they like.

        • jwoozy says:

          Oh, don’t apologize! I didn’t mean to imply that there was nothing else to read on the whole internet. No one’s forcing me to be here, am I right? Ha ha!

          I mean sure some publications would see this is a bad thing but I guess in terms of readership you’re really trading up here. The PC crowd can be so unruly but just try to find a Bethesda fan without a thoroughly trained gag reflex.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          So with the next big popular AAA release we can expect a week or more post-release articles? Or do lots and lots of people only like Bethesda games?

          • Zenicetus says:

            There were plenty of articles here in the weeks right after the release of Witcher 3 and MGSV focused on those games. Why would it be different for the next big AAA title?

            Also, it’s back to the sandbox-ish vs. linear game thing. It’s only natural that they’ll find more things to do, and more things to write about, in the more open-ended games.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            As you say, this will only apply to Bethesda products, afterall it’s all a big conspiracy.

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            Graham Smith says:

            If we like them and readers like them, then yes. As per MGSV. As per every other game we like that readers like.

        • jwoozy says:

          Okay so do you actually want feedback in a comments section or do you want to do this kind of dismissive fake apology shit? “I’m sorry you’re a bunch of entitled brats!

          “Oh, but why do these complaints have to be under every article?” he cries.

          Gee that sounds like a good question. Why *is* Fallout 4 so divisive? Well maybe some day a journalist will investigate and run a piece on it…

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            Graham Smith says:

            It’s not constructive feedback. You suggested that the games press were insane because they (or at least some of those at RPS) liked a game that you do not. You complained about the quantity of articles in a way that suggests you’re cross that other people are having fun.

            If you just don’t want to read about this game, then scroll on. No need to say so. If you want us to write about the game from an angle you feel we haven’t yet covered, then best not complain about quantity and suggest we’ve lost our minds.

            And as I’ve said in the comments elsewhere, here is my email address: graham@rockpapershotgun.com. If you’d like changes, that’s a more fruitful way to go about it than griping under articles in a way that derails a discussion that could have been about people who /do/ like the game and want to discuss tips about its settlement building.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Are you going to stop trying to pass off your passive-agressive rhetorical questions as genuine, or what? See, it’s not nice, is it?

          • jwoozy says:

            You could have deleted the comment like you did with the others if you thought this was derailing the legitimate discussion of this pointless fluff piece.

            Instead you decided to accuse me of… what, exactly? Schadenfreude? Did you ever consider that maybe the reason these games drive people crazy is because it actually does affect them? That maybe, in a year totally dominated by open world content grinds, people who are looking for design and substance in their games have a right to resent the fake critical consensus–which articles like these help to create and maintain–that this is the best we can do?

            No, no, of course not. I’m just “cross with other people having fun”. You’re fucking ridiculous. This is the biggest and most financially successful game of the year. The choices and compromises that make this game what it is will inform the biggest and most financially successful game of 2016. That’s relevant to your readership, particular for a PC-centered publication that knows perfectly well that we’re the ones who have to crawl under the bar set by the mainstream AAA developers, especially when it comes to companies like Bethesda that bought their creativity and success from pieces of our history. Go tell all the fans of the original Syndicate that they aren’t allowed to be mad about what other people like.

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            IJC says:

            Listen up, fans of the original Syndicate and everyone else for that matter: You are not allowed to be mad about what other people like. Because what they like is, well, kinda their business.

  8. BirdsUseStars says:

    This is pretty much my dream home actually

  9. zat0ichi says:

    Chair on tires with coffee cup.

    nice

  10. Skeletor68 says:

    Thank you for crabernacle

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    Qazinsky says:

    Seeing as I have set the settlers on tasks many times at Red Rocket Truck Stop only to later return and have them all stand outside in a crowd, staring into the distance, I am not surprised they have problems behaving with your homemade settlements.

  12. Baring says:

    Pretty neat.
    Damn.. Now i have to go build a steel castle on top of giant sentry bot..

  13. Crusoe says:

    “you’ll find that settlers don’t behave as they should…”

    This made me chuckle. Because I’m playing Vanilla and settlers already spawn on roofs, clip through stairs, get stuck in ceilings, draw their guns every ninety seconds for no reason, chatter to me amicably when I’m 30 meters away, and generally behave like, well, they occupy space inside a Bethesda game. It’s so buggy I make an effort not to spend too long inside my settlement as it currently stands. So as of right now, I’ve no desire to further warp their inexplicably bugged out actions any further.

    Guess I’ll wait for patches and workshop modding before I build a settlement that uses many or any mods.

    • Crusoe says:

      For what it’s worth, I’ve been enjoying the game, and enjoying RPS’ coverage of it. But I’m also finding it to be one of the more frustrating, buggy experiences I’ve had in recent memory.

    • Duncan Harris says:

      Funnily enough, my first attempt with the boy to build anything was in Sanctuary, and at one point he did indeed ask why a man was standing on the roof. Try explaining to a five-year-old what bugs are. He had me building ladders to try and coax the guy down, and the whole time I’m telling him that he’s probably not up there by choice, and that it’s really just the tip of the iceberg as far as mad shit in these things goes.

    • AyeBraine says:

      To be fair, walking around with their guns drawn seems to be the default behaviour of unassigned settlers (who are supposed to be scavengers). They really do walk with guns drawn when not standing around. It helps to differentiate them, although not much (really need a mechanism apart from hats to check assignments).

  14. seroto9 says:

    I like Fallout 4.

  15. Finster says:

    While getpos and setpos are useful, I find modpos to be more convenient.
    For instance,
    modpos x -10
    will shift the item by 10 units on the x axis directly, instead of having to manually subtract 10 from the getpos result and put it back into setpos.

    • Duncan Harris says:

      Mind blown. I knew there was a reason for this article. Has modpos always been in these games?

      • Finster says:

        That, I do not know. What I’ve heard is that all the console commands from Skyrim work in Fallout 4.

  16. Zallgrin says:

    Thank you very much for the helpful guide! I am still torn whether I should go full console command mode or wait until the games and mods are more tested and stable. Would have to lose either my save or my beautiful home.

  17. Jaehaerys says:

    It’d be really awesome if you could upload this save file for download on the nexus, would be amazing to explore your base in game ourselves, at least that’s my excuse for being lazy anyway.

  18. Siimon says:

    Can there be a post like this that is more about (non-cheatengine) base building that is all about function? I have no desire to build for the sake of building, but I would appreciate an RPS take on what makes a good base, when resources appear and how they affect things, how to balance your resources across multiple bases, etc. (Spoiler-tags, please!)

    • AyeBraine says:

      I’ll try to outline things for you real quick in the meantime.

      1. Any number of settlers need 1 water and 1 food per day to be content. BUT water and food may come from another settlement that has a surplus – provided it is connected to the settlement in need by supply routes. In the case of external supplies, settlers may still gripe about hunger or thirst, but happiness reflects the real situation. Otherwise, surplus goes into workshop inventory along with salvaged junk and shops income. You can take it (and even sell it, as with Purified Water). To plant more food, don’t hesitate harvesting and replanting crops – it’s OK. Each farming settler can service up to 6 units of food (either 12 0.5 crops, or 6 mutfruits, or any combo).

      The absolute solution for water is open water (lakes, ponds). Industrial purifier isn’t too expensive, but provides whopping 40 units of water.

      2. Number of settlers equals 10 + your Charisma (including temporary bonuses when the adding of more settlers is decided, either through transfers or recruitment). Thus, you can go as high as 29 max, but as low as 11 max. Companions count towards population. Recruitment occurs randomly each day via Recruitment Beacon, if the settlement is doing more or less OK. You can turn the beacon off.

      3. Supply lines are important, because they make all settlements in the network share workshop resources (Junk). To get them though, you have to invest in Local Leader perk. Your call.

      Provisioners (supply line caravaneers) wander the Commonwealth on their route, and visit both towns. Catch them there to reassign them. You can move them and any other settler to other town.

      4. Any settlers who are unassigned to crops, shops, or guard duty “work” to salvage extra junk. Don’t know how effective they are, but they should be. Raise their effectiveness by assigning them to Salvaging stations. This means you don’t have to assign everybody, and should try to assign minimal farmers for the crops available (just unassign everyone and assign farmers again, so they cover max crops per person). When highlighting the person, you see outlines of their assigned resource in your view.

      To not get lost in assignments, the general tip is to use hats and clothes in general. I do “wasteland” clothes for salvagers, “farmer” clothers for farmers, “maintenance” garb for provisioners (supply line caravaneers), and suits or exotic clothes for shopkeepers.

      4. Defense rating is very easy. You just need to put working defense objects inside settlement’s zone. No walls or gates necessary. Guard posts hog manpower and give few points, so invest in turrets (basically, guard posts are good for aesthetics only). That said, one guard will man three whole guard posts. Looks nice. Meanwhile, walls are not purely cosmetic – you can do bottlenecks and line-of-view obstacles for foes.

      Actual, real defense comes into play during attacks. These happen randomly, with more probability the less defense rating there is, the more resources there are, and proximity to dangerous zones or roads (for me, Hangman’s alley was attacked often by Super Mutants, and remote settlement are attacked very rarely if at all).

      Walling the town off doesn’t work (enemies spawn inside, and make the fight much more bloody and hard). So just cover approaches, make sure to cover the actual town center / places where people often are, and turrets and settlers should do all right. You can help them (wither in random attacks on arrival, or in Miscellaneous mini-quest calls for help, which are generous time-wise).

      All settlers take up arms, not just the guards. Hence, in endangered towns, just give some people some decent weapons and nominal amounts of ammo (they just need enough to load a weapon once). You can even dump some armor on them.

    • AyeBraine says:

      5. IMPORTANT: Connected workshops share building resources (junk), mods and cooking/chem ingredients. Nothing more. Nevertheless, it’s incredibly handy for modding and crafting in any town. Note that actual inventories don’t show everything that’s present throughout the supply chain — but everything’s still accessible when building/crafting/modding.

      6. Powered things can require just power, or units of power (lightning, or lightning with a number). You can power any number of “just power” items with one generator. All light sources are “wireless”, and work when a powered connector is in radius. You can chain generators or connect grids. All power will distribute.

      7. Local shops are nice. If you invested in Local Leader and Caps Collector perks (4 levels total), Emporium-level shops have 700+ cap allowance, carry junk and clothing (right where it’s needed, to build and uniform settlers), as well as weapons and armor. There are unique Emporium traders in the world, recruited manually. Google it.

      Please note that shops work from 8 AM to 8 or 10 PM (don’t quite remember). If you assign a shopkeeper at night, you may think he’s glitched (no shop inventory, or no offer to shop). Just wait for business hours.

      8. Finally, Happiness. To avoid hassle with settlements, you want to know what it depends on. It’s easy. Food and water numbers must equal to number of settlers (or supplied externally, see above); Defense rating must be twice the food and water numbers combined; there have to be enough beds for everyone.

      More Happiness (or more robust Happiness) can be achieved thus, in descending order of importance:
      – beds under roof, with electric lighting;
      – housing that includes some luxury (paintings, radios, etc. etc.)
      – normal shops (meaning clothing, bars and clinics)
      – more separate rooms, less noise pollution from generators etc. (we’re going into splitting hairs here)

      Nevertheless, anything more than 80 Happiness is just bonus. 80 Happiness is “perfect” Happiness of a well-functioning town. If it’s more, it means it’s luxurious and bustling, and actively pampered by you.

    • AyeBraine says:

      (sorry, went in the wrong thread. delete the copy below please)

      CONCLUSION

      To really avoid hassle and Sims-like time-sinking, you may omit settlements altogether, or develop just one. You can even do without them. To deal with settlements quickly and functionally, you can do the following.

      – Settle only conveniently placed towns you like (for example, as a forward base, or a shop town). Numerous small farms are needy and not useful for playing the game. If you don’t like an empty, but “allied” settlement, just Scrap it clean and DON’T populate it. Or DE-populate it by moving people away. Nobody will be there to complain.

      – When choosing, consider places with open water for Purifiers (it basically gives you unlimited Purified Water, which you can sell or supply to dry towns).

      – Then, first of all, try to connect the new settlement with your supply grid, so you can access your building resources. For this, sacrifice on settler from either old towns or new town (if present). Otherwise, bring what’s needed, and make sure to Scrap everything you don’t want (esp. trees for Wood, and metal things).

      – Then build a reasonably-sized two-story building, using concrete foundations (to avoid bumps). Put enough beds there for starters, army barracks style. Light it with bulbs. Small generator and 2-3 connectors will suffice.

      – Plant enough crops for settlers not to starve. Mutfruit is your friend (twice as nutritious as anything else). Use other crops only for crafting (Corn & Tatos give you unlimited Adhesives via cooking) and aesthetics.

      – Meanwhile, use the same generator (or a new one) to power a Recruitment Beacon (1 power). Settlers should start pouring in during the next day.

      – Build a compact defense grid that reasonably covers the zone you’re actually using, or approaches to it. Raise defense number at least to equal, ideally twice the food+water number.

      – That’s it, you’ve built a functional settlement. Assign farmers if they don’t auto-assign. Make scavenging stations and man them if you like.
      Once in a while, check up on settlement in Data/Workshops tab. If a glitch happens (random lowering of resources > happiness), travel to that settlement, it will reset according to real resources. Reassign settlers if needed.
      If a settler doesn’t want to go to assigned resource, you can walk them to it, by giving “Go” commands as waypoints. But sometimes it’s only cosmetic, and the resource is really manned. Shop owners who don’t go to shops may get there the next day / after fast travel. “Go” command also helps to unlatch a person from a furniture piece or a shop, to move it.

      Good luck!

      • Siimon says:

        Thank you so much, AyeBraine, this is all very helpful! Really appreciated

  19. AyeBraine says:

    I never expected when clicking on an article about F4 decorating for it to be written by the brillian Dead End Thrills author! (Love your text features on your site.) Thanks RPS!

    A couple of very important bits of info:

    1) There is a “modpos” console command, which uses relative offsets instead of absolute values. You can see how it’s infinitely quicker and more handy to work with than “getpos/setpos”. Example: “modpos z -25” (the value to marry the walls of second floor to the walls of the first).

    2) Be aware that as I’ve heard (didn’t verify though), any settlement workshop placed manually via the console is wiped, presumably together with the settlement, during the next map refresh. This happens once in every several days (some say 7 days), and is the same time period in which enemies respawn at cleared locations. Moreover, it is said that placing a settlement breaks most of the interactable stuff in the workshop’s radius, and possibly your whole save.

    • Duncan Harris says:

      Something like 2) wouldn’t surprise me. Messing with these games so much this early is asking for it, for sure. A lot of my work on this has involved reloading the same save over and over without much actual exploring in between. That said, I’ve also been using Cheat Engine to whizz through the timecycle many, many times, so I’ve certainly got more on the clock than just seven days. Still, I’ll report back if the whole thing does go kaput.

      Great of you to post all that, btw. Very helpful. The actual settlement simulation was a mystery to me.

      • AyeBraine says:

        Thanks again for your work. I love your website so much, and your articles are top-notch. Wish you’d write a book or something )

        The info on resetting the custom workshops is not solid. It’s just something I read on reddit (fo4 subreddit). Maybe it’s not so conditional. But it seems that it’s really sketchy in terms of scripts. I shudder to think (pleasantly, of course) what you’d capture if you ever want to photograph Fallout 4. There’s so much noir, outdoor beauty (now with normal vegetation) and mundanity there, it may be a treasure trove.

      • AyeBraine says:

        BTW, I decided to put the guide onto Reddit, and commenters helped me to refine it. Here’s a link. It’s really useful if you have some artistic or role-playing aims with your towns – or want them out of the way to play the game, but still want to have useful outposts. Funny thing, I learned all this to avoid pampering settlements to get on with the game. But I can’t abide when people who trusted in me are living in squalid conditions.

        link to reddit.com

  20. AyeBraine says:

    CONCLUSION

    To really avoid hassle and Sims-like time-sinking, you may omit settlements altogether, or develop just one. You can even do without them. To deal with settlements quickly and functionally, you can do the following.

    – Settle only conveniently placed towns you like (for example, as a forward base, or a shop town). Numerous small farms are needy and not useful for playing the game. If you don’t like an empty, but “allied” settlement, just Scrap it clean and DON’T populate it. Or DE-populate it by moving people away. Nobody will be there to complain.

    – When choosing, consider places with open water for Purifiers (it basically gives you unlimited Purified Water, which you can sell or supply to dry towns).

    – Then, first of all, try to connect the new settlement with your supply grid, so you can access your building resources. For this, sacrifice on settler from either old towns or new town (if present). Otherwise, bring what’s needed, and make sure to Scrap everything you don’t want (esp. trees for Wood, and metal things).

    – Then build a reasonably-sized two-story building, using concrete foundations (to avoid bumps). Put enough beds there for starters, army barracks style. Light it with bulbs. Small generator and 2-3 connectors will suffice.

    – Plant enough crops for settlers not to starve. Mutfruit is your friend (twice as nutritious as anything else). Use other crops only for crafting (Corn & Tatos give you unlimited Adhesives via cooking) and aesthetics.

    – Meanwhile, use the same generator (or a new one) to power a Recruitment Beacon (1 power). Settlers should start pouring in during the next day.

    – Build a compact defense grid that reasonably covers the zone you’re actually using, or approaches to it. Raise defense number at least to equal, ideally twice the food+water number.

    – That’s it, you’ve built a functional settlement. Assign farmers if they don’t auto-assign. Make scavenging stations and man them if you like.
    Once in a while, check up on settlement in Data/Workshops tab. If a glitch happens (random lowering of resources > happiness), travel to that settlement, it will reset according to real resources. Reassign settlers if needed.
    If a settler doesn’t want to go to assigned resource, you can walk them to it, by giving “Go” commands as waypoints. But sometimes it’s only cosmetic, and the resource is really manned. Shop owners who don’t go to shops may get there the next day / after fast travel. “Go” command also helps to unlatch a person from a furniture piece or a shop, to move it.

    Good luck!

  21. neotribe says:

    Both SSEX and Homemaker have been updated to FO4Edit-only .ESPs. (Don’t leave items in custom containers while switching from a FOSnip version to a FO4Edit version as the IDs change and your stuff will go poof.)

    Use modpos, not setpos. Way easier to work with. If you’re having trouble getting a part to move in the direction you want it to, reposition your character and adjust the camera angle so that the perspective shows the Y and X axis at right angles to each other. From oblique, side-on views it can be hard to tell which axis you need to move along to place a piece.

  22. Razumen says:

    Modpos is nice if you just need to move something a certain amount, but setpos is irreplaceable if you’re trying to get everything at the same height, like lights on a wall for instance.