Fallout4:1.0.0

From Step Mods | Change The Game



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WARNING

This guide is in the development phase and is NOT supported. The contents of this page can change at any time, so please DO NOT request support for this guide on the forums!
Go to the latest supported Fallout4 Guide


This Release[edit]

This is our first major release of the Step Fallout4 Guide. As described in the Step Versioning Documentation, this is a 'major' release. This Guide requires Fallout 4 GOTY edition (or all DLC).

  • Visit the forums, and provide feedback related to this guide.
  • Also follow Step Modifications on Facebook.
  • To support hosting and maintenance of the Step Community Project, consider donating to the project.



About Step[edit]

A Foreword

Created by TheCompiler (Daniele Ferraro), Step is a collaborative project with input from the modding community, technical volunteers, and project administrators. The goal is to provide tested and validated methods for establishing and maintaining an enhanced modded Skyrim. Thus, the Guide provides detailed, well-tested build instructions for a solid modded Skyrim that achieves an enhanced, vanilla experience. It's meant to be installed in its entirety and not piecemeal.

The Step team collects information from the modding community through extensive mod testing, detailed reviews, feedback, and suggestions exchanged on the Step Community Forums. Posting rules apply, so be sure to read and follow them. Engage and enjoy a warm welcome and plenty of high-quality support from a large community of experienced members.

New to Modding?[edit]

We recommend that you ...

  • read through this Guide at least once before attempting installation.
  • follow all linked guides and read through them, as well.

There is a lot of information to absorb and learn in order to successfully build a modded game. We and the community, have brought together a lot of this information into guides as a free and hopefully convenient resource for all. New and experienced modders alike will find many answers within these guides and linked resources. This Guide is written in such a way that it expects users to know the basics of modding and related tools (e.g. mod managers, LOD optimizers, configuration utilities, etc.). However our support forums are always available for our users.

Nomenclature[edit]

The following nomenclature is used throughout this guide and should be understood before proceeding.

  • 'tick' means 'check': Frequently, the word 'check' or 'checked' can mean 'ensure' in addition to "check mark", so 'check' is not used where it is synonymous with 'tick' to avoid any mistakes that can (and have) happened from this conflation.
  • Baseline: An installation of a mod using the recommend file option listed within the Baseline column of the mod tables below.
  • Step Patches: A "patch" is a plugin that allows two or more mods to work together without conflicting. The Step Patches are such plugins, but allow all of the mods in the Step Guide to work harmoniously together. Some users refer to this as a conflict resolution patch or "CR Patch".

Minimum System Requirements[edit]

We recommend the following hardware configuration for running a Step Fallout4 installation at a resolution of 1920x1080 on Ultra-like settings. The minimum requirements will allow most users to install and run the Baseline options, which match Fallout4's recommended requirements. Our recommended requirements below will allow most users to install and run the Guide using higher quality options with all of the Guide's optional components (Lighting & Weather, ENB, etc.).

Users wishing to install high quality options at resolutions higher than 1920x1080, be advised a more powerful system will likely be required than what is listed below.

Hardware Minimum Recommended
Windows OS Windows 10 64-bit Windows 10 64-bit
CPU Intel Core i5-7600 / i7-4790 or equivalent Intel Core i5-8600 / i7-8700 or equivalent or better
System RAM 8 GB 8 GB or higher
GPU Nvidia GTX 970 or equivalent Nvidia GTX 1060 or equivalent or better
Drive Space ~65 GBs (includes game+guide) ~75 GBs (includes game+guide)
Monitor Resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080 or higher

Time Requirement[edit]

Users should be aware that it will usually take anywhere from several hours to a several days to complete this Guide from start to finish. Since this is a start to finish process, a recommend schedule for completing it is:

Day 1 : Steps 1 - 3
Day 2 : Step 4
  • Step 4 is installing all the mods. Depending on download speeds and previous modding knowledge, this step could span 1-3 days.
Final Day : Finish the remainder of the Guide.

The overall message here is that Step encourages users to always follow proper computer ergonomics when modding! Remember to take breaks and happy modding!


STEP 1[edit]

Game & Tool Installation

Follow the System Setup Guide![edit]

Those who have not completed the System Setup Guide should STOP and do so now BEFORE continuing this guide! This is a perquisite for completing any of the Step Bethesda mod-build guides.
NEW GUIDE FOLLOWERS: Deviate from these instructions at your own risk! Instructions in this guide presume that previous instructions have been followed.


STEP 2[edit]

Tool Configuration

Mod Organizer - Fallout 4 Initialization[edit]

FIRST, follow the System Setup Guide. The below instructions describe how to initialize a Fallout 4 instance in Mod Organizer (MO). If MO wass installed as a Portable application, the instructions below will need to be reinterpreted accordingly. Those who already have a MO instance for Fallout 4 can skip this initialization:

Initialization Instructions

  1. Launch MO by running its executable (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/Mod Organizer/ModOrganizer.exe)
  2. Upon load, click the Instance Manager button on the tool (first button).
  3. Click [Create new instance] button.
  4. Select Fallout 4 and click [Next].
    If it didn't find the game, users can manually browse to the game's location.
  5. Name the instance something like Step Fallout 4 or keep the default. Click [Next].
  6. (optional) change the location of data stored. Step recommends the default location, unless space restraints prevent this. Click [Next].
  7. A confirmation window will display with the installation information. Click [Finish].
  8. MO is now ready to use with this guide.

Profile Setup[edit]

Mod Organizer's profile feature allows the creation of multiple mod-builds. Begin by creating/editing two profiles for use with this guide:

Profile Setup Instructions

  1. Launch MO, choosing the Fallout 4 Instance.
  2. On the Default profile, arrange the mods in the left pane in the following order:
    1. DLC: Dawnguard
    2. DLC: HearthFires
    3. DLC: Dragonborn
  3. Click the MO Profiles button on the menu bar.
  4. Select the Default profile.
  5. Ensure the Use profile-specific Game INI Files box is ticked and click [Copy].
  6. Name the new profile Step Fallout4, or anything similar.
  7. Ensure the Use profile-specific Game INI Files box is ticked.
  8. Close the window by clicking [Close].
  9. Select the Step Fallout4 profile from the profile selection down-drop.
    • If users receive a notice saying some INI files were missing and will be copied. This is normal.
    • If an error is displayed about missing "modlist.txt" files, restart MO (or do a system reboot if one hasn't been done yet).
  10. Now click the MO List Options button and select [Create empty mod].
  11. Name it xEdit Output.

Tool Setup[edit]

All tools installed in the System Setup Guide should be added to MO. Some tools will have been auto-detected and added; however, ensure the settings below are set correctly for all tools. xEdit is used in this example:

Tool Setup Instructions

  1. Click the MO Executables button at the top of the main Mod Organizer window.
  2. Over the left pane of the executables config, click the [+] to add a new executable, and then [Add from file...].
  3. Navigate to the TES5Edit.exe file (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/xEdit/TES5Edit.exe).
    • This should auto-fill most of the fields.
  4. Change the title to xEdit.
  5. Input the following in the Arguments field separated by a single space:
    • e.g. -FO4 -IKnowWhatImDoing -AllowMasterFilesEdit
    • "-IKnowWhatImDoing": This turns off a warning presented when users make edits.
    • "-AllowMasterFilesEdit": By default xEdit will not allow master file editing. This allows users to edit these files.
  6. Tick the Create files in mod instead of overwrite box. Select the xEdit Output mod from the drop-down.
  7. Tick the Use applications icon for desktop shortcuts box.
  8. Click [Apply].
  9. Repeat these steps to add the remaining executables as indicated in the table below:

Tool Setup Reference for Fallout 4[edit]

Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
For tools previously installed, simply adjust the arguments below for use with Fallout 4.
Application Title Executable Argument(s)
xEdit xEdit.exe -FO4 -IKnowWhatImDoing
Tick the Create files in mod instead of overwrite box and select the xEdit Output mod from the drop-down.
xEditQuickAutoClean xEditQuickAutoClean.exe -FO4
Tick the Create files in mod instead of overwrite box and select the xEdit Output mod from the drop-down.
LOOT LOOT.exe --game="Fallout4"
xLODGen xLODGenx64.exe -fo4 -lodgen -o:"DriveLetter:\Modding\Tools\xLODGen\xLODGen_Output"
Replace DriveLetter: with the drive letter of the 'Modding' folder.

Users can arrange the tools in any order using the up and down buttons above the list. This will dictate the order that tools are listed in the MO "Run" dropdown menu. Close the window by clicking the [OK] button.

BethINI Setup[edit]

BethINI needs to be run for the current MO profile to establish the configuration files before beginning mod installation. This ensures that all users share a common configuration during the modding process. As such, please do not deviate from the instructions below. Once the guide is complete and things are confirmed to be working, there's an optional BethINI setup located at the end of this guide that can be used to fine tune the configuration.

BethINI Initialization[edit]

Initialize BethINI

  1. Close MO2 and run BethINI (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/BethINI/BethINI.exe).
    If prompted by Windows protection, click More Info and then [Run anyway].
  2. When BethINI launches, select "Fallout 4" from the game selection box.
    Allow BethINI to handle custom INIs, if prompted.
  3. Go to the Setup tab and ensure the
    • Ensure the Game path is correct (e.g. ..\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 4).
    • Ensure the Mod Organizer path is correct (e.g. ..\Modding\Tools\Mod Organizer).
    • The INI Path name depends on the MO Profile Setup
      • If BethINI does not automatically display the profile created previously, browse to the applicable MO profile under the instance created previously in step 5 of the MO initialization instructions (e.g., %LOCALAPPDATA%\ModOrganizer\{instanceName}\profiles\STEP Fallout4).
      • Select the Step Fallout4 profile folder, and click [Open].
      • Click [OK] at the prompts to restart BethINI with the desired profile configured. Allow BethINI to handle custom INIs, if prompted.
  4. Return to the Setup tab.
    • The “Automatically Check for Updates”, “Auto-detect Invalid Settings”, “Always Select Game”, and “Modify Custom INIs” boxes should be ticked.
  5. Keep BethINI open.

BethINI Basline Configuration[edit]

Users should now continue through each of the tabs within BethINI, matching the screens below. Again, please do no deviate from these instructions at this time. Click the header to see important notes:

Basic
 
  1. Click the [Default] button.
  2. Window Resolution should match the system resolution.
  3. Tick the boxes
    Note that these settings may be overridden by the setting SSE Display Tweaks configuration file or enblocal.ini.
    Lock Frame Rate should NOT be ticked.
  4. Click the [High] preset
    Please avoid the temptation to click 'Ultra' for now, even if the PC is high-end.
General
 
The Screenshots directory, Filename, and Index can be set to whatever the user desires. Screenshots are taken by pressing the Print Screen button on the keyboard (PrtSc).
Gameplay
 
Set Over-Encumbered Reminder to 300 (5 mins) or 3600 (1 hour)
NPC Use Ammo is optional, but recommended.
Interface
 
Users that require subtitles may enable them here.
Detail
 
Depth of Field, Lens Flare, and Anamorphic Lens Flare (the flare seen on candles) may be toggled as preferred.
View Distance
 
The Object, Actor, and Item fade values are user preference.
uGridsToLoad should never been changed from vanilla's default of 5.
Always keep Level 16 at 300000.
Visuals
 
The Grass settings are set later, in the NGIO configuration file.
Custom
 
  1. Section drop-down again, select Display.
    1. Setting drop-down, select fWaterSSRIntensity.
    2. Set value: 0.5 and click [Save].
  2. Section drop-down again, select Interface.
    1. Setting drop-down, select fBookOpenTime.
    2. Set value: 500 and click [Save].
  3. Return to Basic tab, and click [Save and Exit].



STEP 3[edit]

Cleanup and Considerations

LOOT[edit]

At any time during the mod installation process, LOOT should be used to sort plugin load order before running the game. This is necessary to ensure proper plugin priority (load order), which can have a dramatic impact on the game. Users not running the game during the mod installation step of the Guide can wait to sort after this step is complete. To sort with LOOT:

  1. Launch LOOT via Mod Organizer 2 from the executables drop-down menu at the top of the right pane.
    • If LOOT fails to start, try adding the following argument as described in Tools Setup: --single-process. If LOOT cannot find the game directory, add the path to ../Fallout 4 folder to Installed Path under LOOT settings.
  2. Click the [Sort Plugins] icon at the top of the LOOT window.
  3. Several plugins will show warnings. The next section describes how to clean them up.
  4. Click [Apply] button, which has replaced the Sort button at the top.
  5. Close LOOT.
Info-Logo.png

NOTE

When running LOOT before completing the Step Guide, additional warnings may be indicated. These will all be addressed by the end of this Guide.

Up to this point, users should only have the following plugins, in the order listed:

  1. Fallout4.esm
  2. DLCRobot.esm
  3. DLCworkshop01.esm
  4. DLCCoast.esm
  5. DLCworkshop02.esm
  6. DLCworkshop03.esm
  7. DLCNukaWorld.esm
  8. DLCUltraHighResolution.esm

If the plugins are not in the order listed, run LOOT now.

Cleaning Vanilla Master Files[edit]

Step no longer recommends cleaning the vanilla masters, since this has always been unnecessary. See the relevant posts for details and further reading. We continue to provide general plugin cleaning instructions for those mods that may require it.

Info-Logo.png

NOTE

For those that have previously-cleaned vanilla masters, please feel free to continue using them. It is also fine to revert to the uncleaned vanilla masters. Effectively, there is no difference.

Standard Cleaning Procedures[edit]

Toggle cleaning procedures...

  1. Run xEditQuickAutoClean from the drop-down executable list in MO2.
  2. On the plugin selection window, double-click on the mod being cleaned (e.g. Update.esm).
  3. Once xEdit is finished, click [X] at upper right to close. A backup of the original plugin will automatically be saved into (e.g., ../xEdit Output/SSEEdit Backups) inside of xEdit Oputput mod (or in Overwrite at the bottom of the MO mod list (left) pane id previous instructions were NOT followed!).
  4. To verify the plugin has been cleaned, LOOT can be run again, and no warnings should be apparent.

Understanding the Step Patches[edit]

A “conflict resolution” patch, or CR Patch, is a plugin that resolves conflicts between various active plugins. They allow users to use various mods together without any major issues, while still achieving the desired outcome from the mods. Thus, the Step Patches are one part patch and one part mod.

The Step Patches are built specifically for the Step mod list. They are required to run the this Guide and are dependent on specific mods within the mod list (those tagged at left with a green vertical bar). They will not resolve conflicts with any applicable mods that are not within the Guide's mod list, though.

Step Patches[edit]

  1. Step Fallout4 - Conflict Resolution Patch (Step CR Patch)
    • For those that would opt for their own custom lighting and weather mods
    • Patches all applicable mods except for Lighting & Weather mods
    • Required for all users!
  2. Step Fallout4 - Lighting & Weather Patch (Step LW Patch)
    • For those that are using Guide's lighting and weather mod from the Lighting & Weather mod group.
    • Patches only the applicable Lighting & Weather mods; the CR Patch is still required!




STEP 4[edit]

Step Fallout4 Mod List

At this point, the PC modding environment should be fully set up and ready for mod installation. Those unfamiliar with using MO2 should return to that guide for a refresher. When installing mods, keep the following in mind:

  • To maintain compatibility with downstream Patch instructions, it is important to install Patch-related mods as described in their respective Notes.
  • After installing a mod, enable the mod in MO.
  • If no Notes or Step recommendations are provided for a particular mod, all options are good. Step encourages user customization.
  • Mods should be arranged in MO in the order that they are listed to ensure other mods further down the list overwrite/override those occurring before them. This is necessary to ensure the desired outcome.
  • Mods are listed in alphabetical order within each Mod Group and any deviations from this are purposeful to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Always install plugins (ESLs/ESMs/ESPs), unless otherwise noted. When there is a choice between ESL and ESP, always choose ESL unless otherwise noted.
  • Always follow LOOT's advice in regards to mod cleaning and sorting unless otherwise noted.
  • Step does not recommend extracting BSAs as a general principle, since it adds to the potential for user error and unnecessary support issues. Experienced and self-supporting users may derive benefit from doing so, however.
Moicon.png

MO2

MO Separators: Mod Organizer features the ability to create separators within the mod list to group mods for easier visual reference. Step recommends using these separators for each Mod Group following below. To create a separator:

  1. Click the MO List Options button on the top of the mod list pane.
  2. Select [Create Separator] and give the separator a name. Step recommends using the Mod Group names (i.e., Extensions, Resources, Lighting & Weather, etc.).
    • Create a new separator for each new Mod Group while working through the Guide.
    • Separator colors can be customized by right-clicking on any separator and selecting Select Color.

Mod Table Reference[edit]

Below is the legend and reference for the mod tables used in this Guide. Users should refer back to it when confused about a mod listing.

Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Mod (patch/enb-independent)Wikilink.png Baseline Notes
Mod (patch/enb-dependent)Wikilink.png Baseline Notes

Mod Table Legend[edit]

Table Flags A red vertical bar indicates that the mod is required by the Step CR Patch.

A yellow bar indicates that the mod is required by the Step L&W Patch.
A blue bar indicates the mod supports or otherwise relates to ENB.

Mod Name Nexus mod name presented as a link to Nexus for download.
Wikilink.png Link to the mod's wiki page, which includes various information about the mod.
Baseline This notes the Step Baseline version or option of the corresponding mod that should be installed, and usually refers to options affecting performance/quality. General suggestions are located in the "Notes" column; see below.
Instructions Brief notes that apply to the mod or installation.
In some cases, mods with several options will include a suggested option. These suggestions will take the form of: "Step recommends: Option A Main File."
In other cases, there may only be one appropriate option, which fits the Step Mandate. These instructions will take the form of: "Install Option A Main File."
Users will also see links displayed as: [Expand]. Users should click these links to expand the mod row to reveal detailed instructions for installing the mod.

02-Extenders[edit]

Extend the game engine and required for use by downstream mods or utilities
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Fallout 4 Script ExtenderLink to the mod's Wiki page.


03-Resources[edit]

Applications or mods that provide additional functions or resources
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Address Library for F4SE PluginsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Buffout 4Link to the mod's Wiki page.
Bullet Counted Reload SystemLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HUDFrameworkLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Mod Configuration MenuLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Settlement Menu ManagerLink to the mod's Wiki page.


04-Foundation[edit]

Baseline mods that may be overwritten or overridden by other mods
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Unofficial Fallout 4 PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Optimized Vanilla TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
High Resolution Texture PackLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Jesters Better Destroyed VehiclesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Langleys HD Textures WorkshopLink to the mod's Wiki page.
FlaconOils Complete Retexture ProjectLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This mod will need to be extracted to allow it to overwrite properly.


05-Animations & Effects[edit]

Mods that alter the animations and effects in the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Lowered WeaponsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic Death PhysicsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: Realistic Death Physics - ALL DLC version


06-Models & Textures[edit]

Mods that alter the appearance of objects in the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
All Weapons HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Better Ammo BoxesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Requires FOMOD instructions
Better Landscape GrassLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Cryolator Cryo-Cell FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Delightful Dead FishLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step Recommends: Delightful Dead Fish HD - Unhealthy Version
Enhanced Blood TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: EBT_Basic
Fallout 4 HD Reworked Project RevisedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install: Fallout 4 HD Reworked Project Revised - Loose Files

This mod breaks Precombines

Fallout Texture Overhaul MoonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Fallout Texture Overhaul PipBoyLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download All-in-one

Needs FOMOD

Fallout Texture Overhaul Power ArmorsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Download and install Optional Files: ...Power Armor FRAME, ...T-45 and ...T-60
Fallout Texture Overhaul StarsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Faraway Area ReformLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step Recommends: ...Default Resolution
Fixed Alpha MapsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Still under review, but looks like the Archive version will likely be used.
Fixed Flickering PuddlesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install: Main File

FOMOD needed
Still under review, but likely will use Archive version of the mod.

Fixed Gobo EffectsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Flicker FixerLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Still under review but it's likely the Archive version of this mod will be used.

This mod breaks Precombines

Glowing Glass FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Gravel RedoneLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Improved Map with Visible RoadsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install: Main File

Needs FOMOD

NukaWorld Fixes the East EntranceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: Both ...ESL archives from Main and Optional Files.
Power Armor Hud No TransparencyLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step Recommends: Version 4 - Classic - ... - NO LENS - ...
Radiant Clouds and FogsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Needs FOMOD
Retextured Chems v1Link to the mod's Wiki page. Step Recommends: Main File
Roads RedoneLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Faded
Slocum Joe Corporate HQ Reception Ceiling FixedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: Both ...ESL archives from Main and Optional Files
Terrain UndersidesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
WET Water Enhancement TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Needs FOMOD
Wasteland Creatures RedoneLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Wasteland Workshop Street Lamp and Ceiling Light FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Wave Animation Vanilla EnhancedLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Wetness Shader FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Workshop Lightbulb Emittance FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Workshop Spotlight FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install: Workshop Spotlight Fix with DLC - All in One Installer

Needs FOMOD


07-Sounds & Music[edit]

Mods that alter game audio
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Project Reality Footsteps FO4Link to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: BA2 file
Under the Hood Mechanical Power Armor AudioLink to the mod's Wiki page.


08-Character Appearance[edit]

Mods that alter any aspect of PC or NPC appearance
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
DeLuxe MakeupLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: Both files
Enhanced Vanilla BodiesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Mod page is NSFW!

Step Recommends: Both NeverNude files

The Eyes Of Beauty Fallout EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install: All-in-one file

Needs FOMOD

WX Hair ColorsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install: WX Edited Hair Textures Miscellaneous File

Download and merge: WX All Naturals Optional File


09-Fixes[edit]

Mods that fix various bugs not addressed by the Foundation mod group
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Brawl Bug FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Crafting Highlight FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Eye Normal Map Fix Fallout 4 EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Gas Mask Hat FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
High Res DLC Black Face FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Rusty Face FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Sprint Stuttering FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: the top file
Various Material FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: VMF - Combined file
Weapon Debris Crash FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Weapon Mod FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page.


10-Gameplay-General[edit]

Mods that alter gameplay mechanics and don't naturally fit into any other gameplay mod group
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Piper Interview RestoredLink to the mod's Wiki page.
VaultTec Workshop Overhaul ReduxLink to the mod's Wiki page.


11-Gameplay-AI & Combat[edit]

Mods that alter AI and combat mechanics
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Encounter Zone RecalculationLink to the mod's Wiki page.


12-Gameplay-Economy[edit]

Mods that alter currency, item stats, or other economy-related aspects of the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Worthwhile Caps StashesLink to the mod's Wiki page.


13-Gameplay-Immersion[edit]

Mods that help to improve game immersion and role-playing scenarios
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Armor and Clothing OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Needs FOMOD
Classic Holstered Weapons SystemLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Even Better Mod DescriptionsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: Even Better Mod Descriptions - GOTY (Main Version)
Nuka Cola and Vim AddictionLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic Conversations Fallout 4Link to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: Main File


14-Gameplay-Quests[edit]

Mods that alter aspects of quests and/or related lore

No mods defined.

15-Gameplay-Skills & Perks[edit]

Mods that alter PC skills and perks or related leveling

No mods defined.

16-Interface[edit]

Mods that alter any aspect of the user interface
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Better ConsoleLink to the mod's Wiki page.
CCCleanerLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Full Dialogue InterfaceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install: Main File

Needs FOMOD

Full Dialogue Interface and Creation Club FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Immersive HUDLink to the mod's Wiki page.


17-Locations[edit]

Mods that add new locations and/or alter vanilla locations
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Vault 88 EssentialsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step Recommends: Main File


18-Lighting & Weather[edit]

Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
This section is optional!
We wish to be clear that the mods included within this section are completely optional. They are still within the Mandate, however, we've made this section optional for users who wish to customize their own lighting and weather. As such, we've included an additional patch solely for this mod group.


Optional mod group that alters lighting and weather systems in the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Sunlight Alignment TweakLink to the mod's Wiki page.


19-Utilities[edit]

Tools used to generate mod resources from data provided by previous mod groups
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Canary Save File MonitorLink to the mod's Wiki page.


20-Patches[edit]

Guide-specific mods required to resolve any incompatibilities among mods

No mods defined.

Mod List Cleanup & Performance Check[edit]

Final Sorting and Cleaning[edit]

Before moving on, run LOOT from MO, then sort, and accept the default load order provided. Review the mod list in LOOT looking for any plugins reported as needing to be cleaned. Keep in mind that LOOT tends to lag behind on the report information, so it will not always be accurate. Ignore any reported missing compatibility patches or other warnings. These are either handled by the Step Patches or not of any concern. Perform the standard cleaning procedures on the mods requiring cleaning.

Be aware the Step Patches are designed to work with a default, LOOT-sorted plugin order. This eliminates the need to set rules on the load order. From this point on:

  • Ensure all applicable mods are ticked in the left pane of MO.
  • Ensure all plugins are ticked in the right pane of MO.
  • Sort the load order using LOOT whenever plugins are added/removed.
  • Update LOOT (the program and masterlist) whenever updates are available.

Performance Tuning[edit]

The goal at this point is to have at least 80 FPS in exteriors on average. It's necessary to determine how much performance headroom is available before generating LOD, because the full LODGen setup can cost upwards of 30 FPS on average in exteriors. Before beginning, uncap FPS if it was configured in SSE Display Tweaks or via the driver software so that actual frame rates can be measured. Some users may by required to turn of vsync to measure above 60FPS. These changes should be reversed when FPS performance is no longer a concern.

It's recommended to turn on the On-Screen Display (OSD) settings in SSE Display Tweaks to measure FPS. Other third-party applications like FRAPS, Skyrim Performance Monitor (SPM), and even driver software can be used but are unnecessary with SSE Display Tweaks. Optional instructions are provided to assist.

Benchmarking Instructions

Take a moment to configure the chosen FPS overlay as described above. If SPM or FRAPS are used for some reason, install into e.g., C:/Modding/Tools/SPM.
  1. Uncap FPS if it was configured in BethINI, SSE Display Tweaks, or via the driver software so that actual frame rates can be seen. This can be set again when the build is fully completed. Ignore any stuttering, screen tearing, etc. for the time being, as these are probably not related to performance if FPS ≥ 60.
  2. Launch Fallout4, and start a NEW game to verify that Skyrim loads without issue.
    • Ensure that the FPS overlay is working.
    • NOTE: If the game crashes at any point, there is a problem with load order, enabled mods, or any number of things missed in the above instructions. Please troubleshoot by validating that all instructions have been followed. If custom mods have been installed and enabled, disable them.
  3. Create a character to test initial frame rates. Skyrim should successfully load into the Alternate Start character generation interface.
  4. At the Statue of Mara, select "I own property in one of the holds".
  5. Select "Breezehome".
  6. Rest, and then save the game when the Breezehome interior loads. This will be the clean save to use for testing performance before and after LODGen.
  7. Exit Breezhome, then Whiterun, and stand at the end of the wood deck looking out over the tundra.
  8. Note FPS while panning over the horizon

Performance/Quality Optimization[edit]

There are many things that can be modified to improve performance and quality, depending on the performance headroom available. Following are some suggestions listed in descending priority:

  1. Consider revisiting the BethINI Setup to set the 'Low', 'Medium', 'High', or 'Ultra' preset until FPS is close to or greater than 80 FPS while looking West across the tundra outside of the Whiterun main gate. NOTE: Changing the preset revises View Distance, so be certain to change "Level 16" to 300000.
  2. Consider modifying the following grass settings in GrassControl.config.txt of the No Grass In Objects mod:
    • Set ExtendGrassDistance = False and OverwriteGrassDistance = 6000 or less to improve performance. Increase the latter value to improve quality at the cost of performance.
    • Don't forget to also lower OverwriteGrassFadeRange to some value less than 6000 (like 3000).
    • Set OverwriteMinGrassSize to a value of 50-20 to improve quality (default of '60' is already the performance optimum, but it can be increased further to optimize the quality-performance trade-off).
  3. If FPS is at least 80 in the test area, then consider enabling grass LODGen (addressed below, including screenshots)



STEP 5[edit]

ENBSeries Configuration


Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
This section is optional!
We wish to be clear that this section is completely optional. All is still within the Mandate, however, we've made this section optional for users who wish to customize their own custom post-processing. As such, we've included an additional patch solely for this section's mod group.


Using Cathedral Minimalist ENB as a starting point, the Step Team built an ENB Preset specifically tailored to the mod list with this Fallout4 Guide. Two different configurations are available for use. The Milk-Drinker configuration is designed to be light-weight; costing 5-10FPS. It is tailored to be used by the majority of Guide users to fix many of Fallout 4's lighting issues while bringing in some additional enhancements and features. The Dragonborn configuration is the fully designed Preset with all the desired effects and features enabled. It will cost ~20FPS outdoor.

If average FPS is between 75-90 (HINT: check in the Rift and the Frozen Marshes), Step recommends installing the Milk-Drinker configuration.
If average FPS is > 90, Step recommends the Dragonborn configuration. Keep in mind that LOD generation is more important to visual enhancement than ENB.}}

21-Post-Processing[edit]

Mods that contribute to post-processing visual enhancement of the game

No mods defined.


STEP 6[edit]

Level of Detail (LOD)


Now that all the mods and patches have been installed/sorted and performance margins are acceptable, the next step is to generate custom LOD data for the mod list. Recommended settings correspond to rendered game resolutions that can benefit. Using 'higher' settings will otherwise be a waste of PC resources that may be necessary to keep frame rates above 50 FPS. Use 'lower' settings as a compromise if necessary. Any time a mod providing LOD assets is added, removed, or changed, LOD should be regenerated. Examples include --but are not limited to-- most of the '03-Foundation' mods, No Grass In Objects, Enhanced Vanilla Trees, Just Ice, etc.

Before moving on, create three empty mods for the LOD output:

  1. Click on the MO List Options button and select, [Create empty mod].
  2. Name it (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen (this will only be used as a resource for xLODGen).
    • This places a new, empty mod at the bottom of the mod list. However if it's not, place it last in the mod list.
  3. Repeat these steps to create three other new mods named:Step Fallout4 - xLODGen Output, Step Fallout4 - TexGen Output, and Step Fallout4 - DynDOLOD Output; or anything unique and descriptive to their source/function.
  4. Place these new mods directly after (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen.
  5. Find the (TEMP) - Cathedral Landscapes - LODGen mod from the 04-Foundation mod group and enable it if it is not enabled. This mod ONLY needs to be enabled for terrain LOD generation. If it is not disabled before actually playing the game, it will cause visual glitches.

The last few mods in the mod list should now reflect the following (numbering is approximate and reflects the number of mods installed without extra mods or mod-list separators):

  1. DLC: Hearthfires
  1. ...
  2. (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen
  3. (TEMP) - Cathedral Landscapes - LODGen NOTE: This mod can be here or under 04-Foundation with Cathedral Landscapes main mod, but it must be DISABLED later as instructed!
  4. Step Fallout4 - xLODGen Output
Info-Logo.png

NOTE

Complete the following in order, and ensure that all mods are enabled and plugins enabled and sorted!

xLODGen[edit]

xLODGen is run first to generate updated LOD terrain textures and meshes so that landscape LOD is updated with mod changes:

Preparation[edit]

Terrain LOD preparation

  1. Visit the Step Forum and download SSE-Terrain-Tamriel.esm.
  2. Extract the file to the (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen mod folder in MO.
  3. Ensure the both (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen and (TEMP) - Cathedral Landscapes - LODGen are active in the plugin list (ticked), as they will be used by xLODGen to regenerate corrected landscape LOD and disabled afterwards.
  4. Sort with LOOT.

Generation[edit]

Terrain LOD generation

  1. Run xLODGen from the MO2 executable drop-down list.
  2. Select all worldspaces.
  3. Ensure that ONLY the Terrain LOD box is ticked in the right pane.
  4. Use the following settings, which have been verified in extensive testing:
    Info-Logo.png
    NOTE:
    Those running 4k resolution or higher should consider bumping up all texture sizes by doubling values shown (256 --> 512, 512 --> 1024).
  5. Click [Generate] to run the process, which will require upwards of 30 minutes, depending on the PC.
  6. Once the "LOD generation complete" message has appeared, close xLODGen.

Wrap Up[edit]

Terrain LOD wrap up

  1. Navigate to the xLODGen output folder (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/xLODGen/xLODGen_Output).
  2. Back on MO, open the Step SkrimSE - xLODGen Output mod in an Explorer window (Ctrl+double click).
  3. Cut and paste the files from the LOD generation to the Step Fallout 4 - xLODGen Output folder. Close both folders.
  4. Enable Step SkrimSE - xLODGen Output mod.
  5. Disable (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen and (TEMP) - Cathedral Landscapes - xLODGen mods (only needed as xLODGen resources).

When to Regenerate LOD[edit]

xLODGen
Whenever there are changes to the mod list that affect the underlying landscape: height, shape, textures, etc. This does not include grass, mountains or other objects on the landscape.



STEP 6[edit]

Final INI Configuration


Step Fallout4 is fully installed and working at this point, but if FPS are < 60 or > 80, some adjustments may be beneficial to performance or quality. A final consideration is customizing BethINI. Refer to the Skyrim Configuration Guides for more information.


STEP 7[edit]

Mod Configuration (MCM)


The game is now ready to be loaded to configure mods in the Mod Configuration Menu (MCM). The MCM is a feature of SkyUI that allows mod authors to provide custom, game-accessible settings for their mods. Recommendations are provided below for select mods. The remainder are user preference.

First Launch[edit]

Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
The MCM menu item may juxtapose the 'Exit' menu item, so be sure to scroll down to exit if it is 'missing'. Alternatively, use the 'qqq' console command.

To run the game, select the F4SE Launcher executable from the drop-down list and click the Run button. Keep the following in mind when first launching from a fresh Guide installation:

  • A new game is required!
    In other words, don't load from a save when first launching after a fresh guide install to avoid issues. Review the changelog before upgrading from a previous version of this Guide to determine whether or not a new game is advisable.
  • When launching the game for the first time after a Guide install, the load could take significantly longer than normal. This will only be a one-time wait as all the installed mods are being initialized. Subsequent load times should be shorter.
  • Finally, INI files may appear in the Overwrite folder after closing the game (e.g. ../SKSE/Plugins/SkyrimUncapper.ini). These files should be moved to their respective mod folders, respecting their folder structure during the move.

Alternate Start[edit]

Upon starting a new game, the Alternate Start - Live Another Life is the first mod in play. Lets face it, Fallout 4 is old and the vanilla start quest is the last thing many want to play through. Alternate Start provides a variety of ways to start the game. Once a new game is started, a locked cell is loaded. Simply talk to the statue in the room, choose a preference for starting the game (the vanilla start is provided as an option), and then sleep in the bed to start your new life. When using an alternate start location, the main quest line can be initialized by simply visiting Helgen.

Mod Configuration Menu Settings[edit]

Cathedral Weathers[edit]

Users who have installed the optional Lighting & Weathers mod group should set Interior Vision to "Darker" in order for Luminosity to have the correct interior brightness.

Complete Crafting[edit]

The following screenshots display the recommended settings for the mod's MCM:

Remaining Mod Configurations[edit]

The remaining mod configurations are recommended to be left at their defaults for the most enhanced, vanilla experience. However, users may adjust the settings for these mods to their preference.


COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS[edit]

Help build STEP

STEP can only get bigger and better with help from the community. It is very time consuming for the STEP team to ensure that the Guide is consistently maintained at the highest quality possible. We need people to help us identify mods that improve the vanilla game while adhering to our Mandate. We also need ongoing bug reports, reviews, and updates on mods that may cause problems or that stray from the Mandate.

In order to suggest a mod for inclusion, visit the Mods section of the Forums.

Call for Mod Testers[edit]

Community members interested in becoming Mod Testers, please contact TechAngel85 via PM on the forums. Once registered, Mod Testers will be given access to Staff forums that houses useful information. For more information about our mod testing process, read through the Mod Testing Guide to get a sense of what's involved.

Call for Forum Moderators[edit]

Regular community members interested in becoming moderators, please contact TechAngel85 via PM on the forums. Forum Moderators will be determined based upon level and quality of activity within our community.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the game!


Credits[edit]

Thank you all!

The Step administrators would sincerely like to thank (from the bottoms of our fuzzy little hearts):

  • The authors of mods recommended within our Guides
  • The authors of mods who granted permission for their mods to be incorporated into the STEP Patches
  • The core Community for feedback, suggestions and input
  • The Beta and Mod Testers for their good humor and rigorous analyses
  • The Nexus community
  • Bethesda Softworks for their games
  • Tannin for the gift that is Mod Organizer
  • All the developers that kept MO alive to create MO2

Step Staff[edit]

Administrators[edit]

  • TechAngel85
    • Lead Release Coordinator, Patch Coordinator, Lead Forum Administrator, Mod Author
  • z929669
    • Project Founder, Lead Site Developer, Lead Site Administrator

Step Admin[edit]

  • DoubleYou
  • Greg

Honorary Staff[edit]

Retired Founders, Administrators, and Staff:

  • Aiyen
  • Bealdwine
  • deathneko11
  • EisDrache
  • EssArrBee
  • Farlo
  • frihyland
  • GSDfan (still active: MO Support)
  • GrantSP
  • hishutup
  • Kelmych
  • MontyMM
  • Nebulous112
  • oqhansoloqo
  • phazer11
  • rootsrat
  • stoppingby4now
  • TheCompiler
  • torminater
  • Uhuru
  • WilliamImm
  • wolverine2710