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Fallout 3 Mods: Risky Business or experience-enhancing goodness?
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Spike
Memphis
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February 23, 2010 - 4:37 pm
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Twelve, count em', twelve, weeks of Fallout 3.  What fun it's been.  I've put many (way, way, too many) hours into this game.  At this point I am killing time.  One minor quest left, which I will hold over until I install and start playing the add-ons ( I want a couple of perks that I didn't know I'd want).  The main quest is just sitting and waiting for me to be "ready to fight with The Pride"  (accidentally triggered the end game on December 31st, reloaded a save, and they have been waiting for me ever since.)  Leveled out weeks and weeks ago.  I'm seeking out random encounters to gain goodies.  I have found all marked, and many unmarked, locations.  Cleared all but one building (Ft. Independence:  wiping out the Outcasts and looting their stuff will be my last job before heading into the final quest and then Broken Steel).  There are 92 skill books outstanding that I'd love to find.  So what's holding me up?  My son.

He started playing about 4 weeks after me.  He was rolling along nicely, and we were having fun discussing our different experiences and styles.  At about level 12 or 13 he started having trouble with the game – glitches, crashes.  I'd forgotten to tell him about the patch, which I installed before I started playing.  So he downloaded the patch and found that it didn't help in his current game.  So he restarted.  He was kinda glad to do so because it allowed him to make some different choices than in his first game.  Better perks to take for his style of play,  different ways to complete some quests, etc.  But restarting meant that he was then way, way behind me.   I've bought Broken Steel/Point Lookout and Anchorage/The Pitt.  Son has the first, and will soon buy the second.  Neither of us knows if we want Mothership Zeta, but we are both thinking that New Vegas will be worthwhile.  Since it will probably be delayed beyond its announced Fall release date, it should be out by the time we're ready for it.   [Image Can Not Be Found]   When he first started playing we agreed that we would install the add-ons at the same time.  Those discs are almost "burning a hole in my pocket", but I will wait.

So, here I am wandering, looting, amassing and waiting for son.  Last week I read this on the Bethesda site:

http://bethblog.com/index.php/.....n-jackson/

which led me here:  

http://www.fallout3nexus.com/d.....hp?id=4730

Now,  I've never installed a mod for any game I've ever played, but this guy's mods look like something that would give me more to do while I wait for my son to be ready for add-ons.  They would also add a bit of adventure game enjoyment as well.  I don't want to goober up my main game.  I don't want to download anything that might goober up my computer.  So my question is:  how do you know that a mod will work as it should, and only as it should?  How seamlessly a mod works with a game depends, I would guess, on the skill of the creator.  That said, what should I look for?  I'm much better at fussing with hardware than with software, so I don't want to have to do much to get any of these mods working.  What do I need to know?

Suggestions from those-who-mod greatly appreciated.  Opinions from anyone who modded F3 would get heaps of that appreciation.  Perchance has our own Queen of Mods waved her scepter over F3?   [Image Can Not Be Found]

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Toger
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February 23, 2010 - 6:50 pm
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Unless she's already winging her way towards Vietnam…

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Scout
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February 23, 2010 - 7:56 pm
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Mods aren't guaranteed to work as they should, esp. if you already have other mods installed. Best way to find out is to try it. Also and obviously, read the mod forums and the feedback from gamers. Quarter to Three and Octopus Overlords often have thread on mods. Fallout 3 is popular so should be easy to find feedback.

The challenge, at least for me, is installing them correctly. Modders aren't the best at simple instructions and often assume a certain level of expertise. Some mods come with auto installers which are nice. Others require you to copy the files to your game .dat files and even have them in certain orders. Mod files usually load after the game executable and if you have a lot of mods you might have to have them load in a particular order.  Bethedsa games like Morrowind and Oblivion were like this. You want to be somewhat comfortable rooting around in your game files.

I rarely mod a current game. I mostly mess with older games to make them more user friendly. Also the mods will have been around awhile and will be mature and tested.

Yapette is a modding fiend so she'll have a lot to say about it.

I don't think I modded Fallout 3 at all.

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Yapette
Tangentistan
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February 24, 2010 - 1:18 am
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Here I am! Fresh from the World of Wow. How to begin? Where to begin? As I have not dipped even a pinky toe into modding Fallout 3, right now you know more than I do. [Image Can Not Be Found]

The Nexus is the place I go for both Morrowind & Oblivion mods. And I've paid for monthly subscriptions too cause I have downloaded way lots from his server. But there's no obligation.

With both MW & Oblivion there is such a thing as a "mod manager" to help one organize & install/uninstall mods. Everything scout said is true. Think of it this way: a mod either adds to or changes original game files. Install mod1, your game is now not as it used to be. Install mod2 & ooops, maybe the files mod2 was expecting are now gone or altered. Then what if you change your mind (game crashing, mods conflicts, want back your vanilla game)….how do you go back? That's what mod managers do: they help you by assisting with load order (even then not automatic by any stretch) & saving copies of original files so that you can effectively "go back." Except to do that the mods must be in a certain format & not all mod makers are kind enough to do that for you – then in those cases, you must take their mod & convert it. I'm betting for Fallout 3, most every mod is ready for the mod manager.

Whew!  Now what? Here are a couple of suggestions.

First, I went to Fallout3Nexus & looked at the top 100 list – #2 is Timeslip's Mod Manager. Yup, he's the guy who made the mod managers for MW & Oblivion. Study up on that even if it makes no sense. Eventually you'll want to know what it means.

Look around the site – I went to browse categories/quests. Notice how many downloads & how high users rate the mod. Oftimes a quest mod is plopped into the game without changing anything. That would be a good start – add a quest line (237 listed). After looking at rating & reading some comments, look at the description – does the quest interest you? How difficult is installation & have users had any problems (in comments)?

For example on first page of quests: A Note Easily Missed. 14,516 downloads….that tells me it's pretty good. In fact, it seems to be a 3 part series, even better! In his description he also talks about putting a check next to the .esp (main file of the mod content, same as most all mods unless they are purely textures) & using the FOMM (I'll give you a hint: Fall Out Mod Manager [Image Can Not Be Found]). It may be possible to load a mod like this without any manager (do it from Data Files Menu ingame) – just remember, very few players who use mods can limit themselves to just one, that's why he mentions using a manager.

Another place to start: I dredged up from the depths of my memory (yay me!) a name….years ago a young woman (Arwen) wrote a journal about playing MW. As this was also my first rpg I found her site while searching for answers. Then she discovered mods & wrote about that. She has done the same with Oblivion: journal & modding. I expected she'd do the same with Fallout 3 and so she has. A very user friendly way to watch the process of modding.     http://amito.freehostia.com/Fa.....out/FO.htm

Alls else I can advise you is read, read, read. It won't come at once or easily but once you slide down the slippery slope, mods open whole new worlds. [Image Can Not Be Found]

P.S. You just might consider Oblivion GOTY - install & fiddle as nuh-uh, you don't like fantasy & don't want to actually play it. But it would give you something to do while you wait. And as modding works the same , you could learn without mucking up your FO:3 files. 🙂

Scout
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February 24, 2010 - 1:58 am
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Yeah, I was sort of looking at A Note Easily Missed with interest.

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geggis
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February 24, 2010 - 7:14 am
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Unfortunately my computer is a bit too shit now for Fallout 3 but I did have a look through the Nexus when I was contemplating getting it.

In addition to what Yapette said, I'd be cautious of modding games already started. I've read more comments about mods borking games or even save games because they applied a mod after starting out. Admittedly this has mainly been with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. mods but I've no doubt similar things can happen with any game when tinkering with important files. Anyway, I'm no guru on modding but it's just my little warning. 🙂

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Yapette
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February 24, 2010 - 12:28 pm
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True enough what Gregg said, late game modding can bork your saves - primarily by changing files your save-info expects to be there when loaded. This is why I do not play Oblivion at two houses via moving saves. It's a recipe for heartbreak expecting two installs on two computers (different hardware) with 150 mods to configure exactly the same. Meaning, my saves would corrupt, crash & fail either immediately or eventually.

That said, I have installed & uninstalled mods in the middle of Oblivion gameplay using a mod manager (wouldn't install multiple mods without one). Very carefully. First backing up my saves (always), and faithfully following the mod maker's instructions for installing/un. If there are no instructions, I proceed with caution.

What would I do with your Fallout? Welp, since you have done no changing beyond a patch, first I would back up my saves on a flash drive. Optimally, I'd install + patch a second Fallout 3 on another computer or another drive partition (if not possible I'd google if anyone has tried double installing same game, same computer, different directories). Then put my "old" saves into the game, load a save & see if it plays. If so, make a fresh save in the new game. Only then would I add a single mod (like a new item that wasn't there originally). Did I get it right? Is the new content ingame, and if so, I'd make another post-mod save. And most definitely, it gets very confusing with all these saves, especially when the game doesn't allow naming the saves. Like Oblivion. My latest numbered saves just passed #1500).

Final thoughts - when you install the add-ons, you will also be modifying the game. Therefore, modding a game before installing add-ons seems a risky way to proceed unless you know beforehand that it's ok. Maybe prudent to install on an older crappy computer as long as it plays even if the settings are turned way down. You're installing not so much to play (you've already seen most of the game) as to learn how to install mods. Or not. [Image Can Not Be Found]

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Spike
Memphis
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February 24, 2010 - 1:29 pm
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Thank you one and all for your comments/advice.  I was leaning heavily toward one or all 3 of Jackson's mods (Didn't FFC have a member named Puce Moose at one time?  Or maybe it was at another site I used to frequent.  The memory is sluggish today.)

Then I read Gregg's comment, and Yap's follow-up.  Spike turns 180º.  I've already got a bunch of F3 under my belt and in my Saved Games files, and will have more  once add-ons are installed.  I think it would be better to not add mods at this time.  I should wait until I am really done, or nearly so, with all add-ons, before I take a chance on losing or messing up something important. 

Maybe I'd have no trouble with mods, but as I'd be a newbie at it, I think I'll find other diversions as I wait for my son to catch up.  I could unwrap the add-on packages and caress the discs….  Nah, that'd be crazy.

Aside:  enjoy your trip Yap.  I hope Mr. Yap is feeling great and rarin' to go.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Yapette
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February 25, 2010 - 3:30 pm
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Mr. Yap feels wonderful, especially since he's not expected to accompany me on trips. Living overseas for 85% of his life, all he wants is a USA house near some USA water so he can drop in his boat & fish. And a Lowes & Walmart within minutes of his USA house.

I'm a rolling stone as long as I know there's a USA house with a washing machine & someplace to store my stuff.

Based on Steerpike's suggestion of an iphone/touch which I don't own, I am ripping videos for a newly acquired Sansa View (refurb) which I love more than I'd expected. Can even read subtitles which is fortunate as my major project* is miniaturizing Dae Jang Geum. 2.5 weeks to go. Gator

* Two seasons of LOST are already ripped to a netbook.

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Toger
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February 25, 2010 - 4:08 pm
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Love, love, love Dae Jang Guem!

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Pokey
California
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February 25, 2010 - 4:42 pm
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I've never heard of Dae Jang Guem, so I went looking for it at Amazon. It sounds great, the type of DVD set that I am always looking for. I haven't found any that looked that interesting in a long time, so thanks for making me aware of it.

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Steerpike
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February 25, 2010 - 5:28 pm
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Never heard of it either, now in Netflix queue. Thanks Yap!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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