Modding Fallout, Part 2

· 3 min read

So I said previously that my goal with making a mod was to make it fully voiced and have the player character re-use lines from the vanilla game, while this sounded good in theory, theory is a treacherous thing, like a radiation suit made of asbestos, sure it might stop you from turning into the Hulk’s more-dead cousin but it isn’t exactly sound.

As it turns out there’s only so many ready-to-go lines, these shared lines you can drop into scenes at will, but they are very generic and having heard my player character respond to a question with “Sure.” for the eighteenth time I have more of an appreciation for the old games, where the player character keeps their mouth shut. Because not only does it save you from endlessly repeated dialogue, it also means that you aren’t pulled out of the experience quite so much. Bethesda must have come to similar conclusions, or at the very least listened to many of the complaints because in the latest instalment (Fallout 76) once they reintroduced NPCs (another big misstep they had taken was removing nearly all NPCs) they did so with a dialogue system different to Fallout 4.

Thankfully some of the big mod projects (i.e. Fallout Cascadia, Fallout 4 New Vegas, etc.) have already run into the problem, and even more thankfully someone (Neanka and registrator2000 according to the page for the mod) has fixed with the Extended Dialogue Interface mod. Which is what I’ve settled on using. Because despite there being thousands of dialogue lines in the base game, a lot of them are, surprise, surprise, fairly specific, whether that is in what is actually said or just the tone it’s said in. Worst of all, at least in my (comparatively) brief experience, a lot of this leaves your other non-player characters attempting clairvoyance so that they can offer yes-no (or relatively simple, at least) questions to your players. Because, as it turns out, its only a fun writing exercise for a little while, then it turns in frustrating, keyboard-smacking annoyance.

Also, truth be told, a return to the older game’s conversation style is actually refreshing, especially when combined with the newer engine’s fancy moving camera and animations (and we’ll say nothing of the jarring time-freeze-face-zoom that is now pleasantly absent). Now, as with all things in life this change comes at a cost, primarily it reduces the reach of what I’m making, cutting down the subset of people from those who play Fallout4 to those who play Fallout 4 and install mods (though that may be the vast majority of those who are still playing the game) and now to those who install mods and are willing to install the Extended Dialogue Interface. This cutting down of audience was partly the drive for me to avoid using the DLC’s content because I know that plenty of people never bought them (I myself have still not played through the Nuka World DLC). Unfortunately this is a change I believe I’m going to have to make, at some point lines need to be drawn, I drew one around the size of the map I created, I drew another at excluding the DLCs and I think this is the next major line I have to draw, for the good of my sanity, and hopefully, the story.