The Creation Club is an in-game store to purchase and download new content for the game. Interestingly, the latest Fallout 4 update, v18.104.22.168.0, includes assets (textures, meshes, scripts, strings, or sounds) for currently available Creation Club content. Basically, Fallout 4 players have downloaded the assets (26 BA2 files for 13 downloadable items) with the update working out be an extra 680 MB. After purchasing the item from the in-game store, players then get the plugin that allows any new abilities, quests, or and other important functionality. For players having no interest in Creation Club, tight on drive space, or rather reserve that space for other mods this may mean moving that unused data somewhere else.
In your game’s data folder you’ll find these BA2 files named starting with “cc” and including the title of the downloadable content for easy recognition. If you don’t want them you may move them to another drive. The game continues to work fine.
First question, why include the assets in the update? Secondly, at least on the PC, why pay if a player only wants the art? The re-skins are easiest of all to simply extract from the BA2 and dump (and rename) into the appropriate texture folder, and it doesn’t take much effort to create a new plugin using these assets however the player wishes. Naturally, terms of service and respect prevent anyone from re-using or distributing these assets. The current Zenimax Media Terms of Service allows players to use “downloadable content” and “Game Mods” for personal use at their own risk once downloaded.
For now we might assume pre-downloaded assets only apply to this small selection of Creation Club content created by Bethesda Softworks. It would be strange for some hard-working artist to create beautiful assets only to let Bethesda Softworks, Zenimax Media company, give them away. On the other hand, the mod creator is paid up front, so it’s only Zenimax Media losing out if the player chooses to use the assets without paying. In the end pre-downloading all future content seems unlikely, because forcing gigabytes of unwanted data download on the customer seems bad for business or reputation.
The players that benefit most from the Creation Club are PlayStation players since there is no other way to get new Fallout 4 or Skyrim SE assets on the PlayStation. Does the content need to be pre-downloaded to the PlayStation, though? I wouldn’t think so, but that may depend on the agreement the game publisher worked out with Sony.
The only reason I see for including the extra content in the game update is to make it super fast for players to add to their game.
Another question for PC or Xbox players: why would a player use these assets (free or paid) if there are better quality (and some strikingly similar) mods available elsewhere? (list on reddit) I leave that for you to ponder.
Example: Pip-boy re-skin
Let’s look at the Pip-boy re-skins available on the Creation Club as an example.
It’s as simple as choosing a Pip-boy re-skin (chrome, onyx, or camo), extracting the texture assets, renaming the files, and dropping them into the appropriate folder. If you want to go the extra mile and duplicate the ability to use the workbench to change Pip-boy skins, it’s a simple exercise for anyone with entry-level Creation Kit experience. No need for a plugin to simply swap textures.
Use BSAManager to open the BA2 file. I opened “ccBGSFO4004-PipBoy(Chrome) - Textures.ba2” file. Extract the textures to a working folder and rename by removing “(chrome)” (or other choice) frome each file name. The goal is to end up with pipboy01_d.dds, pipboy02_d.dds, etc as shown in the screen capture. Drop the renamed files into your Data\textures\animobjects\pipboy folder. Play, and you now have a recolored Pip-boy. Note: there are also materials files to extract.
Screen background: “Sexy Vault Girl” by Jswen14
If you find Bethesda’s Pip-boy skin is worth 50 credits, pay to support Bethesda Softworks. Or choose from the large selection of skins on Nexusmods or on Bethesda.net, and consider giving the creator a donation.
The Creation Club FAQ has been updated with note about working on a solution that removes the requirement for Creation Club content files included with the game’s patch.
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