Fallout 4 Combat Overhaul Part 1

Dec 20, 2017

Article #1 in a 4-part series.

This part reviews my goals for reworking combat. In Part 2 I list the mods I’ve selected, and in Part 3 I describe some of the changes I’ve made to perks, armor, and weapons.

swinging plastic swords and shooting bean bags

Fallout 4 by Bethesda Game Studios improves shooting combat over previous Bethesda titles in smoothness of control, accuracy, and the VATS is fairly user friendly, too. Unfortunately, the game shares much in common with TES V: Skyrim especially in making combat feel more like a passive, stand-up-and-take-hits fights. The difficulty choices multiply damage in and inversely damage out, but I find increasing difficulty more annoying than anything since the same tactics still win the fight. Better is to make weapons more deadly, limit health, increase stealth difficulty, and try to get the NPCs to behave more reasonably for combat.

Before I started modifying the game, I had a strong feeling others had already begun changing combat so I went looking for solutions coming up with a collection of mods to use as the groundwork. Then I went about calculating and charting damages to find a reasonable solution for a more realistic and challenging gameplay in Fallout 4 Survival.



Here I’m not going to go into detail on how I arrived at these assumptions. There are books and articles written by combat veterans, historians, and martial arts experts on effective use of weapons and armor. I draw upon some of these, but do not reference them here. We’re modifying a game with its set of restrictions, and we must work within those bounds. So, we don’t need worry about scientific accuracy. If you disagree with an assumption, you may adjust your game accordingly.

  1. sword combat: unlike in the movies showing several minutes of sword clanging, real sword fights end quickly
  2. handguns: it may take more than a single shot to slow an attacker down, but each shot increases that likelihood
  3. “critical shot” in the game means hitting somewhere vital and likely deadly
  4. the power of a gunshot helps define potential damage, but velocity and size factor (smaller high-velocity round may result in less damage than larger low-velocity round)
  5. metal conducts energy with potential to damage a person touching it including the wearer if not suitably insulated
  6. modern armor is designed to fracture or crumple so wearer takes less impact
  7. a marksman trains to increase accuracy, and better accuracy doesn’t necessarily result in more damage unless it’s a “critical shot”


  1. play Survival 1-to-1 damage (or 2-to-2) with weapon damage increased, more so for high-powered weapons
  2. armor protection leaning towards expected realism
  3. health point limits by creature type - no more spongy humans
  4. stealth more difficult
  5. tougher turrets, robots, and vertibirds
  6. AI should prefer to take cover instead of stand out in open, and more likely to flee when outnumbered
  7. shooting perks should emphasize increase in accuracy over damage
  8. explosives should make more sense (why does molotov cocktail have blast damage?)
  9. make energy weapons rare or more inconvenient due to huge power requirements

I want being one-shot a real concern even at level 100 forcing me take cover and plan my assault. Combat robots need to be scary tough, and vertibirds less of a joke.

Alternative goal to consider: remove laser guns for ballistic-only gameplay and perhaps keep the electric swords.

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Frostfall SE with SKSE64

Dec 17, 2017

Over on Nexusmods, there’s been a number of players asking for help with getting Frostfall and Campfire working on Skyrim Special Edition with SKSE64 alpha and SkyUI SE along with several other players offering tips. Here I’ll review the steps and reasons for a workaround. Campfire and Frostfall work great without SKSE64, so players having yet to try SKSE64 may choose to wait for proper updates. It’s also perfectly fine to disable Frostfall using Options: Frostfall spell until an update.

Note (updated Feb 2018): Frostfall author, Chesko, plans on updating soon as noted in post on reddit.

Reminder: Please do not re-post or distribute author’s assets without permission. This do-it-yourself workaround includes using assets that would require permission to share.


working Frostfall meters

hey, warmth is gone and MCM is a mess!

With SKSE64, Frostfall uses a different method to look up warmth and coverage values on armor. These SKSE methods depend on StorageUtil functions of PapyrusUtil, and without them, zero warmth. Installing PapyrusUtil SE to your game will get armor warmth working again with SKSE64.

Campfire v1.11SE and Frostfall v3.2.1SE do not include files for SkyUI MCM (mod configuration menu). Without some extra work, profiles and hotkeys also fail. Since permissions restrict others from sharing assets as part of a fix, you’ll need to do the extra work on your own. Basically, you’ll want to grab the existing SkyUI interface files from the classic versions of Campfire and Frostfall and pack those into your mod manager so you may easily remove them once you have a proper update.

In short, you’ll be fixing this issue:

  • zero armor warmth and coverage

and adding/resolving these features from classic Skyrim:

  • meters
  • MCM text and buttons
  • SkyUI Add-on inventory warmth and coverage with proper text
  • hotkeys and profile loading

DIY overview

I’ll go over each one of these steps in detail below. Keep in mind these instructions based on community sharing may be incomplete, and a proper update requires changes to the scripts and the SkyUI widget files.

Perform at your own risk, and expect no support from any of the authors.

  1. armor warmth fix - install PapyrusUtil SE
  2. create a working folder to place your files
  3. extract interface files from classic Campfire, Frostfall (Wearable Lanterns) and place in your working folder
  4. zip working folder and add to your mod manager
  5. create an empty plugin, “SkyUI.esp” and activate
  6. install and test
  7. consider starting a new character

This isn’t particularly difficult, but may be confusing for modding beginners. Those with basic mod-author skills will have most of this figured out on their own. Before attempting steps 2-5, you should have some familiarity with game file structure. If you’re new to using xEdit or a BSA-file browser, no worries unless you’re easily intimidated. Read carefully, and we’ll keep it simple.

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2017 November Miles

Nov 30, 2017

  • cycle: 215 miles (347 km)
  • run: 30 miles (48 km)


Dry and warm weather means more trail riding in November. “Don’t mess up a good trail.” I’m happy to see these signs replaced as the old ones included a rather embarrassing typographical error. These signs look nicer, too.


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Skyrim Frostfall and Survival Armor Edit for Warmth

Nov 15, 2017

Frostfall and Skyrim Survival Mode allows your armor to provide various warmth. Without proper keywords an armor mod will have default warmth value which may be unsuitable for the player if the armor appears very warm or skimpy. So, let’s edit our armor mod to provide the right warmth and coverage for both Frostfall and Survival Mode without Frostfall or Survival dependancy.

If you’re only interested in adding armor support for Survival Mode, jump to Step 3 and ignore the Frostfall part. You may use SSEedit or Creation Kit.


Review this guide and note the following:

  • Make Update.esm a master
  • keyword “FrostfallEnableKeywordProtection” is required
  • only keywords for the warmth and coverage ratings you plan on using are needed; others may be left out
  • If Frostfall sees the enable-keyword-protection then it looks for the rating keyword to replace the default
  • If no keywords are found then Frostfall defaults to “fair” rating, so you could leave fair out
  • Do not make Frostfall a master so all players may enjoy the armor

Survival Mode notes

For “Survival Mode” the default body slots (body, head, feet, hands) work with a simple keyword, but cloaks may require extra effort. If no keyword then armor item defaults to normal (between warm and cold). The keywords are Survival_ArmorCold or Survival_ArmorWarm which are found in Update.esm, so they may be applied without having “Survival Mode” from Creation Club.


  • TES V: Skyrim Special Edition
  • your armor mod (I’m using Blades Hakama SE)
  • (optional) Creation Kit (CK)
  • SSEedit (xEdit) by zilav et al

The assumption in this guide is that the reader has basic understanding of how to use SSEedit. The Creation Kit may help make some steps easier, but xEdit is all that is required. If adding Frostfall support for the first time, xEdit is needed anyway. These steps for Frostfall also work for 32-bit Skyrim, but obviously “Survival Mode” is only available on Skyrim Special Edition.

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2017 October Miles

Nov 10, 2017

August - October

  • cycle: 195 miles (314 km)
  • run: 155 miles (250 km)


My first ride on Jacob’s Ladder trail, and I saw this rock, so I stopped for a photograph. The day started cloudy, but a break made for an interesting picture. I took Peak View trail up and rode Jacob’s Ladder down which is the direction I recommend. Peak View makes for a nicer climb, and Jacob’s is fun riding down.


When trail riding I feel naked with a half-shell helmet. Helmets for downhill rarely include vents making cross-country riding less comfortable. This vented Fox helmet is rated for downhill events and happens to work well for rugged cross-country riding. My head tends to heat up, and I perspire more than average, so a good helmet that won’t cause overheating is a must. During hot summer days, wearing the helmet was no bother as long as I kept moving even when climbing steep trails. Good airflow, good visibility, and face protection. As a bonus, keeps the wind away from my ears in cold weather.


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