Here's a list of Fallout 3 mods I'm using at the moment. This is also the mod setup I'm using on my Let's Play Fallout 3 on YouTube. Check the 'Fallout 3 LP' playlist out if you want to see these mods in action as I roleplay through F3.
Fallout 3 Mods I Use
The are many Fallout 3 mod lists. This one is mine.
I use mods to make F3 look better, make the game more challenging with the focus on roleplaying, realism and immersion, and to add new things to the game for me to use, discover and explore.
The list is quite long, so check out the short "must-have Fallout 3 mod list" at the end of the post for what I think are the best Fallout 3 mods (and thus, would always install when playing).
Are you new to modding, modding Fallout 3 for the first time or otherwise need some advice on installing mods? Click here to read some instructions first.
Latest Update: May 2013.
BASE AND UTILITY MODS
Nexus Mod Manager
- OK, not a mod, but this is the one I use to manage and install mods.
- BOSS = A plugin load order optimiser for Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and some other games too. - Sorts your mod load order (to make the mods work as intended). Use it. - 97% of the time, BOSS will handle your load order and you don't have to do anything.
Fallout Script Extender (FOSE)
- Must for many mods/textures to work
CASM (Cipscis' Automatic Save Manager)
- Replaces Fallout 3's saving system so that you no longer have to rely on only a single autosave or quicksave to fall back on
Fallout Stutter Remover
- Smoother gameplay and FPS
Large Address Aware Enabler for FO3
- helps with crashing and performance issues with Fallout 3, particularly when using my larger texture packs.
FWE - FO3 Wanderers Edition
- Major overhaul mod that tweaks most of the underlying game mechanics, character development, combat, etc and adds new features to the game.
MMM - Marts Mutant Mod - RC 62
- Adds a huge range of diversity to creatures and NPCs in the Fallout 3 world as well as adding new and unique creatures and NPCs to encounter.
EVE - Energy Visuals Enhanced
- Overhaul of energy weapons and explosions
- Assets from EVE itself, the rest from the Paradox Ignition merge version of EVE (a must if you choose Blackened over FOIP below)
WMK - Weapon Mod Kits
- Weapon Modification Kits - or 'Weapon Mod Kits' - allow you to use standard Workbenches to modify your favourite firearms with a range of handy attachments like laser sights, scopes, silencers and extended magazines.
- Installing both RMK and RH_Ironsights is not for the faint-hearted. Tricky to get working with RH_Ironsights, with FWE and EVE in the mix. I used this in my LP for parts 1-50, and again from part 144 onward.
- Blackened is a compilation of patches meant to improve compatibility between many of the bigger and/or more popular overhaul mods available for Fallout 3. Sadly, Blackened doesn't have a patch for WMK with FWE+MMM+EVE combo.
- I use the 'Fallout Wanderers Edition + Martigen’s Mutant Mod + Energy Visuals Enhanced (Paradox Ignition merge) + Project Beauty' combo patch (one file vs 4-5 of FOIP, plus Blackened is more up-to-date)
- Compatible with Fallout Remastered (FOIP is not)
- NOT compatible with IMCN. Either create/find a patch (I created my own), or tweak load order and have IMCN load after this.
FOIP - Fallout Interoperability Program - FOIP
- The Fallout Interoperability Program (FOIP) is a collective effort by a number of modders to improve compatibility between many of Fallout's major mods. (e.g. FWE, MMM, EVE, WMK, Project Beauty)
- After I started using Blackened, I continued to use FOIP's FWE+WMK patch, but nothing else. Not sure if it's good or required, or will it cause more problems than not, but it seemed to help with some issues when running WMK and RH_Ironsights.
- Adds light effects of some fires, which Bethesda skipped.
- Using almost everything = The Master Package and the patches for FWE, MMM, EVE, RH_Ironsights, Realistic Interior Lighting, Fellout and Project Beauty.
- I stopped using Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch and Error Corrections - Reduce CTD when I installed Fallout Remastered, around Part 64 of my LP, because the same fixes, plus better and newer ones are in the Remastered.
- Note 1: I did run into some problems with Fallout Remastered, so it is not perfect. This is not necessarily Fallout Remastered problem, but in combination with others mods I used / on the list, be mindful and accept the fact that you might run into problems, e.g. with quests.
- Note 2: Fallout Remastered is currently removed from Nexus, because authors got fed up with morons and their arguments: "Arguments were getting out of hand and Remastered is no platform for that. It was a mod meant for you to use, not for others to abuse.".
HUD / USER INTERFACE
How to Install Fallout 3 HUD mods: Install Darnified UI first. Then all non-HUD mods (because some might add their own tweaks to Darnified, e.g. FWE has some). After everything else is installed, install iHUD, then aHUD and the Unified HUD Project last, because it combines everything (it detects how many, if any of the mods it supports are installed). If you add any mods, re-install Unified HUD Project.
DarNified UI F3
- Configurable UI, absolute MUST, perhaps my favorite mod if I'd need to choose one (because the default UI is so big for PC and higher resolutions).
- Dynamic Crosshair adds a dynamically resizing crosshair to Fallout 3, which grows and shrinks in real time to show your current weapon's accuracy.
RH_IronSights - FOSE
- Iron sights to weapons. Awesome, but very tricky to get working with so many other mods (FWE+EVE+WMK) + it takes a while to get used to it and combat is very challenging, especially early on.
- I started using this from Part 51 onwards in my LP.
Adjustable HUD - aHUD
- For adjusting HUD on the fly.
Immersive HUD - iHUD
- HUD when you need. HIDE when you don't. Really nice addition to DarnUI
Unified HUD Project
- Makes different UI mods work together, adding all the different HUD elements to the UI.
LIGHTING AND COLORING
- Removes green tint, adjusts coloring. Makes the nights a lot darker than vanilla.
- Very good alternative for Fellout is F3ProjectRealityMkI. If you use that, you'll have weather system in the same one mod. Both Fellout and F3ProjectRealityMkI remove the green tint and adjust coloring, but the game looks very different depending on which mod you use, so check both out if you want and use the one you like.
Fallout Street Lights
- Adds lights and FX beams (some flickering ones too) to most of the street lights and signs in the DC ruins.
- With dark nights, lights are awesome.
Realistic Interior Lighting
- Now rooms without windows are no longer bright as day. All in all, much better looking lighting in interiors.
- Less .esp files: The Paradox Ignition merge version of Realistic Interior Lighting
Megaton Lighting Overhaul
- Makes Megaton look awesome at night (if you using night adjusting mod like Fellout/F3ProjectRealityMkI).
SmoothLight - Pip-Boy Light Enhancer
- Changes the Pip-Boy Light: Increases magnitude, decreases fade (brightness) and changes color for a warmer, more natural lighting effect.
FOR CINEMATICS / SCREENSHOTS / INTROS
I only activate these when I need some cool effects on video, e.g. film grain.
CINEMATECH - Film Grains and Styles
- Adds user configurable film grains, grits, damages and dirts.
The IMAGINATOR for FO3 - Visual Control Device
- A stand-alone, in-game, image modification tool
DYNAVISION - Dynamic Depth of Field
- DYNAVISION provides a dynamic depth-of-field and auto-focus effect similar to a camera. In other words, when you're close to something and looking right at it, the subject stays in focus while the background blurs.
- Might cause issues with invisible NPCs and/or enemies. If you have this active and run into invisible NPC bug, try disabling DYNAVISION first and see if it helps.
Directors Chair - Total Visual Control
- Takes control of DYNAVISION, IMAGINATOR and CINEMATECH with a nice HUD menu
REALISM AND IMMERSION
- This mod creates an ambient air temperature global based on month, time of day, location, and some randomness. Works together with compatible mods like Imp's More Complex Needs and Powered Power Armor.
- If you're not using IMCN or PPA, you don't need this for anything, unless you just want to see the temperature :)
Enhanced Weather - Rain and Snow
- Using the weather inside module as well.
- The radiated rain is pretty brutal with FWE defaults. I enable it for extra challenge and disable when it's more of an annoyance, depending on how I feel. It'll work better, when configing FWE to vanilla rad damage. And make sure to have the Radioactive Rain Fix: http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/11723
- If you use F3ProjectRealityMkI you can replace this and Fellout with one mod (different look than Fellout, so pick the one you like). As far was weather goes, both mods are awesome.
TEXTURES AND STUFF
- HD textures for main game.
- I use the heaviest version (FULL, PLUS MAX BUMPMAPS)
- I recommend using the Performance pack, or even the Lite (+ Reduced Bumpmaps) if you have less powerful machine. Don't get greedy and go for max unless you're willing to install/uninstall to test how it runs and tolerate the possible crashes you'll get for running the heaviest version. Even you have a powerhouse computer with a great graphics card, you might decrease crashing by picking a less heavy version. Even the lightest version of NMCs pack makes game look A LOT better than vanilla.
Fallout 3 Redesigned - Formerly Project Beauty HD
- Makes NPCs in Fallout 3 look better. Very nicely done, note the rename to "redesigned", because people thought "project beauty" would make NPCs more beautiful, while this mod just makes them more real.
Enhanced Blood Textures
- Increases the resolution size from 256 to 1024 and created new textures for screen, world, wounds and static blood decals.
- Less .esp files: The Paradox Ignition merge version of Enhanced Blood Textures
Fallout 3 Re-Animated
- ~80 animations fine-tuned and improved. Can't say for sure how much this really "improves" stuff, and this might cause some of the skeleton glitches, not sure, but I'm running it anyway :)
Camo Combat Armor Redux
- A replacement, more detailed texture set for all five Combat Armors in the game.
- Note the minor tweaks to the stats as well, these are not just textures, but I listed it here.
Improved LOD Noise Texture
- Better looking terrain texture to the distance with zero performance cost.
- HDR in this mod stands for Hi-res, Darker and Rusted Pipboy. I like it.
- Clearer World Map on the Pip-Boy. It's a subtle change, but it makes the water and the roads a lot more visible. Adds coordinates to the edges, which might be useful if you use an online map or map that comes with the strategy guide or something.
MGs Neat Clutter
- Hi-res textures for for more than 100 objects. Better clutter and furniture pack got mostly overwritten by this.
- Published on 25th of August, 2012. In my let's play Fallout 3, Part 17 and onward.
FO3-WRP - Weapon Retexture Project
- Very nice HD textures for selected weapons (e.g. 10mm, sniper rifle and hunting rifle)
Hi-Res Weapons v3
+ Some selected Hi-Res textures for certain items.
- These are mostly overwritten by the stuff above, but I had these installed and didn't uninstall when adding more stuff on top):
- And for that reason, I wouldn't bother downloading and installing these, unless you want some specific look for books or cigarettes for example.
- Hi-Res Weapons and Armor from 4Aces HiRes Mods (overwritten by Hi-Res Weapons v3, FWE and anything that added weapon/armor textures, but there might be some meshes and textures still in from this): http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/3793
- Better HiRes Skill Books: http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/3876
- Better PreWar and Burned Books: http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/3679
- Vertibird Re-textured: http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/8602
- Shishkebab retexture: http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/3879
- Whats Your Brand - cigarette texture megapack: http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/591
QUESTS AND QUEST TWEAKS
Power of the Atom Reworked - FOOK2 and FWE compatable
- Changes the way the Power of the Atom quest works, e.g. follower of Atom will get angry if bomb is disarmed, disarming/triggering is a lot harder, the bomb has a chance to explode when you work on it, etc.
- If you want to deal with the bomb right out of the Vault, this might make it too difficult (for me, that was the point).
- I uninstalled this after finishing the quest.
(The mod seems to have disappeared from the Nexus. It can still be found in Planet Fallout, here: Owned!.)
- When you kill the owner(s) of a property, you will get full privilege to everything in the house including the beds, the items and storage without any negative effects (beside a dose of bad karma of course).
The Maintenance Shed
- Very nice, simple player "home" right next to Megaton. Not companion friendly I think, so put companions on wait before entering.
The Dockside Inn and Resort from g62 Housing Compilation http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/16201.
Real Megaton House V3
- Nice, not over the top modification of the Megaton house. Compatible with Moira's upgrades, like Workbench, etc.
LOCATIONS AND LOCATION TWEAKS
The D.C. Interiors Project
- D.C. opened up, a LOT of new buildings to enter. One of THE BEST mods for Fallout 3, absolute must! You don't believe how many new places you can go to and how well they've been done.
A World Of Pain for Fallout 3 AWOP4FO3
- New locations to go and fight in. Very minor story/plot, but mostly just for places to fight in. Some of the locations are designed to be very, very hard.
Crowded Cities v2
- More NPCs in the settlements. Try the "Less_NPCs" version, it's better for performance, plus it doesn't add extra people to Big Town.
- Adds several tweaks to Megaton while attempting to be unobtrusive with the preexisting flow.
- I was first using Megaton Tweaks -- Snipers Edition (early parts of the LP), but it kept causing occasional FPS issues outside Megaton, probably because of pathfinding/AI of the mercenaries, so I dropped it.
Moriarty's Saloon enhanced
- Reworks the lights, and puts some stuff in to make Moriarty'Saloon a more living place.
Animated Slot Machine at Moriartys
- To make Moriarty's look even nicer.
Rivet City Merchants
- Makes Rivet City market a whole lot better and bigger.
GNR Building Redux
- Only using GNRBuilding_Studio.esp, which slightly modifies Three Dogs' studio, adding a little player room to have a place to crash and store some stuff.
- Not using the GNRBuilding_BoS.esm. The place is really nice, but I had some white texture flashing issues, probably because of the lighting, so I just disabled it for now.
A Clean Museum
- Lets Fawkes actually preserve the Museum of History.
CRL9000 Sound Modification V046 - DLC Edition
- Improved quality of weapon audio.
Ambient Wasteland 2
- 200+ ambient noises to the wasteland. Fantastic.
NEW ITEMS, TWEAKS, ETC
Only install the ones you will use.
Merc Adventurer Armor
- Very nice looking armor for great post-apocalyptic look. Tweak stats in FO3EDIT if you like, but it's fairly well balanced.
- Absolutely fantastic looking backpack, goes particularly well with the Merc Adventurer Armor above. You might want to FO3EDIT the DR down thou (e.g. to 1-5), it's very high by default (24 I think) and thus, out of balance.
Dragonskin Tactical Outfit
- The Dragonskin Tactical Outfit mod actually adds a selection of outfits in different colours and camo patterns to the Wasteland, and matching color combat backpacks.
- Loosely based on the real Dragon Skin body armour apparently in use today by SWAT teams, Secret Service and other elite military personnel. During testing this armour withstood multiple assault rifle bullet impacts and even point-blank hand grenade blasts.
Gopher's Advanced Recon Series
- Several sets of Stealth Armor and Gear
- I only use Range Finder and Thermal Nightvision, not the armors or the trap detection system.
Advanced Recon Range Finder FO3 http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/15744
Advanced Recon Thermal Nightvision http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/15653
Advanced Recon Stealth Armor http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/2654
Advanced Recon Trap Detection http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/15641
Only install the ones you will use.
Companion Share And Recruit
- Generic companion mod. If you want more companions than the ones normally in the game, use this mod. If you don't, don't bother.
- Companion Share & Recruit adds a perk that lets you befriend almost anyone in the wasteland, with a skill challenge. You can then swap gear with them, find out what they're skilled at, and even recruit them to join you on your adventures. Up to half your Charisma +1 people can follow you at once. (FWE rules still apply I think, which does the same thing)
Non-Active Companion Mods
- If you want robot companions, use this mod. If you don't, don't bother.
- Adds a three-step perk that allows you to repair and control busted robots
- Uses the same Companion System as the Companion Share And Recruit above
- RobCo Certified (Alternative) Textures: http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/13428
- Mr Smiths Scrapyard works well with RobCo Certified (I decided not to use it for my LP thou): http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/14075.
Wasteland Whisperer v2
- If you want animal companions, use this mod. If you don't, don't bother.
- adds three new perks, allowing you to interact with animals (by ordering them around)
- Uses the same Companion System as the Companion Share And Recruit & RobCo Certified above
Lucy West Companion
OTHER MODS I HAVE USED, JUST NOT RIGHT NOW
Here are the mods I've had active, but have disabled or uninstalled. These are all awesome mods, but situational or just something I didn't need in the long run.
IMCN - Imps More Complex Needs
- This is a hunger/thirst/sleep simulator that independently tracks blood alcohol content, hydration, calories, protein, nutrients, and the degree of fullness.
- Not necessary with FWE, because FWE includes the 'Realistic Needs' mod. If you want simpler mod, and not all the protein/nutrients stuff, don't use this and just go with FWE's option.
- Note: After playing through the LP, I wouldn't use IMCN if I started again. The Realistic Needs in FWE is good enough, or - better. The proteins and nutrients make it overly complex and the bodily changes (while optional) are too significant (stat changes, etc.).
Powered Power Armor
- Not much use if you don't use Power Armor.
- Fantastic mod, works particularly well with Imps More Complex Needs.
- Makes power armor require occasional recharging to keep it fully functional, and adds a number of power armor upgrades available from various vendors throughout the wastes + upgrades to power armor.
Intro Street Bus and Dupont Alignment
- This adds in the street and bus from the intro movie. The street is added to the Chevy Chase area.
- If you've ever wanted to walk in the scene of the intro movie, this is a mod for you.
- (I uninstalled this after seeing and recording it, it's very cool, but kinda wasted .esp after visiting)
Washington Monument BoS Outpost
- Turns the washington monument into a true BoS outpost, with some computers, radio equipment and basic bedding and equipment for two Brotherhood soldiers or yourself.
- I wouldn't install this, unless you plan to use a lot of time in the Mall and nearby.
Better Rivet City Church
- Makes Rivet City Church actually look like Church. Little minor details, but nice if you want to (role)play more in Rivet City. If you don't spend much time there, don't bother with this.
Wearable Backpack - BlackWolf Backpack
- Adds a backpack with new model that you can wear. It increases your carry weight to 15/25/35/45/50/70.
- I opted to use the leather backpack and the combat backpacks from Dragonskin Tactical Outfit pack.
MODS *NOT* IN USE, BUT MIGHT SEE USE IN THE FUTURE
Mods I haven't activated, but I might at some point of the LP (or not).
Various Housing Mods by Gary62, including Hunter's Ridge http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/17444,
Ranger's Shack from g62 Housing Compilation http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/16201, and
Megaton Return (which might just be the ultimate Megaton Home): http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/18055/
RTS - Real Time Settler
Alton IL - Huge World and Quest Mod
Animated NV Goggles
- A real working night vision goggles with animations and sounds. The version for helmets is particularly nice, and fits in well with the DTO (above).
Fallout 3 Quad Core Fix / Fallout.ini
I have Win7 x64 & quad core processor (Zemalf's PC Specs) and Fallout 3 just crashed every time as soon as I made played the Escape quest part a bit (usually around the part where Andy the Robot and Officer Lopez are fighting the radroaches) and this was with 0 mods.
To fix this, I added and edited these lines in fallout.ini -file:
With this fix the game doesn't crash. (with as many mods as I have now, the game will crash at random, but with this the regular crash goes away)
MODS *NOT* TO USE
I've encountered too big glitches or bugs with these, so I can't recommend them. Use/test at your own risk.
Sunglasses Merchant Upgraded
- UPDATE: Don't use this mod. It seems to bug out navmesh ("pathfinding") in Rivet City market and the front doors.
- Rivet City Merchants compatible version of Sunglasses Collection. Adds one more merchant to Rivet City (this version compatible with Rivet City Merchants above).
- NOTE: If not running Rivet City Merchants, use the original: Sunglasses Collection.
+ load order with BOSS http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/10193/
+ tweaking of the UI via DarnUI config
+ tweaking of the game via Fallout.ini and FalloutPrefs.ini
+ manually tweaking the mods via FO3Edit: http://fallout3.nexusmods.com/mods/637
+ custom patch to tweak some added items; armors and backpacks
+ custom patch to make IMCN work with Blackened (easier option: don't use IMCN, FWE's Realistic Needs is just as good.)
+ merged patch with FO3Edit (Merged Patch without FO Remastered and Blackened)
+ master update with FO3Edit (without FO Remastered, Blackened, Merged Patch and my custom IMCN patch)
+ hours of testing how the mods work together and even more hours on "forgetting myself" into the game when I was just going to check one little thing...
"Must-Have Fallout 3 Mods" aka the Short list
This post and the big list above is up-to-date on what I'm using now, but if I'd need to pick a short list out of everything I have, it would be (as in, "I wouldn't play F3 on PC without these"):
All of the 'Base and Utility Mods':
- Nexus Mod Manager
- Fallout Script Extender (FOSE)
- ArchiveInvalidation Invalidated
- CASM (Cipscis' Automatic Save Manager)
- Fallout Stutter Remover
- Large Address Aware Enabler for FO3
FWE - FO3 Wanderers Edition
MMM - Marts Mutant Mod
FOIP - Fallout Interoperability Program - FOIP
Darnified UI F3
(Adjustable HUD - aHUD for easy customization)
Ambient Wasteland 2
Fellout + Enhanced Weather (or replace both with F3ProjectRealityMkI)
To the above, I'd personally add ironsights via RH_IronSights - FOSE (+ The Paradox Ignition merge version of RH_IS) and Dynamic Crosshair, but some prefer the normal crosshair aiming over ironsights.
Everything else is optional and nice to have. For visual improvements, I'd take at least (in the order of "must-haveness"):
Fallout 3 Redesigned - Formerly Project Beauty HD
MGs Neat Clutter
Fallout Street Lights
The Paradox Ignition merge version of Realistic Interior Lighting
Megaton Lighting Overhaul
NEW TO MODDING?
Firstly - when you're modding a game, accept the fact that you WILL run into problems. The more mods you install, the more problems you will have - and the more you need to understand and know.
You MUST read the documentation and learn to understand how the mods work. This page and the numerous tutorials will help you, but DO NOT expect modding Fallout 3 to be easy. With that said, it's not hard (to learn) either, but it will take time.
- ALWAYS use a mod manager like Nexus Mod Manager to install mods, NEVER ever install manually.
- Read the installation instructions for EACH MOD when installing them. Check if mod author has listed compatibility and/or known conflicts or such.
- Use BOSS to sort load order. Read the reports BOSS outputs when you use it.
- Make sure you have Archive Invalidation installed or active via Mod Manager.
- If you still have problems after using BOSS + have Archive Invalidated active, learn to use FO3EDIT to check mod conflicts & see what's the problem. Learn to understand load order without BOSS.
- If all else fails, uninstall some mods & use less mods. Install them one by one.
Lastly - Make sure to Read the Resources and Fallout 3 Modding Tutorials -part below and watch tutorial videos for more information.
Fallout 3 Modding Tutorials and Other Resources
If you're new to modding and installing mods for the first time: start with only a few mods. Always read the documentation and follow instructions. To get everything working I have listed here, you will need to do manual checking and tweaking via FO3EDIT, which can be daunting for a beginner.
To get a really good set of mods up and running (most, if not all, are featured in my list too), you can follow Gopher's Fallout 3 Modding Tutorial Videos. Gopher is the author of the iHUD, aHUD, Unified HUD, and many other mods, and has excellent modding tutorials on his YouTube channel.
When you mod a game, it can get unstable and crash a lot more than the un-modded game. Also, mod problems might break the gameplay or some quests. The more mods you install, the more problems you'll probably have. Some mods, especially textures, can and will affect your FPS (Frames Per Second), so choose mods based on the power of your machine.
- Fallout 3 Nexus: The place to download all the mods
- Gopher's Fallout 3 Modding Video Tutorial Series
- My Fallout 3 LP: Roleplay + The listed mods in action
- My YouTube Channel: Slow-paced let's play videos
Edits & Updates:
- Minor tweaks, some added mods, added the "must-have list" to the end.
- 2013-01-31: Load order now in pastebin: http://pastebin.com/ZYpXryUa
- Added short installation instructions for the HUD mods, and the links to the tutorial videos.
- 2013-05-08: Added 'New to Modding?' instructions to avoid common pitfalls.