Between a pandemic, global warming, and many other factors in the veritable ecosystem that is the impending apocalypse, now is the best possible time to revisit Fallout 4. There’s something almost comforting about making yourself a scrap hut out of garbage. It’s reassuring that even in the worst circumstances, you will pull yourself together and make the best of it. Or at least, make a synthetic gorilla cage out of clipboards and wild mutfruit.
Topical themes aside, building settlements in Fallout 4 is pleasant. In the process, you may find you want even more options for fleshing out your settlements, either to fit a theme or make the lives of your citizens just a little more vivid with interesting decor and functional items. The following mods solve many problems related to settlement building, from overlooked functionality issues to critical missing tools and increased aesthetic and design options. If you want to live out The Sims in Fallout 4 or just want to make the Workshop assets more practical, this the list for you.
While the Workshop is generally well organized, there are many functions the feature curiously does not have, functions that could make building and designing for long periods of time much easier. Workshop Plus solves a lot of those little problems, giving the player some of the time saving tools that are usually performed by console commands, like flight (replacing tcl). It also offers some instinctual modifications like undo/redo hotkeys, cloning tools, autosave, and a Free Build mode (replacing tgm). If you plan to spend long hours building your settlements, then you absolutely must use this mod.
To get the cleanest start on your settlement, you need to get rid of every last piece of garbage. But many items are static and can’t be removed, despite their lack of function. Scrap Everything lets you get rid of those irremovable items, including debris piles, structures, grass, roads, and sidewalks. With these eyesores erased from your playfield, you’ll have a more level and uniform space to create from scratch.
After removing all the scrap and ruins from your settlements, you’ll naturally want to push the maximum item placement allowance to add more furniture and decor. While it’s possible to pull it off using a weapon scrapping exploit, a lot of time and resources can be saved by using Settlements Expanded. It’ll increase the number of objects that can be used in your individual settlements, allowing you to decorate and innovate without worrying about an item cap.
The Sim Settlements mod is interesting because it allows your settlements to take on an element of improvisation without your direct supervision, giving them a life of their own. With the mod, you can zone certain areas for specific kinds of buildings, which your settlers will put together as you go about your business elsewhere. What they build and how they decorate it (including everyday clutter) depends on different character backstories and quirks, with different tiers available for each building as you revisit your settlement and view its growth. Combined with a “dynamic needs system” that changes the settler’s desires and necessities as time goes on, the complexity far surpasses that of the vanilla AI.
If you have big plans for your settlement, you may want to start it in a way that only scorched earth can facilitate. With Grounded, you get completely flat settlement space, free of all clutter but most importantly, free of the many dips, hills, and unevenness that prevent ideal building conditions. Given how rocky and unsteady some settlements are, this mod helps make the most efficient use of your space. But as a bonus, it also lets you choose a texture for the flattened ground as well.
One problem you’ll run into very early in settlement building is item placement, in that many of the larger objects need a healthy amount of space, and stick out too far from the wall to be useful. Place Everywhere gets rid of the red, and lets you stick things where you please, improving both aesthetic and available floor space for those clumsy settlers.
Junk fences are ideal for outer settlement fortification, but unfortunately, the gaps between each panel are still wide enough for bullets to get through. Solve that problem with Snappable Junk Fences, a mod that makes the outer fences seamless by making them snappable and able to connect to flooring.
There are so many settlements with their own unique challenges that it hardly makes sense to single one out. That said, Hangman’s Alley is arguably the hardest settlement to manage in Fallout 4, in that there’s hardly enough space for the settlers to even sleep, much less maintain Happiness boosting amenities. By using this mod, you can give yourself a little more to work with, as it opens some of the nearby boarded-up apartments for use in the settlement. Combine it with the Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch, which (among thousands of other things) will also solve the AI pathing errors in this location.
It’s a small complaint in the grand scheme of things. But doesn’t it seem odd that the bathtub cattle feeders never have any food in them? Or water, for that matter? A simple mod with a simple fix, Filled Brahmin Feed and Water Trough will make your settlements just slightly more immersive, by no longer forcing your cattle to eat air.
I may be in the minority here, but the limitations of the wiring and power options is really frustrating. If you need a precise wiring or lighting set-up, the ambient energy of the conduits often interferes by powering items that you may not need to be powered all the time, like certain traps and mechanisms in the Automaton and Contraptions DLC. Insulate them, and create cleaner power supply lines, with Insulated Power Conduits.
Why even bother crafting a TV, much less digging up all the resources to power it, if there’s nothing to watch? If you’ve asked yourself the same question, then you may want to use Vault-Tec Tapes MTV 1930, a small station that will air eight music programs by holotape.
One of the biggest bummers of Fallout 4 is the lack of a functional movie projector at Starlight Drive-In, a location that otherwise has a lot of potential for a themed settlement. While the Starlight Cinema mod doesn’t play full movies, it does play 30-second clips of the movies seen in posters in the Workshop and the Commonwealth, The Creatures from the Deep! and Tales from the Old West. Use this and create yourself an authentic drive-in movie theater.
In settlements without a major water source, use Water Anywhere. This mod makes it so you can place the water pumps even on dirt—and use the dirt pumps anywhere as well. With the placement restrictions lifted, it should be much easier to get the hydration needs of your settlement met without sacrificing space.
Don’t you just hate all those empty Nuka Cola bottles? Hate no more! The Nuka Cola Filling Machine mod adds a machine to the game that will let you fill up your empty bottles of Nuka Cola for the price of a mere mutfruit. Not only does that mean you get a never ending source of Nuka Cola, it also offers a lore-friendly way to explain why there are still so many bottles left in the Commonwealth, two hundred years after the bombs fell.
In a game with multiple ovens and barbeque models, it makes no sense there aren’t more ways to cook in Fallout 4. Why can’t we craft the traditional kitchen ovens in Workshop, and why is that one barbeque categorized as a functionless decorative item? That’s where More Cooking Stations comes in, an aesthetic and practical fix that takes the many useless cooking devices seen in the game and adds them to the roster of usable ones.
Given how buggy and insufficient the settler AI is in general, you may see the prospect of having more settlers as simply having more problems. While this assessment is completely fair, more settlers can also mean more workers, which means more resources and protection for your settlement. It also means you can better flesh out some of the bigger areas, like Starlight Drive-In or Spectacle Island (just be sure to turn off your beacon in Hangman’s Alley). Just set the cap to however many settlers you want, and prepare to build a lot more bars.
This mod is great if you want a lore-friendly option for additional decor in your settlements. Containing over 40 new posters, Signs of the Times takes almost all of the visual wall art seen in the game but not included in the Workshop, and adds them to your available settlement items. Spot a snappy sign or poster in the Commonwealth and want to make it yours? Chances are, you’ll find it in Sign of the Times.
While there are many mods out there that add planters to the game (usually taken from the Graygardens settlement), this one goes a step further by cleverly repurposing game content. Plant Me gives the player new gardening items from vanilla objects, like giant tires and coffee cans. It also culls new specimens of plants from the game’s landscape and makes them active and usable with the planters. Together, the options create dozens of new options for lore-friendly settlement decor.
Scrappy Signs is a lovely way to vastly expand your settlement decor options in a way that doesn’t push the constraints of post-apocalyptic belief. Instead of dragging in new visual assets to create alphabets you can make signs with, the Scrappy Signs mod takes those seen in the game and lets you customize your own signs with them. Like the font at Hotel Rexford or spot a snappy text at Diamond City? Now it’s yours.
There are many settlement mods that add new items into the Workshop—but how many of them have their own showroom? Madkea – 500 Workshop Items is, as the name suggests, like visiting your own little Ikea, with a physical retail store located just outside Walden Pond. Get over 500 items to add to your settlements, from furniture to room dividers to new flowers and plants, and get them in style.
If you want to go all out with your settlement, then go big with Settlements Objects Expansion Pack. It not only adds 2000 new items to the Workshop, it also uses a filtering system that allows you to customize the visibly available objects based on personal preference, like custom vs. vanilla, or by the asset’s original use (like The Institute or Vault items). Whatever your preferences, fantasy vs. lore-friendly, there should be a range of options for you.
Maybe the settlements in Fallout 4 just aren’t for you. To make your own almost anywhere on the map, use Conquest, a mod that lets you set up a small camp on-the-go, which can then be expanded into a full town (for a maximum of ten total). As a bonus, it’s also compatible with most scrapping and workshop item mods.
Name aside, OCDecorator Static Loot is great because it allows you to take your settlement decorating to the next level. While the vanilla game has plenty of decorative things you can build in the Workshop, you can’t place clutter or personal items. OCDecorator not only lets you use any game item like a crafted object, it also makes them lockable, meaning they will not fall over. This is the best way to fully personalize your settlement and tell stories within your own customized space.
Ever see a beautiful piece of architecture in Fallout 4 and wish you had the sophisticated assets needed to build it yourself? Wish no more! This mod takes the unique one-off buildings of the Commonwealth and turns them into snappable kits. It also includes landscaping and interior decor units as well. If you ever wanted to put a cathedral in Sanctuary or just quickly craft some structures that aren’t a complete eyesore, either way, this mod should help.
Of all the settlement workshop related mods, this one is probably the best. It’s especially appealing if you want a broad range of settlement improvements without downloading too many separate mods. Homemaker Expanded Settlements includes seven new build sets, several prefab building units, hundreds of new decorative, lighting, and household objects(that were in the game but not included in the workshop), crop planters, new farmable crops, and a batch of new barriers and fences. Basically, if you can see it, you can have it with Homemaker Expanded Settlements.
Holly Green is the editor-at-large of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.