I’ve been busy and logging 200 plus hours into Fallout 4. During that time I’ve spent a lot of it building settlements – one of the new part of the Fallout universe.
The game itself breaks down into 3 distinct parts, but some of it bleeding into other parts. First – questing. Your basic Fallout experience of emerging out of a vault, finding a post apocalyptic world and then doing the whole side quests/exploration/main quest thingy. You can easily sink lots of time combing every inch of the massive map for more.
But part of that is also settlement building. In fact doing the first quest beyond the vault will land you in Sanctuary Hills – the biggest and main settlement that you can choose to ignore or that will after your first steps into the role as savior or scurge, be populated with the first group of people you run into from the nearby Concord. In fact you’ll end up finding 2 settlements before you even run into that.
In between Sanctuary and Concord is the Red Rocket gas station. It is a potential settlement site that you can choose to ignore for that purpose and simply use as a free ‘haven’ of sort for all your needs when you don’t want to be bothered with ‘settlers’. Or you can turn it into something, like I did here.
Normally it’s only the gas station in the middle but as you can see from the overview I build more or less a ‘fort’ around it. It’s a really simple design that I eventually figured out with some experimentation.
And that’s because the tool itself isn’t very well described. You can ‘scrap’ things (easy enough to figure out) which is to highlight everything in a settlement area. Some things can only be picked up and put in your inventory (such as edible things) and almost everything else can be scrapped for parts.
Broken stumbs of trees becomes woods and metal poles steel. Then some stuff adds springs, gears and whatnot.
All these materials; either by being broken down into a base component (such as steel) or kept in the inventory as a whole will eventually be needed in order to build things. Either in your settlement (such as cloth and steel for a bed .
Similarly everything else has its own costs. These things can be combined also using ‘items’ in your inventory. All junk now serves a purpose. By combining these items (say duct tape plus toy car) you get a combined item to make things. Or you can scrap it down to the essentials.
This is generally done when vacuuming the settlement area.
Now there are 5 things I suggest for anyone who want to deal with making settlements.
One. Clean everything up first. Meaning pick up all items. All settlements have their own unique ‘build size’. Some settlements are small that comes with lots of prebuilt stuff. That gives you less size to work with for your own stuff. Hangmans Alley is a good example of that. In fact it’s perhaps the most unique settlement with its own charm. So much so that other than cleaning up some of the garbage, I left most of the old infrastructure intact and build one more laying ontop of it. Other’s are not as interesting and should be cleaned out completely so you can add your own thing. There’s a reason for this. First – it takes 2 combinations of commands to scrap or put something in your inventory when you’re in the settlment building screen. Either tab+E to grab and store (such as for foodstuff) and R+E to scrap. It only takes E to pick stuff up and put it in your ‘junk pile’ when in the regular screen. And there will be some shelves and stuff that has lots of things in it. You scrap the shelf and the stuff falls on the ground for you to pick up. Trust me, one click of E beats the repeatative combination of tab+E or R+E.
Two. Scrap almost everything. Only 2-3 settlements will have some interesting infrastructure in place. The rest of them are bland and boring. Remove most of the furniture, broken or otherwise since that’ll give you more size to add your vision. And most things except solid big objects like ruined houses can be scrapped. Such as cars, broken trees, railing, fencing etc. Do it so you can not only get enough material to build something with but also clean up clutter.
Three. Under wood and flooring are 2 different type with adjustable heights. One adds flooring and cement base the other flooring on poles. Both are essential for a good foundation. Most terrain is uneven and there’s no way to flatten it. Until you use these two options you’ll be breaking your heart trying to find a suitable spot to put down a good foundation for anything. These two can be put in the ground and adjusted up and down for varied height. It is not unlimited height however so if you build down a slope you will eventually see the bottom of the base. There are some interesting creative ways to solve that issue and here’ one
As you can see from the picture the block to the left is not grounded in the slope. That is because I could figure out a good way to fix that. On the right hand side I took 2 of the ones with poles on them and stacked ontop of each others so it looked like the thing was held up by something. I could have left them out and built it like that but that just looked silly.
The nice thing is that once you start using these options you can start at the highest point and then extend the pieces together, form whatever desired base you want and start adding walls and roof to that. Once you’re done remove segments to allow people in – it’s a lot easier to first build the entire structure around and then remove the pieces that adds the wanted entrance into your settlement.
Fourth. Don’t forget about defense. Add turrets on roofs so it’s harder for anyone to attack them and it also gives them a height advantage to attack from. As you can see I favor just putting turrets covering the whole 360 of a settlement. And as a result it gets pretty graphically pleasing to see 3-4 turrets riddle some distant object with bullets.
Fifth. There are certain things that require some specific perks. Such as building supply lines. This is a very useful thing. Sanctuary is perhaps the greatest source of early material – covering not only a very large area but also have plenty of essential materials to be scrapped and used. Many other settlements not so much. You could fill your inventory with junk and go and ‘drop it off’ but that’s tedious and labor intense. So it’s much better to build a supply line.
It’s quite easy. Get one rank of the perk needed and assign one settler to move between the two settlements. I suggest giving that settler a better gun and armor just to defend itself better and then you’ll be able to use all the resources between them – including sharing food and water. Very important where there’s little space for growing food or water. You can link all settlements that way in order to get an expanded network of shared resources that’ll allow you to get the ball rolling quicker when founding new settlements.