Fallout: New Vegas - the best graphic enhancement mods

The Best of ...Jan 22, 2016 at 3:00a PSTby Maiman

Fallout: New Vegas - the best graphic enhancement mods

We’ve prepared for you a selection of the best visual mods for Fallout: New Vegas together with an installation guide. These are the mods that will breathe new life into this great RPG.

War never changes… - 2016-01-22
War never changes…

Fallout: New Vegas lives. Years go by but the fourth entry in the post-apocalyptic series retains its unwaning popularity among RPG fans with an appetite for a juicy experience. At the same time, the modding community gathered around Obsidian’s work persists in its efforts to keep the Mojave Desert’s glory alive for as long as possible.

And while the spirit of New Vegas remains strong and timeless, its visual flesh is significantly more likely to suffer at the hands of time. The Gamebryo engine was considered not the most beautiful even at the moment of the game’s release; 5 years later and it can sometimes be as repulsive as a flock of feral ghouls after midnight. As a result, long-time players coming back to the Strip after a break may be discouraged, and newcomers – outright scared away.

To counter that effect, we give you our selection. Here are the mods that will change the way you look at Mojave Wasteland, and allow you to re-appreciate one of the best Fallouts in history without disgust on your face. You will find here instructions how to install each add-on as well as universal tips on how to mod New Vegas from now on. All mods in this selection are compatible with the latest version of the game.

The description “Vanilla” you see on some of the screenshots signifies a basic (unmodified) version of the game.

…but the Wasteland does – and for the better. Installing the mods for Fallout: New Vegas. - 2016-01-22
…but the Wasteland does – and for the better. Installing the mods for Fallout: New Vegas.

In this section you will find a list of applications enabling you to install and manage the mods as well as ensure their proper working.

ATTENTION: Before you modify any game files, the game has to be launched at least once using the default launcher.

Nexus Mod Manager

Fallout New Vegas supports the content available on Nexus Mods website. This means that you can download mods using the Nexus Mod Manager software (later on referred to as NMM).

NMM allows you to automatically install, enable, and disable the mods. Furthermore, the application is clear, easy to use, and offers access to nearly 100% of the resources available on the dedicated nexus.

The nexusmods site dedicated to New Vegas will inform you during the download procedure whether the modification requires any additional plugins to work properly.

Using the Nexus Mod Manager

1. Download and run the latest Nexus Mod Manager software.

2. Wait until it finishes scanning your drive for games or cancel the scan and choose the game manually.

3. Select the modification in the Mods tab (the mod itself may be placed in an automatically generated subfolder) and click the second button from the top (the green check mark) – this will enable the mod in the game.

ATTENTION: To download files from Nexus Mods you need to have an account there.

Managing your mods

The latest version of NMM provides the options to comfortably manage all of your modifications. By which we mean not only automated installation (enabling and disabling whole mods or selected .esm and .esp files), but also validation of all plugins (archives) and reorganization of the files’ load order.

First of the abovementioned actions becomes handy after having manually installed mods that added new textures. To verify the archives select Tools from the upper menu, then uncheck and recheck the Archive Validation option.

The second action will set the right loading order of the mods, which prevents the game from crashing or malfunctioning of individual modifications. To do it, select Tools once again and simply check the Automatic Plugin Sorting option.

New Vegas Script Extender

New Vegas Script Extender (NVSE) is a tool enabling you to unleash the full “scripting potential” that lies dormant in Fallout: New Vegas, ensuring the proper working of mods that would otherwise have to interfere with the game’s .exe file.

As NVSE is used by many modifications that change gameplay mechanics, it would be a good idea to begin your modding with this one.

How to install the New Vegas Script Extender mod

1. Download the New Vegas Script Extender (version 5.0b2).

2. Copy the archive’s contents into the game folder (the one containing FalloutNV.exe)

New Vegas 4GB

New Vegas 4GB (NV4GB) is an add-on enabling the game to access and use up to 4 gigabytes of GPU RAM. Some advanced visual mods require this modifications to work; without it they may cause stuttering, crashes or significant performance drops.

How to install New Vegas 4GB

1. Download New Vegas 4GB.

2. Copy the archive’s contents into the game folder (the one containing FalloutNV.exe)

3. Create a desktop shortcut leading to fnv4gb.exe

4. Open the shortcut properties. Add space after the quotation mark in the “Target” field and add the following line: -SteamAppId 22490 -laaexe .\FalloutNV4GB.exe (example: "C:\program files (x86)\steam\steamapps\common\fallout new vegas enplczru\fnv4gb.exe" -SteamAppId 22490 -laaexe .\FalloutNV4GB.exe

5. From now on, launch the game using this shortcut. NVSE will be loaded automatically.

ENB Mods – what are they and how to install them

ENB is a general name encompassing all modifications based on the files created by Boris Vorontsov. The files enable a game to support advanced post-processing features that were partially supported or weren’t supported at all.

Although post-processing in modern games is a rather resource-consuming process and can have a significant impact on performance, Fallout: New Vegas goes rather easy on system resources, allowing even older PCs to handle the following ENB Series mods with little if any problems.

The mods created using Vorontsov’s files will be referred to as presets from now on.

How to install the files enabling you to use ENB presets

1. Download the latest version of ENB Series.

2. Extract the archive. Copy the contents of the WrapperVersion folder into the game folder (the one containing FalloutNV.exe)

3. From now on, copy every new preset into the game folder, overwriting files if asked.

Using the ENB presets

There’s more to be done with ENB than installing the right plugin – when the game is running, you will have access to a powerful editor that allows you to modify every parameter of the currently loaded preset.

To open the editor press the Shift+Enter key combination. You will see a menu on the left (see the screenshot below).

Through the editor you have the ability to manipulate properties of the enbseries.ini config file, which, with some effort on your part, will allow you to fully adjust the plugin to your preference. In other words – your imagination is the limit.

The post-processing applied by a ENB mod can be enabled and disabled with the Shift+F12 key combination.

Weapon Retexture Project – better textures for your arsenal

What’s better than a big gun? A good-looking big gun, obviously. The creator of Weapon Retexture Project knows those words of wisdom well. That’s why he decided to refurbish the looks of every single piece of trigger-equipped hardware laying around Mojave. Although the completion of his noble goal lies still far ahead, even as it is now his mod upgrades texture quality of most available firearms, making it a pleasure not just using them but simply looking at them.

Download mod

Creator: Millenia

How to install: Download the mod manually, extract the archive and copy its contents to: [game_folder]\Data

Mojave Sandy Desert – true sand

Monochromatic, parched desert soil? Not if Mojave Sandy Desert can help it. The plugin adds a wide array of new textures, replacing not only the deserts as we know them but also the maps drawn on some types of terrain or the roadside. Never before have the wastelands of Nevada been so sandy, so tempting to go for a walk on and simply appreciate the landscape.

Download mod

Creator: AceeQ

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager.

Interior Lighting Overhaul – see indoors in a new light

There’s hardly place for mood with improper lighting – even the most charming locations can be ruined with unrealistic or overexposed lights. Interior Lighting Overhaul will provide the interiors of all the buildings with lighting that is properly balanced, toned down, and adjusted to their individual character, boosting immersion and contributing a well-thought-out harmony that is a joy to the eye.

Download mod

Creator: Sarge198

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager.

Essential Visual Enhancements – general visual upgrades

Explosions, gunshots, and gushing blood – take that away and what’s left? Certainly not immersion and satisfaction. The creator of Essential Visual Enhancements wanted to reach new depths of the visual experience that accompanies combat with all kinds of lethal objects. Thus, he implemented new death animations, environmental effects of bullets and particles, as well as refurbished looks for explosions, gun- and laserfire. As the mod is constantly developed, we can expect further tweaks and improvements in the near future.

Download mod

Creator: weijiesen

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager.

Fallout Character Overhaul – better-looking NPCs

Ghouls are not the only creatures in the Wasteland that could use some facelifting – faces of most NPCs were severely tested by the aged game engine that powers New Vegas. Fallout Character Overhaul was created specifically for them, as it changes facial features of not only NPCs but also the Courier’s companions… or even the Courier himself/herself. The plugin adds new, high-res textures, reduces angularity, provides better-looking eyes and teeth, and, last but not least, it doesn’t collide with any visual mods from the ENB Series.

Download mod

Creator: Drumber

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager. The mod has a built-in config app, which will allow you to pick from several variants of character and enemy appearances.

ATTENTION: The mod requires the Old World Blues expansion as well as the UIO mod to work properly.

Wasteland Flora Overhaul – better textures for vegetation

The Wasteland is, by definition, a desolate and harsh place, making any pleasant landscape elements a change not only welcome and worthy of attention but also – where possible – of embellishment. Here’s where Wasteland Flora Overhaul comes in to the fray, by increasing the number and variety of plants the Courier can stumble across. Furthermore, the plugin adds several new types of trees and bushes (around 80 new 3D models) and is available in two versions – the more austere ‘dead’ and the more vivid ‘fertile’.

Download mod (dead)

Download mod (fertile)

Creator: vurt

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager.

Realistic Wasteland Lighting – see the outdoors in a new light

If your choking on that dirty, brownish dust covering all of Mojave and your eyes have learned to differentiate between more than 50 shades of sepia – perhaps you should look at the Wasteland in a different light. Realistic Wasteland Light will deliver some fresh touch, making the post-apocalyptic landscapes a bit more pleasant to watch and (at least visually) free of radiation. The plugin increases color saturation and removes the ever-present “sandy” screen filter, with no repercussions for overall performance.

Download mod

Creator: sal203

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager.

Project Reality – realistic landscapes

Project reality is a mod that puts gameplay immersion first and foremost. The plugin adds some new weather effects and revamps the visuals of those already present. Furthermore, it implements several sound effects to accompany different weather conditions, like sandstorms or downpours. It will also replace the color scheme of the Wasteland with a more consistent, cooler set of colors.

Download mod

Creator: jjc71

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager.

ATTENTION: The mod is not fully compatible with Nevada Skies.

Enhanced Shaders ENB – better shading

If you ever thought, when walking the New Vegas Strip, that your surroundings are bleak, unpolished, and generally lacking, you were dead on. One of many things it lacked was proper ambient occlusion, provided by the Enhanced Shaders preset, which focuses on adding the missing shade where it is due – in the corners, in the foliage, or under light sources. Enhanced Shaders’ strong point, however, lies in it unobtrusiveness – it leaves the original colors as they were.

Download mod

Creator: tapioks

How to install: Download manually and follow the instructions included in the section dedicated to ENB Mods.

Nevada Skies – realistic sky and weather effects

Be it rain, snow or blazing sun – the Wasteland has a hard time surprising you because, weather be as it may, everything remains basically the same. One way to counter such progressing indifference is the Nevada Skies mod, which provides a complete makeover of the sky and turns all weather conditions much more unpredictable, severe, and spectacular. After having installed the mod, more often than not you will find yourself entranced by the image of clouds racing on the sky, standing on a hill to watch the sun sink below the horizon, or, if an unexpected sandstorm comes down, hiding in the closest shelter with other NPCs to avoid death. Provided you find a shelter in the area.

Download mod

Creator: Yossarian22

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager.

ATTENTION: The mod is not fully compatible with Project Reality.

NMC’s Texture Pack – textures of high(est) resolution

The more details the better – especially when it comes to the details of the smallest elements of the environment. NMC’s Texture Pack revamps the looks of nearly all objects in the game by significantly increasing the resolution of textures covering them. From streets and pavements through cars and road signs to wallpapers – the seemingly boring Wasteland suddenly becomes a land of minuteness. The mod is available in three versions – large, medium, and small; the first one is recommended – to avoid stutters – only to the owners of GPUs possessing more than 4GB of RAM.

Download mod (low)

Download mod (medium)

Download mod (large)

Creator: NMC

How to install: Download and enable using the Nexus Mod Manager. If, during the installation, the app asks you to overwrite existing files, choose “No to all”.

Blackout ENB – Repainting the Wasteland

Blackout ENB is one of the most popular presets, offering not only a different, more clean and toned-down visual quality, but also increasing the intensity of darkness ruling the Wasteland during night hours. The mod draws its popularity from the fact of being well-balanced and not overly exaggerated when it comes to colors, creating a very fresh and natural look. Additionally, the mod, once activated, doesn’t particularly affect the overall performance; unless you find yourself in the middle of an intense downpour.

Download mod

Creator: Xilandro

How to install: Download manually and follow the instructions included in the section dedicated to ENB Mods.

ATTENTION: The mod works best when paired with Nevada Skies or Project Reality.