Fallout 4 - explosion

This is the desired end result of modding your weapons and using your resources appropriately.

Being Resourceful

The other thing with crafting is that everything has resource requirements, and I’m going to say one thing right now: pick up all the glue and duct tape you find. Pretty much every single mod in the game requires at least some Adhesive, and having all the aluminium and glass and high-end fibre optics you need to make a scope means exactly fuck all if you’ve run out of adhesive to put it all together.

Steel and wood are probably the two most common things you’ll find, and a few other resources like rubber and cloth/fabric/whatever aren’t particularly rare, so if you need to dump some crap then you can consider them as being pretty low value. Adhesive is massively important. Screws and gears are pretty rare and important, and anything that sounds fancy or special probably is. Fibre optics, circuits, nuclear material etc. are all necessary for different mods, and aren’t particularly common, so keep your eyes out for that sort of thing. Every item in the game is made of something, and you can see what that something is in the Junk tab of your inventory.

Again, anything that sounds a bit fancy is probably decent. Microscopes are going to offer you more unusual components than a battered clipboard. Speaking of which, some junk – cartons of cigarettes, for instance – is better to sell for caps than it is to use for components.

Seriously, Pick Up All The Goddamn Glue And Duct Tape You Find

No. I’m really, really not kidding. I realised this much later than would’ve been useful.

Fallout 4 - mods

I’ve used this screenshot already, but look at the adhesive cost. That is NOT out of the ordinary for mods. At all.

No, Not That Kind of Reloading

I don’t know if this is a bug, or a design flaw, or intentional, or even if it’s already been patched because I haven’t had a chance to try the retail version of Fallout 4 yet, but: there’s a really handy trick you can use which literally saved my in-game life on a number of occasions. You might consider this cheating, so it’s up to you whether or not to use it.

Weapons are automatically fully loaded whenever you equip them. This means that it’s often faster to switch to a light weapon and then immediately switch back to your previous weapon, rather than tapping R and waiting through the reload animation. Some weapons take longer than others to equip and some of the faster magazine mods are almost certainly quicker than doing this, but when your big plasma rifle needs reloading, tapping the hotkeys to switch to your light pistol and back is probably going to be faster than actually reloading the gun.

Fallout 4 - VATS

This is the sort of moment where VATS comes in handy.

It’s The Battle In Me

While we’re on the topic of combat, it’s a good idea to occasionally tap your VATS key just to see if there are any enemies ahead or any mines on the floor. If a fight breaks out, tapping VATS can help you quickly work out where every enemy is – and actually using VATS at the start means you can let it recharge while you fight, but might also mean you don’t have access to it when you need it.

You might also want to grab the perk the Awareness perk from Perception 3. It’s not essential, but it shows you the level, HP, and damage resistances of any enemies you target in VATS, which can help you work out the appropriate weapon to use and/or whether or not you should run like a little girl.

Fallout 4 - VATS gore

The other advantage of VATS, of course, is that it lets you more easily appreciate the joy of exploding body parts.

Cleaning House, Part Three

If you’re serious about Fallout 4‘s Settlement system, there are a few things you’re going to want to do as soon as possible. First is to set up recruitment in any settlements you want to build up, which maybe isn’t the most obvious thing in the world, despite one of the early quests demanding you do it.

To do this, go into build mode and construct a power generator – a basic one is fine, and doesn’t take too many resources – and then, in the Miscellaneous tab of the Power section, build a recruitment tower. Or radio tower. Or whatever it is. Hook the two of them up with wire by highlighting one, pressing Space, and then highlighting the other and pressing Space, and hooray! People will flock to your town in the hundreds. Or the dozens. Or at least one or two, every now and then.

Wiring is a bit weird. If you’re having trouble connecting things up, chances are it’s because there’s an object or piece of scenery in the way – a wall, maybe, or a tree. This is what your power pylons are for. Stick one of them down to get around the obstacle.

fallout 4 - settlement

Sentry guns and water pumps: two important parts of any successful post-apocalyptic settlement.

The second most important thing is to get the first level of the Local Leader perk, which requires Charisma 6, and will make things a lot easier.

This lets you set up supply lines between settlements. To do this, go into build mode, select a citizen, and order them to act as a supply line. What this actually does is cause those two settlements to share any resources stored in their workbenches. If one settlement has copper and you really need it to set up wiring in another settlement, then rather than lugging it yourself, you can simply set up a supply line. Hey presto, every resource available to one settlement is available to another.

I think it also shares food and water, if there’s spare, but I’m not 100% certain on that.

I’m also not 100% certain on whether the supply lines interlink. What I mean by this is… well, let’s say you have a supply line between Sanctuary Hills and the Red Rocket. They both share resources; all Red Rocket resources are available at Sanctuary Hills, and vice versa. Then you set up a supply line between Red Rocket and The Slog. I don’t know if this means that only the Red Rocket resources are available at The Slog, or if – by association – the Sanctuary Hills ones are too, as part of a chain.

Fallout 4 - resources

Supply lines make it a lot easier to set up new locations by pooling together all of your resources.

What I’d recommend is that, whenever you dump your junk at a settlement’s workbench, you do it at one town. After that, set up supply lines running to or from that town to everywhere else. This pretty much guarantees that you can build whatever you want, wherever you want.

The second level of the Local Leader perk isn’t quite so crucial, but it’s still useful if you’re serious about settlements. This lets you set up trading posts in your towns, and build any workbenches they don’t already have. Trading posts gives you another place to sell your stuff (and also apparently let you earn extra caps from them as you get a cut of the profits they make, so it’s best to put them in happy and prosperous towns, but I’m not quite sure how that works), and extra workbenches… well, maybe you don’t always want to take a trip back to the Red Rocket, or wherever you’ve made your home.

As for resources, wood and steel are plentiful, and by the time you’ve got one or two supply lines up and running you shouldn’t have issues with rubber or ceramics, so I’d say the most important resource is copper. This is needed for basically everything electrical, and copper is also consumed every time you place a wire. If you want to make a big, pretty signboard, you’re going to need a metric fucktonne of the stuff. (Speaking of which, the lightboxes you’ll use to make those big, pretty signboards each require wiring at the back, so you can’t really place them directly against a wall. I found this out the hard way.)

Fallout 4 - logo

I tried making our logo, but this was as much as I could do before running too low on resources. And I had to reload after making this because it used so many. Seriously: this much needed four large generators to power it.


Your companions will pay attention to what you do, and there are advantages to keeping them happy. Getting Piper up to max rank gives you an experience bonus every time you beat a persuasion check or discover a new location, for instance. I don’t think there’s any way to actually “see” your relationship value, but you can get a good idea of how they feel about you by talking to them when they’re in your party and asking about the relationship.

Actually ranking this relationship up pretty much demands you spend time with the character in your party, and work out what sort of things they like. Some aren’t too hard to figure out – you’ll quickly realise that Piper is impressed by your ability to pick locks, appreciates both kindness and a sense of humour, and really doesn’t like it when you immediately ask about the reward when someone begs for help – but some might take you buy surprise. Strong, for instance, doesn’t like it when you use power armour.

It’s worth noting that these likes and dislikes don’t only happen when characters are in your party. If they’re nearby – if they’re in the same settlement, for instance – then you can impress or annoy them with your actions. So yeah, you maybe don’t want to have Strong wait at whichever location you’re storing your power armour.

Fallout 4 - companions

Relationship level: pretty good.

As is apparently now obligatory, Fallout 4 has romance options, some of which are incredibly unusual and incredibly hilarious. The main non-comedy advantage to wooing one of your companions (which, uh, seems a bit quick, considering the intro with your wife/husband…) is that it gives you a Loving Embrace bonus whenever you sleep in a bed while near them, which boosts the XP you earn for awhile. This appears to stack with Well Rested, too, and more experience is always welcome.

You might, however, get a bit pissed off with their aiming skills. You can give your allies armour and weapons and get them to equip it (offer to trade with them, hand it over to them, highlight it, and then press the equip hotkey – T, I think), but they also require ammo for any guns you give them, or they’ll just return to their default weapon. As most of them are incredibly crap shots, that’s usually a really good way of wasting ammo.

They don’t, however, consume fusion cores when using power armour, so feel free to give them one of your spare suits to wear pretty much permanently. As this also boosts their strength to 11, you’re then free to give them a nice, powerful melee weapon, and watch them smash your foes into paste – assuming there are no big obstacles in the way, or foes aren’t on a floor above them. This is mostly a useful trick when wandering the open wastes, and is considerably less useful in office buildings where they’re just get stuck in tight corridors and get shot.

Fallout 4 - perks

Oh God.

Perking Up

How you want to build your character is totally up to you, but bear a few things in mind. You start with the ability to hack Novice computers and pick open Novice locks without getting the Hacking/Lockpicking perks at Intelligence 4 and Perception 4 respectively, but you will need to level them up for higher ones.

You also don’t need to spend skill points immediately: if there’s nothing you desperately want right away, you may want to hang onto one or two. You might bump into a difficult Charisma check and want to pump a couple of points into one of those perks, or you might suddenly encounter an Advanced lock that you would be able to open, if only you hadn’t spent your last point on Gun Nut despite being miles away from the nearest weapon crafting bench.

Speaking of conversation: you can quicksave and quickload in the middle of conversations, so you can experiment with dialogue options if you want to. You might be able to use this to savescum persuasion checks, assuming they’re not determined at the start of the conversation, but I didn’t actually try that.

Also, the final ranks of both Lockpicking and Hacking seem a little pointless I had 99+ bobby pins for most of the game so having them become unbreakable had very little purpose, and failing to hack a computer usually just means you have to wait for a little while before it’ll let you hack it again. I’m not sure that’s worth a high-level perk point, myself. (Besides, you can definitely savescum that stuff.)

Fallout 4 - Freedom Trail

Write this stuff down.

Following the Freedom Trail

A minor thing, but you’re eventually going to have to complete the quest that asks you to follow the Freedom Trail. I’m not going to spoil this for you, but I am going to save you some time by telling you to write down the code fragments you get along the way. The game doesn’t keep track of them for you. It’s really obvious, and you’ll probably work out what it is after you’ve seen the first three or four, but you don’t want to get all the way to the end of the trail only to realise you actually needed to write down that code and now have to walk it again.

Being a Goodneighbor

Finally: early on, one of your major quests is to get to Diamond City, the central hub of the Commonwealth. There are a few other useful non-settlement towns scattered around, though, and one of them – Goodneighbor – is just a little way to the northeast of Diamond City. It’s worth heading there soon after reaching Diamond City, as there are some decent stores and quests available there, and it’s not a long walk.

Tim McDonald
Tim has been playing PC games for longer than he's willing to admit. He's written for a number of publications, but has been with PC Invasion - in all its various incarnations - for over a decade. When not writing about games, Tim can occasionally be found speedrunning terrible ones, making people angry in Dota 2, or playing something obscure and random. He's also weirdly proud of his status as (probably) the Isle of Man's only professional games journalist.

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