Fallout 4
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Settlement mods tend to be fickle. A lot can go wrong, even if the mod author did everything correctly. In this article, I want to talk about the usual problems, their causes, and potential solutions.

General
For mod authors: I recommend to have a look at this tutorial. While it doesn't cover every aspect of settlement creation, it explains the most important ones. Especially the part about the Quest is relevant.

There are a few points I'd like to add:

  • Don't use ESL files for settlement mods. If there is a mod conflict, an ESL file will always lose it, while a settlement mod must win. You can use an ESL-Flagged-ESP in most cases, except...
  • If you are creating a new interior settlement (built from scratch, not a vanilla interior turned into a settlement), you can either turn it into an ESL-Flagged-ESP, or generate precombines for it, not both. This is an engine bug.
  • For exterior settlements, it helps to enable cell borders (CK hotkey: b) when planning your build area. See also "Dead Zones" below.

For mod users: try moving the settlement mod further down in your load order. Some problems can be caused by conflicts, and for the settlement mod to work, it must win the conflict.
If a mod does any change in a specific cell, it will also create an override for that cell. This might undo necessary changes of the settlement mod to this cell. Pretty much all of the following can be caused by mod conflicts.

The "0% Happiness Bug"
Symptoms: The settlement has 0% Happiness from the beginning, instead the default 50%. No settlers can be recruited, no supply lines can be created. The workshop ID is -1, visible by clicking the workbench in the console and typing "sv workshopID".

Cause: the workshop has not been registered with WorkshopParent.

Details: Usually, when you create a custom workshop, you must create a special kind of quest to register it. During this registration, the workshop is added to the global workshop array, recieves a WorkshopID, and gets it's happiness initialized to 50%. If this process has failed (or if the mod author didn't actually add the quest), then this never happens. This might actually be the only case where it could be safe to remove the mod from a save: the workshop array won't be in an invalid state, if the workshop in question was never part of it.

Solution: As a mod author, make sure you have a registration quest, and that it is set up properly. For best results, give your workbench a custom keyword, and match for it in the RefCollectionAlias. Matching by vanilla keywords and/or by location only might not work properly.

Non-Functional Map Marker
Symptoms: the map marker does not display the population or happiness, is not visible in supply line mode. No supply lines can be created or settlers be sent to the settlement, but can be created and sent from it.

Cause: not fully understood.
Possibly the relevant Cell(s) don't have the proper Location/Encounter Zone assigned.
Might also be caused by problems in the Location's or Encounter Zone's setup.
Enabling the mod while near the location might be a reason, too.

Solution: As a mod author, make sure the cell map marker is in the proper location. Also double-check the Cell's, Location's and Encounter Zone's setup.

As a user, try moving your character somewhere far away from the place, and enable the mod then.
If it still doesn't work, it probably just doesn't work for you :/

Dead Zones
Symptoms: in some areas of the settlement, traders are non-functional. Some mod-added tools, like Settlement Management Software, are unable to tell that you are in a settlement if used in these areas.

Cause: not all cells within the building area have the proper Location.

Solution: As a mod author, make sure that all cells within your build area have your Location assigned. For exterior settlements, you can press the "b" key in the CK to display cell borders (yellow lines).
You should plan your building area based on these borders. Since you have to modify the entire cell anyway, you could also align the build area with cell borders. If your build area only touches a small edge of a cell, consider shrinking the build area to leave it out entirely.


Respawning objects
Symptoms: some objects keep reappearing, no matter how often you scrap them.

Cause: The Encounter Zone might not be set up properly, or there a Dead Zones in the settlement.

Details: the Encounter Zone linked to the settlement's Location must have "Never Resets" checked, which prevents anything in the affected cells to respawn. However, since a Dead Zone has a wrong Location assigned to it, the Enounter Zone of THAT Location might still allow respawning.
Solution: As a mod author, make sure you have "Never Resets" checked in your Encounter Zone, and that you don't have any Dead Zones.

Wrongly-registered Location
Symptoms: while in workshop mode, you see wrong values for happiness, population, etc. If you have Sim Settlements and HUDFramework, you see wrong values there, too. Some mod-added tools, like Settlement Management Software, report wrong data in the settlement. Some placed objects (like beds or terminals) show a different WorkshopID than the Workshop itself (open console, click the object, type "sv workshopID").

Cause: The Location you are in has been registered for a different workshop.

Details: this is a complicated one. If not caused by a mod conflict, then the mod author seriously messed up. I have seen this occur in a mod which also adds a player-home interior to the settlement. The registration Quest was set up in such a sloppy way, that both the actual Workshop, and the Workshop of the interior cell, got registered. The interior workbench just happened to register later, and since both the exterior and interior used the same Location, the interior overwrote the exterior's claim to it.

Solution: As a mod author, fix your registration quest. Put a custom keyword on the exterior workbench, and restrict the RefCollectionAlias to that keyword. As a user, uninstall that mod and go back to the last save without it. You may reinstall it, in case the mod author has fixed it. Better make sure yourself that the interior workbench has no workshopID.

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