Fallout 4

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About this mod

BOREALIS is a landscape texture and grass overhaul that creates a verdant late ice-age boreal environment. Bogs! Meadows! Mossy woods! A glacier!

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Greetings, fellow wastelanders!  I've been hunting and fishing in these parts for years.  Out in the wilderness I discovered another texture overhaul for you to sink your eyballs into.  Where BADLANDS stripped the forest for a haphazardly cobbled-together retro-weird desertscape, BOREALIS is all about imbuing the fourth Fallout's canonical New England locale with a little more vitality, verve, and verisimilitude.


Bethesda's artists did a phenomenal job breathing life into the built environment, but I always felt like the Wasteland was a missed opportunity.  There isn't much of the character of the landscape of New England about the 'Wealth, and while internal canon requires a blasted expanse I still feel like more could have been done with it. Real-life Eastern Massachusetts alternates between lush coniferous woods, centuries old towns in clapboard and gambrel roof, scrappy rural pasturage, rugged coastline, and devastated urban zones of gentrified blight.  What might happen if you took an image of that landscape and applied a little bit of science-fiction mental magic to it?

One of the more vivid pop-science (fiction) suppositions about a nuclear war is the incursion of a "nuclear winter," a brief ice age caused by the massive quantities of dirt and people parts and other stuff hurled into the upper atmosphere by nuclear explosions.  This massive cloud of jetsam would, in theory, increase local albedo and prevent sunlight from reaching the Earth's surface long enough to substantially drop the temperature.  Darkness, dust, and rad-snow for years.  In that time great drifts of polluted snow might accumulate, compacting over the years into a glacial rime.  The great glaciers once again strode down from the high places of North America, imprisioning within their icy vault the dread radioactive menace.  But all Ice Ages must eventually reach their interglacial.  Now the ice has begun to melt, releasing atomic monsters of a forgotten age onto an unsuspecting world...

Much more compelling than "there were bombs and everything turned brown."

In this version of the Fallout 'verse the same nuclear ice age that made FROST so damn hard waxed, and now, 200 years later, is finally on the wane.  The vast Glowing Glacier that formed over the northern Appalachians and reached as far as Walpole is in retreat.  As it melts, the surrounding countryside has revegetated in successive waves of tundra and boreal forest.  Great conifer woods once again blanket New England, the sussurus of wind in the fir boughs and the chatter of feral pigeons only occasionally interrupted by the bark of distant gunfire echoing off the decaying city to the east...

Initially this was conceived as yet another wintertime retexture- but that's been done several times before by other far more skilled modders.  (Check out Icepick, Winter Overhaul, Winter Redone, etc.- they're all lovely.)  Instead I decided to follow the lead of vaguely realistic flora mods like Commonwealth Conifers and the notorious Resurrection, and then go further on into a undiscovered country of wild woods, radioactive ice, melting snow, blooming lupines, and more weird rocks.  The flora and ground textures are intended to suggest, if not imitate, the blueberry heaths, meadows, and marshlands of real-life New England, as well as more fantastic environs like the Nuka World tundra and the great Glowing Glacier.


All right, my illiterate friend.  BOREALIS is a texture replacement mod.  The main module replaces ground textures- and that's it.  The optional grass texture + plugin set contains... grass textures and a grass plugin.  The main module and the grass module are packed in BA2 form with ESL and ESP (respectively) plugins.

There are no trees in BOREALIS.

"But-but-but I see pictures of trees: you're a liar!" I hear you bluster.  Patience, horrible internet person.  Combine BOREALIS with a flora mod of your choice, and trees ye shall have in abundance.  Or sparsely, however you prefer.  Try BOREALIS with any of the following:

Boston Natural Surroundings
Commonwealth Conifers - Seasons: Summer or Winter
Commonwealth Conifers Redux
Misty Pines Overhaul
Dead Forest Overhaul
A Forest
Springtime Trees

So long as BOREALIS takes precedence over the others in your load order, its textures and/or grasses will show up.  Remember that loose files always overwrite ba2 files.  If you're not seeing a BOREALIS texture in the game, make sure it's not being overwritten by something else.  See the titles to the images in the gallery for examples of what different combinations look like.  For screen-shooting, I enjoy this combination, in this order in the MO2 window, with precombined meshes turned off in the ini (yeah, I know- crap performance but it looks marvelous):

Misty Pines Overhaul
Boston Natural Surroundings
Commonwealth Conifers Redux

Visuals in my screenshots are courtesy of L00ping's WIP versions of NAC and the PRC ENB, along with a custom ReShade for a little bit of extra color grading.


BOREALIS comes with a separate grass plugin with its own set of textures.  Like the BOREALIS landscape textures, feel free to mix and match these grasses with whatever other environmental mods tickle your fancy.  Different ENBs, weathers, lighting mods, etc. will all affect the color of the grass.  If the grass looks too yellow/green/dark/light/whatever, consider tweaking your visual settings.  The BOREALIS grass plugin requires True Grass as a master.  To get the most out of these grasses, add or modify the following lines in your fallout4.ini:

iMinGrassSize = [pick a number between 20 and 50, lower numbers mean denser grass but lower FPS]
bAllowCreateGrass = 1
bAllowLoadGrass = 0
iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure = 20


A baseline LOD + billboards designed for use with Boston Natural Surroundings is included as a separate download.  If you don't use BNS, you'll have to generate your own LODs yourself using this handy guide.  Since there a zillion possible combinations of BOREALIS ground and non-BOREALIS flora mods, I'm not going to make LOD packs for all of them.

In addition, for experienced users there's a separate loose file set of LODs for rocks and the Glowing Sea cliffs.  Use 'em if you know what to do with 'em.  (I am not your LOD guru if you don't.)


Being just textures, and not all the textures in the game, BOREALIS goes very well with a great many other mods.  To further develop the look of your game-world, it's worth tracking down the much maligned but still visually impressive mod Resurrection for its mossy, overgrown architecture.  It's still out there in the wilds of the internet.  Any other mod that applies a more vegetated character to the built environment, like Lily Pads, will likewise help with that verdant sense of place.  Ambient Wasteland provides wonderfully atmospheric background audio of crickets, frogsong, sighing winds, and so on.  Some sort of camping mod, like Campsite, is a must for those looking to rough it in-character.  By all means mix and match the BOREALIS ground textures and/or grasses with other stuff.  Try a wide-open steppe landscape with Barren Wasteland or Dustbowl.  Heck, save yourself some frames and just run BOREALIS on top of the Vanilla world.


Does BOREALIS break precombines?
It is just textures, so no.

What's the FPS hit?
Depends on your machine, how well you take care of it, and how many haphazardly scripted quests and 8K resolution combat bikinis you're running around with. The textures themselves are a mix of everything from 512 to 4K, with most at 2K. Those shouldn't drain your framerate much, if at all. The grass can be a little heavy if your iMinGrassSize is low, less so the higher/less dense you go. Your mileage will almost certainly vary.

So will you make a set of performance textures?
Nope. If you want to do the leg-work of making that happen, send it along and I'll post it with full credit and mad props to you.

No. See above.

What the heck is up with the LODs?
The only object LODs I've added are for BNS. If you are also running BNS and use the separate LOD files available in the download section, all will be groovy. If you're using a different setup, you'll need to build your own LOD using the HOMEBREW LOD INGREDIENTS in the download section, plus NeuraLOD or the like, and FO4LODGen. Here's that guide again one more time.

Trouble?  Shoot!
If you're having trouble getting a mod to work they way you want it to, please check out this incredibly helpful website for figuring out all sorts of modding issues before bringing your question to the comments section.



Many thanks to all of the generous modders and artists who graciously permitted their work to be used in BOREALIS.  A handful of the textures in BOREALIS are fully original, but the vast majority are wholly or in part the result of the imagination and work of other folks.  It's entirely possible that in the whirlwind of compiling and publishing I've unknowingly missed someone here.  If you recognize your own work in BOREALIS, please hit me up about it and I'll add your name to the credits.  If you really don't want to be a part of the BOREALIS project, please consider the benefits of the Cathedral approach to modding- but if you're still adamant about non-participation I'll remove and replace the offending files.  In no particular order, many thanks to:


Remember kids, if you like it, endorse it.

P.S. Thanks for taking this to the Hotfiles within a day, y'all!
P.P.S: Extra thanks to JuiceHead for the video review:

Watch the skies, traveler.