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About this mod

A small mod that seeks to make all three dreams in ME3 feel like real nightmares by replacing them with a new, lore-friendly alternative. For ME1 and/or ME2 imports, only.

Permissions and credits

Bad Dreams? --Garrus Vakarian

Not really, Garrus, but they sure as hell are damn annoying.

A few years ago I had an idea: wouldn't it be nice to NOT have to follow starbrat around in the dreams? Wouldn't it be logical if, instead of the ridiculous significance placed on this kid, the dreams actually showed all the events during the trilogy that Shepard WOULD be upset over? The most horrific moments from ME1, ME2, and ME3? What if the dreams focused on Shepard re-living these moments of loss and his/her fear at what the Reapers will do to the galaxy if s/he fails?

Welcome to Better Dreams.

Better Dreams (BD) replaces the three vanilla dreams with a less annoying and more lore-friendly alternative. The mod’s main goal is to create a more authentic, nightmare-like experience that feels appropriate for imported playthroughs. BD is an ideal companion to JAMvB and MEHEM, both of which remove Starchild from the game.

When playing with BD, you can expect:

  • Near-complete removal of "kid"
  • Dreams that don’t require player-interaction, are not in slow motion, and take about 40s to play out
  • Content focused on Shepard’s battles, challenges, & mounting losses over the course of the trilogy
  • Content focused on the Reapers and their goal to harvest and corrupt all major life in the galaxy
  • Content that feels appropriate to your PT/trilogy run
  • Appearance of Shepard’s LI in the final dream, when one is present (more on this below)

Here's how the content featuring love interests works in BD:

  • Standard romances will always be featured in dream #3, including scenarios for when a romanced Tali or Miranda perish
  • Jacob, Samara, and Kelly, will only appear when BackOff is installed and certain decisions are made (hint: you must be faithful to the LI)
  • Samara requires BackOff, Citadel DLC, and her apartment kiss prior to the dream
  • Variations for Thane will be patched in upon ThaneMOD v3.0's release

While I’ve gone to GREAT lengths to ensure all dreams will feel appropriate for each and every playthrough, there are a couple instances in which this won’t be the case. This includes:

  • Using non-default armor or appearances for certain ME2 and ME3 love interests
  • Skipping major side missions in ME3 (Lesuss, Gellix, Utukku, etc.)

I've avoided using this type of footage when at all possible, but sometimes it was unavoidable in order to feature the content that would feel appropriate for the dream.

Important: I will not make additional versions of dreams tailored to specific users, as it would be far too labor-intensive. I will also not distribute the video project files. I might—at some point in the future—be open to creating a few customized versions for specific LIs. This would also include LIs who have undergone dramatic changes in appearance across games. Ashley is the most likely candidate for this.

I've worked very hard to create a quality product. Most footage (99%) was captured on a calibrated display with lore-friendly, HD textures installed. The dreams are rendered at 1080p, which is higher than BW's native resolution (720p). For those of you on 1920x1080 monitors, they'll look quite good. Thus far, all feedback about the quality and immersiveness of the dreams has been extremely positive.

That said, there are two things I want to be very clear about:

1. I am not a professional video editor, as I'm sure any of you who are professionals will be able to tell. As a result, I don't own or have access to professional-grade hardware or software. Therefore, if you're a user going into the dream expecting something that only a trained professional is capable of, you will likely be disappointed.

2. BIK videos have compression artifacts. BioWare's have them and mine have them. Rendering them through the game engine makes them worse. When you add this to the growing popularity of 1440p and 4K monitors, they become even more apparent. There's little I can do about this. If you expect perfect video quality at any resolution, you will be disappointed. However, if that's the case, you are likely already disappointed in all of BW's existing in-game videos, as well. Mine are no worse.

Note: I won't be putting up video clips, since that would show essentially all of the mod and spoil the dreams. I have put up plenty of stills, though, so that should give folks a decent feel for what they will be in for, content-wise. Video quality cannot be accurately assessed from a still.

Better Dreams is a DLC mod, which makes installation quick and easy. Before installing, please note that:

  • Imported Playthroughs.  Better Dreams is for imported playthroughs, only. It won't hurt a non-imported game, but these playthroughs will get the original dreams, instead. Players who have played both ME1 and ME2 will get the most out of BD. ME2-only imports will function fine, but BD assumes players are familiar with ME1events and have experienced them first-hand.
  • English.  BD contains no localized dialogue or text (short of a tiny bit in the first dream), however, it does contain one file formatted specifically for English (_INT) localizations. If you have another localization, use the mod at your own risk; I cannot guarantee functionality, provide technical support, nor answer any questions about this type of usage. I'll attempt to include alternate versions of this file for 100% compatibility with other localizations in a future release. Translations of this particular mod should not be necessary.
  • DLC Patcher.  BD requires use of a DLL Patcher for ME3 DLC. This has been included for ease of installation, but many users will not need it.

See the Install Guide for further instructions.

Better Dreams is compatible with all mods released by myself, and any other mod that doesn't change the same game assets. Users should compare files across their DLC mods to check for themselves. Other DLC mods can override BD if they have higher "mount priority".

Better Dreams is NOT compatible with Shorter Dreams by Deager. These two mods alter the same game content in different ways. You must choose one or the other; you cannot use both. Before using Better Dreams, I encourage you to check out Deager's mod. It's well done and is a great option for people who want something vanilla-friendly. Better Dreams is a purposeful departure from vanilla and is aimed at the player who has a significant distaste for the default dreams. If this describes you, then give it a try.

For more information on my mods and compatibility, read this and this.

Better Dreams has undergone a good amount of testing, but due to the amount of variation in dream #3, I haven't been able to test each one. If folks run into any problems with this dream, specifically, just leave a comment and I'll take a look. Otherwise, before reporting a bug, read this.

Note: When Shepard wakes after Garrus and Sam’s dreams, there is a strange audio artifact that seems to result from Shepard's shields refilling. The same artifact occurs after Sam's shower scene. It's a minor detail and I’ve been unable to determine how to prevent it, so users will need to ignore this for now. I'll rectify the issue in a future release, if possible.

Better Dreams is brought to you by Giftfish.

Much thanks to:

Ottemis, Nephthysmoon, and Barddoc1992 for feedback and donating video footage
ThaneMOD and ME3Explorer forum communities for feedback and ideas
Deager, JohnP, and Kinkojiro for technical discussion
ME3Explorer Toolset Team, creators of the best modding tool for Mass Effect