Mass Effect 3

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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.

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18 Feb 2021 |  Comments Locked Until the Next Release, See Sticky Post for Details

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 follow some random kid around in Shepard's 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 the boy from the prologue
  • 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 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 3.0's release
  • Non-vanilla romances will not work with BD

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 for full screen BIK videos (720p). For those of you on 1920x1080 monitors, they'll look quite good. Thus far, all feedback related to the quality and immersion of the dreams has been extremely positive.

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

  • I am not a professional video editor. As a result, I don't own or have access to professional-grade hardware or software. Therefore, if you expect results only a trained professional is capable of, you may be disappointed.
  • 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. In fact, they are better in most, if not all, cases.

: 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. Video quality cannot be accurately assessed from a still, but they will give you some idea.

Veteran users of my mods know that I include ample documentation in every download. This documentation will answer 99% of user questions, as long as you read it. Be aware that reading this description is not a substitute for reading the supplied documentation. Key requirements are listed below to help you decide if you want to download the mod:

  • BD can be installed at any time.  You may install BD at any time, but the first dream is after Priority: Citadel I, which is early in the playthrough. Updating mid-playthrough should also be fine unless I state otherwise.
  • BD requires a ME1 or ME2 import.  Better Dreams is for imported playthroughs, only. It won't harm 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 ME1 events and have experienced them first-hand.
  • BD is technically for English localizations.  BD contains almost no localized dialogue or text (there's 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.
  • BD requires use of a DLL 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.

Better Dreams is a DLC mod, which makes installation quick and easy. See the Install Guide for further instructions; copies can be found in your download and on Google Docs.

To uninstall BD, just delete the entire DLC_MOD_BTRDRMS folder from your ME3 DLC directory. BD can be uninstalled at any time.

BD is a small mod that is compatible with the majority of other mods for ME3. A couple of quick comments:

  • 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".
  • Translations of BCM are not necessary and modders/users should not contact me for this purpose. See the Installation + Requirements section above for more details.

For more information on my mods and compatibility, read this article on my website and take a look at the sticky posts here on Nexus. A compatibility spreadsheet for all my mods can be found on Google Docs.

Bugs. 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 an audio artifact that seems to result from Shepard's shields refilling. The same artifact occurs after Sam's shower scene. It's a very minor bug 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.

Future Releases.
BD will be updated with the release of TM3, and may see further updates afterward.

Post-Distribution File Modifications. Technical support will only be provided when files have not been tampered with by the user. Any and all modifications apply (with the exception of updating the PCConsoleTOC.bin). This includes ill-advised attempts to modify "load order", resolve compatibility, and more. It also includes installation of textures with a tool other than ME3Explorer. If you experience any problems after altering my files, it's up to you to troubleshoot the problem. I cannot help.

Texture Compilations. Texture overhauls/compilations installed into your DLC mods must contain only textures. No edits to meshes, materials, or anything else. Non-texture modifications can cause conflicts.

ALOT/MEM Users. It is imperative to heed all warnings below when using ALOT/MEM in combination with DLC mods.
  • Do not mix texture installation tools. If you want to install additional textures after installing ALOT, consult its documentation. I cannot help.
  • Heed ALOT's documentation. You cannot install any DLC mods or individual files into a game already modded by ALOT. Doing so will result in problems. Consider your game files locked once you install ALOT. Consult ALOT's documentation for further details.
  • Other options. If you desire more flexibility with your game, such as the freedom to revert one or small groups of files to vanilla state, to update/patch your DLC mods as needed, or to re-install to a fresh copy of a DLC mod, then don't use ALOT/MEM. Your other options are to install textures via ME3Explorer or run them with Texmod. There are online resources to help with both; I cannot help further.

By downloading Better Dreams, you agree to the Terms of Use supplied in your download and posted on Nexus.

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

I've been modding the Mass Effect trilogy since 2013, when I joined the ME3Explorer Toolset Community in an effort to create what became my first mod: ThaneMOD. Users of all my mods are welcome to join my development forum on Proboards. For more information about myself, mods, policies, and more, see my website.

Currently in development: ThaneMOD 3

Other contributions:

This mod is not associated with or endorsed by BioWare Corp., Electronic Arts, Inc., or any of their affiliates. I make no money from this project.