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Luke Gevaerts

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LukeGevaerts

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About this mod

This plugin allows you to randomize the game\'s numerous dialogue skill checks, ensuring that no two games will ever be the same.

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Attention


Please read the "Questions & Answers" section at the bottom before posting your question in the comments. I will ignore any question that has already been answered on this page.

Description


As great a game as Fallout: New Vegas is, it has always bothered me that its numerous dialogue skill checks are set in stone. Once you know what's coming, you can prepare for it; I'm sure I'm not the only one who has the most critical of them memorized by now. I consider this to be something of a blemish on replayability - so I decided to do something about it. This plugin is the result.

Upon installing the plugin, you will be able to choose between various randomization options by ingesting a handful of Strange Red Pills that will be added to your inventory. You may only choose once; when you have made your choice, the effect will be applied and the pills will vanish from your inventory. So as long as you do not make a choice, the game will use the default values. You can install this plugin at any time during the game, though it will obviously only affect those dialogue skill checks that you have not yet seen and used; as such, it is recommended to start a new game for the full experience.

So, what does this plugin do? In short, it subjects every* dialogue skill check in the game to whatever randomization you select - ensuring that for as far as dialogue skill checks are concerned, no two games will ever be alike. Currently, three randomization options exist:

  • randomize all dialogue skill checks along a Base-5 to Base+5 scale (in other words, a check requiring 25 points can require anywhere from 20 to 30 with this option);
  • randomize all dialogue skill checks along a Base-10 to Base+10 scale;
  • randomize all dialogue skill checks along a Base=1 to Base=100 scale - or, full random.


* With as many dialogue skill checks as this game has to offer (I've modified 647 topics at the time of this writing), it is certainly possible that I've missed one or two (or five) - some of them are very well hidden indeed. If you run across a skill check you think hasn't been randomized, be sure to let me know in the comments.

Purpose


This plugin allows you to randomize the game's numerous dialogue skill checks, ensuring that no two games will ever be the same.

Requirements


  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Dead Money DLC
  • Honest Hearts DLC
  • Old World Blues DLC
  • Lonesome Road DLC


Installation


Unpack the archive into the game's data directory, and use your plugin manager of choice to include SkillCheckRandomizer.esp in your load list. To deinstall, remove the plugin from the load list and delete SkillCheckRandomizer.esp from the game's data folder.

Also included in the archive is a file called SkillCheckRandomizerCP.esp; this plugin can, if nescessary, ensure compatibility between this plugin and NVEC - New Vegas Enhanced Content's NVEC Bugfixes (known as NVEC Bugfixes.esm in your load list). If you use NVEC, make sure to use your plugin manager of choice to also include SkillCheckRandomizerCP.esp after SkillCheckRandomizer.esp in your load list.

Compatibility Issues


This plugin modifies a metric ton of vanilla dialogue; as such, it is incompatible with any plugin that attempts to do the same (exceptions are noted under the "Installation" section). Make sure to load SkillCheckRandomizer.esp after any plugin that edits vanilla dialogue.

Changelog



1.0:

- Initial release.

Questions & Answers


Q: Matrix much?
A: There is no spoon.

Q: I didn't receive the Strange Red Pills. What gives?
A: They will be added to your inventory after you've completed "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" and left Doc Mitchell's house.

Q: I don't have [insert DLC here]. Can you release a modular version?
A: No. Creating a modular version would quintuple my workload, and I have spent way too much time on this project already. The Ultimate Edition of Fallout: New Vegas goes for dirt cheap nowadays, and the DLC is well worth the price. (As an aside - if you do decide to pick up a copy, consider donating some money to Obsidian's Project Eternity; since they're not getting a cut of the proceeds of Fallout: New Vegas or its DLC, it's the best way to thank them for their amazing work.)

Q: Is there a way to revert the randomization?
A: No. And before you ask - I will not add one, either. The plugin does nothing without your express consent; untill you ingest the pills and choose any one of the randomization options, it is content to slumber in the background. Once you choose, however, you'll be stuck with what you've chosen in that particular playthrough unless you're willing to dig up FormIDs and use the console to modify them.

Q: Will any of the randomization options break the skill cap?
A: No; 100 points remains the maximum requirement for any skill check.

Q: Can you also randomize the attribute checks?
A: I'm considering it. If you check out the plugin in the GECK, you'll see that I've already isolated most attribute checks; I'm just not sure what to do with them yet. If you've got a suggestion, make sure to leave me a line in the comments.

Q: Can you also randomize the message box checks?
A: Like the Medicine checks in Camp Forlorn Hope's sick bay? I haven't gotten to those yet, but they are on the to-do list.

Q: Can you add more randomization options?
A: It's possible, but I'm not going to do it without good reason. If you've got one of those, leave me a line in the comments.

Q: Can you make the skill checks less obvious?
A: Check out the "Author's Notes" section for more information on this subject. Short answer: doing it right is too much work.

Author's Notes


(This section is not required reading, but if you're a modder yourself it might be of interest to you.)

The way Fallout: New Vegas handles dialogue skill checks serves as the perfect object lesson that nothing is ever one-dimensional. On the one hand, forcing the player to meet a given requirement and presenting him or her with alternative dialogue for those requirements that cannot be met is a leg up from Fallout 3's percentage gamble. On the other, informing the player of exactly why he or she will fail ([Guns 37/40]) and highlighting the skill check in red is not.

I spent a silly amount of time trying to obfuscate skill checks in an attempt to improve immersion, and I was successful - to a certain extent. It is certainly possible to remove the skill level display and the red highlight by setting the AV/Perk dropdown in the GECK to NONE, as that is only used for presentation; the game's mechanics only look at the provided conditions. It is also possible to replace all this with a generalized skill indicator, such as [Guns: Easy] or even simply [Guns], by adding it to the topic or prompt. I also learned that one can insert numeric variables using &{GlobalVarName};. But that is where the fun stops.

The GECK enforces a 100 character limit on topics and prompts, likely to protect the consolized UI from collapsing and crying itself to sleep (*grumble*). In many cases, this means there are simply not enough characters available to both preserve the game's dialogue and insert a beforementioned generalized skill indicator. And since inserting variables only works for numbers (global strings do exist, but the only ones that seem to work in topics and prompts are PCName and SUActn) there is no way to prepend the prompts with prefabricated strings either.

Long story short: there is no way to improve immersion by obfuscating skill checks unless you're willing to rewrite the dialogue itself, and even I am not that crazy.

- LG
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