Fallout 4: Starlight Drive-in Pond

I talked about Starlight Drive-in’s mud pond in the previous post, and should have included at least a token pic of it. So, here are a couple pics of the lovely little mud hole. It’s not so bad once you clean it up a bit.

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There’s only a small number of settlements that even have water access, so this little pond is a nice little feature.

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Here the pond is, a little more up close and personal.

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This is a view from the recruitment beacon tower.

Starlight isn’t my favorite settlement, but I’ve put a lot of time into trying to marry security with a comfortable place for settlers and caravans to enjoy.

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Fallout 4: Featuring Starlight Drive-in

[Level 116, Very Hard] It’s been two years since I first built the settlement at Starlight Drive-in. I’d built on the site in previous games (five) I played at different levels of difficulty.

In my first game (started at Very Easy; hey, I’ve never claimed to be a gamer!) I tried to build a barrier around the radioactive mud pond, not realizing that I could simply delete the radioactive materials. It drove me nuts because my settlers spawned right next to the pond and I was totally frustrated with it. By the second game (Easy) I set one of those giant water purifiers in the middle of the pond, and I continued this during game three (2018, Normal difficulty).

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I’ve seen a lot of gamers use the drive-in’s mud pond as a water source. So did I.

Finally in game #4 (Hard), I had an idea that I could build a great little center for commerce, using a second level for sheltering the settlers. It was pretty cool but didn’t really look that great (see photo below; note that I’m using mods for the spring colors).

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This was my 4th game of Fallout 4 and this build represents some of my best building, but not my best.

In early 2019, I began game #5 (Very Hard difficulty) and I’d been thinking about making a center piece out of that ugly little mud puddle. I spent days building the settlement before I even began recruiting settlers. SPOILER: Whenever possible, build the settlement before you recruit settlers because once settlers arrive they find ways to get in your way whenever you are trying to do any type of building. (Funny, sorta.) Anyway, I feel pretty good about this settlement, but even now I have ideas for making it even better, should I ever start this game again.

Fallout 4 photo by Yordie Sands

This is Starlight Drive-in main compound with concrete walls.

So, what’s inside that building and has that ugly little mud pond revealed a one of the prettiest little places in Fallout 4? Well, I’ll show you several pics of the interior, but that ugly little mud hole doesn’t really have a lot of pretty to reveal. My guess is that there’s some mod out there somewhere that makes it more appealing, but there are no where near as many mods for Xbox/Playstation as there are for the PC.

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This is the recently expanded medical clinic overlooking the pond.

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I consider the bar and grill to be the center piece of every settlement.

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I thought Starlight was a good place for The Scribe to setup his armor store.

Note that all of the stores open onto the little pond; humble, muddy, and all.

Fallout 4 is a post-apocalyptic video game

There’s also a Slocum’s Joe, Clothing store and General store.

Starlight Drive-in is one of the large settlements in the game and I always build it out to the limits of the enemy spawning zones. This has been one of the safest settlements I have and there are half a dozen provisioners coming and going all the time. Even though I like the progress I’ve made with this settlement, I think I’ll give it one more try in the future.

OTOH, I’ve been playing this iteration of the game for nearly two years (I took off for over a year to play Fallout 76 though) and am not really thinking about starting over any time soon. Also, I tend to believe that Bethesda Games will come out with some thing new in the Fallout series this year. Plus, I plan to return to Fallout 76 next month or so.

Up next: I’m thinking of featuring The Castle. I’m not a big fan of the fortress because so much of it is prebuilt, but I’ve done some things that I want to show off. One thing I love about The Castle is that I have ten real Minutemen stationed their, when you include Ronnie, Preston and the radio guy. They are my best soldiers and have the best clothing, armor, and weapons. Note: The Castle is very secure now that the Institute is caput, and I haven’t triggered a war with the Brotherhood.


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Fallout 4: The Slog Settlement

Currently Level 108[112] I completed most of Far Harbor DLC and have begun Nuka World DLC. I’m actually surprised at how much I’m enjoying Nuka World; guess my morals, ethics and sense of decency have fallen to a new low. *smiles*

I worked quickly on turning The Slog into a proper settlement. I’m now up to 27 settlers and have Paladin Danse and Curie stationed there. Also, the ever charming super mutant, Strong, has found a home there as a happy provisioner. Anyway, both Danse and Curie will be moving on to Old Longfellow’s place in Far Harbor soon, and I’ll begin adding new settlers after that. Below are some photos that capture the essence of the settlement I built there. So far, it is very secure.

Fallout 4 - The Slog Settlement

This is the fully walled in area where Slog farming is centered.

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This is my usual front entrance configuration, which has proven to be secure.

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This is a peek into the main compound area; not as lavish as other large settlements but seems to fit well.

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This is The Slog’s medical center and that’s Curie at the surgery chair.

This completes my work on The Slog, at least for now. Next up, I’ll return to Starlight Drive-in and display what I’ve been able to do using the muddy pond as a focal point. Hey, “[the pond] ain’t much but it’s somethin’.”



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Fallout 4: Provisioner’s Routes

I’m at Level 108 now and just finished that KiMa’s tedious mental puzzle inside The Nucleus. I also added The Slog to my large-size settlements; only 27 peeps, but I’ll be moving Curie and Danse to other settlements soon and then build-up the regular settlers.

I’ve also been increasing the number of provisioners I have running caravans through the northern region of the game. Currently, all settlements average around four caravans. In my early FO4 games I really disliked the idea of running provisioners, but now there seems to be proof that the more caravans you have in a region, the better the security is. The security improvement is also a result of having a large numbers of minutemen manning checkpoints near the active settlements.

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These are my current provisioner routes in the northern half of the Commonwealth.

Currently I have five large settlements, six small settlements and one safe house, for 300 settlers, so I’m still not fully built out. I’ve avoided several settlements like Greentop Nursery, because it is very difficult to build on and the settlers seem so unwilling to do their jobs; what is that all about? I’ve also avoided Finch Farm, Taffington and others, but I may add a lot more when I complete all the DLCs. I am looking forward to building a large settlement at Kingsport Lighthouse, but first I want to create a cool place for Old Longfellow (Luv this old guy).

Anyway, I still have a lot of work to do before I’m ready to put Fallout 4 on the shelf. I’ve ordered an external drive for Xbox and plan to back this iteration of the game up, before I begin messing around with Sim-Settlements. This game can be a lot of work, but when you complete a major questline or build another large settlement, it can be very rewarding. More to come…

OH, OH, OH! Before I forget.

I figured out a way to avoid killing lost characters (NPCs that get stuck in inaccessible places), just “Move” them (using Settlement Management Menu) to an unused settlement. The odds are, the NPC will never actually make it to the new settlement, but at least you can now recruit and assign a new NPC to their job.



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Fallout 4: Deaths of Characters

In the current iteration of the game (Xbox One) I’ve reached level 102. Once, in the past, I made it to 100 but soon lost interest in continuing. I’m feeling that pull already but this time I still have over half of the Far Harbor and all of the Nuka World DLC to look forward to. So, I have a few odds and ends I want to report.

Poor Jun Long – Everybody who plays this game must get annoyed with the loving couple: Jun and Marcy Long. Nonetheless, I found a place for both of them at Tenpines Bluff and they were doing great in their jobs; Marcy turned out to be a perfect front gate guard, and Jun took to being a Provisioner with distinction. Unfortunately, recently Jun got stuck on one of the overpass highways and I tried for weeks to coax him to return to his job. Finally, I decided to kill him just to get a new provisioner. I don’t like Jun but I really disliked having to kill him. Having characters get stuck in strange places is not uncommon and so far, I’ve killed three of them. This sucks.

Character Deaths – Frankly, I take the loss of any of my settlers and named non-player characters (NPCs) pretty hard. So far in this iteration, I’ve lost traders Eleanor, Rowdy, and Rylee, and I don’t know what I could have done to prevent their loss. Also, I haven’t come across Ron Staples, so I’m concerned that he’s dead also. I haven’t researched this yet, but I think in Eleanor’s case I could kill her former Raider boss Roscoe. In the case of Rylee, I’ve read that she is an enigmatic character and seems doomed to getting herself killed.

I don’t know how many people I’ve lost in total, but prolly at least ten settlers and the named NPCs. Frequently, I lose a Provisioner because they have such dangerous jobs, but I’ve lost NPCs during settlement attacks. One other thing, after The Nuclear Option, I discovered Doc Anderson, Ronnie Shaw and a farmer deep in the most dangerous part of south Boston. I noticed them missing and tracked them and defended them as they made their way back to The Castle. Needless to say, Doc and Ronnie are vital characters.

Good Ole Codsworth – After the initial quests, Codsworth is pretty useless and in the past I’ve let him just hang around Sanctuary. In this game I sent him to the Hangman’s Alley Safehouse but that just wasn’t enough. I got so fed up with his snooty comments and disdain that I chopped him down to sized with the robotics workbench. At first, he didn’t have any arms but I decided that he was still useful for defense. So: Voila!

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Codsworth seems to like hanging out at settlement bars.

Protecting Settlers – I put a lot of effort into protecting my settlers. All of them have good armor and at the large settlements, all guards have Militarized Minutemen clothing as well. Also, all of my settlers have had their clothing upgraded to Ballistic Weave. Following is a pic of some of the different outfits used by my settlers.

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Front row left is Provisioner, others are guards. Backrow are settler uniforms.

The Slog – Yesterday, I built a settlement at the ghoul tarberry farm. It’s a large area and I’ll probably turn it into a large-size settlement (30+ settlers) but I’m starting to tire of building settlements. It takes a lot of work to build the kind of settlements I build because they are all concrete walled. Also, I am a stickler for making sure everyone has the best weapons and armor available and this requires a lot of weapons mods. And that means a lot of adhesive. (SPOILER: learn to make adhesive and keep making it often.)

I’m about ready to plunge deeper into Far Harbor. I dread having to wend my way through Dima’s maze, but it has to be done. More on all this later.


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Fallout 4: Sunshine Surprise

I’ve been slowing creeping up the levels, currently 96. I’ve also finished Automatron and begun Far Harbor DLC, but I’m not near ready to step into the Nuka World DLC.

Strong Settlements

What I’ve been doing is increasing the strength of my settlements: 3 x Large-size (28 settlers + 1 assaultron robot each), all with 300+ defense; 6 x Medium-size (20 settlers each), all with 200+ defense; 1 Small safe house (5 settlers + 1 assaultron). I’ve also beefed up each settlers clothing, armor and weapons. As a result, morale is usually above 80+ and when settlements are attacked, they do a good job of defending themselves. I think having strong settlements is worth the effort, but it does take a lot of effort.

Fallout 4 photo by Yordie Sands

This is Starlight Drive-in main compound with concrete walls.

Sunshine Tidings, All Tidied Up

I’ve been avoiding building a settlement at Sunshine Tidings Co-op because even if you do a good job on the settlement, you still have a pile of persistent dead ghouls lying around everywhere — disgusting. Fortunately, I’ve installed a good mod for scrapping and cleaning up the place, and I’ve cleared out a lot of scrap and ugliness. Also, my green grass mod helped make the landscape friendlier. Once the clean-up was finished, Sunshine Tidings turned out to be a really nice place to build a Large-sized settlement. I’m not done yet but I intend to have 30+ settlers when it’s all done. Following are a couple pics that may surprise other Co-op haters!

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This view gives you an idea of how nice the Co-op can look.

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There are great fields for farming large crops.

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This gives you an idea of how one of the main buildings has been repurposed.

I was really surprised at how nicely Sunshine Tidings cleaned up. Thanks to a clean-up mod (even with its side effects), this is now one of my favorite settlements. Currently I have only 11 settlers, so there’s still have a lot of work to do and a lot of battles to fight, but I’m hopeful that this outpost will anchor the northwestern territory of the Commonwealth.

In the coming days and weeks I think I’ll build settlements at the ghoul farm and the coastal lighthouse. I also intend to build a fortress for Old Longfellow; I can’t help but liking this guy and I’m thinking of sending Curie up there to keep him company. I fear she’ll talk his ear off though. Lawdy! That girl is a Chatty Kathy.

I also plan to feature my other settlements soon. If you intend to build strong settlements, you quickly learn that each settlement presents its own special challenges. I’m also thinking about trying out the Sim Settlements mod for one settlement.


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Fallout 4: End of the Institute

ALL SPOILER, KINDA: Mainly, if you read this post you’ll see how I navigated my way to what I consider a desirable “Ending” but if you know Fallout 4 you probably know that the ending isn’t the end of the game. So, if you haven’t begun the Institute quest line, you prolly don’t want to read this post.

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Father holds Director Meeting and makes me the Director

In my last post I mulled the problem of the Mass Fusion quest. Long ago I decided that the Institute is an awful faction and I always choose to go to war with them. That said, it’s useful to do several Institute quests, but when you are asked to do Mass Fusion you have to make a decision that will an enemy of one of your allied factions. In my case that would be the Brotherhood of Steel. So, I put off making a decision until Level 82, and instead of doing Mass Fusion I killed an Institute NPC, namely Father himself. It sounds simple but once you kill someone, your special PipBoy mod to fast travel out of the Institute no longer works.

Nonetheless, I got out and soon the Institute attacked The Castle in multiple waves. And soon we Minuteman (coolest of all mods!) folk decided to destroy the Institute and we did (See below).

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That’s me in the foreground, ready to push the button

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I pushed the button and in a massive explosion the Institute’s wave of terror ends.

The end result of my maneuvering around Mass Fusion is that I’ve destroyed the Institute and am still in good standing with the Minutemen, Brotherhood and Railroad factions. In fact, I’ve gone on to become a Brotherhood Paladin. I’d heard this could be done but it was trickier than I realized. I’m very glad I took this path.

I’ve already begun Far Harbor and completed Automaton at Level 88. More later.


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