Thursday, May 5, 2011

FONV - Monte Carlo Apartments

I've mentioned on more than one occasion my feeling that there's a need for decent, companion friendly housing in FONV.

Most house mods are either too small - the various Goodsprings shacks, the Vault built for 2, and several others spring to mind; or they're huge but almost obscenely opulent and completely out of character for the wasteland (Fry's Freehold comes to mind, here); or they're the full Vault-type mod, and have a general feeling of "Here, have a fortress, random person I just met!" to them.

Where, then, is our simple, expedient place to billet companions? Someplace that has bedrooms; that has work rooms; that has access to New Vegas... but doesn't look like something from an episode of Lifestyles of the Wasteland Rich and Famous?

From the first time I cleared it out, I've always liked the Monte Carlo Suites. Here was a cell that wasn't huge or overdone; but could handle eight or so companions with ease. You had reloading and work benches, bathrooms, beds.

The problem being, you have no real provision for fixing it up once the Scorpions are cleared out.

Since the NosCo HQ is a long way from being done, I decided to "convert" the Monte Carlo into apartments.

Most people would have just loaded it up, and started making changes. This carries many downsides. Deleting things from a master isn't a good idea if you MasterUpdate - and no one ever listens when I tell them not to. Conflicts are another issue; though I can't think of any mods off the top of my head that change the place.

So I opted to take a less conventional, but more freeing route. Basically, in this method one copies a cell wholesale. Gives it a new ID, and makes whatever changes they want without worry of conflict.

Then, you script it so that on the plugin's activation, the normal door into the cell-to-be-changed is disabled; and enabled in its place a door that leads to your new cell.

The downside of course being that the mod requires an uninstall command or plugin; to re-activate the original door in the even that the player wants to remove the mod - since the disabled door is part of the base game, it won't be automatically reverted or replaced, and on removing the plugin, a gaping hole will sit where the door should be.

I've been working on it over the last couple days, and finally got the cell itself done tonight. You may be wondering why the rooms would require work, if the cell is copied.

One of the things I wanted to do was remove the rubble blocking the stairs, and open up the second floor.

There is no second floor in the cell; so one had to be created.

With residences on the second floor, the first floor will be converted into utility spaces. Work rooms, storage, a kitchen; probably some basic medical amenities.

The east, west, and south sides of the ground floor had dual rooms on each side. I knocked the walls out, creating three large rooms; with the original two small ones on the same wall as the door.

Bathrooms have been left it place; so that it looks like converted apartments.

The second floor is mostly a carbon-copy of the first; save that I think I'm going to add a ninth apartment where the exterior door is on the ground floor.

Still have to actually put stuff in the rooms - they only have lamps at the moment. Each "apartment" will probably get a suite similar to the ones in the Vault 1 apartments: a bed, desk, dresser, and a chair or two. The Hollywood Hilton it ain't; but it would beat the hell out of being a transient.

The big decision being, of course: how much to give the player? Voila, and your apartments are converted? Or make it an empty shell by default; that you have to visit some vendor to buy stuff to put in it? On-site vendor and/or doctor who just magically show up? Or leave it all to the player?


  1. I love the concept; apartments makes perfect sense.

    If it were up to me, I'd have a vendor selling upgrades and perhaps even the deed to the place before you can become owner. A new Chloe, perhaps?

    But then, I'm not the one doing the work so it's easy for me to say.

  2. Rather than a deed, maybe pay a lawyer/diplomat type to ensure your claim is recognised by the local powers. That might fit the setting better.

    Maybe you could have a doctor or vendor somewhere you talk into coming to stay?

    Though you'd probably have it easy...

    Doc: "What can you offer me?"
    PC: "I've got a dozen cute, aggressive, protective redheads living there"
    Doc: "Hell, I'll pay you!"


  3. I wasn't planning a deed. I mean, I somehow doubt the Scorpions acquired it legally; and no one seemed to give much of a shit that they "owned" it, so I wasn't figuring anyone would much care that the player an co. had moved in.

    Or for "here, you can buy this building; but you have to remove the current occupants": it seems like there might be other buildings for sale - ones which do not include a criminal organization.

    As for the buying of fixtures:

    I had considered having to hire a crew to clean the place up and clear access to the second floor.

    Once that was done, you could buy amenities for the bedrooms as one package, then reloading setups, work tables, and all the other utility junk on the bottom floor. Maybe even hire on guards.

    It's all basic enough scripting; it's just a matter of how in-depth to be with the whole thing.

  4. Of course, the other thing to consider here is that the floor plan is laid out according to the Monte Carlo; the exterior of which is a standalone building.

    Would be pretty simple to find someplace else in the ruins to put it down, and not have anything to do with the Monte Carlo itself.

  5. I like the idea of having to do some work to get the place "liveable". It all depends upon what one would want as far as realism/immersion goes, but I would rather not suddenly have personel appear in the place with no explanasion as to why.

    I have a few Oblivion house mods that require you to visit a particular vendor to purchase various items to fill the new place up and make it livable (the Wizard's Tower and Vile Lair being two such mods). The same idea would have been nice if it could have remained in Vault 1 as well.

    Hmmm, something else to learn modding on...

  6. Yeah, all the Bethsoft houses for Oblivion save for Benirus require you to buy amenities or suffer an empty house. The costs could be more than a bit steep, too. Dunbarrow Cove only required about five thousand gold to fully upgrade; but Rosethorn Hall in Skingrad cost like 25k for the house, and another 20+ in upgrades.

    The Fallouts cut back on that quite a bit. You have to purchase a bit for either buyable house in Fo3, but not much; and as far as I know, only the Lucky 38 in FONV requires you purchase stuff - and it's not much more than a thousand caps' worth.

    With mods you generally get it all for free. That's because setting up purchasable upgrades is more than a bit of work.

    You have to balance not only the costs and travel to find the vendors; but vendors themselves have to be created; so does dialogue; items; nearly every static inside your house mod has to be given a RefID and set to start disabled - then enabled one item at a time in scripts as "upgrades" are purchased...

    It's quite a project doing anything bigger than the Megaton Shack or Tenpenny Suite. By the time you're done, you could be looking at two or three hundred lines of scripting and dozens of lines of dialogue. Most modders don't seem to be in for that much of the long haul.