Since I started playing FNV again, I've observed some more odd things.
Firstly, long(er) time readers may recall some issues I and others had with companions entering combat. They would seemingly reload one or more times before entering actual combat. I surmised at the time that this had to do with ammunition type, but could never confirm it.
Well, I since have. The issue, it seems, is not which specific ammunition type you give them; but which ammunition type is considered default for that caliber. I'll explain.
One of the changes in going from FO3 to FNV was that weapons no longer run on single ammunitions; rather they run on a form list. Said form list will contain each ammunition type considered valid for that weapon. Like most other things, the game reads the lists top-down. The top entry is considered default for that ammunition type -- you may notice that if you save a game with another type of ammunition loaded, upon loading the game it will revert to the 'default' ammo type automatically.
I've confirmed that the issue is the same for companions. For whatever reason, their ammunition type loaded reverts at the start of every combat. If they have a different type of ammunition in their inventory, they have to load it first to get into action.
The problem is that these form lists can be modified by plugins. You can quite literally re-order the form lists to have whatever you want as default -- even without adding or removing any of the entries (the left and right arrow keys move highlighted entries in the list up and down). This can be a boon or a curse -- you could set whatever special ammo type you wanted as default so that your companions wouldn't have to reload before entering combat; but by the same token, any mod you run that messes with ammo can set a random ammo type to default, depending on how much attention to detail the modder who created the plugin has.
Unfortunately, while this does provide an avenue for solving the problem, it can also be a bear to track down if you run a lot of weapon and ammo mods.
Also, some may recall that during the development of the item sorters, I complained that the reloading sorter for my personal companions was randomly ceasing to function.
That happened again in this game, and I didn't pay too much attention to it. As I've noted, I often roll with just one companion in tow -- Mystery-chan likes to adventure as a pair, and my perfectionist streak loves to see just how dangerous one of my companions on her own can be (hint: Deathclaws lost at level six).
When I decided to test the new hardcore code on all three companions at once, I picked up Maeva and Natasha. Imagine my surprise, a few seconds after getting all three back into my party, when a message popped up in the corner of my screen telling me that my reloading components had been sorted.
I've tested it several times now, and it's actually repeatable. The reloading and companion-reloading sorters don't run unless all three are in my party.
When I realized this, it was very much a "I... huh... what?!" moment.
I'll confess, I don't get it. The script has absolutely nothing to do with specific companions, or whether anyone is in or out of party or what. It's completely separate. It's nice that I know how to overcome the issue now... but the why of it...
You know what? I'm just going to chalk it up to the engine saying that it takes all three of them to sort that much brass. Sounds much better than complete randomness.
The AI that lives in my PC is also driving me nuts. I think it's evolving. I think Maeva and Natasha were communicating at one point. Nothing so sinister as horror movie-esque backwards talking or bursts of machine code or anything. I just heard a hiss come out of my speakers -- a sound FNV had never made before; so I spun the digital me around looking for what made it, when I saw the two NPCs close together; facing each other, and playing conversational idles.
This is... extremely odd, since their follow packages are set not to allow random conversations or even hellos to the player. I have no idea what they were discussing.
Their combat AI continues to unnerve me. I've mentioned on several occasions, my "back way" from Goodsprings direct to the Vegas ruins (without meeting any deathclaws or radscorpions). Said goat path (are there still goats in postapocalyptia?) comes over overlooking the state park near Bonnie Springs.
I don't usually bother avoiding the mantises; since even at level three or four they're hardly dangerous on open ground.
My companions, as they always do, had outstanding perception and noticed the mantises at considerable range. Rather than run around firing at random as I've seen Cass and Raul and so many others do, the three fell into a perfect line abreast, and killed the mantises... from across the lake.
I must say, immersion breaker that it would be, I'm sorely tempted to fire up the NosCo Weapons Collection, and pass out the 458 SOCOM carbines. Just to see how badly they can break the game with that DT-busting 600gr ammo.
Beyond that, I'm also still seeing considerable randomness from the scripts. Players of the original RR companions vault may recall that it included a companion feature in the scripts that set companions' aggression to zero when sneaking, to keep them from running off to attack and breaking your stealthy approach. This has been absent from NCCS, because frankly I've never been able to get it to work right in FNV. I tried enabling it again yesterday, and was rewarded with it breaking their combat behavior yet again. It's one of those situations where there's no reason it shouldn't work... but for some reason it just doesn't. I keep a mental list of things that I just don't bother trying anymore; because regardless of what should work, or what the script parser says... they just flat don't work right.
On the up side, I've made numerous advancements to my personal companions over the last week that do work. Their 'hardcore needs' have been personalized to accrue at different rates (but still work with the base game setting to be fully compatible with those wretched "overhaul" mods everyone seems to love) to simulate individuals' differing proclivities for eating and drinking; a stationary "wait" command has been added (for leaving them someplace while you deal with traps or what-have-you); I finally worked out the issues with the "dance for me" commands that I've been playing with off and on for nearly a year; and I've perfected code that allows the companions to determine when they're sandboxing in a "safe" cell, and change into normal clothes while staying there (and reverting back to normal armor on rejoining you party... damn I'm good). Probably some other stuff, too... but frankly I've changed so much in the plugin in the last week that I'm spacing on a fair portion of it.
I have to say, it's kind of annoying. It's taken me a year and change to get everything lined out; features fully working... able to make complete companions... and by the time I can, interest in the game has tapered off; and no one cares anymore. Story of my life.