No, this still isn't the post detailing all the neat new stuffs I've learned to do with companions during the latest modding binge. Deal with it.
While playing yesterday, I had cause to pick up Cass and Veronica (via the Unlimited Companions mod available on the Nexus) to test an ancillary feature of another mod I was playing with (a non-game breaking one, as far as I can tell).
I already had Veronica, but needed more points in speech or barter to successfully get Cass, and so dropped into Vault 11 (which we happened to be near to) to get in some kills and get another level. I had Veronica kitted out with Brotherhood T-51b recovered from Repconn HQ, and one of the GRA unique energy weapons; I forget now whether it was the Gatling laser or the plasma caster.
I had left Natasha at home to cut down on system load spikes and general traffic jams, but still had Mystery-chan and Maeva in party to keep us an even fire team.
When we got into the Vault, I was floored by the difference in performance between Veronica and my two redheads.
As soon as the red marks appeared on the HUD, my girls went hunting. They generally go full-on search & destroy whenever the AI registers an enemy trying to find and/or attack me, and this time was no different. They saddled up and took off in a team, clearing every enemy they could detect.
Leaving them to their fun (and knowing full well I'd not manage to get a single XP out of the deal even if I did tag along) I headed on for the reactor room.
Along the way I was amused to hear several shots from a riot gun, followed by "You like that?!" Never a dull day with that demon around...
Veronica, apparently not being the type to run off on a killing spree, stayed with me. Moving through, I had the odd mantis to deal with myself. I had put away my M14 and was using a marksman carbine loaded with .223 -- since I'm not going to waste my good ammo on bugs and rats -- and after capping a couple, I was amazed to turn around and find Veronica... hiding. Crouched behind a corner, didn't even try to engage the enemy.
Conversely, a couple days ago we happened to be cleaning out another area with rats; and one got the jump on me. Natasha -- the least aggressive of my girls by a wide margin -- still put eight rounds into the rat, even though I turned and capped it from the hip with my BFR. I guess she wanted to be sure it was dead.
Later, when heading into the diner area, I was shooting mantises out around the furniture... to, y'know, avoid setting off the boobytraps and all. What should I hear from behind me? "For the Brotherhood!"
Oh, Gods, she's not going to...
...and about that time, a power-armored brunette blasts past me into the diner, setting off the explosives.
Fortunately, I'm quick on the uptake and ran like hell for cover as soon as I realized what she was doing. The explosion blew her clear across the room (would have killed her, if not for the little edit I made to her essential flag -- case in point as to why it's important, "realism" or no) and even as far away as I got, crippled both my legs and took me below 20% health. Well, there goes a doctor's bag and hydra I didn't want to spend...
So, let's tally score:
*Refuses to engage in normal combat, when I am being attacked.
*Charges in and sets off traps when I'm trying to fight from a distance and not in immediate danger.
*Defaults to nigh-useless melee combat style; can not engage in proper ranged combat without mods.
...and people wonder why I create my own companions...
Shortly after that, the sadistic duo caught up with us, just in time to brush the debris off of me. I like to imagine there would have been some vehement recriminations in Veronica's general direction if they were able.
On the rest of the way through the Vault, I found that sure enough -- they had killed everything they could find. All that remained standing was a few bugs that had been behind locked doors; and of course the robots in the basement.
You don't want to know what the M14-equipped redheads did to those poor combat droids... In that fight, Veronica even managed to get off one or two shots; while the rest of us were going for broke.
Did learn a new method for screwing over that trap, too. Laid a pair of pulse mines on one of the walls where it opened up to let the robots kill me; and as soon as the wall opened I shot the mine. Its explosion triggered the second mine, and the two pulse waves knocked out a couple of the combat sentries or whatever the big 'bots are called on that side; just leaving the turrets to clean up. While I was doing that, my girls handled the protectrons on the other side, and the whole fight lasted all of about seven seconds; with no injuries on our side.
Once acquiring Cass' services, I found she was little better. For all her talk, she's not very aggressive; and won't range far looking for an enemy. I suppose that could be considered a good thing, since it means she and Veronica stay near the player... I guess I'm just too used to my companions; who very much have a "lead, follow, or get out of my way" thing going on when a fight breaks out.
I'm still tempted to try rewriting their behavior into an actual squad dynamic -- that is, staying with the player even when combat breaks out -- but previous attempts haven't gone well. Before I tried an actual formation: each person having a specific spot in the stack, and staying where they're supposed to... but it broke the game. While they'd fall into formation correctly, for some reason it precluded their actually entering combat. Never did figure out why. That was in FO3, though; it may be less bad in FNV (though I doubt it).
Failing that, I'm also thinking of a behavior setting -- similar to NCCS' follow distance, except it'll swap them to a different follow package that has 'continue during combat' checked, rather than a different distance. 'Continue during combat' for those of you who don't do AI packages, when used on a follow package has the NPC stay close to the player even when a fight breaks out. They try to stay at the specified distance from the follow-ee, and rather than running off to attack, will only engage enemies as they come into range on their own. Given the relative lack of medical care in the wasteland, and just how nasty most of the beasties are, I'd think sticking together would be the better option anyway.
...Damn it, now I want to script that up; but I still haven't finished unfucking the game, itself yet...