Description: Immersive VATS

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Description: Immersive VATS

Post by Greslin »

Immersive VATS
by Greslin
v1.4 released 12/26/2013

Let's face it: in vanilla Fallout, VATS makes absolutely no sense.

VATS (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) is a holdover from the turn-based combat of Fallout 1/2, but requires a few leaps in logic to accept in FO3/FNV. Presented as a magical Pip-Boy targeting system, VATS lets you plant a .357 round from a badly maintained rifle into a Viper's head at 200 yards in pitch black dark. And all thanks to the wrist-worn 2077 version of an iPhone.

Just how the heck is THAT supposed to work?

Assuming that VATS is a Pip-Boy function, then Bethesda's answer is that you're going to stop what you're doing, look at the Pip-Boy screen - which only offers visual feedback, and requires you to shift your focus and arm position to read it - and somehow consult with its VATS wisdom to dramatically improve your rifle aim in real time.

Yeah. Right.

This mod attempts to shape VATS availability and effectiveness realistically within a logical equipment framework. Rather than an immersion-breaking paused combat mode, VATS is treated as a networked combat intelligence system integrated between your Pip-Boy, weapon (if equipped for VATS) and power armor helmet, if any. Depending on your combination of equipped gear, VATS may work at full range, partial range or not at all.

How It Works


* VATS signal interference caused by radiation (v1.4)
* Complete rewrite and code cleanup. (v1.3)
* If not using power armor, energy weapons must be loaded to achieve VATS sync (v1.2)
* Bug fixes and general code shuffles

This mod generally restricts VATS availability and effectiveness to circumstances where real time Pip-Boy computerized target assist would actually make sense: helmeted power armor and energy firearms.

In this mod's reimagining of VATS, the following technical assumptions are made about how it works:

1. VATS is essentially a wireless protocol connecting your weapon with a software targeting module installed in your Pip-Boy. In the pre-war days, there was a crippled civilian version and a fully functional military version, much as the GPS satellite system is configured today.

2. In order to work, VATS requires a powered source of targeting data - either a charged, VATS-enabled energy weapon or a working power armor helmet. Power armor is much more effective than a firearm, and a rifle is much more effective than a pistol. VATS does not work with basic mechanical firearms (shotguns, etc.) or unloaded energy weapons. When your gun's energy is depleted, the VATS signal is broken.

3. When wearing power armor, the helmet does the primary job of targeting. Hence, you can use any weapon - energy or not, charged or not - with VATS while wearing a working power armor helmet, though energy weapons will still be more effective.

4. Wielding an energy pistol establishes a VATS/Pip-Boy network connection, with a range equal to 35% of standard vanilla VATS range. Anything beyond that range will not be acquired or targeted by VATS. An energy pistol is considered a short range weapon.

5. A larger energy weapon (laser rifle, plasma rifle, Tesla cannon, etc.) is assumed to be equipped with a more effective set of directional sensors, providing a VATS range more suitable for long range rifle combat. These weapons offer a range of 60% vanilla.

6. Wearing helmeted power armor (i.e., the sensor array is in the helmet) adds an additional 40% to your range, either augmenting the range power of a VATS-enabled weapon, or enabling the wearer to use VATS with any weapons. This includes any and all weapons in the game, though the range of non-VATS weapons will still only be at 40% vanilla.

When your VATS status changes, you will receive a message stating that a sync has completed at XX% range.

When your equipment combination no longer allows for VATS availability, you will get a message stating that the network connection has been terminated.

Finally (new to v1.4), using your Pip-Boy holsters your weapon automatically. This was done mainly to simplify the mod functionality and make it more reliable. It also made sense to me: using your Pip-Boy is a two-handed action, made much easier by reholstering your weapon first. When you leave the PB and reenter the game, just left-click or hit R to unholster.

Radiation (New for testing in v1.4)


In version 1.4, significant ambient radiation may disrupt your VATS signal, either reducing range by half or killing it altogether. When you leave the radiated area, the signal will restore. Power armors do not rely on wireless (they're considered hardwired and EMP-hardened) and so do not suffer VATS disruption in radiation.

This feature is still being tested and should be considered experimental at this time.

How Does It Change Gameplay?

Like most other mods out there, this is an experiment. While not against the idea of autotargeted combat, per se, I've never been a fan of how VATS has been handled in FO3 and FNV. This is my attempt to see how a more conditional VATS architecture will play.

So far, I've been enjoying it. It does unbalance aspects of the game for non-energy weapon players, but why shouldn't it? A Varmint Rifle is a cheap, busted up toy compared to a plasma rifle. Why should they be on a level playing field?

When using conventional firearms or melees, you don't have the luxury of using VATS to scan for enemies. You have to do it the old fashioned way: watching, listening and staying on guard. The game provides plenty of cues - from sound effects to music shifts to simply seeing that Deathclaw coming at you at 45 mph - that danger is near. So in that, it ramps the anxiety, forces you to be more alert, and encourages more conservative attack/elude tactics. There's also no easy pause-the-game-and-HEADSHOT option with a 9mm handgun.

It makes small energy arms useful for a change - I've always skipped right past them to go for the rifles. But if you've been making the best of iron sights in combat, that first cheap laser pistol is going to taste sweet.

Variable ranging makes you think more about your equipment rig and how you deploy it in different situations.

I'm still test driving this idea. But so far, I've been enjoying the game change.


Immersive VATS shouldn't conflict with anything except a mod that enables or disables VATS dynamically. That's all it really does.

As of v1.1, the RAR includes a set of compatibility patches for all the DLCs, Classic Fallout Weapons and a beta patch for Project Nevada. There is no patch for Honest Hearts, as it does not introduce any new energy weapons.

The Project Nevada patch, in addition to adding its new weapons to the iVATS lists, treats the AR Scanner cyber implant as a power armor helmet emulator where VATS is concerned. If you have this implant, you should automatically get the 40% range bonus that otherwise would only be available when wearing helmeted power armor. (This is the part that needs testing. If anyone is willing to verify that this works as intended, I'd much appreciate it.)

In the compatibility patches, I classed several non-energy weapons as VATS-enabled guns, such as Red Glare (which has targeting electronics). I also decided to be nice and class the alien energy guns as VATS-enabled, though my first inclination was not to.

Right now I have no plans to class any of the stealth armors as VATS-enabled armors. Nor is NCR Salvage VATS-enabled, since it isn't true functioning power armor. Only armors with the PA flag set (i.e., it requires power armor training to use) gives a VATS range bonus.

I am currently testing iVATS in TTW (Tale of Two Wastelands) and have not encountered any problems.

Future Plans

I am looking more closely at the VATS base settings and at how that system works. In the future, this mod will probably expand to further granulate VATS effectiveness - accuracy, range, etc. - based on available weapons, weapon mods, implants, etc.


NVSE required.

Put the ESP in your Data directory and enable it in your load order.

Install the compatibility patches of your choice below the main ESP, and run a merge patch in FNVEdit to make sure everything ends up in the lists properly.


To uninstall Immersive VATS, unequip your current weapon. This manually sets VATS back to normal. Then uninstall the ESP and all is well.

Note: this mod uses NVSE to selectively disable VATS control, so if you uninstall it improperly while VATS happens to be in a disabled state, it'll stay disabled. If this happens, simply reinstall the mod and uninstall it correctly.