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Video Game / Sim Settlements 2

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The Wasteland is alive and (not) well...

Sims Settlements 2 (or SS2 in short) is a gameplay overhaul mod by Kinggath and his mod team, made for the video game Fallout 4. Released in 2020, Sim Settlements 2 is a sequel to the popular Fallout 4 mod Sim Settlements. This sequel is a technical overhaul of the original mod that introduces a new storyline through which the player learns the mod's mechanics.

In the mod’s storyline, the Sole Survivor works alongside Jake, who is bringing to the Commonwealth the gift of the ASAM. The ASAM Sensors automate building constructions, assisting the Sole Survivor in rebuilding the Commonwealth. As the Sole Survivor works with Jake to realize the ASAMs' full capabilities, the player learns more about Jake's past and contends with the varying factions standing against progress.

Gameplay-wise, Sim Settlements 2 takes the vanilla game's settlement system and expands it into a city-building simulator. Instead of constructing buildings piece-by-piece, players can zone plots that spawn pre-made building plans that settlers can interact with. From there, the player can expand settlements through the sub-systems, including building upgrades, dynamic needs, resource management, scavenging and caravan networking, recruitment of special settlers through side quests, and more.

Sim Settlements 2 is available for the PC and Xbox versions of Fallout 4 and can be downloaded from the Nexus or The mod’s official website is also available here.

Tropes Include:

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • Vault 81 gets temporarily taken over by Gunners during the Martial Law quest in Chapter 2.
    • The Hellhounds take over the CPD HQ at the BADTFL Regional Office at the end of the CPD questline, necessitating Simon and the Sole Survivor to take it back.
  • Ascended Extra: Multiple optional quests are integrated into the mod's questline.
    • To get the Comm Hub, you must go through the Olivia Station, and Jake also suggests talking to the Abernathies about the subject to get their quest.
    • After the first Comm Hub is deemed unusable, Jake and the Sole Survivor head for the Charles View Amphitheatre to rendezvous near a building that may have another.
    • The Gunners take a central stage as the storyline's main antagonists by the later half of Chapter 1. While mentioned throughout the Minuteman quests, they're ultimately irrelevant to the plot beyond holding a nuclear reactor that the Institute wants as a power source and primarily serve as tougher enemy human encounters.
  • Berserk Button: Jake is usually a level-headed man, but he loses his temper and yells at Aiden, who accuses Jake of getting a settlement killed by giving them ASAM Sensors and making them a Gunner target.
  • Cheat Code: The mod's included options include unlock options to unlock all of the plot types, building classes, and bulding plans, along with lowering the difficulty so that settlement building is a breeze.
  • Cliffhanger: On initial release, Sim Settlements 2 only had Chapter 1 of the main quest. Chapter 1 ends with the Sole Survivor arriving at Jake's place and finding it trashed, with Jake nowhere to be found. Afterward, a new quest begins with the name "The Disappearance of Jake Evans," which contains only a To Be Continued message and some pop-ups explaining what the player can do while they wait for Chapter 2.
    • Chapter 2 ends with the Gunners losing their HQ, but it's quickly revealed that another HQ in Province Bay is being used to stage a full-scale invasion of the Commonwealth.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Plot types are color-coded in Workshop Mode, through floating UI, and by their ASAM Sensor. The interface uses red for residential, blue for commercial, yellow for industrial, green for agricultural, grey for martial, orange for municipal, and purple for recreational.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: In-universe, this is what the ASAMs are designed to invert by allowing ignorant, uneducated, or inexperienced citizens to build things themselves. The sensors scan the surrounding environment for useful materials and direct settlers to collect them and then explain how to build a structure. As Jake describes it, the instructions are so simple even a savage can follow them.
  • Developer's Foresight: If you follow Jake to Concord to clear out the raiders, you'll run into Preston as in the vanilla game. If you happen to have another mod that allows Preston to die during the fight, either to raiders or the player, Jake will ask about the settlers in the museum after the fight and express his grief that they didn't make it out.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The Sole Survivor and Aiden can go through Vault 75 dressed up as Gunners, and that combined with a few Charisma speech checks will allow the "Runners and Gunners" quest to be completed without a single fatality.
  • Due to the Dead: One Recreational class is the Cemetery, which lower the happiness penalty of settlers dying.
  • Enemy Mine: Depending on the player's choices and when they embark on it, it is possible to get support from the Minutemen, the Brotherhood, the Railroad and the Institute for the assault on Gunner Plaza thanks to just how much the Gunners have provoked everyone over the last ten years or so. It's tense, but your presence and the relatively short nature of the operation keeps things together until it is over and they can all go their separate ways. Another of your potential allies for much of the Chapter 2 storyline is Captain Algernon — a Gunner commander, albeit an old guard commander who disagrees with the direction Captain Wes has been taking them.
  • Exposition Fairy: Throughout Chapter 1, Jake walks both the player and the Sole Survivor through the main mechanics.
  • Expy: Jake is a southern-accented man that explains the mechanics of [SS2's settlement system, much like Sturges of the base game.
  • Fetch Quest: Sim Settlements 2 has a lot of quests that involve bringing specific items to the quest giver.
    • The main storyline have a lot of quest objectives where the Sole Survivor is Jake's hands on the field. This is most humorously implemented in "Memory Lane," where Jake promises to reveal his backstory in exchange for finding his screwdriver. This is likely a way for Jake to put off having to tell the Sole Survivor about his family.
    • In "Stashed Away," Carne Asada will join you as a settler if you retrieve his stash of chems from some raiders.
    • Deaf Nadine of "This Sister's Not With The Brotherhood" will only join your settlement if you fetch her some Brotherhood of Steel dog tags, to show that you're not a Brotherhood ally. Mercifully, you only have to bring her one set of dogtags, and you can always loot them off a corpse of a Brotherhood member killed by another party.
    • Early on, your only renewable source of ASAM units is through a group of Super Mutants, the leader of whom will only trade them for chalk (which he eats to calm his stomach). Chalk is surprisingly hard to find in the Commonwealth, meaning early expansion is dependent on scrounging for it until you find the ASAM schematics.
  • Foreshadowing: After you and Jake finish exploring Vault-Tec HQ and set out to meet the Ron, it becomes clear fairly quickly that the Gunners are the main antagonist of the mod.
    • During 'The Coolest Cat', the Sole Survivor encounters a pair of Gunners out in front of the Ron's office. If the player pickpockets them via the dialogue tree, they can acquire the duo's orders, which mention their target was spotted in Downtown Boston. Guess where you and Jake just were?
    • While doing work for Vault 81, one of your jobs will be to find a security patrol. While describing the mission, Deputy Overseer Mansfield mentions that mercenaries have been trying to interact with the vault. When you go to the patrol's last known location, you'll find the patrol has been killed by Gunners. Picking up the orders from their corpses reveals that they've been ordered to actively harass Vault 81, including blocking the water intake pipe that you had to clear out earlier.
    • Checking The Ron's terminal reveals that he's been keeping tabs on LaMont and Salvador, both of whom become major players in Chapter 3.
    • Hacking into Master-level terminals found within Vaults like Vault 114 or Vault 75 indicate that someone's been sending messages to them from Vault-Tec. As it turns out, Vault-Tec under its new leader is the backer of the Gunners.
  • Freudian Trio: Featuring Jake, Aiden, and the Sole Survivor.
    • Jake acts as The McCoy, largely driven by his emotions whenever he make major decisions or takes action.
    • Aiden is The Spock, as a cool and pragmatic soldier, preferring practical, if at times bloody solutions.
    • The Sole Survivor then becomes The Kirk, being more even-keeled than the two and acting as their bridge.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Every single quest associated with the Commonwealth Police Department has the initials CPD (e.g. Calling Potential Deputies, Continued Professional Development).
  • Functional Addict: Gremlin of "Laser Love" confesses to being a chem addict when you first meet her, but is in her own words "a responsible junkie". Subsequent dialogue further highlights that she's probably on far too many chems, but in spite of this she's actually a competent engineer, and knows exactly what she's doing with all the dangerous tech she asks you to bring her.
    • On a similar note, Audra of 'Grey Matters' suffers from a mental condition that make her think too fast for her own body to handle, and has to take Jet to function normally, much to her brother Anton's chagrin.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Some unique settlers have SPECIAL stats that fit their characterization. For example, Circe the unlucky Nightingale has a Luck stat of 1, while the brawny and not-too-bright Pete Emins has high Strength and Endurance stats and an Intelligence stat of 1.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Regardless of how high the Sole Survivor's level or Endurance stat is, as well as whatever perks they could have had, they'll always be knocked out of commission when their Vertibird crashes in the "Resurgence" quest. They're also stated to be out for three weeks, though the game's in-game calendar doesn't reflect this change.
  • Gameplay Automation: There is a customizable amount of randomization. This spans from letting the game choose a building plan for a plot to building an entire settlement through city plans.
  • Gameplay Grading: The player gets graded after war battles in Chapter 3, based on how many casualties they took and how many enemies were killed or taken prisoner.
  • Genre Shift: Chapter 2's quest line starts off rather action-packed as the Sole Survivor takes on the Gunners after they make off with the Comm Hub, all the way up to "End of the Beginning" where they and their allies take over Gunners Plaza. The rest of Chapter 2's quests after that are all focused on the new HQ-building mechanics that the mod introduces, with practically no combat involved. In turn, it then shifts towards a Mount & Blade-like RPG/Strategy hybrid for most of Chapter 3.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The "Under One Banner" quest in Chapter 3 involves gathering the allies the Sole Survivor has made during their time in the Commonwealth under a formal alliance, all of which require completing their respective quest lines. This includes both factions from the original game such as the Minutemen and the Railroad as well as mod-specific factions like the Commonwealth Police Department and the New Liberty Trading Company.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: A recurring theme within the mod's quests is that there are many situations without a clear right or wrong answer.
    • 'Grey Matters' involves assisting Anton in finding his sister and rescuing her from a raider gang run by Knox that's been drugging her with chems... according to Anton. As it turns out, she's living with a group of relatively harmless drifters (Knox is the only one with a gun), and has to take Jet to combat a mental illness. Anton wants his sister back and off Jet, not wanting his sister to be a junkie like their parents. Knox just wants to help Audra deal with her condition. There's no right or wrong answer, and whomever the Sole Survivor doesn't side with winds up dead while the survivor becomes a settler.
    • One of the major changes late in Chapter 3 is choosing whether to use Atomic Rain on the Gunners' base at Province Bay. While doing so would end their capability to threaten the Commonwealth, this also means that LaMont would fight to the death rather than accept the cure offered to her.
    • The Mysterious Benefactors backing both sides of the conflict turn out to be morally grey characters as well. Magnusson's assistance to the Sole Survivor and HQ was ultimately for personal revenge, with helping the Commonwealth secondary to it. On the other hand, Madison St James may have had more altruistic aims than the rest of Vault-Tec management, but in desperation chose to back the bloodthirsty and later omnicidal Gunners.
  • Holiday Mode: One addition to Sim Settlements 2 is dynamic holiday decorations on buildings and city plans. When it comes December in the game, expect many of the houses to look extra festive.
  • Hostage Situation: Early on, after helping Jake recapture his workshop and rescuing Preston and his group, a gang of raiders will abduct several of your new settlers and hold them hostage. Depending on your choices, you can bribe them into letting everyone go or get into a shoot-out.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every Commonwealth Police Department quest (excepting one optional quest which is miscellaneous and hence lacks an in-game name) has a three-word name where the first word starts with C, the second with P and the third with D — Calling Potential Deputies, Continued Professional Development, Catastrophe Prevention Drive, etc.
  • Interface Spoiler: While Jake is initially called the Stranger until you formally partner up with him and he introduces himself, his unique accessories (his scarf and holster) are called "Jake's Scarf" and "Jake's Holster" respectively, and can be viewed during his time in your settlement so long as you prompt a trade with him.
  • Justified Tutorial: Sim Settlements 2 introduces its mechanics mainly through its main questline. The player learns how to use the mod’s mechanics as Jake guides the Sole Survivor through how to use the ASAM Sensors.
  • Knowledge Broker: The Ron, whom can provide quests to find new settlers, as well as providing Jake with information regarding the ASAMs.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Quite a few of the oddities of the Commonwealth and the greater Fallout franchise are referenced, such as Jake commenting on how the Sole Survivor picks up everything that they see, or the extreme durability of most technology.
  • Meaningful Rename: After the Sole Survivor, Jake, and their allies take Gunners Plaza from the Gunners, they rename it back to its pre-War name of GNN HQ, symbolizing both them taking it from the Gunners as well as it becoming a communications hub for the Commonwealth once more.
  • Mercy Rewarded: Choosing to take actions that spare the lives of Gunners rather than mercilessly killing them can pay off in the long run, such as Berman becoming an ally of HQ andLaMont choosing to accept the offer of a cure to her condition.
  • Not in My Backyard!: Averted. Unlike SimCity games and its kin, the settlers don't care if you place a factory full of nuclear materials next to their house. Can't be picky in a wasteland.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: The "Flickering Lights" that starts off Chapter 3 is a surprising shift into the Horror genre, complete with an unknown assailant and a Blackout Basement.
  • Prolonged Video Game Sequel: On release, the story for Sim Settlement 2 exceeded the number of quests for Sim Settlements: Conquerer—and SS2 only released with Chapter 1.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: In "Who Can? ASAM!" the Sole Survivor meets a motley crew of wastelanders, which includes Stodge (a grouchy and wary ghoul), Hubert (a ditzy ex-Child of Atom who sometimes idly wonder why he suddenly smells), and Doc Shock (a Protectron medic). To boot, the settler who volunteered to be your diplomat for this bunch is Old Paul. You end up sending the crew to a settlement for a Justified Tutorial on city plans and mayor assignments. For mayor, you can choose Stodge, Old Paul, or even Hubertnote .
  • Refining Resources: Most buildings require food, water, caps, defense, or resources in order to continue operating. With industrial plots, in particular, more advanced classes often require specific resources from more basic buildings, especially the Advanced Industrial buildings.
  • The Remnant: This is stated to be what any Gunners encountered after End of the Beginning are — you took out their headquarters (and communications network with it), top leadership and much of their forces, ensuring an end to their ability to act as a Commonwealth-wide threat or even as a meaningfully coherent faction, but it will take time for units out on long-term missions and other bases to realise this, and even when they do that doesn't necessarily mean they'll abandon their identity as Gunners and loyalty to what's left of the faction. Not long after it turns out that the Gunners had an HQ outside the Commonwealth they rallied to, with a full-scale invasion of the Commonwealth now being readied.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Buildings are constructed and upgraded in a matter of in-game hours. Justified, as the ASAMs' main point is that they automatically construct buildings. Characters marvel at how nifty these sensors are. There is also an option in the mod configuration menu to have the structures be constructed in slower and more realistic timeframes.
  • Scavenger World: Though the main Fallout timeframe is this, the RobCo ASAMs indicate that Pre-War America was becoming this due to resource scarcity. Industrial plots are designed to allow people to "legally" gather useful scrap, Agricultural plots are intended to let regular people grow their own food, and Residential plots allowed people to build their own homes. None of this would have been necessary if the world wasn't already falling apart even before the bombs fell, and the recordings from the ASAMs indicate that Pre-War city planners were using them and similar devices widely.
  • Shall I Repeat That?: Parodied with Deaf Nadine. A former NCR soldier who lost her hearing, she can misunderstand one of the Sole Survivor's responses and end up repeating much of her already-long-winded backstory.
  • Shout-Out: A character heard in certain holotapes, a somewhat perky Vault-Tec representative named Madison St. James, shares a name with a possibly love interest in the video game Alpha Protocol.
  • Space Base: It's revealed that a remnant Vault-Tec, including Madison St. James, managed to flee Earth to the Luna Colony.
  • Space Compression: Since Fallout 4 is spaced compressed, including in its settlements, almost every building is smaller than it would be if made realistically to match the shrunken-down settlement. However, this is alleviated by 3x3 plots, which allows for some more realistically-sized buildings.
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: When the Sole Survivor and Jake finally get their hands back on the Comm Hub, they realize that the Gunners added some more parts that would allow it to function better, as well as connected it to GNN HQ's still-functional antenna, allowing it to broadcast far and wide. As a result, Jake chooses to move his base of operations from Concord to GNN HQ in order to take advantage of these new capabilities.
  • Storming the Castle: The "End of the Beginning" quest sees the Sole Survivor and their allies assault Gunners Plaza, the main base for the Gunners in the Commonwealth.
  • Tech Tree: Throughout a playthrough, the player unlocks more building types and upgrades. Most of these are unlocked in a linear fashion; for instance, an upgraded organics material building is needed to unlock the rare materials building, which in turn must upgrade to unlock conversion. The mod's wiki provides a graphic of the tech tree.
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor:
    • The Sole Survivor has full control over which plots are built and where. They can even dictate where settlers live, which job they work, and even which recreational buildings they frequent.
    • The player can assign a mayor to each settlement but in practice, the mayor merely grants some special effects to a settlement if they are a named NPC and occasionally type away at the City Planner's Desk. The player retains the real power behind settlements.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Where There's Smoke" is a turning point in the main questline, as the Gunners reveal themselves to be the mod's main antagonist faction and wage a gunfight with the Sole Survivor and Jake.
    • Right after, "Memory Lane" consists of Jake revealing much of his backstory, as he confesses to the Sole Survivor that he's in the Commonwealth to find his ex-wife and daughter.
    • The official website hides the name of the final quest of Chapter 1 as its real name, "The Disappearance of Jake Evans," gives away the chapter's ending.
    • By the standards of turns in the first chapter, over half of Chapter 2 is a series of these, every quest throwing in something that shakes up the status quo in significant ways. It doesn't calm down until "Moving Day" establishes a new baseline to last the rest of the chapter... only for the final quest of Chapter 2, Commonwealth Rising, to end on the reveal that the Gunners have a HQ outside the Commonwealth, in an area called Province Bay — and they are coming back to the Commonwealth with a full invasion force.
    • Chapter 3's quest "Resurgence" is a very big one. The Gunners begin their counterattack in earnest, while the Sole Survivor and their allies build an outpost to counter said offensive. A fight soon follows, during which the Sole Survivor is taken out of commission for three weeks and it's soon revealed that the Gunners were able to survive their defenses and have begun taking over settlements.
    • Further along in Chapter 3 is "Led By Example". Jake leaves the Sole Survivor and HQ behind, intending on turning himself in to the Gunners in exchange for Laura's safe return. When the Sole Survivor catches up with Jake at RobCo HQ, they can either opt to go along with Jake's plan, leading to Laura's rescue and HQ later rescuing Jake from the Gunners, or refuse and potentially end up with Jake's death.
  • Where It All Began: Both the Sole Survivor and Jake return to the places that started their journeys in Chapter 3.
    • For the Sole Survivor, they return to Vault 111 during the "It's in the Refrigerator" quest, during which Magnusson tasks them and Jake to retrieve some important items needed to turn the tide against the Gunners.
    • For Jake, the "Led By Example" quest causes him to return to RobCo HQ, where he first found the ASAMs to serve as neutral ground where he can turn himself in to the Gunners in exchange for Laura's return.
  • Worker Unit: Buildings are activated by assigning settlers to the lot. Like the original mod, plot assignments cause the building to become active. New to the sequel, the settlers' SPECIAL stats affect the output of some buildings and more advanced classes require a settler of a minimum stat. Each settler can be assigned to a home, a workplace, and a recreational plot that can increase their SPECIAL stats.
  • A World Half Full: A major theme of the mod is rebuilding the Commonwealth, rediscovering old knowledge, and bringing back civilization. Two of the new factions added to the world reflect this, one being a police force and the other being a network of doctors dedicated to treating diseases.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Buildings are constructed, upgraded, and maintained through resources. On lower difficulties, this requirement can be waved or consolidated into a single “scrap” component. On higher levels, the player must provide specific components based on the vanilla game’s components. These resources can come from industrial buildings, the Sole Survivor’s compulsive scavenging, or salvage teams that the Sole Survivor can call to cleared areas.