The Fallout 4 Unofficial Patch, which fixes huge batches of small bugs that Bethesda miss in their own work as the Skyrim and Oblivion ones did in the past, has hit a snag. The mod team discovered that settlers and workshop NPCs were being reloaded quite often, meaning their appearances and gear could change at any time. It also creates a problem where new settlers can’t be recruited. This issue, combined with other problems presented by the FO4 engine, has left the creators and community despairing.
Matt doesn’t think Fallout 4 is an RPG, despite what it might say on the tin.
An extremely lengthy post on the official forums breaks the issue down. Essentially, when modded scripts are loaded the game starts to reload NPCs regularly, including some just when they go out of sight. This means anything it isn’t specifically told should be the same each time will be randomised, including gear, appearance, gender or even whether they’re a robot or not. It can get to the point where this is so bad that turning around will have Sandra, shopkeep extraordinair, turn into Sandra, radroach shopkeep extraordinair, while she’s off camera.
The reason seems to come down to scripts that edit specific files relating to the workshop, but that’s where things get complicated. A Bethesda employee, SmkViper, posted they don’t think it’s down to scripting problems, along with other refutations of the explanations given by the mod team. They’re looking into the issue though, and currently trying to find reproducible ways of making it happen. In the mean time, the UOF4P team have made a temporary fix by removing part of an AI routine.
This joins other engine problems that prevent mesh fixes as a serious downgrade to the quality of the mod over the ones made for previous Bethesda games. Those are detailed on Reddit.