Gizmo's Workshop is a feature of the Strategic Nuclear Moose that allows anybody to review mods for any game! Each issue is published once a week on Wednesdays. If you would like to review a mod, feel free to submit it on the forums, or email it to one of our admins. If you would like to become a regular contributor to Gizmo's Workshop, feel free to contact an admin. 

Come one, come all! The mod I shall review this week is Beggar's Brawl Arena for Skyrim.

Have you ever wanted to gamble on fights between the homeless? Have you ever wanted to go hand to hand with wild animals for extra gold? Have you ever wanted to get tons of gold? Then this is the mod for you! Located in the Beggar's Row district of Riften, the first thing you'll notice is a place as you enter where you can bet between two fighting Skeevers. If that wasn't enough for you, don't worry - there's plenty more gambling inside. The fights can get a little lengthy, with them consisting of many rounds... but it's a good way to make or lose lots of gold. It's fun to play the unique Dwemer slot machine, and Hazard, and not many other mods provide this type of side activity. I had quite a few glitchy issues down here though. Fights would often freeze and bystanders would begin being hostile randomly preventing me from continuing. Otherwise, this is a pretty well crafted mod. 

PROS:

  • A good moneysink.
  • A good replacement for Skyrim's missing Fighter's Guild.
  • Dwemer slot machine is pretty cool looking, and Hazard feels like something that ahould have originally been in the game.

CONS:

  • Can be pretty easy to get lots of unlegitimate money early on.
  • Was pretty glitchy for me.

There's not a lot to write about the mod - it's very well done, and with a little balancing and bug fixing it feels like it belongs in the game. I recommend giving this mod a try. You can find it here on the Nexus.

Janaschi a Huge arena nerd - I will have to check this out next time I jump into Skyrim.

Come one, come all, and welcome to Gizmo's Workshop! It's been quite a while since I've reviewed any mods, because playing video games is hard work! But I am back again to bring you a cool mod for Skyrim called "The Bottomless Pit."

Nested in a cozy little nook near Riften lies a hole. Not just any hole, though, a hole without an end. Nobody has ever entered the pit and made it back out alive. And let me tell you from experience - it certainly is tough! Skyrim, and Fallout for that matter, does not have much verticle adventuring, and this mod fixes that. The mod author claims that the pit is longer than all of Skyrim is long, and it seems reasonable to believe that. I found myself spending about 45 minutes navigating this dungeon, dying over and over again. There are no creatures living in this cave, just miles of falling and trying to land in pools of water. 

To make it through, the player must plunge deeper into the depths, dodging rocks, wooden beams, and other obsticles. You must also fly through activators to open gates further on, or else you will find yourself plummetting to an early demise. That's not all though, you must also navigate a challenging underwater maze (Bring some waterbreathing potions). I have to admit, I had to cheat to progress through this part because I didn't come prepared. 

After what seemed like an eternity of challenging verticle dives, I finally made it to the end. I was pretty confused though... After making it through it through, I landed on a platform floating a mile above the surface of Skyrim. And in front of me, I found a pair of boots as my reward. After claiming my rightful prize, I put the boots on, granting me double the jump height and negating fall damage, and found the only way down was the long way - so I jumped. And I fell, and fell, and fell some more. I must have bad luck, because unfortunately instead of landing on the ground like I intended I managed to fall back into the same pit I had just made my way back out of! 

PROS:

  • Takes a decent amount of time to complete.
  • The reward, while nothing incredible or overpowered, is pretty neat to have.
  • Very different from anything in the base game, despite using all the same assets.
  • Great if you like a challenge.

CONS:

  • Pretty linear, the only way to go is down. 
  • It was actually too challenging, I found myself dying and reloading several times to make it through, and even had to cheat in the water section.

I definitely recommend this mod to anyone looking for a new adventure that stands out from all the rest. You can check out the mod on the Nexus here.

Hello everyone, and welcome to Gizmo's Workshop! I'm Chris, and I will be bringing you this week's edition, featuring a mod that is similar to last week's.  Last week, I reviewed the mod New Vegas Uncut - Freeside Open, which a lot of people were interested in. This week will be my other favorite mod in that series called New Vegas Uncut - Outside Bets!


The land of Obsidian's Offices was in peril as the ever-looming deadline set by Bethesda drew closer.  Bits and pieces of Fallout: New Vegas was being chopped out in order to sustain it's life, and not a day went by as the staff worried if the final project would remain operable. They hoped that Bethesda would do proper QA testing for the game, but deep in their hearts, they knew that Bethesda would not, as with every game they published prior. Chris Avellone, the game's senior designer, bumped into Chris Jones, the chief technology officer.

"So, uh.... Mr. Avellone, sir, the deadline is coming up awful quick. We cut out as much as we could from Freeside, where should we go from here?" Jones questioned.

"Hm... Tough choice. I'll let you decide, just pick out some different stuff you don't think people will miss. We have a deadline, but this game still has to work and look good," replied Avellone.

"I understand sir..." Jones said with a blank expression. He knew this would be a very tough decision to make, but he had some ideas of what needed to go. The Strip, Nelson, McCarren, the 188, nothing would be safe from the imaginary scissors Jones wielded. "I'll get to work right away, Mr Avellone," Jones finally said to Avellone as he hurried back to his office. Little did Jones know, the fate of the employees at Obsidian rested on their shoulders as cutting too much content would result in a lower quality game, and may result in several employees losing their jobs. Bethesda was not known to be merciful with their deadlines. Did Obsidian make their deadline? Was New Vegas ever published? Did the game receive optimal scores for the game, meaning no employees had to be laid off? I like to think the answer to all of those questions are yes - but some answers are best left to the history textbooks.



All joking aside, what this mod does is aim to add that cut content back into the game. Through development, a lot of content had to be scrapped part of the way through due to both the deadline, and engine constraints. This game had to work on both PC and consoles, so some stuff had to be removed or changed. This mod here adds a lot of that content back in. A lot of the content is so small that it's hard to just pin down particular ones, but the mod's page does a pretty good job of it, so I'll tell you guys some of the more major ones that are most easily noticeable. 

Remember killing House? Me too, it was fun. That dirty old recluse had it coming. But how did everyone know he was dead so quickly? After killing him, you magically get an obituary and apparently so does everyone else, because they all know he's dead just moments later. Well, that wasn't an intended mistake. Audio files in the game were made to be broadcast across the Strip right after killing him that reads his obituary to everyone, but this was cut for unknown reasons. This audio file now plays as originally intended. Speaking of killing House, why is it that nobody really seems to be mad that you did this? I mean, of course not everyone knows you were the one to kill him, but somebody out there has to know, especially since people ask you to do it and you were the only one to be able to see him. But Victor knows. He knew the whole time, you dirty bastard. And he's back with a vengeance. Instead of just disappearing without any real reason once House is dead, he instead tries to kill you once after killing House.



A war has been brewing between the Legion and the NCR along the Colorado River. One of these fights is going on between Nelson and Camp Forlorn Hope. But there isn't much fighting going on when you get there in game, they just seem so barren. Only a few troops on each side, and no fighting going on in between. With this mod, there will be random skirmishes taking place between the two camps, as well as both sides having more troops. After claiming victory over one of the sides, events might happen afterwards.

Camp McCarren will now feel more alive, with more troops around and with troopers actually training instead of just lounging around eating potato crisps and iguanas. A new cutscene was added back in the game when activating the El Dorado substation, which is actually pretty interesting. No clue why this was removed. The 188 Trading Post now has a bunch of NPCs added back in (This place is really oddly empty in the base game, despite being a major trading location). A bunch of NPC dialogue was added back in, along with enemies, which were removed despite working properly to begin with. 



It actually confuses me why most of this content was removed. Unlike the last mod I reviewed, enabling this content again causes little to no performance drop, even on lower end PCs. The only locations I felt were a bit slower with this mod was the 188 and McCarren due to having more NPCs, and even that was a barely noticeable drop. Why things like House's obituary broadcast and the El Dorado cutscene were removed is beyond me. 

PROS:
  • Brings back some really interesting cut content. 
  • Not bad on performance. 
  • A lot more variety in the game with more dialogue.
  • The Mojave is meant to be pretty crowded with both friendly people and enemies alike. Now it really is. 
CONS:
  • The uh... um.... I can't really think of anything. This mod is pretty damn good.

This is a must-have mod. Why this content was removed is a bit confusing, but now it can be restored without much issue. Bring your game to life how it was intended with this mod, you won't be disappointed.

You can find the mod on the New Vegas nexus here. See you guys next week, and remember to talk to everyone in an RPG!


Eden2012 All of the New Vegas Uncut content is sublime, imo.
MountHail Hmm, very interesting.... I so wanna play NV with the cut content ;_; As of now, I'm stuck to playing it on my PS3 ...
Janaschi a I always hated the fact that Victor just magically disappeared after House's death. >.> Just seemed s...
Howdy pardner! It's me, Chris, with this week's edition of Gizmo's Workshop. I am writing this a slight bit in advance (Hello future me!) because of how busy I have been. Hopefully I can keep a bit ahead of the ball so I don't fall behind quite so much. Anyways, this week's review will be a mod I know quite a few people have wanted me to review for a while now, and I have gotten around to getting my New Vegas properly installed once more, relatively bloat free. Finally, I am getting around to reviewing the Fallout: New Vegas mod New Vegas Uncut - Freeside Open!



New Vegas Uncut is my personal favorite series of mods for New Vegas. While in this review I have chosen to focus on this particular mod, I would like to mention that all of the mods in this series are exceptional. Do note, however, that some of the mods in this series have been rendered obsolete, because this particular mod includes some of them.

Once upon a time, in the fabled land of Obsidian's Offices, tensions grew as an impending deadline from Bethesda pushed ever closer. 

"Come on guys, we have to finish New Vegas!" - said senior designer Chris Avellone.

"But Mr. Avellone, we have so much left to do! And Freeside still runs poorly on lower end computers and the consoles!" retorted Chris Jones, chief technology officer

A scowl came across Avellone's face. "I guess that means we have no choice. We're going to have to cut down Freeside so it'll run better on time."

"S-Sir... Are you sure? We'll have to divide Freeside into several sections, which will render NPC pathing almost entirely non-functioning... And as you know, Mr. Avellone, we'll also have to remove tons of fluff NPCs, along with their unique dialogue. A result of this will mean that certain quests won't work properly." - Jone's said, with a solemn look.

"I'm afraid we have no choice," said Avellone. "If we are to make this deadline and ensure the game runs for consoles, it'll have to be torn apart."

A wave of unfleeting darkness loomed over Obsidian's Offices as the deadline drew ever closer, forcing several portions of the game to be cut out. Fortunately, one man set out to fix this content that was cut. And now we have today the mod known as "Freeside Open."

[Insert dramatic music]



Simply put, Freeside Open restores content that was removed in later stages of development to meet Bethesda's deadline, as well as allowing the game to perform properly on consoles and lower end computers. The walls separating Freeside's districts have been removed, allowing better travel around Freeside. The doors to the Old Mormon Fort are also open now, allowing you to enter and exit without loading. Lots of NPCs have been restored, mostly filler NPCs that fit the general vibe of the town. Pickpockets have been restores, who may steal caps from you. Gamblers will now travel from the west gate to the Strip, and squatters, drunks, vagrants, and gossips now inhabit the city. 



Rotface, the ghoul beggar, has been fixed, meaning you can now properly do his quest (the vanilla game has a small unmarked quest with him, but in actuality the unmarked quest was meant to be much bigger). It is fully voiced and fully functional, and is actually one of my favorite quests in New Vegas due to it really showing how morality is grey. This mod also fixes the King's Gambit quest, which was meant to allow you to talk Pacer down. The voice files for both Rotface and Pacer fully work, and the associated quests work perfectly with them restored. 



The downside to this mod is performance. Obviously, these changes were made for a reason - Restoring this content causes major framerate drop in Freeside, and requires more RAM. Your game will likely crash pretty often with this mod. It is recommended to allow New Vegas to use 4GB of RAM, as by default it only uses 2GB.  Even with this boost however, crashes can be fairly common. 



PROS:
  • Restores fully functional content to the game that the developers made, but cut later on.
  • Allows a new unmarked quest to be completed, as well as a new optional branch of a quest that exists.
  • Brings back tons of NPCs that really make Freeside feel alive once more. 
  • Cuts down on those obnoxious loading times. Seriously, going from the King's School of Impersonation to go talk to Julie Farkas made you go through 3-4 loading screens to get to her, then 3-4 more to get back to the King. Now it is just 1-2 each.
  • More lore-friendly than the actual vanilla game. In the vanilla game, characters refer to squatters being in town and there are three squatters camps in town, yet all of them are empty, and not a single squatter is really in town. And now they are.
CONS:
  • Poor framerate, even on higher end machines.
  • Constant crashing, even on higher end machines.
  • You need to start a new game to use this mod properly, and you cannot uninstall this mod properly without using a new game from that point on.
For me, New Vegas is practically unplayable without this mod. I encourage everyone with a moderate to high end machine to give this mod a go. You'll find that the content it adds back really gives Freeside the feel it was meant to have.

You can find the mod on the New Vegas nexus here. See you guys next week, and remember to watch for pickpockets!
MountHail Kinda interesting (and somewhat sad) to see what was cut from the game. However, it's good to know we're at le...
Howdy folks! It's me, Chris, bringing you the tenth edition of Gizmo's Workshop. This week I have finally gone back to Fallout for a mod. This week's mod is called Advanced J3XMotorcycle and is for Fallout: New Vegas. 



What this mod aims to do is to bring a working, ridable motorcycle that both you and your companions can use to cruise around the Mojave. With the lack of vehicles in vanilla New Vegas and Fallout 3, I have seen a couple vehicle mods cropping up here and there, understandably as 33% of even our patron's would like vehicles in the next Fallout game. But with Gamebryo not being designed to offer driving vehicles, people have been forced to jump through hoops to make these mods, which is quite commendable. Of course, though, these mods do have issues they may not ever be possible to solve with the tools Bethesda have given us. 

The only other vehicle mod I have tried to use before was a mod that added drivable vertibirds to the game, which while that was cool, I really wanted a mod that simply allowed me to travel on the ground to get from point A to point B. Motorcycles serve that well, eh? I got this mod without any expectations aside from it being a bit glitchy, and was pleasantly surprised. 



While this mod does have graphical glitches while driving, they can be overlooked by the functionality this mod has. I was happy to see that this mod offers no shortage of customization options to make your bike how you want it. You can reskin the bike in a variety of ways, add lights, add the use of weapons, change the max speed (This is useful on lower end machines because driving through multiple cells is quite dangerous as high speeds) add a horn, control what happens when you hit NPCs, other mechanical options. After fiddling to get the bike how you want it, you can take off and drive!



You summon the bike to you with an item added to your inventory that brings the bike to you. The mod author warns you to be careful when using this around NPCs, and rightfully so - by default hitting an NPC will harm them and cause them to be hostile. You can change this behavior to either not harm NPCs at all, or to harm them but not make them hostile. 

I tested this mod by summoning the bike in the outskirts of Goodsprings, and decided to take it for a drive straight to Vegas on a new character. On foot, this hike would have been quite treacherous. However, it was a piece of cake on bike. I drove from Goodsprings to Jean's Skydiving, then drove north on the highway past Sloan and Quarry Junction, then took a beeline to Freeside. I encountered many enemies on this route of course, but the bike easily sped past even the deathclaws. For people who have played this game so much like me that they are tired of taking the hike around Nipton-way, this mod will be great. You don't need to use console commands to fast travel to your destination, and you don't need to spend time sneaking your way to Vegas by going north. 



PROS:
  • Very customizable.
  • A neat idea adding something many people have wanted to Fallout.
  • Can easily shortcut experienced players right into the action on their new characters.
  • Has built in storage.
CONS:
  • Graphical glitches when driving, quite commonly while driving your character will start looking like they are running before they switch back to the driving animation. 
  • While the sound effects of the bike are nice, they are much louder than the rest of the game's audio and they get very repetitive. 
  • While it can aid experienced players in skipping the tedious beginning sections, newer players will be tempted to exploit this and miss valuable gameplay.
  • Very taxing on lower end machines. While you can lower the speed of the bike so that the strain isn't so bad, eventually you may need to lower it so much that the bike would be rather pointless anyway.
All in all, I think this mod is pretty cool and you should give a try. I will be keeping this installed, but likely will not be using it all that often. The size of the map simply does not warrant needing a bike unless you do not want to fast travel, or you are on a new character.

You can find this mod on the New Vegas Nexus here. See you guys next week, and remember: Just keep driving!
Janaschi a Good choice for a mod-review. Proves how easy it would be for Bethesda to merge an already existing professional engine ...
MountHail "Has built in storage." SOLD! Overall looks pretty solid, though I think I'm done modding NV for...
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