Fallout 4: Beginner tips and tricks to know before you boot up the game

Check this guide out for everything you need to get started in Fallout 4!

Fallout 4 has a ton of content and you can spend several hours on every portion of the game. Fans of the series, and veterans, have a lot to look forward to in this game. There are many things you will want to know when starting that can help you save time.

I'm going to give you the basics on the game and tips that will help you create a character and stick with it throughout the game.

This guide will go over getting started in Fallout 4, including:

  • Controls and Info - Basics on how to play, the mechanics, and items in Fallout 4.
  • S.P.E.C.I.A.L. - How stats and perks work in Fallout 4.
  • Crafting and Mod Basics - Basics on how crafting and mods works and the types available.
  • Settlements - Info on how settlements and building works.
  • Tips and Tricks - Helpful things to get you started in the wide world of Fallout 4.

Controls and Info

The controls are different for each platform, and you can customize them, so I'm going to go over what they do.

  • V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) - Slows down time and allows you to target specific body parts for extra damage.
  • Bash/Power Attack - This is the melee button.
    • You can also hold this button to use any throwing weapons, like grenades.
  • Toggle POV - This switches between 1st and 3rd person view.
  • Pip-Boy - Brings up the Pip-Boy menu, where most of your information is shown.
  • Favorites - This brings up the menu with all the items you set to favorite. This is a quick way to change weapons or armor, and use items.

Early in the game you get a Pip-Boy and it is basically the menu/inventory.

  • Stat - This shows your health, weapon damage, armor, resistances, level, experience, and action points.
    • You can also see how many S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points you have and which perks are active. More on that later.
  • Inv - This shows everything in your inventory, broken into categories. This shows weapons, armor, consumables, misc., junk, mods, and ammo.
    • You can set an item to your favorite menu while in the Pip-Boy. There are 4 sections and you can assign 3 to each section for a total of 12 favorite items.
  • Data - This shows your quests, which workshops you have unlocked, and specific stats for things like number of crafted items, or how many crimes you've committed. 
  • Map - Shows a world or local map with places you've been, quest locations, and allows you to fast travel to places you've discovered.
  • Radio - Lets you listen to a radio station you have unlocked.
Lock Picking and Hacking

Picking locks works just like in previous Fallout games, Elder Scrolls games, or nearly any game that lets you pick locks.

  • You have to rotate the bobby pin and turn the lock until you find the sweet spot.
  • When you try to open the lock, the bobby pin will shake if it is not in the right location.
  • Keep turning until you find the right spot.

Hacking is confusing at first, but not so bad when you understand how it works. 

Fallout 4 hacking

  • A list of symbols and words appear on the screen and you have to find the correct one.
  • When you select a word and it is wrong, the word "likeness" appears, followed by a number.
  • This number indicates how many letters in that word are in the right position.

Let's take 3 words for example to show how this works. Hope, Only, and Some. Let's say you choose Hope and it displays Likeness: 2, choose Only and displays Likeness: 0, then choose Some and it unlocks.

This means that two of the letters in, "Hope" were in the correct spots. Only had none because even though, "O" is in the correct word, it was not in the correct spot. Since "Some" was the correct word, this means that the "O" and "E" in "Hope", were in the correct spots.

You can also hover over the symbols and if it highlights multiple ones at once, it will give you a bonus. These bonuses can either take away a wrong word or reset your tries.

If you run out of tries, the terminal locks you out for 10 seconds and randomizes a new set of words.


These are the 8 attribute points in Fallout: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. At the beginning you can choose where to put these points. You get another chance to change them later in the game, after you've had a chance to look at the perks.

Each attribute point gives you a passive effect that increases with each point you put into it. They also give you access to perks related to each attribute. There are 10 for each attribute. There are also perks you can find throughout the game that only come from special perk books.

  • Strength - Affects how much you can carry, and the damage of melee attacks
  • Perception - Affects weapon accuracy in V.A.T.S.
  • Endurance - Affects total health and action point drain from sprinting.
  • Charisma - Affects your success to persuade in dialogue and prices when you barter.
  • Intelligence - Affects the number of experience points earned.
  • Agility - Affects the number of action points in V.A.T.S. and the ability to sneak.
  • Luck - Affects the recharge rate of critical hits.

Each time you level you earn a point to use for one of the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. perks. There is no level limit, but choose wisely because some perks help more at the beginning and others help later in the game. You can also use these points to increase one of the attributes. Let's say you have 5 Strength, but want the perk for 6 Strength, you can put a point into Strength instead of choosing a perk.

There are bobble heads you can find throughout the game, and some permanently increase one of the attributes by one point. Since there are multiple ways to increase attribute points, just focus on the ones that give you perks you want at the beginning.

Crafting and Mod Basics

Fallout 4 crafting

There are many things you can craft or modify in Fallout 4. You can also rename all of your weapons and armor.

  • Weapons - Craft mods for your weapons. These change several things, including scopes, grips, and barrels.
  • Armor - Craft mods for your armor. These change things like damage resistance, increase sneak, carrying capacity, and more.
  • Power Armor - Craft mods and change paint job on your Power Armor. These can increase certain attributes, increase resistances, and more.
  • Cooking - Make dishes from from crops or ingredients you take from enemies. These can recover health and give you temporary bonuses for a short time.
  • Chemistry - Craft stimpacks and other drugs to give you health or temporary boosts.

You'll need to gather materials from enemies or scrap items to craft.


This is the housing feature in Fallout 4. Any place that has a workshop can be made into a settlement. Sometimes you have to complete quests to unlock an area for a settlement.

You can use the workshop to add nearly anything you can think of -- walls, roofs, generators, turrets, and more. Some things require certain perks, such as the Local Leader perk at Charisma 6. I suggest getting at least 6 Charisma if you plan on doing a lot with settlements.

Fallout 4 local leader perk

There is too much to talk about in this guide, so please check out my detailed Fallout 4 Settlement Guide.

Tips and Tricks

There are many unknowns when you first start the game, and I can give you some tips to help you have a smoother beginning.

  • Focus on attributes for perks you want at the beginning.
    • You can get bobble heads and raise attributes later for other perks.
  • Get at least one damage perk.
    • Regardless of build, you'll want some kind of damage perk. Melee works as well and is actually really strong.
  • Search everything and do as many missions you can early on.
    • You will not have much at the beginning, so take everything you can find. You'll also want to level up quite a bit to start getting perks.
  • Don't worry about crafting perks during the first few levels.
    • You won't have a lot you can do, or the required materials early on.
  • Be ready to run from fights.
    • Sometimes you get in over your head, and that's okay! There are times where you just need to run from a fight if it is not required. or come back later if it is.
  • When you are at a settlement, you can drop junk, then open the workshop menu to scrap it.

That's it for my Fallout 4 Beginner Tips and Tricks. Be sure to check back for more guides! Let me know if you have any questions.

Published Nov. 9th 2015
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