How to Build Fallout 4 Settlements, Manage Resources, Increase Happiness

Managing settlements in Fallout 4 is one of the most rewarding experiences in the game. It is also arguably one of the most difficult ones, as it has a rather large helping curve, with the game itself not doing too much to help you learn the ways of developing a society.

For more help on Fallout 4, read our Settlements Locations, Fallout 4 Character Builds, Power Armor Parts Locations and Companions Locations Guide.

How to Build Fallout 4 Settlements

Making a prospering settlement takes both time and resources, so it’s usually advisable to delve into this aspect of the game towards the later stages.

Our guide will help you get familiar with everything required to develop settlements in the game, and how to make sure the settlers are happy and prosperous.

Recommended Perks

If you’re going to take the management of settlements seriously, you’ll need to dedicate a few levels to specific perks. These perks will not only make it considerably easier to manage settlements, but will also increase the rewards you can obtain from spending so much time and resources in doing so.

Local Leader
This Charisma perk at Rank 1 grants the ability to establish supply lines between your settlements. This is great way to balance settlements with rich food and production and ones with relatively poor ones.

Rank 2 of this perk allows you to build workstations and store found in the workshop menu. This should be a priority if you’re serious about settlements.

This intelligence based perk may not seem like something you’d want to invest in just for a settlement, but in reality Hacker allows you to build Terminals. These terminals can then be combined with a variety of devices, which can streamline your automated defenses and design custom visual/audio elements in a settlement.

If you’re making a large settlement, you’ll need to have generators to power them and bring resources.

That’s where this perk comes in handy. Rank 1 allows you to build large generators, industrial water purifiers, laser tripwires, and other items. Rank 3 will allow you to make your settlement a fortress with some heavy laser turrets.

Gun Nut
In addition to allowing you to craft awesome weapons, Gun Nut’s Rank 3 will give you the power to build missile turrets. These will generate more Defense than any other item in the Workshop menu.

In addition to these perks, you should also heavily consider the likes of Medic, Cap Collector, Scrapper, Fortune Finder, and Strong Back to give yourself indirect benefits when managing settlements.

How to Build Settlements

Everything you do in a settlement starts with the Workshop.

Workshops are essentially large, red colored workbenches that put the game in a ‘sandbox’ mode where you can create, scrap, and customize various things in the settlement.

The workshop influence is limited to the settlement’s boundaries, which is displayed during the workshop mode as a green border. Within this border, you have the luxury to construct various different things, ranging from simple fences all the way to complex water purifiers and power generators.

Scrap to Win
One of the most important functions of the workshop is to scrap items within your settlement.

You’ll find a lot of useless junk to scrap, and doing so will add scrap raw material into your workbench. This raw material is what you use to craft weapons, armors, and also construct structures and resources for your settlement.

Simply highlight a material by pointing towards it when in workshop mode, select scrap, and it will tell you what it will yield from scrapping.

Planning Your Settlement
Before you start building, you should consider your goals for a specific settlement.

If you want to develop a self-sufficient settlement, set aside some area for water collection and farming. Keep some place for houses and shelter, while making sure you have enough room to build defenses.

Start small when you do. Efficiency is important, especially if you’re managing multiple settlements at once. Certain settlements will already have a lot of vacant houses and wreckage. In that case, don’t shy away from scrapping them and building everything from scratch through the workshop.

Settlement Resources

Settlements need a number of resources in order to thrive, and these resources directly correspond to both the wellbeing of the settlers and also how other settlers are attracted to your place. You can see the resource rating for your settlement in the workshop mode of that specific settlement.

The state of a settlement is determined by a number of factors:

  • People: The amount of people living within the settlement.
  • Food: The amount of food produced by a settlement.
  • Water: The amount of clean water produced by a settlement.
  • Power: The amount of electrical power produced by a settlement.
  • Defense: The defensive strength of a settlement.
  • Beds: The number of beds in a settlement.
  • Happiness: The overall happiness of a settlement’s residents.

A settlement’s population directly determines the other resources needed. Meeting these requirements can take some time and effort, but the more a settlement is populated, the better will be its output.

You can assign the population to carry out specific work, such as managing farms and shops etc. Unassigned folks will automatically generate salvage, so having a large population will greatly benefit you.

A settlement’s growth in general is very slow and time-consuming, and only increases when a settlement has better resources. In order to boost this slightly, you can set up a Radio Beacon at key locations to accelerate the population growth. Some people you meet during your travels can also be convinced to join your settlements.

The maximum number of settlers per settlement is restricted to 10 by default, but every point in Charisma will increase the capacity by one. New settlers will stop arriving once that number is reached.

You can use the Workshop menu to issue specific commands to settlers. You can also assign settlers to items like beds, guard posts, artillery pieces, and stores.

If you’ve invested in the Local Leader perk, you’ll be able to assign a settler to a supply line. Two settlements that are connected by a supply line can share food, water, and any of the building materials stored in the respective workshops.

Note that some specific personnel in your settlements cannot be assigned, and act independently.

A settlement’s Food rating reflects how much food it is producing. Maintaining the food rating high is extremely essential in specific settlements.

To raise a settlement’s food rating, simply plant crops and assign personnel to them. A single worker is able to generate up to 6 Food. Try maintaining the same value of food generation as there are people in the settlement.

Food can be grown in dirt only through the workshop mode, but sometimes you’ll find settlements that only have urban ground. In this case, try to establish supply lines between the settlements to greatly to split the burden. Certain settlements will have a lot of fertile land and plenty of excess food, which they can then send to other settlements.

With river and pond waters irradiated, you’ll need to supply your settlements with purified water. This resource, like food, should be at least as high as the current population.

Create water pumps through the workshop tool on non-concrete ground to pump some water.

Water producing items don’t require assigned workers. With advanced perks, you can even turn the irradiated water around the settlement into purer water through Water purifiers, though they will need electricity.

Like with Food, creating supply lines between workshops will also allow them to share purified water.

A settlement’s power rating indicates how much power the place produces. In order to produce electrical power, you’ll need to create generators, then use connectors, switches, and powered devices to use the power. It takes 1 Copper wire to create a wire.

Everything in a settlement is susceptible to attack, be it water purifiers, crops, generators, or houses.

Well-established settlements have a tendency to be raided by the pesky raiders that lurk around in the Wastelands. For this reason, your settlement will need a good defense.

A settlement’s defense rating should be at least as high as the current population. Lower defense ratings make the settlement more susceptible to attacks, and reduces the productivity of the settlers.

You should build guard-posts and walls whenever possible, and have various kinds of artillery pieces and turrets set up near the entrance of your settlements. A single guard assigned to three posts produces 6 Defense. A single guard assigned to one artillery piece also generates 6 defense.

Experiment with different types of traps as well available in the workshop. Traps can be a bit tricky though, so make sure you’re fully aware of what kind of trap you’re using before setting one up.

You don’t want to accidentally trip your own mine or something!

Settlers need rest, and for rest they need beds inside shelters. You should have one bed for each resident in a settlement. A shortage of beds lowers a settlement’s productivity.

There are a variety of different beds in the workshop, but all of them serve the same function, so it’s not entirely necessary to build some of the more costly ones unless you’re decorating your settlement.

Placing beds outside shelter doesn’t reduce your bed rating, but it does decrease the overall happiness and productivity of your settlers.

The Happiness of your settlers is dependent on all the resources above. A high Happiness rating improves the food production, salvage generation, and workers assigned to salvage stations.

Meeting all your settler’s basic needs and resources is the primary and best way to keep them happy. In addition to providing resources, actively helping a settlement yourself also improves its Happiness rating.

You can check the Radio Freedom and check your Pip-Boy for updates and alerts about the settlements you control. Complete quests and help fend off raiders to keep a prosperous society.

In addition, you can also increase the settlement’s overall happiness by investing in creating shops like clinics, clothing stores, trading stores, and stores that sell food and drinks. Purchasing a dog for your settlement will also have a similar effect.

Haider is a freelance contributor, who loves video games, playing guitar, and aviation. He is a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) ...