Vanilla Twist is a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl mod based on ZRP with gameplay enhancements that address common complaints. The goal was for this mod to feel natural, like it was already part of the original game. It's the vanilla experience with all of the most annoying elements fixed or improved. In other words, It's vanilla with a twist.

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(A mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl ver. 1.0006)

Why This Mod Exists

Many mods for Stalker either are minor changes to a single element of the game, bug fixes with little to no mechanical changes (e.g. ZRP), or are massive overhauls that feel like a new and different experience than the vanilla game (e.g. Autumn Aurora). This mod is for players who want the vanilla Stalker experience, but with its rough edges polished to a nice modern shine. More specifically, if you are a player who started playing Stalker and had any of the following thoughts then this mod was made for you:

  • "The FoV is terrible but I can't change it in the settings."
  • "This headbob is making me nauseous."
  • "The weapons I'm holding take up half the screen."
  • "Enemies are total bullet sponges and weapons don't feel lethal enough."
  • "The stamina system is overly tedious and takes the fun out of traveling through the zone."
  • "Seeing enemy locations and numbers on the radar takes all of the spookiness and surprise away."
  • "I wish I could carry just a bit more weight."
  • "I would prefer it if I couldn't eat 12 loaves of bread mid-combat to instantly regain full health."
  • "I'd like it if NPCs didn't insta-kill me in CQC."
  • "I wish stealth were slightly more viable."
  • "It'd be nice if NPCs couldn't snipe me through two bushes and a tree."
  • "I want to see the stats of an outfit before I buy it without using the wiki."
  • "The flashlight has a weirdly short range."
  • "Medkits should stop me from bleeding just like a bandage does."
  • "The textures for weapon scopes are all stretched out into ovals."

This mod recognizes that there are players who want these problems fixed without having to play a completely overhauled version of the game. In general, this mod seeks to address all of the most common complaints a new or returning player might have without changing the fundamental feeling of vanilla Stalker. Most importantly: THIS MOD DOES NOT ADD ANY NEW CONTENT. Existing content that has been changed typically deviates very little from its vanilla equivalent. For example, all weapon damage values exactly match the vanilla values from master difficulty, and so the vanilla weapon balance has been maintained even while combat has been made more lethal.

In conclusion, you can rest assured that what you will play with this mod installed is still S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl and not a radically different experience. If you have never finished a play through of Stalker before because you couldn't get past a deal-breaker like one of the quotes above, then I recommend you give this mod a shot as it was created for that exact type of player.

Save File Compatibility

This mod should be completely one-way compatible with any vanilla save files or ZRP mod save files. Still, it's a good idea to create a backup save before overwriting a save if you want to be totally safe. Additionally, the vanilla version of the game (and likely other mods) will not be compatible with saves from this mod (hence the "one-way").

WARNING: The game will overwrite any files named <username>_autosave.sav or <username>_quicksave.sav where <username> is the name you entered when starting Stalker for the first time. If you don't want to lose an autosave or quick save to an overwrite then back it up with a manual save!

A Note on Difficulty

I generally recommend that you play on MASTER difficulty. This mod was tested on a complete playthrough set to master difficulty and was tuned around feeling challenging but fair at that difficulty level.

In this mod the player takes less damage from gunfire on master difficulty than in vanilla, but the catch is that the AI is more accurate. Overall this means that enemy damage output is slightly lower but more consistent instead of being random and insta-killy. Additionally, there are several tweaks to remove annoyances such as: the AI's ability to snipe you through bushes, lucky AI shots to your unprotected neck that randomly cause massive damage, and 100% AI accuracy at close ranges instantly deleting you. Because of all this, the master difficulty level has much fewer rageworthy moments than vanilla master difficulty while still maintaining a good level of challenge. Give it a try!

Summary of Changes Made

  • Boosted FoV to 85 degrees.
  • Decreased head bob significantly.
  • Added new animations for every weapon and item that fix the errors with the old animations.
  • Almost all weapon sounds have been replaced to match the new animations and improve variation.
  • The zoom factor when aiming was decreased to account for the new 85 degree FoV.
  • Weapon model placement has been tweaked for all weapons so they take up less of the screen and are better aligned with where the center of the crosshair would be.
  • Completely retuned the stamina meter to only drain when sprinting (all other movement states recharge stamina at varying rates).
  • Lowered sprint speed.
  • Slightly increased crouched movement speed.
  • Boosted accuracy and range of NPCs.
  • Increased max carrying weight by 10 kg.
  • Removed enemy mini map markers.
  • Removed the NPC counter from HUD.
  • Removed detector beep SFX when an NPC enters radar range.
  • Now zombies are treated as normal enemies on minimap to account for the tweaks to the minimap.
  • Fixed weapon scope textures so they look circular instead of elliptical at 16:9 resolutions.
  • Removed the clock from the HUD because it's already in the inventory screen and does not fade properly when aiming with a scoped weapon.
  • Outfit stats are part of their description so you can see them before you buy an outfit.
  • Removed "superbullet" mechanic (bullet damage is now consistent regardless of fire rate).
  • All difficulty levels use the weapon damage from master difficulty for more lethal gameplay.
  • Lowered damage players take from firearms to balance against increased weapon damage and maintain similar toughness for the player as vanilla.
  • Adjusted NPC hit chance so that they don't insta-kill you up close while still being decently accurate from far away.
  • Adjusted default neck damage multiplier to match head damage multiplier to avoid a small chance for NPCs to do massive damage and insta-kill the player.
  • Tuned AI vision to make stealth more viable and to significantly lower the chance that the AI will shoot you through foliage.
  • Reworked bleeding so it takes more damage to start bleeding, and so that the effect lasts much longer but damages the player at a lower rate.
  • Shrunk the PDA marker for the player's location so it doesn't get in the way of cursor hover on the map.
  • Increased the distance the flashlight shines while slightly reducing its overall brightness
  • Remove equipped artifact icons from the HUD.
  • All consumables take time to use which forces the character's weapon to be hidden making them vulnerable during this time.
  • Only one consumable can be used at the same time (i.e. now you can't spam item use).
  • Most consumables slowly apply their effect over time. For example, medkits now apply their healing over several seconds instead of instantly.
  • To account for the new stamina system food and energy drinks provide stamina over time after use, which in effect allows the player to run without using stamina for brief a period of time.
  • All medkits now have a 100% chance to heal bleeding instead of a random chance.
  • Medical items now increase hunger slightly when used.
  • Changed the bolt force grow factor to be same as grenades so they can be thrown at full force faster.
  • Removed 2-round burst fire from Viper 5 because it already has plenty of fire modes.
  • Increased RPM for Spas-12 to differentiate it from the other shotguns and make it more useful.
  • Increased the max range of shotgun projectiles.
  • Lowered the recoil of several pistols because sidearms are already bad enough.
  • Improved scope reflections for a more modern look.
  • Fixed a crash found in Dark Valley.
  • Fixed issue with rain sound effect not playing on level change.
  • Now all weapons allow the player to sprint.
  • Now the exosuit allows the player to sprint.

Known Issues

  • Sometimes giving a medkit to a downed NPC will not revive them. This seems to only effect non-quest related gameplay moments and so it doesn't hinder progress. This is pretty low impact and I don't plan on fixing it since it's likely non-trivial and somewhere in scripts I didn't touch and don't understand.
  • Due to the higher FoV the player's camera will sometimes partially clip through the wall and show what's behind it. This is most noticable when moving right up against a flat wall, so you will need to avoid doing this to avoid breaking immersion somewhat. Unfortunately I can't change the near clipping plane to fix this without modifying the engine source code, so it can never be fixed and is simply a downside to higher FoV (although it's well worth it IMO).
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STALKER - Vanilla Twist (v1.0)

STALKER - Vanilla Twist (v1.0)

Full Version 3 comments

This is the full initial release of the STALKER - Vanilla Twist mod version 1.0

STALKER - Vanilla Twist (v1.0 w/ ZRP Modifier)

STALKER - Vanilla Twist (v1.0 w/ ZRP Modifier)


FOR ADVANCED USERS/MODDERS!!! USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! This version of the mod includes the ZRP modifier program. I can't guarantee that all of the ZRP...

Comments  (0 - 10 of 32)

Una mod spettacolare per uno dei mie titoli preferiti di sempre ,ore e ore nella Zona con un atmosfera unica .Merita di stare nella mia libreria.

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Sheeesh now I totally enjoying SoC on my first playthrough! Best vanilla mod, good work!

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This is easily one of the best, and my favorite mods for all of Shadow of Chernobyl! It not only fixes things but allows for long range combat, which really makes the super long maps playable in a brand new way and way much more fun. I like the challenge and realism as well as more intuitive gameplay that comes from it. I take these config files and add them to other mods, particularly stalker complete which has amazing graphics, but it's hard on your computer so you need like graphics settings and resolution turned all the way up. Absolutely amazing! I modded the config files a bit to create even more accurate weapons for my taste, which has made it feel almost like a whole other game. Hard to play this game without it anymore, despite beating it on vanilla twice xD

The only thing I do is increase the damage of 7.62mm and railguns and then reduce the recoil of 7.62mm guns to make them actually usable. Another idea is to make the costs of 7.62mm guns lower

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A few issues I've noticed:
1. the camera occasionally clips through objects due to the higher FoV.
2. Giving a medkit to downed stalkers just doesn't work anymore. It still uses the medkit but they don't get up, even if you drop it on them.

The latter is the worst.

Combat does still feel nice and chunky despite higher damage values both ways. It doesn't give me the issue a lot of MISERY esq mods do where now having large amounts of ammo isn't necessary with good shot placement (seriously don't tweak weapon accuracy beyond what you have, weapons in this game aren't meant to be nail drivers).

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I completed SoC for the first time using this mod (I'm no spring chicken, so it's been many years of trying). The medkit bug is unfortunate, and I found the FOV a bit too wide, but I got used to it. Good job with the changes, tastefully done.

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When i play arena the firsdt round and win iam all naked help

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Your stuff is stored in a small wooden green-ish container next to the door just after you finish a round in the Arena

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Great mod, exactly what the vanilla game needs to be much closer to today's standards in terms of gameplay. Thanks for putting this pack together, this made me go back and replay the game after so many years.

I noticed I problem tho, medkits don't heal the player at all. Your description says it works over time but in my case so far it stopped bleeding and then nothing else happened. My health remained the same with zero healing. Is this normal? I've been watching random gameplay on YouTube to confirm if the stock medkit restores health, and it does. I only have the repair kits mod installed (Repair Kits Revamped v1.04 2) after Vanilla Twist, carefully merging the 2 config files that exist in both mods. None of these config changes seem to have any connection to medkits as far as I can tell.

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So after some testing I created an account so I can do a follow-up lol
This mod works as intended, the issue described in my previous comment was caused by the 2 mods being installed, or I messed something up while merging them. But having a vanilla game with Vanilla Twist and no other mods, the healing, eating and other animations work correctly and their effects are present as they should. So please ignore my previous comment :D

Btw is there a simple way to change the sprint duration? I'd like to sprint for a little longer. Is there a quick setting I can change just like with weight limit?

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Hi, quick question, I just installed this mod and it made my game extremly dark. Looks like its caused by the ENB I am using, when I had just the ENB without this mod it was looking great. If I remove d3d9.dll to test how the mod works without ENB it seems okay. Is there a way to get this mod to work with ENB?

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PartyBoat Creator

My guess is you need to install the ENB after this mod because the ENB overwrites the xrGame.dll file. That's the only thing this mod changes related to rendering settings.

If you do overwrite the xrGame.dll file keep in mind that this means the FoV will be back to default (or whatever it is in the ENB) which could really screw up the weapon zoom. Not much I can do about that since they all need to be set at static FoV values and are not a multiplier of the base FoV.

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