Post news RSS An Overview of Vanilla Twist (v1.0)

This is a quick summary of Vanilla Twist version 1.0.

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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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