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My settlement has 5 people right now and my happiness value for the people seem to be dropping ever so often.

I'd like to know what's the most efficient way to raise the happiness values in my settlement? Do I need specific furniture? Or do I just need enough of the other resources (food, power, water) to keep them happy?

Is this kinda like Fallout Shelter, where keeping dwellers happy meant keeping all their resources kept as high as possible? Or is something else affecting their happiness values?

  • 5
    I've been wondering for a while, but how come almost every question regarding Fallout 4 is getting downvoted so heavily and quickly? You guys do realize the Earth is round, and has about 24 different time zones, right? – Nolonar Nov 9 '15 at 21:05
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    Apparently asking questions about a game that's just come out is shown as a sign of bad faith. I should, I think, be waiting for the Fallout 4 GOTY edition before I can start asking questions about it. – senpai Nov 9 '15 at 21:08
  • It's not like we're downvoting out of jealousy ... really we're not! (For the record, not didn't downvote, resisted the ... must resist!) – Jonathan Drapeau Nov 9 '15 at 21:12
  • Voting to leave open as per When is a game publicly available? – galacticninja Nov 10 '15 at 5:38
  • Here is a link for details of computation reddit.com/r/fo4/comments/43rcts/… – Hentold May 6 '16 at 21:13
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Apart from having enough food and water, a strong defense (higher than food + water total to minimize attacks) and a general absence of attacks on your community, the happiness is mainly controlled by decorations and luxury.

Adding televisions, rugs and non-essential furniture (anything other than beds) to your settlement will increase the happiness of people living there. Basically, if you try to furnish their homes with care, they appreciate it. Who would have thought?

In one of those endless "How to foster your settlements" guides I read that apparently, the most efficient way to raise happiness in terms of resource/performance is packing any and every vertical surface with paintings. They require only wood to build which should be in overabundance and don't take up space on the ground for essential things.

  • can you define "enough food and water" is is 1 food per person, 1 water per person? – Luke Nov 17 '15 at 20:55
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    @Luke yes, 1 per person. – bhnn Nov 17 '15 at 20:56
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    Are signs just as good as paintings at raising happiness? I'm asking because signs are smaller and I can put more of them in walls compared to paintings. – galacticninja Jan 13 '16 at 7:54
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    Anything you hang on the wall contributes to happiness. In the end it's just about what's the most affordable to spam. – bhnn Jan 13 '16 at 11:09
  • Strange, as there seems not a single script to be found within the whole CK that affects decorations or TVs. – metaphor_set May 16 '18 at 22:03
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According to this Reddit thread (which was linked in a comment by Hentold, but seems to have been ignored otherwise... I found that thread and this question when trying to figure this out), happiness has a number of factors. Some of the other answers on this question do not have the correct factors, though.

First off, settlement happiness is an average value computed from each individual settler's happiness. Humans can have a happiness between 0 and 80, while non-humans have their happiness set to 50.

Humans' happiness is a factor of:

  • A place to sleep (under a roof)
  • 1 food to eat
  • 1 water to drink
  • A safety value greater than the number of settlers

Not meeting these basic requirements causes very low happiness for an individual settler.

Once all the settlers' individual happiness numbers are computed, a bonus is added to the total before dividing to get the average. This bonus can be influenced by:

  • The junkyard dog (or other pets, gorillas and cats with the DLC)
  • Stores (+8 to +40, depending on type and size, Large Bar being the best)

Once the average is computed, modifiers are applied. The influences here are settlement quests and settler deaths. This modifier decays towards 0 at a rate of 20% per day. If you bork up a quest or someone dies, happiness will take a dive but then eventually bounce back.

The computed happiness value doesn't take effect immediately, however. changes between current and computed happiness take place over the course of several days. So, if you mass build a bunch of things that ought to impact happiness in a settlement, it will take time for it to reach the new equilibrium.

  • Cats and gorillas also aid in increasing happiness. See this answer for the formula. – Lore Friendly Sep 16 '16 at 5:37
  • This is absolutely correct. There are no scripts in the CK that take decorations into account. Neither is there a way to detect if an item is a picture, a leaf pile or burnt book. They are all labeled as statics. – metaphor_set May 16 '18 at 22:07
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Keep all of the resources in the green, and build them some non-utilitarian stuff (chairs, pictures, etc) and the happiness should go up

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One of the most important things to prevent happiness dropping is to ensure you have at least as many beds as settlers, and your food and water production are both higher than the number of settlers. Supply lines allow settlements to share food and water, but the settlers will still say they'd like more if a settlement is relying on a supply line to get food or water from another settlement, I don't know how that affects happiness so I always make sure every settlement produces enough food and water locally.

I think I've also had them get sad if they are attacked and you don't return to defend the settlement and lots of settlers get killed.

Apparently building some stores (traders, food & drink stores, and clinics) affect happiness, but in settlements which already have 80% happiness those stores don't seem to make it any higher. Investing in stores certainly isn't an efficient solution, as it takes a lot of resources and caps.

Buying a dog for the settlement is also meant to increase happiness, but is not cheap and depends on a random encounter, and maybe it can only be done once per settlement (not sure about that last point).

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Actually, if you can keep at least five MORE beds then there are settlers it seems to help. I've also noticed that if you have at least a couple gourd/melon patches that seems to help. My issue is getting settlers to go into some of the new buildings. It's hard to figure out where the "favored" entrance will be. Hoping the GECK will allow modders to assign "entrances", it will make life at lot easier.

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