Did you know that Fallout 4 has a deep, complicated crafting and settlement-management system? Well, it does. Thing is, the game doesn't do the greatest job explaining how it all works.
Early on, you'll find your first base of operations: The Red Rocket Truck Stop. You'll walk in and see some crafting tables. There's a radio playing classical music. That's pretty much it.
I spent my first few hours unsure how the heck to even begin crafting. The crafting user interface could charitably be referred to as "bad," and the game doesn't really explain what you're supposed to do or how you're supposed to do it.
A few helpful friends pointed me in the right direction and got me on my way. Hooray, helpful friends! I thought I'd take a moment to help anyone out there who might also be having trouble getting going.
You can totally park your power armour in your workshop
Early in Fallout 4, you get a set of power armour. You get to keep and upgrade that armour; if you get out and leave it somewhere, it appears on your map so you never lose it. I didn't realise (at first) that there's actually a designated storage spot in your workshop.
Simply walk up to the Power Armour Station and get out of your power armour. There isn't a "dock" prompt or anything, but if you get out of the armour while standing in front of the station, it will dock up automatically. You can also store junk at the power armour station, which makes it easier to keep your inventory clear.
Now, on to crafting. Here's the main thing you need to know:
Crafting doesn't take place at the red crafting table
The game implies that you have to walk over to the red table to enter your workshop. That's not actually how crafting works in Fallout 4. The bounds of your "workshop" extend to the entire area around the Red Rocket truck stop. To craft and place things, you have to actually walk around and arrange them in the gameworld.
This is… not something that I understood at first. I've heard from enough people who had the same problem that I'm confident I'm not alone on this one.
You actually don't even need to approach the red workbench to get started. The game doesn't tell you this unless you've already started crafting, but you can enter the workshop by holding down the view button/touchpad (depending on your system) when you're first approaching the truck stop.
You can scrap everything in the truck stop
Another thing I didn't quite grasp at first — you can scrap everything within the bounds of your workshop. You should definitely do this. Just walk around, select stuff, and scrap it.
There are a few things you'll want to leave standing, of course — your various workbenches, any furniture you may want to keep — but those tires and busted shelves and junked cars? Scrap that shit.
If you scrap most of the junk in your workshop, you'll have a lot more material with which to upgrade your armour and other gear. In fact, I've found that when I leave and return to my workshop, the game gives me new tires and other assorted pieces of junk, almost like the tire-fairy has stopped by in the night.
Once you're comfortable with basic crafting and scrapping, you can start a settlement and get deeper into managing it. But that's a post for another day. For now: I hope this has been helpful for anyone else who didn't quite get what to do at first.
If you have any more crafting tips, I hope you'll share them below.