Ok...so I just lost my job and now will have a lot of time to devote to this game in the immediate future.
That aside, I haven't really been a "gamer" for any time in the past 10+ years, and despite playing a game or two on occasion my gaming skills have apparently atrophied.
I have never played a game like this, and I can't even get past the first hour of the game. The control scheme confuses me, and I panic.
Any tips for a novice?
Start from the beginning and pay attention. You get used to the controls and you can always pause the game. I still fumble around with the Pipboy but can move around pretty smoothly.
For the first character, I would try to be very good with small guns and sneaking around. You want to build a killing machine who can always strike first while sneaking around (huge attack bonus).
Whenever you are in a battle mode, go into VATS but only when you are close to the enemy. It is also almost pointless to target different body parts without VATS.
Walk around a lot to different towns and buildings, pick up random stuff along the way to sell or use. It's really a fun game but it takes a bit of time to build up your character to the point where it gets really fun.
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." ~George Carlin