Fallout 3

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Fallout 3
Fallout 3 cover
Bethesda Game Studios
Bethesda Softworks
Release dates
Windows October 28, 2008
Fallout 1997
Fallout 2 1998
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel 2001
Fallout 3 2008
Fallout: New Vegas 2010
Fallout 4 2015

Key points

Runs better on Windows 7 and later with the multiple core CPU fix.
Shares many similarities with Fallout: New Vegas in terms of its engine and performance.
Extensive modding community.

General information

Steam Community Discussions (Game of the Year Edition)
Steam Community Discussions
Steam Users' Forums for game series
No Humans Allowed Forums for game
Fallout 3 Nexus - the most popular host for almost all Fallout 3 mods.


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail Launcher uses SecuRom's disc check, run with Fallout3.exe to bypass[1]
Amazon.com Game of the Year Edition is also available.
GamersGate Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Gamesplanet Game of the Year Edition.
GameStop Game of the Year Edition.
Green Man Gaming Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Humble Store Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Steam Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Uplay Game of the Year Edition is also available.
All versions require Games for Windows - LIVE.
GFWL profile, local or otherwise, is not required for play (and by extension, a product key is not required for play). Local GFWL profile can be created and doesn't require a product key. Connecting to a Microsoft account requires a product key, each allowing 10 or so online activations.

Version differences[edit]

The Game of the Year Edition includes all DLC, and is the best choice for price and modding capability.
The German version only includes the German language and has content differences (e.g. no blood/gore).

Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Name Notes
Operation: Anchorage
The Pitt
Broken Steel
Point Lookout
Mothership Zeta

Essential improvements[edit]


The v 1.7 patch updates the game to the latest version. The Steam version is already patched. The Retail Game of the Year Edition will apply the patch during the DLC disc installation.

Skip intro videos[edit]

File removal
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Go into Data/Video/
  3. Rename, delete or move this file:

Fallout INTRO Vsk.bik


Nexus Mod Manager - the best mod manager for Fallout 3, making the process of installing mods much easier.

Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch[edit]

Fixes many of the bugs which official Bethesda patches never solved

Fallout 3 Script Extender (FOSE)[edit]

Disables Games for Windows - LIVE (GFWL) when run.
Used by many Fallout 3 mods to extend the scripting capabilities of Fallout 3's game engine.
Russian and Polish DVD retail copies, Direct2Drive copies, and the unpatched game ( are all unsupported.

Fallout Stutter Remover[edit]

Requires Fallout 3 Script Extender.
Fixes stuttering.

Tale of Two Wastelands[edit]

Tale of Two Wastelands combines Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas into a single game. It uses the New Vegas engine. It also requires you to have all of the DLC.

Play without Games for Windows - LIVE[edit]

Games for Windows Live can be disabled as an alternative to using a local profile.
Games for Windows - LIVE Disabler
Requires Fallout 3 v1.1 or higher.
Removes login delay, reducing startup time.
  1. Download and run the Games for Windows LIVE Disabler
  2. To retrieve save games, move files from: %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\<user-id>\ to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\
  3. Use the 'Move DLC's' button to get DLC working again. Steam version of Game of the Year Edition owners do not need to move DLC.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\*.ini

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud

Save games missing[edit]

If logged into Games for Windows LIVE, the game will save the save files under the currently logged-in username. If logged out of the service, the game will be unable to locate the saves.

Retrieve Missing Saves
  1. Go to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves
  2. Search in the folders for your latest saves (if you're were not logged in while saving, the saves will be found in the Saves folder. If you were logged in, the saves will be under your Games for Windows LIVE folder)
  3. Copy the files out to either folder (your username if you plan on logging in each time, or the Saves folder if you do not.)

If you restart the game, your saves should be detected.

Video settings[edit]

Video settings.
Video settings.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Multi-monitor.
Field of view (FOV)
See Field of view (FOV).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Working using Borderless Windowed, ShiftWindow and AutoHotkey.[2]
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Set in launcher. Up to 16 samples.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Set in launcher. Up to 8x MSAA.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Toggle in launcher is broken. Set iPresentInterval=0 in fallout.ini to disable
60 FPS
120+ FPS
Possible using Fallout Stutter Remover mod. Run the game with the mod installed then edit the config file to set the maximum FPS to whatever you like (may cause some instability).
Most graphics options are accessible on the main launcher screen.


Adds support for multi-monitor displays.
Displays HUD on the middle display.
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  2. Find the following lines:
Relevant multi-monitor resolutions:
3840x1024 5040x1050
iSafeZoneXWide=610 iSafeZoneXWide=770
iSafeZoneYWide=15 iSafeZoneYWide=15
iSafeZoneX=610 iSafeZoneX=770

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Edit Field of view (FOV)[3]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  2. Find the section: [Display]
  3. Add these lines to the bottom of the section:
    • fDefaultWorldFOV=75.0000
    • fDefault1stPersonFOV=55.0000
  4. Change the FOV value based on your aspect ratio.

The second line affects the FOV of the gun, so a lower value is recommended to avoid clipping. For example 66

These values use the 5:4 aspect ratio as a baseline FOV:

Aspect Ratio FOV Value
4:3 79.9000
16:9 105.3000
15:9 99.0000
16:10 95.2000
21:9 80.0000

Input settings[edit]

Input settings.
Input settings.

Mouse acceleration[edit]

Disable mouse acceleration[4]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\fallout.ini
  2. Find the section: [Controls]
  3. Add the lines:
    • fForegroundMouseAccelBase=0
    • fForegroundMouseAccelTop=0
    • fForegroundMouseBase=0
    • fForegroundMouseMult=0

Audio settings[edit]

Audio settings.
Audio settings.
Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Music, footsteps, voice, effects and radio.
Surround sound
Up to 7.1 output[5]
Shows one subtitle at a time.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
May require DirectSound3D restoration software to restore proper audio functionality on Vista and later.


The German version only includes the German language.
Language UI Audio CC Notes

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Native 3D
Nvidia 3D Vision
Use Helix Mod: Fallout 3 for better 3D support.
TriDef 3D
Devices Native Notes
3RD Space Gaming Vest

Issues fixed[edit]

TweakGuides has created a comprehensive guide for fixing issues in this game. It can be found here.

Game crashes randomly[edit]

Caused by problems with multi-core CPUs on Windows 7 and later.
Multiple Core CPU Fix[6]
This will limit the game to 1 or 2 cores and prevent the engine bug from causing the game to freeze.
The most common fix required for this game.

Follow this link for an in-depth guide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYjblafxHYI

  1. Move the .dll file to the installation folder.
  2. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  3. Change bUseThreadedAI=0 to bUseThreadedAI=1
  4. Make a new line after it and add iNumHWThreads=2
  5. If the game still crashes, try this line: iNumHWThreads=1
Disable .Net 3.1
  1. Uninstall Fallout 3.
  2. Disable .NET 3.1 under the "Turn windows features on or off" menu.
  3. Reinstall Fallout 3.
Disable any kind of overlay that may interfere with the game

Certain non-conversation voices, such as museum exhibits and random speech, are too quiet[edit]

Editing the config file[7][citation needed]
  1. Edit %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\fallout.ini
  2. Change fFilterdBAttenuation=11.5 to 0

Game keeps minimizing[edit]

Caused by the cursor being active in the background (and clicking Icons, Links, Buttons etc.)
Disable Visual Themes and Desktop Composition
This will disable Steam's overlay and playtime counter.
  1. Right click on Fallout3.exe and select Properties.
  2. Click the 'Compatibility' tab.
  3. Check 'Disable Visual Themes'.
  4. Check 'Disable Desktop Composition'.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Click OK and run Fallout3.exe.

Crash when starting new game or loading save[edit]

Reinstall Codecs
Test if you have codec issues is by temporarily renaming the Data/Music and Data/Video folders in your program folder to something else (try each one individually) and attempting to start the game. If that works, follow the next steps.
  1. Uninstall all audio/video programs not in active use.
  2. Download and install the K-Lite codec tweak tool.
  3. Run the codec repair tool.
  4. Restart the computer.
Run as administrator
This tweak seems to fix a lot of crashing issues.
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Right click on Fallout3.exe, and select "Properties"
  3. Select the "Compatibility" tab.
  4. Under "Privilege Level," check the box marked "Run this program as administrator".
  5. Select "OK," and exit out of the Explorer window.

Now, when running the game, a dialog will appear, asking if you will allow the program to make changes to the computer. You must select "Yes" each time you run Fallout 3 in order to actually be able to play the game.

Disable Windows Aero[citation needed]
If the game works in windowed mode, but not full-screen, this may help.
  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize from the context menu.
  2. In the Personalization Control Panel applet, scroll down to the Basic and High Contrast Themes.
  3. Choose one of the basic themes and Windows will apply the change immediately.
Place a dll in the install folder
Use this when running on Intel integrated graphics.
  1. Download this file.
  2. Place it in the installation folder.

Pip-Boy radio skipping or stuttering[edit]

Commonly caused by an issue with current MP3 codec, the format used exclusively by songs played through Pip-Boy radio.
The music may not be stuttering when the game is minimized, with the song played normally.
Fix for Creative X-Fi soundcards
Try the Audio Codec fix for game crashes first, if your Pip-Boy radio still skips (test with the enclave channel) owners of a creative soundcard may find that this helps.
  1. Edit %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\fallout.ini
  2. Double the iAudioCacheSize=2048 to 4096.
  3. Install the latest creative drivers and volume control panel for your soundcard, as well as creative alchemy.
  4. Add Fallout 3 to Creative Alchemy: select Use Registry Path and point it to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Bethesda Softworks\Fallout3\Installed Path. Do not install to subfolder. Settings should be: Buffers=10; Duration=5; Maximum Voice Count=128. Leave direct music enabled.
  5. Set Creative Console to game mode! Alchemy will make Fallout 3 crash if you're not in game mode.
Disable MP3 decoding in LAV Splitter Configuration
Might work with similar codec packs, for example ffdshow.
  1. Open LAV Splitter Configuration program by finding the shortcut in the Start Menu.
  2. In Input Formats tab, find mp3 codec and uncheck it.
More info about the problem can be found here and here.

Game crashes on start-up[edit]

Update Games for Windows - LIVE Redistributable
  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  3. Install the Games for Windows Marketplace Client.
Disable Other Monitors
If the game is crashing on start-up, disabling any other monitors in use could resolve this.
  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Screen Resolution from the context menu.
  2. In the Screen Resolution Control Panel, click on the drop down list labeled "Multiple Displays" and select "Show desktop only on 1" (or the monitor you wish to run the game on).
  3. Click apply then on the pop-up window click "Keep changes".
Change FalloutPrefs.ini to reference your current GPU
If fallout3.exe does nothing when trying to open it, your FalloutPrefs.ini may be referencing an old GPU.
  1. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winsat
  2. Open the entry named PrimaryAdapterString and copy the text, it should be something similar to AMD Radeon R9 200 Series for AMD cards
  3. Edit %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\falloutprefs.ini and change sD3DDevice to your PrimaryAdapterString
  4. It should look something like this sD3DDevice="AMD Radeon R9 200 Series"

Game hangs on closing[edit]

Disable threaded audio
  1. Edit %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  2. Change bMultiThreadAudio to bMultiThreadAudio=0

Crash when leaving Rivet City Marketplace[edit]

Happens when first entering the Rivet City marketplace to learn the history and then leaving through the door to the stairwell.
The issue is the Unofficial Patch for Broken Steel[8]
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Go into Data
  3. Replace the file Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch - Broken Steel.esp with the one found here: MediaFire
  4. Run Fallout 3

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Shader Model support 3
64-bit executable


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio DirectSound
Cutscenes Bink Video

Large Address Aware[edit]

This patch may remove GFWL!
Improves stability on systems with at least 3GB RAM, when using many heavily scripted mods

System requirements[edit]

Fallout 3 is not optimized for Windows 7 and later.
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP, Vista XP, Vista
Processor (CPU) 2.4 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 Intel Core 2 Duo
System memory (RAM) 1 GB (XP)
2 GB (Vista)
2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7 GB 7 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 6800
ATI Radeon X850
256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Nvidia GeForce 8800
ATI Radeon HD 3800
512 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Sound (audio device) DirectX 9.0c DirectX 9.0c


  1. Fallout 3 Tweak Guide - TweakGuides.com
  2. Tested by Andytizer.
  3. TweaksGuides.com Fallout 3 Tweak Guide - TweakGuides.com
  4. Mouse acceleration in new patch makes game unplayable - Bethesda Softworks Forums
  5. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up
  6. Fallout 3 on Windows 7 - Steam Users' Forums
  7. Fallout 3 GOTY Modulated Voices too quiet - Steam Users' Forums
  8. [BUG] Stuck in rivet city! Crash to Desktop on exit! (NOW RESOLVED!) - Steam Users' Forums