Fallout 3

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Fallout 3
Fallout 3 cover
Bethesda Game Studios
Bethesda Softworks
Gamebryo (TES Engine)
Release dates
Windows October 28, 2008
Metacritic 91
Monetization DLC
Microtransactions None
Modes Singleplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person, Third-person
Controls Direct control
Genres ARPG, Open world, Shooter
Art styles Realistic
Themes North America, Post-apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Series Fallout
Fallout 3 on HowLongToBeat
Fallout 3 on IGDB
Fallout 3 guide on StrategyWiki
Fallout 3 on MobyGames
Fallout 3 on Wikipedia
Fallout 1997
Fallout 2 1998
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel 2001
Fallout 3 2008
Fallout: New Vegas 2010
Fallout 4 2015
Fallout Shelter 2016
Fallout 4 VR 2017
Fallout 76 2018


For Games for Windows - LIVE on Windows 8 or later, install the latest Games for Windows - LIVE software.

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

GOG.com Community Discussions for game series
GOG.com Support Page
Steam Community Discussions (Game of the Year Edition)
Steam Community Discussions
Fallout 3 Nexus - the most popular host for Fallout 3 mods.


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
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Launcher uses SecuROM 7 DRM disc check, run with Fallout3.exe to bypass.[1]

Some other copies use SafeDisc v4.85 DRM[Note 1].
Russian copies use StarForce 5 DRM.
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Game of the Year Edition is also available.
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Game of the Year Edition
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Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Game of the Year Edition, multi-core issues are fixed.[4]
Green Man Gaming
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Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Humble Store
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Game of the Year Edition is also available.
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Game of the Year Edition is also available.
SafeDisc retail DRM no longer functions properly on Windows Vista and later (see above for affected versions).
All versions except GOG.com require Games for Windows - LIVE DRM.[Note 2] GFWL can be disabled by running the game through FOSE. Additionally, all non-retail copies except GOG.com require Steam DRM.

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).
The GOG.com version is uncensored for Germans.

DLC and expansion packs

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

Essential improvements[edit]


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

Skip intro videos[edit]

File removal[citation needed]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\Data\Video\
  2. Delete or rename Fallout INTRO Vsk.bik.

Enable HBAO[edit]

Open the Nvidia Control panel and under Program Settings for Fallout3.exe switch Ambient Occlusion to Quality.

[5] GIF showing the difference.


A good beginner friendly non-NSFW Fallout 3 modding guide is here. Most mods can be found at Nexus. For adult oriented mods go to LoversLab .

Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch[edit]

Fixes many of the bugs which official Bethesda patches never solved.
If any of the 5 DLCs aren't present, an older bugged version is installed.
A bug prevents the hiring of a certain follower[6] even when the player meets the requirements. A fix can be found either here or here.

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.

Large Address Aware Enabler[edit]

Patch to make Fallout 3 Large Address Aware, allowing FO3 more address memory space.
GOG version is already patched.
Improves stability on systems with at least 3GB RAM.

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 is already removed in the GOG version.
Games for Windows - LIVE Disabler[citation needed]
Requires Fallout 3 v1.1 or higher.
Removes login delay, reducing startup time.
  1. Ensure that the latest version of the Games for Windows - LIVE software is installed.
  2. Launch the game once to allow the necessary config files to be created.
  3. Download and run the Games for Windows LIVE Disabler.
  4. To retrieve save games, move files from: %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\<user-id>\ to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\
  5. 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.

Windows 10 Fallout 3 Patcher[edit]

If Fallout 3 crashes on launch, this patcher may get it running.
Configures fallout.ini (or creates it if non existent) to run properly on Windows 10 automatically, including the Multi-core CPU fix.
Provides links to GfWL, DirectX 9, and .NET Runtime which are required to launch the game.

Ogg Vorbis Libraries[edit]

Released for Fallout New Vegas, but also works on Fallout 3.
Updated sound libraries that optimize the game's audio decoding, fixes an audio memory leak, sound related stuttering and boosts performance while reducing CPU strain.

NVAC - New Vegas Anti Crash[edit]

Created for Fallout New Vegas, but also works on Fallout 3.
Requires Fallout 3 Script Extender.
Implements structured exception handling and sanity checking to reduce frequency of game crashes.

F3TF - Fallout 3 Tick Fix[edit]

Requires Fallout 3 Script Extender.
Reduces stuttering.

FO3 Mod Limit Fix[edit]

Requires Fallout 3 Script Extender.
Raises the game's 120 plugin limit to 255.
Can also cause an increase in FPS, remove game stutter and allow for faster loading times especially when using a large number of mods.

Increased Heap Allocation[edit]

Requires Fallout 3 Script Extender.
Increases performance by changing the initial heap size allocated by the game.

Out Of Memory Fix[edit]

Requires Fallout 3 Script Extender.
Engine patch to decrease overall ram usage and eliminate 'Out Of Memory' errors caused when using large textures.

Vanilla UI Plus (VUI+)[edit]

Fixes user interface bugs and inconsistencies.

Tale of Two Wastelands (TTW)[edit]

Requires Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition and Fallout New Vegas Ultimate Edition.
Installation guide by GamerPoets
The mod is now in beta and is very stable.
Total conversion of Fallout 3 to Fallout New Vegas engine, allowing both games to played in one save in FNV engine with the advantages FNV engine brings in both stability and modding.
Ability to totally ignore FNV story and play it later or not at all or play FNV story first and then FO3 one, again ignoring FO3 story or not.
Includes more than 40000 bug fixes to both games.
As this is FNV engine, Fallout 3 mods are not compatible at all and FNV mods must be researched if they are compatible with TTW before using them.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\*.ini
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/22300/pfx/[Note 3]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/22300/pfx/[Note 3]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud

Save games missing[edit]

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

Retrieve Missing Saves[citation needed]
  1. Go to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\.
  2. Search in the subfolders for your latest saves. If you 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).

Once you restart the game, your saves should now be detected.


Video settings.
Video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Multi-monitor.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
See Field of view (FOV).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Install OneTweak followed by FOSE and enable the windowed mode in the launcher.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Set in launcher. Up to 15 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
High dynamic range display (HDR)
Rendered image uses SDR color space. In-game HDR option refers only to HDR Rendering.
Most graphics options are accessible on the main launcher screen.


Adds support for multi-monitor displays.
Displays HUD on the middle display.
Multi-monitor[citation needed]
  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)[7]
  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.
Input settings.

Mouse acceleration[edit]

Disable mouse acceleration[8][9]
  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.
Audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Music, footsteps, voice, effects and radio.
Surround sound
In-game Audio, up to 7.1 output[10] Cutscene Audio is 2.0.
Shows one subtitle at a time.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
Use DSOAL to enable true binaural sound. Does not require a sound card.[11]
May require DirectSound3D restoration software to restore proper audio functionality on Vista and later (Included in HRTF mod).


The German version only includes the German language.
Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Retail only, Download.
Retail only.
Retail only. Patch for digital release here.

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
Use Helix Mod: Fallout 3 for better 3D support.
TriDef 3D
G3D, DirectVR
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
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]

Multiple Core CPU Fix[12][13]
The most common fix required for this game.
Not required for the GOG.com version.[4]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  2. Change bUseThreadedAI=0 to bUseThreadedAI=1
  3. Make a new line after it and add iNumHWThreads=2
  4. If the game still crashes, try iNumHWThreads=1

Game crashes on start-up[edit]

Make sure you can log in GFWL[citation needed]

In case of any problems, run Fallout 3 in compatibility mode - Windows XP SP3, and GFWL installer in Windows 7 copatibility mode.

Disable Other Monitors[14][citation needed]
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[citation needed]
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
  4. Change sD3DDevice to your PrimaryAdapterString
  5. It should look something like this sD3DDevice="AMD Radeon R9 200 Series"

Crash when starting new game or loading save[edit]

unsupported IGPs and windows 10 AU: use graphics bypass[15]
Reset codecs[16]
  1. Check if renaming <path-to-game>\Data\Music or <path-to-game>\Data\Video solves the issue.
  2. If so, fix codecs.
Run as administrator[citation needed]

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[citation needed]

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

Editing the config file[17][citation needed]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\fallout.ini
  2. Edit fFilterdBAttenuation=11.5 to 0

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.
Use DSOAL[citation needed]
Fix for Creative X-Fi soundcards[18][citation needed]
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. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\fallout.ini
  2. Edit iAudioCacheSize=2048 to 4096.
  3. Install the latest 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.
Use IndirectSound[19]
Disable MP3 decoding in LAV Splitter Configuration[20]
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.
Set LAV Audio as preferred DirectShow MP3 decoder
Might work with similar codec packs, for example ffdshow.
  1. Download and open CodecTweakTool.
  2. Go to Preferred decoders under Win7DSFilterTweaker.
  3. Under 32-bit decoders find MP3 and switch it to LAV Audio (or any other non-Microsoft decoder).

Crash when leaving Rivet City marketplace[edit]

Use UPDATED Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch version 1.3 or greater[citation needed]
  1. See UUF3P Instructions
Use fixed Broken Steel patch[citation needed]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\Data\
  2. Replace the file Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch - Broken Steel.esp with the one found here

Game hangs on closing[edit]

Disable threaded audio[citation needed]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  2. Change bMultiThreadAudio=1 to bMultiThreadAudio=0

Game hangs a few seconds after loading[edit]

Disable Creative Alchemy if no Creative soundcard present[citation needed]
This might occur if you had a Creative soundcard installed at any point, then removed it.
  1. Run Creative ALchemy.
  2. Ensure that Fallout 3 is not in the "ALchemy-enabled Games" column.

Game becomes unresponsive after Alt+Tab [edit]

Enable borderless fullscreen
  1. Install One Tweak mod.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Shader Model support 3
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio DirectSound
Cutscenes Bink Video 1.7d

Mod Manager[edit]

Mod Managers simplify mod installations, use one of the following.

Fallout Mod Manager (FOMM)[edit]

Basic mod manager with a simple interface, good for beginners.

Mod Organizer[edit]

Powerful and easy to use mod manager with mod virtualization, in order to keep the installation folder clean.
Features a configuration editor, the FOSE executable can also be set to be launched through the configurator.


The official mod manager made by Nexus Mods.
It is designed to make modding your game as simple as possible for new users, while still providing enough control for more experienced veterans of the modding scene.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP, Vista
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 4000+
System memory (RAM) 1 GB (XP)
2 GB (Vista)
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon X850
Nvidia GeForce 6800
256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Sound (audio device) DirectX 9.0c compatible
Fallout 3 is not optimized for Windows 7 and later.


  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[2] and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[3]
  2. Games for Windows - LIVE DRM features: Legacy activation, supports local profiles.
  3. 3.0 3.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/22300/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (22300) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.