Fallout

My experience running Fallout 3

fallout 1 - My experience running Fallout 3
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I've been doing battle with this decrepit engine over the last couple of days and thought I'd share my journey in case it helps someone. There is a TLDR at the bottom.

I'm running the gog version on windows 10, with a Ryzen 5 2400g and a 144hz freesync monitor. Using the integrated GPU.

There were a number of problems noticeable immediately upon first run:

Really bad mouse lag in menus and VATS:
The internet informed me that this can be solved by setting iPresentInterval=0 in fallout.ini. This works but I recommend leaving it at 1 for reasons I will explain later.

Horrific, unbearable stutter, some of the worst I've seen. Stutter isn't even the right word, it was terrible.
It seems this was caused by a bad interaction with the power saving features of the 2400g. For some reason the GPU was down-clocking all the time. I solved this by "overclocking" the GPU to its default frequency, so that the frequency was stable. But a word of warning to anyone using this APU: if you overclock only the GPU and leave everything else as stock, the CPU goes apeshit, and pegs itself at maximum boost clocks, I observed 3.9Ghz all-core boost at 1.5v. This is bad, so if manually setting the GPU frequency, you must also manually set the CPU so it does not cook itself.

Microstutter
With the worst of the stutter gone, I soon learned there is an infamous "64hz" bug in the engine, which causes microstutter and can be fixed by a mod called Fallout Stutter Remover, which itself requires a mod called Fallout Script Extender. The stutter remover has a number of options, I recommend you disable them all except the 64Hz fix.

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Failed lip sync
Everything was looking pretty good at this point, everything was smooth and freesync was working, so no tearing. But i noticed the NPC lips were out of sync with the audio. I had read that this game does weird shit when running over 60fps, and figured that must be it, and wondered what else might be (less obviously) broken. I tried using the stutter remover's FPS limiter but it doesn't appear to do anything, at least I couldn't get it to work. So I used MSI afterburner/RTSS to limit to 60fps. This fixed the lip sync but for some reason introduced really bad tearing. Bizarrely, freesync appeared to still be working, the monitor OSD reported it was matching the framerate, but there was still tearing. The solution was to change iPresentInterval back to its default of 1, which removed the tearing.

Read:  Fallout 76: Players want to be PART of the story.

One last thing
Performance in some outdoor locations was a bit poor, after some investigations the biggest performance hits seemed to come from antialiasing and water reflections. Reflections had a big impact even when no water was visible. So i disabled "Full Scene Reflections" and set quality to medium. The visual difference is not very big and only affects water. This seemed like the biggest framerate benefit for the smallest quality loss available. Game runs great with everything else on ultra and 4xAA.

TLDR

  • iPresentInterval=0 removes mouse lag but causes bad tearing. Leave it at default, the mouse lag gets better once everything else is fixed.
  • Prevent GPU from downclocking to eliminate the worst stutter.
  • Microstutter fixed by Fallout stutter remover mod.
  • Limit to 60fps with RTSS to fix lip sync
  • Turn off "Full Scene Reflections" and reflections = medium for a good performance boost outdoors.

YMMV especially with a non-freesync monitor. This game has weird things going on, but this is how it worked out for me.

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