Arwen's Fallout 3 Journal 

Home Page | White Mountains Hiking | Kayaking | My Avatar | Girl Gamer | Bio Pages | Morrowind Journal | Email
FO3 Journal | Trials of a Wasteland Wanderer | FO3 Mods | FO3 Tips | Skyrim Journal | FONV Journal | Oblivion Journal | Forum

Updated January 04, 2014

Arwen's FallouT 3
tweaks & tips
Index to Arwen's Tips



My Need to Tweak


My Gaming Computer (opens a new page)


My nVidia/nHancer settings for FO3

Changing The Timescale


For longer game days . . . highly recommended when using survival mods.

Fallout 3 Game of The Year Edition


Installation and tips

MODs 101 - The Basics (updated 2/23/09)


What Exactly Is a MOD?


How My Fallout 3 Journal Can Help


My Goals

How To Add a MOD To Your Game


Basic Instructions on Installing a Mod using FOMM

How to Do a Clean Save

The Fallout.ini & FalloutPrefs.ini files: Basic Edits


Remove Waypoints from Pipboy Maps

Console Commands


Changing your Character's Appearance

Big Red Exclamation Points! (equals a missing texture)


How to identify the mod that the missing texture belongs to



Fallout's Editor

Links- offsite links to other Fallout 3 tweak resources

Page Menu: | Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | Fallout ini Edits | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | GECK Tips | Links

My Need to Tweak

When you run Fallout for the first time, the program automatically sets the graphics for you, based on your PC. If you're actually happy with the way the program set things up graphically, then just play the game and don't change anything. But if you want to find some ways to tweak up the graphics AND still get acceptable FPS, then you might want to try out some of my tweaks (Oh, I should probably point out that "my" doesn't mean that I come up with all these tweaks (although I did come up with a few of them on my own) . . . "my" refers to my collection of tweaks that helped improve both the appearance and the performance of Fallout on my previous computer.

If you have an NVidia graphics card, I strongly suggest that you use nHancer (Advanced Control Panel and Profile Editor for nVidia cards).

Arwen Note: The information below was written when I was using an older graphics card: an XFX NVidia GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB DDR3 @500MHz.

Using nHancer, I was able to increase my FPS in Fallout 3 by 60-80%. This made a HUGE difference to how my game ran, looked, and it actually reduced my VATS lag and my crashes to desktop (now nearly non- existent)

First of all . . . make sure that you have the latest drivers for your graphics card installed!

My nHancer settings [Under Profiles: Fallout3]

Enhancements tab:
- I checked Anti-Aliasing / Miltisampling / 2x
- Then under 2x Multisampling: checked Enhance in-game AA setting (this gave me a big FPS increase)
- CheckedAnisotropic Filtering / 8x (this may slow down FPS a bit, but only very slightly on my system)
- Checked Vertical Sync / on

Optimizations tab:
- Checked Texture Filtering: High Quality
- Checked Trilinear optimization: On
I left everything else at the default setting, without checking anything:
- Aniso sample optimization: On
- Negative LOD Bias: Clamp
- Adjust LOD Bias: not used (0.00)
- Force DXT3 (OpenGL): Off
- Prerender Limit: checked and set at 2 (reduces input lag, without much of a performance hit)

Compatibility tab:
Under Direct 3D
- Checked Anti-Aliasing compatibility (and selecte "200100C5: Gamebryo (Oblivion, Fallout3)
- Checked CPU Multi Core support (since my system is dual core)

With these settings, I'm now GENERALLY getting 33 to 45 FPS (according to FRAPS) in the Wasteland . . . that's with all the graphic sliders at maximum, and with all the mods in my FO3 mod list installed (including the ones that add high resolution textures) . . . so I'm VERY happy!



Page Menu: | Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | Fallout ini Edits | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | GECK Tips | Links
Changing The Timescale (for longer game days)

The default game speed is 30:1, meaning that a game day lasts 48 minutes in real time (24/30).

The default game speed is too fast to use survival mods that add eating, drinking, and sleeping needs . . . you'll soon begin to feel that all you character is doing is eating and sleeping (as these needs will be popping up every few minutes). This is why you need to change your timescale settings.

I'm currently using a game speed of 8:1 (but with my Realism Tweaks' Dynamic Timescale enabled). So a game day will last 3 hours for me (24/8).

This may seem a bit fast, but when my Dynamic Timescale enabled, the Timescale is reduced by 50% (in this case to 4:1) whenever my character is in an interior cell, or when she is flagged as being in combat, or when her health is reduced to 40%. [And (to confuse things a bit more) my Realism Tweaks also includes a Menu Time option, that makes the game time still advance during the time that you spend in any menus. (In the default game, time is frozen while you are in any menu.)]

Changing the Timescale

Open the console (~ key)

Type the following in (to set game speed to 4:1):

set timescale to 4

Exit the console. The new game speed will be saved with your game.

To reset the default speed (of 30:1), open the console and type:

set timescale to 30

To view current game speed setting, open the console and type:

show timescale

Arwen Note: If you're my Realism Tweaks, your Timescale will automatically be changed to 8 during the Escape! (from Vault 101) Quest. This seems to be the best compromise for the exterior scale of the game world (for traveling distance), and for my Med-Tec Needs and Injuries rates.  You can easily adjust the Timescale in my mod's Options Menu, but setting your Timescale much higher than 10 or 12 will have a negative effect on my Dynamic Sneak, due to the pace of the time-of-day settings.  Note: even though my Med-Tec module's Needs Rates will automatically be adjusted when you use a different Timescale, using a faster Timescale will make it a LOT more difficult to monitor your needs, and to treat your injuries in time.

You can also enable my Dynamic Timescale, by toggling on/off my Slower Interior Timescale (disabled by default, but I highly recommend enabling this in my mod's Option Menu). When this is toggled on, your Timescale will be reduced by 50% when you are in interior cells. This seems to work well, because interior cells are more realistically scaled than exterior cells (when considering distance over time factors). Enabling my Dynamic Timescale will also automatically switch to the slower Timescale during combat, and when your Health is lower than 40%. (This gives users of my Med-Tec module more time to monitor and treat their injuries during these critical times.)


Page Menu: | Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | Fallout ini Edits | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | GECK Tips | Links
Fallout 3 Game of The Year Edition (FO3 GOTY)


NOTE: If you have FO3 installed and patched to the latest version (v.1.7), you may not want to install DVD #1 (the original game), as you'll have reinstall all your mods again (which I definitely didn't want to deal with, since I had my game running really well).

1.) I just jumped right to the install of the DLC mods [DownLoad Content], but this still proved to be a challenge. I wasted a couple of hours trying to get the game to install . . . which was taking FOREVER before the install would even begin . . . and then after getting 90% through the install process, it would give me the same error message (something about the CAB not match the install Data path). I finally went looking for help on the official FO3 forums, and immediately found this Sticky post: "Game of the Year Edition, Second Disk Install Issues" (Yeah, so I really should have gone looking for help after the first failed install, but I'm sort of stubborn about figuring out how to do things myself . . . ok?) Anyhoo, once I had rebooted my computer into Safe mod, DVD #2 install without any problem whatsoever. [Note: unlike the downloaded version (Games For Windows Live) of DLCs, the GOTY edition installs all the DLC into your Fallout3/Data folder.]

2.) Then I just opened FOMM and moved the 5 DLC ems to the top of my load order (right below the Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch.esm), and checked each ems. I was not yet ready to start the game, as I still needed to reinstall a number of my installed mods (as a number had DLC versions or patches).

3). The Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch (with all the DLC esps)

4). Free Play after Main Quest (remove, as this is not needed with the Broken Steel DLC, and the two are not compatible).

5). Install Delay DLC

Arwen Note: I still have to update a number of other mods (as a number include DLC versions/patches), but I was able to load a previous save just fine, and my GOTY version of the game ran great. Basically just load all the DLC esms right after the the Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch esm, and put the Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch DLC esps right after the last esm (these should generally be the first esps loaded). See my mod Load Order section for all the details.

Games for Windows LIVE [G4WL] Disabler v.1.2.2 (5/08/09) - by Quarn

"This program allows you to do the following to Games for Windows LIVE in Fallout 3:"

- Stop G4WL from running in FO3 and prevent its dll files from loading (reduces the time it takes for Fallout 3 to startup).
- Remove the "LIVE" button at the main menu.
- Allow you to bind the "Home" key to whatever action you want.
- Allow you to move all of your DLC's out of their "hidden" G4WL folder and into your Fallout 3 folder.

Important Notes\Issues

This will work with Fallout 3 version 1.1 or higher.
If you disable G4WL and actually use it then all your saves will disappear (you can find them in your \My Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\[name]) simply move them to the Saves folder.
When G4WL is disabled, any DLC's you have will cease to function so use the "Move DLC's" button to get your DLC's working again.

Arwen Note: I did not need to use this utility, but it apparently is necessary for some installs.

Games for Windows LIVE Disabler


Page Menu: | Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | Fallout ini Edits | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | GECK Tips | Links
MODs 101 (The Basics)

What Exactly Is a MOD?

One of the best things about Fallout 3 is that it came with a program called Garden of Eden Creation Kit [G.E.C.K.] This program is used to create, modify, and edit data in the game. And these changes and additions are added to your installed game through MODs. (Note: you do not have to use G.E.C.K. to install and use mods that were made by other people.)

So MODs are used to modify your game (the term "MOD" is just short for "modify").

- MODs can make graphic changes, like the ones that change the appearance of the characters in the game.
- MODs can even add new characters, and change or add new buildings, plants, clothing, weapons, wildlife, and many other types of items.
- MODs can even add entire villages, cities, and even new land masses to the game.

All that is pretty amazing, but MODs can do way more than just make graphic changes/additions. MODs can also change the way the game plays.

- There are MODs that change combat, change the behavior of the wildlife, slow down the speed that you level up, change how healing works.
- There are MODs that add alternative starts (allowing you to skip the tutorial), change the way that VATS works, make explosions more realistic
- There are MODs that I call my "comfort level" mods, which reduce the amount of gore in the game

And that's just the beginning.

- MODs can also make it so your character needs to eat food, drink water, and sleep.
- MODs can change the weather and lighting in the game - and make nights and interiors darker - so you will need your PipBoy light to see.
- MODs can add and change sound effects, voices, or add songs or even new stations to your PipBoy.
- There are MODs that do all that and even more.

There are now thousands of MODs that are available for Fallout 3.

Ok, so how do you even begin to know which ones to use?

How This Site Can Help:

You see, my Fallout 3 Journal is meant to be a role-playing guide, since Fallout 3 is a Role-Playing game (or RPG).

Adding the right combination of mods to your game can change Fallout 3 into a much better RPG (of course, everyone has their own ideas about what is "better" in a RPG, so you might not want to install all the mods that are my Fallout 3 Mod List).

Customizing Fallout 3 with mods has not been at all easy - and I'm not even making the mods. I've just researched what mods were available, downloaded and installed them, and tested them in my game. But I've spent a great deal of time trying out a large number of mods in order to improve this game. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience at doing this (see my Oblivion Journal), so I'm much fast than I used to be (and make fewer mistakes now).

My Goals:

My main goal in adding MODS has always been to make the game more fun!

The MODs that I'm using have all done at least one of the following:

1.) Made Fallout 3 more balanced (Rebalancing and Leveling Mods)
2.) Corrected or improved the game quests (Quest Fixing Mods)
3.) Made Fallout 3 a better Role-playing game (Realism Mods)
4.) Improved the way information was presented to the player (Interface Mods)
5.) Improved the appearance of the game (Graphic Mods)
6.) Added some new things to the game (Expansion Mods)

I wanted Fallout 3 to be a Role Playing Game that would be a real adventure for me, and I think that I've found a good combination of mods that give me that.

I also have my own ideas about what is wrong with Fallout 3 (and what needs to be fixed), so my preferences in selecting mods might be very different from what others might want in their game. So look at this more as a mod review (for a very small percentage of the mods that are available for Fallout 3).

Are you new to Fallout 3?

Do you need some help with mods (or with anything else)?

Or do you just have questions or comments about this journal?

I've put together a place called Arwen's Realm,

and you're invited to stop by and become a member of our group

For the mods that I am using, along with their download links, my reviews on them, and screenshots, check out my MODs Page.


Page Menu: | Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | Fallout ini Edits | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | GECK Tips | Links
How to Add a Mod to Fallout 3

Adding a MOD To Your Game - Using FOMM:

Please Note: these are just my own personal BASIC instructions on how to use the Fallout Mod Manager [FOMM] to install and manage your mods. FOMM does way more than I have explained here, so my instructions should not in any way be considered as an FOMM instruction guide. My only intent here is to provide some basic instructions on how to install mods - and FOMM is, in my opinion, the best way to do this.

1.) Find the mod and download it to your Desktop.
(Note: a mod can be just a single esp file, but most mods contain a number of files in what is called an archive - which is usually in compressed format, to make the archive smaller in size, so that it will be faster to download.)
I have included the download links for all the
mods that I have listed, so locating and downloading should be easy. To keep my downloaded mods better organized, I made a "Fallout Mods" folder on my Desktop, where I download all my mods to.
2.) If you need to Unzip the mod archive (extract the compressed files), you need to use a program like 7-Zip
if you use the Fallout Mod Manager [FOMM] to install mods, you usually don't have to unzip the archive. (If a mod is not packaged correctly to be used in FOMM, you will have to unzip the mod, rearrange the contents and then rezip it, making a new archive. But I'm not going to cover all that here.)
3.) Read the ReadME (the text file that came with the mod).
The ReadMe contains information on how to install, configure, update, and uninstall that specific
mod. With 7-Zip, you can read basic text files without unzipping it (just open the archive).
4.) Install the mod.
Since you really should be using FOMM to install your mods, the remainder of my instructions on how to install your mod will be on how to do this with FOMM. And I'm only covering how to do with mod archives, since this is the easiest way to install mods.
4.a) Open (start) FOMM.
Any esm or esp files that are currently in your Fallout/Data folder, should be listed in the upper left window. At the very least, you should see the Fallout3.esm. If nothing is listed, then FOMM (or FO3) isn't installed properly.
4.b) Click on the Package Manager button.
This will open a new window. Only the mods that you have previously install with FOMM will be listed here. This is actually the list of fomods, which are the converted mods, that FOMM uses (they are stored by default in your FOMM directory, in the fomm/mods folder).
4.c) Click on the Add New button.
This will open a new window. Navigate to the location of the mod you want to install, select the mod archive, and click on the Open button.
This will return you to the Package Manager window, where the new mod should be listed at the bottom of the fomod list.
4.d) Select your newly created fomod (click on it, which will highlight it) and then click on the Edit Info button.
A new window will open. This is where you can edit or add information about the mod, such as the version number (which really helps when you're wondering if you have the latest version of the mod).
Note: You can also add your own description of what the mod does - which will help you in keeping track of your mods - after all, you don't want to be adding mods that make the same changes to the game - which can cause conflicts, and mess up your game). You can assign the mod to a group (in the group list) - which also helps in keeping your mods better organized.
4.e) When you are done editing the information on the mod, click on the Save button (at the bottom).
Don't worry if you don't have all the information on the mod, as you can return and edit this information anytime.
Note: You can also view the mod's Readme file (if it has one), by click on the View Readme button.
5.) Activate the mod.
The fomod should still be highlighted (if it is not, click on it again).
Click on the Activate button.
The box in front of the mod's name should now have a check mark in it.
Close the PackageManager (which should return you to the main FOMM window).
6.) Put the esp and esm files in the correct load order.
The correct load order is sometimes given in the ReadMe (especially when the mod has multiple esps), but it also depends on what other mods you have installed (due to compatibility.
All esm files must ALWAYS load first (before any esp files).
When two mods make some of the same changes, the last one loaded (further down the list) will overwrite the earlier change.
In the
Fallout Mod Manager all you have to do is select the file and drag the esp up or down with your mouse (or highlight it and move it with your keyboard's up/down arrow keys)
Note: the mods further down the list load after any mods above them.
If you're not sure what order to put your mods in, you can use my
Mod Load Order Section as a guide.
7.) Other options:
You can also uncheck any esp (and esm) in FOMM (just click on the mod's check box)
This is helpful (and often necessary when a mod has multiple esp's)
You can also delete any esp that you don't need (by right-clicking on it and selecting delete).
(If you need to restore a deleted esp, just open the Package Manager, Deactivate the mod and then Activate it again.)

Important: if you want to delete the entire mod, follow my instructions at the bottom (#9)
8.) Play Fallout 3.
Click on the Launch button on FOMM (the Launch FOSE button if you have FOSE installed).
Play long enough to find out if the MOD (and the game) works properly.

9.) Removing a Mod (that you created with FOMM), you need to follow these instructions:
Open FOMM and then the Package Manager.
Select the fomod that you want to remove.
Right-click on it and select delete.

Page Menu: | Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | Fallout ini Edits | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | GECK Tips | Links
How to Do a Clean Save

Some mods require a clean save when you uninstall them or when you upgrade to a newer version.

Follow these steps:

1.) It is generally best to go to an interior cell, and smaller cells are best. An interior cell is apparent because you have a loading screen when you "open" the door from the outside (such as when you enter most buildings).
2.) Save your game to a new save slot (do not overwrite an earlier save) and quit the game.
3.) Uninstall the mod.
4.) Start the game and load your last saved game.
5.) After the game full loads, make a new save (do not overwrite an earlier save) and quit the game.
6.) If you're upgrading the mod that you uninstalled, you can now install the new version.
7.) Start the game and load your previous saved game.
8.) Just to be safe: make one more new save (do not overwrite an earlier save).
9.) That's it!

Page Menu: | Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | Fallout ini Edits | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | GECK Tips | Links
Fallout.ini & FalloutPrefs.ini Tweaks
Arwen Note: If you are launching Fallout through the FOMM and running FOSE, the FalloutPrefs,ini file apparently is bypassed (so edits to the file will have no effect on your game).
FalloutPrefs.ini Edits:
Remove Waypoints from Pipboy Compass

change bShowQuestMarkers=1 to bShowQuestMarkers=0 in the [Gameplay] section.
(This will disable the quest markers which appear at the very bottom of your compass.)

Video Card Bug Fix

change fGamma=1.0000 tofGamma=1.1867

Fallout.ini Edits:
Remove the Invisible Borders

change bBorderRegionsEnabled=1 to bBorderRegionsEnabled=0

Quad Core Fix

Find the line:
Change it to:
Add another line after it and insert:

Mouse Acceleration Fix

Add these lines to the [controls] section:

Change the 1st Person Field of View (FOV) of the Pip-Boy

Find the following line:
Change the default 47.0000 to a lower value to move your view closer (zoom in)
Change the default 47.0000 to a higher value to move your view back (zoom out / wide angle)

The screenshots below show the results (my resolution is set at 1680 x 1050). For me, increasing the value to 50.000 works the best , as it shows the entire Pip-Boy, while not making the screen too small.

Pipboy1stPersonFOV=47.0000 fPipboy1stPersonFOV=60.0000

Change the Field of View (FOV) for the computer terminal screens

Find the following line:
Change the default 0.15 to a lower value to move your view closer (zoom in)
Change the default 0.15 to a higher value to move your view back (zoom out / wide angle)

Move to HUD Bars Closer to the Edge of the Screen

Find the follow and change the default 15 to a lower value (I'm using 5):

Increase Number of Cells that are Buffered into RAM (may help make performance a bit smoother)

If you have 1 GB of RAM:
try changing uInterior Cell Buffer=3 to uInterior Cell Buffer=6
try changing uExterior Cell Buffer=36 to uExterior Cell Buffer=72
If you have 2 GB of RAM:
try changing uInterior Cell Buffer=3 to uInterior Cell Buffer=16
try changing uExterior Cell Buffer=36 to uExterior Cell Buffer=102

To Reduce Tree Pop-ups

Note: This tweak may have a negative impact on your FPS, but it can really reduce that popping out effects of leaves if you're using one of the "greener" mods

Under [SpeedTree]
change bEnableTrees=0 to bEnableTrees=1

To Reduce the Amount of Combat Blood:

Under [Display] find the following line:
Change the default 10 to a lower value to reduce the maximum number of blood decals that will be displayed.
Important: If you change the iMaxDecalsPerFrame value in your Falloutini file, you need to make the same edit to your FalloutPrefs.ini file.

For Increased Realism:

1.) Increase the maximum number of blood decals displayed . . . as shown above, but increase the value to
Under [Display] find the following line:

Change the default 10 to a higher value (try 25) to increase the maximum number of blood decals that will be displayed.
Note you may want to used my Less Blood - Better Decals mod's smaller decals, as they permit many more blood decals to be displayed, before things get messy.

2.) Increase the length of time that blood decals last (before they begin to fade).
The default value is only 10 seconds. For 10 minutes, change the value to 600.0000 [for 1 hour, use 3600].

Note: wound decals will disappear when you change apparel, move to a different cell, or load a saved game. And wounds that you receive while in first person will not appear when when you change to third person view (and vice versa).

To Disable all Gore / Blood

Under General Settings, make a new entry:


Page Menu: | Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | Fallout ini Edits | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | GECK Tips | Links
Console Commands

To open the console from within the game: used the ~ key (above the TAB key on my keyboard)

Character Appearance: (if you're character's appearance didn't come out exactly right)
Changing Their Age (works on player and NPC (select with click), one can cycle from child, over teenager to adult to granny/grandpa)

enter agerace 1 to get older
and agerace -1 to get younger

Open the FO3 FaceGen

enter showracemenu

Note: you have to close the console (~) before you will be able to make any changes or even see your character.

If your character becomes stuck (in the landscape, behind furniture, etc):

enter tcl
(toggle clipping)
Close the console and pass through whatever you're stuck in.
Open the console again and enter tcl (to toggle clipping off)


Big Red Exclamation Points (equals a missing texture)

To identifying the mod that the missing texture belongs to:

1.) Position yourself right in front of the red exclamation point
2.) Open the console (~)
3.) Use your mouse pointer to click on the object with the red exclamation point
4.) Write down the first two digits (letter and/or number) in the displayed string.
5.) Load FOMM and look at the characters in the right hand column.
6.) The problem mod is the one with the matching digits.

To run multiple sessions of GECK at the same time

In the GECKCustom.ini file [C:\Users\(username)\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\GECKCustom.ini]:
Find "bAllowMultipleEditors=0" and change the 0 to 1

To use FOSE scripts in the GECK

Go to your Fallout 3 game folder (Default is: C:\Program Files (x86)\Bethesda Softworks\Fallout 3)
Right click on fose_loader.exe and select Send to/Desktop (make shortcut)
Right click on your new shortcut and select Properties
Add  -editor  to the very end of the Target (after the ")
Like this (depending on location): "C:\Program Files (x86)\Bethesda Softworks\Fallout 3\fose_loader.exe" -editor



Fallout 3 Tweak Guide - by Koroush Ghazi: This is an excellent guide to tweaking the game (including Fallout.ini edits)

Page Menu:| Introduction | MODs 101 | FOMM | Clean Saves | ini Files | Console Commands | Exclamation Points! | links

Home Page | White Mountains Hiking | Kayaking | My Avatar | Girl Gamer | Bio Pages | Morrowind Journal | Email
FO3 Journal | Trials of a Wasteland Wanderer | FO3 Mods | FO3 Tips | Skyrim Journal | FONV Journal | Oblivion Journal | Forum
This Website has been online since April 20, 2002
Designed and maintained by
~ Arwen ~
Copyright 201