Monday, January 11, 2010

Fallout 3 Graphics: System Specs, and No Logic?

Downloading the new Ling's Coiffure; I upgraded LFT earlier this morning, and pulled one of the things I bitch so much about myself - didn't RTFM. Didn't notice that he changed the BSA files on the new versions. I thought the NPCs were missing some hair styles...

Anyhow, got some time to kill while the ~250mb downloads, and the food poisoning that had me praying for death moreso than I usually do last night has finally let up, so I figured I'd ramble a bit about something that has yer 'ol buddy Nos perplexed.

As I've mentioned before, I run what one would call a 'bottom spec' system for Fallout 3. 2.4ghz Athlon64 (but saddled with a 32bit windows install), 1gb DDR2, and a GeForce 8400GS that I broke down and bought to play The Witcher.

Is an Emachine I bought in 2007, when I got tired of being held back by my postively archaic (but tough as a goddamned anvil) PIII 800, that I had been stuck with when my previous Athlon's mainboard shit itself and went off to Valhalla.

Yeah, I know, real gamers build their own rigs. I've been building my own since I was 12, when the 2x86 was still hot shit.

Eventually, I got tired of it. Last system I bought to do myself from Newegg had a fucked-from-the-box processor, and it turns out they have seven day from the date of purchase return policy on CPUs. To top it off, I paid for three day shipping, and didn't get it for five. So I had one night to try what troubleshooting I could, get it boxed back up, and shipped overnight back to them. Lost something like $75 on that fucking deal, after UPS took their bite out of my ass to make up for their slow shipping the first time.

Decided I didn't want to deal with it. Bought the Emachine, cause yeah it's a Gateway, but at least if it didn't work I had a receipt and someone to bitch to.

Gonna have to break down and do it again soon, I fear. This one still runs fine, but I can't run anything newer than FO3. Not that there's much out I want... but I see something every now and again that looks interesting. Up side being that these days, $450 or so will net me a dual core with three or four gigs of DDR3. Slap my 600w PSU and GF8400 into the new box, and I'm golden for another year or two.

Anyhow, because of my lackluster system specs, I've always run Fallout 3 near to the bottom of its capabilities. 800x600, no shadows, no HDR, no bloom, no AA, specularity and light fades turned alllll the way down. It's pretty sad, really.

Finally got tired of turning in such shitty screenshots, and decided to tinker last night... as I was in blinding pain and couldn't sleep anyway.

Cranked it up to 1024x768, activated HDR, and gave a couple bars to light and specularity fade.

Didn't get a chance to test until this afternoon here, but all I can say is "...dowhatnow?"

Not only did my substantial upping of the graphics not hurt anything... but it seems to have helped.

Performance inside V1 is still shit (twenty five odd NPCs in one cell do that), but really no worse than it was. Outside, though... It actually stutters less in Megaton than it did before.

I have no fucking idea, either. I'm beginning to wonder, though, if Bethesda wasn't too lazy to scale the graphics properly - Gods know they weren't meticulous in any other facet of the game - and the reduced settings weren't optimized as well as the "normal" ones.

Or, hell, they could have gone too far, and made bottom settings use shader 1.0 or something, and my card can't render legacy shaders correctly. Who knows.

Regardless, I'm gonna keep testing, and probably nab some more screenshots; cause wow do the girls look better now.

Y'know, stuff some decent horsepower behind 'em, and apparently my NPCs really do look kickass.

Makes me briefly wonder about a quad core system with SLI'd GPUs hooked up to a 22" HD monitor...

Of course, then I remember that a rig like that would cost enough to buy myself a 300 Whisper upper, five hundred casings, and a fucking ACOG to go on it.

You know, it sucks: being not-steadily-employed; having two hobbies, but only able to scrape up cash to indulge in one.

Much as I like Fallout 3, putting real holes in things is way more fun than doing it via digital proxy...

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