Setting Fallout 3 up for Mods & ENB
After installing mods and ENB settings, some changes need to be made before
launching Oblivion. If you launch Fallout 3 before making these changes, the game
will most likely not start, and if it does, it definitely will not
be able to load a save-game without CTD.
With the exception of number 1, these changes are absolutely necessary for Fallout 3 to work after modding.
1: Tweaking System: Windows (Optional)
2: Tweaking System: Drivers Settings
3: Tweaking Fallout 3: Load-Order
4: Tweaking Fallout 3: Fallout 3 INI-Files
5: Tweaking Fallout 3: Launcher
1 - Windows (Optional)
Having a fast and stable system is absolutely necessary to run a heavily modded Fallout 3. If you have a high-end system, you should have nothing to worry about, even with all mods installed. But if you have a semi-old or medium-spec system (like mine), it will be put to the test, so you want to give Fallout 3 the best possible conditions to get the most out of it. If you already have a fast and stable system, proceed to the driver settings instead.
Cleaning/optimizing Windows is of course a huge subject, so I will not go into details, but rather give suggestions what to look out for. This is written for Windows 7 x64, but most things apply to XP/Vista/Win8/Win10 (32/64bit) as well.
1: Make sure your system is virus/mal-ware
free. (It's a given, but I'm writing it anyway)
2: Have as few unnecessary programs running in the background as possible. Preferably non.
3: Never have real-time anti-virus programs running. They slow down any computer with at least 10-20%, and most of them does an extremely poor job at protecting against viruses anyway. The best way to protect a computer against mal-ware and viruses, is by having a great firewall, preferably at router level, so nothing gets to the computer in the first place.
4: If you have to use a firewall at computer level (Not all routers have great firewalls), use one that doesn't require a lot of resources, and turn off Windows built-in firewall & services. I can recommend Comodo Firewall. It's free, and comes in both 32 and 64bit versions.
5: Get rid of all junk-driver-programs. Keep the drivers of course, but uninstall or disable all the useless services that constantly run in the background. Like scanner, printer or audio "service" programs that comes with the drivers.
6: Get rid of junk-apps. Weather apps, search bars and joke apps etc., They use your connection to bring you useless commercials and junk, which takes up recourses.
7: Get rid of PunkBuster, if you have it. Go to services, and check if "PnkBstrA" and/or "PnkBstrB" are running. If they are, stop and disable them. (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services) *If you use Comodo Firewall, you can block PunkBuster from ever being installed again, and prohibit execution of any PunkBuster services. You would be surprised how many games silently install this junk program.
8: Clean the temp-files. I can recommend CClean. It's free, and comes in both 32 and 64bit versions.
9: Check Windows Start-up list. I can recommend CClean for this too. (Tools - Startup)
10: Clean Windows Task Scheduler. Get rid of all the useless checks that makes your system slow down at randomly when Windows hit a timer. (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Task Scheduler)
11: Don't use iTunes. Besides being the slowest, most featureless, incompatible, ugly, and absolute worst media player ever made, it will also decrease performance on any system, and try to run the weirdest and most useless tasks at random. Stay far away from any Apple products. No offence about running Apple products on Apple machines, I guess it's a match, but Apple is just not capable of writing efficient code at PC standard.
12: Stop and disable useless background services. (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services)
12-1: Stop and disable all junk-services, like updaters and support services from drivers and programs. (Examples: Acronis Scheduler2 Service, Adobe Acrobat Update Service, Creative Audio Service, Skype Updater, SwitchBoard, Google Updater, etc..)
12-2: Disable the worst Microsoft services. Like: Application Experience, Background Intelligent Transfer Service, IP Helper, Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), Media Center Extender Service, Office Source Engine, Offline Files, Program Compatibility Assistant Service, Remote Registry, Routing and Remote Access, Superfetch, Tablet PC Input Service, Windows Firewall (Most useless firewall ever made), Windows Media Center Receiver Service, Windows Media Center Scheduler Service, Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service, Windows Search (This has nothing to do with "Search", it's just another name for the horrible and complete useless "indexing service").
13: If you have a multi-core CPU, like a Core-i5 or i7, make sure to disable Core parking. (Google how, there are lots of guides)
14: Always have the latest graphics card drivers installed. Don't use the ones from Windows update. Go to the manufactures website and download the latest drivers specifically for your card.
15: Update Direct-X, XNA Framework, Visual C++ Redistributables and .NET Framework. All these can be found at the Microsoft Download Center.
Windows 10 tips:
16: Get rid of Cortana. Ask yourself, has "she" ever been useful for anything but taking up resources? (Cortana takes up resources even when disabled)
This tool will remove Cortana completely from your system: (LINK)
17: Stop apps from running in the background. While this might be useful on a phone or tablet, it's nothing but silly on a PC/Laptop.
18: Stop all the "services" that report your behavior to Microsoft, and stop the useless maps services.
2 - Drivers Settings
This only applies for nVidia drivers. If you have
an ATI or an Intel graphic card, you might want to Google how to set the same settings.
Open up the nVidia Control Panel, and go to "Manage 3D settings". Then click the "Program Settings" tab, and add the "FalloutLauncher.exe".
*If you have the Steam version of Fallout 3, you need to apply the same settings to the Fallout 3 Shortcut.
Set the following parameters:
Antialiasing - FXAA (Off or Application-controlled)
Antialiasing - Gamma correction (Off or Application-controlled)
Antialiasing - Mode (Off or Application-controlled)
Antialiasing - Setting (Application-controlled)
Antialiasing - Transparency (Off)
*ENB has it's own AA settings, so no worries, AA will be active anyway. If you enable the driver AA, ENB will be disabled completely.
Threaded Optimization (On)
*If you don't have a multi-core CPU, set this: "Off"
Vertical sync (On)
*If you prefer higher FPS instead of tear-free smooth game-play, set this: "Off"
*ENB also has an option for handling V-sync, but I prefer nVidia's V-sync. If you want to use the ENB V-sync instead, just go to the Fallout 3 game folder and open up "enblocal.ini" with a notepad and find:
Change this to:
3 - Load-Order
Info: The load-order is a list that determines in which order Fallout 3 loads additional content. (Mods) The load-order has 255 slots which are loaded into the memory one by one in the exact order they are listed. If identical data appears (If two mods contain the same data), the last listed mod will overwrite whatever came first. Also, if a mod has references to another mod, this other mod HAS to be listed in the load-order BEFORE the mod with the dependency. If a mod is depending on something that is missing or listed later in the load-order, Fallout 3 will either not load those mods, load them with errors, or not even start up. This fact makes it VERY important to have a 100% correct load-order. Besides dependencies, some mods edit the same location space cells too, and often have different lighting settings, even if the mod has nothing to do with lighting. This doesn't cause the game to crash, but it might cause graphical, lighting or weather errors. Having a correct load-order is absolutely necessary for Fallout 3 to work.
It would take a long
time to write about all the dependencies and references for each mod, so I have put the load-order in text below
This load-order contains ALL mods. If you for instance only installed mods with black and green text, no worries, you just won't find all the items listed below in your own load-order. Whenever you stumble upon a missing item, just skip it, but keep everything else in the exact same order. It's a boring task, sorry, but it's absolutely necessary and you only need to do it once.
Load-order location: "C:\Users\(USERNAME)\AppData\Local\Fallout3\Plugins.txt"
You can edit it in a notepad, but it's easier to use NMM, as you can see which mods are active/deactivated.
Start NMM and click the "Plugins" tab. Then sort everything according to this list
Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch.esm
Nos' Cosmetic Resource.esm
Sharing and Caring Companions.esm
Invisible Walls FIX Capitol.esp
Purity Crash Fix.esp
Vault 106 Fixes.esp
Josef Greys Kozaburo Hair Style for Fallout 3.esp
ZzJay's Hairpacks for Fallout 3.esp
FemaleEnclaveSoldiers - Broken Steel.esp
RR Companion Vault Attackers.esp
Pink Power Armor.esp
Helmetless Camouflage Stealth Suits.esp
COL Enclave Hell.esp
COL Enclave VER2.esp
Neo's DOA Christie.esp
majormodder's Junk Food to Barbeque Crisps.esp
Paradise Lost - Unique Texture and Icon.esp
Ghoul Mansion v3.1.esp
Another Interior Mod.esp
Dr Li's Dominatrix Science lab.esp
My Dr Li Hair and Face Edit.esp
My Spider Hair and Face Edit.esp
Mesmetron Works on Everyone.esp
Mighty Mouse Alternative 4.esp
TimeScale1To1.esp *Check only one of these timescale files
TimeScaleTo3.esp *Check only one of these timescale files (I recommend this one)
TimeScaleTo5.esp *Check only one of these timescale files
TimeScaleTo15.esp *Check only one of these timescale files
TimeScaleTo20.esp *Check only one of these timescale files
TimeScaleTo25.esp *Check only one of these timescale files
4 - Fallout 3 INI-Files
Some mods require certain settings in "Fallout.ini".
You can either edit everything manually with a notepad, or you can download and
use my personal ini file.
Option 1: Download: INI-Files
Unpack and copy the ini files to: "C:\Users\(USERNAME)\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\". Overwrite existing files.
Open "FalloutPrefs.ini" with a notepad, and find the following lines:
*Change these to match the resolution of your graphic card & monitor.
Option 2: If you want to keep you own .ini files, open them with a notepad instead, and add/change the following lines:
File path: C:\Users\(USERNAME)\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Fallout.ini
Add/change the following lines:
File path: C:\Users\(USERNAME)\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FalloutPrefs.ini
Add/change the following lines:
5 - Change Launcher
order to use the Fallout 3 Script Extender (FOSE), Fallout 3 needs to be launched via the
launcher instead of the original Fallout 3 launcher.
Fallout 3 Steam version: If you haven't already done so, then go the the Fallout 3 game folder and rename "FalloutLauncher.exe" to "FalloutLauncher.exe.backup". Then rename "fose_loader.exe" to "FalloutLauncher.exe".
Fallout 3 any non-Steam version: Open the Fallout 3 game folder and make a desktop shortcut to "fose_loader.exe". Use this shortcut to start Fallout 3 from now on.
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Fallout 3 is ready for launch!
*If you CTD on the very first load, don't worry. CTDs sometimes happen at the very first launch after file changes. This happens because of inconsistency with game-cache. Start Fallout 3 up again, and everything will be fine.
Check out the Galley for art & screenshots