Old Fart Just Wants To Play A Game, Man

All these memes about the new Fallout series made me excited to play a game on my 13" Framework laptop --which I purchased for Very Serious Business Work Only, by the way.

Lifehacker had a nice roundup of which game to play first [1], so Fallout 3 it is.
GOG.com has the Fallout 3 Game of the Year edition [2] for US$ 20.

Created an account and tried to pay. That took me three times, with three alternative login accounts and 3 tries with Tunnelbear to VPN to different countries, but finally I paid and downloaded the game.
Why three times? I’m currently located in the Caribbean and assumed that GOG does not want to accept payments from certain IP locations. So I tried a VPN into the US, got a new total amount (there were taxes included). Cheapskate is my middle name so I tried the Netherlands and was welcomed with a price of 9 Euros (yay) but could not get through to the final payment page. Back to the US, sucked up on the taxes, and bought the game.

Downloaded the installer from GOG --not the GOG Galaxy installer mind you. I don’t need that overhead, or so I thought.

Installing did not go very well. I was prompted to download and install .NET 3 and a Microsoft app named GFWLive setup, which did not do anything.

Then I was greeted by a Windows popup telling me that this piece of software would not run as expected. Boy, was it right. A welcome screen was shown, I could choose a New Game and then … nothing. App freeze.

My next step was to uninstall the game and to suck it up and install GOG Galaxy. Surely I must have been wrong in thinking that GOG Galaxy was not needed and just a piece of bloat? Only with GOG Galaxy an old game --any game really-- could work correctly?
Downloaded the game through the GOG Galaxy app and then … same nothingness, same error pupup, and same app freeze after choosing New Game.

Google our way out of this mess and install ‘New Vegas Anti Crash’ app (sign in as a new user first of course). That did nothing.

The GOG Support Center pointed to a pcgamerwiki [3] page which is chock full of suggestions like “Check if renaming <path-to-game>\Data\Music or <path-to-game>\Data\Video solves the issue” and links to yet other pages like ‘Unsupported IGPUs and Windows 10 AU: use graphics bypass’ and gems like ‘Run as administrator (citation needed)

I gave up. I just wanted to play a game, man.

GOG was quick to give me a refund (the next day the game was US$8 all of a sudden, what’s that about?), but the itch to play remains.

OK, I admit that the last PC game I played must have been '98 Battlezone (I can still hear “Scavenger here! I’m on it!”). Shortly after that I switched to Linux and then to Apple in 2005.
Now, being lured back into the MS Windows world, I wonder: How do you just play a game on your Windows PC?

[1] Best Fallout Game for Fans of the TV Series | Lifehacker

[2] Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition on GOG.com

[3] Fallout 3 - PCGamingWiki PCGW - bugs, fixes, crashes, mods, guides and improvements for every PC game

Those middle aged Fallout games were rough to get running even when new. One of the hands that took part in them required a Games for Windows installation as some sort of DRM check IIRC. Years after that service was shut down, and is no longer supported on the modern OS without tinkering, those games are still looking for it as a part of the stack. This is/was true of both the GOG and Steam versions.

Update: Taking a look at Nexus Mods, one of the most popular mods is to bypass this and “fix” the start up issues. Take a look: Fallout Anniversary Patcher at Fallout 3 Nexus - Mods and community


I prefer Gog as well, but I have to say that Fallout 3 and New Vegas both just work on my Framework 13 Intel using Steam. BUT a windows pop up comes up and wants to install Net 3 or something when running the game for the first time through Steam, but I have Windows locked down so it can’t reach the Microsoft server, and I just cancel the installation. The game still runs and doesn’t seem have any issues.

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Well, you are trying to run one of the most notoriously unstable games ever released for the platform.

If you want a more hassle free Fallout 3 experience, the console versions are more stable, though they do not support mods at all.

Still, there are a few things that might help you out.
The first problem you have is grabbing the most likely to even work version. As you found out yourself, GFWL doesn’t exist anymore and most retail versions (as well as all boxed copies) require it to run.
As far as I am aware, only the steam version has been patched and not for all regions.
The German version for example is still broken. The US English version is probably your safest bet.

The game has various other issues with modern machines most of which can be fixed with a couple of .ini file changes.
I would suggest you look at the video “Fallout 3 Is An Absolute Nightmare - This Is Why” by “UpIsNotJump” on youtube. The first five minutes go over the fixes he used to get the game into a playable state.

Even with all the fixes in the world though, expect crashes.
This game was fragile at best and time has not been kind to it.
Runs remarkably well on the steamdeck though.

Possibly also noteworthy: Bethesda is apparently planning or working on a remaster of Fallout 3, which may be more stable once it comes out.
This info is only from a publicized court document though, there has not been any official announcement yet.


I think you spelled “borked in new and surprising ways” wrong here XD

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Can’t wait to find out what they do with the physics engine this time : D

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Hi @Sam_Pieter_Storm_van,

The GOG Galaxy is actually just fine from an “overhead” standpoint. Even the indexing function in Windows uses more overhead when it is active.

Older games on GOG are going to have little to no impact with Galaxy running in the background. Your Ferarri of a Framework “for Very Serious Business Work Only” is orders of magnitude faster than when most of those games were created. :fire:


I admit this made me chuckle. Here I am on Linux, installed through Heroic (I got all these games for free at some point through Epic’s weekly free game giveaways), and they all “just work”.

Interesting that Windows games don’t “just work” on modern Windows. I even have the Linux version of Descent 3 from back in 1998 that still works on modern Linux.

Not trying to be mean, I just find that interesting.

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It’s not even all that uncommon, I have not been able to get far cry blood dragon (the best one) to work on windows recently but it is relatively easy on linux.

It should be mentioned that most old windows games run perfectly fine. The amount of games that don’t work correctly is more down to there being such a huge amount of releases on the platform and less about compatibility.

With that said though, it is really not surprising that older games that have problems on modern windows work fine through wine/proton.
Despite its generally stellar backwards compatibility, windows remains a moving target. Drivers move to new frameworks, security abstractions are added, services are deprecated, etc.
Meanwhile wine/proton are static layers with the main goal of largest possible compatibility.
Old games don’t change, so once an issue with a game is fixed in wine, it’s fixed forever.

If you want to go down a fun rabbit hole, you might want to look into why exactly some old games don’t work. For a lot of them the answers are quite baffling. There are cases of games that don’t work anymore because they exploited a bug in windows to implement functionality - so they stopped working when the bug was fixed.

Thank you all for your replies!

According to Allenx51 I might be helped by a Nexus Mod.

2disbetter told me I’d be better off with Steam instead of GOG, but his is an Intel machine and mine is an AMD Ryzen. Wonder if that would make a difference?
He also noted “… I have Windows locked down…” --what do you mean by that?

Apparently I had set my eyes on “…one of the most notoriously unstable games ever released…” for which “…only the steam version has been patched…”.
The mood is really set with “… fragile at best and time has not been kind to it” :slight_smile:
SpaceOctopus, would you recommend Fallout 4 (the second best game to start with according to Lifehacker) over Fallout 3?
You want me to watch Youtube for further directions or to play on a steamdeck. Well, I do not have a Steamdeck (I do have a Playdate though).

(that’s 2 stars added for Steam)

Then SpaceOctopus enjoyed an inside baseball moment with Adrian_Joachim about a future remastered version whereby the physics engine might be borked in new and surprising ways.

pkunk assured us that my laptop can handle both GOG Galaxy and the game, as my Ferarri of a Framework “…is orders of magnitude faster than when most of those games were created.

It only took 7 replies before jared_kidd finally rubbed our noses in the superiourness of Linux, thank you for that, jared_kidd! And thanks Adrian_Joachim for agreeing (I’m also not trying to be mean)

And, finally, we found out what SpaceOctopus’ guilty pleasure really is: to find out why exactly some old games don’t work.

All in all very interesting information for which I thank you all again. You’re the best commenters ever.


But, I’ve been treated to a rollercoaster of advices, which simultaniously lead me to believe that I can run Steam’s Fallout 3 with juuuuust a few tweaks and that any further effort put in this notoriously unstable game is fruitless and a waste of time.

I wonder how much it cost on Steam?
US$ 10 for the regular version [1]
US$ 20 for the Game of the Year Edition [2]
Which one should I try?

[1] Fallout 3 on Steam

[2] Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition on Steam

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That does sum up the opinion of the fallout community overall : D

You can probably run this game. Whether you can get it to run well enough will depend on your personal definition of “well enough”.
The best I ever managed to get is the game working mostly fine, but crashing every couple of hours.

This is a bit hard to answer. I have to give a short primer on the Fallout series as a whole to give my answer context. (ignoring some spin-off games)

Fallout 1 & 2 are CRPGs with a heavy focus on story and characters.
They are great games that have sadly aged like a glass of fine milk on the technical side.
Just to give you can idea of how difficult these are to play: Fallout 1 came with a 121 page manual. Not a lore book mind you, an actual manual.

Fallout 3 made the leap to 3D graphics and changed the focus of the game somewhat.
The main focus is now on exploration and smaller stories you encounter around the wasteland, while the main story does not have much of a presence… or makes any sense for that matter.

Fallout New Vegas got back to the story and character focus and did it so well that it is now an all time classic. There is less to find around the wastes in this one, but the storytelling is masterful.

Fallout 4 mostly follows the style of Fallout 3, but with an added focus on base building and crafting systems. Sadly those aspects come at an even bigger cost to the storytelling than Fallout 3’s design.

For my recommendation:
If you enjoy very open exploration with lots to find and don’t mind digging through some config files and watching some guides, Fallout 3 it is.

If you prefer strong story focus, New Vegas is one of the greatest of all time. However, it is even more buggy than Fallout 3, having been pushed to release before it was fully finished.

Fallout 4 is a game that I personally do not like at all, because of the elements it focuses on.
That does not mean you won’t enjoy it. If you just want to play some Fallout and get an idea of what it’s like, this one should work just fine for you. Do note that it is more demanding on the hardware though.

There is one question I can give a definite answer to though:
If you go for Fallout 3 you definitely want the GotY version.
You may want to wait for a sale, as on steam it drops as low as 5 usd.

The expansions include Point Lookout, which has some of the best content in the game.
One of the expansions is also required to be able to do any post-game content and unlock the max level cap (can’t remember which one).
Also, the expansions are a requirement for many mods to work - and there is little doubt that you will be modding this game once you get far enough into it : )