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Sashleycat's Fallout 3 "Red Star" Mod Thread - Testers wanted

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Hi everyone.

Please tell me if I am not allowed to post this here or anything like that.

I am developing a Total Conversion mod for Fallout 3, which is set in my evolving Science-Fiction/Fantasy universe which you can read about here. The Universe started as a Role Play game that me and my long-time school friend used to play together, with lego spaceships. It has evolved over more than 15 years into a fully established universe with its own canon/lore and I am (slowly) in the process of updating my website to fill all that information stored in my brain, into the archives.

I used to script and make mods for Fallout 3 obsessively, and I know my way around the GECK fairly well. I am in the process of developing a Total Conversion mod for Fallout 3 Game Of The Year edition (All DLCs) and I would want to ask if some people would test it for me and report bugs to me so that I can fix them. This would be pre-alpha. A development build of sorts, and there will most likely be bugs but core functionality is working fine in my own testing. Getting the mod running on a variety of machines and with other people playing it will help me make it as stable and robust as possible.

I'll share some more information on my mod in a few bullet points:

  • The Mod is a "Total Conversion" - that is, it is not set in the Fallout Universe. It is set in my own universe, in the distant future, which you can read about on my website in the "Eridonia Archives" section.

  • The mod is a semi-linear experience set inside a Derelict Space station. It is not an open-world experience due to development time required, but I may expand it to include open exploration areas.
    • there are multiple paths to completion and multiple choices and areas that are entirely optional to explore 'off the beaten path', however
    • The mod has emphasis on Stealth and exploration, with lots of codex/lore/notes to read on backstory and detailed history
    • combat is brutal and tense

  • The mod uses vanilla assets modified with edited meshes and custom textures.
    • it has custom Voice Acting (from myself so far)
    • custom sound effects
    • custom music

With the basic information on the mod out of the way, I just wanted to see if anyone is interested in testing my mod for me! I really want to bring my universe to life.

If you want to test my mod for me, please can you reply to this thread, the mod is under constant development and I am always updating the current build. I would need to get a test release build sorted and attach it here.

Important notes on getting the game to run stable on modern PC w/ Windows 10
Fallout 3 is an old game and the engine is nearly 20 years old. Getting it to run on a modern PC requires a bit of hoop-jumping. However, due to the age of the engine, it will run OK on just about anything (even Intel UHD 630). Here is a simple guide on what you have to do to get the game to run stable:

Installing GFWL dependency
Whether you have the retail disc, or Steam version, you will need to download the GFWL application in order to bypass the GFWL requirement. Since Games For Windows Live is now defunct, Microsoft released this package to allow games that need GFWL, to run without it. You can get that here. Once that is installed you can start the game.

Editing the .inis
Fallout 3 was built on dual-core processors and it will be unstable by default if you have more than 4 hardware threads (logical processors). The fix is easy, you must start the game at least once and navigate to:

C:\Users\*Username*\Documents\My Games\Fallout3

and find "FALLOUT.INI"

Open this in a text editor and find the line (without quotes): "bUseThreadedAI"

Make sure this is set to 1 and underneath it, add the following (without quotes): "iNumHWThreads=2"

So that part will now look like this:

bUseThreadedAI=1
iNumHWThreads=2

With that done, the game will now (hopefully) run stable on your modern CPU.

Allowing the game to use modded assets
Within that FALLOUT.INI file, find the [Archive] section, and make sure that "bInvalidateOlderFiles" is set to 1 so it will look like this:

bInvalidateOlderFiles=1


Installing the mod
That is essentially all you must do to get the game to work properly. The mod files are four folders called "Meshes" , "Textures", "Music" and "Sound". Along with these folders is an .esp file which is the plugin for the game that adds my mod. These will need to go in the "*Fallout 3 installation directory*/data" folder.

Once the files are within that folder, start the game and click on "Data Files" on the game's launcher, and make sure all of the plugins including my mod are checked, also make sure "Load Loose Files" are checked.

Within the mod package is a .fos file which is a savegame. Put this into the "C:\Users\*Username*\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves" folder. once you are in game, you can load the save game and the mod will give you the choice to start. And you can begin playing it and testing it ^.^ Alternatively, if you have your own save game you can load that (there will be balance issues for late game characters! the mod is pre-balance at this point. Also I only support Vanilla, please don't test my mod with ANY other mods installed!)

Sorry for the huge post. Please let me know if you want to test my mod! If you do, I will provide test builds here :D
 
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I must update this, because I forgot to mention one other thing for game stability:

it is recommended that you disbable Anti-Aliasing and Transparency multi-sampling in the game's launcher options for maximum stability.

I am going to update this post with some images from development. :)

Here is the (very much WIP) view from inside one of the Docking Masts on the Derelict Space station.

derelictdock01.jpg


The space-station will have fully explorable compartments and not all of them are mandatory. It will also have lots of secrets and right now I have 4 different types of collectable items, including hidden caches by a legendary figure in my universe + his personal voice logs to share some insight on what happened on Platform CW-C-12.
 
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I think you can post this here.

Interesting read.
 
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I have a test-pack build with two playable areas if anyone is interested!

This version includes the first two playable areas. When you reach the end of the playable zone the progression door will be sealed and you will see a message saying that is the end of the playable area.

Known "Major" issues:

  • Codex is WIP. There are many entries that either might not work, are linked incorrected and/or have "placeholder" texts. But quite a few entries are complete.

  • The Portable Assembler is WIP. It is essentially limited to quest-specifc functionality right now. I will be adding all the ammo/item recipies later.

  • The Assembly Arrays in each compartment are WIP. Some items might not be able to be broken down. But I think I have most of the recipies done.

  • Performance in the second compartment is not optimal. I've been working on room-based occlusion but I pulled the roombounds in the last update because I was having pop-in issues. I've yet to occlude ANY of the compartment. Since the game is very old, any modern GPU will have no issue here, but the Frame drops are caused by exessive drawcalls, especially lights. This is not final, and I have ideas to increase FPS significantly. Unfortunately, I mis-predicted how badly the game would cope with an interior of this size. FPS drops to mid 40s on my 3950X.

Level design is not final, and pretty much everything is subject to change. What I really need is feedback for scripting functionality, AI pathfinding, and such. Also world seams, ("void") etc, and performance & stability of course. I really want to see how it performs FPS wise on a range of hardware.

Please also note: Balance is absolutely not final. This is before I've properly balanced weapon damage, NPC health, player stats including carryweight, etc. I am going for a more survival-oriented experience so items will be quite heavy, but I really want feedback on the item weights, if it is too tiresome, etc, or it feels "Right".

You may access the console by pressing "`" on the keyboard, and if you type "tgm" you can turn on God mode that makes you invulnerable, have unlimited ammo and carryweight. Useful for extensive testing. Please don't use "no clip" command or anything else, as it might break carefully placed scripted triggers/events and such.

There is a readme included and save game for your convenience. Thanks to anyone who can help me with my project. :love:

You can download the current mod build from my OneDrive, here.

:love:
 
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Performance in the second compartment is not optimal. I've been working on room-based occlusion but I pulled the roombounds in the last update because I was having pop-in issues. I've yet to occlude ANY of the compartment. Since the game is very old, any modern GPU will have no issue here, but the Frame drops are caused by exessive drawcalls, especially lights. This is not final, and I have ideas to increase FPS significantly. Unfortunately, I mis-predicted how badly the game would cope with an interior of this size. FPS drops to mid 40s on my 3950X.
AHHHH HAH. Yes, that's creation engine for ya... even the way later iterations have a tendency to just hemorrage drawcalls lol. My 3900x gets absolutely wrecked by them in vanilla FO4 at times. Even with the precombined mesh optimizations and (don't quote this) deferred rendering that came after FO3, piles of static objects, and the damned particle-based light sources (fire is just so bad, man, I can't even) are still brutal on those drawcalls. There are places in vanilla FO4 where I have seen something like 13000 friggin drawcalls. Diamond City is like 11000. Corvega's interior is up there too. It's insane. How could they release it like that knowing that no machine will ever be able to run it adequately until we're all too old to play it? 11 years later one of the best consumer CPU's on the market still can't do it. :rolleyes:

I feel for the dev teams on those games... though probably not as well as you :p But I'm on a tangent. I feel you, and I'd be interested to see what you might try to do about that classic issue.

You're on a different level than me, here. FO3 and all of the older bethesda games are a bit foreign to me on the modding/development end. I play around with the CK tools and mods on their later games, but even with those I wouldn't know how to begin tackling something of this scope without going insane. But it's definitely interesting to me and I can at least say I understand a little bit about how the engine works and can maybe give you some meaningful input on it, even though I'm sure a lot of what I know doesn't overlap with stuff that far back. No promises! It's gonna come down to time for me. Be keeping an eye on this one, at least! Super cool to see this done. FO3 never seemed to get as much love for this kind of stuff. Personally I will always have a soft spot for that game. I can dig this.
 
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I though back then the game engine was referred to as Gamebryo.

See what I mean! You are correct. Though in a sense they are one in the same... or at least it is the core basis for the Creation Engine that came in after FO3. A long time ago I got in my head that they're basically the same, minus different features added later and a few fundamental changes in rendering (namely the switch from forward to deferred,) and all sorts of things with lighting and character physics. Most of the differences seem to be additive, though. The biggest thing outside of that is probably the scripting... I don't even know what they used before papyrus... lost on that. A lot of the same underlying functionality and problems are still pretty integral, though. What throws me are the different tools and terminology. You could be talking to me about FO3 or Oblivion's engine and I probably know what you're talking about but I don't know the words you're saying at all :p It all just confuses me all day. You get deep into one side and think one way, completely forgetting it's not all exactly the same.
 
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The only reason I'm not doing this in Fallout 4 is I'm too ADHD to learn Papyrus o_O

I'm a beginner with coding and I just feel the scripting language in F3 is a lot easier to work with. I'm at that point now, when (within the scope of the engine) I can more or less make anything happen in game. And I have a creative vision for the mod, and I know for a fact aforementioned ADHD isn't going to let me sit down and learn a new language within the next 6 months. I learned Gamebryo whilst I was at school & taking ritalin for concentration xD Even now I'm having to mod in 30min to 1 hr phases before I lose focus, and the procrastination is just something else entirely. Navmeshes for example, I'm literally "I'll do it later", then I will FORCE myself to do it (hand placed!), right now the 1st and 2nd, and 4th compartments are Navmeshed. 3rd.... I'll do it later. LOL

I also really have to do the meshes & textures for the signage & posters etc. My quest doesn't "Hold your hand" so to speak, so good signage is important as I want the player to "take the initiative" when thinking about how to solve certain obstacles in game.

(don't quote this) deferred rendering that came after FO3
I quoted it! But, honestly, F4 and 76 do use deferred afaik. I always notice it in Fallout 76, because the game freezes for a moment just after you load in, and the entire world lacks lighting for a couple seconds; I always assumed it was because the game froze before the lighting render pass happened xD (this engine is a dog).
 
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The only reason I'm not doing this in Fallout 4 is I'm too ADHD to learn Papyrus o_O

I'm a beginner with coding and I just feel the scripting language in F3 is a lot easier to work with. I'm at that point now, when (within the scope of the engine) I can more or less make anything happen in game. And I have a creative vision for the mod, and I know for a fact aforementioned ADHD isn't going to let me sit down and learn a new language within the next 6 months. I learned Gamebryo whilst I was at school & taking ritalin for concentration xD Even now I'm having to mod in 30min to 1 hr phases before I lose focus, and the procrastination is just something else entirely. Navmeshes for example, I'm literally "I'll do it later", then I will FORCE myself to do it (hand placed!), right now the 1st and 2nd, and 4th compartments are Navmeshed. 3rd.... I'll do it later. LOL
LMAO I get it. I got my diagnosis as an adult and I've been pretty much exactly like that my whole life. I can be just all about something and then an hour later it's basically dead to me and I couldn't concentrate on it no matter how hard I've tried. It just sucks. I have no problems actually feeling motivated. My brain just won't let me continue sometimes. It's like the information just keeps falling out. The thoughts don't come and nothing makes sense anymore. I start to feel spun. Rough on me when I was a little younger because I felt like I didn't know who I was. Like somehow I was an imposter because I couldn't even put the rubber to road for the things I most identify with. I'll never forget when a partner was pouring her heart out to me, just all of these words of her love for me. I was looking into her eyes as she was speaking, feeling just the same, fully comprehending everything. But the moment she stopped talking, the words were gone... well, not gone, but somewhere I couldn't find. I think that's the worst part... just knowing that I lose myself in the middle of important conversations like that and there's not much I can do about it.

Mostly, I just improvise. I think that's why my linguistic skills are what they are. Because of my steady inability to properly compartmentalize info coming in, I've had to become good enough with words to keep a constant flow of them moving through my head, with a logic that ties them together. I can pick up the gist of the subject and work-out what they might've said by using my mind's own randomness to shoot off the most probable branches, which I work out by analyzing the semantics of what I do have... and from there I can sort of toss out feeders to figure out where we are without the other person knowing that my mind, in fact, completely went somewhere else while they were talking. I'm tricking them into giving me the missing pieces while giving the impression that we are still advancing the interaction. Instead they wind up thinking I'm more 'with it' than is normal... as though I'm actually just really smart and getting ahead of thier own thoughts. I guess in a fake way I sort of am, too. It does bring out interesting insights quite often in that I can jog your brain into thinking of something you hadn't the first time. But the truth is that I have zero short-term memory and have no clue what's going on a lot of times o_O

I know it annoys the crap out of people, too. They'll say something simple and then I'll say "What?" like somehow I didn't catch it while I was looking right at them. I did. It just fell into my brain-couch. So halfway into repeating themselves I'll finish their sentence and they'll be all like "Why did you act like you didn't know then?! What's with you?" :laugh:

I'm extremely conscientious, so I feel deep guilt when I can't make things happen, even though I have plenty of time and aptitude, which still happens to me more than it does most people. Definitely a major cause of depression at certain points in my life. Such is life, though. It's not so bad now. It's easier if you accept that when you start something, you probably won't finish it. That doesn't mean you have to put it off or just not do it. It just means you have to think differently about how you get to your goals and what that looks like :) Sometimes I find that if I don't make a big thing out of a long-term goal, like a big project that's going to take a lot of hours, I do actually wind up where I want to be, even though by then, I've almost forgotten all about it. It's an ebb and flow. I'm sure you know exactly what I mean. It's like that corney bumper sticker the Geminis of the world love says: "Not all who wander are lost."

You get better at dealing with it eventually... you figure out how to time the breakaways and always keep in your mind what you're supposed to be doing, so that when the time comes tyo return to it, it pops into your awareness organically, just like whatever you let pull you away did. That's how I get through my workday, and I promise you nobody would ever say I don't work hard or get anything done :D At this point, I'm convinced even normal people aren't meant to bear down on a task for hours at a time. That's a lie modern society tells people because for some reason we have this crazy fixation on ever increasing human productivity. It is killing people with stress and probably making them feel down on themselves for no good reason. I think about where humans came from, and what survival meant for hunter-gatherers. I'm sure anyone who survived well then would be seen as ADHD today.

I actually function pretty well just allowing myself to be distracted throughout the day - to the point where people compliment how I can be so consistently busy and yet always be mellow and laid back about interruptions. I used to try to force myself to stay on track and it would make me kinda snap on people who got in my way, knowing they didn't realize they actually compromised everything I was doing to the point where there's a good chance I just lost all of my effort... they were knocking down my Jenga blocks mannnn! Too stressful. I was always irritable when there were people around or unrelated things going on. That had me on a bad track for years of my life.

I guess it's different for everyone... I can also lean heavy on the "hyperfocus" side of it many times. So, just wearing blinders as I chip away at something for hours with the fervor of a meth addict, only I have no drugs in my system. Adderall actually makes me calmer, though it's also poison ime. When I'm locked-in, I'm not hearing anything you're saying. I have no idea what time it is. I'm probably hungry and have to pee, but I keep forgetting to take care of it. And I probably should've been asleep 5 or 6 hours ago. There is a ridiculous amount of intricately connected information shooting through my head, but my mind feels still, even if my senses are dull. That has its benefits, too, though. It's great for creative endeavors. And I find that just by paying attention to my thoughts and emotions over the years, I can almost sense it coming and pretty much direct it anywhere I want. And when I first direct it, I can pause it when needed. If I let it go, that's it. So I always try to catch it. Once I'm there, I can work circles around anyone.

It really truly has brought me a lot of success in my working life. And outside of that, I can learn a lot in a short time. I can go from a total beginner at something one week to a pretty high level a few spurts of that later. In a college psychology course, the prof gave us our final on the first day, saying we could turn it in any time between the next week and the end of the course. Cool guy - I see what he was trying to do. Two weeks in, I hit one of my strides and poured over the syllabus, analyzed the prompt, read the entire textbook and wrote the whole thing in a night. When he read my paper, he pulled me aside and told me I should seriously consider a major in it. I knew very little going into the class, and somehow I soaked it all up like I'd been at it for a long time. Hyperfocus is handy sometimes. Now... actually pursuing that major over years of constant study would be very challenging for me, but the point is, it ain't all bad for something that's considered a disorder. These days most people don't even believe me when I tell them. My behavior is so different from when people thought there was something seriously wrong with me, but internally everything is exactly the same. To me, having ADHD just means that what other people do to be able to do what they do isn't going to work for you, but you can do pretty much all of the same things as them if you learn your wiring. Sometimes you can even operate on a level they probably will never comprehend. It's not really a deficiency. Just a different way of operating that requires a different mental skillset.

Sorry, not trying to derail your thread, but I can defintely relate to what you said! And I do have ADHD so... :rolleyes:

I quoted it! But, honestly, F4 and 76 do use deferred afaik. I always notice it in Fallout 76, because the game freezes for a moment just after you load in, and the entire world lacks lighting for a couple seconds; I always assumed it was because the game froze before the lighting render pass happened xD (this engine is a dog).
Same, but with FO4. It was when I first saw all of the lights in certain areas bug-out that I realized they were rendering separately. Sometimes clusters of them never render among an otherwise fully-rendered scene, and just as you're entering a loading screen... like right before it goes black, they finally 'turn on.' Somewhere along the line it's not being told those lights are actually in the screen space, or something.

That, and the presence of its particular type of volumetric lighting, which I'd think would be nearly impossible if it had to render everything together, because that light is bound by the physics, along with all of the dynamic light sources and those fancy new materials... and things like the wetness and snow shaders. It would be drawing so much for each new frame trying to do all of that with forward rendering. That kind of stuff is just too expensive for that engine otherwise. The way they string it all together, it's asking a lot. Add all of the extra geometry in and it just doesn't work.

Or, that's my understanding. I can't pretend to really know.

Worth noting they still did it badly... it still manages to draw too much and clearly fails to capitalize on good hardware. The extra passes have that downside. I don't think to many games now actually use the same technique. Often it's more of a forward-based hybrid. It does allow them to have a lot of lights and objects in their big open worlds, though. That technique can work really well, but it takes work, and they never executed it well. FO4 was soooo bad with its previs. I think even with deferred shaders easing wayy off of the lighting and materials, the geometry of all of these worldspaces just packed full of stuff alone was too much, so they would precombine the static meshes and tie them to a quasi visibility buffer built off of it (as in, it's not actually saying what is visible as pixels are drawn but instead "this geometry can't be seen, so leave it out,) to try and cut the amount of triangles dealt with on that first pass to a minimum. Only problem is that it's really unstable for some reason and if the worldspaces aren't set up juust right it fails to function at all and your frames are at the mercy of a never-ending sea of triangles.

Everything about it has to be calculated and stored away as permanent data when the worldspaces are being made - it doesn't actually create a buffer on the fly and just figure out what geometry actually matters - it has to be told how to figure out what geometry can be seen based on that pre-generated info... and then it just plops that info in for the first pass. So if what it is told to draw the first time doesn't match with the data dropped in, bad things happen. It can't actually complete the rasterization. Physics scripts that depend on some of that information go crazy and do things like crash the game if you literally look at something wrong, or secretly bake itis into your save. Show-stopping conflicts. So when that happens, it USUALLY just tosses out all of the precombined geometry data and crawls through each individual mesh, so hopefully the game just slows down like crazy and doesn't die immediately. Drawcalls skyrocket to astronomical levels. I'm talkling 20k plus. It just starts drawing everything, including stuff behind things like walls or rocks. Sometimes that alone just overloads it and it crashes anyway.

Again, just my layman's take based on random fragments of things I've learned along the way. If someone reads this and knows better, I do still wanna know. I can say one thing, it really makes modding that game a nightmare and if they don't fix it, thier next game will never see mods that were easy to make work in Skyrim. Basically anything that swaps static meshes or edits existing worldspaces is pretty much out because of how they worked in that optimization for static meshes and 'visibility.'

In Skyrim, it's really obviously using deferred lighting if you go in the console and type "tm" to turn off all of the HUD and front-end stuff. The black fade-in you see coming out of loading screens is hiding the same thing you see in 76. The game considers the loading screen as part of the HUD - behind it everything is coming together, so when you disable the HUD, you see what's behind the black curtain. It doesn't always happen, but sometimes you can see the passes manifesting in order. Going into the loading screen, you see the opposite. The image 'falls apart' in weird, spiraling white mosaics, like god is deleting the universe over a game of Snake.

I will say, these games can be interesting to pick apart, even just swinging a hammer in the dark with no background. You learn a lot about how games in general work, that way.
 
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This looks very cool!
 
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