Graphical Prowess: Fallout: New Vegas

Not all games are the same. Not all PC’s are the same. Our weekly Graphical Prowess column helps you find the settings that make the latest games look and run the best on your PC.

Fallout: New Vegas might be getting a little long in the tooth, but they’re still releasing DLC for it — Old World Blues, the third and final downloadable offering from Obsidian, hit the intertubes last week (check out our review and full walkthrough). Though Bethesda’s similarly-aged Gamebryo engine might not be frying GPU’s the way it did when Oblivion was young, there are still plenty of people out there whose experience of New Vegas is limited by the hardware they have available.

It is with them in mind that we prepared this handy list of graphics tweaks. You, too, can finish off Old World Blues and the Mojave desert in a little more style than you’ve been used to.

1. Anti-aliasing — Designed to smooth out lines that run diagonally across rows and columns of pixels, anti-aliasing can often have a huge effect on performance. This is true in New Vegas; normalizing for other variables, a high rate of anti-aliasing scuppers the framerate. If you’re having performance problems, turn this off.

2. Detail — New Vegas offers a one-size-fits-all “Detail” setting that can be raised or lowered, modifying a huge number of graphical settings in one fell swoop. Don’t use it. Instead, try two specific areas in “Advanced Settings” that can speed up your framerate:

  • High Dynamic Range — High Dynamic Range increases the contrast between the lightest and darkest areas of a scene, in order to better represent realistic lighting effects. This may look nice when working right, but it won’t matter if you’re dropping frames. Try turning it off for an easy boost that won’t sacrifice good looks.
  • Depth of Field — Another realism-approximating technique that you probably won’t miss. Depth of Field has a quantifiably out-sized effect on performance, and its ability to blur far-away objects is barely noticeable when you’re trying to survive the apocalypse.

3. Resolution — This may seem like a no-brainer, but framerate in Fallout: New Vegas is preternaturally affected by the game‘s resolution. If you can’t make any headway with the changes prescribed above, try inching down the resolution until you get a playable framerate.

Got your own Fallout: New Vegas graphics advice? Leave it in the comments.

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3 Comments on Graphical Prowess: Fallout: New Vegas


On July 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Buy a fckin better computer..

insert name here

On July 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

well said
6 core amd 3.4
12 gig ram
gt 590

runs like a sweet potato dream

Troy Guessford

On July 28, 2011 at 6:22 am

Buy a FCKin console. No Problem! No worrying about settings, Lets buy a new game so I can run down all settings so it looks like a crap game. GREAT! GO PCs!