The Frame Rate In Fallout 4 Affects The Game Speed

The Frame Rate In Fallout 4 Affects The Game Speed

This is the kind of thing that still happens a little too frequently for my liking. But if you’re one of those with a monster rig and you’re planning on digging through the .ini files to unlock the frame rate, then this is something you should know.

YouTube user Lord Socky has uploaded a video showcasing what happens when your PC is able to run Fallout 4 at fairly high frame rates. As it turns out, it’s the exact same issue that’s happened in Skyrim and many other games: namely, the higher your frame rate, the faster the game runs.

“Game feels about ~20-30% faster at 144FPS, and well over double-speed at ~250FPS,” Lord Socky wrote in the video description. It’s difficult to see at first, but later on in the video you can visibly see the attack animation has accelerated rapidly, and the rate at which the bottle falls when the FPS is over 250 is substantially faster.

This isn’t new to games, of course. The first one I immediately thought of was the problems that happened when you unlocked the FPS in Need for Speed: Rivals. It’s far from an uncommon problem. But it’s still a bit of a frustration, especially if you are playing on a powerful PC with a 120hz/144hz gaming monitor.


  • I guess that explains why it’s FPS locked. There’s not really any excuse for it these days, this should have been fixed in the last major iteration of the engine. You never do time calculations on frame rate or game ticks, you always use delta milliseconds.

    • yeah locking the game to framerate was something done back in the 8 and 16bit era.. that’s why old DOS games etc. need to run under DOSBOX and similar to be able to play them on modern systems, otherwise they run too fast. Seriously Bethesda, what the fek where you thinking?

      • Maybe frame rate is tied to the physics engine?
        They would need to ensure stability in the physics “framerate” as much as the graphical framerate wouldn’t they?

        • It appears that’s what they’ve done, but it shouldn’t be that way. There are two ways you can ask the question:

          1. Where are things now? One frame has passed.
          2. Where are things now? 16ms have passed.

          If you ask the first question, you don’t know how much time has passed, you only know one frame has passed. You assume that maybe you’re targeting 60fps so you guess that 16ms has passed and you base your physics calculations on that assumption. But when the frame rate drops to 30, everything now takes twice as long because you’re assuming 16ms have passed when in reality 33ms have passed. When the frame rate goes up to 144, now everything is running fast because all the while you’re making an assumption inside your logic.

          That’s why the second question is better. When the next frame goes to be drawn, instead of guessing that 16ms have passed, the engine can just check how much time actually has passed since the last frame was rendered. Then you just scale all the movements based on that difference in time (called delta time, or delta milliseconds). If 16ms passed maybe your object moves 1 unit down. If 32ms passed it moves 2 units down. As long as you scale everything on the actual time passed then it doesn’t matter if the frame rate is 30 or 250, the game will run at the right speed regardless.

    • Kinda past the era when you can rely on a locked frame-rate though, waaaaaaaaaaay past. I didn’t go digging around in any ini files anywhere to unlock anything, I just have Gsync turned on and my game runs at 144fps and is completely broken. Its not something I hacked in, its being used in any unintended way, hell Bethesda themselves even recommend using an Nvidia card for it and Gsync is part and parcel of that.

      • I used a frame rate limiter, Nvidia inspector to slow mine to around 100 FPS and I haven’t had any problems since.

  • Kinda unrelated, but does anyone else hate how bright the game is?
    I know it was a stylistic choice, but its still way too bright and there’s no in-game option to change it.

    You can go into an unlit basement in the middle of the night and still see everything on the floor no problem at all. It kinda undermines the new lighting system (which is cool) when everything is well lit anyway.

    • Are you on PC or console? I noticed in the side-by-side comparison video that the console versions have janky realtime lighting/shadow systems to the point it almost looks like some shadow textures are baked rather than dynamic.

      • I’m on a console (Xbone) but the “jankiness” has nothing to do with it.

        It’ just that the game has a completely lack of black (or even dark grey) shadows.
        Sometimes it looks like you’ve had a ‘cat’ potion from the Witcher. You can tell it SHOULD be dark but you can still see the detail of everything on the floor.

    • I’ve just tweaked the brightness on my TV for my console’s input. Generally i find games “too bright” nowadays and it seemed the simpler fix that constantly having to go into each game’s settings and doing in from there. There are times I have to buff the gamma, but generally the game’s default works great with a 17% brightness reduction on my screen

  • This and the erratic console performance (Sometimes down to 0FPS according to DF, a loading issue that seems to be better with faster disk drives just like Skyrim on PS3) / bugs is why I wait a few months to play Bethesda games.

    EDIT: To clarify after getting home and seeing some of the insinuations about what I said:

    Sorry if you got the idea that I don’t think anyone should be playing day one, or that my opinion is the only one. I never assumed my choice was better than anyone’s, nor was I trying to influence peoples buying decisions or justify them/ my own. My comment was purely about ME and what I choose to do with Bethesda games and an additional/ relevant example of why. Bethesda games have, completely justifiably, had some bugs at launch due to their immense worlds and scope.

    I am VERY happy for those who are enjoying the game, I’m sure it’s a blast. I look forward to playing it soon

    • I think 0fps counts as a freeze or a stutter rather than a frame rate drop.

      Not that it makes a huge difference, but “down to 0fps” makes it sound like there’s periods where the game drops down sub-10fps for a few seconds and that some of those seconds have 0 frames.

      That’s not the case in my experience. The Xbone version apparently pauses for a second when some new areas load, but I haven’t experiences any periods of consecutively low-frames (does that make sense?). I’d imagine this is like a lesser version of what Oblivion did on consoles all those years ago, where the map had seams and the game would stop for a couple of seconds when you crossed one.

      For the record I’ve been playing Fallout 4 on an Xbone using an external HDD (can’t remember what brand) and I haven’t had the issue pausing/stuttering issues in my first 3 hours of play.

      • I’m glad you are enjoying it and I wasn’t saying that you/ others shouldn’t be, or that it’s ‘unplayable’, as was insinuated of me.

        I was merely giving an additional example to support why I personally like to wait a little while for Bethesda games. They are brilliant, but I know what type of glitches they have around launch after playing older fallouts and Skyrim near launch, and this one seems no different.

        Also, I’m glad that the external HDD seems to be aiding you, DF have found similar findings. Unfortunately this doesn’t help me as I plan to be playing on PC and so would like some of the other kinks smoothed out. 🙂

    • Lol, the obligatory “this is why i” argument. Played it all day yesterday ON PS4 and only experienced one bug in which my subtitles loaded a line behind the dialog in one conversation. Even fps drops have been very rare. I heard the fps were terrible indoors and was pleasently surprised by not having any noticable slowdown indoors, only some sporadic slowdown in wierd, arbitrary wasteland areas. No pausing or stuttering for me and i’m used to it with my SLI setup on PC, experienced many a stutter on games that didn’t support SLI. Don’t try and justify yourself with something you don’t know, don’t try and pretend your choice is somehow better than others, people are generally very happy with their purchase, I know it isn’t clear in today’s ignorant social climate but you actually can have a personal preference WITHOUT having to somehow justify it to yourself as the single correct option. Can’t stress this enough, you don’t need to justify movies, eating habits or video games to some sort of moral standard.

      • Are you ok man?

        This is the second time in two days I’ve seen you go off on a rant about people assuming they know best.

        He said he likes to wait a few months to play Bethesda games which, while not my own choice, seems a perfectly reasonable view to have.
        Maybe try to chill a little, not every comment on the internet is some kind of personal attack on your own choices.

      • Maaaaate – It’s just the obligatory comment someone makes when they can’t afford it.

        I personally can’t afford it financially and cant afford the time right now – its a shame as I’d love to get stuck into it but maybe a couple of weeks i might be able to get into it! It will be a great game no matter what and if people really think a few bugs RUIN THEIR WHOLE experience then they need to check themselves for what value they actually get out of games and media. Those who sit around trying to find every flaw are going to have a bad time.

        Leave them to it like water off a duck’s back 😉

        • As I replied to Lost, I don’t think it ‘ruins’ the game, I was not trying to be as sinister or damning as they made out at all. I was just saying that I like to wait a little for their games (and some other publishers games) so they can work out the kinks that are known issues in such large open world games.

          I’m not saying it’s what everyone should do, as they are insinuating, but it works for me. They remedy some bugs, I finish some of my backlog in the mean time. Nothing sinister, I’m sorry that it was interpreted that way.

          • No i completely get it – I have the same mindset!!! I woul;d love to get it but even if i could right now i couldnt give it the time it deserves!!! Still feeling that way about the Witcher 3 FFS!!!

          • No i completely get it – I have the same mindset!!! I woul;d love to get it but even if i could right now i couldnt give it the time it deserves!!! Still feeling that way about the Witcher 3 FFS!!!

      • Sorry if you got the idea that I some how don’t think anyone should be playing day one, or that my opinion is the only one, just calm down.

        I never assumed my choice was better than anyone’s, nor was I trying to persuade peoples buying decisions or justify them/ my own. My comment was purely about ME and what I choose to do. I am VERY happy for those who are enjoying the game, I’m sure it’s a blast.

        In fact, you are the only one here jumping to assumptions/ conclusions about people and trying to tell them what to do and what to think. I’m sure you don’t want to come across as a hypocrite.

  • They’re lucky they can run the game, i downloaded and installed my copy and as soon as it starts, bam… crashes to desktop. 🙁

    There are a few “fixes” i can try but i am not holding my breath until it’s patched.

    • Have you tried enabling the beta patch on steam?

      I has having regular crashes that were related to an xaudio dll, the beta patch seemed to clear that up though.

          • You know geforce experience’s optimise setting has always worked. Unless your hardware is not even capable of running the game on low when it auto optimise to low.

    • Did it crash when you loaded it or when you clicked “New Game”?

      My copy loads the main screen, I’ll click New Game and then it will go to the black screen with the loading indicator down the bottom right. 10-15 seconds later it will simply close the game as if some invisible fairy came and sat on the ALT+F4 keys at the same time… 🙁

      I have installed the latest Nvidia drivers and the beta patch enabled. How do you optimise the game from GeForce Experience?

      Any other ideas from the community? Been having issues with the computer so may just have to do a full reformat overnight…

      • It was crashing as soon as i pressed play on the launcher.

        In GeForce Experience, go into the games tab, find fallout 4 on the list and press optimise or press the little spanner and you can customise the settings a little.

  • Jesus, I must have gotten very lucky then. Have played it no problems for about 4 hours last night. Loving it so far, and not too worried about the brightness. it’s been pretty good for me 🙂

    • Same here. 5 hours without a hitch and loving it. The only tweak I applied was turning off mouse acceleration, because when I tried changing the FOV and uncapping the framerate the game became slightly stuttery (just as well I changed it back seeing how it alters game speed). I don’t actually mind the restricted FOV because it makes me feel all sneaky and paranoid.

      • It boggles my mind why devs still release games on PC with mouse acceleration, or any kind of smoothing applied to mouse input. It just makes everything feel laggy.

        Glad there was a tweak to turn it off though, it would have infuriated me if i couldnt

          • that would be fine, but mouse =/= analog stick

            If i turn off the controller, which is an option in the settings menu in Fallout, turn off the acceleration too

          • Haha

            I feel like thats becoming a go-to comeback on the internet these days

            as long as the entitlement doesnt have mouse acceleration, im ok with being entitled 😉

        • Not too sure about the mouse acceleration thing, I never tweak anything to turn it off but I didn’t notice anything wrong in the game.

          Could you elaborate what is the issue that it was causing?

    • Only 2 issue happened to me which was the game was stuttering during movement regardless of mouse control or keyboard, borderless windowed mode fixed the issue and I’m a happy 60 fps man. Second was one of the area had texture issue and the entire place had weird texture that made it looks like a wall but it’s actually nothing and I feel to the pond because of that 😛

      Been abusing Idiot Savant for every quest completion for triple exp and I’m already level 10 after 2 main quest and 2 side quest. 1k exp on completion lol.

  • I thought this kind of thing got eliminated generations ago, moving to delta time or whatever instead of assuming a fixed frame rate. Weird.

    • I was waiting for someone to point out how easy it would’ve been. This is literally stuff I was shown first semester on not what to do. Maybe they were inspired by Space Invaders.

  • Played for 3 hours last night (on PC) and so far it’s been good. I’ve left all the .ini settings at default and the game is running pretty well. Definitely some bugs to iron out, but in a game this size I am pretty forgiving. Bethesda are also usually pretty good at quickly fixing them as soon as they know about them. Such a different game to the previous fallout games, but looking forward to more game time tonight.

  • Yeah all they need to do is change it from (if it were C#) void Update () to void FixedUpdate (), the former is run every frame (don’t put physics based things in there or you get Fallout 4’s issue) and the latter is called at 60hz, no matter what frame rate the game is being run at.

    So if you’re not noticing this issue yourself, you’re probably on a 60hz monitor.

    • Your concept is sound, but it’s not at all related to C#, you’re actually thinking of the Unity engine (most likely).

      Bethesda uses a custom engine for their games, which originally started out as Gamebryo.

      Also, the more common way of doing things is what they call a time delta, where you update your time based logic based on the length of the previous frame in seconds. It works in Unity with that “Update” function you mentioned.

      • Yeah you’re correct, I was basing it off of Unity.

        I knew it wouldn’t be the same but there are underling concepts that such as Time.deltaTime and so-forth that have counterparts in all OO programming languages that would easily resolve this issue.

  • I figured this out the hard way last night in game when in a lock picking screen. I was registering about 600fps in the lock pick screen and it was impossible to pick the lock because the barrel would spin all the way round the instant I pushed left/right. This kills the bobby pin 🙁

    I went back to locked frames and regained control of the barrel.

    It’s a bit of a shame because the game was running a lot smoother with unlocked fps.

    • Na v-sync will just sync it to whatever the monitor refresh rate is after applying the frame unlock. It just speeds up everything like Skyrim.

    • No that’s to help with syncing frame draws with the refresh rate of the monitor. The problem here is that the game logic is tied to X/frame as opposed to X/second. So instead of moving the player 10cm every second or however fast, they are moving the player 10/60cm every frame. Which would look identical if the frame rate was always 60 frames per second. The way to get around this is to, as mentioned, use delta-time. So instead of moving X distance every frame, lets move X distance times the difference in time between now and the previous frame, every frame. This “hack” lets you tie a movement, rotation, etc. to time as opposed to frame rate, which lets gamers have this uncapped glorious 250fps.

  • Thanks for the heads up, I ran the game on standard settings last night for a few hours to see how it goes. I was going to mess with the .ini file tonight but guess I will wait for now. Still it looks and feels pretty good on max settings @1440.

    Only bug I encountered so far last night was the first 2 terminals in the vault. I could enter them and view all the info, but when I went to exit the terminal I got stuck. It appeared that the game had exited me from the terminal but I was unable to move my character at all or re-enter the terminal. I will just quick save prior to entering a terminal until I hear its fixed.

    loving it so far, so much that I am thinking of blowing off work this arvo to head home and play (this is not something I ever do normally)

  • Love all the super talented coders here explaining to Bethesda what the industry standard is, you boys sure are smart. We’re all very impressed at your shock over the low standard of craftsmanship exhibited in the game, obviously it means you all know what you’re talking about.

    • You don’t need to defend shoddy coding just because you like Fallout 4. Pointing out what is wrong with something isn’t going to ruin your copy of the game.

      This FPS=Gamespeed really is something we thought we had seen the last of years ago.

      • But the problem is, Fallout 4 is built on Skyrim engine, which back then had the very same problem where too high FPS break things. Fallout 4 development started right after Skyrim and if were to rebuild their creation engine, The game will probably be out in 2020 instead of now.

        This was not because of shoddy coding, that is just the engine limitation.

        Funny enough most of the “bugs” in Fallout 4 actually were limitations or issues that existed back in Skyrim.

  • Dark Souls (2?) had a similar thing where weapon durability was based on frame rate, and thus having a higher frame rate meant your weapons would wear out substantially faster.
    I think it seems a little lazy for developers to still build game mechanics around FPS.

    • Dark Souls engine was originally not meant for PC and was meant to be locked at 30fps for consoles so the whole game mechanics was built upon the frame. The issue existed back in Dark Souls and still happening with Dark Souls 2 due to the same engine. They only learnt how to make it to 60fps with Durante’s fix.

      It took them 1 year to fix that durability issue only.

  • I havent had any issues on ps4 after 7 or so hours, however it autosaved and then I was up in the air falling to my death, I hope they dont patch it out it was cool.

  • frame rate never affected other Bethesda games apart from havok anomolies. never passing of time.
    Changing the passing of ingame time via ini tweaks did.

  • Here we go again another pointless frame rate video. Highest you can see at the moment is 144fps on a 144hz monitor so there is absolutely no point going higher. The game doesnt look like its speeding up at 144 and It looks perfectly fine, smooth as silk.

  • I can confirm this as well. But I think it is more than just the Framerate, something else is going on. I’ve played around with my Crossfire settings to get crossfire mostly working. When I disable crossfire, I get about 40fps but the game feels sluggish (not choppy). Everything moves slower.

    With the crossfire enabled, I still only get about 40fps but 2 things happen. 1) The gameworld feels much faster, very enjoyable combat that feels action packed, like playing borderlands2. 2) Game menus run at around 700FPS and make things like lock picking and the talents menu more difficult because the UI is running extremely fast.

    Enabling VSYNC in the INI files slows the game back down and causes me to have massive stutter. Enabling it with CCC does nothing.

  • I have the exact same issue you described. On top of that, when Vsync is turned off I get massive screen tears. If I lock the fps to 60 with RivaTuner, the tears stay the same.

  • They may well do the latter, and they will still have problems if they allow their simulation to run too fast. In fact, given the erratic behaviour (flying animals, things getting stuck in each other and so on), they are likely allowing a variable delta in their Physics and their sim is breaking down due to precision issues.

    It’s likely (I am not a Bethesda core engine coder) to do with the limited precision available on computers. Look up Numerical Analysis, an entire field dedicated to studying algorithms that work with limited precision. Basically, all game physics simulation will only remain stable up to a certain “refresh rate”.

    Many other engines have gotten around it by capping the rate at which the simulation runs and using that data like keyframes in animation (the graphics engine interpolates if it’s able to draw faster) others have more robust algorithms or smaller ranges on their numbers so they’re stable to higher refresh rates. Others just fix the physics delta and the only affect of increased framerate is your camera updating quicker (but not the game world).

    I would love if Bethesda fixed their physics sim, at least up to 200FPS or so, but that’ll take them a lot of engineering effort.

    TL/DR: It’s not a simple problem/fix. There’s an entire branch of mathematics dedicated to algorithms that are stable with limited precision.

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