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Speaking of patches, before we go any further, the most important thing you need to know if you're going to play Fallout 2 is to:
PATCH YOUR GAME!
PATCH YOUR GAME!
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PATCH YOUR FREAKIN' GAME!
In case it wasn't clear, THIS IS IMPORTANT! Fallout 2 is a great game, but like far too many great games, the people paying the bills were more focused on getting it out the door in time for the holiday season than on making sure all of the bugs were ironed out, so there are quite a few of them, including some gigantic ones that are practically unavoidable. If you don't patch your game, you're bound to run into a few of them and wish you did. Unfortunately, the patches won't work with any preexisting save files, so you'll have to start over again. There is a save converter available, but depending on which patch you decide to use, it may or may not work for you. Either way, it's best to patch your game first and avoid this problem altogether, right?
So where can you find these patches?
It just so happens that links to all of the relevant patches can be found over here:
But, wait a minute! That's an awful lot of files to sift through, isn't it? Well, fortunately, you only really need to concern yourself with two of them. First, there's the official patch, which fixes more than enough bugs to make the game playable. Secondly, there's Killap's Unofficial Fallout 2 Patch, which, while unofficial, fixes all of the bugs fixed by the official patch, plus a small mountain of additional bugs that the Black Isle team was never able to address. As such, Killap's patch is the one that we recommend, but I throw the official patch out there for benefit of anyone who might be leery of unofficial patches. Whichever route you decide to take, however, you'll only need one of them. There's no reason to ever install both of them, since the official patch is already included in Killap's patch.
But I've heard about this Fallout 2 Restoration Project. Isn't that better?
The Restoration Project is something that holds a great deal of promise, but there are a few points to consider.
1) It's a mod, not a patch. As such, it does modify the game, adding features and places that were never part of the original game. Granted, most of them were intended to be in the game, at one point or another, but they never made it, so Killap (with some help here and there) has had to make them out of whole cloth, without the benefit of anyone from the Black Isle team. It's good, but it's still not the "official" Fallout 2 experience, so it's better left for a second or third run through the game, after you've played through it at least once as "intended."
2) As of this posting, the new material still isn't 100%. It's improved significantly since version 1.0, but there are still a great many bugs that need to be found and squashed. If you're new to the game, you're still trying to find your way around, as it is. You don't need to add bugs that could potentially hinder your enjoyment of the game. (And there's plenty of material in the "vanilla" game to keep you going for a little while, at least.
3) It comes bundled with some optional extras, like the AP ammo "fix" that might be of some use to veterans looking to completely alter the experience but will only be a source of headaches to a first-time player, and a newbie won't know to stay away from them.
Okay, but I'm not even sure I want to be starting with Fallout 2. Should I go back and play the first game, first? Will I miss anything important?
Well, Fallout 2 stands quite well on its own. Understanding the events from the first game isn't critical to being able to follow what's going on here, but you will miss out on a lot of tiny references and allusions to things that happened before. (You play a descendant of the hero from the first game, after all.) It's nothing game-breaking, but it is an extra layer of the experience that you'll miss out on. Besides, if you enjoy Fallout 2, there's a good chance you'll want to go back and see how it all began, anyway, and if you do, you may find yourself wishing for a few of the enhancements from the sequel. In short, while you can start with Fallout 2, if it's at all possible, we'd suggest that you take in the series from the very beginning. It isn't crucial, but it is recommended.
Can I even run these games under XP or Vista?
Yes, though you might have to tweak things a bit, if you run into problems. (See the technical issues section, below.)
Is this game free, and if so can anyone tell me how to find it?
No! Despite what you may have heard about so called "abandonware," copyrights don't expire just because a game becomes old. They also don't expire just because the parent company died. (Besides, Interplay, though not in terrific shape, is still very much alive.) Copyrights last a long, long time, and the only way a game (or anything else for that matter) will ever become truly free, before that set expiration date, is if the copyright holder chooses to release it into the public domain. This is exceedingly rare (as in almost never). Even when companies choose to offer some of their older games for free (like Rockstar did with Grand Theft Auto & GTA 2 and like Westwood did a while back for Command & Conquer Gold), they aren't releasing the games to the public domain. They still hold the copyright. They're just choosing to distribute it for no cost ... under very specific circumstances. Now, the older a game is, the less likely a company is to pursue a potentially expensive lawsuit against someone for stealing or distributing it, but that does *NOT* make it legal. In short, if a game was ever under copyright, you can safely assume that it's still under copyright and will continue to be for decades to come. As such, telling you how to download the game for free would be a violation of the terms of service for this forum and potential grounds for being banned. May this help to put an end to these questions for all old games, once and for all! (Fat chance!)
Now, that you're determined to play Fallout 2, the next thing you need is a copy of the instruction manual. I know, no one likes reading directions. Well, tough! You may not be as cool as those guys who wing it the whole way through, but you also won't have to wait 5 hours for a response to a question that you could've looked up in 5 seconds. I'm not saying you have to sit and read the thing, cover to cover, before ever playing a new game (I know *I* never do), but at least take a few minutes to browse through it to ensure you've got the basic control scheme down, you know what all of the various icons mean and how they come into play, and you have at least a rough idea what the various sections of the manual cover, so if you do have any problems later, you have at least some idea where you might find the answer without having to search blindly.
With any luck, your game came with an instruction manual of your very own. Depending on your particular copy, it might even be on the game CD, itself. Failing all of that, however, you're still not out of luck. You can find a copy of the manual here:
Is there a time limit for this game?
Technically, you need to beat the game within 13 years. (I could go into a long, drawn-out explanation about why having some kind of limit is necessary for good programming, but let's just say that it's due to a limitation in the way computers handle numbers ... incrementation in particular. It was a choice between ending the game or risking everything going crazy once the value went beyond the expected limits.) Realistically, however, this "time limit" is a non-issue. You'd pretty much have to try to hit that limit for it to became a serious problem.
How long is this game?
Well, it's fairly short, at least by RPG standards (and the first game is even shorter), but the games in the Fallout series have enormous replay value. You can play through with a righteous do-gooder or a slimy villain, a man or woman, a sharpshooting gunslinger or a fast-talking diplomat, and any combination of the above, along with countless other permutations too numerous to mention. What's more, the game will actually feel slightly different each time you play through with a different type of character (some more so than others). In other words, it may be shorter than most CRPGs, but if you get into it, you'll probably still be firing it up, from time to time, for years to come. If you absolutely must have a numerical estimate (and bear in mind that I'm quite awful at estimates of all kinds, so don't quote me on this), I think 30 hours wouldn't be completely unreasonable for someone who took their time to explore the area and do most of the quests along the way.
Does my gender really make a difference in the game?
Not a big one, no, but it does make certain options available to certain characters in certain situations that they might not otherwise have. Like what? Play the game and find out for yourself! That's half the fun!
Shiozaki helped out with the technical issues that follow (and by "helped," I mean he did all of the work for this section), so I'll let him explain the solutions to you in his own words (with some minor formatting tweaks from me, just to keep it consistent with the rest of the FAQ).
Windows(R) 95/98 CD-ROM
Pentium(TM) 90 or faster
16 MB RAM
30 MB available hard drive space
Direct X - certified SVGA card
Direct X - certified sound card
4X or faster CD-ROM drive
Windows(R) 95/98/NT 4.0 SP3 Only
100% Microsoft-compatible mouse
Pentium(TM) 120 or faster
32 MB RAM
150 MB hard disk space
DOES NOT WORK IN DOS
The various installation levels will install larger versions of the
game to your hard drive:
* Small (2 megs: executable, config and support files)
* Medium (87 megs: adds music)
* Large (276 megs: adds creature graphics and animations)
* Humongous (681 megs: installs everything!)
It is recommended that you use the largest possible installation
option for your hard drive. The more room Fallout 2 has on your hard
drive, the faster the game will play and less issues you will have.
The game freezes or crashes to the desktop when I try to install!
XP/Vista users can try this "Mycomputer > right click on CD Drive>explore>right click on setup>properties>compatibility, check box for compatibility mode, run in windows 98.
Double click "setup" to install.
If that dosen't work all users can get around the installer by manually installing the game themselves. Note however that you must have at least NT 4.0 with Service Pack 3 in order to play the game with NT Also, Fallout should work fine but was not tested very much under NT.
1. First, create a folder for your game called fallout2 (ie c:\games\fallout2).
2. Copy (CDROM):\program\win\fallout2.___ (Fallout 2) to the folder you created and rename it to fallout2.exe.
Now you have four choices, depending on the installation size you want:
Small Installation: Do not copy anything else.
Medium Installation: Copy (CDROM):\master.dat (318MB) to your fallout folder (ie or c:\games\fallout2)
Big Installation: Copy Copy (CDROM):\master.dat (318MB) and (CDROM):\critter.dat (150MB) to your fallout folder (ie c:\games\fallout2)
Humongous Installation: Copy Copy (CDROM):\master.dat (318MB), (CDROM):\critter.dat (150MB) and Copy the entire (CDROM):\data folder to your fallout folder (ie c:\games\fallout1 or c:\games\fallout2)
1. Create a text file in c:\games\fallout2 called fallout2.cfg and add the following line to it, depending on your installation/game:
NOTE German version:
If you have the german version you also need to add:
under the [System] tab in the cfg file.
Next install the official patches for or Fallout 2, more on this later.
Start the game by running the the fallout2.exe file.
You might have to enable the Compatibility mode to run the game, to do this:
Make a shortcut to the falloutw.exe or fallout2.exe file
Right click the shortcut, and select "Properties->Compatibility" and select Win98
I try to run the game, but it says "couldn't find/load text fonts.
To fix this problem change the fallout2.cfg file's [system] section to the following:
Where H:\ is the letter of your HD, and Games\BlackIsle\Fallout2\ is the path to the editor. You should manually locate your executable/data files and change the path accordingly.
Whenever I try to run the game, it says "not enough disk space"
When you get that message it's either:
A. You are really running low on diskspace and should free up some, or
B. Your config files misguide you.
The following solution is for the latter and was proven to work for both FO1 and FO2.
In your Fallout directory find the fallout.cfg file and open it with Notepad. Note: Your file may look slightly different from the one listed below.
[system] <-----look under this paragraph
Change the last value to 0 (zero) instead of 20480.
The sound effects don't play correctly or not at all.
The ending movies interrupt or stop playing altogether.
(Yes, these seemingly unrelated issues are actually solved the same way.)
If during the game the sound effects or ending clips interrupt or stop playing at all, then you might want to try reducing/disabling sound acceleration. One place you can do that is:
Start > Run
Type in DXDIAG and then switch to the Sound tab.
In the middle of that window is a slider that you can use to adjust your sound acceleration. Try lowering it or setting it to 'None' and playing and see if that fixes it.
Once you're done playing, you should put your sound acceleration back up to Full.
Naturally, make sure your sound drivers are current as well for whatever sound card you have.
Color glitch with Windows Vista/XP
Make a shortcut to the or fallout2.exe file
Right click the shortcut, and select "Properties->Compatibility" and select either Win98
Not 100% in all cases.
Two lesser known fixes, r
1. Right click on your task bar and bring up your task manager> processces tab.
Now turn off any anti virus/spam and any other programs you dont need running in the back ground.
2. Type msconfig in the run box> startup tab, then uncheck anything you dont need or use often dont turn something off if you cant figure out what it is, restart needed.
Anything AOL conflicts really bad with fallout.
Fallout 2 keeps blanking my screen.
Ok lots to say will try to make this clear, i'm going to post a few different ways to try and fix the blackouts under XP, as for you win2k users if you can find Win2k Application Compatibility toolkit 1.5 it is said to work, but only verison 1.5, these xp fixes mite work for you to, you will just have to try.
If these dont work than your no worse off than you were, if you do get one to work please say how. some of these are geared for fallout 1, edits have been made for use with fallout 2.
1. Install DxWindow from the link.
2. Run DxWindow and choose the first entry <Generic>. Press "Run...".
3. Choose Fallout2.exe from your Fallout one install directory.
4. open the fallout2.exe in win98 compatibility mode
5. No more Blackouts.
you will have create new shortcut from dxwnd from scratch each time to get new settings to work.
There is one for F1 and F2. It's french, but online translators are enough to understand the readme - just unzip the appropriate archive anywhere (I've put it in my Fallout dir), launch the fo1_screen_refresh.exe and leave the window that'll pop up open. Clicking "OK" will turn it off.
I believe Killap's patch comes with this.
Download sfall from http://timeslip.chorrol.com/
Unzip it, etc, etc
Edit the ddraw.ini file
Look for the section regarding Graphics
Change the Mode 0 (default) to 4
scroll down a bit
Change the GraphicsWidth to 1024 and GraphicsHeight to 768
Save and run Fallout
That's it for the technical issues (for now, anyway). I'd like to, once again, thank Shiozaki for all of his help! I couldn't have filled out this section without him!
Okay, I've got the game running, but there are so many options for customizing your character. It's a bit overwhelming. How can I be sure I'm not screwing it up?
The first thing you need to know that is that it's extremely difficult (if not downright impossible) to make a character who can't finish the game. For your first couple runs don't stress over gaining maximum efficiency. Instead, just find a combination that makes sense to you and try it out. Your first character isn't supposed to be the best. That said, here are some basic guidelines that might help.
Strength: This has some effect on your melee damage, but for most characters, the biggest impact will be its effect on the amount of stuff you can lug around at any given time. (As one might expect, more strength means you're stronger and can carry more stuff.) Without going into too much detail, as you progress through the game, you'll find ways of permanently enhancing your strength. As such, you can still max it out, by the end, even with a starting value of 5, assuming you know where to find everything. (Again, don't stress if you miss one or two things your first time, through. It's not that important.) You can still make a reasonable argument for having 6 points of strength, but any more than that, and by the time you get to the end, you'll probably be wishing you'd spent a couple of those points somewhere else.
Perception: This one is rather deceptive. At a glance it doesn't seem terribly important, but it has some very useful effects. First and foremost, the greater the distance between you and your enemy, the harder it will be for you to accurately hit your target. (This is obviously not an issue for melee/unarmed fighters.) High perception helps to reduce this penalty, allowing you to be more effective at longer ranges, without having to dump as many skill points into your gun skill of choice to pick up the slack. Secondly, it affects your sequence rating, which determines how quickly your turn comes up again during combat. With a high enough sequence rating, you can attack some enemies twice before they get a chance to move. With a low enough rating, some of them will be attacking you twice before your next turn. It's only for the first round or so of combat, so it isn't a huge deal, but it's still nice to know.
Endurance: This mainly determines the number of hit points you gain with each level (more points of endurance=more HP). It also affects a few of your derived statistics like radiation resistance, poison resistance, and healing rate, but those are minor compared to the effect on your HP. You can certainly survive with less, but if you want a few extra hit points for insurance, a couple extra points of endurance will never hurt.
Charisma: Affects how much people like you. In most cases this isn't that important, but charisma does have one very important effect: it directly limits the number of NPC allies you can recruit at any given time. The number of allies you can have is typically equal to your charisma/2, rounded down, so if you want to have a large party, you'll need charisma. (There is a perk that will allow you recruit one additional NPC above and beyond your charisma limit, but you can never recruit more than 5 at a time.) On the other hand, if you don't mind going solo or with only one or two close friends to watch your back, it's not so important. It's all a matter of personal preference.
Intelligence: This has two main effects. 1) The more intelligent you are, the more dialogue options become available, when you're talking to certain people. (If it's really low--NOT recommended for a first run--you're mostly limited to groans and grunts.) 2) The more intelligence you have, the more skill points you receive whenever you level up. More skill points means you can raise your various skills faster. Quite handy! For both of these reasons, this is definitely something a first-time character should consider investing in heavily.
Agility: The greater your agility, the more action points you have available during each round of combat. More APs means more actions and (potentially) more attacks. This is the only stat that most players will urge you to max out, right from the start, and that certainly isn't a bad idea, but it isn't absolutely necessary. Whatever you do, you do not want to cut into this one too deeply, however.
Luck: Luck has several effects, having an impact on such diverse areas as what types of special random encounters you find on the world map to how frequently you'll land critical hits. That second one is the big one and it's the reason this is a major point of contention. Some people insist on maxing this one out, while others don't see much need for it at all. Personally, I wouldn't suggest cutting this back any lower than 6, but anything more than 8 probably won't be necessary, either.
You can select up to 2 traits, but they're completely optional. The thing you need to remember, however, is that all traits are a double-edged sword. Even Bloody Mess, which does nothing but ensure that you'll see the most violent death scenes, every time you kill someone, has the downside of tying up a trait slot that could be used for something more practical.
Of the various traits, Gifted is universally regarded as the single best option for almost any character type (and it should almost certainly be on the list for any first-time character). Beyond that, the options are really up to you ... with some words of caution. Fast Shot may sound wonderful, but losing the ability to target your shots just isn't worth it ... not for a first run. (It has it's uses, but targeted shots are a major part of the Fallout 2 combat experience, so for your first run, you might as well experience as much of what the game has to offer as you can.) Finesse is another trait that, while not useless, sounds better than it is. (The beginning of the game will be tougher, because you'll be doing less damage, and by the end, you should be landing critical hits fairly frequently anyway, so it won't be doing you any good, anymore. That means it'll only really be useful for a stretch in the middle.) Skilled should probably be avoided for your very first game, as well, because perks are awesome, and you'll want to get as many of them as you can get.
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