I read elsewhere that the Fallout installer does a bunch of naughty things. One of which is to install a BETA version of the .NET Framework 3.0.
My experience was that I played Fallout 3 for a few hours on first install, and I had no issues, other than it crashed when I quit (which is fixed in a patch out now, but not for Australia version I believe). I then had the bright idea to update my graphics card drivers, as I hadn't done this is 6 months. This required a restart.
After this restart, I got a lot of bad mojo. Crashes to desktop after intermittent time, but not long, and sometimes whole colour pallet shifts so that the image looked freaky. I tried changing the video settings to lower things - like no AA etc, to no avail. I did have the issue with the Codecs and unistalled those (Came with free video player MPCStar or something), and I think that helped, but I still wasn't going like I did before the first restart.
What seems to have fixed me up is actually unistalling and then reinstalling .NET Framework 3.0 (I then did a service pack too I think). You can download this from Microsoft. This replaces the Beta version installed by the Fallout installer.
I mention this, because it may save someone from going bald from frustration. It's an excellent game, and it's very dissapointing to not be able to play it. Reminds me A LOT of my early experience with Bioshock. Sigh.
For your interest, here is the complete list of sins the Fallout installer seems to acomplish. I love the bit "I purchased 320 copies..." - how much did that cost?! Bet the EBGames saleboy did a double take on that. --
I have found the primary issues causing the CTD and other crashes. Iíve sent 3 e-mails to Bethesda and no responses. My Computer Science Engineering department took a shot it. I purchased 320 copies and gave them the weekend to figure it out. Here are some of the results;
1.) Fallout 3 Installer installs an older version on C++ Visual 2005 that appears to affect the way the vidcard driver communicates with the game.
2.) Fallout 3 Installer installs a Beta release of DOTNETFX3.0 (.NET Framework 3.0). For users of .NET Framework 3.0 SP1 or even SP2 (Service Pack of the Framework not the OS), upon restarting their system (when changes take place), their game will be quite unstable.
Users of .NET 3.5 or Vista should have even more random crashes.
3.) Fallout 3 Installer installs a non Plugín Play DRM device manager (not driver but a manager) that doesnít like any 3rd party codecs (ie K-Lite, WinAMP, etc) and will usually see a CTD when a Hardware codec comes online. This usually occurs when interactive audio (client controlled speech) initializes (ie baby walking to daddy).
4. Fallout 3 Installer installs SecuROM Root kit as well as 8 hidden non Plugín play virtual drivers. Owners with more than one Optical drive or a sata drive may encounter random drive access issues. Also, Imaging software or any software that may use its own ASPI drive (ie NERO, Roxio, Daemon, ISO, etc.) will have one of the 8 virtual drivers causing the system to do a random CTD. Reason why clients using a cracked EXE donít experience the same volume of CTD as those who bought the game. However, the SecuROM root kits are still on the system and active. Once the SecuROM is also purged from the system, 60% of the crashes disappear. Unfortunately, they must remain on the system in order to play the game as they are part of the EULA.
5.) Fallout 3 also has its own built in MP3 codec coupled to its DRM to protect MP3ís on the DVD (in game). Unfortunately, the codec was never tested fully with hardware decoders like those of an X-FI. This can be varied by the lack of a hardware audio switch in the game options.
6.) Fallout 3 has 14 memory leaks that we found. Most are small, but there are a few that are quite large. Some areas of the map, the memory counter just spins at over 100 MB/sec. Most memory leaks are around 5 to 10 MB/sec.
7.) Fallout 3 video graphics buffer needs to be adjustable in the options and an automatic cache purger installed for cards over 512 MBs as well as linked buffers from SLI and crossfire cards. Iíve seen areas where names on the screen start to disappear and all you see are ďInput Text HereĒ instead of V.A.T.S. or range or etc. The cache doesnít get dumped on some maps. Most games dump their cache when a map reload occurs. This can be noticed when fast reloads occurs from map changes. Most users will just see their graphics card run out of memory (CTD and stuttering).
8.) Most games were fault free with a basic XP Pro SP2 reload, and only Critical updates and latest stock drivers. Installed the game and played it error free for nearly 4 days. Upon a system restart, lots of errors showed up. This means that Fallout 3 significantly changes the operating system. Far beyond reasonable accounts as all you can do with the system in not to play MP3ís, watch movies, make a CD or DVD, or play other games.
Hopefully, Bethesda will address the issues more than 100,000 people are having.