|This page lists bugs in Fallout 3.|
For add-on specific bugs, please see the following pages:
Non-player character-specific bugs
- For non-player character-specific bugs, please see the respective non-player character article page.
- For bugs that apply to non-player characters in general or to followers, please see the non-player character bugs section below.
For quest-specific bugs, please see the respective quest article page.
For location-specific bugs, please see the respective location article page.
General advice and notes
- Make sure your game is patched to the latest official patch (126.96.36.199). If your game is not up-to-date, do not report any bugs you may experience.
- Save often and in different slots. Do not rely too much on autosave. A frequently overwritten autosave slot can become corrupted.
- If you are playing on a PC, make sure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements. If any component of your computer falls below the minimum system requirements, do not report any bugs you may experience.
Nukapedia does not cover information concerning third-party mods for Fallout 3.
If you have any mods installed do not report any bugs you may experience even if it seems to you that your issue is not mod-related. Alternatively, you can visit The Nexus website which is the home of many mods and utilities that can help you further solve your issues.
Using the console
On the PC, many non-player character, quest, and player-getting-stuck issues can be resolved through the use of console commands.
- Stuttering, crashing, freezing, and slow-down issues are often hardware- and/or software-related.
- Sometimes if you do not save in a while, and when you go to do any quests, you won't be able to look around (Using Right Stick) which will force you to reload from your previous data.
Physics engine glitches
- Leave and re-enter the area.
- Load a save from before the glitch occurred.
- Exit the game, restart the game, and load a save from before the glitch occurred.
- PC users may be able to fix some issues by using console commands.
Flying creatures and items
- Deathclaws and Protectrons frequently experience a physics engine glitch which sends them hurtling through the air. They can go quite far. If you use an unarmed attack on a Deathclaw affected by this glitch, your character will follow the Deathclaw up through the air. Your attacks will never hit, as the Deathclaw is falling upward way too fast for your punches to connect. Once the VATS attacks are finished, your character falls down quite far, to his or her death.
- The disabled Protectron in Big Town, in particular, is often subject to this glitch. This can make a portion of the quest "Big Trouble in Big Town" impossible to complete.
- Jumping onto the Rivet City bridge when it is not in the final position can throw the player character into the air.
Non-player character and creature body parts stretching
Sometimes non-player characters and creatures, upon death, will begin to fly around several feet above the ground with their limbs flailing and stretching out into long, stringy tangles that will bounce and clip through walls. This happens mostly to non-player characters who are killed via huge explosions, such as ones set off by Mini-Nukes or exploding cars, though it can happen to living non-player characters as well. Targeting stretched non-player characters in V.A.T.S. is possible, but trying to shoot them is nearly impossible due to how fast they move and clipping glitches.
- Entering the console (~ key), selecting the stretched actor, then entering disable and then enable will sometimes solve this problem.
The player character is stuck
There are locations in the game world where the player character can get stuck - in the landscape, behind furniture, etc. The following are commonly known locations where the player character can get stuck.
- My Megaton house - between the bed and the wall. After sleeping, if having Fawkes as a follower, sometimes he and Wadsworth position themselves in front of the bedroom door in a way that they cannot be pushed aside, trapping one in the bedroom.
- Rivet City bow - Sneaking on top of Pinkerton's desk in the corner by the Dean's Electronics book.
- Various crevices in rock formations
- Between alternating flights of stairs and other objects in the stairwell.
- Underneath a ledge formed by the top car in a stack of cars. (esp. while sneaking)
- Larger cracks/crevices on highway bridges.
In locations where fast-travel is not an option, it is possible to get unstuck by utilizing frag grenades or mines to get dislodged with force. It is also possible to stand on dropped items, which will allow a flat plane from which to jump free. Also, if there are enemies nearby, using unarmed or melee VATS attacks may reposition the player in such a way that they are no longer trapped. If these measures fail to dislodge the player, then reloading a prior game save may be the only remaining option for non-PC users.
For PC users, simply press the "~" key to open up the console and type "tcl" to toggle clipping, then simply pass through whatever you're stuck in to an empty spot in the room. Once there, just open the console again and type "tcl" once more to toggle clipping back on.
Non-player characters are stuck
- Non-player characters occasionally experience pathfinding issues.
- Non-player characters may continue to run up against an obstacle rather than finding a way around.
- Non-player characters may get hung up on rocks or other low obstacles. Non-player characters cannot jump, so sometimes this is problematic.
- Upon fast-traveling, non-player characters may spawn inside rocks, behind walls, or in other inaccessible areas. [PATCHED]
Commonly stuck non-player characters include:
Floating in the air
Due to clipping and pathing issues, non-player characters, creatures, and items will sometimes appear to float in the air. The following are some common instances:
- Dogmeat exhibits this behavior often when using stairs.
- Super mutant behemoths, due to their large size, often exhibit floating behavior.
- In narrow rock formations, yao guai sometimes fail to maintain proper contact with the ground.
- Small objects such as stimpaks and other drugs, small books, tools, ashtrays, and the like may appear to float slightly above shelves until one of the group is removed, at which point the rest drop into place.
Falling out of the map
Non-player characters and the player character may occasionally fall through the map or into a wall or other object. The following are some commonly known locations where this is likely to happen.
- Vault 92 - Overseer's office. Walk along the wall behind and to the right of his desk, you will clip through it and fall into the hallway below his desk. From there, you can go through the door into a locked room in the Sound Testing chamber. There are some useful items in this room, but there is no way to get back, since the door ahead of you is jammed, and the hallway behind you is still covered by the Overseer's desk.
- If you revisit Vault 87 following completion of the main quest mission (accessing it via the Reactor Chamber), then open the vault door from the inside, there is no rendered exterior and you are confronted with a void (patched: the door is now "Inaccessible.")
- Craterside Supply.
- In Seward Square, walk northeast behind the Capitol Building, past a spot where Talon mercs and super mutants are in a firefight. You will come upon a set of buildings that are low-poly distant-land models with low-res textures. You can continue walking presumably indefinitely on completely flat land once you pass these buildings.
- Vault 101 - overseer's office - Walking into the corner made by the terminal station and left wall results in falling out of the map. To get back into the map just step into the blue void and you will fall into the Vault 101 Atrium.
- Tenpenny Tower. If you go to the top of Tenpenny Tower the jump off to die you can sometimes go through the actual floor and into the void, however, you will magically teleport above the ground.
- Vault 106 - In the overseer's office, the player can jump into the wall to the right (by the terminal station) and fall through the map and "spawn" back into the hallway before the office.
- When using V.A.T.S. while standing with your back against the door and the target is touching you, the player will step back for a better view. Sometimes they will step straight back and clip through the door, falling out of the map. [verified]
Heads spinning around
Sometimes non-player characters' heads spin around and upside-down.
Some NPCs when they get up from a bed or are interacted with can make them sometimes tilt perfectly horizontally, but the head(s) return to normal after they get up. Head spinning can be triggered specifically by speaking to an NPC who is swimming - dialogue will continue as normal and upon exiting the conversation, their heads will spin back.
Multiple skin tones on non-player characters
Sometimes non-player characters' various body parts are of different ethnicities. This is most common in Talon Company mercs and Regulators, but could be seen in any class of "randomized" NPCs if examined closely, such as raiders and wastelanders. PC users can fix this issue by opening Fallout.ini (found in My Documents\My Games\Fallout 3), searching for the line bLoadFaceGenHeadEGTFiles and setting the number following it to 1. If this line is not present in Fallout.ini, bLoadFaceGenHeadEGTFiles=1 should be added to the end of the "[General]" section, just above the line that reads "[Display]".
Non-player characters sometimes wield, fire, and/or holster their gun upside-down.
- In the case of followers, sometimes manipulating their inventory (e.g. giving them a stimpak) will fix it.
Sometimes when roaming the wasteland all textures and models will stretch themselves and cover the screen making a strobe effect while moving and looking at the sun. This is fixed when moving out of a certain area, either by walking or fast traveling, however, you can still be attacked while walking making it very difficult to attack back.
Invisible world items
The following items are invisible when placed in the game world via a DLC pack or a mod. They become visible when bumped into.
- Advanced radiation suit (Fallout 3)
- All-purpose science suit
- The AntAgonizer's costume
- Boogeyman's hood
- Brotherhood scribe robe
- Chinese bandana
- Chinese jumpsuit
- Dirty Chinese jumpsuit
- Dirty pre-War businesswear
- (Dirty) pre-War casualwear
- (Dirty) pre-War parkstroller outfit
- (Dirty) pre-War relaxedwear
- (Dirty) pre-War spring outfit
- Enclave officer uniform
- Enclave scientist outfit
- Eulogy Jones' suit
- Grimy pre-War businesswear
- Leather armor (Fallout 3)
- Maple's garb
- Merc adventurer outfit
- Merc charmer outfit
- Merc cruiser outfit
- Merc grunt outfit
- Merc troublemaker outfit
- Merc veteran outfit
- Modified utility jumpsuit
- Oasis robes
- Oasis villager robe
- Radiation suit (Fallout 3)
- Raider badlands armor
- Raider blastmaster armor
- Raider sadist armor
- Raider wastehound helmet
- Recon armor
- Red's bandana
- Regulator duster
- Roving trader outfit (Fallout 3)
- Sheriff's duster
- T-51b power armor (Fallout 3)
- T-51b power armor helmet
- Tenpenny's suit
- Tunnel Snake outfit
- Vance's longcoat outfit
- Vault 101 utility jumpsuit
- Wanderer's leather armor
- Wasteland doctor fatigues
- Wasteland settler outfit
- Wasteland surgeon outfit
- Wasteland wanderer outfit
Crashing and freezing
Crashes and freezes may happen occasionally to anyone. Crashes and freezes are only notable when they are repeatable (e.g. they happen under the same set of circumstances often). If the crash only occurs on one particular save, then the save itself is most likely the source of the problem. Please verify that crashes and freezes are repeatable on more than one save game before reporting.
The following are some reported circumstances under which crashing and freezing occurred.
- After blowing up Megaton, attempting to reenter Tenpenny Tower results in a crash with exception 0xC0000005; a memory access violation.
- Birth scene: Right after Doctor Li leaves and Catherine says "We did it", the game goes idle; only the E key works making the baby cry.
- Approaching the Jefferson Memorial.
- Having too many items in the inventory, confirmed example as using the console to obtain vast amounts of items, any time a quest uses a script that removes/transfers all items from the player's inventory it will crash the game to desktop. This is because the game (and/or computer) cannot handle the removal of so many items at once. Simply dropping all items before initiating the problem quest solves this. It is then possible to pick the items back up. This has been confirmed to happen:
- During The American Dream- after getting incapacitated by the Enclave (all items are removed after the cutscene).
- During Not of This World- after first getting abducted (all items are removed after the cutscene).
- When getting the reward from Burke on Tenpenny Tower.
- When using V.A.T.S.
- In Shalebridge hill when attempting to pick up any of the 5.56mm ammunition magazines in the Ant Queen's chamber.
- When receiving the Pip-Boy 3000.
- When convincing Moira Brown that the Wasteland Survival Guide will end up like her other projects while working on a subject in the second act.
- When skipping non-player character dialogue by clicking through.
- When bringing up the Pip-Boy.
- When attempting to talk to Burke for the first time.
- When starting a new game.
- When exiting the game.
- When entering, leaving, or even near Silver's house.
- When entering Rivet City's Upper Deck.
- When entering a new area of The Pitt.
- When repairing many items in a row too quickly.
- When entering or around Tenpenny Tower.
- When listening to the alien signal at the beginning of Mothership Zeta.
- When speaking to young boys in certain game files. See non-player character bugs
- When attempting to load or continue a game. There is no known fix for this.
Non-player character bugs
Megaton residents missing or dead
- They may fall somewhere where their bodies cannot be found.
- They may be lost in the "void," the normally unplayable area that exists if you climb over the Megaton walls.
- They may have teleported to Springvale.
Lip-sync not working
- Non-player character's mouth moves during dialogue but nothing is said. Subtitles at the bottom of the screen "fast forward."
- Non-player character's mouth doesn't move while dialogue is heard and dialogue box shows correct speech. Sometimes whole paragraphs are finished before mouth animation starts.
Non-player characters referring to the player character or other non-player characters by the wrong gender
There are many instances of spoken dialogue not taking into account the proper gender of a character. Common occurrences follow:
- The dialogue for the first Enclave soldier who greets you in Raven Rock was not recorded twice; he refers to female characters as "he."
- When speaking to Bryan Wilks for the first time, at some point he refers to female characters as "mister."
- Your Dad may refer to you as "son" for female characters while in the Jefferson Memorial.
Non-player characters still talking after death
After a non-player character dies, they may still speak, especially giving the warnings about not stealing things.
Speaking to male children will crash the game
Speaking to young boys can crash the game shortly after dialogue begins in certain playthroughs. This includes Derek Pacion, Bryan Wilks, and all of the Little Lamplight residents with the exception of Mayor MacCready.
Respawning NPCs' ash piles can be used to remotely pickpocket
When most respawning NPCs are killed by critical hits with certain weapons, they leave behind ash piles or goo piles that don't disappear when the area resets. You can return to the area after the NPCs respawn, and use the ash piles to talk to them or pickpocket them from extreme distances. The ash piles are effectively synchronized with the newly-spawned NPCs.
This is especially noticeable with Rivet City guards, though the glitch will not work if a guard has become separated from their ash pile (which usually occurs when their patrol patterns take them to a different part of the ship).
Common issues with all followers
- Duplicate weapons may appear in followers' inventories. Removing one weapon makes the duplicates disappear.
- With multiple followers, sometimes they may not all follow you into a new area. If you save while this is the case, the save may be corrupted.
- Followers may turn inexplicably hostile toward other non-player characters.
- Followers may fail to arrive with the PC when traveling to new areas.
- Followers may drop dead upon entering a new area.
- Followers may exhibit glitchy behavior when told to wait - not waiting where they are supposed to, subsequent dialogue options being incorrect, etc.
- Companions will sometimes not go through doors with you.
- Fawkes, Sergeant RL-3, and Dogmeat will be virtually invincible at level 30 as they level with the PC. This only happens to the companions that are classified as creatures and only if hired for the first time after Broken Steel is installed. Fawkes will stay invincible with large HP regardless of being hired before or after Broken Steel is installed.
- When given ammunition for weapons followers may not use it giving them unlimited ammunition.
- Armor or weapons may "vanish" in the follower's inventory, though said armor or weapon is visible and equipped on their body. Taking away all items given to them, exiting dialogue, and opening their inventory again will place the item back in their inventory.
- Sometimes, after loading to another area, the followers' weapon may teleport to their hands. In this case, it is possible for them to shove and knock over derelict vehicles.
- When having multiple companions, they will sometimes run away from the player character. This is mostly evident with Jericho and Charon.
- Companions just stop and stand on the spot. This can be sorted by going into the trade items menu and then exiting. This is more likely to occur with more than one companion.
- Companions sink into the floor/ground. This is more likely when having just entered somewhere (particularly any metro station) and when having more than one companion. Moving on there is a chance that they will reappear, fast traveling often sorts this problem, but other than that a reload will be enough.
- Dogmeat's puppies (Puppies! perk) will either respawn where they died or somewhere completely random after death instead of the front of vault 101.
Quest items remain in inventory permanently
Any quest item may get stuck permanently in the inventory. However, even though the item displays a weight on the Pip-Boy screen, that weight does not count toward the total carry weight.
Level up error
- A rare level-up bug leaves the player with a negative number of skill points to allot, making the game freeze at the skill point distribution page.
- The game may freeze at the level-up screen, particularly when choosing perks.
- The character may not level up farther than levels 2-5 if XP is granted for a kill when trying to loot a dying NPC while they are still falling to the ground.
- The Pip-Boy moves up a little on the screen each time it is viewed. Repeatedly viewing and hiding the Pip-Boy will eventually render the whole Pip-Boy screen invisible. Repeating the procedure eventually resets it to normal. Unequipping the current weapon using the hotkey will also fix this problem.
- Using the Pip-Boy to repair many items at once may make the Pip-Boy screen distorted and the text disappears. Upon going to the start menu the text will not appear or be distorted as well.
- Reverse-pickpocketing any children and Owyn Lyons for a kid's outfit and Elder Lyons' robe, the sleeves will cross through the Pip-Boy causing blindness in certain areas of it.
Common user errors
- Pushing buttons too fast when in menus or in dialogue may make the game freeze.
- When entering new areas, the radio may be glitched because of loading. It repeats a part of the song/speak until the radio returns to normal.
- Radio songs and news skip occasionally skipping to another song or another piece of news.
- Freezing for 10 seconds or so whenever the radio tracks loop.
- Radio stations may turn up missing due to conflicts with DLC.
- Sometimes radios stations loop for 1 or 3 seconds.
- Radio broadcasts may stutter from time to time.
- Story-related announcements may play long before the appropriate quest is completed.
- Radio broadcasts only news and no songs leaving you with extended periods of static.
Loading and saving bugs
- A game may load with the player stuck in firing mode.
- Loading a save may make the player character die inescapably, for the entire time the game is active. Immediately opening the console upon loading/respawning and typing "tgm", thereby enabling God Mode, can fix this. One can then turn off God Mode with seemingly no repercussions.
Time and date
- When waiting, it is possible for the day to come out of sync with the time and date, leading to the day advancing at times such as 6 pm rather than 12am.
- The Pip-Boy clock will not advance the year but will continue adding to the months, leading to dates like 13.21.77.
V.A.T.S. Targeting error
Occasionally when going into V.A.T.S. the camera will move down and to the left, usually only able to see the PC's legs and lower torso. V.A.T.S. can still be used while glitched like this but target selection cannot be visually confirmed. This can be fixed by exiting V.A.T.S. and re-targeting the enemy.
Please see Fallout 3 exploits.
PC-specific bugs and issues
Stuttering, crashing, freezing, and slow-down issues are often hardware- and/or software-related. Common PC-only crashes and freezes occur under the following circumstances:
- When alt-tabbing while in full-screen mode.
- When loading a saved game.
- When trying to run a game on Windows 7 or later.
Non-player character scripting glitch and PC-only fix
- On some savegames (this might show up at the beginning of the game and will never end) non-player characters will stop conversations with each other before they should, or one might not get their controls back if a script disables them and a conversation ends. This has occurred at least in Vault 101 in a conversation with Dad and Oasis with the conversation between the two arguing inhabitants. Another problem that seems to be related (appears along with the aforementioned bug) is that non-player characters may walk through a loading door to a new cell and not appear on the other side.
- Both these problems are seemingly fixed by going into the G.E.C.K., loading Fallout3.esm, and clicking the "recompile all scripts" button and saving a plug-in with this change, loading it right after Fallout3.esm.
- The v1.7 patch still requires this fix.
- A workaround has been found: save the game if non-player characters stop talking suddenly, and then reload that save. They'll continue their conversation for at least one response. Repeat the process as many times as needed to get the conversation to finish.
- Opening the console and disabling and then enabling an NPC with the "disable" and "enable" commands works, but has to be done frequently because in most cases the NPC will only say about one sentence or walk a few steps (whatever the NPC is supposed to do) and then has to be disabled and enabled again to continue
- The radio can cause audio and video stuttering. One way to fix this is to either open a container, bring up the Pip-Boy or dialogue, and waiting for a few seconds.
- Rebinding the Pip-Boy key only rebinds the key to open, the closing key still defaults.
- Wait function does not work when the button is rebound to "w" key.
- Zoom stuck on, slow walking and continuous fire with automatic weapons. When right and left triggers are depressed both walking and firing are normal - triggers work the opposite way they normally do. Go to Documents>My Games>Fallout3. Delete the FalloutPrefs.ini. When you restart the game a new .ini file will be generated and the controls should return to normal.
Common user errors
- Player stuck & unable to move, HUD also missing. Possibly due to bumping the "~", which opens the console to input cheats, directly above the TAB. If you're sure the console is not open, pressing the tilde (~) key and typing "enableplayercontrols" will fix this.
- Sometimes you get stuck in "slow walking mode". CAPS LOCK, which locks down "run", is probably enabled (and possibly toggled when you Alt-Tab out of the program if the light is mismatched), so try hitting the key again.
- Having a game controller plugged into the computer can cause control problems, even when the controller is disabled in the .ini file. Physically disconnect the controller from the computer.
PlayStation 3 specific bugs and issues
- The game may randomly exit to the main menu on death, or even exit to the XMB screen.
- Being unable to aim at all with the right analog stick, although using the Pip-Boy still allowing scrolling through the map using the right analog stick. The only way to fix this is by deleting the auto-save file and loading a previous save where the glitch isn't present. This glitch can also happen on the Xbox 360, and the fix is the same.
- The game may begin to experience significant slow-downs in situations such as; entering and exiting V.A.T.S., leaving interiors, and opening and closing the Pip-Boy once a save file has reached 13MB in size.
Also when trading with companions the game may cause the screen to go black only revealing names, actions, subtitles, and the HUD but will hide the crosshair. To fix this quit the game and reload an old save.
Sometimes when using the Ripper and then dropping it, for whatever reason, the audio for the Ripper will keep playing. This bug usually fixes itself after about 2 minutes; however, if it does not stop, loading another save file will fix it.