|For information on the environment of Fallout, see Fallout world.|
The world map is the way of navigating the game world in the Fallout series.
Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics
In Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, the world map is bird's eye view map of the landscape of the games, divided into a matrix of square-shaped, equally sized sectors. The world map's primary function is to enable navigation for the player character's travels. When they leave a location with intent to travel to another one (typically located far away, due to the Fallout world's extremely low population density), they are presented with the world map. In Fallout there is a total of 12 locations. In Fallout 2 there is a total of 22 locations. In Fallout Tactics there is a total of 28 locations.
When stationary, the player character's location is marked by an icon in an inverse pyramid, clicking on which would take them to the location they are currently at, which does not have to be a specially designated location - the PC can make stops in the desert or the mountains to relieve themselves of unnecessary equipment, change or reload the weapons held, or administer drugs to oneself or one of their companions.
To move the player character across the map, one has to click at any area they not currently at. In Fallout and Fallout 2, the player character's location would be marked by a red cross icon, and the path would be traced by line strokes (the stroke length hints at player character's speed - the longer they are, the more time it took them to travel through that particular sector). In Fallout Tactics, the player character's location would be marked by radiation trefoil, and no tracing is available.
Travel speed across the world map is determined by the sectors it's comprised of. "Desert" and "Ruins" sectors are the fastest to travel across. "Mountains" are the slowest, and "ocean" sectors are impossible to travel across. The player character's speed may be increased by possessing a special perk, or driving a vehicle (only in Fallout 2).
About every 24 hours of travel, the game "rolls" a check for random encounters. If the roll was successful, the player character will leave the world map screen to face the situation. In Fallout 2, the player character may be given a description of the encounter and the opportunity to avoid it, the probability of which is determined by their Outdoorsman skill. A common feature on the world map screen is the indicators for current time, date, and year, as well as a list of special locations already visited, clicking on which would automatically change their course to that location.
In the beginning of the game, the world map starts completely black. As the player character travels, the sectors visited will appear bright, while the sectors in the immediate vicinity of the ones he/she visited will appear dark, so as to give them an idea of what to expect. Travelling across a "Beach" sector would reveal all "Ocean" sectors to the left of it (because none of the Fallout games took place near Atlantic Coast). There is no special prize or bonus for exploring all sectors, other than discovering locations not required to visit to finish the game.
Special locations, such as towns, are marked by green circles of various size. In Fallout 2, special encounters the faced are also marked with small green circles. If the Highwayman runs out of fuel, it will have to be abandoned, and the car's location will also be marked with a small green circle.
In Fallout 3 the world map is first accessible when receiving the Pip-Boy 3000 on the Lone Wanderer's 10th birthday. The world map shows the locations of the Capital Wasteland, Adams Air Force Base, Point Lookout, Anchorage and The Pitt. Not all locations must have been visited to be shown on the map as they can be mentioned and it will be marked on the map but cannot be fast traveled to.
With the Explorer perk (available at level 20), all locations on the map are revealed, but cannot be fast-traveled to before visitation. The world map is 4.1 x 4.1 miles or 17 square miles, with a total of 225 locations.
Fallout: New Vegas
The Fallout: New Vegas world map is a bird's eye view of the landscape surrounding New Vegas. It is accessible through the Pip-Boy 3000 "Data" tab. Locations are shown on this map and fast travel is used on this map to go immediately to locations that the player has already visited. The map can also show areas in the Sierra Madre, Zion Canyon, Big MT and the Divide.
When a quest is selected to become the active quest in the Pip-Boy "Quests" tab, relevant places and people are marked on the world map with solid tabs, and a dotted line linking the Courier's current location to that marker.
The player character can set a manual marker themselves anywhere on the map using the X button; this marker appears as an unfilled tab, also linked to their location by a dotted line. If the player character has previously marked a location they will be prompted to either leave the old marker, replace it with the new location or remove the marker entirely. One can only have one manual marker at any one time. These markers appear on the HUD compass, for the purposes of navigation. The map is 4.3 x 4.3 miles or 19 square miles.
Uncovering the map
In Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier begins their quest in the town of Goodsprings, which will appear on the map as the only location at the beginning of the game. As they travel and find new locations, they will appear on the map as filled squares, which can be fast-traveled to. When characters mention locations in conversation these locations appear on the map, though when they have not been visited by the player character they are represented by unfilled squares, which cannot be fast-traveled to.
Original pre-War roads and railways are all marked on the map from the beginning, and major geographical features such as mountains are also shown. The Explorer perk (available at level 20) will reveal all marked locations on the map, but cannot be fast-traveled to before visitation. There are 737 total named locations in Fallout: New Vegas and accompanying add-ons. In the base game there are 544 named locations, including 190 marked, 253 unmarked, 2 Wild Wasteland, 67 mentioned only, and 32 cut. With the add-ons, an additional 193 named locations are added, including 153 marked and 40 mentioned only.
The Fallout 4 world map is a bird's eye view map of the Commonwealth. Similar to previous games, it also shows the quest targets, where the player character has to visit in order to advance through the quest. However, this time the markers are made differently, to show which quest can be advanced. The map is 5.4 x 5.4 miles or 30 square miles, with a total of 396 locations.
Unlike previous games, the map of Appalachia featured in Fallout 76 is a paper map with graphics of different major locations on it. This is due to the Pip-Boy 2000 Mark VI issued to Vault 76 not featuring the digital maps, satellite uplink, or sonar mapper seen in other models. The map is around four times bigger than the map of Fallout 4, roughly 120 square miles.
In certain other parts of the game, an alternate topological map of Appalachia is used instead, such as while selecting the target location of an ICBM, using a map purchased from the U-Mine-It! vending machine, or viewing locations on the wall maps in train stations.