Digital Foundry: Fallout 4 patch 1.02 boosts PS4 performance

wicko

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Oct 16, 2011
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Obviously I can't give specific suggestions since I don't know the ins-and-outs of their code or engine. Maybe they forgot to turn on compiler optimization flags again, who knows?
Well, as an educated guess, changing some compiler flags isn't going to give you an extra 5 frames when you have a dynamic light casting over a high traffic area. Dynamic lights are very expensive, especially when they're lighting lots of moving objects at the same time.

The point I'm getting at is they aren't idiots, they know what the engine's limitations are, and this was clearly going beyond it's limits. This is not the fault of the engine, this is a fault of whoever placed that light and made it dynamic in the first place.
 

Smash88

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Is there a way to restore the shadows on PC through an .ini fix? Why would they change PC graphics, when it doesn't affect us - especially when we have more control over our settings.
 

D-VoN

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Oct 24, 2014
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please explain
Not sure if it's been mentioned but the lone wanderer perk still works if you have dogmeat as well.

In regard to the patch. SLI optimization is still shit. At 1440p I'm still struggling to play at high/ultra at a steady 60fps. I have SLI 4GB 770's too.

First world problems.
 

wicko

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Is there a way to restore the shadows on PC through an .ini fix? Why would they change PC graphics, when it doesn't affect us - especially when we have more control over our settings.
That's not how it works - they changed some lights in a specific level (among other things probably), not across the board. The level data is shared across all platforms, so PC gets the change too.
 

Swarna

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Apr 2, 2013
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We are not talking state of the art graphics tech here. I would get it in a Cry Engine game (yet that engine seems more scalable). So much apologies for Bethesda. This is the only company that can make games, run like shit every generation, on dated tech, outright lie about it, and there is strong defense for them. I am baffled.

Hoping this is just a bug, otherwise, the engine is just disappointing heading into 2016.
No one is apologizing for Bethesda's development decisions but there's not much that can be done at this point. Optimization in general is about reducing/dialing back settings visual effects that the player may not notice/appreciate as much in order to improve performance. In fringe cases (like recently on BLOPS 3 PC) there are other issues such as stuttering that can be reduced with better memory management. There can be some clever smoke-and-mirrors done like in this case only disabling shadows for a specific area of the game but you can't generally render the same things in the same manner while simultaneously boosting performance.

Multi-plats, if you haven't noticed, tend to look similar/perform similarly on comparable hardware. Battlefront looks/runs great on everything and FO4 looks like ass and runs like a turd by default. Games "looking great" and "running great" simultaneously seems to something that is set in stone early on in development with the choice of engine, scope, and certain priorities.

I think Bethesda's games are shit and look like shit so I don't even bother.
 

DeepEnigma

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Dec 3, 2013
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No one is apologizing for Bethesda's development decisions but there's not much that can be done at this point. Optimization in general is about reducing/dialing back settings visual effects that the player may not notice/appreciate as much in order to improve performance. In fringe cases (like recently on BLOPS 3 PC) there are other issues such as stuttering that can be reduced with better memory management. There can be some clever smoke-and-mirrors done like in this case only disabling shadows for a specific area of the game but you can't generally render the same things in the same manner while simultaneously boosting performance.

Multi-plats, if you haven't noticed, tend to look similar/perform similarly on comparable hardware. Battlefront looks/runs great on everything and FO4 looks like ass and runs like a turd by default. Games "looking great" and "running great" simultaneously seems to something that is set in stone early on in development with the choice of engine, scope, and certain priorities.

I think Bethesda's games are shit and look like shit so I don't even bother.
Good points. Makes sense in this case.
 
Jun 25, 2013
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I find the jankyness of Fallout to be one of it's best traits quite frankly. Some of the more hilarious glitches ever make for a fun experience imo :p
I agree - When I was playing last night, the Mysterious Stranger showed up and shot a Yao guai straight up into the air about a hundred yards.

In terms of performance, it wasn't until I was around level 50 (not sure on the hours) that I ever started experiencing issues (single frame rate, long loading times, enemies disappearing). I went into this with low expectations having played FO3 and Skyrim on the PS3.
 

Inuhanyou

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Why would they use dynamic shadows instead of baked even knowing performance was going to be spotty in development?
 

MrDaravon

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Corvega is a very early game example so everyone is aware of it, but there's a small handful of other interior areas that run like dogshit on PS4, along with an outside downtown region to the east (Hub 360 area) where the entire area runs like complete fucking crap. How nice that they're finally rolling out minimal fixes after I'm already done with the game -_-
 

DOWN

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Aug 2, 2011
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Because your giving the benefit of the doubt on a subconscious bias. They knew the game wasn't all together and that's point blank period. They didn't even try to hide it. Imo, It's totally ok to say the game was unfinished. Just because you can beat the game in its current state does not mean that bugs that can break the game (such as the elevator) can not dead stop you from playing. It's awful that some of you can't recognize finish from unfinished.

But on the other hand... I feel like it is somewhat impossible to know 100% which areas are a problem as that information would come from users once they get the game. It's shameless qa but it works because for a small team, they simply just can't with a game that large.
I feel like I'm reading a contradiction...

They knew they left that stuff yet they couldn't have known they left all that stuff since they are small?

And what's a finished game to you on PS4/XBone?
 

nOoblet16

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Why would they use dynamic shadows instead of baked even knowing performance was going to be spotty in development?
Because that's extra work i.e. baking shadow data onto textures. And baked shadows fall apart when you have a day night cycle in a game.

Is this with the highest in-game settings?

If so, Bathesda is more terrible than even I could have though.

Man... downgrading graphics through a patch on PC. Has this what it has come to? Remember graphics settings? Those were good times.
"Optimisations"

Even some decent AO would make that scene look so much better despite no shadows.
 

Dick Justice

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Is this with the highest in-game settings?

If so, Bathesda is more terrible than even I could have though.

Man... downgrading graphics through a patch on PC. Has this what it has come to? Remember graphics settings? Those were good times.
I remember that Obsidian did this with New Vegas. Various patches removed item clutter and generic NPCs (to make the consoles not run like complete shit). Fortunately, someone created a mod to reinstate everything.
 

orochi91

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They nerfed the PC version?

What's the underlying logic behind that decision???

It was a solid port to begin with.
 

tuxfool

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Is this with the highest in-game settings?

If so, Bathesda is more terrible than even I could have though.

Man... downgrading graphics through a patch on PC. Has this what it has come to? Remember graphics settings? Those were good times.
Looks like they just excised it from their global stream.
 

Tatsumi Oga

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I got the update on Xbox One yesterday. Have not played it an awful lot though since yesterday. Have things improved for X1 too?
 

_machine

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They nerfed the PC version?

What's the underlying logic behind that decision???

It was a solid port to begin with.
Because that was the only possible way (well in possible, I say the only realistic way to do in the alloted time, and also given the performance difference it was probably the most efficient) to increase performance for consoles and you absolutely can't have platform specific level data to retain the shadow casting in the objects for PC (for development reasons, it would quite likely cause issues down the road. Wicko put it in words better:
That shadow was not baked, it was dynamic - you can tell when the player moves underneath the shadow at about 1:19.

This is unfortunately how optimization works, so people need to knock it off with the lazy comments. A designer or layout artist added a shadow casting dynamic light where they shouldn't have. You don't try and optimize dynamic lights (which is probably like squeezing blood from a stone), you go and fix the sore spots.

There probably isn't much choice but to have this affect PC, as each platform doesn't have specific level data. What a nightmare that would be to keep track of. 99% of fixes would be needed on all platforms, and you want consistency - not correcting the same thing 3 times. Assuming modders can adjust light properties, it would be easy enough to fix this in a mod.
Not that I don't expect some rendering level optimizations down the line, but this is still what any developer would refer to as optimization. The problem is that they did after the launch where there was no comparison point, but given that the majority will notice the frame drops rather than the missing shadows, it was still probably the best choice.
 

On Demand

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Dec 12, 2013
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Anybody notice it's mostly overcast during the day now? The sun only comes out briefly at dawn and 5pm. Speculation on my part, I'm wondering if they did that because the volumetric lighting, which was low resolution and blurry anyway, affected performance?

I could just be seeing things and over thinking it, but I cycled 3 full days and saw the same pattern. It wasn't like this before the update, I remember it always being bright and sunny, except for the occasional rain, fog, and radiation storm.
 

KaoteK

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Aug 19, 2014
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I've been waiting for a patch before jumping back in, but the odd thing is, when I check for a patch, there is nothing. I bought the game on launch day and haven't had any patches.

Anyone else have this problem?

(I have the region 3 -Asian version fwiw)