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Fallout 3 time-lapse video special

DF mucks around in the Wasteland.

Part of the remit I set out for the Digital Foundry channel would be to showcase games, performance and technology in a way that isn't covered anywhere else. Sometimes it's controversial, sometimes it's intriguing and sometimes it's just... cool.

File this blog entry under the latter category. I'm a sucker for open-world games and time-lapse photography and together they combine to create unique videos that put a new perspective on the engines that power our most advanced games.

For this effort, I decided that I'd attempt to show the blasted, barren Fallout 3 landscape in as much detail as possible - far beyond what either the Xbox 360 or PS3 are capable of. That meant running the PC version at 1080p, with every single setting at the max and backed with a megaton of processing power: in short, in full bullshot mode. The game has many tweakables dedicated to the LOD settings and those, along with the anti-aliasing and shadow detail, are where the lion's share of the CPU and GPU cycles went.

I expected the game to be reduced to a slideshow, even with the in-house Digital Foundry overclocked i7/GTX295 combo. However, the idea was that since so many frames are lost in the capturing process, it wouldn't make any difference to the final video. However, surprisingly, the game remained fairly playable and the game's command mode console "set timescale to" feature and god mode were put to good use.

The original captures ran at a 5,000x time-scale, and these are run at double speed in the final video, right up until the final boom.

The videos here are obviously downscaled from the full HD original, so for those with a spare 250MB of bandwidth you can get a supremely high quality 1080p h264 version that'll play on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 here with almost all of the quality of the original captures.

Thanks to the Fallout 3 Nexus whose archive of save positions was very useful for putting this video together, in particular the "Twopenny Tower Megaton Boom" save by Ryulien, used to add a mushroom cloud-shaped conclusion to the montage.

Other games in the Digital Foundry timelapse collection, both available in high definition: Crackdown and Burnout Paradise: Big Surf Island. Coming Soon: Crysis.

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Digital Foundry specialises in technical analysis of gaming hardware and software, using state-of-the-art capture systems and bespoke software to show you how well games and hardware run, visualising precisely what they're capable of. In order to show you what 4K gaming actually looks like we needed to build our own platform to supply high quality 4K video for offline viewing. So we did.

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About the Author
Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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