Nevada Outpost

Play Fallout: New Vegas on Linux!

Please Stand By Hello Hypothetical readers, how are ya?

This time around I’ll be telling you how to get Fallout: New Vegas working on your linux system, solving some of the issues… and probably creating some more (where I hope you will also help me figure it out). By the way, Fallout 3 is basically the same game engine as New Vegas, so everything here should work for it as well.

Step 1: Get the game

The first step is obvious, either buy the game or find an Full-demo, I’d recommend the stand alone version, as getting the one from steam might complicating things a bit.
Myself, I grabbed the Ultimate edition version, stand alone and easy to install1.

Oh! And of course you’ll also need to get a form of the wine application (wine is not emulation).

Step 2: Prepare the prefix

Q4wineI’ve mentioned before, and I intend to post a exclusive article on this later. But keeping your wine games each on its separate prefix is good practice, all of its configuration is safe from others prefixes and technically everything you need is in there (good for packaging too).
Anyway, this time I’ve used a different tool, I’ve found Q4wine. A newer Qt based tool, for your wine prefixes management. It makes creating and configuring your prefix really easy, embedded with winetricks shortcuts and extra configuration options, even multiple wine versions to choose from (though you have to set them up yourself).

After creating your desired prefix, make sure you’re using 32-bit, as wine 64 was reported not working so well.  run the following:

winetricks d3dx9 vcrun6sp6 quartz ddr=opengl

Quartz may be optional, you should test without it first or read more below. One caveat some users reported, is sound really finicky, with stutters, for me it had a huge delay while shooting weapons, the fix to this is to get an original dsound.dll (directsound) placing it manually on your drive_c/windows/system32/ folder and adding a override2.

After all this setup, my winecfg window only had the d3dx9, quartz and dsound overrides. Remember to set fake drivers, and desktop integration if you so desire.

Step 3: Install and test

This part should be easy and should vary with your version of the game. No one seemed to report any issue installing it yet, and I have done it even without the setup above. In my case, which was the Ultimate edition, all I had to do was extract the contents of both ISO into one directory, didn’t even had to mount them, and the game installed in one go.

LauncherAfter the installation, you should find in the install dir (mine was drive_c/FallouNV)  the FalloutNV.exe and FalloutNVLauncher.exe. Run the Launcher and do some initial configuration.
Initially for me, the game ran pretty fast, but had some graphical glitches and missing features, only after installing the d3dx9 package that I’ve noticed, a huge drop in performance but a lot more quality in the scenes. I’ve tuned it down and it works pretty well, one note though: do not leave your settings on ultra as some of these may go beyong the limits, bringing performance to a crawl.
One small detail, leave “water refractions” disabled, as it caused some weirdness with scenes nearby water3.

Step 4: Play it

Main screenAt this point you should be able to start the game and test it out. Start FalloutNV.exe directly or create shortcuts to it. One of the beauties of Q4wine, is that I can take one of multiple launchers I’ve set-up and copy it to anywhere I want as a .desktop file (application launcher).

If for you the game has failed to launch or encountered a miserable crash, you should check up on the winehq for other users with similar issues. At this point for me, the game runs pretty smooth and stable, I was able to go a long way through the story without a single crash, and was only when adding mods that more issues came present, as I’ll discuss below.

Step 5: Further Configuration

Audio: wine has a long standing rivalry with pulseaudio, many reported screwed audio while using both, for me initially it was screwed up too, I’ve found two ways for them to work together. One is to give your device the tsched=1 option4 on the /etc/pulse/, which is probably default if haven’t tweaked anything on it.
Another alternative to this is to allow the wine application to use the alsa driver directly, make so pulseaudio doesn’t grab the device all for itself5. But I also don’t want permanently disable pulseaudio or change my custom configuration. So instead I’m going to use the pacmd tool to change pulseaudio during runtime:

pacmd unload-module module-udev-detect (or module-alsa-card or whatever module is used to grab the device)
pacmd load-module module-alsa-sink device=dmix

This will unload the module that is grabbing your sound device and then load a alsa-sink that will let other applications use the alsa device as well. All without killing pulseaudio.

Config file tweaks: There are two major files to look for some tweaks, the Fallout_default.ini that resides in the main folder, and the FalloutPrefs.ini that is on your user folder. Remember to make backup copies of the originals in case things go screwy.

One very useful tweak is chaging how the mouse jumps around in some dialogs, just add these entries to Fallout_default.ini in the [Controls] section6:


The WastesFor me the game turned out terribly unstable after adding a bunch of mods a visiting lots of places, one of the configs that helped a bit with crashes and hangs was adding the iNumHWThreads=2 parameter to the [General] section of the default.ini file. you may want to experiment with the value given, but it seems that more than 2 cores used make the game more unstable6.

There are a lot of tweaks available, more important for us are the loading & memory ones, it seems Fallout has a very limited RAM usage and most crashes are due to memory issues. check on this page and experiment to your liking.

Step 6: Modding (and screwing up your game)

John NashNow its the fun part. Fallout 3 and New Vegas are great games on themselves, but they’re left a bit unfinished on some aspects, thats where mods come in for our better enjoyment, and the game turns out greater than before. Fortunately  modding the game works just as well on linux, unfortunately modding also makes the game a whole more unstable as it did on Windows.
Some of the essential mods work without issue, one problem with most is that they come pre-packaged for a mod-manager, of those none work on linux. All mods must be manually installed by you, generally only placing them inside the Fallout New Vegas/Datafolder is enough for them to work, you will need to activate the .esm or .esp files in the launcher and then set a load order.

Here are some notable mods of worthy mention:

Step 7: Is that another step, seriously?

Nevada OutpostNo seriously, just to wrap it up. So far I’ve been having a blast on this game. But lately it has became more and more unstable, usually hanging while loading another cell. sometimes texture from females goes missing right before the crash, I increasingly suspect its the memory issue, and some of the mentioned above really helps with it. My last try, switching direct rendering to openGL seemed to do the trick, will test and report back.

Enjoy, share this and let me know how you like this article or how can I make it better. Oh, and of course, if you found something relevant on how to make the game work or need help setting it up, leave a comment below. cheers!


  1. Torrent hash: E1FA83AF474E4FE4C97D5A7BB88E16D6F1D25B3E 
  2. Search for audio stuttering issue on the winehq page 
  3. Search for bizarre bug on the winehq page 
  6. check the various customization options in this and this sites. 

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2 thoughts on “Play Fallout: New Vegas on Linux!”

  1. So, I was just gifted New Vegas on Steam. Obviously, you recommended getting the standalone version, but it was free, so I’m not complaining. That being said, I’m fairly inexperienced with Linux and have no idea what I need to do for this. Would you be willing to email with me about how to proceed? Thanks!

    1. Should be fairly straight forward, basically what you want to do is have an wine prefix for a Steam windows install. There is plenty of documentation on how to do that, just search “installing steam on wine”.
      In that case the specific workarounds could not work properly, search the winehq page, I think I’ve seen mentioning some user that had to get separate prefix from other steam games to make it work properly. In any case you could just get Steam to download the game and then move the whole game’s files to a different location.

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