Fallout 4 Patch 1.3 Adds NVIDIA HBAO+ and FleX-Powered Weapon Debris

Featured Stories, NVIDIA GameWorks

Fallout 4 launched last November to record player numbers, swiftly becoming the most popular third-party game on Steam. Later this year, Bethesda’s downloadable content will be released, adding all manner of new things to see and do. And when the official mod kit is released it will enable budding developers to implement more advanced gameplay and graphics mods that simply aren’t possible at present.

Some enhancements however can only be implemented by Bethesda with an official update. So we’ve worked closely with the creators of Fallout 4 to develop two new graphics settings, available now in the newly-released patch 1.3.

The first is a setting many will be familiar with: HBAO+. Seen in numerous games, HBAO+ increases the quality of ambient occlusion shadowing by a significant degree, creating a more realistic scene with extra depth and detail.

Fallout 4 - NVIDIA HBAO+ In Patch 1.3

HBAO+ introduces these enhancements through the use of DirectX 11 technology developed by NVIDIA, as detailed here. In addition, Fallout 4’s HBAO+ implementation includes the long-distance HBAO+ rendering feature that debuted as one component of “HBAO+ Ultra” in another recent release.

This new feature enables HBAO+ ambient occlusion shadows to be rendered far into the distance, improving image quality screen wide. This is especially noticeable in cities with large buildings that are accurately shadowed by HBAO+ as far as the eye can see. In the screenshot below, note the deeper, richer shadowing around every window and building edge; the prominent and realistic shadowing around vehicles; the shadowing that enables you to discern tufts of grass and smaller pieces of foliage; the new shadowing on building interiors; the shadows in the crater that enable you to see the different height and depth of terrain features; and the screen-wide ambient occlusion shadows that are visible even in the very back of the scene, most visibly under the highway.

Fallout 4 - NVIDIA HBAO+ In Patch 1.3

Down on the ground, every blade of grass, every object, and every piece of debris is visibly improved, improving image quality across every inch of Fallout 4’s world.

Fallout 4 - NVIDIA HBAO+ In Patch 1.3

In terms of impact, HBAO+ is as-important as Anisotropic Filtering, Anti-Aliasing, and Shadow Quality, being seen across every pixel of every scene throughout Fallout 4, for the duration of the game, all upcoming DLC, and every mod that will ever be released. To enable HBAO+, load Fallout 4’s launcher, select “Options”, click “Advanced”, expand the “Ambient Occlusion” drop-down, and opt for “HBAO+”.

Fallout 4 - NVIDIA GameWorks Graphics Options

The other new graphic setting in Fallout 4’s 1.3 patch is “Weapon Debris”, a high-end, GPU-accelerated particle rendering system powered by NVIDIA FleX.

Currently, if you shoot a wall or other surface with a weapon in Fallout 4, small debris particles are emitted from the bullet hole or weapon impact point before fading in mid-air. Similarly, if you shoot a soft surface and leave a crater a plume of dust and dirt is kicked up before quickly vanishing. With Weapon Debris enabled chunks of actual debris are rendered, and persist in the scene. In addition, these particles can be manipulated by player, NPC and enemy movement, and explosions, which send debris flying throughout the scene.

Courtesy of GSY Miguel

Enabled from the same settings screen as HBAO+, Weapon Debris has three detail levels adjusting the number of particles rendered, the size of the area around the player that they can be rendered in, and quality of interaction. At the highest detail level, up to 32768 rigid body particles are rendered in as far as the eye can see, littering battlefields with GPU-accelerated debris.

With these new effects Fallout 4's world is now more detailed and immersive, enhancing your experience throughout your time with the game. Learn more about NVIDIA GameWorks' enhancements and how they enhance your favorite games here.

For more ways to immensely increase Fallout 4 graphical fidelity, check out our exhaustive Fallout 4 Graphics and Performance Guide. And if you’re in the market for a new graphics card for Fallout 4 take a peek at our Recommended Fallout 4 graphics cards.