Why is there so much clipping/ what causes the clipping in Bethesda games?


How come objects clipping though walls is so particularly bad in Bethesda games? It’s so prevalent that there’re memes about it and it’s present in almost every Fallout or Elder Scrolls game they’ve made. It’s so prevalent that my mind just filters it out now and I take it for granted.

Question is why though. What about their engine makes that a thing. Most other AAA games from the past decade have solidly beaten clipping. Why can’t Bethesda stop it? And what causes it?

In: Technology

The games are massive and open plan. Everywhere 2 sides meet is a potential point for clipping but due to the size of these games it is very labour heavy try to find all the clipping spots.

Classic corridor games are much easier to debug for this because there is a much more restricted area that you can walk about on.

Bethesda have a reputation for being lazy when picking these up but that might be unfair.

I’m surprised we haven’t developed AI for testing this sort of thing tbh as it is very menial work to sort through.

Every time two edges meet clipping can occur, and Bethesda makes large, semi-automatically generated places, so therefore there are a lot of edges, and no-clipping every edge would take even more RAM than the already huge amount those games take up, and checking them all takes a lot of skilled labor that the consumers don’t care about enough to pay extra for.

To be fair, Fallout 4 was built on the Skyrim engine which is almost a decade old.

That being said, Bethesda open world games have so many different types of outfits, weapons, attachments, that it is difficult/impossible for them to create animations that cater to every single possibility. This is speaking to the case where something you are wearing clips through something else that you are wearing, or a sword clipping through a chair when you sit, or a door when you stand near it.

Because of the freedom you have, it is not feasible for them to account for every single possible scenario when it comes to objects attached to the player.

For dynamic objects that have physics…physics are tough in games. There are a lot o calculations that need to happen and that is very taxing on the processor, so they try to cheat it as best they can. They can’t have realistic physics on every single object on the screen 100% of the time. You can do this is first person games, because you don’t have to worry about what the person is wearing.

It is just about how much freedom you as a player get, and how much they can realistically animate/code.

EDIT: I have a feeling the next big Bethesda game we see (Hopefully an Elder Scrolls game) will be on a new engine, and be pretty mind blowing as far as physics. They have come a long way.

For the same reason they used npc wearing hat that was train and scripted him to move instead of making it an independant feature of engine, or shenenigans involving chests under ground that act as container for merchants to not allow them wearing what they are selling.