So, you want to play some Fallout Shelter (FOS) on your Chromebook!
In this complete tutorial, we’ll cover:
- How to download Fallout Shelter via Google Play
- How to install Linux and play Fallout Shelter using the Lutris library
- How to play Fallout Shelter through Steam on your Chromebook
By the end of it, you should have a playable version of FOS so you can manage your Vault, take down those Mole Rats, and make those Nuka Cola bottles!
The best part is that this should work on pretty much any Chromebook- unless it’s super old or dated.
But most of you should be able to get Fallout Shelter up and running quite easily.
Sound good? Let’s build your Vault. On your Chromebook.
Fallout Shelter System requirements
According to Bethesda on the game’s Steam page, Fallout Shelter has some very basic hardware requirements to run.
This is good because as you probably know, Chromebooks aren’t really made for playing games.
But that’s OK because Fallout Shelter is easy to run just by reviewing the specs:
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q9550 @2.83GHZ
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Storage: 2 GB available space
All Chromebooks have at least 2GB of RAM. This is a requirement to be considered a Chromebook for manufacturers.
So if you have one, you already meet this requirement.
The other thing is the storage space. All models have at least 16GB, so you meet this requirement too.
The CPU, however, is the scary part. Most Chromebooks are loaded with an Intel Celeron processor which has a slightly lower clock speed than the recommended specs.
But you can still play the game even if you don’t meet the requirements.
Note that if you plan to install Lutris, Linux, and/or Steam, this may reduce the total amount of storage space you have. But if you keep it clean, you should be good to go.
If you don’t know what specs you have, check out this post.
Need more storage space? Check these out.
You can also launch Steam on an external flash drive, so then you can save space on your Chromebook.
Otherwise, you should be all set to go. Fallout Shelter runs well on Chromebooks after testing it out on 3 different models.
They all netted at least 20FPS, with my Acer CB3-131 being the slowest.
But even at 20FPS, the game’s still playable.
Here we’ll outline the 3 methods of how we can accomplish this.
Remember, you don’t do all 3 of them! You just need one to work and then you’re good to go.
- Method 1: Install the game through the Play Store
- Method 2: Download and install Linux and Lutris
- Method 3: Download and install Linux and Steam
I’d suggest trying them in order as presented because it goes from easy to hard. You only need to jump to the next method if the previous one doesn’t work.
But if you want cool stuff like Lutris or Steam, and you’re feeling daring, you could try the slightly more difficult methods =].
Can you even play Fallout Shelter on a Chromebook?
Yes. You can totally play FOS on a Chromebook.
And it’s actually easier now than ever with how far Chrome OS has gone. Most Chromebooks can actually run the game no problem.
Unless your model happens to be super old or dated, you should be able to play the game.
Does this work on a school or work Chromebook?
That depends. Are you using a school or work Chromebook enrolled into a managed network?
Enrolled Chromebooks don’t allow for many of the essential functions you’ll need to make this actually work.
Using the Play Store (Method 1) may work.
This depends on if your school/work admin allows you to download Android apps from the Play Store. If not, then actually none of the methods will work.
This is because downloading Linux (Methods 2 and 3) both require your Chromebook to be in Developer Mode. And enrolled Chromebooks will have Dev mode disabled by default.
So if you’re using a borrowed laptop, your school or work most likely blocked any possibility of this working.
But you can always give it a try- sometimes even though the Chromebook is enrolled, they don’t enable those restrictions.
What if I bought a used Chromebook that’s still enrolled?
You can try to reset the managed enrollment. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to contact the seller because there’s really no way to get around it.
Chrome OS is nearly bulletproof.
If I screw up, can I restart?
Yes. Methods 2 and 3 will require you to factory reset your Chromebook anyway (don’t worry, I’ll show you how to back up your data beforehand).
But if you get stuck at any point, or you just want to go back, you can do a Powerwash to start over from scratch. Like nothing happened!
Method 1: How to get Fallout Shelter from Google Play
This method is the easiest and most straightforward way to start playing the game on Chrome OS.
By now, most newer Chromebooks already have the Google Play Store built-in.
This means you can actually just download Fallout Shelter as an Android app and play it on your laptop.
You’ll be “emulating” the Android version of Fallout Shelter on your Chromebook.
For the most part, it works without a hitch!
You can download the game from the Play Store here. Just hit the “Install” button from there.
And you should see it on appear on your Chromebook’s Launcher.
You can find it on the icon at the bottom-left of the screen). If your Chromebook has integration with the Play Store, this should work no problem.
Some older Chromebooks don’t’ have this feature yet.
For those of you who don’t have it, you can “force” your device to get the update.
Check out this tutorial for directions on how to do that.
Note that your model has to be on the list of supported devices.
This means that Google plans to roll out the update sometime in the future for your device. If not, even attempting to force the update will do nothing.
If you don’t have the Play Store and your device isn’t on the list, you’ll have to upgrade your Chromebook or use the Linux methods below. Sorry.
There’s no other way around it. But Linux isn’t really that bad!
(Need a newer Chromebook? Check out this list of the best Chromebooks for gaming.)
Method 2: Try Linux and Lutris
The next method is to use a combination of Linux and Lutris.
Linux will let us install Lutris, as Chrome OS doesn’t support it by default.
Lutris is a game library similar to Steam. It basically lets you play a wide variety of popular games that are usually run on Windows.
Think of it as an emulator for Windows games that works on Linux.
You may be thinking about why it doesn’t work directly on Chrome OS and why you need Linux.
That’s because Chrome OS is very “locked-down” and prevents you from doing many commands and actions that require root access.
This is why we need to use Linux to get Lutris!
This method requires that you set your Chromebook into Developer Mode, which allows us to get Linux in the first place.
This step will wipe all your data, so be sure to make a backup first. I have a complete tutorial on doing that.
Turn on Developer Mode
After you make a backup, you’ll want to set your Chromebook to Dev Mode. Follow this guide on accomplishing that.
When you’re done, come back here and continue.
With your newly Dev Mode-enabled laptop, you can now get Linux!
The process is pretty straightforward.
Use Linux (Beta)
Linux (Beta) is the new built-in kernel on those who have supported devices on the latest version of Chrome.
This feature is super easy to enable. If you have it, try using it first.
- If it lets you install Lutris or Steam, depending on which method you’re doing, then nice!
- If not, try using Crouton instead- coming up on the next section!
Get Linux the old-fashioned way using Crouton
I’d suggest using Crouton if possible.
This version seems to work better overall with Lutris.
So I’ll be covering this method only. If you want to get Linux (Beta), you can enable it, and then come back here for direction on how to install Lutris.
This process is easy! Don’t worry about the scary code- I’ll cover it step-by-step.
By this point, you should’ve done the following already:
- Backed up your Chromebook
- Enabled Developer Mode
If you’re good to go, here’s what you do next.
First, you’ll want to get Crouton from here.
After you download it, you can run it using the following commands in the terminal.
Press “CTRL + ALT +T” to open terminal.
Then type in the following commands:
” sudo install -Dt /usr/local/bin -m 755 ~/Downloads/crouton” and press Enter.
“sudo crouton -t xfce” and hit Enter.
You’ll be prompted to create a password during the process.
Don’t forget what this is, or else you’re going to have to do some backtracking (ouch!).
After that, Crouton will install Ubuntu Xfce.
This may take a few minutes depending on your hardware specs. Go watch some Fallout Shelter strats.
When Linux is installed, you can toggle between both Chrome OS and Linux by pressing:
- “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Back Arrow” to go to Chrome OS.
- “CTRL + ALT+ SHIFT + Forward Arrow” to go to Linux.
The arrow keys are the ones at the top-right of your keyboard, NOT the ones on the arrow keypad. This is where F11/F12 are usually seen on a regular QWERTY Windows keyboard.
Congrats! You now have both Linux and Chrome OS on your Chromebook! Let’s move on.
(Love Linux? Are you a developer? Check out some of best Chromebooks for Linux).
The next step is to get Lutris.
Again, Lutris lets us play a lot of Windows-based games on Linux.
Since you have Linux now, the only thing that’s stopping you is hardware requirements!
Because Fallout Shelter isn’t a resource-demanding game, you should be able to run the game pretty smoothly and get playable FPS.
You can download Lutris for Ubuntu here.
You can also type in these commands to do it through the command prompt:
“sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lutris-team/lutris”
“sudo apt-get update”
“sudo apt-get install lutris”
You’ll need to get WINE also if you plan to play Windows-based games, such as FOS. Lutris and Wine are both necessary.
Pretty cool, eh?
Download Fallout Shelter
After you get Lutris, the next step is to actually download and install Fallout Shelter on your Chromebook.
You can download the game using the Library after you have Lutris installed. You can also grab FOS from the game’s library page here.
That’s it. You should now be able to play Fallout Shelter through Lutris!
For the most part, you should be able to run the game without any problems.
Method 3: Play Fallout Shelter using Linux and Steam
And the final frontier.
Should the other two methods not work, this is the final option!
This technique involves using Steam to play FOS directly, rather than using Lutris. If you don’t have Linux installed yet, use the steps above from Method 2.
The only difference is that instead of installing Lutris, you’re going to download Steam instead.
So repeat the steps above until you get to the “Get Lutris” step. You’ll want to download Steam instead of Lutris.
Launch terminal (yay, more commands!) by pressing “CTRL + ALT +T”.
Type in the following, without quotes:
“$ sudo apt-get install -y steam” and hit Enter.
You’ll see a few prompts on the screen, such as agreeing to the EULA. Go ahead and review them.
Hint: You may have to use the “Tab” key to highlight “OK” during the prompts.
After Steam installs, you’ll find it under Applications > Games > Steam. Go ahead and launch Steam.
It’ll probably have to update (as always), let it do its thing.
When it’s done updating, log in to your Steam account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for one.
Download and install Fallout Shelter to your Chromebook by searching and finding the game. Pretty sure you know how to do this =].
Play the game!
That’s it. Did you know you can also play Steam games off of an external SD card? Or even install Steam externally entirely?
All you need is a compatible SD card. If you’re low on space, these tips may come in handy.
If you get stuck, here’s the complete “how-to” guide on downloading Steam.
Making the game run smoother
Fallout Shelter doesn’t have any built-in video settings, so there’s not much you can really do to make the game run any faster.
One thing that may help is to reduce your video resolution. You can change the default resolution of your Chromebook using the Settings, and this will make the game run at a lower res.
The problem is that it’ll probably look huge and ugly on your screen.
The other option is to simply run the game in a small window, rather than a full screen. I found the game runs smoother this way for some small FPS gains.
Not much, but then again, you can let FOS run in the background while you do other stuff. A smaller screen won’t do much harm, right?
But if your laptop is running slow in general, you may need to do a few things to reclaim your lost performance.
Having a ton of useless files, apps, Chrome extensions, and low disk space can all contribute to lag and slowness on your Chromebook. Here are some other ways you can speed up your Chromebook.
Lastly, you can try downloading Fallout Shelter onto an SD card, and then running it from that.
Since the SD card runs much faster than a typical Chromebook’s hard disk, the game will boot, load, and just be more snappy overall.
Other common questions about this setup go here.
Have one to ask? Leave a comment!
Does this work on a school Chromebook?
As mentioned earlier, it depends. If your school Chromebook blocks downloading apps from the Play Store, then yeah, it probably won’t work.
Beyond that, your school also probably blocked the ability to enter Dev Mode, which blocks both the Steam and Lutris methods as well.
So you’ll need to either get permission or get your own personal Chromebook. There are some models out there that are suitable for some entry-level gaming.
How do I make it run faster? Fallout Shelter runs super slow!
This may be due to your hardware setup.
As you know, these devices aren’t really made for gaming. So if you get lag, it may be because it’s simply too weak to run FOS.
Other things could be that the integration between Chrome OS and Android apps isn’t optimized at this point (assuming you’re using the Play Store).
If you’re in Linux, you can try installing FOS on an SD card and play through Steam. This may be faster than loading it off the Chromebook SSD.
Can I play other Fallout games?
Maybe. If you’re talking Fallout 2, 3, or 4, probably not.
But if you’re talking about the old-school top-down Fallout 1? Possibly.
You can try using WINE and Steam to play it.
What else can I do with Linux?
Just search for “how to linux” using the search bar on this page. I have a tutorial for many popular games!
I screwed up. How do I start over?
Do a Powerwash.
Did you get your Vault up and running on your Chromebook?
Annnnnnd, that’s about it.
Did you get Fallout Shelter on your Chromebook? Or on Linux?
Although the game doesn’t run perfectly on some lower-end laptops, it’s still definitely playable.
The game doesn’t require many resources and is well-optimized.
Even on my old Acer CB3-131, I could average at least 20FPS. It’s not ideal, but it’s still smooth enough to play.
FOS isn’t a game that’ll you’ll be constantly monitoring either unless your Vault is huge.
For the most part, you can just let it run in the background and then collect your food, water, and power every so often. So even with the lag and stutters on Chromebook, Fallout Shelter still runs decently.
If you’re stuck on downloading or installing the game, post a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. I’ll do what I can to get Fallout Shelter running on your machine.
Or if you’ve found this tutorial to be helpful, let me know!
Consider telling a friend who’s also into Fallout and have them join the Vault simulation!
Thanks for reading!