Need For Speed III Modern Patch v1.6.1 [2016/10/28] (HD + Widescreen + Portable)

“Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit” is the first 3D game of my life. When I've seen the game first time, I was extremely amazed because I'd never seen 3D games before. It was in 2000. I can't count hours which I've spent in the Split Screen mode with my cousin. And the music... it's so awesome, so I'd recorded it on an audio cassette, and listened it hundreds of times.

And now, years later, I had tried to play this game. But the game refused to run on modern hardware. So, I had tried to investigate how to fix it. I had a little carried away by this. As the result I've created an impressive patch. 25000+ lines of assembly code, 150+ days of reverse-engineering and coding, 40 sheets of A4 paper were covered with writing during development, a huge list of changes...

Hometown in widescreen resolution

Key Features

  • Full widescreen and HD resolutions support. You can easily use resolutions like 1920×1200. Now the game supports all aspect ratios from the 5:4 to 16:9, inclusive 4:3 and 16:10. HUD will be adopted automatically for every aspect ratio.
  • Improved graphics. No more cars with non-rotating wheels, better textures and models for other's cars (original game reduces size of textures even on maximum graphics settings), better graphics in the rear view, etc.
  • New graphics settings: Rear View Detail (High/Medium/Low), Rear View Camera From (In Car Camera/Active Camera, it decreases the blind spot), Fog (On/Off, like in the NFS4), Wide View Angle setting (useful for the widescreen resolutions).
  • Fog effect and light beams support in DirectX 6/7 (they were exclusive effects for the 3dfx Voodoo).
  • Portability. All system settings are loaded from the ini file. No more registry!
  • Compatibility. Most problems with modern Windows were fixed. Full support of multi-core processors. Original game can work properly only on one core. This change dramatically improves performance of the nGlide and the dgVoodoo.
  • Alt+Tab support. You can safely minimize the game when nGlide or dgVoodoo driver is used.
  • Built-in screenshoter. Just press Print Screen key, and a screenshot will be saved into the screenshots subdirectory in the JPG/PNG/BMP format.
  • Improved keyboard support in the menu. Now it is much more consistent. You can also use the Tab and Shift+Tab to switch between elements.
  • Better modding abilities. The game doesn't crash when high-poly cars are used. Also it possible to use huge textures up to 2048×2048 (original limit was 256×256).
  • Optimizations. 10 times faster gameplay loading on modern systems. To skip loading animation just press any key.
  • Bugfixes. More than 200 changes at all!


Before and after: cars have better textures, side mirrors don't disappear

How to install

  1. Copy FEDATA and GAMEDATA directories from the NFS3 CD to a new empty directory.
  2. Extract contents of the nfs3_modern_patch.7z (1.6MB) into that directory with replacement of files.
  3. Done!

Find other NFS3 fans for the network games in our Telegram group chat!

If you are a server, ports 1030 and 9803 have to be accessible from the network, so you have to add the appropriate permit rule in your firewall for the nfs3.exe and configure a port forwarding properly. If you're a client, port forwarding isn't required. If you wish to find someone who wants to play NFS3 with you, join this Telegram group chat.


Donated: $270.
Status: suspended.

Planned features:

  • [Done] Sharp fonts and other elements in menus on D3D renderers, just like when Glide renderers are used.
  • [Done] The problem with visible black polygons (e.g. near the Old Church) on the DX7 renderer will be solved.
  • [Done] Movies support for the DX8 renderer.
  • [Done] 32bpp rendering for movies. Menu will also work in 32bpp video mode and it will look better. Now it works in 16bpp.
  • Simple windowed mode for the DX6/DX7/DX8 renderers. It will be possible to enable it using ini file.
  • Investigation about how to add an ability to restore minimized game when it works in fullscreen mode.
  • Separate “Frame Size” and “Frame Cropping” graphics settings instead of the current combined one.
  • Rewriting of the code which uses the mouse cursor in the exclusive mode. The game will use the default system behavior of the mouse cursor. It will solve many small problems with the mouse cursor in this game. For example, your cursor will be able to leave the window of the game (when it works in a window) without pressing any keys. Also it will solve problems with mouse lagging on some computers.
  • Solving of the problems with loading of ghost and replay files from other players (when the other player has a little bit different set of cars in his game).
  • An optional ability to change structure of the game directories using the ini file. It may be useful for modding. It will be more flexible than the from the original versions. For example, you will be able to move all save files to some separate directory (e.g. "savedata").
  • An optional ability to load a thrash driver from the root directory, as it was in the original version of the game.

These features are planned for the v1.6.1, v1.6.2 and v1.6.3. A beta version is here.

  1. #551
    VEG Author

    Jack Foxtrot,

    The only thing that sucks about this game is the micro-stuttering where it consistently drops every few frames despite being 60.

    Yeah, it's a known issue, the game requires 64 FPS to be smooth. I'm glad that Adaptive Sync is becoming popular these days because it is a great way of fixing this issue in all old NFS games. I'm not sure if NFS3 is compatible with Adaptive Sync in current state, but I want to make sure that it works properly when I buy such monitor in the future.

  2. #552
    Jack Foxtrot

    I have a Samsung SyncMaster P2770, its refresh rate is a max of 60Hz. Don't know if that helps to know at all.

  3. #553

    Is this still in development? The current 1.6.1 version seems to be from 2016.

  4. #554
    VEG Author

    Unfortunately, at this moment the project is suspended. The latest version is v1.6.2 beta from 2017 (the link is at the end of the article). I plan to resume development one day in the future, but it won't be soon. I still have too many other things to do in the queue and very limited free time.

  5. #555

    Hmmm... would it be possible to open source the patch so that anyone could contribute to it?

  6. #556

    Hello, I'm trying to get this to run on the steam deck,

    It works great minus controller support, i believe is cuz steam injects several controllers into the game and nfs3 only uses the first controller which it cant read

    Im willing to donate some money to solve this issue

  7. #557

    Hello VEG, what a great project! The game is working but unfrtunately it crashes after each race to a black screen without beeing able to get to the task manager. I have to reboot the computer after each race. Is there a solution for it? My specs: WIN10 64 bit, CPU: i7-9700 KF, 8Core, 32 GB RAM, GTX1660 Super.

    But i really want to thank you for the great journey to 1998 when i was playing it on my first improved computer with 300 MHz and 16 MB RAM, Voodoo2. ;)

    We were playing in splitscreen mode on a 14" Monitor.

  8. #558

    @Bluelight1982 Try changing the renderer in ini under ThrashDriver or try set some other relevant settings, there is a readme file readme-patch_en.txt or alternatively you can use some GUI for that as the one I made long time ago, its on my website -> (hope VEG dont mind the link :) )

  9. #559
    Lord Djemo

    I don't have a steamdeck but I Do run Arch linux and play games using Steam Proton. I have the same problem with controls. Install a linux program called antimicrox from the AUR. It allows custom controller key mapping. You can then map the Keyboard controls to your controller. Hopefully works with Steam deck controller. I use it with xbox one, Xbox 360, old Logitech direct input, newer Logitech xinput and ps3 controllers and it works great with all. If you don't know about the AUR ( Arch User Repository) do some quick research. You need an AUR helper like yay installed to use it. Good luck.

  10. #560

    Hi Veg,

    First of all, thanks so much for such a huge effort. Much appreciated it. I do understand that your patch was made for modern OSes like Windows 10, but is it working on Windows 98 as well (no emulation - real hardware)?


  11. #561
    VEG Author

    Andreas, it should work on Windows 98, you just need to select a compatible renderer in the nfs3.ini (e.g. dx6).

  12. #562

    Hello Veg! I am back again (was on here around a year ago I believe) I have since changed computers, and am trying to get the game on my new computer... I am however, having an error pop up, reading as follows:

    savefileadr - OPEN FAILED FOR FILE',\fedata\config\config.dat

    (The game crashes whenever I try and run a race, and an "abort message" popup shows up with that message. Any thoughts?

    (Note: this is a copied game folder from another computer, compressed into a ZIP file via flashdrive, and decompressed on my new computer)

  13. #563

    Jathon, make folder like C:\Games\NFS3 or any non UAC folder and copy the game there, it seems it cant write in the folder you extracted your copy of NFS3 in

  14. #564

    Keiiko, Thanks! I will try this!

  15. #565

    Keiiko, Unfortunately that did not seem to fix it

  16. #567

    Hi VEG, hope you are well. Quick question I play Need For Speed III Hot Pursuit with your modern patch, using the beta 1.6.2 version. I use 'nGlide' as my driver and play at a 4K (3840x2160) resolution. The game runs fine, however I have weird black lines running in the menu's of the game. No matter what resolution I choose, the black lines stay. If I change renders, for example DX8, I don't have the lines but the menu resolution sticks at 640x480. Any idea how to fix this? Let me know!

  17. #568
    VEG Author


    Menu of the game is designed for 640x480 only. It doesn't support other resolutions. My patch doesn't try to fix it because all the menu images are designed for 640x480 only.

  18. #569

    Jathon, right click the Need for Speed folder and in the properties uncheck read-only and select folders, subfolders and files

  19. #570

    Bluelight1982, just changing the nfs3.ini, trashdriver line from nglide to dgvoodoo (first, copy the contents of dgvoodoo folder to nfs3 mais folder) and configure it with the exe.
    Races will not crash anymore after finish.

  20. #571

    Dear Evgeny, thank you so much for your work! This game is one of the first PC games I ever played. I'm glad I can play it again on my modern computer thanks to your patch.