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!

Download a full game bundle

The game is abandonware and you can't buy it anymore. So, I created a full bundle which includes all original cars, all official supported languages, and preinstalled Modern Patch v1.5.3. You can download it using this torrent file. If you wish to update it to the latest Modern Patch, just extract contents of the nfs3_modern_patch.7z into the game directory with replacement of files.

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. #501

    Awesome work VEG, I was trying to get my original copy of NFS3 working on a retro build I am still working on, however I was being met with blank screens after the intro sequences. Downloaded your patch, altered what needed to be done (using dx8 on my GF3Ti200), and it now works flawlessly. Many thanks! Just a quick question, any suggestions on how to edit the vehicle textures (TGA files within the VIV file) so we can still use the colour chooser in-game after editing? Back in my youth I used to edit the cars all the time, but the textures I never worked out how to do them properly, used to edit them in the VIV Editor and just stick with the colour given in the TGA file, but would like to clean up the HSV VT GTS and smooth its lines a bit, give the shape of the car real definition rather than it looking like a repurposed traffic car! Thanks again!

  2. #502
    VEG Author

    Actually, I don't know. I've never edited cars.

  3. #503


    If you want a section of the TGA texture file to act as the primary color of the car in NFS III, you need to color that section: Hex#A8A8A8

    If you want a section to act as the secondary color of the car in NFS III, you need to color that section: Hex#E4E4E4

    Use this website for reference and type the Hex numbers that I listed into the # box and press enter:

    It will tell you the corresponding RGB and HSL values of the colors represented by those hex numbers.

    If you want to actually change the default colors and custom colors that you can choose in game, you will need to use the FCE Colors tool and FCE Converter tool.

    1) export HSV VT GTS FCE file from the VIV file
    2) Convert that FCE to NFS IV format using FCE Converter
    3) Open that converted FCE file in FCE Colors and when it asks to create a TGA file based on the colors, click yes
    4) Open the TGA file that was just created. The primary colors are represented by the left half of this image. The secondary colors are represented by the right half. Change them to your liking.
    5) The alpha channel needs to be colored properly in order to be able to have the custom colors work in the game. Each section should be a shade of gray. Not sure if they have to be different from each other though. I don't think they do. Can make them different shades of gray just to be safe.
    6) When you're done editing the main layer and alpha channel to your needs, apply the alpha channel layer mask and save the TGA file
    7) Open up your converted FCE file in the FCE colors program. This time when it asks if you want to create a TGA file, select no. Then it will ask if you want to load a TGA file to represent the colors of your FCE. Navigate to the TGA file you just finished modifying and select it.
    8) Convert the FCE file back to NFS III format using FCE Converter
    9) Import the FCE file back into the HSV VT GTS VIV file.

    Note: Converting an FCE file from NFS III to NFS IV format might make the FCE file lose its face properties (chrome, transparency etc...) and shading (because the normals are reset i think). You can open up the NFS IV format FCE in FCE Finish 2 to reapply these properties.

  4. #504

    Thanks for the advice CallmeBK. I am going to assume for editing the TGA files, I will need Photoshop or GIMP? Been around 17 or 18 years since I've toyed with the cars in this game! I remember how to change the structure of the car, add/remove/change polygons and all that stuff, just the textures that always had me stumped.

    Also, luckily for me, I own the GTS personally (like, the actual car), so obtaining high-res photos of the car will be a piece of cake, just a shame the car is black.

  5. #505

    Oh nice. The car I've been modeling is the one I own too. Makes it so much easier when you can just go out and take a measurement or picture from any angle you want lol. Yeah I've used gimp and it works like a charm.

  6. #506

    I was having issues with getting my controller recognised (when attempting to set the controls for the controller in the options, the buttons and axes I was pushing were ignored) but I found a solution for anyone looking:

    Need for Speed III will only recognise the first controller plugged in. In Windows, you can set a preferred controller to be used with older programs that can only recognise one controller at a time; you can do this by typing "Set up USB game controllers" in the Start menu, hitting "Advanced" and selecting the controller you want to use. If this doesn't work (it didn't for me initially, but I think that was because I'm using a Mayflash GameCube controller adapter with 4 controller ports, and all of them have the same exact name, are active at the same time, and are likely in a different order on this menu than others/than you would expect from the physical layout of the adapter itself), you can try this:

    Only plug in the controller you want to use, and unplug any other controllers

    If you have a multitap-style adapter like me, and you're unable to "unplug" the additional controllers, go to Device Manager and look for your controllers. Mine were under "Human Interface Devices" as "HID-compliant game controller", but other controllers may show up under "Sound, video and game controllers". Use the controller testing screen for your controller to test that it's still working (Type ""Set up USB game controllers" in the Start menu, select your controller, and hit "Properties"; press some buttons and you should see them being registered as being pressed in the window"), and disable all other game controllers.

    Also, if you have a gaming mouse with a high polling rate (more than 100 Hz), it likely will cause problems with the mouse on the main menu screens. As an easy workaround, use the arrow keys to navigate wherever possible.

  7. #507
    Shawn Weber

    Hey Evgeny,

    Great job on NFS3HP! My only complaint is the PC version is not as good as the PS1 version, and that if you could fix the opponent AI in the PC version this would be a *much* better game. The AI doesn't have the drive to really want to beat you and it crashes too much into traffic cars.

    Maybe you could fix this issue?

    Shawn Weber

  8. #508

    looking for the sound files for the cop voices that say pull your car over now and stop your car etc.. just like the PS1 copy

  9. #509

    Hello everybody :)
    today is Need for Speed III Hot Pursuit 22Years Old, congratulations and do not forget to play today at least one race :D *** Thanx Veg to You too to improve the game as much as You could :) Cheers and greetings everybody.
    We still support this great game on our forum and Discord too, how is Your situation Veg, are there any plans to continue the patch, or not for now?

    Best Regards and Greetings from Slovakia


  10. #510

    Hi Veg and all other guys :D If someone plants to play and doesn´t know yet, I want to share a discord server for people looking to play NFS3 (and maybe also NFS2SE, HS, Porsche and HP2), you don´t need the "iplounge" program to join NFS3 sessions, the hosters are always providing their IP.

    Also VEG I have a question: Is there any chance you can change the default cop cars to Diablo SV or Nino cars (for multiplayer games)? It would the HP mode more interesting and challenging. Or any easy way to use the hosters cop car files so everyone has the specific cars?

    @Shawn Weber PS1 version has rubberbanding AI, I´m glad they changed it in the PC version, it´s annoying in NFS2 if you lose but couldn´t drive any better tbh

  11. #511

    Sry, missed one thing and for me it´s even more important than faster AI cop cars: Cops rarely do "Drift turns" on "Backwards" tracks, "Mirrored" or anything else still works fine. It makes the cops too predictable when you know about it. Is that a hardcoded thing and difficult to fix? Here is an example what the "Drift turn" is:

  12. #512

    Hey VEG thank you very much!I'm so happy to play nfs3 on my windows 10. Could you please make a modern patch for NFSII if you have spare time? I have a image file of NFSII.Without doubt, it can't run on my Windows 10.Using a virtual machine is too tedious .I really love this game,could you help me?

  13. #513

    There already is patch for NFS2, SE version. Seems to be not as non-problematic as VEG's patch is, but that can also be me using Wine and not Windows..

  14. #514
    Jack Foxtrot

    Hey the main menu is in a 4:3 resolution mode. My monitor has to keep switching resolutions every time I go between the menu and in-game. This of course screws with my other windows in the background. Can I change the menu resolution to be widescreen too?

  15. #515

    How to install dgvoodoo for the game?

  16. #516

    Hey I've been trying to get this game to work on magicdosbox for android. I have windows 98 installed. I read through the readme after not getting the dx drivers to initialize. I saw the suggestion to use the softtri driver for virtual machines and when I used it, it loaded further into the game but didn't quite make it to the loading screen (I had nomovies set to 1). I receive the error:

    locateshape - 'back' SHAPE NOT FOUND IN '.\fedata\art\title_E.qfs'

    I was thinking maybe I don't have some sort of driver installed on my windows 98 virtual machine... because the same game and settings run fine on my windows 10 modern computer setup (non virtual machine).

  17. #517

    So once I changed the cpu type i was emulating in magic dosbox, the error went away and the game loaded up. The only thing I'm not sure of right now is if the cpu can be emulated fast enough to actually play the game. I get to the start of the race and it crashes when i start driving. I'll probably setup dosbox on my computer to see if it works there. That should at least tell me if it is a dosbox limitation or a device limitation.

  18. #518

    Thanks VEG!!! This is awesome. My brother found my old copy of NFS 3 on CD at our parents house during the holidays. Put it in the computer, just for fun, but no... Then I googled and found THIS! Grrrrreat work! And thank you, once again. All best, E

  19. #519

    Abort message:

    savefileadr - OPEN FAILED FOR FILE '.\fedata\stats\records.dat'