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. #451

    Hello, I am (was very fond of nfs3 and was happy to stumble upon your great effort!
    I have immediately tried, but no matter what "trashdriver" I set in nfs3.ini, intereaction with menus is perfect all resolution seem to be available, but when I try to start a race, the red bar shown in the bottom of the race loading screen goes from left to right almost fully, but just when it is close to finishing and the interactive game environment should be displayed, the bar and the loading screen freeze totally, and I have to close the application with the task manager. Where am I wrong????
    I am trying on a windows 10 modern PC, and I have tried to run the game as is and in compatibility modes (win98, vista, etc), but the problem is always there. Before loosing all hopes, do you have any hint or suggestion?
    Thanks again

  2. #452

    I still hope VEG is coming back some day and continue his great patches for NFS 3 & 4.

  3. #453

    nGlide 2.10 and dgVoodoo2 2.6 updated! Please come back, VEG! Make at least 1.6.2 final and include latest versions of the Glide drivers.

  4. #454
    VEG Author

    Lolita, an update is planned, but not now. You can use nGlide and dgVoodoo dlls with current release (just copy their dlls into respective directories).

  5. #455

    Cool, thanks!
    I copied Glide3x.dll to the drivers and it worked.

    What I think is that the aspect ratio (proportions of cars) are not correct. The Diablo SV looks too compressed. Not stretched, compressed. When you scale a native 4:3 image to 16:9 it's stretched. But here it looks like a native 16:10 image scaled to 4:3 causing too Short and compressed cars. This has nothing to do with nGlide graphics settings or so. It's the wise the game (or the patch) render objects.

  6. #456
    VEG Author

    Lolita, if the Diablo looks like on this screenshot, it is rendered properly. Models of the Diablo SV are a bit different in NFS3 and NFS4. For some reason, the developers squeezed it a bit, as the result the taillights look oval, but they should be round, like in the NFS3. So, if the taillights are not oval in the NFS3, the model is rendered properly.

  7. #457

    The lights are round, but the car is squeezed anyway. A real Diablo is wider. A lot wider. This actually are the proportions of a standard road car! See here how a real Diablo looks!

    And for me it also looks like the lights aren't even round in the game. They are minimal squeezed and this makes the difference in the whole wide of the car. 1 mm lights squeeze = 1 cm car squeeze. It's simple mathematik :-)

  8. #458
    VEG Author

    Lolita, but it is like the 3D model of the Diablo SV was created. Probably, it looks like this because the camera looks on the car from a bit high point?

    You know, some other cars have much worse 3D models in the game. It is a game from 90's, just don't forget about it. It was hard to create a perfect 3D model of a car back in the days.

    BTW, in the NFS4 the Diablo SV 3D model is squeezed much more. I don't know why developers did it, but it is the way the models were created.

  9. #459

    Okay, you say it's the way how the 3D model is created. But why not improve that? We know the original 3D model is not perfect, so let's make it perfect with this patch. This is very important and a major thing to improve for me, because I'm always looking at the car's rear when I drive and it doesn't feel like a real car. Look, I stretched the original screenshot from 1280x720 to 1440x720 and now the back lights are round and the proportions are more like a real Diablo SV. This is how it should look like on 1280x720 or any other resolution.

    When you don't agree, at least stretching the original picture to 1360x720 instead to 1440x720 would be definitely more realistic than the original picture.

  10. #460
    VEG Author

    This patch is not about changing geometry of tracks or cars. It is about patching its code. There are a lot of other projects which modify cars and tracks, but this project is about preserving this part as is.

  11. #461

    Patching means to correct things. And this is something that needs a correction. I'm now playing with thrash driver "dgvoodoo" and set a custom resolution 3240x2160 which is a 1:1,5 aspect ratio. Closer on 4:3 than on 16:9, but:
    + Anti-Aliasing
    + Full cockpit view (no cuts on the bottom)
    + High res cars in main menu
    + Wider cars, but not too wide

    All that is not available in "nglide". The only benefit of nglide is corrected widescreen FOV Hor+
    For both I disabled fog (it makes Hometown too bright) and I set the nglide gamma from 5 to 3 (this was also too bright).

    I love both modes, but dgvoodoo has some great benefits over nglide.

    The fans of my RTX 2070 get loud on NFS 3. LOL.

  12. #462


    Your modern path is very nice, thanks!

    Do you know the software that can make nfs3 mods?

  13. #463
    VEG Author

    BBQ, there are a lot of utilities of all sorts for the NFS3/NFS4. T3ED allows to edit tracks, for example. And this article provides a list of tools for creation new car models.

  14. #464

    Dude, this work is just hilarious, a perfect repack! You're a true wizard.

  15. #465

    I managed to use SONY DS4's L2 and R2 as axis not buttons in NFS3 without 3rd party tools by edit the config file
    now i've put them inside my COPV2 patch

    If someone is interested check out my blog here

  16. #466

    A real Diablo is wider. A lot wider. This actually are the proportions of a standard road car! See here how a real Diablo looks!

    You should check out my patch

    You will get a good sharped diable and more.

  17. #467

    I started also a project of making all cars more acuarate, started with both lambos, because those had the worse proportioned models. I have the three main class B, the Diablo, and to be honest I abandoned the project till yesterday. I had a brand new Warrior PTO E/2 from original TNFS finishing details.

    By the way, veg, is there any chance that you could get a version of the patch that loads directories from an .ini file? I know that you suspended your work on this thing, but perhaps just the directories stuff wouldn't be too much of a hassle to get working (speaking from total ignorance).

  18. #468

    I been trying for 3 hours to run game at 1920x1080p and nothing worked, installed all of the paches as you provide them, tryed to change nfs3.ini, changing ingame resolution doesn't do anything... any other ideas? PLZ HELP

  19. #469

    Mato556, try my setupMP here set nglide as thrash driver and then set desktop resolution in nglide tab... with nglide ingame resolution setting set to its defaults... I would recommend using clean install of the patch. Also we can help you on discord, over there is also pinned clean unpack-n-play patched game ;)

  20. #470
    VEG Author

    Mato556, it is not clear what is your issue. Do you mean that the menus don't work at 1920×1080? 1920×1080 will work during gameplay only. All the menus are hardcoded to be 640×480. If 1920×1080 does not work during gameplay, how it looks like? Can you choose this resolution in the game settings? Have you tried to select different thrash drivers in the nfs3.ini?

    Walter, unfortunately, some other significant changes in my life are happening now, so no time for the project. It is in backlog. One day I'll definitely do it, the question is "when" =)

  21. #471

    I found an issue in the dgVoodoo thrash driver. You added the Napalm Glide3.dll and this one will cause light flickering at night. So I replaced it with the standard Glide3.dll from the latest version and it works. So for the next release you should fix the Napalm dll or revert the standard dll back.

    For dgVoodoo you should set in game resolution to 640x480 and use the dgVoodoo config tool to set the resolution you want to play.
    For nGlide you have to set resolution in game.

    Thanks, the Diablo model of your patch is more accurate, but has less visual quality than the original from the game. And I don't want to have all cars and tracks unlocked by default - this is for what I want to play the career mode. Your mod is nice to have as a mod, but I would not have it as a default feature.

  22. #472

    Here, you can have my better Diablo to try it too. It uses the default texture, it just has higher detail and corrected shape (it's modeled to match forza's diablo, and those cars were 3D scanned so you can't get more accuarate than that). Police version comes with multiple skins selectable from VIV file (so you have to open it with any VIV manager), including a stealth/template, redrock ridge and PSX interceptor.

    Medium and Low qualities were taken from original High and Medium, respectively, and the shapes were also modified to match better the proportions of the car.

  23. #473

    Heeeyy, thank you! I will try it tomorrow.
    Can you please do the same with the Countach? And the Ferrari's?

  24. #474

    Has anybody been able to get force feedback working? On mine that option is greyed out :(

  25. #475

    If y'all want to play NFS3 on the latest version of nGlide, you can just install nGlide and start NFS3 with the "glide3x" driver instead. The system-installed version of nGlide will pick that up and run with it.

  26. #476

    I keep getting "thrash driver not found" after installing the patch. Exactly where does everything go

  27. #477
    VEG Author

    It will show this error if you didn't extract the drivers directory from the modern patch archive into your game directory, or if you changed the ThrashDriver setting in the nfs3.ini to an invalid value.