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. #401

    Am I the only one that gets really bad stuttering in a race? If I enter the pause menu it seems to become smooth with the camera panning around the car, but in an actual race there's a persistent stutter. I tried forcing vsync, using windowed mode with dx8, using dgvoodoo or nglide, using single processor affinity, but nothing fixed it. I'm on an 8700k with a 1050ti and windows 10.

  2. #402
    VEG Author

    marthox, is this stutter really very noticeable? If you record it and upload it to YouTube, will it be noticeable?

    Probably, the cause of the stutter is the fact that the game works at 128Hz internally, and it can be really smooth only when refresh rate of your display is 64Hz. If it is 60Hz, the game just drops every 16th frame, and it can be noticeable for some people who are used to really smooth 60FPS experience.

    The only thing I can do here is to change internal clock rate to 120Hz, but it will make the whole game 6.25% slower. It's not acceptable because it affects gameplay.

    So, the only option for you is using something like G-Sync, if your display supports this feature. It this case, the game will render all 64 frames every second, and refresh rate will be exactly 64Hz.

  3. #403

    Probably, the cause of the stutter is the fact that the game works at 128Hz internally, and it can be really smooth only when refresh rate of your display is 64Hz. If it is 60Hz, the game just drops every 16th frame, and it can be noticeable for some people who are used to really smooth 60FPS experience.

    Yes that's what it looks like. A regular stutter due to mismatched refresh rates. That's too bad.

  4. #404

    @VEG Ah, I thought it was something similar to ROM modifying using dissasemblies like in sonic retro, instead of combining ASM and hex. So, I assume that every modified code would be at the end of the file otherwise it would break all offsets, then I can't think how to make the game read that code. I think that I will just make as if I hadn't say nothing. XD A 6 gear Aventador must be a thing.

    @marthox Also, you could try to set your monitor to 64Hz by creating a custom resolution. Keep in mind that this is something that in general it is not recomended by any manufacturer to do as it exist the risk of ruining your screen (it can be higher or lower to practically none). My screen won't do a thing beyond 60Hz as is a quite cheap and old LCD screen, but more modern screens have not much problem on reaching 70Hz.

    As side note, with my old CRT screen I had the game running at 144Hz

  5. #405
    Momo Shiina

    nGlide 2.00 and dgVoodoo2 2.55 released. Do you add this in the final patch? When can we expect the next one?
    Please continue the project. Thanks!

  6. #406

    Hey VEG, thanks for this great patch and your efforts that you've put into it!

    Need For Speed III is one of my favourite games, and I'm glad that it continues to be playable on modern OSes and with widescreen support, multi-core support, bug fixes, etc.

    I hope you're able to resume working on your NFS projects at some point. This stuff is awesome.

  7. #407
    VEG Author

    Guys, thank you for all your feedback. One day I'll be back. I always return to my old projects :)

  8. #408
    Konstantin Malyugin

    VEG, thank you for bring this game back to life. It is also one of my very first 3D video games I have played and it has stayed as my favorite racing game of all time. Everything looks incredibly sharp!

  9. #409

    Awesome. Just awesome. Thank you so much for giving me a part of my childhood back to the present!

  10. #410

    Just found this and think what you've done is amazing. I now have NFS3 running on my Surface 3 (non-pro) tablet, fullspeed, at 1920x1280 with proper aspect ratio correction for the tablet's 3:2 ratio. Truly fantastic.

    I've had a couple random crashes specifically in the Summit course during daylight with weather enabled, but other than that, everything has been flawless and I'm very grateful.

    Thank you.

  11. #411

    Thank you for your work.
    I want to confirm that indeed playing the game @64Hz, everything is buttery smooth. Weird choise from the devs.
    So anybody sensible to smooth framerate, just play the game @multiple of 64 HZ, making custom resolutions.

  12. #412
    VEG Author

    winningrun88, I believe that the developers just didn't think that the game will be able to work smoother than 24-30 FPS in the future, and powers of two like "64" or "128" are considered really beautiful by programmers, so they decided to use one of these =)

  13. #413

    The game worked for a few days and now it suddenly doesnt. I click RACE and just get a black screen. I have to CTRL ALT DEL and kill the process from the manager. I haven't done any changes to my system either or messed with any drivers. I tried deleting the entire folder and extracting again. I even tried using the original files from my old NFS3 CD.
    Nothing works :(

  14. #414

    Oh, I just noticed I left RivaTuner Satistics server running cause I used it for framerate limiting on another game. Everything is fine without it running. Weird.

  15. #415

    Hey uh, thanks for making the modern patch. I have found a flaw that the menu doesn't go widescreen as in-race should be. Any fixes?

  16. #416

    PsiSnyder10, menu cant be resized as it is designed to by 640x480 only so it isnt a flaw. you can stretch that if your graphic card supports stretching. Ingame resolution is dependant to thrash driver and its capabilities so it can go FHD and widescreen (thanks to veg ;) ). Hope that would explain to you why it is like that

  17. #417
    VEG Author

    PsiSnyder10, 640×480 is hardcoded for the menu. All the graphics of the menu is for 640×480, so widescreen support can't be added here by a mere patch, it requires to redraw all the images and to rewrite a lot of code. I believe that it isn't worth it. Gameplay is the only thing which really matters, and it works in widescreen resolutions perfectly.

  18. #418

    That's understandable. Thanks.

  19. #419

    Creating a custom 64 Hz resolution doesnt help since the game doesnt actually switch to it. it uses 60 Hz. is there a borderless windowed option somewhere?