Descent 3

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Descent 3
Descent 3 cover
Outrage Entertainment
Linux Loki Software
Mac OS (Classic) Graphsim Entertainment
Linux Ryan C. Gordon[1]
macOS (OS X) Ryan C. Gordon[1]
Interplay Entertainment
Release dates
Windows June 11, 1999
Mac OS (Classic) November 17, 1999
Linux July 2000
macOS (OS X) January 31, 2020[1]
Descent 3 guide on StrategyWiki
Descent 3 on MobyGames
Descent 3 on Wikipedia
Descent 1995
Descent II 1996
Descent: FreeSpace - The Great War 1998
Descent 3 1999
FreeSpace 2 1999
Descent (2020) 2020

Key points

Frame rate is capped at 50 FPS;[2] use command line arguments -framecap X with the cap you want.

General information Community Discussions for game series Support Page
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
Can be removed using an officially sanctioned no-CD patch.
Mac OS
Descent 3 + Mercenary.
Comes pre-configured with nGlide.
Icon overlay.png
Descent 3 + Mercenary[3].
Linux and macOS versions are enhanced ports.[1]
macOS (OS X)
Two demo versions were released
The source code of the game was never released unlike all other titles in the series.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes

Essential improvements[edit]


Latest patches for every game version available here

Skip launcher[edit]

Launch the game with -launched parameter[3]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Launch the game with -nointro parameter[3]

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Outrage\Descent3\[Note 1]
Mac OS (Classic)
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\savegame\[Note 2]
Mac OS (Classic)
*.plt in the installation folder stores pilot-related settings.

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

Video settings.
Video settings.
Detail settings.
Detail settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Widescreen resolution.
FOV is far too low.
FOV is too low.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
See Disable Windows 95 compatibility (Steam) and use either dgVoodoo 2 or D3DWindower.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Enabled by default. Set in Options, Video.
60 FPS
50 FPS default cap;[2] use the command line arguments -framecap 60
120+ FPS
Use -framecap X command line arguments with the cap you want.
High dynamic range display (HDR)

Widescreen resolution[edit]

Add resolution switches[4]
  1. Go to the shortcut/launcher properties:
    • If you are skipping the launcher, right-click the MAIN.EXE shortcut and choose Properties.
    • If you are using the launcher, run it and go to Setup, Misc.
  2. Add your resolution in the following format: -width 1920 -height 1080 -aspect 1.78
    • -aspect should be 1.78 for 16:9 or 1.6 for 16:10 (calculate by dividing width by height)
  3. Click OK to save your changes.


If the output is pillarboxed in-game use the key to the left of ← Backspace to zoom in.
Resolutions higher than 2048 pixels on either axis will crash the game; use dgVoodoo 2 to remove resolution limits.

Input settings[edit]

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Go to Config, Joy/Mouse and click the question mark beside the axis.
Controller support
Supports force feedback but not vibration.
Full controller support
Controller remapping
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Go to Config, Joy/Mouse and click the question mark beside the axis.
Additional information
Button prompts Input settings icon - Generic Controller.svg
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M

Audio settings[edit]

Audio settings.
Audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Sound and Music.
Surround sound
Via A3D 2.0 and DirectSound3D
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX 2, DirectSound3D, A3D 2.0[5]
Correct support for the latter requires latest patch[6]


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Only available in Polish retail release. 'Mercenary' expansion pack was never translated.


Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
LAN play
Co-op, Versus
Online play
Co-op, Versus

Connection types

Issues fixed[edit]

"Error: Unable to set temporary directory to ... The directory is in use" error at launch[edit]

Delete .lock file[citation needed]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\custom\cache\
  2. Delete .lock
  3. The game should now start normally.

Mouse movement issues on Windows 8.1[edit]

For the version use the Windows 8.1 mouse lag fix installer on the My Games page.
Install mouse fix[citation needed]
  1. Install the Descent 3 mouse fix.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 6
OpenGL 1.2
Glide 3
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)

Disable motion blur[edit]

Launch the game with -nomotionblur parameter[7]

Disable Windows 95 compatibility (Steam)[edit]

Disable Windows 95 compatibility[3]
  1. Go to <path-to-game> and edit descent3install.vdf with a text editor.
  2. Replace the install script with:
    		"Descent 3"		"%INSTALLDIR%\main.exe"
    	"installscript"		"ae6f36bbf6850d924011583c9a45f397d815843cb8aa9e03b04367c4563bebd81dc1104a1b27bda3699bff37cbcda2c2277b94558559994a055fe20da5d65710611ed3335789a2ecc6210350c503dfa1b366b4a6a8d3807e8351e27f698df33c4b2d6ee3b3eeec1c65b699efb437b15c4dc2cd726a0b9c1eae6d7f7855469b0f"
  3. Save the changes.
  4. Right click on descent 3.exe and choose properties.
  5. In Compatibility tab disable Run this program in compatibility mode with and click OK.
  6. Right click on main.exe and choose properties.
  7. In Compatibility tab disable Run this program in compatibility mode with and click OK.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 200 MHz
System memory (RAM) 32 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 210 MB
Video card (GPU) 4 MB of VRAM
DirectX 6.1 compatible


  1. When running this game without Administrator elevation, 32-bit programs writing to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE will be redirected to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node (more details).
  2. When running this game without Administrator elevation, activity in %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%, and %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore\ (more details).