DiRT 3

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DiRT 3
DiRT 3 cover
macOS (OS X) Feral Interactive
OS X Feral Interactive
EGO 2.0
Release dates
Windows May 24, 2011
macOS (OS X) January 29, 2015
Metacritic 86
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Racing
Art styles Realistic
Series Colin McRae Rally
DiRT 3 on HowLongToBeat
DiRT 3 on IGDB
DiRT 3 guide on StrategyWiki
DiRT 3 on MobyGames
DiRT 3 on Wikipedia
Colin McRae Rally 1998
Colin McRae Rally 2.0 2000
Colin McRae Rally 3 2003
Colin McRae Rally 04 2004
Colin McRae Rally 2005 2004
Colin McRae: DiRT 2007
Colin McRae: DiRT 2 2009
DiRT 3 2011
DiRT Showdown 2012
Colin McRae Rally (2014) 2014
DiRT Rally 2015
DiRT 4 2017
DiRT Rally 2.0 2019
DIRT 5 2020


For Games for Windows - LIVE on Windows 8 or later, install the latest Games for Windows - LIVE software.
The macOS (OS X) version of this game does not work on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or later due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps.

DiRT 3 is a singleplayer and multiplayer first-person racing game in the Colin McRae Rally series.

Key points

The game features full keyboard support but an Xbox 360 Controller is recommended.
Owners of GFWL version on Steam get Complete Edition for free as a separate library entry.
Benchmark included.

General information

Steam Community Discussions (Complete Edition)
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
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Requires online activation
SecuROM PA and SecuROM 8 DRM.
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Mac App Store (unavailable)
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Complete Edition. Does not support online multiplayer.[1]
macOS (OS X)
Steam (unavailable)
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Steam (unavailable)
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Complete Edition
All non-Steam Windows versions require Games for Windows - LIVE DRM.[Note 1] SecuROM activation limit unknown. A revoke tool is available.
Retail product keys activate on Steam.[2]

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Replace files[3]
  1. Download this archive.
  2. Extract it to the installation folder and replace the existing files.

Disable Post Processing Filter[edit]

  • Game has an ugly filter which can not be disabled in-game.
  • Go to game directory and look for 'postprocess' folder, open the folder and look for 'effects.xml' and delete it or move it to another location.

Use Reshade To Correct Unfiltered Image[edit]

  • Download ReShade [1]
  • Double click on ReShade_Setup.exe, point it at dirt3_game.exe, select DX11 API, select the following effects packages: Standard Effects, SweetFX by CeeJay.dk, Legacy standard effects. Click OK.
  • Click on Edit ReShade Settings. Check the box next to 'Skip Tutorial'. Click OK.
  • Download the following text file and place it in the main game directory [2]
  • Start the game, press the Home key, select 'Dirt3_HFX.ini' as the ReShade preset file from the dropdown menu.
  • Before and after comparison pictures here: [3]

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\DiRT3\hardwaresettings\
macOS (OS X)
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/44320/pfx/[Note 2]
Some other non user-specific configuration files are stored with the game data. See the Field of view (FOV) section for more information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\DiRT3\savegame\
macOS (OS X)
Steam <Steam-folder>/userdata/<user-id>/321040/
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/44320/pfx/[Note 2]
Saves are not compatible between the Steam and Games for Windows - LIVE versions.
Steam saved game data location appears to be a placeholder and remains empty; look for files in the My Games folder
Replay data is stored in %PROGRAMDATA%\Codemasters\DiRT3\ (can take few gigabytes).

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Requires enabling backup of the Documents folder in OneDrive on all computers.
Steam Cloud
Complete Edition only.
Approx. 38 MB available.


Graphics settings.
Graphics settings.
General settings.
General settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
See Field of view (FOV).
Toggle with Alt+ Enter. Window is fully resizable.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
2x-8x MSAA, 8x-16x CSAA, and 8x QCSAA.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Dirt3FovChange user interface.
Dirt3FovChange user interface.
The parameters concerning the field of view as well as the point of view of each of the in-game cameras are stored in a binary file named cameras.xml. There is one such file for each car in the game. They are located with other car-related data in the subfolders of: <path-to-game>\cars\models. These files can be batch edited using Dirt3FovChange although DLC cars may prove problematic as their data is reportedly stored in a different location. Conveniently, a backup of the binary files will be made in text format before attempting to modify them. This allows a quick restore of the most recent state.
This method is reliable and stable: modifications can be made on-the-fly, while in a race.
Using Dirt3FovChange
  1. Download Dirt3FovChange.
  2. Extract the files from the archive into a common folder.
  3. Launch Dirt3FovChange.exe. Although an essential part of the process, binXml.exe won't require user input.
  4. Set the desired values and click the start button.
  5. Launch the game. Test the settings in a race. Exit the race.
  6. Alt+Tab to Dirt3FovChange. Restore the original settings. This will not erase the values you previously entered in the GUI. Tweak said values.
  7. In DiRT3, start a new race to check your changes.
  8. Repeat until the desired effect is attained.


Backing up the files that are about to be modified is never a bad idea.
In some cases, you may have to manually point Dirt3FovChange to the DiRT 3 installation folder.
It is advisable to restore the original files inbetween modifications. This way, the default settings will always be accessible.
  • Vertical FOV: a larger number will translate into a wider field of view.
  • Adjust FOV for: selects the in-game camera or cameras you want to edit.
  • Head Offset: affects the position of the head-cam (cockpit view). A modification of 0.1 will yield a noticeable change. It is to be noted that the point of view can be placed outside of the car.
    • X: affects the lateral position. A positive value will move the point of view to the left.
    • Y: affects the vertical position. A positive value will move the point of view upward.
    • Z: affects the front/back position. A positive value will move the point of view closer to the dashboard.
  • Head Tilt Change: affects the vertical angle of the camera. Compared to the position values, the tilt value works on a different scale: a modification of 1 will yield a barely noticeable change.
    • A positive value will tilt the camera up.



Input settings.
Input settings.
Controller settings.
Controller settings.
Driving wheel settings.
Driving wheel settings.

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Combined with controller rebinding.
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
XInput and DirectInput.
Full controller support
False for DirectInput. Buttons have to be rebound in settings and controller can only be used in game, not in menus.
Controller remapping
Fully remappable. Combined with keyboard rebinding.
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Controller types
XInput-compatible controllers
Xbox button prompts
Impulse Trigger vibration
DualShock 4 controllers
DualShock button prompts
Light bar support
Connection modes unknown
Generic/other controllers
Button prompts Input settings icon - Generic Controller.svg
Additional information
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
XInput only.
Simultaneous controller+KB/M
Steam Input
Steam Input API support
Hook input (legacy mode)
Official controller preset(s)
Steam Controller button prompts
Cursor detection
Mouse cursor is always on the screen.


Audio settings.
Audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Speech, Music, Effects and Engine.
Surround sound
Support for 5.1 and 7.1.[4]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost


Language UI Audio Sub Notes

Install Rapture3D for 3-dimensional sound (on headphones)[edit]

Unlike Colin McRae: DiRT 2, Rapture3D is not included by default.
  1. Download Rapture3D "Game" Edition from Blue Ripple Sound.
  2. Install it and launch the speaker layout configuration tool at the end.
  3. Select a Layout according to your setup (Headphone Stero (Compat.) for 3D sound on headphones).
  4. If necessary, go to Decoder and change the Method according to your ears.
  5. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  6. Open hardware_settings_config.xml.
  7. Find <audio mixing="software" />
  8. Change software to rapture3D, and save the file.


If you have a custom HRTF file for OpenAL Soft, it might be better to use .zip\bin\Win32\soft_oal.dll from that tool and rename it to <path-to-game>\OpenAL32.dll because Rapture3D Game has only six predefined HRFT methods and will not allow raw ".mhr" files. However, entering a multiplayer lobby will crash the game.


The Games for Windows - LIVE version requires a Microsoft account for online play (optional for offline play).
The Mac App Store version does not support online multiplayer.[1]

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
2 Split-screen.
LAN play
Online play

Connection types

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native Notes
Native 3D
Nvidia 3D Vision
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
Devices Native Notes
Supports: Yaw, Pitch, Roll, X, Y, Z.

Issues fixed[edit]

Black/Green screen after selecting QCSAA[edit]

This can happen on post-Kepler GPUs such as GTX 750 Ti, GTX 900, GTX 1000 series and newer due to their lack of support for the anti-aliasing method. The original anti-aliasing this method improves upon, CSAA, is not selectable in-game by such GPUs and as such not covered here.
Force MSAA[5]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open the hardware_settings_config.xml file.
  3. Find the multisampling= line and change its' value from 8xqcsaa to 8xmsaa.

Low game performance[edit]

Set QHD or 4K resolution with DSR/VSR enabled[citation needed]

VSR is supported if your native resolution is FHD or QHD. Dirt 3 may achieve noticeable FPS boost then. Game is generally not very demanding.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9, 11
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)
This 32-bit-only macOS game does not work on macOS Catalina (10.15) or later.

Force DirectX 9[edit]

Change line in config file[6]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open hardware_settings_config.xml.
  3. Find <directx forcedx9="false" />
  4. Change false to true, and save the file.
Loading the race may takes longer compare to instantaneous load when playing in DirectX 11[citation needed].


Middleware Notes
Audio OpenAL Rapture3D can be installed and used optionally.
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer Games for Windows - LIVE, Steamworks

Disable the narration[edit]

  1. Go to <path-to-game>\audio\speech\en\
  2. Delete or rename en_generic.nfs
For other languages go to their respective folders, for example for spanish delete or rename sp_generic.nfs located in <path-to-game>\audio\speech\sp\

Fast menu transitions[edit]

Instant menu transition with no delay.
You'll be kicked from party automatically each time before online race start.
Use DiRT 3 CE Super Fast Menus Mod

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP, Vista, 7, 8
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium D 2.8 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 15 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 8000 series
ATI Radeon HD 2000
256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Sound (audio device) DirectX compatible
macOS (OS X)
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.9.5
Processor (CPU) Intel 2.0 GHz
System memory (RAM) 4 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 14 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce GT 120
ATI Radeon HD 4670
Intel HD Graphics 4000
256 MB of VRAM
The game is optimized for AMD/ATI graphics cards.


  1. Games for Windows - LIVE DRM features: SSA activation, supports local profiles.
  2. 2.0 2.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/44320/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (44320) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Released! DiRT™ 3® Complete Edition pulls its best stunt yet. | Feral News
  2. DiRT 3 Complete Edition Available Now [Free upgrade for existing DiRT 3 owners] :: DiRT 3 Complete Edition General Discussions
  3. Skip Intro Dirt 3 | SkipGameIntro
  4. DiRT3 | Blue Ripple Sound
  5. Verified by User:SojerManLan on 2022-01-14
    Tested on a GTX 1060 3GB. After selecting QCSAA, I was greeted with the letterboxed green screen that made playing the game impossible, confirming the issue. After making the change described below, I was able to play again.
  6. Verified by User:SojerManLan on 2022-01-21
  7. Steam Community :: Guide :: How to disable the unskippable voiceovers - last accessed on 2016-11-05