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Remastering Colin McRae Rally 3 with SilentPatch (cookieplmonster.github.io)
367 points by breakingcups on Jan 15, 2023 | hide | past | favorite | 29 comments

This is so cool! This game is one of my favorite games of all time. I bought the Xbox version when it first came out back in 2002. I remember the sticker advertising 9/10 in realism, haha.

My friends and I mostly played against each other using split-screen mode. In fact, a childhood friend and I never stopped playing the game. My good old Xbox is still connected to the TV at my parents house. Whenever I am visiting my hometown, usually twice a year, my friend and I still play through all the stages at least once to see who wins the most. The playthrough usually takes between 2 and 3 hours.

The game is still as exciting and nerve wracking as it was back in 2002. Really cool seeing this game getting the love and attention it deserves!

I learned to drive properly in CMR, with a force feedback steering wheel. I have a particular memory of driving on a motorway around a bend at 70mph, and finding a patch of ice ahead. Thanks to the muscle memory I'd built up from my hours playing, and despite the car twitching, I stayed in my lane and am still here to tell the story. Just one anecdote of many driving experiences.

There was a similar game in the late 90s I liked a lot from the same makers, TOCA 2 touring cars. Played it split screen on pc with one player using force feedback steering wheel and the other using force feedback sidewinder joystick. Great times!

SilentPatch is incredible. GTA San Andreas goes from being a janky mess that hardly (if at all) works on modern hardware to being better than the official "remaster."

To be fair, even the janky old version of San Andreas is better than the remaster. That abomination should never have seen the light of day.

Is the author doing this without source code? As in, there was never a leak? This is all done through reverse engineering, no debug symbols?

No mention is made of such a thing, so presumably yes.

Edit: here's the file that actually does the patching and hooking. Even if you were to have source, the binary patching relies on finding particular bytes sequences. https://github.com/CookiePLMonster/SilentPatchCMR3/blob/main...

He says he started off in assembly before he learned other languages.

Presumably he uses some sort of disassembler (IDA Pro always used to be the big one) to make it a bit easier to figure out what’s going on.

A lot of what he’s doing seems to be around looking at what direct-X commands are being sent and working up from there - I imagine there are ways to spy on these calls relatively easily with directx profilers, as well as the aforementioned disassembler showing you the calls.

It’s very impressive work, and you’d need a good head for the APIs in use as well as understanding assembly language.

Even with some googling I'm still none the wiser what SilentPatch is. Can anyone shed any light? Is it a modding team? Person? Community?

Silent is a person who creates unofficial patches for video games, called "SilentPatches".

You can read more about it here: https://cookieplmonster.github.io/about/

Whew! Thanks guys.

That game & this guy's mods are way over my head, but I really love mods. Great article.


Take a look at the featured fixes for GTA SA, for instance. Fixes many game-breaking bugs while adding support for modern hardware (16:9 resolutions, newer Windows versions, etc.), as well as fixing many other smaller problems with the game. I find it essential to playing the game.

Interesting comparing CMR3 to the newer Dirt Rally 2.

CMR3 roads are much much wider. I find DR2 almost too hard to keep the car from hitting the side all the time.

I wonder why that is. The narrower road seems more true to real life. But I'm not clear why CMR3 was made with the wider roads.

I'd say it's about making gameplay less rough for players. It's one of the first things I notice when checking out GTA inspired titles (especially from indie developers) that the streets are realistically narrow, while in GTA titles you can easily fit 4-5 vehicles in 2 lanes.

I remember trying to play a game from the mid-90s on an era appropriate content consumption device.

I was thrown by how awful the control systems were, not only in the game, but it was clear to me that our input devices have come a long way.

Perhaps thats why?

My guess would be the target audience. CMR, then Dirt games (but not Dirt Rally 1 & 2) were targeted for casual gamers, with more arcade driving model. Only a year later, Richard Burns Rally has been released, which is considered a simulator and to this day there's a very active community of simrally drivers playing it. Hardware got improved a lot, that's true, but simulators existed even in 90's - see: Grand Prix Legends.

Super impressive. Any idea how it’s done? Like he fixed a bug where GTA crashed sometimes when X happened. How do you reverse engineer that? Also does he have to do all this in Windows as the games are Windows only? I’m just curious how do you even start and track those bugs, it sounds impossibly difficult.

At a guess - something like IDA Pro to disassemble and debug, something like a directx profiler to get a view of what's going on in there.

And a lot of blood, sweat and tears twisting your brain around what's going on!

I assume this is Win only? I tried to find exactly what SilentPatch is, but I couldn't find a definitive answer.

I would love to see same amount of work (and ideas) but for CMR 2.0 instead :)

Nice! So many memories playing this one on my old netbook LOL, having installed it with an external CD reader

upvoted without even checking the link

I spent an unreasonable amount of time playing Colin McRae Rally

I also watched him winning the Sanremo WRC Rallye in 1996, it really was epic.


same. v-rally3 on gba by vicarious visions has a terrific renderer. i guess it's just "pseudo-3d raster roads" all the way down ;)



Not really the place to joke about Colin’s death, in my opinion.

That was poorly done, mate.


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