SWAT 3 Crash Fixes
You are probably reading this after you installed Swat 3 and tried running it for the first time. You got a strange error or crash to desktop as the game is starting up. Maybe you got a vague DirectX error about "DDERR_GENERIC". What the heck is going on?! While this is extremely frustrating if you are patient you should be able to get the game running smoothly on a Windows 10 or Windows 11 machine.
One of the most frustrating aspects about this crash in Swat 3 is that there doesn't seem to be one common problem. A fix for one person may not fix the problem for the next guy.
I personally have 4 machines running Windows 10 and one machine running Windows 11 at home and only one of them have had this crash problem. Why does the game work on so many machines but not on all of them? This page is meant to explore potential fixes.
Before You Troubleshoot:
I recommend that before you begin to try to fix your game you first minimize any potential complications.
1) If you already have the Last Resort mod installed please turn it off with the large toggle switch at the top right of the Last Resort launcher. It is important to get "vanilla" Swat 3 running smoothly before you add the Last Resort mod into the mix.
2) Do not install Swat 3 into the "Program Files" folder on your Windows drive. This is a protected directory that may cause issues.
Avoid installing the game into these folders:
C:\Program Files (x86)\SWAT3
Suggested install folders instead:
Startup Resolution Issue:
As far as I can tell when Swat 3 starts up it does a quick test to see if it can build a Direct Draw window by creating a 640x480 resolution window. If it fails that test it will sometimes show an error and sometimes just crash without explanation.
This is just a working theory but I suspect a few crashes occur because some machines can't handle 640x480 and 800x600 resolutions. These newer machines seem to have a problem using these old legacy resolutions (for instance laptops with onboard video). With one of my Intel 5 laptops I had to enable those resolutions in the driver first. In fact, if I recall correctly, all I had to do was enable 800x600 and from then on Swat 3 worked.
My first suggestion then is to ensure that your computer can switch to these lower resolutions.
One of the most common reasons why Swat 3 is crashing is because of the game's movies. When the game first starts up it displays a video with the logo of the original developer Sierra. This is usually were most crashes occur. The game tries to trigger the movies but crashes with an error or sometimes without.
Fortunately there are fairly easy methods to test if the movies are indeed your crash problem.
Temporary Movie Workaround:
You can manually skip the movies by making a new shortcut to your game on your desktop. Open the shortcut's properties and modify the target line by adding a space at the end and typing "-nointro" without the quotes.
Use this new shortcut to attempt to run the game. If you can now get to Swat 3's main menu you can safely assume that the movies are indeed your problem. The "-nointro" flag is just a temporary workaround though until you find a more permanent fix. There are still more movies while you are playing that can crash your game.
Note: if none of the suggestions given on this page works for you and you are desperate then keep the "-nointro" flag and rename the 2 movies "Plane.avi" and "explosion.avi" to whatever you want (or even delete them) the game will skip over showing them and won't crash.
Movie Codec Problem:
The movies in SWAT 3 are encoded in a video format that is almost 30 years old. Although the videos are in .AVI format they are encoded with a codec (Indeo Video codec) that Microsoft no longer fully supports in newer operating systems. If you wish, you can read more detailed information about the Indeo Video codec at Wikipedia.
Despite the age of the codec for many people these videos will work on a Windows 10 machine without any assistance. We haven't figured out the pattern of why the videos don't work for everyone.
Solution 1: replacement movies (recommended):
One method to get around the codec problem is to replace all of the movies with versions that are encoded with a modern codec. This is the easiest and safest method in my opinion.
Download the re-encoded Swat 3 movies and UNZIP them into the Swat 3 folder (the directory that the Swat 3 game files are installed into). You have two choices of format: Mpeg4 (recommended for Windows 8, 10, 11) and XVID versions.
You will be asked if you want to overwrite the original files. Say 'yes'.
If you downloaded the XVID version of the movies you may also need the Xvid codec installed if they don't play in Windows Media player.
Solution 2: register the codec:
A forum user named "nerdistmonk" on the GOG.com website posted that Windows 10 does install the troublesome Indeo codec but the problem could be that on some machines Windows 10 hasn't enabled the codec by default. You should be aware that Microsoft doesn't recommend using the Indeo codec for security reasons however this warning was issued in 2009. Is it still relevant for today? You will have to decide for yourself.
To register the codec with the 64-bit version of Windows 10 open a RUN window and type the following:
If you need more assistance you can find a detailed tutorial how to use the Run command to register.
Nerdistmonk also notes: "The system absolutely cannot have certain third-party codecs installed. Things like LAVFilters, FFDShow and their ilk override indeo and screw up ... If you register indeo but still have LAVFilters installed, the game will simply crash with the exact same error."
Solution 3: Replacement Codec pack:
The other solution is to install an alternate compatible codec that will allow you to play the original Swat 3 movies.
In the past, some people have reported success by installing the CCCP: Combined Community Codec Pack. However I think it now contains a lot of outdated codecs and can cause more issues than it is worth.
Recently some people recommend the K-Lite Codec Pack (mega version). I personally have not tested this. I would only use this if everything else fails.
As mentioned above in Solution 2 simply adding third party codecs may not fix the problem.
A forum user named "nerdistmonk" on the GOG.com website posted: "The system absolutely cannot have certain third-party codecs installed. Things like LAVFilters, FFDShow and their ilk override Indeo and screw up."
Disclaimer: Always scan for viruses before using a strange file from the internet. I can't be blamed for a link. Use at your own discretion.
A word of warning about verifying game files
Using Steam's "Verify Integrity of Game Files" or GOG.com Galaxy app's "Verify / Repair" after you have installed the Last Resort mod and/or the replacement movies can result in the original game files being re-installed. You may want to keep backups of these modified movies.
CD version of Swat 3 still doesn't work!
If you have an original retail version of Swat 3 on CD-ROM you may find you have problems getting it to run. The problem is that the Safedisk copy protection is not compatible with modern versions of Windows. You will need to either download a NO-CD crack or use the Last Resort mod (it comes with modified No-CD cracks). Don't forget to make sure your game is patched to the latest version first though!
Xvid converted movies mirror generously hosted by Tactical Ape