Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide
[Page 8] Conclusion
This section contains some final important details about Need for Speed: Most Wanted and my Concluding thoughts, so don't skip it.
Extracting Game Music
Most people who enjoy the NFS:MW soundtrack will want to extract the music at some point. There is a simple way to do this now, and it involves using the NFSMW Music Extractor. Follow these steps:
1. Download the extractor and extract the contents to an empty folder.
2. Go to your \Program Files\EA GAMES\Need for Speed Most Wanted\SOUND\PFDATA\ directory, and copy the MW_Music.mus file into the same directory as in step 1.
3. Run the Go!.bat file (double-click on it), and be patient.
4. The game music will slowly be converted from the music file into 26 individual .WAV tracks, which will take up almost 2GB of space for the retail version, or 350MB for the demo version.
There you go, thanks to the modding community for coming up with this extractor.
If you have two graphics cards in SLI formation, and want to use them in NFS:MW, check out this post on the NVNews Forums for instructions on how to quickly create an SLI Profile for the game. Note that the profile must be for Speeddemo.exe if for the demo, and Speed.exe if for the final retail version of NFS:MW. Furthermore, see the Troubleshooting tips section for advice on issues when you have more than one Need for Speed game installed (as the most recent NFS games all use speed.exe as their executable).
Update: You won't need to do this if you download the latest Nvidia graphics drivers, so make sure you follow the instructions on page 4 of my Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide to install the latest drivers.
Skipping Intro Movies
If you want to speed up the loading of Need for Speed: Most Wanted each time you launch the game, try this tip. Go to your \Program Files\EA GAMES\Need for Speed Most Wanted\MOVIES directory, and rename the files attract_movie_english_ntsc.vp6, ealogo_english_ntsc.vp6 and psa_english_ntsc.vp6 to something else. For example, change their extensions to .REAL_vp6, but don't delete them. Now whenever you launch the game it should arrive at the main game menu much faster. Remember to rename these files back to their original names if you're installing a patch for the game.
Taking Screenshots and Measuring Framerate
To take screenshots while playing the game, you can press the default screenshot key (F12), and the game will place all screenshots taken in your \Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\My Pictures directory in .tga format. To view or edit these files you can use Photoshop, or the free irfanview.
I personally prefer to use FRAPS, which can both measure framerates (See In-Game Settings section), and also take screenshots in much more convenient .bmp, .jpg and .png formats.
Dual-Core CPU Issues
If you run a dual core CPU, such as a Pentium D or AMD X2, or even a Pentium 4 with HyperThreading, you may notice that the game is quite jerky even at high framerates. Things seem to run fast and slow randomly - this is because the game has compatibility issues with dual core CPUs. So not only is there no performance boost with dual core CPUs, there are actually issues which require the following steps to be resolved:
Setting Processor Affinity Manually: Launch Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and as soon as the game appears to begin loading, or after it has loaded up, press CTRL+ALT+DEL to bring up the Task Manager. Under the Processes tab, find the Speed.exe process, right-click on it, select 'Set Affinity' and in the box which appears, untick 'CPU 1'.
Setting Processor Affinity Automatically: If you want to force the game to only use one of your CPUs automatically each and every time you run the game, see the instructions here for using the Imagecfg utility, a small Windows NT file you can safely copy into your \Windows\System32 directory and then use to permanently set the affinity for particular programs. I recommend you backup your speed.exe file before applying this tweak, as the only way to undo it is to restore the original .exe file. Furthermore, note that you may have to redo this tweak each time you patch the game, since the executable will change.
Both these methods basically force the system to effectively see, and use, only one of the CPU cores on your dual core CPU to run the game, thereby temporarily resolving this problem.
Update: AMD dual core CPU users should use the AMD Dual Core Optimizer utility instead of the methods above.
A full list of cheats for Need for Speed: Most Wanted can be found at NFSUnlimited. Note that I haven't tried these myself, as I can't figure out how to type them in, so don't ask me how this works.
Update: To implement the cheats, simply type the name of the cheat while on the introductory screen which says 'Click to Continue'. You will hear a sound as each letter is typed, and if the cheat is recognized you will get a message saying what has been enabled. Thanks to Kenny Thorstenson for this tip.
That brings this short, but hopefully somewhat helpful guide to a close. It looks to me like NFS:MW will garner a fairly passionate following given its great graphics and not-so-bad physics, and the shifting of the focus away from solely street racing. Obviously as new things are discovered for the game, and as more mods and custom cars come out I'll update the guide as much as possible to keep on top of these trends. Let me know if you have any suggestions or additions to this guide, and keep in mind that for time reasons, I can't offer any tech support. That includes general requests for help in improving performance or figuring out a complex problem - the best source of advice is in my various guides. You're welcome to drop in on the TweakGuides Forums if you want to discuss this game with fellow gamers, however please observe the Forum Rules as they are strictly enforced.
If you're a fan of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, or the NFS Series in general, make sure to check out the following sites:
Until next time, take care!