In order to prepare for watching Silent Hill: Revelations movie, I played through the game Silent Hill 3, from which the movie is based on.  Although most of the information I write here can be found elsewhere, I think it is worthwhile to integrate them into one article in case there is someone else like me who wants to play this 2003 game now.

Versions of Silent Hill 3

The original Silent Hill 3 game was released in 2003 for PlayStation 2 (PS2).  It got a very good port to Microsoft Windows.  In 2012, it is remastered with improved graphics as Silent Hill: HD Collection for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.  However, the HD Collection has many technical issues.  To make the problem worse, the PlayStation 3 version received some patches but the XBox 360 does not.  Many people agreed that the HD Collection managed to be worse than the PS2 version.  It is so bad that Konami offered an additional free game to XBox 360 version owners in America.

Silent Hill 3 on Windows 7

In view of the above, the best version to play today is actually the (old) Windows port.  In spite of its age, it looks very good in HD resolutions.  Someone even hacked it to make full use of widescreen (16:9 or 16:10) displays.  Here’s how:

  1. Install the game.
  2. Download and unzip it to the same folder as the game – default C:\Program Files (x86)\KONAMI\SILENT HILL 3\
  3. Set the properties – Compatibility for sh3.exe, sh3Config.exe and sh3FOV.exe to “Run this program as an administrator”.
  4. Run sh3Config.exe to configure the keyboard if necessary (I changed Item, Map, and Light to keyboard 1, 2 and 3).
  5. Run sh3.exe to start the game and make additional settings change, such as display brightness and default to run instead of walk (in extra settings while playing the game).  Then exit the game.
  6. Right click Notepad then Run as administrator.  Select File -> Open.  Change the type from *.txt to *.* then open C:\Program Files (x86)\KONAMI\SILENT HILL 3\savedata\disp.ini
  7. In this file, change both the “resolution” and “size” to your native display resolution such as 1920×1080 (assuming you have a decent display card) then save it.  You may want to decrease the “resolution” setting or both if it is not fast enough.  (“size” is the display resolution, and “resolution” is the rendering resolution which controls the details.  Imagine that the game draws to its internal buffer of rendering resolution, then scales it to the display resolution.  For this game, the rendering resolution is more demanding of system performance than the display resolution does.  On my Core i3-540 overclocked to 3.9GHz using integrated graphics, 1920×1080 is too slow, but 1366×768 is very playable and looks good enough for me.)
  8. Run sh3FOV.exe, set Width Field of View to 0.85 and Height Field of View to 1.2 if you have a 16:9 display, or 0.91 / 1.1 respectively if you have a 16:10 display.
  9. If you have a decent display card, try forcing v-sync on in your display card control panel.
  10. Run sh3.exe to start the game (initially the aspect ratio will be wrong, which is normal).
  11. When playing the game, press * on the numpad to activate the Field of View change.
  12. Note that if a setting is changed in the game, then steps 6-7 need to be done again.

Silent Hill 3 Keyboard and Mouse Controls

It is universally agreed that getting a gamepad is better than using the keyboard for playing Silent Hill games on PC.  However, if you do use the keyboard, here’s some related information.

Copied from the PC demo instructions:

By default, the Control Type is set to Rotational Style (3D).   Pressing Q and E
will rotate your character left and right, and pressing W will move your
character forward in the direction she is facing.   If the Control Type is set
to Directional Style (2D), your character will immediately move in the direction you
press (W, S, Q and E).  The Control Type setting can be found in the Options

If you are playing with a gamepad or joystick, you may have an easier time
controlling the character by changing the Control Type to "Directional Style".

With Rotational Style, you will be able to sidestep left and right with the
Strafe Left and Strafe Right keys/buttons.  With Directional Style, Strafe Left
becomes Cycle Target Left, and Strafe Right becomes Cycle Target Right.  When
you have multiple targets on screen at once, you can choose which enemy to
target by using the Cycle Target Left/Right keys/buttons. 

The Walk/Run Control is set to "Walk" by default, meaning the character will
run only when the Run button is held down. Changing this option to Reverse
will allow your character to run without holding down the Run button.

You may change any of the default controls in the Control Options screen. 

Default Controls

Turn Left     Q         Left
Turn Right    E         Right
Move Forwards W         Up
Move Backwards S        Down
Strafe Left   A         Button 13
Strafe Right  D         Button 14
Action        Space/Left Mouse Btn.
                        Button 1
Cancel        ESC       Button 4
Skip/Pause    ESC       Button 10
Run/Guard     Left Shift Button 2
Search Mode   Tab       Button 7
Inventory     I         Button 9
Light On/Off  L         Button 11
Map           M         Button 5
Aim Lock      B/Right Mouse Btn.
                        Button 8
Quick Save    F5
Quick Load    F9

Some tips which toke me a while to figure out:

  • You may just use the mouse to control the direction of running/walking, while holding W.
  • Left click to open a door or examine something.
  • Right click to aim at the nearest monster.  While still holding the right mouse button, left click to shoot.
  • Press (or hold) TAB to get the camera behind the protagonist, but it is location-dependent.

Using a PlayStation 2 Controller

I did some research and planned to buy a Dilong PU203 to use my DualShock 2 controller to play Silent Hill 3 on Windows.  However, before I could get it I have already finished the game (and I don’t plan to replay it).  Here’s some information I gathered about it (but NOT verified by myself), hopefully useful to someone else:

  • Many people confirmed its compatibility with 64-bit Windows 7
  • It should be recognized and automatically installed by Windows 7 without using additional drivers.  However, the vibration function would not work if installed this way.
  • Its drivers enable the vibration function.
  • Some people say that the CD drivers are different from the web drivers.  If you run into problems, try a different driver.
  • It is NOT compatible with cordless PlayStation 2 controllers.
  • People have experienced huge difficulties with PU203 for dance mat in StepMania.
  • It may work on PlayStation 3 too, but of course it lacks 6-axis controls and additional buttons found on real PlayStation 3 controllers.

I wonder whether the PU203 can fully support all the PlayStation 2 style controls in Silent Hill, but since I did not purchase it in the end, I regret that I cannot report on this.