Development High Stakes Tutorials

How to convert a NFS3/NFS4 Track for use in Blender, 3D Studio and/or Unreal Engine (4)


Additional Tools

  • NFS3/NFS4 FRD Track Editor (to view tracks originally) [download here]
  • Photoshop, Affinity or similar gfx tool

Step 1 – Convert the track file from .frd to .lwo

The first tool you need to use is “frd2lwo” – this is a light weight gui-based tool to convert frd-files (nfs3/nfs4 native track file format) to lwo (lightwave object).

The tool right after first start

As easy as it can be, click “open” and locate your .frd-file.

Select the Tr.FRD of the track you want to convert

Select the file and once again click “open”

Once the conversion process is completed, you will kindly be asked to exit the tool.

Now, if you browse to the source folder of your .frd-file you will now find a new folder “LWO” containing all the .lwo-converted files of the original track.

Just like in the original frd file each block has been converted to a single .lwo file.

Meaning: the longer the track (the more blocks it has) the more files you will get, yay.

Step 2 – preparing track textures

If you would like to skip this step – be warned, the LWO is always prompting an error for each missing texture piece.

Although we won’t be able to create all textures in the following process, we will reduce the amount of missing textures alot.

Reading this tutorial you might be into NFS-modding and maybe aware of where to get the textures from. If not, I will gladly tell you.

The textures of NFS3/NFS4 tracks are stored within the .qfs-file. QFS is a sort of container format containing all textures, really weird.

Step 2.1 – QFS2FSH

The first step is to convert the .qfs-file into a fsh-file. Therefor we need the tool qfs2fsh – this is a command line tool.

The basic syntax is

qfs2fsh source.qfs target.fsh
e.g. qfs2fsh tr0.qfs provinggrounds.fsh

You may want to copy the .qfs into the place of the binary, I think

Step 2.2 – FSH2BMP

The second step is to convert the .fsh-file into tga-files. Therefor we need the tool fsh2bmp – a part of the QFSSuite – this is a command line tool.

The basic syntax is

fsh2bmp source.fsh TARGETFOLDER 
e.g. fsh2bmp provinggrounds.fsh BMP

You may want to copy the .fsh into the place of the binary, I think.

If you are using Windows in 64 bit version you might need to run qfssuite, at least for fsh2bmp in a dosbox or similar.

And you finally have all single textures as BMP

Step 3 – Getting the LWO-Files in blender

Once you have converted the track to LWO you want to start blender and activate the lwo-import plugin.

Now you could import one block after the other for the whole track..

Or you may use the lwo mass import script for blender

import os
import bpy

# put the location to the folder where the objs are located here in this fashion
# this line will only work on windows ie C:\objects
path_to_obj_dir = os.path.join('F:\\', 'test')

# get list of all files in directory
file_list = sorted(os.listdir(path_to_obj_dir))

# get a list of files ending in 'obj'
obj_list = [item for item in file_list if item.endswith('.lwo')]

# loop through the strings in obj_list and add the files to the scene
for item in obj_list:
    path_to_file = os.path.join(path_to_obj_dir, item)
    bpy.ops.import_scene.lwo(filepath = path_to_file)

Of course you need to adjust the path_to_obj_dir with your drive letter and folder structure, and bare in mind that you need to escape the “\”-character like \\this\\is\\a\\folder

And then, click “play” – this may take long and sometimes blender will crash, which can be related to a specific block. I could not find any reason, but I just try and error with removing files from the batch import folder until it is working.

You also may want to check if all blocks are imported correctly as there might be any gaps.

TIP: If you keep on encountering errors while importing or opening even one single .lwo file, try to get another version of the track you want to import as there may be faulty blocks.

Finally, you have all the track data into blender – one step further of having the good old track information in somewhat up-to-date file format. I suggest to save the .blend project right now, just in case.

Looks familiar, huh?

Anyway – within the import process – I would suggest to save the blender project each time possible, as using all this tools is very fragile.

But, where is my textures?

Well, at first, they are there! At second, you have to enable the viewport texture mode

Third, they will look odd, or I totally cannot remember the rusty springs scenery decorated in tons of advertising papers

Imported NFS1 Track "Rusty Springs" - Detail view.

I think that is due to an offset between the numbers in the original QFS file and the export process, but till now I was not able to figure that out.

Anyway, for my personal futher process, the original texture are not really mattering.

So, for me, the next step is uniting the single blocks to one single mesh, in blender you can just press the A-key, and then CTRL+J, and you got one single mesh.

By the way, you can downlod the Rusty Springs blend-files (blocks and united) right here, together with the exported LWO and BMP textures as a zip-package.

Step 4 – Export the Mesh

Right now it is time to export the mesh – for me, I choose the .fbx file for further usage, but your choice might be different depending on what you want to do next.

Step 5 – Further processing

This step is totally individual – I will process the file I created within the unreal engine, you keep reading here.