Categories
Development High Stakes

Main Menu for High Stakes – Artwork and WIP

When it comes to game development sooner or later you will have to think about the thing most people see when they launch a game – the main menu.

When it comes to “High Stakes” I do wanted to achieve three things

  • obtain the oldschool menu look and feel from NFS1, NFS2, NFS3 and NFS4
  • transfer the oldschool look and feel to a new experience
  • add visually nice effects that give an immersive experience

So, in first place, I took a deeper look to all menus of these four games and compared them.

As you will see some don’t have anything in common and some differences couldn’t be bigger, I took a note on every single element I really liked about the menu from each game, alsways keeping the usability in mind, e.g. that I do not want to force users to need to use mouse input to browse through the menus.

The following screenshots are work-in-progress state of the current main menu of High Stakes – resembling a mix of all nfs1-nfs4 elements and my very own taste.

Categories
Development General High Stakes Tutorials

Importing NFS3 PSX Tracks to Blender

If you want to import some or all Need For Speed III – Hot Pursuit PSX tracks to blender this short guide might help you.

I digged into it to get to the data of the Playstation-only Tracks Autocross, Caverns, Scorpio-7, Space Race and The Room, but also to finally see the legend TR02B myself.

Personal trivia: I knew that there needed to be some sort of hidden tracks and cars beside the ones that I could ever find as I can clearly remember as if it was yesterday when I read an article about the upcoming NFS3 game showing a screenshot of both track and car that I could never find in the (PC-)release version. Due to the fact that I never had a PSX myself but playing it on PC, I honestly never looked after it. Today I found out that the screenshot was representing the Autocross-Track with the PSX El Nino which has (for some reason) differences in it’s rear end textures.

Prequisites

  • Blender (download here)
  • The PC-Version of Need For Speed III*
  • The PSX-Release of Need For Speed III**
  • The Tool/Game OpenNFS (download here, mirror, mirror)
  • The Tool trk2blend (download here)
  • Adobe Photoshop (or any other tool with the ability to batch-convert BMP-files to PNG-files)

Setting up OpenNFS

This step might be optional as there could be other ways to get your hands on the texture of those tracks, but I found it the most easy way once you set up OpenNFS.

Once you have downloaded OpenNFS you may just want to extract the zipped folder to a location of your choice.

Following the original installation instruction (mirror) you then need to copy the whole NFSIII-PC files obtained from your original NFSIII-PC CD to resources/NFS_3 and the extracted files from your NFSIII-PSX CD to resouces/NFS_3_PS1, so that both folders look like the following screenhots show:

The following step with OpenNFS might be obsolete as there are other tools to convert the textures to BMP, PNG or whatever, but I personally found it the most easy way just to click through the dropdown in OpenNFS waiting for the tracks to load and have the textures all ready in each folder instead of working on a cli.

Starting OpenNFS

Once you started OpenNFS select TR02B (or any other track you like) from the track dropdown

In the cli window in the background you will notice some stuff going on, just be patient and wait for the track to load.

TR02B from NFS3 Hot Pursuit loaded in OpenNFS

Once the track is fully loaded you now may exit OpenNFS or take a lap around the track – your choice.

Afterwards you navigate to the installation directory of OpenNFS and jump to

/bin/assets/tracks/NFS_3_PS1/

In there you will find all track-folders you already opened in OpenNFS containing each track’s textures as BMP files.

e.g. ZZZTR02B

Converting the BMP files to PNGs

As there are many ways to achieve that I will leave that up to you, I used a simple photoshop action and batch-runned it to get them into PNGs.

I suggest to store the png files in new folder. Personally, I always create new folders like

ROOT/exports/nfs3/tracks/tr02b/png

Converting the TRK files to Blender with TRK2Blender

Open the tool “TRK2Blender”, navigate to the PSX-files-folder within your OpenNFS installation directory and select the corresponding trk file, e.g. ZZZTRK02B.

Afterwars you will see the conversion process running

Prompting “Conversion complete, please exit.” when the process is completed. Within the NFS3-PSX file folder in OpenNFS’s resources you then will find a new folder named after the track file you opened containing all .lwo files.

Note: At this step I suggest to copy all .lwo-files to the export-folder above just to keep an eye on the exported files for later use maybe.

ROOT/exports/nfs3/tracks/tr02b/

Make sure you copied the bmps converted to png in the subfolder (here “PNG”; but the name is up to you, e.g. “textures” or whatever).

Start Blender

Once you started blender I prefer to empty the scene to remove unused content.

Open scripting tab, click “new” and paste the following script.

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('C:\\', 'Users', 'USERNAME', 'PATH', 'TO', 'YOUR', 'FILES')

# 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)

Make sure to edit the “path_to_obj_dir” var to match your folder structure, e.g.

 path_to_obj_dir = os.path.join('D:\\', '_HighStakes', 'OpenNFS', 'OpenNFS.Pre-Alpha.v_03', 'resources', 'NFS_3_PS1', 'ZZZTR02B')

And hit the “play”-button in the scripting Tab. An error will occur.

Select the texture folder created, hit “Select Image Search…” and see imported track TR02B in blender.

TR02B – The hidden track from Need For Speed III – Hot Pursuit – imported to blender.

*, ** – Due to copyrights I cannot give you access to any of these original game data files, of course!

Categories
Development High Stakes Tutorials

EASY Importing NFS4-Tracks to Blender

In this *new* tutorial I explain how everyone of you can easily import tracks from NFS4 into blender. Forget the old tutorial. After digging the internet I found a small set of tools that will make your life much easier.

TL-DR – Take me directly to the tutorial!

The old way as described in this tutorial was a huge workflow with alot of conversion time needed for many many manual processes such as converting textures and geometry, correcting texture offsets etc.

While I was – more or less accidently – searching for a method to convert NFS5 Porsche Unleashed tracks into blender I found the toolset “speedtools” by Rafał Kuźnia.

That guy is a time saver.

Once you worked through all the setup process for the tools you can just one-click import NFS4-tracks into blender, that’s it – just as easy as opening a .fbx-file.

It’s true, you can just go to file > import > track resources and open any* NFS4-track

And after waiting a while you are ready to go

The Setup

First, what you need:

  • Blender, Version >= 3.5 (get it here)
  • speedtools (get it here, mirror)
  • the nfs4-import-script (get it here, mirror)
  • Kaitai Struct compiler (get it here, mirror)
  • NFS4-track files

Download all of them and have the NFS4-track files ready.

Install Blender

obviously, Blender needs to be installed, sherlock.

Install Kaitai Struct compiler

Right after you installed Blender go ahead and download and install the Katai Struct compiler. I suggest to use the install’s default settings and quickly click through the installer.

Start Blender

Now it’s time to start Blender. When blender has opened up you want to head to the scripting section from the very top main menu (at the very right side):

The viewport will change a lot. The window you are looking for is the bottom left console window where the input has the leading three “>” characters:

In this window just copy-paste the following command end hit enter. Once complete there will be a prompt with “0”. This command will install the python-tools needed.

import sys, subprocess
subprocess.call([sys.executable, "-m", "pip", "install", "speedtools"])

Once this step is complete you need to save the blank project. Bear in mind that the project’s save location will be used from the importer to storage the imported images and assets in subfolder(s) created within the save location, so I suggest to choose carefully your save location, like the following:

../projects/hs/tracks/hometown/hometown.blend

Time to import

Yet, as all the steps above are done, all is set up for the first NFSHS-track import to blender.

To enable the easy import mode, you need to copy the content of the following script to your blender scripting tab, or save the file somewhere in your file system and open it up in blender:

#
# Copyright (c) 2023 Rafał Kuźnia <rafal.kuznia@protonmail.com>
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-3.0-or-later
#

from __future__ import annotations

import logging
from abc import ABCMeta, abstractmethod
from collections.abc import Callable, Iterable
from dataclasses import dataclass
from functools import total_ordering
from itertools import chain, groupby
from math import pi
from pathlib import Path
from typing import Any

import bpy
import mathutils
from bpy.props import BoolProperty, EnumProperty, StringProperty
from more_itertools import collapse, duplicates_everseen, one, unique_everseen

from speedtools import TrackData, VivData
from speedtools.types import (
    Action,
    AnimationAction,
    BaseMesh,
    BlendMode,
    Camera,
    DirectionalLight,
    DrawableMesh,
    Light,
    Matrix3x3,
    Part,
    Polygon,
    Resource,
    ShapeKey,
    Vector3d,
    Vertex,
)
from speedtools.utils import export_resource

logger = logging.getLogger()
logger.setLevel(logging.INFO)
logger.addHandler(logging.StreamHandler())


bl_info = {
    "name": "Import NFS4 Track",
    "author": "Rafał Kuźnia",
    "version": (1, 0, 0),
    "blender": (3, 4, 1),
    "location": "File > Import > Track resource",
    "description": "Imports a NFS4 track files (meshes, textures and objects)."
    "Scripts/Import-Export/Track_Resource",
    "category": "Import-Export",
}


@total_ordering
@dataclass(frozen=True)
class ExtendedResource:
    resource: Resource
    backface_culling: bool

    def __lt__(self, other: ExtendedResource) -> bool:
        return hash(self) < hash(other)


class BaseImporter(metaclass=ABCMeta):
    def __init__(self, material_map: Callable[[Polygon], Resource]) -> None:
        self.materials: dict[ExtendedResource, bpy.types.Material] = {}
        self.material_map = material_map

    @classmethod
    def duplicate_common_vertices(cls, mesh: DrawableMesh) -> DrawableMesh:
        unique_vert_polys = list(unique_everseen(mesh.polygons, key=lambda x: frozenset(x.face)))
        duplicate_vert_polys = list(
            duplicates_everseen(mesh.polygons, key=lambda x: frozenset(x.face))
        )
        faces = frozenset(chain.from_iterable(poly.face for poly in duplicate_vert_polys))
        verts_to_duplicate = [mesh.vertices[x] for x in faces]
        mapping = {f: i for i, f in enumerate(faces, start=len(mesh.vertices))}

        def _make_polygon(polygon: Polygon) -> Polygon:
            face = tuple(mapping[f] for f in polygon.face)
            return Polygon(
                face=face,
                uv=polygon.uv,
                material=polygon.material,
                backface_culling=polygon.backface_culling,
            )

        polygons = unique_vert_polys + [_make_polygon(polygon) for polygon in duplicate_vert_polys]
        vertices = list(mesh.vertices) + verts_to_duplicate
        return DrawableMesh(vertices=vertices, polygons=polygons)

    def _extender_resource_map(self, polygon: Polygon) -> ExtendedResource:
        resource = self.material_map(polygon)
        return ExtendedResource(resource=resource, backface_culling=polygon.backface_culling)

    def _link_texture_to_shader(
        self, node_tree: bpy.types.NodeTree, texture: bpy.types.Node, shader: bpy.types.Node
    ) -> None:
        node_tree.links.new(texture.outputs["Color"], shader.inputs["Base Color"])
        node_tree.links.new(texture.outputs["Alpha"], shader.inputs["Alpha"])

    def _set_blend_mode(
        self,
        node_tree: bpy.types.NodeTree,
        shader_output: bpy.types.NodeSocket,
        bpy_material: bpy.types.Material,
        resource: Resource,
    ) -> bpy.types.NodeSocket:
        if resource.blend_mode is BlendMode.ALPHA:
            bpy_material.blend_method = "BLEND"
        elif resource.blend_mode is BlendMode.ADDITIVE:
            bpy_material["SPT_additive"] = True
        else:
            bpy_material.alpha_threshold = 0.001
            bpy_material.blend_method = "CLIP"
        return shader_output

    def _make_material(self, ext_resource: ExtendedResource) -> bpy.types.Material:
        resource = ext_resource.resource
        images_dir = Path(bpy.path.abspath("//images"))
        export_resource(resource, directory=images_dir)
        bpy_material = bpy.data.materials.new(resource.name)
        bpy_material.use_nodes = True
        image_path = Path(images_dir, f"{resource.name}.png")
        image = bpy.data.images.load(str(image_path), check_existing=True)
        node_tree = bpy_material.node_tree
        material_output = node_tree.nodes.get("Material Output")
        image_texture = node_tree.nodes.new("ShaderNodeTexImage")
        image_texture.image = image  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        image_texture.extension = "EXTEND"  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        bsdf = node_tree.nodes["Principled BSDF"]
        bsdf.inputs["Specular"].default_value = 0  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        bsdf.inputs["Roughness"].default_value = 1  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        bsdf.inputs["Sheen Tint"].default_value = 0  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        self._link_texture_to_shader(node_tree=node_tree, texture=image_texture, shader=bsdf)
        output_socket = self._set_blend_mode(
            node_tree=node_tree,
            shader_output=bsdf.outputs["BSDF"],
            bpy_material=bpy_material,
            resource=resource,
        )
        node_tree.links.new(output_socket, material_output.inputs["Surface"])
        bpy_material.use_backface_culling = ext_resource.backface_culling
        return bpy_material

    def _map_material(self, ext_resource: ExtendedResource) -> bpy.types.Material:
        try:
            return self.materials[ext_resource]
        except KeyError:
            bpy_material = self._make_material(ext_resource=ext_resource)
            self.materials[ext_resource] = bpy_material
        return self.materials[ext_resource]

    def make_base_mesh(self, name: str, mesh: BaseMesh) -> bpy.types.Mesh:
        bpy_mesh = bpy.data.meshes.new(name)
        bpy_mesh.from_pydata(
            vertices=list(mesh.vertex_locations),
            edges=[],
            faces=[polygon.face for polygon in mesh.polygons],
        )
        return bpy_mesh

    def set_object_location(self, obj: bpy.types.Object, location: Vector3d) -> None:
        mu_location = mathutils.Vector(location)
        obj.location = mu_location

    def set_object_action(self, obj: bpy.types.Object, action: AnimationAction) -> None:
        animation = action.animation
        obj.rotation_mode = "QUATERNION"
        if obj.animation_data is None:
            anim_data = obj.animation_data_create()
        else:
            anim_data = obj.animation_data
        bpy_action = bpy.data.actions.new(name=str(action.action))
        anim_data.action = bpy_action
        for index, (location, quaternion) in enumerate(
            zip(animation.locations, animation.quaternions)
        ):
            mu_location = mathutils.Vector(location)
            mu_quaternion = mathutils.Quaternion(quaternion)
            mu_quaternion = mu_quaternion.normalized()
            mu_quaternion = mu_quaternion.inverted()
            obj.delta_location = mu_location
            obj.delta_rotation_quaternion = mu_quaternion  # type: ignore[assignment]
            interval = index * animation.delay
            obj.keyframe_insert(
                data_path="delta_location", frame=interval, options={"INSERTKEY_CYCLE_AWARE"}
            )
            obj.keyframe_insert(
                data_path="delta_rotation_quaternion",
                frame=interval,
                options={"INSERTKEY_CYCLE_AWARE"},
            )
        points = chain.from_iterable(fcurve.keyframe_points for fcurve in bpy_action.fcurves)
        for point in points:
            point.interpolation = "LINEAR"
        bpy_action.name = f"{obj.name}-action-{action.action}"
        track = anim_data.nla_tracks.new()
        track.strips.new(name=bpy_action.name, start=0, action=bpy_action)

    def set_object_rotation(
        self,
        obj: bpy.types.Object,
        transform: Matrix3x3,
        offset: mathutils.Euler | None = None,
    ) -> None:
        mu_matrix = mathutils.Matrix(transform)
        if offset:
            mu_euler = offset
            mu_euler.rotate(mu_matrix.to_euler("XYZ"))  # type: ignore # pylint: disable=all
        else:
            mu_euler = mu_matrix.to_euler("XYZ")  # type: ignore # pylint: disable=all
        obj.rotation_mode = "XYZ"
        obj.rotation_euler = mu_euler  # type: ignore[assignment]

    def make_drawable_object(
        self, name: str, mesh: DrawableMesh, import_shading: bool = False
    ) -> bpy.types.Object:
        bpy_mesh = self.make_base_mesh(name=name, mesh=mesh)
        uv_layer = bpy_mesh.uv_layers.new()
        uvs = collapse(polygon.uv for polygon in mesh.polygons)
        uv_layer.data.foreach_set("uv", list(uvs))
        if mesh.vertex_normals:
            normals = tuple(mesh.vertex_normals)
            # I have no idea if setting the normals even works
            bpy_mesh.normals_split_custom_set_from_vertices(normals)  # type: ignore[arg-type]
        if mesh.vertex_colors and import_shading:
            colors = collapse(color.rgba_float for color in mesh.vertex_colors)
            bpy_colors = bpy_mesh.color_attributes.new(
                name="Shading", type="FLOAT_COLOR", domain="POINT"
            )
            bpy_colors.data.foreach_set("color", tuple(colors))  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        polygon_pairs = zip(mesh.polygons, bpy_mesh.polygons)
        sorted_by_material = sorted(polygon_pairs, key=lambda x: self._extender_resource_map(x[0]))
        grouped_by_material = groupby(
            sorted_by_material, key=lambda x: self._extender_resource_map(x[0])
        )
        for index, (key, group) in enumerate(grouped_by_material):
            material = self._map_material(key)
            bpy_mesh.materials.append(material)
            for _, bpy_polygon in group:
                bpy_polygon.use_smooth = True
                bpy_polygon.material_index = index
        bpy_mesh.validate()
        bpy_obj = bpy.data.objects.new(name, bpy_mesh)
        if mesh.shape_keys:
            bpy_obj.shape_key_add(name="Basis")
        return bpy_obj

    def make_light_object(self, name: str, light: Light) -> bpy.types.Object:
        bpy_light = bpy.data.lights.new(name=name, type="POINT")
        bpy_light.color = light.attributes.color.rgb_float
        bpy_light.use_custom_distance = True
        bpy_light.cutoff_distance = 15.0
        bpy_light.specular_factor = 0.2
        bpy_light.energy = 500  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        bpy_light.use_shadow = False  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        bpy_obj = bpy.data.objects.new(name=name, object_data=bpy_light)
        self.set_object_location(obj=bpy_obj, location=light.location)
        return bpy_obj

    def make_directional_light_object(
        self, name: str, light: DirectionalLight
    ) -> bpy.types.Object:
        bpy_sun = bpy.data.lights.new(name=name, type="SUN")
        bpy_obj = bpy.data.objects.new(name=name, object_data=bpy_sun)
        mu_euler = mathutils.Euler(light.euler_xyz)
        bpy_obj.rotation_mode = "XYZ"
        bpy_obj.rotation_euler = mu_euler  # type: ignore[assignment]
        return bpy_obj

    def make_camera_object(self, name: str, camera: Camera) -> bpy.types.Object:
        bpy_camera = bpy.data.cameras.new(name=name)
        bpy_obj = bpy.data.objects.new(name=name, object_data=bpy_camera)
        offset = mathutils.Euler((pi / 2, 0, 0))
        self.set_object_location(obj=bpy_obj, location=camera.location)
        self.set_object_rotation(obj=bpy_obj, transform=camera.transform, offset=offset)
        return bpy_obj

    def make_shape_key(self, obj: bpy.types.Object, shape_key: ShapeKey) -> None:
        bpy_shape_key = obj.shape_key_add(name=shape_key.type.name)
        bpy_shape_key.interpolation = "KEY_LINEAR"
        for data, vertex in zip(bpy_shape_key.data, shape_key.vertices, strict=True):
            data.co = vertex.location  # type: ignore[attr-defined]


class TrackImportStrategy(metaclass=ABCMeta):
    @abstractmethod
    def import_track(
        self,
        track: TrackData,
        import_collision: bool = False,
        import_shading: bool = False,
        import_actions: bool = False,
        import_cameras: bool = False,
    ) -> None:
        pass


class TrackImportGLTF(TrackImportStrategy, BaseImporter):
    def import_track(
        self,
        track: TrackData,
        import_collision: bool = False,
        import_shading: bool = False,
        import_actions: bool = False,
        import_cameras: bool = False,
    ) -> None:
        bpy.context.scene.render.fps = track.ANIMATION_FPS
        track_collection = bpy.data.collections.new("Track segments")
        bpy.context.scene.collection.children.link(track_collection)
        for index, segment in enumerate(track.track_segments):
            name = f"Segment {index}"
            segment_collection = bpy.data.collections.new(name=name)
            track_collection.children.link(segment_collection)
            bpy_obj = self.make_drawable_object(
                name=name, mesh=segment.mesh, import_shading=import_shading
            )
            segment_collection.objects.link(bpy_obj)
            if import_collision:
                for collision_index, collision_mesh in enumerate(segment.collision_meshes):
                    effect = collision_mesh.collision_effect
                    name = f"Collision {collision_index}.{effect}-colonly"
                    bpy_mesh = self.make_base_mesh(name=name, mesh=collision_mesh)
                    bpy_obj = bpy.data.objects.new(name, bpy_mesh)
                    segment_collection.objects.link(bpy_obj)
                    bpy_obj.hide_set(True)
        object_collection = bpy.data.collections.new("Objects")
        bpy.context.scene.collection.children.link(object_collection)
        for index, obj in enumerate(track.objects):
            name = f"Object {index}"
            mesh = self.duplicate_common_vertices(mesh=obj.mesh)
            bpy_obj = self.make_drawable_object(
                name=name, mesh=mesh, import_shading=import_shading
            )
            actions = (
                obj.actions
                if import_actions
                else filter(lambda x: x.action is Action.DEFAULT_LOOP, obj.actions)
            )
            for action in actions:
                self.set_object_action(obj=bpy_obj, action=action)
            if obj.location:
                self.set_object_location(obj=bpy_obj, location=obj.location)
            if obj.transform:
                self.set_object_rotation(obj=bpy_obj, transform=obj.transform)
            object_collection.objects.link(bpy_obj)
        light_collection = bpy.data.collections.new("Lights")
        bpy.context.scene.collection.children.link(light_collection)
        for index, light in enumerate(track.lights):
            name = f"Light {index}"
            bpy_obj = self.make_light_object(name=name, light=light)
            light_collection.objects.link(bpy_obj)
        directional_light = track.directional_light
        if directional_light:
            bpy_obj = self.make_directional_light_object(name="sun", light=directional_light)
            light_collection.objects.link(bpy_obj)
        if import_cameras:
            camera_collection = bpy.data.collections.new("Cameras")
            bpy.context.scene.collection.children.link(camera_collection)
            for index, camera in enumerate(track.cameras):
                bpy_obj = self.make_camera_object(name=f"Camera {index}", camera=camera)
                camera_collection.objects.link(bpy_obj)


class TrackImportBlender(TrackImportGLTF):
    def _link_texture_to_shader(
        self, node_tree: bpy.types.NodeTree, texture: bpy.types.Node, shader: bpy.types.Node
    ) -> None:
        color_attributes = node_tree.nodes.new("ShaderNodeAttribute")
        color_attributes.attribute_name = "Shading"  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        mixer = node_tree.nodes.new("ShaderNodeMixRGB")
        mixer.blend_type = "MULTIPLY"  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        mixer.inputs["Fac"].default_value = 1.0  # type: ignore[attr-defined]
        node_tree.links.new(texture.outputs["Color"], mixer.inputs["Color1"])
        node_tree.links.new(color_attributes.outputs["Color"], mixer.inputs["Color2"])
        node_tree.links.new(mixer.outputs["Color"], shader.inputs["Base Color"])
        node_tree.links.new(texture.outputs["Alpha"], shader.inputs["Alpha"])

    def _set_blend_mode(
        self,
        node_tree: bpy.types.NodeTree,
        shader_output: bpy.types.NodeSocket,
        bpy_material: bpy.types.Material,
        resource: Resource,
    ) -> bpy.types.NodeSocket:
        shader_output = super()._set_blend_mode(
            node_tree=node_tree,
            shader_output=shader_output,
            bpy_material=bpy_material,
            resource=resource,
        )
        output_socket = shader_output
        if resource.blend_mode is BlendMode.ADDITIVE:
            bpy_material.blend_method = "BLEND"
            transparent_bsdf = node_tree.nodes.new("ShaderNodeBsdfTransparent")
            add_shader = node_tree.nodes.new("ShaderNodeAddShader")
            node_tree.links.new(shader_output, add_shader.inputs[0])
            node_tree.links.new(transparent_bsdf.outputs["BSDF"], add_shader.inputs[1])
            output_socket = add_shader.outputs["Shader"]
        return output_socket


class CarImporterSimple(BaseImporter):
    def import_car(self, parts: Iterable[Part]) -> None:
        car_collection = bpy.data.collections.new("Car parts")
        bpy.context.scene.collection.children.link(car_collection)
        for part in parts:
            bpy_obj = self.make_drawable_object(name=part.name, mesh=part.mesh)
            self.set_object_location(obj=bpy_obj, location=part.location)
            car_collection.objects.link(bpy_obj)
            for shape_key in part.mesh.shape_keys:
                self.make_shape_key(obj=bpy_obj, shape_key=shape_key)


class TrackImporter(bpy.types.Operator):
    """Import NFS4 Track Operator"""

    bl_idname = "import_scene.nfs4trk"
    bl_label = "Import NFS4 Track"
    bl_description = "Import NFS4 track files"
    bl_options = {"REGISTER", "UNDO"}

    bpy.types.Scene.nfs4trk = None  # type: ignore[attr-defined]

    directory: StringProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Directory Path",
        description="Directory containing the track files",
        maxlen=1024,
        default="",
    )
    mode: EnumProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Mode",
        items=(
            (
                "GLTF",
                "GLTF target",
                "Parametrized import of visible track geometry, lights, animations, "
                "collision geometry and more. Stores data that can't be represented in "
                "GLTF 'extras' fields.",
            ),
            (
                "BLENDER",
                "Blender target",
                "This option should be used when accurate look in Blender is desired. "
                "Some data, such as vertex shading, can't be viewed in Blender without specific "
                "shader node connections. Such connections are on the other hand poorly understood "
                "by exporters, such as the GLTF exporter. Therefore this mode must never be "
                "used if you intent to export the track to GLTF. Vertex shading is always enabled "
                "in this mode.",
            ),
        ),
        description="Select importer mode",
    )
    night: BoolProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Night on", description="Import night track variant", default=False
    )
    weather: BoolProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Weather on", description="Import rainy track variant", default=False
    )
    mirrored: BoolProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Mirrored on", description="Import mirrored track variant", default=False
    )
    import_shading: BoolProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Import vertex shading",
        description="Import original vertex shading to obtain the 'original' track look",
        default=False,
    )
    import_collision: BoolProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Import collision (experimental)",
        description="Import collision meshes (ending with -colonly)",
        default=False,
    )
    import_actions: BoolProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Import animation actions (experimental)",
        description="Import track animation actions from CAN files, such as object destruction animation",
        default=False,
    )
    import_cameras: BoolProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Import cameras (experimental)",
        description="Import track-specific replay cameras",
        default=False,
    )

    def invoke(self, context: bpy.types.Context, event: bpy.types.Event) -> set[int] | set[str]:
        wm = context.window_manager
        wm.fileselect_add(self)
        return {"RUNNING_MODAL"}

    def execute(self, context: bpy.types.Context) -> set[int] | set[str]:
        directory = Path(self.directory)
        # This should get us from track directory to game root directory
        game_root = directory.parent.parent.parent
        track = TrackData(
            directory=Path(self.directory),
            game_root=game_root,
            mirrored=self.mirrored,
            night=self.night,
            weather=self.weather,
        )
        import_shading = self.import_shading
        import_strategy: TrackImportStrategy
        if self.mode == "GLTF":
            import_strategy = TrackImportGLTF(material_map=track.get_polygon_material)
        elif self.mode == "BLENDER":
            import_strategy = TrackImportBlender(material_map=track.get_polygon_material)
            import_shading = True
        else:
            return {"CANCELLED"}
        import_strategy.import_track(
            track=track,
            import_collision=self.import_collision,
            import_shading=import_shading,
            import_actions=self.import_actions,
            import_cameras=self.import_cameras,
        )
        return {"FINISHED"}


class CarImporter(bpy.types.Operator):
    """Import NFS4 Car Operator"""

    bl_idname = "import_scene.nfs4car"
    bl_label = "Import NFS4 Car"
    bl_description = "Import NFS4 Car files"
    bl_options = {"REGISTER", "UNDO"}

    bpy.types.Scene.nfs4car = None  # type: ignore

    directory: StringProperty(  # type: ignore
        name="Directory Path",
        description="Directory containing the car files",
        maxlen=1024,
        default="",
    )
    import_interior: BoolProperty(  # type: ignore[valid-type]
        name="Import interior", description="Import car interior geometry", default=False
    )

    def invoke(self, context: bpy.types.Context, event: bpy.types.Event) -> set[int] | set[str]:
        wm = context.window_manager
        wm.fileselect_add(self)
        return {"RUNNING_MODAL"}

    def execute(self, context: bpy.types.Context) -> set[int] | set[str]:
        car = VivData.from_file(Path(self.directory, "CAR.VIV"))
        logger.debug(car)

        if self.import_interior:
            resource = one(car.interior_materials)
            parts = car.interior
        else:
            resource = one(car.body_materials)
            parts = car.parts
        importer = CarImporterSimple(material_map=lambda _: resource)
        importer.import_car(parts)

        return {"FINISHED"}


def menu_func(self: Any, context: bpy.types.Context) -> None:
    self.layout.operator(TrackImporter.bl_idname, text="Track resources")
    self.layout.operator(CarImporter.bl_idname, text="Car resources")


def register() -> None:
    bpy.utils.register_class(TrackImporter)
    bpy.utils.register_class(CarImporter)
    bpy.types.TOPBAR_MT_file_import.append(menu_func)


def unregister() -> None:
    bpy.utils.unregister_class(TrackImporter)
    bpy.utils.unregister_class(CarImporter)
    bpy.types.TOPBAR_MT_file_import.remove(menu_func)


if __name__ == "__main__":
    register()

Once this file / script is loaded you can hit the play button in the scripting window. Bear in mind that the project’s save location will be used from the importer to storage the imported images and assets in subfolder(s) created within the save location.

Now, when you executed the script, you will find the option “Track Resources” under the file > import option.

In the import window you now can browse to your NFS4/NFSHS track-folder within your NFS installation directory.

Warning! Opening Tracks outside the NFS-installation directory will not work as the importer requires global NFS-assets such as sounds, textures and other information.

▶️▶️In case you want to import an Addon-Track, read here.

When you arrived at the track folder, open up the folder containing the track you want to import, e.g. EMPIRE (= Empire City) and click on import.

Now just wait a couple of seconds and keep an eye in the scene overview on the top right corner. Soon you will notice that there will be a couple of folders and objects appearing – that is your imported track!

How to import an NFS-Addon track to blender?

So, it seems that you are interested in opening/importing an community made track in blender. The import itself is working the exact way it does as for official tracks but requires some work right before you can import them.

Setting up the track folder

You – basically – need to to the same kind of work that you would need to do to get the track working in the NFS-game, the major difference here is that you do not need to overwrite the track the addon is based on.

Let’s say you downloaded this track here:

Mololithic Studios for NFS4 High Stakes

Author of Track Conversion: Ryan Trevisol
Author of Track Enhancement: KillRide and UnBtable
and changes by JimDiabolo & Benyy

It is a replacement for the official NFS-Track “Empire City”. So head over to your track-folder in the NFS4-installation directory, locate the original track folder (in this case “EMPIRE”) and duplicate and rename it as you wish, e.g “MONOLITHIC“.

Now copy all addon-content over the original content within the new folder “MONOLITHIC” – and select overwrite-yes of course.

Once this step is done you may proceed with the normal import process as mentioned above.

*any: you can also convert NFS:HS addon-tracks, such as "Lake Diablo" (get it here), but you need to copy the addon-track files over the original NFS:HS track it is replacing, just as you would do if you want to play the addon track ingame as the tools are requiring all animation, sounds etc. - read the tutorial for addon-tracks here.
Categories
Development High Stakes Tutorials

Reworking cars from an old “Need For Speed” title

Yes, you are absolutely right if you begin reading this and instantly think “why should I rework it – there are tons of blueprints or ready-to-buy (or even free) versions of the cars all around the internet”.

That is in fact true, but now for all the so called fantasy cars that exist within the nfs-franchise, mainly in the first four releases.

Chronologically I should start here with recreating the “Warrior PTO/E2” from the very first “Road & Track presents – The Need for Speed”. But as I did not (yet) find a way of converting the NFS1 car models to somewhat nowadays processable format, I am starting with the FZR2000 from NFS2(SE).

FZR2000 from “Need For Speed 2 Special Edition” – Source and Copyright Electronic Arts

Converting from old file format to new file format as preparation

Converting the car from NFS2SE to NFS2.

For some reason the car file format in NFS2SE differs from the ones in NFS2. So, as the car editor only supports NFS2 file format, the first step is to convert it back from NFS2SE to NFS2 as I only own the SE-version of the game.

The conversion process itself is very easy and basic and can be done with a simple tool named “CarEditor” by Mike “Thommson”.

Once the program is started, just oben “NFS2SE” car, select the “futr.geo” and save it as NFS2 car somewhere in your file system

Dont bother the messed up geometry, I do think this (and most) NFS tools are not designed to work on the Windows NT (or in my case Windows 11) system in any way.

Convert the NFS2 car to NFS3

The next step is even more easy, but yet also buggy. You need to convert the NFS2 car file to NFS3. This is done by using the DOS command line tool “car2nfs3”, also written by Mike ‘Thommson’

The use here is simly easy, just copy the futr.geo (from the step above or from the non-SE version of NFS2) and futr.qfs (from the gamedata folder) to the folder where the binary of car2nfs3 is located.

car2nfs3 futr.geo futr.qfs car.fce car00.tga

this promt will convert the car and texture file to the nfs3 formats.

Convert the FCE file to 3ds

Now, the next step is already getting the .fce geometry file into nowadays file format “3ds” using the old(!) version 1.07b of the Zanoza3d Modeler, as version 2 and higher do not support nfs3 and nfs4 file formats.

Damn, what did I miss this software, and on the same time not. Comparing it to nowadays workflows all those tools are really a pain regarding the usability and stability. Don’t get me wrong, I really love that they do exist and did exist back in those days where I started modding and modelling, and I am so thankful towards the autors and pay them as much respect as I can, but the tools have improved in the last years and so have my workflows, and it really feels odd to use those old tools in 2023.

Now, having the .fce file in z3d the geometry can finally be exported to 3ds – meaning it can now be imported to Blender, 3D Studio or whatever tool you prefer to use.

Kind of impressive how lowpoly the cars have been back then right? I mean, look at those “wheels”.

Texturing

As within the conversion process the texture(s) of the car have also been converted you “just” need to flip them once vertically as for some reason the UV coordinates are upside down.

Mind: The screenshot already shows an optimized mesh with reworked wheel arches and wheels and a repainted a-pillar.

Welding

As for some reason the converted meshes are not featuring welded (connected) vertices anymore this needs to be done (by pressing A-key in the edit mode in blender and then selecting the weld modifier).

The result after all conversions

Once the textures are applied and all vertices are welded back together we now have a solid base as blueprint for reworking the model.

Reworking

Having the old original model as base, together with the only two artwork-images exisiting the process can finally start.

Categories
Development High Stakes Tutorials

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

THIS IS AN OUTDATED AND TOO COMPLICATED WAY - READ THE FOLLOWING TUTORIAL INSTEAD! LINK

As there has been a HUGE update on the process – you should continue reading here.

Requirements:

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.