SHAR Tweaked 1.0 (Difficulty modes, improved progression, and tons of fixes)

Posted in SHAR: Mod Showcase
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Play vanilla SHAR with tons of gameplay tweaks and fixed oddities.

  • New difficulty modes. Change the difficulty in Mod Settings.
  • Improved difficulty balancing.
  • Reduced prices to make coin-grinding less of a pain. Required items still cost quite a lot, but optional items are much cheaper.
  • Fixes to visual oddities. I strongly regret doing this.
  • A bit of restored unused content.
  • A few other fixes to miscellaneous nitpicks.

Screenshots

Difficulties
  • Easy: I could beat Level 1 in my sleep. Now you can do it as well for every level. Of course, the later levels still get harder. They're just about near the first half of the levels'... err... level.

  • Normal: If you just want a better time completing this game 100% and get rid of those visual oddities, you can leave the difficulty on this mode. For the most part, the missions are unchanged. There are some changes that remove flaws that hinder the player's experience. I'm looking at you, Wolves Stole My Pills and Set To Kill. Though, some of the ridiculously easy missions were made more challenging to better suit the levels they're featured in. Level 5's Nelson race and Full Metal Jackass are a couple of examples.

  • Hard: Level 6 but it's every level. Skilled players won't have much trouble on a lot of these missions. Some of the already infamously difficult missions aren't much tougher. The difficulty in the first three levels definitely got an upgrade.

  • Donuts of Steel: From the guy who brought you two and a half infamous difficulty settings, I bring you this hand-cramping mode. Vanilla SHAR doesn't have missions this difficult. You better hope you know every necessary thing about this game because even one little mistake can cost you an entire run of a mission. As much as I hate to admit it, some missions are too easy. No matter how I tweak the AI cars and such, they'll find a way to screw up. A lot of missions that involve following a vehicle have this problem. Thankfully (or unthankfully), the majority of missions don't have this problem. Also, if you call this mode impossible, I'll have you know that I already beat this mode twice without using exploits.

Notes

General

  • We all know that SHAR is a buggy mess. For the sake of classic SHAR players, a bunch of exploits were left in. I could possibly fix them if I wanted to, but casual players will most likely never encounter such exploits. Plus, speedrunners would get outraged that overpowered skipping techniques were patched. And even if they did get patched, they'll find another way to break SHAR. It's futile. It should still be possible to do whatever game-breaking glitch you have in mind. If that glitch was somehow patched by yours truly, I either didn't even know about it in the first place or fixed it so casual players won't get frustrated by them. For example, the classic "reverse cam to despawn traffic" glitch was fixed so that players who memorized the traffic before looking behind them won't have their focusing skills ruined by a garbage truck suddenly appearing in front of them. In other words, people who actually use the reverse cam the intended way aren't punished for using it.
  • Of course, not every little visual oddity was fixed. If you found something that wasn't fixed, I either didn't know about it (some hole revealing the skybox in the ground somewhere in Downtown), couldn't fix it without making it worse (the guard rails between Kamp Krusty and the Observatory in the Seaside map), or was so stressed out with this mod that I can't be arsed to go back to it and fix it (the Bonus Game maps, and the UV mapping for the floor at the Squidport). The 1.0 release took way too much time.
  • There are oddities that are very unlikely to be fixed like the character models. I once tried censoring the underside of Marge's dress with a black void, but the animations always deform it in a way that would make the void intersect with the model.
  • I once got L7M7 to crash by losing the barrel after reaching the alien car and then coming back to this part. That seems like normal SHAR to me, but I don't know how to properly fix that without causing even more issues.
  • I would restore more unused content like the breakables and gags; but I wanted vanilla SHAR's save files to be compatible with this mod and vice versa. Not that people even will replace their old saves, but it sure would be nice for that one person who would want to do this.

Difficulty

  • Every mission can still be completed with the default vehicle on the hardest difficulty. Forced vehicle missions are barely beatable with their respective vehicles.
  • Changing difficulty modes won't deviate too far from what the player has already learned. So mission collectibles are neither added nor removed; and AI cars take the same paths unless you're racing them. There are some exceptions to the latter for the sake of preventing them from getting stuck on harder difficulties. I'm looking at you, Lab Coat Caper.
  • Mission vehicles were not tweaked in a way that they would just add padding. Why would I make Kwik Cash take even longer?
  • Exploits are NOT required. Do I look like a speedrunner to you?
  • Missions on Normal difficulty get some tweaks. That final timer in Set To Kill was unreasonably tight, so I've moved it to Hard mode and gave Normal mode a more generous final time limit.
  • Most objectives that didn't originally have any challenge won't get new ones. Objectives like the entirety of The Cola Caper and getting the caffeine pills in Wolves Stole My Pills won't suddenly get a time limit. For the sake of the other difficulty modes, some objectives were given a new challenge. For example, the armored truck objective in Kwik Cash was given a time limit.
  • The H&R meter and the number of cops are altered for each difficulty.
  • It is still possible to cheese some of the other missions regardless of difficulty. But some of those cheap tactics were patched because they either look unintentional, or were just too effective and easy to do on a casual playthrough. You'll likely see these patches during street races. Don't expect a pack of fire trucks blocking some shortcut in the story missions.


Download(s)

Some Fun Facts

  • In the middle of development, I got really tired of seeing various visual oddities. After playing SHAR five times in a row getting more and more distracted by them, I decided to fix them for this mod. I seriously hope I don't have to go back to this mod. I hate vertex coloring.
  • I originally wanted to add just the new difficulty modes. But then the first fun fact happened. Before I released the first beta (which only had a number of visual tweaks to the first three levels), I was going to remove those visual fixes and just use the mission changes. But they were far too complete to be removed. That is the main reason why this mod was previously listed as a Beta Release.
  • I had an older version from 2018. My goal for that version was to tweak missions so that they would make more sense or something. I remember changing Vox Nerduli into a destroy objective (because doing two mandatory races in a row annoyed me back then), changing Bart 'N' Frink so you went to Herman's alone and followed Snake to his hideout, and trying to completely redesign Return of the Nearly-Dead. I had no idea how I wanted to make the new L4M4, and that is when I just gave up on the idea.
  • The hardest difficulty mode was originally for my first mod ever here, and it was cut to speed up development.
  • At one point, I was considering rearranging dialogue so that they made more sense. However, this would cause problems with international versions of SHAR, which I don't have.
  • Speaking of international SHAR, those of you who don't play the English version will still hear a few English lines.

Version History

1.0
  • Finally out of beta.
  • Even more fixes to the first three maps.
  • Transferred the fixes to the later levels.
  • Restored some unused content.
  • Reworked traffic so you don't see so many school buses at once.
  • Added a second collect sound for the later levels.
  • Adjusted transitions for area-specific music to prevent a bug where it would stay on until you re-enter the area and exit it.
  • Changed sound effect for picking up collector cards while in a vehicle.
  • The animation in the Itchy & Scratchy loading screen is smoother and better matches the console versions.
  • Bonus Mission characters no longer despawn after completing them if the Replayable Bonus Missions hack is enabled.
  • Evergreen Terrace: Moved the camera at the Duff Truck by the Kwik-E-Mart higher.
  • L1M2: Decreased the time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L1M4: Decreased the time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L1M6: Increased speed of the Bonestorm truck on Donuts of Steel.
  • Downtown: Fixed collision at the court house so that wheels don't clip through the stairs. (This was helpful in Monkey See, Monkey D'oh.)
  • Downtown: Moved the camera trigger at the expressway so that the Fire Truck can't touch it on the main road.
  • L2M5: Decreased the first time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L2M6: Decreased the time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L2R1: Increased the time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L2R3: Increased speed of the intro camera.
  • L2R3: All opponents are slower on Donuts of Steel.
  • L2BM: Reworked time limit to prevent cheesing on harder difficulties.
  • L3: Frink now appears as an ambient character in the observatory.
  • L3: Moved the trigger for the Itchy & Scratchy movie to the entrance of the Aztec Theatre.
  • L3: You can now ask the Squeaky-Voiced Teen for food.
  • L3M7: Bart can no longer speak outside of the ending conversation.
  • L3R2: Marge is now slower on Donuts of Steel.
  • L3R2: Lesser two opponents were made faster.
  • L3R3: Marge is now faster on Donuts of Steel.
  • L3BM: Decreased the first time limit on harder difficulties.
  • L4R1: Decreased the time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L4R2: Increased speed of the intro camera.
  • L4R2: Apu accelerates a little faster.
  • L4R3: Fixed the opponents suddenly turning around at the first gas station after reaching the first checkpoint when in the lead on easier difficulties.
  • L4R3: (Hopefully) Reduced the chance of Apu getting stuck after the big jump in the rich side.
  • L4R3: Lesser two opponents are a bit faster on Donuts of Steel.
  • L4BM: Decreased the second time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L5: Removed the jump camera at the dirt ramp.
  • L5: Replaced Ralph at the Try-N-Save with Otto.
  • L5: Added the Squeaky-Voiced Teen at the Krusty Burger by the construction site.
  • L5M4: The "professional" is no longer spoiled in the mission briefing.
  • L5M4: Decreased the time limit on harder difficulties.
  • L5M5: Decreased the second time limit on harder difficulties.
  • L5M5: Increased the third time limit on harder difficulties.
  • L5M7: Increased health for the Curator's vehicle on Donuts of Steel.
  • L5R2: Lesser two opponents are less likely to get themselves stuck on harder difficulties.
  • L6M1: Decreased delay after reaching Krustylu Studios.
  • L6M3: Increased delay after following Frink.
  • L6M6: Increased the second time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L6R1: Decreased the time limit on harder difficulties.
  • L6BM: Decreased health for Wiggum's vehicle on harder difficulties.
  • L7M2: Fixed the Alien Car despawning when not at the school playground.
  • L7M3: Hit & Run Meter is reset after losing the waste barrel and picking it back up.
  • L7M5: Hit & Run Meter is reset after losing the waste barrel and picking it back up.
  • L7M5: Decreased the time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L7M6: Hit & Run Meter is reset after losing the waste barrel and picking it back up.
  • L7M6: Decreased the time limit on harder difficulties.
  • L7M7: Hit & Run Meter is reset after losing the waste barrel and picking it back up.
  • L7M7: Decreased the time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L7M7: Increased the time limit on Normal.
  • L7M7: Changed the objective text when reaching the aliens.
  • L7R1: Decreased the time limit on Donuts of Steel.
  • L7BM: Increased the first time limit on Donuts of Steel.


Beta 3
  • Some more trivial tweaks to pre-missions.
  • Mission Complete music is no longer interrupted abruptly when transitioning to the next mission. This does not apply to street races (players who wait too long at the completion screen won't hear the whole thing anyway) nor bonus missions (I forgot?).
  • L1: Some visual fixes.
  • L2: Even more visual fixes.
  • Seaside Maps: The logs being cut up at the Bowlarama are animated differently to prevent that fairly rare moment where the logs would suddenly spawn in the path of the player for one frame and damage them.
  • L6M3: Players can now enter the Observatory during the Mission Complete message like in vanilla SHAR.
  • L6M4: Players no longer need to re-enter the Observatory when starting the pre-mission already inside.


Beta 2
  • L2: Some more visual fixes.
  • L5: Fixed Moe's Tavern's gags from activating upon entry.
  • L5M2: Fixed using the wrong objective text during the pre-mission.
  • L5M5: Changed the text for the mission briefing.


Beta 1
  • First release I guess.
This looks interesting. Donuts of Steel here I come...
Do NOT ask me how was transferring those fixes from the first three levels to the others for this 1.0 release. Making Donuts of Steel difficulty already gave me a massive headache.
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