Virtual Frink-ality - Level 1 Demo Out Now!

Posted in SHAR: Mod Showcase
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Story:
After a head-on collision with a local felon that's infamous for his Valley Boy accent, family buffoon Homer Jay Simpson finds himself in a bit of a pickle. He has absolutely no car insurance or moneys to cover the damage, and the man he ran into is growing impatient. Fearing for his life and not to upset Mr. Jailbird (and Marge), Homer begins searching around town for a 'get rich quick' scheme.

As fate would have it, Homer runs into a dork testing a new virtual reality game based off of Springfield, with a sizeable bounty for anybody insane enough to head inside. Said virtual reality program is capable of generating a unique atmosphere per 'Level'. However, it's still very much an early beta, as there's no way to safely leave the game after entering it...Unless it's completed! Fortunately, the poindexter is 50% certain it's completable in it's current state. That's like...nearly half a chance of surviving!

All Homer has to do to clear the game is to find the delicious Golden Donut hidden in every Level. Figuring he has nothing to lose, Homer heads inside the virtual reality game to beta test it, find the donuts, and come out a hero to himself. Can he do it?

About:
This mod is something I started creating in my free-time while looking into a potentially cleaner way to do 'subtitles' for mod dialog. Realizing I wasn't constrained to do a mod plot that relied on sentence mixing or looking for pre-existing dialog, I decided to create a Simpsons mod based on a plot/idea I had on the backburner for ages. The mod as a whole is really just an excuse to design completely custom missions in the vanilla game maps, but I tried to add some pizazz in order to better incentive the player to try it out. As such:

  • The mod really isn't focusing on nods towards the show.
  • Each Level will make use of the vanilla game maps with some re-texturing shenanigans.
  • The Connected Map mod by Colou will likely not be used at all (at least for the Levels that have fairly finalized plans). It'd be far too much additional texture work for each Level and the missions were designed/written with the vanilla maps in mind.

Features:
  • Brand new Levels!...Erm, brand new re-skins of existing Levels! While you'll be exploring the same tired 'n' true maps, they've been reskinned to have a unique theme and atmosphere to it. Explore a cartoon Evergreen Terrace, a 16-bit-esque Downtown Springfield, and more!
  • Unique car skins per Level! That's right! Your car's appearance will change in each Level to better suit the environment. That's certainly a good excuse to explore the maps and find some additional cars to purchase or win, right?
  • 5 Story Missions in each Level, with Bonus Challenges and a unique Bonus Mission in each! That's a whopping total of 9 Missions in each Level...which is almost 10!
  • A gripping self-contained plot in each Level that's sure to hold your interest for...5 Story Missions.
  • A built-in 'Free Roam' option as a reward for beating all Story Missions! If you warp back to a Level after clearing it, the two empty mission slots will change into a free roam option that allows you to explore the map at your own pace to find the remaining secrets. No HUD icons in sight!
  • New Data Cards with graphics shamelessly stolen from Sonic Battle...which also help towards 100% completion of each Level! Certain cards can be viewed and have different text each mission that give hints as to where the collectibles are. No more looping the Levels for ages trying to find that last Card or Wasp. Perfect for preserving your sanity!
  • 15 Wasps Frink Flies in each Level!
  • Text-based dialog that can be skipped at the player's leisure!...You've already seen this, but it's what primarily got this mod off the ground.

Screenshots (Note: These areas are still a work in progress):
Yokel comin' through!
Close Encounters of the Awkward Kind!
Homer monkeys around near Lard Lads.
Riveting dialog! Exposition! Exclamation points!!!

Download Link:
Google Drive
Retexture give me road rage vibez, last screenshot has wrong link btw
This looks fantastic! Can't wait to play it.
Woah, this looks rad!
Very creative and Radical!
Retexture give me road rage vibez, last screenshot has wrong link btw

Went ahead and fixed that a whole day later. Apologies about that! Not sure how I initially overlooked it while previewing the thread, but I assure you it isn't too much to look at. Probably a poor screenshot choice since the house still needs to be finished up, but pretty much all of Level 1 is in the bag.

The reason it probably gives you Road Rage vibes is due to several of the textures originating from the Road Rage E3 prototype, prior to art style direction shift. I wanted a more cartoony vibe for the first Level and initially started out using textures from Taz: Wanted as a base, but it looked extremely poopy and smelly so it was junked almost immediately. Tappie ended up suggesting a much better reference point that I fell in love with instantly, so I began crafting textures that matched the prototype's style. Really glad to see so many people like how this Level is turning out!

The mod also has some small nice quality of life features I neglected to mention in the original post that were achieved using Additional Script Functionality:


Checkpoints are now a thing in every main story mission and Bonus Mission, complete with some .pag modifications to indicate when you've reached one! Nifty. Don't expect them to pull you out of a jam in a Street Race Challenge though. Those are short enough that you can do without them. You can probably use these checkpoints and some clever resetting to clear missions a wee bit quicker, but who's timing you?...Oh. That's right. The game.


Payouts for every mission! Story Missions now pay out 200 Coins for completing them, with 150 for the Street Races and Bonus Missions. If you find yourself low on funds to buy a new ride later down the line, and exploring the Level doesn't interest you, you can return to missions to grind out some coins. Go ahead and replay the missions you liked with your own self-imposed challenges, such as using the Terrible Truck to complete them. Every mission in Level 1 has been tested to be beatable with it, but best of luck. A truck with the stats of the Monorail will test your driving skills.

Prices will likely start out pretty fair and will only really require that you beat all the Story Missions in that Level to afford everything, but later on you're going to have to do some exploring and try out the other missions in order to get more coins. If that doesn't float your boat though or you get caught up in one too many Hit & Runs, you can always go back to these guys. No more Wager Race grinding. Huzzah!
Is the mission passed screen inspired by GTA?
Damn this looks clean!
[removed]4 weeks

Well, that turned out to be a dirty stinking lie. Apologies everyone! A lot of plans popped up and I grossly underestimated the last bit of texture work by a whole freaking lot.

Since I've been teasing this for a little while and I'd hate to keep pushing the release date back (and so I can put this off of my mind for a bit while I go enjoy the rest of my Birthday), I'm doing a Level 1 release as a beta!

A couple of things to note:
  • Not all textures are finalized/finished. Retirement Castle, several car damaged textures, and some miscellaneous textures still need to be tooned up.
  • HUD icons initially use the Road Rage mugshots but switch to 3D renders as I realized some of the major characters were lacking any in-game. Apologies for the inconsistency!
  • Mission Banners still need to be re-done to use the Toon worlds. Street Races/Bonus Missions also lack them currently.
  • Dialog mumbles for Moe and the truck driver in the Bonus Mission are currently missing.
  • Street Race 3 might be replaced by an entirely different concept in the future. Not too satisfied with how it turned out.
  • Didn't get a chance to spiffy up the credits, so they're currently the boring vanilla ones. Appropriate credits are featured in the Meta.ini, however.

Feel free to decompile this and use whatever texture assets applied to the Level that you'd like! Again, the textures originally came from the Road Rage E3 prototype (which can be found online in various forms), with textures for the areas that didn't have any equivalents being done by me. While I really like how this first Level turned out I'm not sure if it's something I'll ever do for all 7 Levels. They'd also probably serve nicely for more original projects as well (like entirely custom maps!).

A Google Drive link has been added to the original forum post. Give it a shot if you're okay with some minor blemishes in the presentation!

Special thanks to Weasel on a Stick for the much better coin collectible name he shot off as a joke in the Discord server. Special thanks to A.J. Nitro for the Road Rage sprites that were used, Deathbringer for the Super Star Ultra Computer Virus boss fight sprites, Bacon for the Sonic Battle cards, and Lemurboy for the ending sprite of Homer in Virtual Bart.
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