Apologies for not playing this sooner.
While I actually gave this topic a 'Like' when it was initially posted, I had not yet played this until yesterday. I actually meant to visit this project in a much more timely fashion after it's drop and give my opinions on your entry (as well as the other two mod entries!), but got sidetracked with planning an event with my girlfriend. I commend the work on display for all of the entries and the amount of creativity packed into each, since working with those deadlines can be tough!
I really like the setting for the mod, even knowing that the excuse to participate in the race is intentionally not very deep given the mod submission deadline. Choosing Burns a race host feels extremely fitting given his 36 Stutz Bearcat
. I can definitely see him wanting to go ahead and do a race because he's feeling nostalgic. Simple and to the point, and it feels all in character.
The map design itself is also pretty enjoyable! A lot of the map assets all seem to be repurposed from the Trailer Park side of the Evergreen Terrace map, with a few custom props here and there. It feels like it might have been easy to go overboard, but the recycled assets actually work in the map's favor and create this really nice rural landscape. It manages to create a feeling that I managed to get when exploring Evergreen Terrace
's Trailer Park side for the first time and is a nice breath of fresh air from all of the industrialization. It also works really nicely with the old-timey cars and helps make the lack of NPCs feel a lot more natural (in addition to perhaps not being the best thing to have for a Street Race). There's enough distinct locations to help prevent the map from feeling too 'same-y'. I really liked the little bridge area the player passes over, for instance. Just really cute:
The road blockage barriers seen near the start of the race
did initially throw me off as I initially assumed they were shortcuts the AI racers wouldn't bother with. The radar would also suggest they might be paths the player can take. Instead, they serve as invisible walls that block the player. I think coming from the vanilla game, most players would be conditioned to think that these props are smashable due to their usage in the Downtown Springfield
map to indicate shortcuts. I understand their usage was likely due to a lack of more 'organic' feeling roadblocks, and it's something the player is quickly reconditioned to, but I felt a bit silly running into those ones at the start full speed on a blind playthrough. Again, I struggle to think of a roadblock that fits the landscape that doesn't feel very artificial, so I understand the repurposing here.
The difficulty is also pretty well done. On my first playthrough of the mission (with no familiarity of the track itself), I found the AI racers were able to keep up with me pretty well. I think for newer players, it feels comparable to a late game Street Race, coming from Level 6 or 7? Definitely not impossible. It provides a good challenge with plenty of opportunities to catch back up. Especially with the 4 laps.
The only real noticeable bug/oversight I found during my initial run was near the end of my first playthrough. I noticed that the 'MISSION COMPLETE!' text was modified, but the modification didn't appear to have it's intentional effect.
I decompiled the mod real quick to double check, and I think the issue is that the 'MISSION COMPLETE' font lacks any lowercase letters.
It's a pretty simple fix, and changing everything to uppercase fixes the issue.
I'm unsure if you wish to address this due to the nature of the Mod Jam, but perhaps having a bugfixed release as a separate download from the original mod entry release might work?
I also kind of figured that choosing to resume the save results in a crash. If you're interested in fixing it, adding a stage with a 'dummy' objective that has 'RESET_TO_HERE();' in it fixes the issue. This is what the script should look like.
The end result is a make-shift 'free-roam' that would allow the player to explore the track at their own leisure. Otherwise, there's not an indicator that tells the user choosing to resume the game crashes it. I don't think it's a huge issue given the nature of the mod, but I wouldn't mind an update that patches this in.
Overall, really enjoyable mini-mod! The countryside theming and vintage cars create a pretty nice theme that feels very distinct. Even looking past the aesthetics, you've got a fun custom map that offers a custom mission with an enjoyable challenge.