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LEGO Racers

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LEGO Racers is a mod project that aims to port as much of the classic 1999 cart racer over to SHAR as possible. Work is ongoing but progressing quickly and I am confident that I'll be able to release the mod before the end of 2023. I am currently working on porting over the race tracks, progress is shown below and I will update this post as more is completed.


Goals

Port over every track in the game, including all hazards and shortcuts wherever possible
Port over some of the cars, focusing first on the "boss" cars and then looking at others
Create a complete campaign, featuring a race mission on every track unlocking the next
SHAR:MP support, possibly released later as a separate mod, featuring every track in one level and a "hub" allowing all players on the server to freely travel to each track

Potential Goals Wishlist (may not be possible or present at launch)

Custom car creation, facilitated by an external program allowing you to create your car and input a code into the Mod Settings
Powerups, unlikely to be possible but if you are a coder and want to help me look into implementing this, either via LUA code or an external program, then please feel free to contact me (details below)
Fixes for sounds tied to animated objects, to be facilitated by a new hack that is currently being discussed

Current Progress

Test Drive

Track Complete

Circuit 1

Imperial Grand Prix: Track complete, download a preview here
Dark Forest Dash: Track complete
Magma Moon Marathon: Track complete, gate shortcut code randomiser is being looked into
Desert Adventure Dragway: Track complete

Road Data: Complete

Missions: Complete

Circuit 2

Tribal Island Trail: Track complete
Royal Knights Raceway: Track complete
Ice Planet Pathway: Track complete
Amazon Adventure Alley: Track complete

Road Data: Complete

Missions: Complete

Circuit 3

Knightmare-Athon: Track complete
Pirate Skull Pass: Track complete
Adventure Temple Trail: Track complete
Alien Rally Asteroid: Track complete

Road Data: Complete

Missions: Not started

Circuit 4 (Circuit 1 mirror mode)

Imperial Grand Prix: Track complete
Dark Forest Dash: Track complete
Magma Moon Marathon: Track complete
Desert Adventure Dragway: Track complete

Road Data: Complete

Missions: Complete

Circuit 5 (Circuit 2 mirror mode)

Tribal Island Trail: Track complete
Royal Knights Raceway: Track complete
Ice Planet Pathway: Track complete
Amazon Adventure Alley: Track complete

Road Data: Complete

Missions: Not started

Circuit 6 (Circuit 3 mirror mode)

Knightmare-Athon: Track complete
Pirate Skull Pass: Track complete
Adventure Temple Trail: Track complete
Alien Rally Asteroid: Track complete

Road Data: Complete

Missions: Not started

Circuit 7

Rocket Racer Run: Track complete

Road Data: Complete

Missions: Not started

Cars and Character Models

Homer: Character Model and animations complete
Bart: Character Model and animations complete
Lisa: Character Model complete
Marge: Character Model complete
Apu: Character Model complete

Lego NPC animations complete

Captain Redbeard: Car and Character Model complete
King Kahuna: Car and Character Model complete
Basil Batlord: Car and Character Model complete
Johnny Thunder: Car and Character Model complete
Baron Von Baron: Car and Character Model complete
Gypsy Moth: Car and Character Model complete
Rocket Racer: Car and Character Model complete
Veronica Voltage: Character Model complete

L1/L4 AI Racers: Complete
L2/L5 AI Racers: Complete
L3/L6 AI Racers: Complete
L7 AI Racers: Not started

Screenshots

Spoiler: Test Drive
Spoiler: Imperial Grand Prix
Spoiler: Dark Forest Dash
Spoiler: Magma Moon Marathon
Spoiler: Desert Adventure Dragway
Spoiler: Tribal Island Trail
Spoiler: Royal Knights Raceway
Spoiler: Ice Planet Pathway
Spoiler: Amazon Adventure Alley
Spoiler: Knightmare-Athon
Spoiler: Pirate Skull Pass
Spoiler: Adventure Temple Trail
Spoiler: Alien Rally Asteroid
Spoiler: Rocket Racer Run
Get Involved

If you want to help me investigate the possibility of implementing powerups, or put yourself forward for beta testing, then feel free to contact me on Discord (username: clifforus) or find me in the Donut Team Discord server.

Credits

Clifforus: Project Lead
High Voltage Software: LEGO Racers developer
Weasel on a Stick: Weasel's Map Data Editor, Weasel's Pure3DXML Animation Converter, Weasel's Pure3DXML Skeleton Converter
Lucas Cardellini: Lucas' Pure3D Editor Model XML Format Blender Add-on, Lucas' Pure3D Editor, Lucas' RCF Explorer, Lucas' RSD Converter
grappigegovert: LEGO Racers Model Converter
dead_name: LEGO Racers Binary Editor, LEGO.JAM Extractor

Update 28/09/2023

Now that work is completed on the second circuit, I've decided to begin some preliminary work on multiplayer support by starting to design the hub. The multiplayer version of the mod will start you here, and provide warps to all of the tracks, and there will also be a warp back to the hub on each track. The hub is in the very early stages of design, but I thought I'd share a sneak peek here for you all to see. Enjoy!

Spoiler: MP Hub 1
Spoiler: MP Hub 2

Update 13/10/2023

All of the tracks have now been converted, except from the very last track, Rocket Racer Run (or Rocket Racer City depending on what version of the game you have), and the mirror mode tracks. I do love to save the best for last, so for the moment I'm going to work on a few other things, specifically the in-game HUD, and character models. I have already made changes to the HUD that you can see in the screenshots for the last few tracks, but I'd like to also share a screenshot of the custom mini-map design I've been working on. Originally I intended to use the actual images of the mini-maps and HUD from LEGO Racers, but as it turns out they're very low resolution and look awful, so I'm creating those from scratch and trying to make them look clean and high quality at higher resolutions, while also trying to stay true to their original style.

I've also done a very quick and dirty implementation of a LEGO minifigure character model for Homer. The rigging is incomplete, and the animations are a bit broken, but it serves as a solid baseline to work from. I want the characters to look and act like you would expect from a LEGO game from this era, and that includes stiff, restricted movements. The existing animations applied to this model don't achieve this effect so I'm probably going to replace the animations with my own, which will be a huge project on its own.

Below is a screenshot from Imperial Grand Prix with the new HUD and LEGO minifigure character model.

Spoiler: HUD and Character Model Preview

Update 20/10/2023

I've been hard at work implementing LEGO minifigure character models. I am going down the route of replacing the animations, so it's taking a while. I have made character models for all of the playable characters, and I've made a character model for Captain Redbeard as an NPC test. I've also converted Captain Redbeard's car, so enjoy this cute little screenshot.

Spoiler: Captain Redbeard Hit and Run

Update 01/11/2023

Happy November! The mod is so tantalisingly close to complete now, I can almost taste it. I've started on implementing the race missions, and am very pleased to present the first test. A "tutorial" on the Test Drive track and a race against Captain Redbeard on Imperial Grand Prix. Currently only Redbeard is in the race but fear not, there will be other racers too! In other news, my partner and I have finally secured a place to move into together, and we will be doing that starting next week. I hope to have the mod done by then, but if I haven't, then obviously the moving process is going to take priority in my life and I might not be able to work on the mod for a short while. In the meantime, I'm trying my best to get this mod across the finish line.

Update 07/11/2023

I've been chipping away at a UI overhaul, and it's more or less complete now. Everything has now been stylised to fit the LEGO theme, and all the fonts have been replaced with the LEGO Racers font. Below are a couple of screenshots of the new UI.

Spoiler: UI overhaul
Spoiler: UI overhaul

But I didn't stop there. I'm proud to present what I believe is a first in SHAR modding (please correct me if I'm wrong). A completely overhauled main menu, complete with custom object glows!

Spoiler: Main Menu overhaul
Rather late to replying since I've been swarmed as of recent, but the project so far seems incredibly interesting and I wish you luck with it!

I'm sadly not terribly familiar with Lego Racers 1 in it's entirety - My first exposure to it was through YouTube ages ago through a user named Mr. Eight-Three-One doing a walkthrough of the PC release of the game. I don't think I really looked into/learned about the console releases until ages later. I did have the sequel growing up and played that through it's PlayStation 2 port, though I understand that game is significantly less popular (and was handled by an entirely separate development team). The presentation of 1 certainly feels a lot more openly playful with it's musical compositions and more straight-forward progression. I might have to give the PC version a shot one day!

It is a really cute looking racer though for the time period and I enjoyed the powerup stacking concept (something that Diddy Kong Racing also did, but I honestly think the visual flair the powerups have here are more impactful), though I am unsure of decent ways to pull off the game's powerups. Maybe the 'teleport' powerup with some Death Trigger trickery would work, though I can't think of a decent way to ensure the player actually collects enough Bricks prior to 'using' it (and this would likely also cause issues with AI racers for the non-MP release of the mod).

The tracks also seem well-suited for HIt & Run's gameplay given the 'race-track'-esque design in it's vanilla maps and focus on vehicles. Are there any plans to take advantage of the map geometry to allow some out-of-vehicle platforming that rewards the player with some additional collectibles in the non-MP version of the mod? I wouldn't go overboard, but it'd provide some nice incentive to return to the areas! Depending on how the tracks are laid out in each Level, a Gamble Race alternative that allows the player to time attack on the courses available would also be really neat. I realize this comes across off more as feature begging, however.

My only other question would be if you have plans on keeping the use of Simpsons characters or plan on replacing them later on in the mod's development cycle. I have not looked extensively into Lego Racer's file structure, but would creating a player character model based on the available Lego pieces not work? I am unsure if any promotional advertising (through the form of video trailers or screenshots) had anything that resembled a 'default avatar' that could be a neat replacement for Homer and the rest of the existing cast, but having some of the racers unlockable as alternative costumes would be interesting to see. Most of the Simpsons cast do have pre-existing Lego figures too that were featured in Lego Dimensions. I am unsure if anything could be used from that.

Regardless, it's very exciting seeing frequent updates to the original forum topic post and progress seems to be coming along smoothly! It's exciting knowing this will probably be my first time playing Racers 1's tracks in a game I'm much more familiar with, and I look forward to giving them a quick whirl when the time comes. Hopefully I'll have my laptop repaired by then.
Rather late to replying since I've been swarmed as of recent, but the project so far seems incredibly interesting and I wish you luck with it!

I'm sadly not terribly familiar with Lego Racers 1 in it's entirety - My first exposure to it was through YouTube ages ago through a user named Mr. Eight-Three-One doing a walkthrough of the PC release of the game. I don't think I really looked into/learned about the console releases until ages later. I did have the sequel growing up and played that through it's PlayStation 2 port, though I understand that game is significantly less popular (and was handled by an entirely separate development team). The presentation of 1 certainly feels a lot more openly playful with it's musical compositions and more straight-forward progression. I might have to give the PC version a shot one day!

It is a really cute looking racer though for the time period and I enjoyed the powerup stacking concept (something that Diddy Kong Racing also did, but I honestly think the visual flair the powerups have here are more impactful), though I am unsure of decent ways to pull off the game's powerups. Maybe the 'teleport' powerup with some Death Trigger trickery would work, though I can't think of a decent way to ensure the player actually collects enough Bricks prior to 'using' it (and this would likely also cause issues with AI racers for the non-MP release of the mod).

The tracks also seem well-suited for HIt & Run's gameplay given the 'race-track'-esque design in it's vanilla maps and focus on vehicles. Are there any plans to take advantage of the map geometry to allow some out-of-vehicle platforming that rewards the player with some additional collectibles in the non-MP version of the mod? I wouldn't go overboard, but it'd provide some nice incentive to return to the areas! Depending on how the tracks are laid out in each Level, a Gamble Race alternative that allows the player to time attack on the courses available would also be really neat. I realize this comes across off more as feature begging, however.

My only other question would be if you have plans on keeping the use of Simpsons characters or plan on replacing them later on in the mod's development cycle. I have not looked extensively into Lego Racer's file structure, but would creating a player character model based on the available Lego pieces not work? I am unsure if any promotional advertising (through the form of video trailers or screenshots) had anything that resembled a 'default avatar' that could be a neat replacement for Homer and the rest of the existing cast, but having some of the racers unlockable as alternative costumes would be interesting to see. Most of the Simpsons cast do have pre-existing Lego figures too that were featured in Lego Dimensions. I am unsure if anything could be used from that.

Regardless, it's very exciting seeing frequent updates to the original forum topic post and progress seems to be coming along smoothly! It's exciting knowing this will probably be my first time playing Racers 1's tracks in a game I'm much more familiar with, and I look forward to giving them a quick whirl when the time comes. Hopefully I'll have my laptop repaired by then.

Thanks for the comment! You've actually touched upon a few things that I have been considering implementing, possibly for an update after release.

I would love to have some platforming elements for collector cards, but whether or not I can do that really depends on the track itself, I don't really want to change anything about them fundamentally. I have already made some areas that are inaccessible in Lego Racers accessible in this mod through platforming because it doesn't affect the experience of actually driving on the track.

I do really want to implement time-attacks, because that is in Lego Racers too. If you beat the time attack on every track you unlock a set to use in the car and character creator. The problem I'd need to figure out is that SHAR has three races on each level, and this mod has four tracks in each level. In my mind, completing all the time attacks in each level would unlock a new car, but I don't know if that's possible unless I can maybe have the three races, and not have them unlock the car, but instead unlock the fourth race, which could be a bonus mission, and have the bonus mission unlock the car.

In regards to characters, I think what I want to do is make Lego figure character models for Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge and Apu.
Apologies for the late reply!

I would love to have some platforming elements for collector cards, but whether or not I can do that really depends on the track itself, I don't really want to change anything about them fundamentally. I have already made some areas that are inaccessible in Lego Racers accessible in this mod through platforming because it doesn't affect the experience of actually driving on the track.

I completely understand not wanting to get too drastic with level geometry changes. It'd probably inflate development time and you slowly start to drift away from something that manages to feel loyal to the original source material. While it's excellent to hear that some of the level geometry works quite nicely to create an experience that doesn't interfere with driving around the track, I guess there's the question of how to evenly distribute collectibles/secrets along all four race courses along each race track. I wish you luck in that!

I do really want to implement time-attacks, because that is in Lego Racers too. If you beat the time attack on every track you unlock a set to use in the car and character creator. The problem I'd need to figure out is that SHAR has three races on each level, and this mod has four tracks in each level. In my mind, completing all the time attacks in each level would unlock a new car, but I don't know if that's possible unless I can maybe have the three races, and not have them unlock the car, but instead unlock the fourth race, which could be a bonus mission, and have the bonus mission unlock the car

I figured Racers 1 had some form of Time Trials, but I had no idea there were unlockables hidden behind properly completing them. Interesting! Emulating the behavior Lego Racers 1 had in Hit & Run seems rather tricky as-is.

Off of the top of my head, I genuinely have no idea if the game plays nicely with not having a valid vehicle reward set for completing all 3 Street Races in a Level or not at all. That would have to be experimented with I suppose (just create a new rewards.mfk that doesn't have a reward set for beating all 3 Street Races in Level 1, quickly beat all 3, then check to see if the Phonebooth is okay). If that does work, then maybe something could be done with Custom Trigger Actions?

I've never used this hack myself personally for anything I've done, but it does allow for checks to see if a player has unlocked a specific mission or has cleared a specific mission. Perhaps the 4th Race could somehow be hidden behind a check that confirms the player has done all 3 Street Races using this? The message prompt informing the player they unlocked a new vehicle would then be adjusted to mention that a 4th race is now available to try. After that Bonus Mission is cleared, the car is theirs. This is entirely hypothetical however, so I'm not sure if there's a solution that would work in practice. The page I linked above also mentions the Street Races have some otherwise completely unused functionality of the game saving your best time if there was a timer present in the Street Race (which I had no clue about until now!) - I am unsure if that information would be handy?

My secondary suggestion would be replacing the Wager Races and have those function as Time Trial. The immediate obvious benefit is that these function like more traditional time trials in most other racing games I can think of off of the top of my head. There isn't an automatic failure for failing to beat a set time and the player can clear the mission at their own pace. Their only punishment is receiving a message encouraging that they retry and with no coin reward given if they take longer than the time specified. If you were to yank the coin entry requirements and rewards completely, then you'd have a mission that simply asks that the player beat the time specified in the mission briefing, alongside their own personal best!

With that route, I think you could perhaps do a 1 lap race on every track present in a Level. The player starts on one track and has to touch all the checkpoints, then AddStageCharacter and an iris wipe fadeout is used to warp them to the next, and this is repeated 3 more times until the player has beaten all 4 tracks. A countdown could be used to give the player some time to adjust that they're on a new track to make the immediate transition less jarring.

..The obvious downside is that rewards cannot be tied to the completon of a Wager Race. However, the 'NEW BEST TIME!' text string is unique to beating a Wager Race under the specified time. I know previously in your post you stated something about a password system using an external program. Perhaps the 'NEW BEST TIME!' text string could be modified to be a code that the player is encouraged to take a screenshot of or write down, for use with this idea.

Regardless, I do think the Wager Races would encourage revisiting the mod since the player would have an easily viewable 'Best Time' section.

In regards to characters, I think what I want to do is make Lego figure character models for Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge and Apu.

Again, I believe Lego Dimensions actually contains models for all of these characters, but I think out of the box they'd clash heavily with Lego Racers due to the considerably higher poly count. I'm unsure if anything could be done with them? Using the official figurines released as reference for clothing for a Lego model might be cute, but the head pieces would require modeling work.

I also meant to ask: With the new update, is there a plan on how to allow the player to travel between the race tracks in the non-multiplayer version of the mod? Are there plans of allowing the HUB in the single player version too?
Yeah I'll have to experiment with street races, bonus missions and wager races to see what's the best fit for the time trials, but I do really want a car unlock to be a part of it somehow so I guess I'll see what can be done when I get to that.

For the player models I was planning on just making them from scratch, using a player model from Lego Racers as a reference.

And as for travelling between tracks in single player, the plan is just to inform the player that they can use the mission select menu to go to each track. Having the hub as a toggleable option in the Mod Settings is also a potential option, but it gets a bit complicated when you consider that in the single player version the tracks are split up by level. The whole point of making a multiplayer version of the mod is to have all the tracks in one level. I don't know if there's a reasonable way to have all the tracks accessible in single player via the hub, and have the race missions flow between the levels.
And as for travelling between tracks in single player, the plan is just to inform the player that they can use the mission select menu to go to each track. Having the hub as a toggleable option in the Mod Settings is also a potential option, but it gets a bit complicated when you consider that in the single player version the tracks are split up by level. The whole point of making a multiplayer version of the mod is to have all the tracks in one level. I don't know if there's a reasonable way to have all the tracks accessible in single player via the hub, and have the race missions flow between the levels.

Might it be possible for each Level to have a copy of the HUB that blocks off the tracks that aren't present in the current Level? So the HUB is edited so right above each track entrance, there's some text indicating what Circuit/Level the track belongs to. They're blocked off in the player isn't in the right Level, and perhaps there's some dialog/a 'locked' message informing the player that they'll have to warp back to the appropriate Level to re-visit the tracks.

My previous idea would just have the player activate a death trigger that warps them to the next track directly, but you'd have to find a way to indicate to the player where the Death Trigger is. I would also remove the Death Trigger dialog that plays when a player hits the Death Trigger (since Homer's 'HOMER GO BOOM!' dialog would become unfitting for something that's meant to serve as a travel option). While I do think most players will likely just use Mission Select, having all the tracks available in a Level being available to travel without doing any races would allow the player to more freely explore, and offer the player a choice to grab all the optional collectibles prior to doing the missions.