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GeneRally

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GeneRally

GeneRally

GeneRally and its Track Editor


Developer(s) Hannu Räbinä, Jukka Räbinä, James Burgess and Markku
Platform(s) Windows
Release date(s) May 16, 2002
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer with same computer

GeneRally is a freeware racing game originally developed by brothers Hannu and Jukka Räbinä [1] from Finland. Although it features a 3D graphics engine, GeneRally has a top-down perspective, where you can see all the cars (which is perfect for multiplayer races). Its art design calls to mind older arcade racing games such as Super Sprint and Slicks 'N' Slide. PCGamer, in an issue about free PC games, described it as "A minimalist Micro Machines".[2]

The game and its system

Up to six cars (either human or computer-controlled by pit-stops during the race - rare options in genre of arcade racing games including commercial titles. All settings of game are fully customizable (including details like separate adjustable AI level of every single AI opponent or pointing system of held championship).[3]

Multiplayer

GeneRally does not support online or LAN play.[4] However, up to 6 human players can play around one computer using same keyboard or keyboard combined with other devices like joystick or gamepad.

Version history and possible development

After the release of GeneRally v1.05, the interest of Räbinä brothers about the game remarkably decreased because of their studies, employment and other private activities. However, on 5 August 2010, James Burgess and Rich Nagel (former main moderators of official GeneRally forum hosted in structures of RaceSimCentral.com forums [5]) announced that they had gotten in contact with Hannu Räbinä (and, by extension, Jukka too) to try to work out what the next step for GeneRally would be. Hannu was in the process of bug-fixing and finalizing a port of GeneRally to the SDL multimedia libraries and was willing to pass the source-code to them for further development. In December 2010 Hannu turned the source code over to Rich Nagel and James Burgress who continued the development of the game. Since then GeneRally has once again been in development by the new team with close correspondence with Hannu and Jukka. Versions 1.06 to 1.09 were developed on the path to the final release 1.10, but they were unreleased testing versions. The official version 1.10 was only released on 18 February 2011,[6] it was followed by bugfix version (1.10b) on 25 March 2011, and then a very minor bug fix version 1.10c on 2 May.[6] A major update, and the last major update of the original GeneRally game,[7] v1.20, was released on 8 July 2012.

Generally 2

Generally 2, the sequel to GeneRally has been announced and is currently in the pre-alpha stage of development. A day and night cycle has already been showcased for Generally 2 in a video on the Curious Chicken Games YouTube channel [8] and is expected to be in the coming sequel. A demo is also ready to play on the Generally 2 website[9] which players can only play on the unity web player. According to the 'GR2 Developer Blog' the demo represents maybe only 15% of the progress to the final game. The Demo has all the basic features of the original Generally, though now with added features. It has a dynamic shadowing feature and a Day and Night sequence as well, however according to the Developer Blog many additional features haven't been added yet and are under development. Respected Community player and car modeler Kimmo Kaisla [10] has joined in with the development team to help with development and a Kickstarter campaign was started on 9 June 2014.[11]

Version history
Date Version
16 May 2002 1.0 Beta
8 July 2002 1.0
26 July 2002 1.01
5 September 2002 1.02
17 December 2002 1.03
21 March 2003 1.04
22 December 2003 1.05ce
22 December 2003 1.05
18 February 2011 1.10
25 March 2011 1.10b
2 May 2011 1.10c
8 July 2012 1.20

Elements of the game

Most of GeneRally is customizable, It is not possible to change only the models of in-game objects and the layout of the user interface, which causes, that the GeneRally is deeply customizable by 3rd-party content. This possibility allows to the player to set the game precisely to his needs and interests.

The cars

GeneRally cars are made up of a maximum of 40 polygons. Therefore it is quite a skill to build them, which is done using community built tools. Most of the cars, that you can choose to drive, are fully color-customizable, which adds a personal touch to the game.

The default cars

The following cars come in the cars.car file which is default part of the basic download:

  • General: The general mascot for the game. This car is like a Formula One car, but with no aerodynamic wings. It can be used effectively on almost all surfaces, and guarantees the driver good handling and, with some skill, good lap times.
  • Formula: A car similar to the General, but more powerful, heavier and with wings. With its unique handling on tarmac, this is the car of choice of many drivers. Most cars are outperformed on tarmac by this. Although there are thousands of user-made cars, and many are high quality, the Formula is still one of the most popular cars. This car is not competitive off-road.
  • Go-kart: A go-kart with half the weight of the General. This is a good car for new drivers because it is slow and fairly easy to control. It is definitely one of slowest cars included.
  • Mini: A car that is not dissimilar to the classic car of the same name. The Mini is slow and has a tendency to slide. However, it is not bad on non-tarmac surfaces, and due to its size is often used on the smallest tracks. The Mini, along with the Onewheeler and Go-kart share the title of the slowest car in GeneRally.
  • Truck: A truck. This is the heaviest and joint most powerful car that is part of the original download. This car demonstrates the handling difference between light and heavy cars. Rather slow and definitely hard to control, it can easily ram through lighter cars, so it has some chance against middle-class cars. This car takes heavier damage hitting objects but less with other cars due to its extreme weight. It is quick in mud.
  • McTurbo: A car that is somewhat similar to a Top Fuel dragster, but shorter. It is as powerful, but is harder to control, than the Truck. This car has bad understeer. Engine power is more a curse than blessing, and being too throttle happy may cause valuable seconds to be lost.
  • Triangle: A three-wheeler. Despite an unusual chassis, this car has quite usual and nice driving, with moderate speed, and handling, and overall medium performance.
  • Yankee: An American muscle car. Not bad speed but rather poor handling. A mediocre car.
  • Onewheeler: A strange car with only one wheel, hence the name. Definitively the slowest and hardest to control car; slow, prone to sliding very much, and light, which causes it to be prone to damage from other vehicles. Its only strength is that it has quite good handling on poor surfaces, but nevertheless it is the least competitive car in the game.
  • Monster truck: A monster truck. The second heaviest car in the game. Somewhere between the Truck and General in driving, it is a good general-use car with a little power and mass boost.
  • Sidamob: A motorcycle with a sidecar. This is the second lightest car in the game. Like the Onewheeler, it is fast off-road, but it has more power.
  • Rallycar: A rallycar, this car is not dissimilar to the Mini. This car is slowed down little by loose surfaces, such as snow, sand, and ice. It seems that it is suited only to those surfaces, as on tarmac its performance is surprisingly low.

Cars that did not appear in later or normal versions

  • Sleigh: The sleigh was included only in the Christmas edition of the game, to accompany the track 'Santafest'.

The tracks

The tracks that come with GeneRally are small and simple, unlike most current third-party tracks. An official track editor lets the user put different objects (e.g. trees, walls, bridges and buildings) around the track, and make elevation changes, draw the areas with surfaces (asphalt, grass, mud, gravel, snow or water) and export and edit land's map into various advanced external graphic editors like Photoshop or GIMP.[12] Every month since July 2003 the community sets up Track of Month,[13] where the members of the community vote for the best tracks published over each month. The default game itself comes with two basic folders of tracks, an [Old Tracks] set, with a variety of creative courses, and a [World Tour Tracks] set, with courses based on several countries. They are all fictional, but some hint at or resemble real-life locations. In the recent version of 1.10, an additional track set was released by TuomoH and included in GeneRally.

[Old Tracks] set

  • Agari: A letter A shaped tarmac circuit that is raced anticlockwise. It has a long straight after the first turn.
  • Bytes: A clockwise circuit with 6 turns.
  • Gilwan: A 241 metre long, anticlockwise, B-shaped circuit.
  • Gurveln: A clockwise circuit with a section in a forest.
  • Kutford: A short anticlockwise oval, built with no banking.
  • Mondega: A street circuit inspired by the Monaco street circuit.
  • Nyrporl: A circuit with a few similarities to the current Nürburgring GP circuit. It has a Carousel turn.
  • Pargy: A street circuit that was probably designed using only the track editor.
  • Sewring: A circuit with 4 turns, the third being banked and having a lake on the inside.
  • Snoogy: A circuit which is half tarmac and half ice.
  • Tachren: A clockwise circuit with 5 turns.
  • Tantele: A circuit that seems like it is inspired by Circuit Bremgarten.
  • Tusaye: A stunt track with a tarmac start, a ramp, a mud section, another tarmac section, some grass, and then back on to tarmac.
  • Wendan: A circuit that crosses a river twice. The first crossing has a humpback bridge but the other has no bridge, forcing the cars to drive through the river.
  • Wigeno: A clockwise circuit with seven turns. The bulk of the circuit is square.
  • Xupong: A sand, gravel and tarmac figure of eight.

[World Tour Tracks] set

These circuits were introduced for version 1.05 of the game.

  • Algeria: A track in the desert. It is criticized for being too long, however some community-built tracks are longer.
  • Australia: A circuit with a motorway section. The layout makes it possible for head-on collisions to occur as there is a section where two straights run parallel in opposite directions with no wall.
  • Belgium: An anticlockwise circuit with very angular corners.
  • Brazil: A circuit in a hotel car park. It is one of the more narrow tracks in the game.
  • Canada: A circuit set in a forest, bearing a small resemblance to Mosport Park.
  • Egypt: A bumpy, anticlockwise and square circuit around a pyramid.
  • Finland: The only completely non-tarmac circuit to come with the game. It is a rally track around a lake.
  • France: A fast circuit inspired by many road circuits in the country, especially the Reims-Gueux circuit in northern France.
  • Germany: A fast circuit with part of an oval and a carousel hairpin. Very similar to AVUS.
  • Indonesia: A modern race track that is very similar to Sepang International Circuit.
  • Italy: A circuit using rural roads that has a jump.
  • Japan: A circuit almost entirely made up of hairpins with different profiles.
  • Sweden: A circuit that is also made up of different hairpins.
  • Switzerland: A circuit near a lake.
  • USA: An oval with 4 turns. This track also has an infield circuit which is not drivable.

[Default Tracks] set

These circuits were included in the latest version 1.10. They were created by a user known as TuomoH.

  • Estio: Track on a modern village.
  • Ohful: A high-banked oval, full with the new objects person and invisible wall.
  • Plot: Go-kart track on a parking and on a street. This track had a post on a forum before release and no one knew about it.
  • Rahli: Gravel track with layout similar to Spa-Francorchamps.
  • Surkit: A circuit which looks like most of community ones.

Tracks that did not appear in later or normal versions

A track called Plante (A clockwise oval with a jump) appeared in the 1.0 beta of the game. However this track did not feature in later versions. It is possible to use the .trk file without modification in newer versions. Also, the bonus track Santafest appeared in Christmas edition.

Other customizable elements

Drivers

Drivers can be created easily within GeneRally, and each can be assigned to be either a computer-controlled driver or a human-controlled driver. If human-controlled, the commands for Accelerate, Brake, Left, and Right can be assigned to any combination of 4 keys. If computer-controlled, a skill level from 0-200 can be chosen, with 200 being the "most-skilled". However, drivers with AI values over 100 "cheat", that is, their car is faster and grips better than the normal car. Also, each driver can choose primary and secondary colors for themselves, both of which are selected using a "color mixer" of primary and secondary colors (both in RGB scales) which allows 16,777,216 different combinations of color. In total, 281,474,976,710,656 color combinations per driver are possible.

Fonts

Various third party fonts for GeneRally are downloadable. However, it is quite difficult to create new fonts for GeneRally, as the font is stored in a .BMP file, where each character has a space 20px horizontally and 40px vertically,[14] rather than a TTF file.

Language packs

Whilst the game comes with English and Finnish language packs, it is possible to download language packs for a large number of other languages from the official website. Some of them (like Greek pack) require modification of the font file due to the fact that some of the letters used in the Greek alphabet are not included in the font file.

Palettes

A palette is a file (with the extension ".pal") that allows you to change the in-game colors in order to create a specific atmosphere (fog, rain, autumn, night,etc.) or just small changes to the environment (blue kerbs, grey wooden planks, darker grass,etc.). However, there are some problems with the palette format as the pit crew's blood is the same color as the soft walls, so if the soft walls are made green (which is recommended for some tracks so that they can look like hedges) so is the pit crew's blood.

Sounds

Sound packs may be created by editing .wav sound files. An engine sound (Engine.wav) is the engine sound of the cars. It is possible to have a sound played when the car the player is driving does not have enough fuel to complete 2 more laps of the circuit. The game's two sound packs do not contain a fuel.wav sound, so no sound is played and the player will need to look at a small bar graph on the bottom of the screen to check if he or she is about to run out of fuel.

Competitions

The community of GeneRally has created several types of competitions to solve lack of competing to each other online. For all of them is common, that racer, who is taking a part, runs his event alone and not affected by other humans. Then he submits before set deadline predefined types of files of event to organizer (obviously savegame with full replay of his ride, then file of track, which he used and finally screenshot of game menu with after-race summary). The organizer then analyzes the files to verify their values (to prevent frauds), creates summary classification of all human drivers, merges the submitted replays and release results to public.[15]

Types of events

Three types of events exist: race, where a human racer runs together with AI racers - human racer with fastest race time wins, AI racers are used as mobile chicanes forcing human racers to move from and back to ideal racing line and to increase factor of haphazard - times or positions of AI racers don't affect the summary results. In a hotlap event the human racer has to race alone, without AI racers, and attempts to set the fastest single lap - the racer with fastest lap time wins. It's very similar system to game's mod time trial. However the term time trial has another sense in competition's terminology, it represents a sort of combined version of race and hotlap - a racer runs a ride without AI racers like in hotlap, but on distance of several laps, trying to set as short summary time as possible like in race. The time trial is sometimes a one-lap run too, for example a rally stage.

Classical event and event under login system

The classical GeneRally event allows unlimited tries - racer can choose, which of his several tries will be submitted by him then and counted by organizer into the results, however it doesn't simulate enough well the conditions of real racing, because racer obviously submits his most perfect try. It eliminates natural accidents, failures, mistakes and influence of vis maior on racing. Organizers of many competitions tries to solve this problem by using of login system, which is secured system of limiting the tries per racer counted into event's classification obviously to only one official try. The possibility of one try is limited by time period called Login time, which starts by logging the racer in the system by password. Then driver may complete his official try and must submit all predefined files before the Login time ends or he may be punished by a penalty (delay after end of login time often signalizes additional try like a restart after crash). Login system has important security dimension by increasing the chance of organizer to prevent or discover attempts of frauds by decreased game speed too. Difference between deadlines of classical event and login event is, that classical event's deadline defines last moment, when predefined files may be submitted. In login event the deadline borders time, when racer may log in the system to make his official try, but the time for submission of files is bordered by login time. Several types of login system were invented:

  • Classical login: racer is allowed to practice before the official try on used track. The login time is then limited just to make official try and submission of files, no time remains for additional practicing after entering the system.
  • Surprise login: racer doesn't know, which track or car will be used for the event, he receives the information after logging in system. Then the login time is set to allow short period practicing on the revealed configuration to become at least partially familiar with conditions. After the short practice the racer runs his official try and submits files before end of login time.
  • Relaxed login: In a relaxed login the user has a lot more time than needed for the race itself, he may spend a time to a practice or tests of various available cars etc.[16]

GeneRally World Ranking

GeneRally World Ranking is classification and statistic of each one driver, team or nation, who joined one of supported competitions. It aims to compare the performances of GeneRally racers according to their performances in various competitions and to the difficulty of these. Sometimes it's compared with various real ranks like tennis' ATP. Since March 2003 every event, which fulfills GWR's rules, is classified and racers, teams and nations taking a part are awarded by number of points according defined scales. This points counts into monthly, annual and general rankings creating monthly and annual world champions in following divisions:

  • Generally monthly/annual champion
  • Race monthly/annual champion
  • Time trial monthly/annual champion
  • Hotlap monthly/annual champion
  • Best rookie
  • Best team

List of these champions creates GWR Hall of Fame.[17] General ranking has no champions - only leaders, because it has status of perpetually provisional ranking.

Commonly, only request to competition to be supported is, that its rules and results must be in English (among other languages) and competition must have an English thread on a forum - to allow to GWR to collect the stats and to give chance to all racers around the world to become to be familiar with the rules and take a part.[18]

References

  1. ^ Hannu and Jukka Räbinä at Wakoopa, On-line software profile
  2. ^ "365 Days of Free Games." PC Gamer Big Book of Free. Summer 2009: pg. 5
  3. ^ GeneRally Review at download-free-games.com
  4. ^ GeneRally Readme file
  5. ^ "Important Announcement of RSC". 28 December 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "GeneRally - A freeware arcade racing game!". Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "GeneRally International Forum - View Topic - GeneRally v1.2 - DISCUSSION". Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ "GeneRally 2 - Top-Down Arcade Racing Game Kickstarter page". Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Review at Squakenet.com
  13. ^ Track of Month
  14. ^ Font Tutorial by JWong
  15. ^ "How to Join a GeneRally Competition"
  16. ^ topicHow to make a competition with login system
  17. ^ GWR Hall of Fame
  18. ^ GeneRally World Ranking

External links

  • websiteGeneRallyOfficial
  • Alternative GeneRally homepage
  • GeneRally World Ranking
  • Track of the Month
  • GeneRally Palette Archive
  • GeneRally 2 Kickstarter page
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