Friday, July 15, 2016

GeneRally Spirit Re-Awakens Once More!

It's been a long time...
I have never played GeneRally since the long time, all I focused on right now are Turbo Sliders and MiniRacingOnline. There are so many stuffs to be made on TS that I couldn't find the right time to do some GR stuffs, and the only thing that's very recent is the ZOKKER, a random bosozoku-inspired car with a very wide front bumper and a pair of large rear exhausts. Some people point out that it is the ringer to my Legendary Schneider WIP, but it was purely made out of boredom and I don't seem to have an interest on Kaido Battle / Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift series like I did before.

Some time before the fasting month Ramadan came, I remember I shared a link to one of the articles on the GR2's Developer Blog on Facebook, thanks to the "On This Day" feature. As I shared the article, my GR-circle online friends took their time for some hot discussions on my link's comments. Although as hot as it is, I still believe that there will be GeneRally 2 someday.

And then James's recent post changed everything, and what I said on the memory, having them coming up with a surprise, has been true.


First and foremost, I am very happy that James has cleared things up after a long period of silence since the last update. Some people weren't very happy with that and it was understandable, and interest on GR quickly dried up, with the GRIF community not as active as before, but although that it was too late, they could came up with something that they've been working within their period of silence.

The new blog post in the Developer Blog details the new update in GR2's progress, an in-testing update for the original GeneRally, and some clarifications and plans for future updates. The post started with apologizing to everyone (to the GR family, including myself) that this was an unacceptably long period of time since the last post, and that the last blog post was out of frustration and negativity. Since that fateful final post, GRIF became clouded with negative energy with some affected by it, but James cleared everything up and promised that they will post more frequently. They also clarify that they didn't have that much time to work everything on one go, as they work the game as time and real life permit, because understandably it requires a good chunk of time and commitment to develop games, something that I can relate to my recent blogging activity and working on so many stuffs I couldn't even do it at a fast pace.

Introducing Height-map scaling, a new GR2 feature that allows the track makers to specify the highest and lowest points of the track. This is just one of the new features. (Image: GR Developer Blog)
On a lighter news, James recently rewrote the track loading fidelity, porting everything to Unity 5, and, in Markku's case, redefining suspension physics, car behaviors, and AI capabilities. Not only that, they also improved the 3D assets since Kimmo left the team. From the process of redefining track loading process, the team came up with something new: Height-map scaling. This would allow the track maker to specify the highest and lowest points of the track, resulting in either a very vertical track with lower fidelity or a much more detailed but less vertical track. As a side-effect of this, they also slashed loading times to potentially be quicker than in the original GeneRally, even with a better detail.

The future agenda for the game will be curve-based placement, where it will also deal with the ability of allowing walls to be dynamically created along quadratic bezier curves and similar, individual objects with a given spacing. This would mean that it will give more options to the track makers, as well as removing the hassle of placing walls after walls in the original GR. I can even wonder how my Cilandak Town Square circuit would look like in GR2 with less time spent on dealing with walls!

As for the original GR, they also planned to put the updates to the current version even though that the current version of v1.2c is supposed to be the last version of GR. The new version will fix some of the recent problems including problems during timed races and the dreaded "no supported resolutions" problem on certain GPU and monitor combinations. The new version will also be updated to the new VS2015 runtimes, fixing a few minor issues with Windows 10 support, and with the VS2015 runtimes being identical to the VS2010's, the transition is expected to be smooth as silk. Right now, they are working on a solution for the limiter issue, but I wish that everything goes well for the GR update.

The next post regarding AIs and stuff by Markku should be expected to come soon. This will hopefully give more insight on another set of elements during GR2's development phase.


Render for the Rally car, one of the playable cars in the upcoming project Apex Racing League by brothers Alberto and Carlos Mastretta. (Image: Apex Racing League GRIF thread)
Apparently, the GR2 hiatus has now inspired more top-down racers similar to GR. There's one game, recently that's got my attention the first time it's showed on GRIF. I should say that this pretty much has to be inspired by GeneRally looking at its style, although you must not miss Micro Machines on that too.

Introducing Apex Racing League, a work-in-progress game whose gameplay alone, based on the car's styling, reminds us to GeneRally a lot. It's not a finished game or something, but it's still under work in progress, with a Formula car, a Group R rally car, and a Group C prototype being shown as some of the playable cars in the game. In addition, the game also featured some of the shapes that will be in every track in the game. The project is made by brothers Alberto and Carlos Mastretta (blastawaythewall in GRIF), who are both GR veterans playing for over a decade and has decided to develop their own top-down game styled after Micro Machines/GeneRally. The main characteristics include a camera fixed to the player's car, an ability to play with a keyboard or a gamepad, detailed physics with a working suspension system, detailed cars and environments, online playability, offline racing with AIs, and finally car and driver customization, much like GR, but with their own style. Split-screen multiplayer is also one of the things that will be implemented on this game. Meanwhile you can follow its progress on its own Facebook page here! I'm pretty sure that once it's released, it's going to be one hell of a game!

While ARL might miss some of modes found in GR, like the ability of making custom tracks for instance, take note that this game is still unfinished, meaning that this feature would be implemented once the developers see the good prospect for the feature. Other suggested features also colored the thread, with the day/night cycle is one of them. With the Alpha version on the horizon, I cannot wait to see how the game is, because you know me, I have a soft spot to top down racers :).

Meanwhile I couldn't recall whether there are other GR-like efforts being under development or not, but I'm glad that these kinds of projects should make great top-down games as great as GR. I would hope that not only GR2 will document what update in progress they have done, but also ARL to unfold into a fully-functioned game. I feel like these games excite me!



  1. There's an unnamed game being created by "Elharter" with a topic on the Off-Topic forum also.

    I keep coming up with ideas for top-down racing games, but I'm much too lazy... -_-

  2. Yup, I've seen it as well but I couldn't figure out the details. Also, I would point out a GR port to a certain game engine but I don't include that because I believe it's a private project.