The story behind GeneRally
GeneRally was first released as a public beta version in 2002, by Finnish students Hannu & Jukka Räbinä. An homage to a childhood favourite, “Slicks ‘n’ Slide”, GeneRally was aimed at being a simple, top-down arcade racing game. As with many independently-developed games of the time, the Räbinäs had no intention of profiting from their work, but simply created a game that they themselves wanted to play.
In only a few short weeks, GeneRally had amassed hundreds of players, with word spreading like wildfire across the various forums and bulletin boards dedicated to racing games and motorsports. The game’s simplicity was an incredible draw for players young and old: some were reminded of their childhood memories, while others discovered a new passion for the top-down racing genre.
Undoubtedly, the simple Track Editor that came along with the game was also responsible for its fair share of converts - but not even the Räbinä brothers could predict what would happen over the coming months and years.
After 18 months of updates and new versions, GeneRally arrived at its 8th official release in December 2003. But this was to be its last release for nearly 8 years.
In 2010, discussions began between the Räbinä brothers and James Burgess (a long-time member of the community) to start developing GeneRally again. James, along with Rich Nagel, had been entrusted with overseeing/managing the GeneRally community after Hannu & Jukka had ‘retired’ from participation - but handing over the source code for the game was an entirely different matter.
For several months, Hannu had been quietly working away on a GeneRally update, with several major updates designed to bring the game a bit closer to the modern age by supporting more recent graphic, audio and control devices - but he had never had the motivation to complete it. After weeks of discussion, Hannu agreed to turn over the source code for the game to James and his friend, Markku Hyrkäs, in order to continue development and make a new version of GeneRally a reality.
On 18th February, 2011 - after extensive testing by a small group of established community members, GeneRally v1.10 was released to the world. It was followed by two patch releases in March and May, before another major version release (v1.2) on 8th July 2012 (and futher minor releases since).
With the announcement of Version 1.2, James & Markku took the opportunity to announce to the GeneRally community that development of GeneRally 2 had begun, with the full blessing of the Räbinä brothers. Much of the desired functionality for GR1 was simply not practically possible within the existing codebase and, as such, the decision was made to retarget efforts towards a new codebase.
Development began in earnest in mid-2012. The project attempted funding via Kickstarter in 2014 but a variety of issues led to the process being unsuccessful. Despite this, development still continues, albeit at a far reduced pace when compared with the Kickstarter planned timescale.
More information will be available in due course.