The NoLimits team wishes Merry Christmas to all our customers. We have been quite silent within the last months, we are still working on NL2 and implemented lots of cool features meanwhile. However we realized that we need more time and we do not want to give the false impression that NL2 might be close to get released. It is not. We have to be carefull about what to show and what not, because each time we post something new, people start asking when it will be released. We can safely admit that all the highly demanded coasterstyles are already implemented and look great. However there is still a lot to do. Let me give you some statistics to give you an idea of the size of this project. The source-code has reached over 500,000 lines of C++ code (without counting comments and scripted code) in over 1,000 classes, even though I tried to go to a more data-driven design using xml files and scripts the size of the source code is just huge. That is already 4 times the size of NL1. Compile time fortunately is not a big deal anymore because of the use of multi-core CPUs. The list of new features compared to NL1 is almost endless, let me describe a couple of features to show that we were indeed busy. Some new features include various realtime editing spline indicators like a g-force comb and a speed comb that show accelerations and speeds along the track while editing the coaster. Another new feature is occlusion culling. Most of the new trains have over 100.000 polygons per train and I realized that there is the need for frame rate optimizations. The new occlusion culling system helps to improve fps for complex coasters, especially indoor ones, by using customizable occluder objects. Those can be added to scene objects easily. The system is my own design and is pretty powerfull and works better for applications like NL2 than most similiar systems found in books (like anti-portals or hardware acclerated occlusion query). Another new feature is the manual block mode. The block system operation of the coaster can be controlled manually in manual block mode, it is great for testing the block system (no more E-Stop tests required) or it can be used to move trains from and to transfer tracks. I have created a short video showing the manual block mode in operation using my NL2 Kumba coaster. I moved some trains around between storage tracks. In NL2 there is a new segment type called the Storage section. Storage sections act as a block but they only participate when in manual block mode. In automatic block mode, they simply do nothing, so trains on them will not move. Have fun with the video. [ol]
Manual Block Mode in NL2
We recently detected a problem within the Mac version that might crash the program when trying to change the resolution inside the simulator. The problem only occurs using newer MacBooks with Intel graphics, however we confirmed it to be a bug in the simulator. In order to fix the problem we released a small maintenance update. Since we do not bring out updates this often we included a new coaster style as a surprise, the Zamperla Twister Coaster. While the Windows version is not directly affected, we brought out updates for all platforms, just in case. Have fun! You can download the free update in the official downloads. The full release version 1.6 or newer is required. The German retail version is currently not supported. [ol]
The Zamperla Twister Coaster
Every year it is called April Fools' Day with good reason. From the E-mails we got at least some people believed in our Ride For Your Life Zombie Horror shooter joke. Some people even asked if we could add a switch for disabling the zombies to prevent smaller children from getting scared. Do not worry, we were only joking and will stick to simulating coasters only. All the zombies and gore were photoshopped by Kevin and were absolutely fake. Okay, hopefully all the confusion is cleared up now, let's talk about the real NL2. We are working hard on it. Still lots of fundamental features such as supports and track decoration are not finished yet, but it is becoming more usable almost every day. Some people might have noticed the rusty worn out rails in the zombie pictures. Those were not fake and instead are a real option inside the program. There is the choice between multiple levels of wearout and also an option for white stripes on the rails. Those stripes can be found on some recent coasters made by specific manufacturers. If I remember correctly they are added to reduce friction and to increase the lifespan of the wheels, please tell me if I am wrong. In NL2 they can be assigned to any coasterstyle.
Also there are additional track options like larger boxes found on high stress areas on taller hyper coasters. The left screenshots also show a new coasterstyle not shown before called the rocket launch coaster. Each car can now have an individual color setup. Now back to work.[ol]
Ride for your life! This is the new tag and motto of what NL2 finally will turn into. A full blown action packed first person horror shooter. We thought that simulating a coaster all alone is just too boring, so we came up with this unique idea. It was only a logical consequence. Adding a couple of weapons, medipacks and zombies was easy after we had the hard stuff such as the collision detection and the walkmode already working. Hardest part was probably to come with a good story. We wanted it to be as new and fresh as possible. There will be single-player and multi-player parts. The action will take place in an amusement park crowded by visitors who turned into deadly zombies after watching the new Apocalypse pre show. You are the only park visitor still alive who obviously seemed to have missed that one. Your only chance to survive is to eliminate all the zombies before they get you. Check out the screenshots below, but be warned some are quite brutal. Especially if you live in Germany please close your eyes and leave this website immediately because you will be faced with pure amounts of violence and horror.
NoLimits2: Ride For Your Life!
Killing zombies while riding coasters will unlock new weapons and other even cooler rides. We are still working on the multi-player part of the game, which will at least contain coop, domination and capture the 6 flags multi-player modes. A big thank you goes to Phyter, for providing us these exclusive screenshots. [ol]
NoLimits2 tunnels and dive-machinePlease notice how the track gets darker, the further it goes down into the tunnel. The screenshots also show the new rails in action. Both the trains and rails use multiple textures to create the final image. Diffuse maps, bump maps, specular maps and reflection maps are used to recreate a realistic looking track. We hope you like that. We are working hard on finishing the product. Even when you won't hear much from us, you can bet that we are busy working on NoLimits2. Obviously there is still a lot of work left to do. Everyone who has ever worked on a large project can probably confirm how the complexity increases dramatically with the size of the project. I had to learn that the hard way. [ol]