|Last update: April 1st, 2013||
There was a longer debate within the team about what to show this year. We had the idea to turn NL into a fun fair simulator with a strong focus on flat rides. We were actually thinking about getting rid of all the coasters, but decided to leave them in. We all got quite distracted with flat ride programming, lately, and our idea is very close to reality by now. I am sorry to disappoint you, if you came to this page expecting any fooling jokes. You can leave this page now, because this time everything shown is meant for real. Enjoy and Happy Easter!
Here is a short list of what you see on the screenshots above.
The NoLimits team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
What you see on the screenshots above: Radius comb in editor before and after hand smoothing, catwalks and rusty track, improved shadows for objects close to viewer, switch tracks for dual stations, 4D track.
The radius comb is a very powerfull tool for hand smoothing out a track, the blue points control the track spline and the green discs are roll points that control the banking. Both points are completely independent from each other and allow very flexible editing. The new catwalks can be added to every piece of track. In NL1, they were limited to brakes, lift and transport sections. The improved shadows are more blurry and look more realistic. The special switch tracks were added to make dual stations, they can also be used for other applications such as storage tracks. The 4D track is quite detailed, please notice that the position of the extra rails that control the 4D rotation will vary along the track depending on the 4D rotation angle. And last but not least: It is done when it is done, it is that simple. There is not much left to do, I am working on the station building right now. I need to transfer a couple of older coaster styles to NL2 yet, and there is some small stuff to be done like creating the manual etc. Since this will be a completely new software product that has not much in common with NL1, basically everything is different, it will not be a simple update. Releasing the product requires more planning, so I cannot give you a release date at this point, even if it would be done right now. [ol]
I was making some good progress working on supports and structures and would like to present some screenshots. Supports will be more advanced in NL2 compared to NL1. There are a lot more options and overall it will be easier and faster to create even complex structures. Let me describe a couple of the new features. First of all there will be a new type of support-node which I call the Beam-Node. Beam-Nodes work similarly to Free-Nodes, but will stay attached to a beam (aka tube). There is also a special Beam-Node which will be rendered as a flange. Adding flanges is as easy as clicking on a beam and moving the added Beam-Node to the right position along the beam. The support rendering is also much smarter. The engine will detect adjacent beams and will create bevels. Another cool feature is copy-and-paste and rotate specially designed for supports. I am also in the progress of adding special track connectors which work similar to NL1's Rail-Nodes. The new connectors are universal support structure primitives. There is a lot of flexibility because the connectors and the beams are separated editable objects.
The above screenshots were made for demonstrating some of the new features such as the new connectors, flanges and Beam-Nodes. I hope you like them. The next thing I will work on is an improved pre-fab mechanism. I haven't figured out yet how the pre-fabs should work. I would like to make them so that users will be able to create their own pre-fabs, but I need to figure out the details, yet. Smells like lots of work, but should be worth it.
P.S. For all the nitpickers out there who love to complain... Yes, the connecting plates of the support-connectors are not matching the box-spine like in real life. The reason for that is that I do not want to restrict the placement of the support-nodes. The nodes can be freely moved along the track and it is easy to move the connector-node into a more realistic position by hand.
P.S.2 The last news showing the track inspection vehicle was of course an April's Fools Day joke. We are mean, Tom actually modelled the vehicle for this joke, the screenshots were taken directly from the program and were not photoshopped, but we will not add it to the final product. Maybe we will add it later in an update as a gimmick. Sorry for not updating this website more often, we do not want to show or tell too much before the release date gets closer. Hopefully the last April Fools Joke was the last joke we did before NL2 will come out. This software is a huge independent production that will be released "When It's Done", no sooner no later. All the release date requests will be ignored. [ol]
Maintenance checks are very important in the amusement park industry. They guarantee the flawless operation and safety of a roller coaster ride. In reality, the track gets walked by park employees on a regular basis. We already implemented the walk-mode, so that the advanced users will be able to walk the track. Checking every bolt and weld joint of a roller coaster track can be a dangerous job, especially for a twisted and steep layout with possible inversions. Every so often you will find yourself falling off the track. This situation was not acceptable for us. We decided to bring the virtual coaster simulation to the next level and implemented a special maintenance car. We are proud to show the first screenshots of our maintenance car, we call it the Wire-Orb-Track-Inspection-Vehicle (WOTIV).
WOTIV in action
The WOTIV can hold up to two people. It is motorized so that it can travel the track, with full control by the driver inside the orb. There are additional pitch and roll controls so that the orb can get adjusted to the slope and roll of the track. A special brake can be engaged which makes sure that the car will stay locked to the track while the maintenance worker checks the current part of track.[ol]
We are still getting a kick out of seeing and identifying NL being used in all kinds of media. It is used from time to time on the internet for advertising new coasters and we have also seen some TV documentaries about coasters or parks, with short clips of NoLimits onride simulations. We have also seen screenshots of NL to be used for souvenir T-shirts in amusement parks. Now for the first time, NoLimits can be seen in a major Hollywood movie. The 2011 movie The Beaver, starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, has a short scene showing some clips of simulations. The character played by Jodie Foster (she also directed the movie) embodies a homeworking coaster designer and she can be seen at a desk while the mentioned clips are noticeable on the computer's screen. The movie producers used an onride and one offride clip and arranged both together with some fake Hollywood graphical-user-interface. The track that is shown is a concept coaster designed by Vekoma with multiple inversions, unfortunately the wrong coasterstyle (Classic Looping) was used. I am unsure if this was a glitch or a producer's decision. A glitch is more likely because the Classic Looping style typically shows up as a fallback style. I knew about the plan to use NL for quite some time, but waited to make sure that the scene would make it into the final cut. The movie was not a big success and was delayed several times, most likely because of the choice of Mel Gibson as the main protagonist. Anyway, I found the movie worth to watch. [ol]
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