Starting with this news I am going to release some new information every month about my current project. This project is definitely the largest project I have ever been working on and as you might already have guessed, I am talking about NoLimits 2. It is hard to say how far I am with it because a lot of development was spend so far on basic features like the graphical user interface and main engine and at this point there is nothing cool to show that is has anything to do with a coaster simulation. That means that it is still impossible for me to give you a clear release date. Two years ago, I would have estimated the year 2008 but now it more and more solidifies that I cannot finish it this year. I know that this is a damn long time for a new update. I would like to use these monthly posts for giving you more insight about the project and why it is so huge and why it is not just a new update and why it is not out yet.
A long time ago I decided to start from scratch for NL2 because a lot of things that went into the original NoLimits were not that perfect from today's point of view which give me more and more trouble now. I still think that starting from scratch was a good decision, though if NL2 would have shared more with NL1, it would be way closer to a release. But what about NL3 and so on? The more and more I will continue relying on a bad design, the more and more problems I would face with every new update. To start from scratch means, that I will get a second chance to do it right from the beginning which means that every new update will be so much easier. NoLimits is a project that evolves, it is not a simple game that is ever finished. The whole amusement industry evolves. New coaster designs are coming out every year and new techniques improve the ride experiences more and more. I am just trying to keep up with the industry.
The classic example for what I think that needed to be redesigned is the separated editor application which results in a lot of doubled code. The original idea was to have a simulator application with a highly optimized rendering path for best framerates and a lightweight editor with a simplified wireframe based display. When I was in the process of developing NL1, I had no idea how many people would actually buy the program. And then again, my guess was that most customers would most likely play with shipped tracks inside the simulator and only a minority of customers would really care about the editor at all. I was so damn wrong. Now it is for sure that the editor is a very important aspect of the application. On the same hand today's graphics hardware and CPU power is much higher which is not requiring too complicated optimization paths. For NL2 you can expect that the editor is built right into the simulator sharing the same display. The big advantage is that you do not have to switch between two applications if you want to try out your ideas. WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") becomes possible. One big downside of higher performance computers is that also the demands from the customers are much higher today. A lot of the overall development time is spend for keeping up with today's graphics features like GPU shaders.
I still plan to continue maintaining the NL1.x project while NL2 is still too far away. That's it for now, more information about NL2 and its features is coming in march...