Here is a small teaser of the upcoming NL 2.5 showing the new sun shafts effect (a.k.a. God Rays). The expected release date of NL 2.5 is early January which will be the third anniversary of NoLimits 2.
We wish you relaxed holidays and a good start into 2017. [The NL Dev Team]
First screens of new update
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The main design goal of the upcoming update 2.5 was to enhance the engine so that it will have better performance when having lots of light sources. The main reason for poor performance was that the engine used to have a traditional forward renderer. While that used to be a valid solution for fast rendering of most day-light parks (with the sun as the one and only light source), more and more users wanted to be able to equip parks with many lamps and such for night-time environments. Also newer graphics effects like HDR (high dynamic range rendering) and SSAO (screen space ambient occlusion) that are common in modern games were hard to add to the traditional rendering system. Something had to be done to fix all that. The solution was to turn the engine to a full deferred renderer. Basically all modern engines are deferred renderers by now, they scale much better with the number of rendered light sources and allow for a wider range of advanced rendering effects. Let me show you a couple of screenshots showing a few of the new features:
We see that having parks with many light sources is no problem any more. Framerates are not much slower compared to day time. The range of lights is also increased to infinity, so you will see all the lights up to even the farest distance. What else do we see on those screens, we see the new ambient occlusion effect (I created a custom implementation of SSAO, that is both efficient and also pretty), as the name implies, basically everything gets shaded by it. We also see a new bloom effect, and a harder to see new God-ray effect. Last but not least we see some of the new park objects created by Marco. There will be a lot new park objects. We will offer over 20 new park lamp models, around the same number of new fences and benches for all kinds of applications. Most of the new objects can be custom-colored. You will even be able to change the color of the light sources easily. More information coming soon... [The NL Dev Team]
New Update 2.5 coming soon
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We are close to release a new major update. The main new feature is an improved graphics engine. I implemented a true deferred rendering engine that will have much better performance when using lots of light sources. Especially night time or indoor coasters will heavily benefit from the new engine. Also there will be a couple of new graphics effects like screen-space ambient occlusion, bloom and HDR that will further more improve the realism of the graphics. The update will be free for all NL2 users. More info coming soon. [ol]
Merry Christmas with our new update!
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The NL Dev Team wishes you a Merry Christmas. We have a new update (188.8.131.52) for you with 2 new flat rides and some other cool features...
Here is a list of the most important changes:
New Flat Rides
We have improved the already existing Enterprise and Pirate Ship with some highly detailed and scripted models. The new ones are looking much better, with bump maps, reflections and special sound effects. They also have a more realistic ride program. The existing ones will be kept as demo objects, but all park designers are encouraged to use the new versions for their parks from now on. With the addition of the new flat rides created by MGrides, NoLimits 2 now has an impressive collection of highly detailed and realistic flat rides, making it possible to create even better parks and fun fairs. We have updated our Doppel Looping park to make use of the new rides, so you can instantly try them out.
Stereo 3D Mode
We have added an option to enable a stereo mode for 3D TVs. If you have a 3D TV either with active shutter glasses or passive polarization glasses, you should definitely give it a try. The stereo 3D mode can be activated using a command line parameter (see help files for reference). Be sure to also enable fullscreen mode. Use your TV's remote control to enable 3D side-by-side mode manually. Some TVs require the resolution to be at full HD (1920x1080) otherwise they cannot be set into 3D mode.
High DPI (Retina) GUI Mode
The graphical user interface (GUI) was enhanced to be high DPI aware. That means that the user interface can now be properly scaled using the Windows text scaling option or by manual setup. This is very usefull for high resolution monitors or TVs to get sharp and large text rendering.
New Icons and Mouse Cursors
We added special mouse cursors and icons for the edit modes inside the editor. We hope that this will improve the look and feel of the editor.
The update is free for all existing customers. We hope you enjoy the holidays and have fun with the new update.
[The NL Dev Team]
New Update: NoLimits 2.2 Released
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We recently released a new major update for NoLimits 2 with lots of new features.
Here is a list of the most important changes
We are proud to announce that NoLimits 2 now officially includes a telemetry interface. The interface can be used by other programs to communicate with NoLimits for reading out data (e.g. speed, forces, orientation) or remotely controlling the program. In its current state the interface is ready for allowing typical motion platforms or force feedback devices to receive accurate realtime data from the program or allow virtual or hardware control panels to telecommanding the station controls. The interface is TCP/IP based for best compatibility with all different kinds of devices and is also fully documented. The documentation can be found within the shipped help reference.
New Direct3D 11 Renderer
The new DX11 renderer improves performance and compatibility. The main motivation for this new renderer was to replace the existing DX9 renderer with a more reliable solution for Windows 7/8/10 users and stay compatible with the latest decision by Oculus to drop DX9 support for their VR devices. By reducing API overhead the new renderer can also improve framerates by up to 20% on CPU limited systems. The DX11 renderer will automatically be used when available. The old DX9 renderer is still available for XP compatibility and graphics cards not fully supporting at least Shader Model 4.0 and can be forced to get activated using the command-line parameter '--d3d9'.
SLI/CrossFire detection and multi-GPU optimizations
We added detection of multi-GPU configurations for both NVIDIA's SLI and AMD's CrossFire setups inside our new DX11 renderer. When two or more graphics cards are detected, the program will now try to reduced frame-to-frame dependencies resulting in possibly higher framerates in AFR (alternating frame rendering) multi-GPU mode.
Improved Video Export with High Frame Rates
The professional license now includes options for video capturing at High Frame Rates (HFR). 48Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz are the available options. The video above was created using this new feature. Also the film-quality motion-blur effect was improved. Capturing videos using this effect is faster now and will directly display the result while capturing takes place.
Updated Oculus SDK
The new update was compiled against a newer Oculus SDK. The OculusVR Runtime 0.6 or newer is required new. New command-line options have been added to force enabling or disabling VR-support ('--vr', '--novr'). Please note that Windows 10 requires the Oculus runtime 0.7 or newer.
Keyframe playback for scenery objects
Scenery objects using the DAE (Collada) file format can now automatically play back keyframe animation. Keyframe animation can be played automatically (looped with random start option). This allows the creation of complex animations without any scripts at all, but we also added methods to the scripting API for ultimate control.
New Coaster Styles
Two new coaster styles (Infinity 1 and 2) were added. Those are real modern steel coaster trains with 4-seats across created by German coaster manufacaturer Gerslauer Amusement Rides GmbH. They were used with permission from Gerstlauer. Together with the Wing Coaster we added in NL 2.1, the program now comes with a total of 40 coaster styles. We also added two new parks that demonstrate the new coasters. Kudos go to Seth Parsons and James Rivett for contributing the new parks.
New Cross-Tie Spacing
A new option allows to control the cross-tie spacing for each segment. This allows for much more realistic recreations to simulate tracks for lower or higher stress levels. This feature was requested very often by our users.
Last but not least the new update contains bugfixes and is free for all existing customers. We hope you enjoy the new features.