Simulated Roller Coasters

Ever since visiting Disneyland every summer as a kid I've loved roller coasters, particularly heavily themed ones. Once I downloaded and played the demo of The NoLimits roller coaster simulation I fell in love, bought it and started playing with the creation tools. The simulation program lets you lay out the track for your simulation using Bezier curves in 3D and you can attach supports, finishing up with some terraforming (no underground tunnels) and placing trees. If you want any more complex or detailed surroundings or advanced effects you need to do them yourself in a 3D modeler and import them into your coaster as 3DS scenery files. The simulation engine doesn't support 3DS animation or dynamic lighting so any special light effects you want need to be texture baked into your models.

Here are a couple of NoLimits roller coasters I released into the wild using coaster sharing sites such as CoasterSims (which is apparently down right now) and Coaster-Crazy. I'll get new pages up for each coaster to replace the dead No Limits Dev Center ones they currently link to eventually.

NOTE: Apparently the website that used to host my project pages for these coasters has closed. Until I can get my own project pages built with nice screen shots showing off the models and lighting the following links don't go anywhere. The YouTube video of Silver Mountain is still good though.

Lost DutchmanThe Lost Dutchman This was my first NoLimits coaster simulation and as such it's a bit of a mixed bag. This was before I had really joined any communities and talked with other designers about what to do, and what not to do, so I made a lot of mistakes with too high G forces and too narrow clearances that could allow riders to injure themselves. Also a number of the 3DS scenery objects are too high in polygons and caused some slowdowns on peoples machines. With all of it's faults and it's haphazard unplanned layout I still rather enjoy it.

Silver Mountain Mining CompanySilver Mountain Mining Company This originally started out as a complete remake of The Lost Dutchman fixing all of it's physical mistakes and replacing the mixed terraforming/3DS scenery with a fully realized and texture baked 3DS environment. It quickly grew into a sizable new coaster all of it's own however. This one took nearly 2 years of free time design, and a lot of learning 3DS Max, to complete. There is a YouTube video of it.

Calamity JaneCalamity Jane My current coaster under construction. This will be the culmination of everything I've learned in the past and my most compact and realistic layout yet. It's got a fully realized steel support structure under the themeing, a transfer track with workshop area, full lines and break run exit routs... I really think this one's going to be good. Whenever I manage to finish it.

What? Why?

I'm a creative guy, and code is my medium. I'm always wanting to create worlds, games, stories... stuff. To this end I also always want to know how things work and how things can be done better; How does bump mapping work? Is query or object caching better? How do you simulate physics? Is MVC really much better than CGI style page serving? What is Cloud Computing? What's up with iOS?

On these pages are presented a selection of projects seeking to answer these questions that progressed far enough to have demonstrable results. Or, against all odds, were actually completed!

(it's worth noting that these pages are, in themselves, one of those projects)