bastecklein's Recent Posts

UnitedEarthGov said:Hopefully you meant those other weird replies I've seen around, and not me. I just really love United Earth, and wanted to share that with others. Cheers Bast!

Glory to United Earth


Yes I meant the other weird replies. Unless you have been posting chat GPT spam with an alternate account. In which case, we need to talk. lol
2h ago
I couple of months ago, I mentioned that my long term plan is to replace both Ape Chat and the Ape Apps Discord channel with a resurrected Discussions app, and with the recent crash of the Ape Chat server, I have decided to begin work on this transition, which is now available for testing!




The new Discussions beta is located at https://discussions.social/?beta=1 and is still in the very early stages. On the back end, it runs off of the same server as Ape Chat and uses the same database, so the two apps will be interoperable during the transition, which should make things smoother (and prevent the breaking of any of the in-game chat features).That said, Discussions does include some new features to the chat engine which are not supported by Ape Chat, which may cause some strange rendering issues and confusion when viewing newer posts in the older Ape Chat interface.

For example, one of the new features in Discussions is threaded conversations, or the ability for a chat channel to be designated as a "forum" style.


I eventually want to move a lot of the support forum off of the Ape Apps website and into Discussions, which is why the threaded forum view for channels is necessary. I believe this will help against the constant spam I am always fighting here on the website, since Discussions will require an account for access which will greatly reduce the usefulness of ChatGPT spam that the forum has been plagued with lately.

Another new feature found in the new Discussions beta is chat channel grouping:


Chat channels can now be grouped by topic and given a sort order, which should help clean things up quite a bit.

In addition to channel groups, Discussions has the ability to connect to multiple servers as well, not just the current chat.ape-apps.com server. Once I am ready to release the full Discussions app and shut down the old Ape Chat front end, I am going to clean up the server code and release it as a stand alone package, for anyone who wishes to run their own private Discussions server.

Channel creators have new customization options for their chat channels as well. If you create a new private chat channel (done by prefixing a new channel name with a % sign), you become the moderator of that channel with the ability to add/invite users yourself. This also gives you the ability to customize the channel, from the display name, welcome message, and channel icon.


I am also planning on implementing a custom join link/url that can be used for inviting users to private channels, so that the channel admin does not have to manually invite users to the channel.

There is still quite a bit of work to do on Discussions and I don't plan to make the full transition until later this year, so this is still very much in the preview stage. I still don't have things like private messaging or notifications ported over yet, and some things are a bit wonky. But feel free to try out the new client and give feedback on how it can be improved. I think that when it's done it will be a lot better than the current Ape Chat!

https://discussions.social/?beta=1

#discussions
2d ago
Now that's a new one. What platform is this happening on?
4d ago
Today I am releasing the total rewrite of Epic Adventure to all available platforms. Under the hood, Epic Adventure v3.0 is basically an entire different game. What I did was write a new game engine from scratch, designed to go hand in hand with Pixel Paint based graphics (the way My Colony 2 was designed around Voxel Paint), and then I remade Epic Adventure using the new engine. This is just the first step in an "epic" new chapter for Epic Adventure though, so let's get into it!


Putting the actual Epic Adventure game aside for just a second, my ultimate goal with this new engine (called simply the "Adventure Engine") was to create an easy to develop for pixel art based engine that can be primarily be used for both scripted and procedurally generated RPG type games. I designed it to be generic enough to where multiple types of games can be created on it. For instance, I plan to use it also for my next generation of Roguelike games (ie Gone Rogue/Hell and Back), and I also want to do a scripted RPG taking place in the My Colony Universe where you have a ship and travel to different worlds throughout the story (I am thinking of calling that Colony Quest or something similar, sort of like a 2d pixel art Starfield type game in the MC Universe).

All that is for another day though, today I want to talk about the changes to Epic Adventure in this new release, and what is coming soon to the game in the months ahead.

First for the bad news. Because the game is a complete rewrite, all existing save games are gone. Sadly there was no way around this, as the old game format is not even relevant anymore to the new engine. It had to be done though in order to move the game forward, and I think most people will agree that it was worth it as the game now progresses.


Epic Adventure is now the first game to utilize the new Tiny Pixel Token class of token character from the My Tokens app, which has been around for a while now but is now finally getting some utilization.

Game controls have been altered a bit from the previous releases, but I think most players should be able to adapt fairly quickly. On mobile, the game now utilizes two virtual thumbsticks for movement, with the left stick controlling player movement and the right controlling focus direction. The game now has full gamepad support as well. On a desktop device, the controls are a little more similar to how they used to be, except for now you can move your character with keyboard input, using either WASD keys, the regular arrow keys, or the num pad.

The game now has support for chests, allowing you to store a lot more inventory than you could before. The engine also supports finding hidden chests out in the environment that can contain loot, even things you can't craft yourself, but you will not find any until the next update (since I don't have any biomes programmed in that contain them yet).

Epic Adventure now also included enemies! Yes the game did have chickens before (and still does), but they did not really attack you or fight back. Now when you adventure into the caves, you will come across evil spiders who will attack you on sight. The spiders aren't all that powerful, but don't get too complacent because in the coming updates, there will be a lot more than just spiders to contend with...

The long requested feature of Water has arrived in this release, but stay tuned because it is going to be expanded on more later...

For this initial release of the new engine, my primary goal was to code in all of the features needed to bring in every item/terrain/biome/mechanic found in the original Epic Adventure game so that nothing was missing in the update, and I do think that I was able to get there (let me know if I forgot something). The next step though is to start going far beyond what was ever available in the original game, which I am going to talk about in just a moment here.

First though, one think I want to point out is that I forgot to implement the inventory filtering mechanic in this update. You will be able to see in the inventory window what you will eventually be able to do, I just do not have it working yet (but will soon).


The great thing about the new Epic Adventure engine is how easy it is to create content for, both in terms of code and graphics. Because of this, the game is going to now be expanding fairly rapidly, and of course I will always take player feedback and suggestions into account as I build out the game. I do have some of my own ideas though, so this is what I plan on adding to Epic Adventure in the next few releases:

Dungeons
This is probably the next thing on the list, because I have always wanted to have dungeons available to explore in Epic Adventure. These will of course be randomly generated by the game, so that no two dungeons are ever the same, and you will be able to find both loot and monsters in the dungeons that are not available anywhere else. Dungeons will also have the possibility of spawning a nice boss fight for you on the bottom floor.

Towns/NPCs
Along with Dungeons, a good adventure game needs to have towns, good save areas you can travel to in order to rest, pawn off your loot, and get quests. I will talk more about towns and NPCs later, but I will say that I am working on a system of "factions" where different NPCs are part of different factions, and how much they like you will be impacted by that. You will also be able to join different factions, which will impact how your game progresses. I am thinking along the lines of the guilds and whatnot in the Elder Scrolls games.

Travel/Mounts/Boats
There needs to be a way to get around faster in the game, especially as you need to start questing between towns. I am thinking of several mechanics to handle this. First, I think each town will have a sort of fast travel agency, where you can pay gold (which means gold is also on the way) to travel from town to town. I also want to add the ability to ride horses, or to build a boat so that I can introduce full ocean biomes that you can sail across.

Armor, Magic, Projectiles
To help players on their adventures, we are going to need to have better weapons, armor to wear, projectiles to shoot, and magic spells. I plan on adding all of that and more...

Massive Content Expansion
With every update from here on, there will be new content, biomes, items, terrains, mobs, etc. I am probably also going to start introducing some items that require Premium in order to craft, since the game is free with no ads in it, I do need to find some way to make a bit of money on it. But for real, the game is so easy to code content for, you can expect a lot to be coming very soon.


At the end of the day, this is a new beginning for Epic Adventure, and I think the game will now finally be able to reach a potential that it was not able to attain before. Since the engine is still in it's infancy, please let me know what bugs and issues you find, and how I can improve the interface and controls. Also let me know what new content you want to see added, as it will be coming on a fairly regular basis now.

Thank you to those who have played the game in it's original form though, and I am so sorry for nuking all of your save games. But I promise that I will make the game worth the changes in the weeks and months ahead!

https://epicadventure.ape-apps.com/

#epicadventure #pixelpaint #mytokens
18d ago
A little more UI progress

26d ago
You might wait a bit until the new version is out, because old save games will not carry over @RekEm1999

29d ago
I did make a change so that you need to click/tap on the actual ground tiles that the building is placed on, and not the building model itself. Does that work @EvRan ?
29d ago
Over the past couple of weeks, I have begun rewriting the Epic Adventure game from scratch, converting it to Pixel Paint graphics and greatly improving the ease of adding new content and feature set.


The original Epic Adventure code was my first attempt at multiplayer gameplay, and I made a lot of noob coding decisions that sort of put development of the game at a stand still. It was basically a convoluted mess and there was no easy way to move the project forward, so it pretty much sat idle for years.

Recently though, and pretty much out of nowhere, the game suddenly became popular on the Windows Store to where it has become one of my top played games, and a lot of requests for updates and feature improvements have started to come in via the in-app "Submit Feedback" function. Most of the requests were basically non-starters with the way the code originally worked, so I had the choice to either ignore the feedback and the recent growth of the game, or to basically start over from scratch, so I choose option 2.

The Epic Adventure rewrite (which will be Epic Adventure v3.0 once released) is build off of my new aptly titled "Adventure Game Engine" and incorporates many of the coding lessons I learned during the development of My Colony 2. The engine has been made generic enough that it will also be usable for other types of games in the future, namely Roguelike and scripted RPG type games. It can do procedurally generated worlds (such as how Epic Adventure will continue to work) or is can run off of prebuilt maps and scripts. It now supports not only click and touch controls, but also keyboard and gamepad input.

Game chunks are now loaded on the fly and in a continuous/infinite manner like in My Colony 2, and terrain features and textures can be automatically generated by the engine at run time, so that biome definitions only really need to specify colors (other customizations are possible though). The engine now supports Water, which was a top request for the current Epic Adventure game, but the water can also be given a custom color and made to be dangerous (lava?).


This new rewrite will be available to play as soon as it is able to do everything that the current version of Epic Adventure can, since I can't release an update with less features than the previous version! That basically means I need to finish creating all of the tools/items/craftable things and get them all working the same as before.

After that though, future updates and releases are going to be extremely easy to do with the way the game works now. So besides greatly expanding the current lineup of things you can craft and build, here are some of the near term plans for additions to the game:

Towns
Random towns will be generated on the overworld including NPCs that can run shops and give you basic automatically generated quests.

Dungeons
Similar to towns, dungeons will appear on the overworld, but they will be mainly a single structure with a stairway leading down to the real dungeon area, which will be multiple levels and probably have something cool at the bottom of the floor. Town NPC's will be able to give quests that involve exploring or clearing out nearby dungeons.

Vehicles
You will be able to craft and then get in and control vehicles. I am mainly thinking of boats for the water to start out with, but I also think a minecart that can run on tracks you build would be a neat addition.

Dedicated Servers
I am adding in a dedicated server mode just like in MC2, so that persistent Epic Adventure worlds can be running 24/7 that anyone can join and partake in.

I expect the initial release of this Epic Adventure rewrite to be out in a couple of weeks, and then I will start expanding it out based on feedback. I think that this new version of Epic Adventure is going to be a lot more fun than the current iteration, and I look forward to seeing what people think when I publish the update, so stay tuned!

#epicadventure
29d ago
What is it doing? Seems to be working ok on my end...
1mo ago
Should be working now on the latest updates
1mo ago
Today the v0.46.0 update to My Colony 2 has gone live, and it adds some exciting new content, featuring the first new playable civilization in the game (thanks to the world of @therealchromedino ), the Alpha Draconians! Let's take a look.


To begin, the bug where none of the drop down menus were working has been corrected. This issue was introduced in-between updates, due to a change in the ADL UI Library used on most Ape Apps. It's fixed now though, so all is good!

@therealchromedino submitted a massive data file with the Alpha Draconian civilization from MC1 ported to and improved for MC2, including over 70 new data objects and accompanying changes to over 30 existing data objects. This is an amazing undertaking on behalf of the community, so please show your appreciation for what @therealchromedino has given to all of us!

Along with the Alpha Draconians, two new resources are introduced in this update, which are Ant Paste and Antanium. These should now be available to trade on the GBT, although to store them as the United Earth civilization, you will need to have the Quantum Warehouse, which has been updated with storage for the new resources.

Moving along, I often times have gotten the request to re-introduce the drop-down sidebar filter that was present in My Colony 1, so in this update, I have brought it back to My Colony 2. It only appears in the larger sized expanded sidebar, and is hidden when the sidebar is in "compact" mode.


The Investment Bank has gotten an updated model thanks to @spamdude and the Lander and Outpost structures have been updated with slightly increased Spare Parts storage. The speed rating on the Dark Solar Road has also been increased.

Both sized blood bank structures received premium "gold" editions provided by @therealchromedino and there is a new expanded Water Extraction Plant, also from @therealchromedino. @spamdude provides a new super-fast road, the Alien Hexpath and @RekEm1999 provides a Quantum Ether Tank upgrade.

There were a lot more structures available that I could have added, but the feature I am about to mention next took up so much time to get working that I just didn't get to anything else.

There is now engine support in My Colony 2 for Player Mode Public Transit, but it was super hard to get working and it is still a bit glitchy. I don't need to get too much into the technical details, but the way the engine itself and the player mode stuff in particular were designed did not lend themselves very well to this, but a ton of changes were made in this update, after much trial and error, to get it to the "working" state that it's in now.

The system works with the new Regional Bus Station structure (from @spamdude ) which is unlocked by the new Public Transportation tech and requires a Megabot to build. Once you build a Regional Bus Station, you can give it a name (like you can do for a sign) and a custom color. Then in Player Mode, a character can walk up to the Bus Station and press the "E" key (or A on a gamepad) to bring up a list of all other Bus Stations on the planet. He will then be picked up by the new SkyBus unit (from @spamdude ) and flown to the other bus station.

This is where there are some visual glitches, I don't know why the SkyBus is so jumpy while it's flying. Also, your character is supposed to go invisible at that point but instead is shown hanging (for dear life) to the bottom of the SkyBus. I will fix those things eventually, but it got to the point where I was sinking so many hours into getting this stupid SkyBus working that I started falling behind on everything else, so for now it is what it is.


Anyway, for future player mode stuff, I think the Sky Bus system is going to be essential, since it would otherwise take a character forever to walk between maps. That said, I have also laid the groundwork in this update for units (such as the player character, but other units too) to be able to go inside other units, which can lead to things like APC units for example, or player controlled units, such as a personal car.

Eventually I will have the star gates working for travel between different servers. I think for settlement design then, it would make sense for people with a Star Gate in their settlement to also have a Bus Station near by.

Anyway, that is all for today. Thanks for playing the game, thank you so much to all of the contributors, and stay tuned for more!

#mycolony2
1mo ago
It accesses shares using the smb URI protocol, and so the @ symbol must be URI encoded, which is why it changes to %40
1mo ago
You should be good to go now
2mo ago
Thank you @GH0STFACE
For some reason Epic Adventure has all of a sudden started to get popular, and now I need to start working on it again.

I hope it doesn't offend any of the players, but I am actually thinking of restarting the game from scratch, since I made a lot of bad design decisions at the beginning that are now difficult to code around.

I want to change the graphics to pixel art for one thing, since that will be easier for me to create new textures/items for.

I want to change it so that the world is one continuous map instead of different chunks that need to be loaded in and out.

I want a built-in game editor for new content like My Colony 2 has, so that it's easier to build game content and mods.

And just on top of that, the mechanics you described are all things that are needed as well.

Of course if I make these changes, everyone will have to lose their current game saves, but the game is in such an early state at the moment, I am not sure it will be that big of a deal...
2mo ago
Today I have posted a small update to the Windows and Linux desktop clients for the original My Colony, on both the Ape Market and on Steam.


After the prior update, some users were still reporting issues with the game not launching right on the Steam Deck. As you can see above, I have made double sure that this is working properly this time, but if you are still having an issue with your Steam Deck and My Colony, please let me know ASAP!

#mycolony
2mo ago
So a couple of days ago the state of the Ape Apps website was briefly being discussed, and I mentioned the idea of merging the forum section of the website into Ape Chat and just having all discussions take place in there. I have since given it a little thought, and I believe I have come up with the solution that I am ultimately going to implement, and that is what I want to discuss here.

Some time (probably) this year, I am going to be retiring the forums here on ape-apps.com, the official Discord server and even Ape Chat, and I will be sort of merging all three of them into a new/resurrected Discussions app.

Since most people here have joined during the My Colony "era" of Ape Apps, many may not remember the "Discussions" era, but it was my original app business success story, basically the thing that let me quit my "real" job and go full time with app development. I am going to give a quick history here of the Discussions app, and then talk about why that is the direction I am going to be going in and what it's going to look like.

Back in 2010, one of my very first apps was called Super Bored, which was an extremely basic communications app where people could post text and eventually pictures onto a single threaded chat board. The app started to gain a following, so I decided to copy/past the code and release another simple forum app called World of Warcraft Discussion. That one became even more popular, so I followed it up with Star Craft Discussion, Halo Discussion, Call of Duty Discussion, Body Building Discussion, and several others. The next thing I knew, all of these "Discussion" apps were getting a pretty active following, but it was sort of a pain to maintain all of them, so since they were all running on the same server anyway, I decided to merge them all into one giant forum app that was simply called Discussions.

Discussions was pretty active, up until Google removed it from the Play store (back then it was still called the Android Market) due to copyright complaints from Activision over the Call of Duty section and CoD images being visible in some of the screenshots. I tried to appeal, but not only was I rejected, they actually followed up by nuking my entire developer account because of the other video game themed Discussion apps I had (Halo, WoW, etc).

Anyway, the community lived on for a while, but with out the apps being on the market place anymore, it slowly faded away. There is still a remnant of it on a Discord channel, and part of it slit off into the RP Forums forum community. But eventually my interests moved on to making games and business applications and I never really put a serious effort into bringing back Discussions. There is still a remnant of Discussions that you can see as the first category here in the forums section of the website.

So fast forward to now, where I have Ape Chat, which is now embedded into both of the My Colony games. I have found it to be extremely handy to be able to communicate with the game players without having to actually have the game running, and my plan was to start implementing Ape Chat into most of my applications. But then we run into the situation where Ape Apps now has the chat, the forums, and also now the Discord channel for discussions. To my thinking, why do we need to have three different places, when everything could just be together in the same app?

So this is my plan for the new Discussions app, a merging of the Ape Chat, Forums, and Discord server into one unified place. Now I am not going to be using the old Discussions code or anything, and really beyond the name of the app, it's not going to have much to do with the old Discussions. But in my opinion, the name "Ape Chat" does not make sense for an app that allows more than chat. And plus I already own several domains related to Discussions that have been sitting collecting dust in my account for years now.

So what will the new Discussions be like?

I have a lot of plans, but here is what I am thinking right now. When I originally created Ape Chat, I designed it to be like an IRC server, and a lot of its limitations come from that initial design decision. It works pretty well for just plain chat, but when you want to start adding advanced stuff, it shows its limitations.

First of all, as compared to Ape Chat, the front end and the server are going to be completely disconnected, and in fact, the new Discussions client will allow people to spin up their own servers on their own hardware and run their own private Discussions community with their own rules and setup. Of course, the app will come pre-loaded with the official Ape Apps server.

Within each server there can be any number of channels. I don't know if channel is a good word for it or not, we can come up with something else, but they will also be able to be grouped by topic. So for example, there can now be a My Colony group, with several channels related to My Colony.

There will be multiple types of channels as well. The regular chat channel, which is how Ape Chat is now. There will be threaded channels for a more forum-like setup. There will be voice channels and video chat channels.

There will also be a private messaging system that will be replacing both the "Mail" and "Conversations" features here on ape-apps.com. Private messaging will be one-on-one between two users, or users will be able to create their own private channels like they can now in Ape Chat and do whatever they want. For one-on-one private messaging channels, I plan to support both voice and video, as well as direct P2P file transfers.

What will happen to the forums here?

They will be archived for a while and eventually taken down. The code behind the forums is a mess that has been layered upon more mess over the years, and I will be glad to be done with it. Plus I am tired of fighting constant spam. Users will be encouraged to migrate to the new Discussions platform.

The rest of the site is going to be redone from scratch, and will be more of a static information and marketing site for my stuff, but I will still maintain "What's New" type posts and updates, as well as an RSS feed that people can subscribe to. Actually, the new Discussions app will probably read that RSS feed as well.

What will happen to the Discord server?

It will ultimately be shut down once the new service is ready. I don't really think it will be needed anymore, and plus I really don't like Discord. You may look at the features from the new Discussions and ask "why not just use Discord instead?" The reason is that I cannot embed Discord into my apps, and not only will I be able to do that with Discussions, I will be able to do it in a completely custom way that lets the service have app specific features.

What will happen to Ape Chat?

Discussions is basically the next version of Ape Chat with a re-branding. It will simply redirect to the new domain, and all of the in-game implementations of Ape Chat will be migrated over to Discussions.

Conclusion

This is probably going to happen some time this summer. If you have suggestions on what the new service can look like, you can feel free to leave them here. I think it's going to be a lot better than the current Ape Chat, and it will be nice to only have to go to one place for communications!

Also fun fact, Discussions has an id of 1 on the Ape Market internal database, it's the first app I ever added to the Ape Market (actually, the whole reason I created the Ape Market was to host Discussions after Google took it down).
2mo ago
I just uploaded a new build @cave v2.10.1, can you try it out and let me know if it works now?

https://market.ape-apps.com/network-browser.html
2mo ago
I think that @therealchromedino was so preoccupied with whether or not he could, he didn't stop to think if he should.
2mo ago
Thank you for the report @cave I will research the issue.
2mo ago

bastecklein

Developer
Member Since
September 2nd, 2017
Welcome
Ape Apps, LLC is an independent software development company founded in 2010 by Brandon Stecklein. Over the years, Ape Apps has published over 400 apps and games across various platforms. You can get in touch with Brandon on Twitter or by leaving a post on his wall @bastecklein
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