My Colony v0.54.x Changelog
- New structures: National Flag, Torture Booth, Drone Pad, Gold Grower, Aluminum Grower
- New Unit: Uranium Extractor
- New ad-free Structure: Pavement Lit
- Memory and File Size Reductions
- Firedrill/Employment Changes
- Opening existing online games now requires an Ape Apps Account
- Added engine support for variable color units and structures
The new Reptilian content is generally geared towards making the Lava World map playable. I had a lot more planned for this update, but I wanted to get it released in a timely manner, so it will have to wait until next time. Barring any major engine changes or glitches, v0.55.0 will have a lot more Reptilian stuff.
On to the engine changes. Since the last few updates, the #1 reason for crashes and getting stuck on the loading screen on mobile (especially on Android) was the game running out of memory. The reason for this is that when I designed the game originally and there were only 8 different structures to build, it made sense to load all of the assets at the beginning when you first entered the game. Today though, there are over 320 different structures and almost 50 vehicles, and many structures can now be flipped which adds extra graphics assets which need to be loaded. Because of this, you have probably noticed that the game was taking longer and longer to start up at the beginning, and sometimes it never started up at all. This was due to the game using up all of it's allotted memory from the operating system. The issue was particularly bad on Android, where the memory cap is far less generous than on Desktop computers, even on newer devices that ship with 4 gigs of RAM.
To get around this, My Colony will now only load graphics assets, on demand and as-needed. There are likely still some bugs to be worked out related to this, so let me know what you find. You might notice buildings or ground tiles not appearing right away. Generally they will show up in a second or two. Zooming in and out can also make them appear quicker some times. It might be a small annoyance, but I think the tradeoff will be worth it. Particularly on smaller colonies, the memory reductions can be quite significant.
Another new reduction in this release has to do with save file sizes. I have started compressing some of the building related save data more efficiently, which should reduce the file sizes on some saves. Your mileage will vary depending on the layout of your colony, but on my main colony, my file size was reduced by a little over 10% (compressed). I didn't do a before/after on a non-compressed colony, but it is probably similar.
Moving along, there have been significant changes to the Firedrill system, as well as the way in which 'simulated' colonists find and fill jobs. Generally, the amount of time it takes for your colony to settle back down after a fire drill has been sped up significantly. Also, simulated colonists now find and fill jobs significantly quicker than before. I realized that I forgot to apply the same improvements to the speed in which they find housing, but that will probably be in the next update.
These changes were in part to address a lot of the complaints people have about unemployment and jobs being filled. The old method had simulated colonists fill jobs based on the general unemployment rate of the colony at large, so if you had massive unemployment, they would find jobs slower, and if you had low unemployment, they would find jobs faster. In my mind, this offered a more realistic simulation, as it doesn't make sense (in 'real life') to be able to just call a fire drill and suddenly an economy is back to normal. Judging by the forums though, I think most people perceived this part of the simulation as a bug, so it has been removed. Simulated colonists will now fill jobs at their earliest convenience.
What has not changed though is the colonists' daily cycle. In general, a healthy colonist will have his day divided into 3 parts: work, sleep, time off. So if your colonists are 100% employed, which is unrealistic but somewhat common in this game, then you should at most expect 33% to be on-duty at any given time. I know that many people perceive this aspect of the game as a bug also, but to me, changing this would make the game sooooo easy, even easier than it already is.
Next up, the engine now supports adding a bit of color to certain in-game structures. This is mainly necessary for the upcoming Colony Wars game, and an example can be seen in the screenshot below:
The flags on the building now take up the color that was set in the Overview tab on the statistics screen. I might expand this more to other structures, but it was primarily put in for the benefit of Colony Wars. I also noticed that it is not working right on iOS yet, so I still need to figure that part out.
Finally, there has been a suggestion in the index for lighted roads. I made some engine changes and added one in there as a test, but I want to see how it impacts performance before expanding it further. To be determined.
So anyway, that is it for today's release. Much more on the way, so stay tuned!