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My Colony v0.54.x Released

#1 2018-01-27 18:44:30
Today My Colony v0.54.0 (v0.54.1 on Android) is being pushed out to all platforms and should arrive on your device shortly. This was originally intended to be a big Reptilian update but there were several engine changes that took precedent this time. Details below!

My Colony v0.54.x Changelog

New Stuff
  • New structures: National Flag, Torture Booth, Drone Pad, Gold Grower, Aluminum Grower
  • New Unit: Uranium Extractor
  • New ad-free Structure: Pavement Lit
Changes
  • 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
Notes
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!
Owner of Ape Apps
#2 2018-01-27 19:36:07
All sounds awesome!
Can't wait for more.
I do think you should have several updates be specifically oriented towards bug- and glitch fixes only. Those will be vital and they will also remove some workload when you eventually go out to publish the game so you won't have that much code checking to do.
Oh and btw @Bast

Wonderful update schedule, simply marvelous xDD!
#3 2018-01-27 20:24:19
i am too sad i need to wait some day to download the udapde because on wind store he take toooooooooo
mmmmuuuuuuuccccccchhhhhhh time to "know" if the game have udapde or no
if you don't understand my post i am sorry but if realy want to understand it ask me and i will translate it
https://discord.gg/2JWPvK
#4 2018-01-27 20:26:10
Yeah, sadly the Windows Store and Apple Store release times are out of my hands. Both need to go through a review process before being published.
Owner of Ape Apps
#5 2018-01-28 12:17:37
so when do you expect the update to release for windows? also if i buy premium on android 0.54.1 will it put it on 0.53.0 on pc if im signed into the same acc on both
#6 2018-01-28 13:15:21
If you use the same Ape Account info, then yes it would be on both.
#7 2018-01-28 15:00:46
Apple and Windows usually take a couple of days at most. I've seen it go up to a week or more though before, so i really can't say for certain.
Owner of Ape Apps
#8 2018-01-28 19:25:25
You seem to be saying the whole unemployment thing wasn't a bug, but it doesn't make sense for a building to suddenly fill with on-duty workers when you click the "show workers" button. I don't see how any intentional game mechanic would make that happen. Plus the fact that buildings would list the same person several times in the list of workers, and the statistics would show zero empty jobs even when several buildings would show vacancies.
#9 2018-01-28 21:14:24
I have problems loging in from the game. I have tried several times to login using my current login information and it still does not connect properly. Is there a fix for that problem?
#10 2018-01-28 21:15:19
@angryphil The reason the on-duty workers changes when you click on 'show workers' is because those workers do not actually exist until you click on that button. Once your population gets so high, everything runs off of statistics. When you click on 'show workers' the engine creates new worker objects out of thin air so that you have something to look at. The game will only simulate 2000 colonists at a time (at most, its lower on some devices), so when you create more workers by using the 'show workers' feature, that many workers are destroyed somewhere else. The only exception is when you click on a huge building like the arcology which temporarily allows more colonists to exist in the game than normal, but at a large memory expense.

The engine tries to keep roughly 1/3 of the 'population' working at a given time, less depending on happiness and other factors. Yes you can temporarily goose it higher by clicking on a building and creating new workers, but as soon as you do the same thing to another building, workers somewhere else in your colony will be destroyed.

The reality is that the game was originally designed to let you micro manage workers, but once people started making bigger and bigger colonies, changes had to be made to the engine to accommodate, and the trade-off is that after a certain colony size micromanagement is no longer possible. You are just building a city and it is running off of simulated stats.

I would love for the micro-management to still be the case, but there are limitations to javascript, particularly the amount of RAM a browser tab is allowed to use. Even if you have 128gb of RAM, the browser will still only allow a web app to use a specific amount. The truth is that more people would rather be able to build big colonies than to be able to tweak the game down to the individual worker and factory, so that is the direction I had to go with it.

Anyway I am not saying that there are no bugs with the system and I will keep trying to make it better. I am just saying that after a certain population, the worker list is for-show only.

That said, it generally does not suddenly fill with on-duty workers at this point, at least not in my experience. Certainly that was the case some time ago, but to me when you expand the workers list, it generally shows the same on duty/off duty ratio as the pop-up graph when you first select a building:
At least in my own colonies, it has been quite a few updates now since I have had all workers just automatically switch to on-duty now. In fact I have not noticed the issue since switching to the new workers stat screen, even on a large simulated colony. If you say it is still happening though then that is something I can look into.
Owner of Ape Apps
Welcome
Ape Apps 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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