As I'm sitting here putting the finishing touches on the My Colony v0.87.0 patch, I realize that there must be something seriously wrong with me, for this is the second update in a row where I have decided to just totally go in and rewrite or change large parts of the game engine. I have to apologize if I am making you all feel like guinea pigs, although I suspect that My Colony players are going to be used to that by now. So what all has changed in v0.87.0? Let's find out!
Firstly, I had introduced a ton of engine changes in the last update, and game error/crash reports started filling my inbox as soon as the release hit the app stores. Luckily the reports were quite helpful and I was able to fix a ton of problems in the code, some of which led me to long-standing issues that I didn't even know existed.
I also isolated several memory leaks in the game that were causing thousands and thousands of arrays to be created and never destroyed, causing the garbage collector to run like mad. I believe a lot of them have now been resolved, so I am hoping that this comes with performance improvements, particularly on lower-RAM devices like smartphones.
I also fixed an issue that had basically made tourists useless.
The City name size on the Regional view has been reduced a bit, and there is now a toggle button in the corner that you can press to turn the city name display off completely.
Of course, the above is all small peas compared to the main thing I added in this version. If you listened to the latest episode of the My Colony Podcast, you already knew what was coming in this release - Multiplayer Regions. While still in it's early state, I think that Multiplayer Regions has the potential to add a ton to the game. The feature works similarly to how regular regions work today, but there are a few key differences, which I will explain below.
Firstly, when you create a new Multiplayer Region, you are not the owner of the overall region, and the regional game file is not stored on your device. The region and all of it's interconnected statistics are stored on the server. In addition, all multiplayer region subcities require cloud sync to be turned on. You also cannot switch a multiplayer region subcity into offline mode. A Multiplayer Region gets its own charter code, which you can initially set to either public or private. Anybody who knows the regional charter code can join.
There are difference in the way the game plays also, beginning with when you first create a new subcity inside of a multiplayer region. When you create a new multiplayer region subcity, if it is your first city in that region, you will be asked to join the charter of another colony. You can pick whatever colony you want, and what race/civilization you are will depend on which mother colony you choose. As you might be able to guess, this means that multiple species can be in the same region.
On a regular region game, the entire region map shares resources and power. This is not the case on a multiplayer region. On multiplayer regions, the entire map shares only atmosphere. Beyond that, cities are grouped into a new organizational unit called Metropolitan Areas. A metro area is a group of cities owned by the same player that are built right next to each other. So if you start a second city on a multiplayer region and you build it right next to your first city, it is automatically added to the same metro area. Metro areas do share the same resources and power grid, so if you are building multiple cities on a multiplayer region map, it will be a good idea to put them next to each other.
On a regular region game, all of your cities continue to produce and consume resources while you are playing, regardless if you are in that region file or not. This is not currently the case on multiplayer regions, but it will probably be in the future. There are actually some general changes that are coming to this feature on all regions soon, and I was going to wait to implement it in multiplayer regions at the same time that I make the changes to single player regions.
Other than those changes, multiplayer regions are currently pretty similar to regular regions. I wanted to get them out there and running so that I can see what issues people have (if any) and see what kind of features players would like to see added, but off the top of my head, I want to make it so that multiple players can share the same metro area/power grid/resources. Also a sort of regional common trade area, perhaps regional governments. I think this can also be tied in with federations somehow.
This is a feature where I am open to all suggestions. Over the next few weeks I am going to be splitting my work between Colony Wars and updating the My Colony website to take advantage of a lot of the features I've added to the game. In the meantime I will be collecting diagnostics and feedback related to Multiplayer Regions (and everything else for that matter). The feature is still in it's infancy, but I think that it has the potential to add a lot to the game!
That's all for today. The update should be hitting all devices throughout the weekend, so be on the lookout, and let me know what issues you find. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more!