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My Colony v1.0.0 Released

I hope everybody is having a good week! Today after several weeks of work, I am putting the finishing touches on My Colony v1.0.0 which will be heading out to all platforms over the coming days, just in time for the holidays! There is not a lot of new content in this update, and pretty much nothing that I had originally planned to add to it is here, but that is ok! What you get instead is almost a total re-write of the underlying simulation engine, which I think will improve performance on most devices, greatly reduce save-file sizes (and save corruption instances), and greatly expand the possibilities for new features in the coming updates. With all of that said, let's take a look at what has changed. This will probably be a longer write-up than most, so sit tight!

First of all, I really wish I had more time to work on this update, as I do not consider it to be complete by any stretch of the means. Sadly though, because of the time of year I had to push the update now, otherwise I would not be able to release until sometime in January. For one reason, I have a lot of family stuff coming up for the holidays. Also, the various app stores do not process submissions during this time of year (so that their employees can have some holiday time off), particularly iPhone, so I have to get the update in now before the release window closes. So I want to apologize to everybody for the lack of new content and incomplete nature of this update, given what I had promised previously. I hope you are not too mad at me, especially since it has been about a month since the last update! I did put a ton of hours into this one though, and I think (hope!) in the long run the game will end up being a lot better for it.

Since these patch notes are longer than normal, I will split them up into sections.

Game Data

First I want to talk about some game file changes. Since the format of the game has evolved a bit since the first release of My Colony in 2016, there have been a lot of properties and settings added over the months and years that are no longer applicable today. I have done a little bit of cleanup and reorganizing of the game data in this release, and if you have an older, larger colony, the first time you open it in v1.0.0 it might take a little longer to load as this cleanup procedure takes place on your game data, possible up to a minute or more. This is normal. Afterwards, the disk size of your game data should be a lot smaller, which should be great for all versions of the game, as save file corruptions are sometimes a problem on various platforms. It should also make cloud sync a whole lot faster and more reliable. I believe it will also help with issues where web browsers like Chrome delete My Colony saves to keep the game under the browser's storage quota. Just for an example, the save file for my main colony which has around 270k population is now only about 600kb, which is a massive reduction from before.

I am working on a way to export an entire region game (and all of it's sub colonies) into one single backup file. I had meant to have this feature ready to go for this update, but simply ran out of time. Be aware that it is coming soon though. The new file size reduction is one of the reasons why I am able to implement this feature properly!

Regions

There is a large change to how Regions are generated now, when playing on a map type that features a river terrain, such as Earthlike, Abandoned World, and Lava World. The River formations are now generated on a region-wide basis, instead of on a map-by-map basis, giving the entire region a more continuous look and feel. So now when you start a new region on one of these map types, it will have to generate the river template, which may take a minute on slower devices. It is a one-time thing though, so I think the time trade-off is worth it.


In addition to automatic region generation, you can now also include a template file that the game will use to create your region. The template parser works best when using a 250x250 black and white image, but it will accept any image file you have. For example, consider the following template file:


When applied to a Lava World region, will create the following regional map:


These new region generating and templating features can make for some very interesting regional maps!

Once you are inside of a region map, you will notice some additional changes. There is now a 1 tile green border surrounding regional cities. If you mouse-over this border, you will see the name of the adjacent city in the region and if you click on it, it will ask you if you want to switch over to that city, without having to back out to the overall regional map first.


In addition, you can now order a rover or other unit to drive onto that green border area, and the unit will be transferred to the adjacent city. Players have wanted this feature since regions first came out, and it basically works just as you would expect it to.

Simulation Changes

This is where the changes start getting big, but I have tried to implement them in a way that will hopefully be unnoticeable to most players. For v1.0.0, I have rewritten the core simulation engine from scratch, moving it from an individual colonist based simulation, to more of a macro simulation using buildings as the core point of focus for the game. This change was mainly done for performance and scale. When I had originally created the game, I did not really expect colonies with more than a few hundred colonists at most. My original inspiration for the colonist part of the game was a title I found on Steam called Spacebase DF-9, which sadly got abandoned by it's creators. But in that vain, each colonist had it's own stats, it's own bank account, it's own mood, name, health, happiness level, job, house etc. With a few hundred colonists, this works out pretty good. With 100,000 or even 1,000,000, this becomes a CPU and memory nightmare.

Over the years I have done various tweaks and hacks to try to get around this design issue, but it's never worked out perfectly. At the end of the day, there was no way to get around the fact that the way that the game was originally envisioned and designed was simply no longer compatible with the way that the game had eventually turned out. My Colony has become, at it's core, a city simulator game based in outer space. It does feature things that you will not find in a traditional city simulator game, but at the end of the day, this is what it has basically morphed in to. So I have made changes to the game to better reflect this reality.

The individual colonist, as he has existed in prior versions of the game, no longer exists. He has been replaced by statistics. The game now operates on a system based on the residential structure and it's proximity to available amenities, such as entertainment, medical, educational, and work. This is now reflected by clicking on a building and looking at it's stats screen.


Where a colonist decided to live is based on the overall value rating of the residential property. Where a colonist decides to work is based on the location of the job site in relation to occupied residential buildings. Therefore, maintaining full productive capacity requires balancing all of the desirability factors for your residential buildings and keeping your job sites in range to those buildings.

It may sound complicated, but it's really not. In general, a colony that was well designed and balanced before this update should still work without too many issues. I have tried to design this in a way that would be as minimally disruptive to existing colonies as possible.

The largest potential issue people will see is in regards to medical care. Simply put, before medical care was barely required, and now it is absolutely required. If your colony lacks medical facilities, people will die. If you start seeing people die every month for no reason, make sure that you have enough medical clinics!

This new simulation engine has changed the way approval rating is calculated. It is now a function of the overall value of every residential structure, weighted by the number of colonists living in that structure. Overall colony approval rating will impact production in this way: if overall approval falls below 30%, you will start to see riots, which will in turn decrease the number of people who go to work. To make the transition to v1.0.0 easier, I have disabled rioting for this release, to give players time to balance their colonies. It will be activated in v1.1.0 though, so you should not ignore it.

In a way, it is sad to make this change, as I've always liked having the ability to select a colonist and see where they live, how happy the are, give them money, etc. These options are now gone from the game, along with certain policy items that were related to individual colonists. That said, the change has reduced the memory consumption of the game significantly, and will also allow the game to grow in ways never before possible, so I think that overall it will be a good thing, and I hope people are not too disappointed by it!

Colonist Lifecycle

Colonists now age properly in this update, and they will also have babies. You now need to balance your colony in a way that can support children and elderly, who are unable to work. Before you could just have a 1:1 ratio of population to jobs, now you cannot. A new section has been added to the population stat screen that lets you see the current age distribution of your colonists.


Colonists will work between the ages of 16 and 70 and they will have kids between the ages of 16 and 40. After the age of 50, they have a chance to die of natural causes, and that chance is higher or lower based on the health rating of your colony.

This has been the hardest part of the game to balance in this update, and will probably take several updates to get it right. You do not want the birth rate to be too high at the beginning of the game, because it is hard to take care of babies when you are just starting out. However, you do not want it to be too low later on, because you need enough new workers to support the aging population.

As I said, this will probably take some time to get right. It will be a bit more difficult for large existing colonies, because before this update, almost all colonists were aged between 20-35 years old. If you have a large existing population, all of these people will probably be retiring around the same time. To ease these issues, I have added new deportation policies to the game, with the options to deport all elderly and children.

Random Changes and Improvements

The Stats screen now has two new sections, Utilities and Game Data, both of which were going to be a lot cooler than they are now, but I ran out of time. Keep an eye on these, because they will be getting better in the future.

On the main construction sidebar, you can now right-click on a building to quick-jump to the encyclopedia article for that structure. In addition, mouse-hovering over a building now shows a bit more information, such as the entertainment/medical/educational capacities of the structure.

For vehicle construction buildings like the Small Vehicle Factory, you can now mouse-over them when they have multiple units queues up to see exactly which types of units are currently in the queue.

On regional maps, the day/night cycle is now synchronized across the entire region. Before now, one city could be daytime, and the city right next to it could be night.

Tourism has been revamped, much in the way the rest of the simulation has. You will now probably make a lot more money on tourism than you had previously.

The Overview statistics window now displays the total number of real-life hours you have played the game (since v0.91.0, as it was not tracked before then), as well as the amount of game-time that your colony has been around.


There is now a new Medical build category.

When a colony under embargo starts paying taxes again, they now regain their "motherland relations" at a faster rate.

The Brood Training Center now provides some education.

Increased the number of students for the Transcendent Academy, Mound of Scholars, and Internet Relay Booth.

Increased medical capacity of the Bloodletting Station, Healing Pods, and First Aid Station.

Increased the guest capacity of the Large Park, Paste Treatment Spa, Torture Booth, Live Autopsy Slab, Suppertime Arena, and Internet Relay Booth.

Added slight Entertainment and Education boost to the Real News Station.

Added slight Education boost to the Live Autopsy Slab.

New Content

New Unit: Ether Rover
New Structures: Ether Storage, Integrated Medical Clinic, Small Hospital, University, Ant Paste Rejuvenation Clinic

What's Next?

There is still much to be done. I would have preferred to just work on this update for three months and add everything I want to it, but I did want to give everybody something to play over the holidays. My immediate plan for My Colony v1.1.0 is to add the #1 most requested feature since the game originally came out, Mass Transit. I already have the entire system mapped out in my head and I think it's going to work well, and will function within a single city and even across region. This means you will also be able to have houses in one region map where people work in the adjacent region map. So this is what will be coming in v1.1.0, unless there are major issues with this update, in which case it will be v1.2.0.

After that, I want to implement crime and security, which will be the focus of the next update. Crime is already factored into the land value rating of all buildings, so a lot of the work is already done. I just need to do the work to finish it off. If I had more time, Mass Transit and Crime would have been done in this release, since I have already started implementing both "under the hood."

Finally, I promised online competition and leaderboards for this update, and I just didn't get to them. I have not forgotten about it though, but I am pushing it out until after Mass Transit and Crime, as I have already sort of started on Mass Transit and Crime, and I think people will probably get more out of those two features anyway. So I am tentatively scheduling the online competition update for v1.3 or v1.4.

Beyond those, that is all I have planned in the near future for major gameplay changing updates. After that it will be back to the regular bug-fix and content update grinds. I do still need to flesh out the other civs a bit more. At some point I want to add AI controlled factions, as I want to add a new map type that is already inhabited by a primitive species and you will either have to coexist with them or exterminate them. But that is a little bit further down the line.

So that's all for v1.0.0. It should be hitting all devices over the coming days, so be on the lookout. Let me know in the forum what issues and requests you have. There are literally a ton of engine changes to this update and so I do expect problems, but with your help I will get them all ironed out over the coming updates.

This happens to be the 100th major update to My Colony, and I want to thank everybody who has been with me over the years, helping me create this amazing game that we all love! I never could have imagined when I first started on it in 2016 what it would have eventually morphed into. A lot of the greatness in the game comes directly from suggestions I have gotten from you guys, so thank you to everybody who has supported the game over the years, and stay tuned for a lot more to come in the future!
Owner of Ape Apps
Posted by
2019-12-20 17:40:54
#2 2019-12-20 19:19:45
Can't wait for mass transport! With the new need for having work 50 tiles from each residential it will be cool having something like a monorail across the colony, that could potentially even cross through region borders in order to make housing districts to then transport civilians to working districts. Also having the housing distance makes for a fun challenge, but a small suggestion, could you possibly make less cramped buildings have higher distance tolerance than more cramped buildings? Like subterranean housing units, since they are a 4x4 but house 1000 people could be better than 3 large residential complexes, since it would be less cramped and therefore have a higher tolerance to working distance. Would make early game easier and add a larger challenge as you go up in the game
Mlg
#3 2019-12-20 19:29:40
Also improved tourism system would be amazing because tourism is really useless at the moment, it's just a small extra. A better building for civics than imperial propaganda or a reduced civics cost for transcendence would be cool to reduce the amount of afk required for transcendence. Better clay synthesis and ether on ue would also be cool.
Mlg
#4 2019-12-21 02:16:21
β€œ I have added new deportation policies to the game, with the options to deport all elderly and children.”
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I don’t think I have laughed harder in my life!

Amazing update by the way! I can’t wait to see the mass transit!
#5 2019-12-21 20:53:01
How fast well people have children? A potential problem could happen, To fast of a population growth, I know that you said there would be a policy to force them to move out but when do you get this policy?
Elijah Long
#6 2019-12-22 17:25:09
I love the ideas with this, but I would like to suggest something else: If a planet is under embargo for long enough and still doesn't pay taxes, maybe something similar to what happened to LIS could happen, where your host civilization sends military to bring you under control, and you can send your own military to respond. It could also be more advanced with regions.
Idk what this means so I'll just put my profile name here

MainahMan365
#7 2019-12-23 15:52:18
Glad that MC is still going after 3 years and 100 updates, and I'm glad that it's officially a game now, as if i wasn't before, haha.

It's come a long way, but there is always room to improve, looking forward to more great updates like this one.
#8 2019-12-25 21:29:15
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#9 2019-12-25 21:29:15
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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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