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2018-02-05 15:52:34

My Colony v0.55.0 Released

Yesterday and this morning I pushed out the v0.55.0 update for My Colony to all platforms, and it should be arriving to your device as the relevant app stores give their stamps of approval. This is a smaller update than normal, but it still has some goodies. I planned on adding more but everyone in our house has been sick for the last week and I couldn't get myself into the mood to do that much work. Still though, check out what's new in v0.55.0!

My Colony v0.55.0 Changelog

New Stuff
  • New Structures: First Aid Station, Trash Transporter, Paste Extractor, Square of Arbitration
  • New Occupations: Medic, Arbiter
  • New Engine Setting: Low-Res Mode
  • Windows Native Client gets a 32bit build
Changes
  • Reptilians can now build a slightly modified version of the Insectoid Mining Operation (keep in mind it requires some civics to build)
  • Further increased the rate of colonist aging
  • Increased the rate of IQ growth at entertainment facilities that offer IQ
  • 'Show Workers' list on a building now lets you focus on each individual worker with a new 'View' button
  • Lowered the trade capacity of the Reptilian Star Gate
Notes

With this release, Reptilians now have the ability to start generating Civics and Ant Paste. I also nerfed the Reptilian Star Gate a bit, as it really made them too powerful too early on. Next update there will be another host of Reptilian structures, and probably a third Reptilian planet, one that starts with no atmosphere. The game has all of these graphics assets for Reptilians with little purple space helmets on, but they are never used because the current planets both start with full atmosphere. This must be addressed!

Moving on, I have released a 32bit build for My Colony native client on Windows 7/8/10, which you can download on the Ape Market website here: https://market.ape-apps.com/my-colony.html . Now, I do not actually have a 32 bit machine myself, so I have not 100% tested it, but it does install fine on a 64bit machine. If you use 32 bit Windows, give it a try and let me know. The two releases on the download page are clearly labeled 32 and 64 bit, so if you do have a 64bit machine, you should use the 64bit build, as it allows more memory to be used by the game than the 32bit version does.

For Human colonies, a new occupation class has been added, the Medic, and all medical facilities have been updated to use the new Medic class. You can now set pay scale rates for the Medic at your Consulate or Capitol.

In further continuance of the quest to increase performance on lower-end devices, My Colony now has a new Low-Res mode option, which you can find in the Engine Settings menu. Low-Res mode will recompile all game textures to 75% of their native size as they are loaded, thus reducing memory usage and speeding up render times. A lot of progress has been made on reducing processing times for the actual simulation aspects of the game, but if you benchmark the game in your browser of choice, you will see that generally 80% or more of it's processing is taken up by rendering the graphics of the game. Low-Res mode should improve this a little more on slower devices, as does the 'Check Render Distance' option which is already available. On really slow devices which are having troubles keeping their FPS up right from the beginning, the game will now automatically switch into Low-Res mode without input from the user.

Finally, I have increased the rate of IQ and age growth among colonists. I want to start making Age and IQ a factor in the game, but I first need to get the game to where those stats are actually fluid with the population, so I will be making tweaks to Age and IQ over the next few updates, so be aware of that.

One last thing, I have been putting together a small My Colony themed game that will probably come out within the week or so. It is essentially my game My Business Empire but with My Colony themed businesses and an added tech-unlocking system. More details will come in a few days, but this is the closest My Colony will ever be to an 'idle' game 🙂

Anyway, that's all for today. Thanks for playing, and stay tuned for more!
2018-01-27 18:44:30

My Colony v0.54.x Released

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!
2018-01-19 00:30:42

My Colony v0.53.0 Released

I hope everybody had a good new year. I am now ready to get back into the full swing of My Colony development, and what better way to start things out then with the Reptilians Update Part 1! There are actually several new changes in this release too, so let's take a look:

My Colony v0.53.0 Changelog


New Stuff
  • New Race/Civilization: Alpha Draconians (the Reptilians)
  • New Map: Desert World
  • New Unit: Construction Probe
  • New Structures: Microreactor, Powered Materials Silo, Slave Gate, Antanium Impactor, Microcondenser, Automated Hydroponics Lab, Basic Den, Medium Range Star Gate
  • New ad-free Content: Draconian Pavement, Fair Warning, Family Den
  • Offline (local) multiplayer (on select devices, see more below)
  • In-game commonwealth chat (requires Ape Apps account)
Changes
  • Facebook has been removed from the game. R.I.P. Facebook.
  • Starting a new online game now requires an Ape Apps Account. Existing games do not need one yet, but they will on the next update, so this is a fair heads up.
  • Increased the rate that colonists age, so they are not 24 forever.
  • The Galactic Emperor rewarded videos should now only give "good" resources.
  • Offline mode renamed to Local mode to reflect the fact that it can have it's own multiplayer now too
  • Slight UI changes on the iPhone X to account for the 'notch' and rounded corners.
The biggest outward-facing change in this update is the new civ, the Alpha Draconians. They are in the early stages, but expect them to ramp up alot faster than the Insectoids (because of the art style, it takes me way longer to make Insectoid graphics).

So the Reptilians are a very high-tech species, and start off the game with many of the things that the other civs can only dream about at the beginning. They are also a brutal, evil, and warlike people. Their homeworld is near Zolarg Prime, and they regularly abduct and enslave poor Insectoids to work their colonies for them. That is nothing compared to what they do to the humans though, but that is for another update!

Unlike Insectoid colonies, the Reptilians require very few civilians, so expect the colonies to have very high GDP/Capita ratios. There isn't a whole lot to do with the Reptilians yet, and the Lava World isn't completely playable with them, but go ahead and check it out. There is a whole lot more coming soon.

Now for the other new feature, Local Multiplayer.

Local Multiplayer is currently very experimental, and as of right now it is only available on Android, iOS, and Native Client. Ironically, it works the best on the Windows Store app, but Windows Store security policies would not allow me to submit the app using both a webview and private networking, so I had to remove it after it got rejected and the feature may never come to Windows Store.

For Web users, I am currently working on a Desktop application called the Ape Web Apps Desktop Bridge which will allow Web clients to use both LAN play and saving your files directly to the local file system, but it's not ready for release yet. Possibly next week.

So in theory, to use the Local Multiplayer, you don't have to do anything special. If you are playing on your Android and another Android, iPhone, or Native Client user opens one of their colonies, you should just get a notification that another colony has come online, like the current Commonwealth notifications for online play. You can then send messages/resources back and forth the normal way, using the Consulate, Capitol, or the little Communications buildings. Keep in mind this is for Local (offline) games only.

I say 'in theory' because I have only tested it out on my own home network, and I only have so many devices to test it on. So your mileage may vary. Let me know how it goes!

For online games, the in-game commonwealth chat is there, and is accessed by a orange chat icon on the bottom right of the screen. It's pretty self-explanatory. Requires an Ape Apps Account.

Speaking of Ape Apps Account, if you sign in, it should now sync your in-app purchases across all platforms now, but this is also experimental, it might take me a couple of updates to get it working right. 🙂

So that's about it for this update, unless I forgot something. The next few updates will be bug fixes, performance improvements, and Reptilians. As I said the Reptilians will fill out a lot faster than the Zolarg, as I am still not even done with the Zolarg (but I'll get there someday)! Let me know what you think of the update, and stay tuned for more!
2017-12-15 17:45:43

My Colony v0.52.0 Released

Welcome everyone! Today I am releasing My Colony v0.52.0, the Christmas 2017 update! What makes it a Christmas update? Why, all of the goodies inside of it (of course). Here are the changes:

My Colony v0.52.0 Changelog

New Stuff
  • New Structure: Crystal Vaporizer
  • New Maps: Earthlike (human), Lava World (Zolarg
  • New Units: Extremeobug, Obsidiobug, Rover Transport, Queen and Airborne Lander (sort of new)
  • New Resource: Obsidian
  • New Modding Option: Map Editor
Changes
  • Water (and the new Lava) tiles now have a slight 'shore' texture around them instead of hard-ending at the edge of a tile. The shore pieces connect when multiple waters are placed next to each other.
  • The U.E. Lander can now launch and turn into the Airborne Lander, which can be moved to a new location.
  • Likewise, the Zolarg Mound can now transform into the Queen and move to a new location.
  • Slight gameplay change, Zolarg Mounds can no longer be built, you must build the new Queen unit first and then turn the Queen into a Mound.
  • Removed Power and resource consumption requirements from Creative Mode
  • Increased storage of the Charcoal Pile
Notes
The biggest change here is the addition of the new Lava World, which has a few new features not seen before in the game, including moving terrain elements and natural disasters. I won't go too much into it, you can read more about the Lava World in the Lava World thread I made the other day: https://www.ape-apps.com/viewpage.php?p=11358

The other big change is the addition of an engine feature allowing buildings to "pack-up" into units (and vice versa) so that they can be moved to a new location. I will probably expand this for other structures in the future.

The other big change for Premium users is the new Map Editor, found in the Mod Tools section. This lets you start with a blank map and add in any terrain feature found in the game. If the feature proves popular, I will expand on it, adding more terrain elements and features. Once Accounts are integrated into the game, I am also going to add the ability to upload both custom maps and texture mods to the My Colony server right from within the game, and add a section where users can download mods without having to leave the game.

Now then, this will be the last My Colony update for a few weeks. Besides for holiday travels I have coming up, there are a lot of other things I want to get caught up on over the next few weeks, including getting my servers ready for finally ditching Facebook and adding Ape Apps accounts into the game. There are also big improvements and changes to the Forum, the Chat, and the general Ape Apps Account experience coming very soon. Also, the My Colony website is going to get basically a complete overhaul.

I will return to My Colony development in mid-January with the long awaited introduction of the evil Reptilians. Just for a background, the Reptilians are the alien race that had previously enslaved the Insectoids. The Insectoids were under brutal Reptilian rule until one brave insectoid named Zolarg overthrew the Reptilians and founded the Zolarg Empire. Many Insectoid worlds are now under the protection of the Zolarg Empire, but there are also many insectoid worlds that are still enslaved by the Reptilians. This will come into play with the new Reptilian worlds, which (on the galactic map) are going to be pretty close to the Zolarg worlds. You will see when the Reptilians come out that they employ poor insectoids as slave labor throughout their colonies. Reptilians are also playing a hand in United Earth/LIS politics, but this will not be a factor in My Colony (only in the upcoming Colony Wars). The Reptilians are also more technologically advanced than both the Insectoid and the Humans, and the are going to have cool new features not found in the other colonies. So stay tuned, much more to come!
2017-12-01 22:12:42

My Colony v0.51.0 Released

After the release of v0.50.0 early last week (also known as 'the most hated my colony update ever'), GBT prices have been essentially stabilized and many of the most draconian measures on the GBT have been lifted. And while it is never possible to please everybody, I think that today's update will be received a little better than the last one. But who knows? Let's find out!

My Colony v0.51.0 Changelog

New Stuff
  • New Structures: Raw Materials Depot, Advanced Command Post, Unholy Command, Customs Processing, Paste Treatment Spa
  • New Tech: Open Doors
  • New Building Stats: You can now view the current production and consumption per minute rates for each building
  • Added some pop-up hints at specific points in the game
Changes
  • Decay rate has been lowered significantly and removed altogether for offline games.
  • Resources under 10k are no longer subject to decay
  • Improved the production output of the Investment Bank
  • Object Options popup has been slightly redesigned
Notes

So the most immediately visible change in this update is the visual redesign of the little object-options popup dialog that you see when you click on a structure or unit.

Most of the text buttons have been replaced with graphical icons, and new bar graphs have been added to show the various capacities of the selected structure, such as workers, residents, patients, guests, etc. It is particularly helpful on job sites, as you can now see quickly at a glance not only how many jobs are filled, but how many workers are currently on duty.

There is also a new Statistics button available for all buildings which gives access to some new information that people have been requesting for a long time now.

Here you can see how many buildings of this type you have constructed, as well as the resource production and consumption per minute of that particular building. The production values will differ from what you see in the online reference, because they are based on both how many workers are currently in the building and your actual CPU speed.

The building stats screen also now has a 'Show All Workers' button, which is similar to the old employees popup box except now you also have the ability to fire individual workers from a structure.

Eventually you will also be able to load a similar new statistics screen for each colonist right from the workers stats screen, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Future updates will see the stats screen further expanded, with details for residents, patients, tourists, guests, and some other cool things that aren't out yet.

In addition, Zolarg got a few new structures again. They have received upgraded Capitol and Consulate type buildings (further upping their trade and gift limits), as well as the first structures related to bringing Tourism to Zolarg colonies. The next few weeks will see even more come to the Zolarg race, so stay tuned for more.

Additionally, in preparation for the upcoming storage caps on Ore and Regolith, a new Raw Materials Depot has been added to the game which adds storage for both, along with some other metals like Gold and Aluminum. Ore and Regolith storage has also been added to a ton of different buildings, so most colonies should have plenty of storage already. The Raw Materials Depot is also dirt cheap and acts as a drop off point for the above mentioned resources, so you can place them near mines and deposits for fast harvesting.

Finally, a small UI update has been made. You can now order a harvester unit to move to a specific mineral deposit and they will start harvesting it.

Anyway, unless I forgot something, that is the jist of today's update. There are a lot more Zolarg buildings coming soon, and we are now only a few weeks out from the unveiling of the Reptilian race, along with a few brand new map types that you will find interesting. Hope you enjoy the update, lots more to come!

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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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