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My Colony 2 v0.41.0 Released

My Colony 2 is in the middle of a major overhaul to both it's logic and rendering engines. This update brings many changes that have been suggested by the community, so let's take a look at what is here and what is soon to come.

From a technical standpoint, My Colony 2 v0.40.0 (the previous release) and v0.41.0 (this release) are not even the same game. What started as a suggestion from @spamdude to process foreground settlement logic the same way background settlements are processed basically transformed into a complete rewrite of the game's server code. There is now almost no similarity in the way the game is processed compared to previous releases.

Everything in My Colony 2 is now simulated based on structure statistics, the only exception being unit/resource harvesting. This was actually going to be the original design for My Colony 2, but when I was soliciting community feedback at the beginning, there was a strong preference to have 100% accurate production stats with visible structure output bars, so the idea was scrapped (I was also going to simulate resource harvesting but that was also not a popular idea). With settlements and worlds now getting larger and larger though, I think it became apparent to many that the simulated model was best, and the game engine has now been rewritten accordingly.

This update is all about game performance, and the logic thread of the game should now be able to handle games that are several orders of magnitude larger than the largest colonies currently in existence. It is possible that some things might currently be broken or might not be working the way they were. Honestly I changed so many things this update that it would be quite easy for something to have slipped through the cracks, so please let me know in this thread or elsewhere in the forum what I may have missed. In general though, expect game performance to be much improved in this update.

Since I was already working on performance, I have been wanting to make a change to the Scroll3D engine for some time related to 3d model instancing. Basically, instead of creating a new 3d model for each structure in the game, you create one "instance" of the model which is reused/redrawn by the GPU multiple times. If you would like to see an example on how this can impact performance, please see the following WebGL example that the new code was inspired by:

The reason I could not easily do this, is because 3d models using regular materials could not have both the regular face colors and the glowing "emissive" face colors without using two separate 3d models. Ultimately what I had to do was write my own custom 3d model shader material for Voxel Paint files, which now allows for regular, emissive, and metallic faces in one single model.

Lightmaps and Metallic maps are now baked right into the 3d model geometries when they are compiled in Voxel Paint. If models do not have this infomation baked in, they will need to be recompiled by the engine at run time. I already went through and recompiled most of the models in the game (especially the larger ones) so I don't think it will be much of a problem for MC2, and Voxel Paint will now automatically do this for all .vpp files going forward. This data actually makes precompiled .vpp files slightly larger, but it's not by much and I think it is worth it.

Using the new model light and metallic maps does incur a slight performance cost, as there is more shader processing that needs to be done on the models. For this reason, I have introduced two new engine settings for turning on/off voxel emissive and metallic properties. If you are on a mobile or do not have much of a GPU on your system, you can try turning them both off and seeing if it helps.

This update also removes the Depth of Field effect (Bokeh effect) from the game, the effect that would blur out the background. I might bring this back in the future, but it just wasn't focusing correctly and I did not have time to properly debug it.

So those are the main engine changes in this update. It might not seem like a ton, but it's basically all I have been working on for the past several weeks. TBH there is probably more that needs done too (please let me know), but I can't keep grinding on this update for MC2 while all of my other projects slip behind schedule, so further changes will need to wait.

There are some minor content related changes as well. Firstly, the Tree Farm and the Palm Sapling are now buildable on the Forest World, which was an accidental oversight on my part. In addition, the Spice Den can now be built on the Spice World again.

3D model art has been updated for the following structures: Barracks, Construction Yard, City Hall, Golden Shelter and Spice Drilling Operation.

Finally, two new structures from @spamdude have been added to the game, the Crystalline Trap and the Crystallizer Array, both Ice World exclusives.

I know there are now quite a few Voxel Art submissions waiting to be added to the game in the backlog. I hope to be able to get to all of these in the next update, and if I don't have to end up rewriting the whole game again then my plan is to work on those for 0.42.0. There are also changes that need to be made to the GBT to address spamming and other issues, and those are also on the list.

Hopefully the next update will not be so technically intensive and I can go back to adding fun stuff, but that will depend on how many bugs these changes introduced, so please let me know what issues you find in this release, thanks for playing mc2 and stay tuned for more!


My Colony v1.30.0 Released

Today I am updating the original My Colony to v1.30.0, bringing along some fixes, minor changes, and adding Seasons to the challenges system. Let's take a look!

Edit 2023-09-25: v1.31.0 has also been pushed out which is just a minor bug fix release, so there are no new notes for that update.

The largest change you will notice is that the Trophy leaderboards have been reset, and there is a new counter showing how many days are left in the current season. Trophy seasons will now last for 30 days, after which time the colony and the federation with the most trophies in the previous season will each get one Seasonal Trophy and everything else is reset to zero. This should hopefully give some other colonies a chance to appear on the leaderboards, since it was getting to be impossible to compete with some of the larger colonies out there.

There have been issues lately with players who are modifying their game data in order to get more resources for online play. I have started issuing 2 year bans for all colonies who are participating in this behavior, meaning that you and all of your colonies will be blocked from using MC online features for two years. In addition, there are new runtime checks in the engine that will reset all of a colony's resources to 0 if resource amount modifications are detected by the game. I really hate banning players for anything, but I can't just let abuse like this run unchecked.

For colonies with super large amounts of money and resources, there is a new Q abbreviation for numbers in the Quintillions and above.

I corrected an issue where the Ore Zapper and the House of Horrors were providing incorrect resource storage.

I also fixed an issue in this update where players were unable to restore backed up save files.

Finally, there has been an issue lately where certain ad blockers were blocking My Colony from download all of it's game data files, causing the game to hang forever on the loading screen. The game will now try to detect this scenario and give a warning message, so that the player actually knows what is happening instead of just seeing an endless loading screen.

That about wraps it up for this update. Let me know what issues you have with it, and thank you for playing!


My Colony 2 v0.40.0 Released

Today I am releasing the 0.40.0 update to My Colony 2. Let's get right into it!

I had a lot of technical issues with this update that I will not bore you with, but I will just say that I think going forward, my update ambitions need to be broken into smaller chunks so that I don't end up destroying the entire engine each release.

I have a goal for MC2 of merging the new (as of the previous update) title screen with the actual game play, sort of connecting everything together as one universe that you can sandbox your way through in Player mode. In order for this to work, I needed to merge the title screen rendering with the gameplay rendering into the same Scroll 3D graphics context. In my head this was going to be a small change, but it ended up being a nightmare, although I do believe I have woken up from it now.

The main reason this change was necessary is because I plan to have all modes of MC2 fully playable in VR mode, and you cannot switch from one graphics context to another in VR without leaving immersion mode, which sort of ruins the whole thing. As the engine worked before, walking your player through a star gate would have pushed the player out of VR mode and forced them to go back into it once the next planet loaded. Not acceptable.

So anyway, I got that fixed. It's one of those changes that takes a week to work on and that most people will not even notice that anything is different. Oh well!

Moving on, you may have noticed a different map type in the main post screenshot. I have added Forest World to the game. @therealchromedino had posted a model for a forest world planet, and I was thinking that, it's going to be fall here soon (at least in northern hemisphere), maybe it would be neat to have the forest world be sort of fall colors as well, so a lot of the trees are red/orange/yellow colors. I thought it would look better than it turned out, I am not 100% satisified with it, but you guys can let me know. Maybe we need a larger variety of tree species? If anyone wants to make some tree models, feel free!

I also thought it would be cool to have some sort of hostile AI "ewok" type species on the forest world, so I might add something of that nature as well.

The Forest World right now brings back the old Potato Patch as a unique world structure. I have not come up with a unique world resource yet, but I will in time.

Moving on, @GeneralWadaling posted a batch with a bunch of reskinned structures, and I have implemented 22 of them so far in this release. There are more that I will probably add soon as well, I was just getting tired of swapping out all of the models so I took a break from it for the time being. Look around though, as a lot of buildings got a graphical makeover in this release!

I have also added two new buildings, the City Hall and the Sports Stadium from @spamdude and @seabass13 respectively. The Sports Stadium now becomes the top entertainment structure, but you can only build it on worlds with an atmosphere. The City Hall is going to unlock city (settlement) management options in the stats window, just as soon as I figure out what those options should be. You can leave suggestions if you have ideas.

I have also added a 6th settlement level tier, since we are getting a lot of level 5 settlements already. I will add the 7th if people start unlocking tier 6. I am thinking that once your settlement level is high enough, you will be able to build some sort of Congress building (model suggestions welcome), and that building will allow you to start the independence process that will lead to the Nations feature. At least that is the rough outline of what I have in mind.

The engine should now support an option for structures that are only allowed one per settlement, or one per world. The City Hall is a one per settlement building. I also thought it would be cool to have "Wonders" or super buildings that can only be built one per world, so the first person to build it gets to have that landmark for the world. So again, if you have any ideas for Wonder/Landmark/Superstructures, let me know!

Finally, I spent a fair bit of time on performance optimizations in this update, both for rendering and for saving/loading. It should be better, but then again I always think it's better when I'm testing, so let me know how it runs "in the real world." In addition, local saves (games that are on the filesystem, not cloud sync or internal app storage) are no longer compressed, which should vastly speed up their saving and loading times.

That is it for this update, you should be able to try it basically now, or at least real soon. Let me know what issues you have, and stay tuned for more!


My Colony v1.29.0 Released

The original My Colony has just gotten a new patch and is now sitting at v1.29.0. This update fixes up some bugs that were related to the Federations feature. Patch should be hitting all platforms in short order. Enjoy!


My Colony 2 v0.39.0 Released

Huge changes are coming to My Colony 2 and this update lays the groundwork for a bunch of them. So let's just dive right in and see what is new with My Colony 2 v0.39.0, available now!

Right off the bat, there is a glitch where if you have sky textures enabled, it's always "night time." So no need to report that one, lol.

Moving on, the first thing you are certain to notice is that the games title screen has been completely revamped.

So first off, thank you to @GeneralWadaling for all of the game world models. This change to the title screen goes pretty far beyond a mere fresh coat of paint though, and actually required pretty far reaching changes under the hood. In fact, I had to end up completely rewriting most of the games' networking/multiplayer code from scratch, which ended up consuming a majority of the time I had planned to spend working on this release. Let's get into why.

I mentioned at the beginning that big changes are coming soon to My Colony 2, and these changes center around a far tighter integration to the My Colony 2 online server. Starting with v0.39.0, players are now immediately signed into and communicating with the MC2 online servers as soon as the initial loading screen clears, and in effect you are actually behind-the-scenes in-game even when you are only on the title screen.

Why is this necessary? You have maybe seen the Player Mode icon in My Colony 2 in the past, but this feature is about to be expanded in a huge way. I have mentioned before adding the ability for Player Mode characters to travel between worlds via Star Gates, but I have decided to "dream bigger" and instead go all out on this feature.

Traveling between worlds I quickly realized was going to require a tighter integration with the MC2 servers. The way MC2 worked before was that your game reconnected to the global lobby every time you loaded or joined a server. Unfortunately, this model does not work too well if you need to instantly jump from one world to another. So, I started trying to tweak the current code in order to permit the things I wanted to do, and eventually one thing led to another, and I basically ended up rewriting most of the games networking code from scratch.

Moving back into the cloud and onto the MC2 server, we are now going to be assigning global coordinates to every world, sort of how is done in the original My Colony, and soon instead of building individual My Colony 2 worlds, we are going to be building out the entire My Colony Universe! Virtually, of course.

For anyone who has played My Starship, this is where things will soon be getting interesting. The title screen is going to be morphing basically into sort of a mix between the game My Starship, and the old Galaxy Map from MC1. Since the title screen is now rendered using another Scroll3d engine instance, you will eventually be seeing all of the MC2 online worlds in their actual global coordinates, right from the title screen. When you click on the next/previous buttons, it is going to "fly" the camera between your different worlds. Note that this does not happen right now, because nothing has coordinates yet. But it is coming soon.

How is that like My Starship? Well, when you click on the (+) button on the title screen, you will see an option to create a new Player Mode Character (not yet functional).

Unlike creating a local/offline character, this is going to let you choose one of your skins from My Tokens, and then choose your initial star ship! Luckily General Wadaling had previously provided a ton of star ship models so there should be several to choose from. You will then be able to fly your star ship around the online galaxy map, right from the title screen, and choose which world you want your player to land at.

There are a lot of possibilities here, and I will leave that open for another discussion. But who knows what kinds of things you can discover out in space, beyond just other players' planets.

This new online galactic map + player mode + star ships is the primary focus of the next update, so that is the next thing I am working on. Suggestions for that implementation are very welcome. Some plans off the top of my head involve allowing players to eventually build star ships that can be controlled on the global map and used to run trade routes, or even blockades of other planets. I think the space realm will need to be more a turn based nature VS realtime (for performance reasons) but we will see. I think of it as a giant global chess board.

Next let's take a look in-game. In the Statistics window, the Nations tab that has been sitting there doing nothing from the beginning of time has been renamed to just Nation, and now it does something.

Here you will see an overview of all of your colonies and settlements in the entire MC2 universe. The title of the page will read The Colonies of your username however there is also logic in the game to make it read The Nation of your username, however that is a discussion for another day. For now I will simply say that on the MC2 server, all colonies are now labeled as being sub-colonies of United Earth.

For MC2 online, I am considering all of a players' settlements to be "united" under a single governing structure, owned by you, the player. Eventually, diplomacy (alliances, trade agreements, and even war) is going to be handled on a global basis. So for example, if a user, we will use Poumm as an example, decides to declare war on you, they are then automatically declaring war on all of your settlements as well as any other players you have formed an alliance with. And this situation will carry over into the global "space" realm as well.

Let's talk a bit about Player Mode next, because it has had a total physics rewrite, in preparation for next update's online player mode overhaul. You can now walk across bridges and onto tiles occupied by structures, and even onto structures themselves if the change in elevation is not too high. In theory a structure could be designed with a stairway all the way to the top to allow players to climb up onto roofs. I plan to add jumping and mounting vehicles in the next update as well.

Next, if you look in the Game Editor, the discerning eye may notice four new properties for Structures related to Goods:

Goods are another new feature coming soon that will have a huge impact on gameplay. There is a new item on the title screen called the Goods Editor (which does not function yet). Basically, the concept here is that players will be able to build generic factories and stores to produce and sell goods of their choosing. Factories will have production "slots" determining how many different goods they can produce, and a rate, determining how fast they make said goods. Likewise, stores will be able to sell X number of different goods at a rate of X.

So what are these Goods and where do they come from? Well that is the cool part, that Goods editor will allow players to design the Goods themselves. Basically, players can provide a model (a 3d one using Voxel Paint, or a 2d one using Pixel Paint which will be auto-converted into 3d). You can choose what materials are needed to build the Good, and you will be able to assign different properties to the good (based on the input materials). These goods will be auto-sold in stores for profit, and player mode characters will also be able to visit stores on different planets and purchase these goods directly, equipping them and using them in-game.

If the whole thing sounds complicated, that's because it is, and that is why it doesn't work yet. But it is the next thing I am implementing after the Player Mode revamp.

Moving on to some minor changes, the Wooden Bridge has had the texture update to fill in the gaps in the wooden slats, because the new Player Mode physics were allowing the player to fall to his death otherwise. Also, @GeneralWadaling has provided updated models for the Outpost and Mobile Outpost.

The general theme for all of these changes is to make the entire universe around MC2 feel more connected and alive. The goal is to transform the game into something of a city building MMO with strategy, business management, and RPG elements all baked in. Seems pretty ambitious, but it's actually not very far off from being available. Small pieces of groundwork have been laid down for months now, and we are getting close to the point where it's going to happen. Once it's all done, then I think the game will be ready for the big Steam release.

So how can you help? One thing that will be need soon are generic shops and generic factories for the new Goods system. I know there are already a couple out there, but it would be nice to have different "tiers," small cheap ones that have limited production, and mass factories for later in the game. Mom and pop shops and mega marts. We will need it all.

Ideas on how to implement the player mode stuff would be good too. I am thinking maybe having a base no-frills shuttle craft that everyone starts with and gets for free, and then if players want better ships, they will have to be constructed by Ship Yards built in the colonies. Which means we will need a ship yard. I think in MC2, Star Ships should be vastly more expensive VS MC1, and instead of being a resource that you stockpile, it should be an actual unit that can be piloted, sold to players, and positioned on the galactic map in strategic formations.

So there is a lot to be excited about, and this fall is definitely going to the season of MC2 glory. So thanks to everyone who played, keep the suggestions coming, and stay tuned for more!

And yeah, I seriously changed a ton of code in this update, so please let me know everything I borked.


Linkback References

My Colony

Ape Apps, LLC 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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