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Updates and Announcements - Page 6

Changes Coming to My Colony 1 Desktop Clients

So about a year and a half ago or so, Microsoft depreciated the original UWP WebView control and move all of their development efforts over to the new Chromium based MS Edge. This was fine, except for that My Colony on Windows ran under the old Edge WebView, which was no longer receiving any updates. In order to allow My Colony to keep running on the latest engine, I took down the original Windows package and replaced it with a PWA pointing to the Web version of the game.

This was good, except for that MS does not allow non-Microsoft Store in-app purchases for games, so I had to make the game paid on the Windows Store, and buying it just added Premium to your account. This of course led to a pretty big drop in Windows users, since a free game obviously does better than a paid one.

Meanwhile though, Microsoft came out with the newer WebView2 control for UWP apps, based on the new Chromium Edge engine. In my spare time I have been updating my Windows Web App Core code to take advantage of this new engine, and now that the work is complete, I am pleased to announce that the free version of My Colony is once again back up and running on the Windows Store!

I have unpublished the paid edition so there is no confusion by having two versions of My Colony available, but if you previously bought the paid edition from the Store, then it will still show up for you like always.

So that is the change for the Windows Store release. I will probably be making the same change to My Colony 2 the next time I update that game, so there will finally be a free MC2 package available to Windows Store users.

Moving on though to the non-Windows Store desktop clients.

I quit updating the Windows/Mac/Linux desktop clients quite a while ago, and converted the Steam client to be basically a wrapper for the Web App that unlocks premium on the users' account. This worked pretty good on Steam, but a lot of people were taking advantage of how it worked in order to give free Premium access by letting their friends log into their Steam using their Ape Apps Accounts. So to combat this, and also just to improve the experience in general, I am bringing back the native clients for Windows, Mac and Linux, and they will all be natively packaged as well, not just hosts for the Web App version of the game.

When this change occurs though, I will be removing the "Steam Premium" flag from every account in the Ape Apps database. Then, the first time you sign in to the game using Steam, it will ask you to link your Steam account to your Ape Apps account, and there can only be one Steam and Ape Apps Account linked, so you can no longer share your Steam purchases with other users. Linking your account will also enable automatic sign in for all Ape Apps games through Steam. For added security, the Steam editions of the game will no longer be able to run unless Steam is also running and signed in.

In addition, the Steam clients will now implement the Steam API, and I am looking into adding Steam cloud saving, workshop, achievements, IAP, etc.

Finally, the Ape Apps Launcher is getting a massive overhaul and update sometime in January, so the experience there will be improving quite dramatically as well, so be on the lookout for that. It is going to run as either a PWA or a native packaged app, and will support interfaces for Desktop, Mobile, TV and VR users. Should be good stuff!

So anyway, those are the changes coming to the Desktop apps.

Updates and Plans for My Colony 1 and 2

I know that many are anxiously waiting the next updates to My Colony 1 and 2, so since they are still a little ways off, I thought I would share with everyone what their current status is, and what my plans are going forward!

First, the reason for the lack of updates this month is that I have created a new Google Play account called My Colony Universe to house all of the games in (you guessed it) the My Colony Universe, so that everything is combined together and easy for players to find. Since the titles were spread out across three different accounts, it took me some time to get everything transferred over, as each transfer request takes several days and must (I assume) be done manually by employees at Google.

Going forward though, all My Colony related content on Android is available on the same Google Play account which you can view here:

While I was waiting for the transfers though, I started the process of going back and updating my entire catalogue of apps and games so that they all target the latest versions of Android/iOS/Windows and run the latest SDK's and so on. This has been a slow-ish process, and I expect it to take me most of the rest of the month, but it is important work to do, since the My Colony games themselves do not generate all that much revenue, and are largely subsidized by the rest of my catalogue of apps and games. For that reason, it is important to keep the other titles up to date and functioning properly on the latest mobile hardware, and since some of my apps I had not touched in several years, time was well overdue to go through and complete this process.

Next, let's look at the future plans for the original My Colony. I do not know if it will be ready for the next update or not (really depends on GirlyGamerGazell's timeline), but the next big content update to the game will be the completion of the Dark Matter update. This will probably be the last really big content update that MC1 receives, other than a regular stream of weekly premium structures. I really want to focus my time for new content and features into My Colony 2 which has really begun to mature over the last few updates, so that is what I will be doing. Rest assured though, MC1 will continue to receive updates on a regular basis to fix things that need fixed and to stay current for the latest devices and whatnot.

I am also going to be making a change to the Challenges system, as it turns out that it is a lot of work for me to keep coming up with new challenges on a daily basis. Instead, every day the MC server is going to automatically generate a new daily challenge using a random resource, this way I do not have to keep coming up with challenges and logos manually. In addition, randomly throughout the day, the server may generate a 1-2 hour long "snap challenge," which I think should give more players a chance to gain trophies.

As the challenge system goes on, it may make sense to implement something like "seasons" where all trophies reset after a time. There can be a record of course of which players/federations won each season. But at some point it might get to where first place is so far ahead on trophies that nobody can even catch up.

Anyway, you guys can let me know what you think of the system. Remember that challenges are completely optional, and while some people have expressed disdain for the system, many others seem to really like it, so it will be staying around for sure, and might even come to MC2 as well.

Now on to My Colony 2, which is going to have a big year in 2023. A lot of new features/fixes/and mechanics have come to MC2 over the last few updates, bringing it closer to being on par with the original. That is going to continue, and it will eventually far surpass MC1 in terms of "stuff to do."

First, I have done some work behind the scenes over the last couple of weeks on the server side of things, mostly aimed at improving MC2 dedicated servers. I noticed that when running an MC2 dedicated server for several days, what would happen is that the user's account token would expire, and then all game saves to Cloud Sync would fail due to an expired token. Thus the next time the server was rebooted, several days of game data would be lost. This issue should now be fixed on the web app version of My Colony 2, so it now should be safe to run an MC2 dedicated server using the web browser for days on end with Cloud Sync enabled. I currently have three servers running at my house to put this theory to the test.

To further help with dedicated servers, I am going to be adding an automatic daily backup for all public dedicated server games directly to the My Colony 2 server (which is on different hardware than the Cloud Sync server) which server owners will be able to restore from in the event of a catastrophe. Perhaps I will retain the last several days worth of backups that an owner can restore from.

Since I noticed there has been a lot more MC2 dedicated server activity lately, I wanted to make sure that this system is as solid as I can make it, so more improvements will be coming to it as time goes on.

In terms of new content, the next MC2 update will be fairly large, as I am pleased to report there have been quite a few new model submissions on the Discord server and elsewhere, so there is a lot of exciting content coming soon to MC2.

I am also going to be making a way for people to submit the link to their custom News Feed servers, so that the game will come standard with several that players can choose from.

I would like to also finally release MC2 to Steam in 2023, which I know is something some people have been asking/waiting for. Before it gets there, I want the game to have sound effects and a music track. I have already compiled a few original tunes for the game using Garageband, but I am no musical expert, so if anyone out there wants to take a stab at creating some songs for MC2, please feel free to do so!

Big things are going to be coming to the Player mode in My Colony 2 (the mode where you become a little colonist and walk around). I sort of have a vision in my mind where MC2 is kind of two types of games in one, the city builder type game that it already is, and something of an adventure/role playing game using the Player mode, except that the universe you play in consists of the network of online dedicated servers built by other players. I am thinking that the Star Gate from MC1 needs to return, but this time it will act as a means for players to travel from planet to planet in player mode in order to adventure, complete quests/missions, find items, or just explore other worlds from that perspective. I have spent some time just walking around some MC2 worlds in the VR mode, and it is pretty cool, but would be far more so if there was actually something to do besides just look.

Basically, each player/account is going to have one player mode avatar on the entire universe server, instead of a different guy for each world. You will have a "home" planet that you can respawn on if you die or if the server you are currently on goes offline. You will have stats/inventory and be able to party up/communicate with other players. You will be able to visit other worlds via Star Gates, even if you do not have a settlement on that world. When you are in building mode, you will be able to see Player Mode people as they come through your star gate, and so really you can build some kind of special welcoming area/lobby in your world around your Star Gate. Maybe buildings will be added that you can build that have specific functions for player mode. The game will also generate some NPC type characters in each settlement that players can interact with or get quests from. You will be able to do some sort of prospecting/mining, and maybe each world will have unique materials that you can only obtain in player mode. There are a lot of options.

Player Mode characters will also be able to control vehicles, whether driving/air/water vehicles, as well as combat type vehicles. There are a lot of options. Players will also be able to fight each other if they choose to do so.

So that is sort of my idea for the "two games in one" approach to MC2. Although the classic My Colony style of play will always be the primary mode, I think realtime multiplayer and dedicated server model that MC2 has unlocks the ability to add the cool secondary mode that can potentially add replay value to the game for years to come, and also open the world up to players who maybe don't care about the building aspect of the game, but would have fun adventuring through worlds that others have built up.

So those are the 2023 plans for MC2. Content and feature wise, I want it to be close to on par with MC1 United Earth faction, with the added bonus of infinite world sizes, real time online multiplayer, and a network of worlds that are truly connected. On top of that, I want to start adding a secondary adventure game to the mix that players can interact and explore in, whether on a PC, touch screen, TV/gamepad, or in VR. Finally, I want the polish and presentation to get to a point where the game is ready for Steam. I think all of these updates will add up to some exciting times ahead for MC2!

Just as an aside, I also plan to keep updating Colony Wars throughout the year, I have not forgotten about that game. At some point also, Terra Nova 4X will become a thing, I just need to find the time to work on it!

#mycolony #mycolony2

My Colony v1.24.0 Released

Since yesterday got a bug fix/maintenance patch for My Colony 2, and since Dark Matter Pt2 update is not yet ready for prime time, I figured My Colony 1 could get the same treatment, so the new v1.24.0 patch should be hitting all platforms over the next few days. What's new? Let's find out!

Even with the existing Turbo Drones, some of the newer buildings were taking forever and a day to construct. That is where the brand new Ultra Drone comes in! The Ultra Drone requires Dark Matter tech and is basically the build-speed equivalent of 1,500 Turbo Drones, so it's very fast at building. It is also by far the most expensive unit in the game, but just one of these bad boys should take care of all of your mega construction needs (for now at least)!

I made some cosmetic changes to the Diamond Refinery and the Diamond Miner, because they both had L.I.S. flags painted on them, even though they can also be built by United Earth. The L.I.S. logo has been removed.

Speaking of new paint job, the Challenges window was spruced up just a bit. First, Second and Third place now get Gold, Silver and Bronze colors respectively. You can now also click on every colony and federation name to bring up their respective windows.

But you might be saying, "there is no Federation window" and you would be right, until now. I have started building the federation info window, which now shows up when you click on a federation name. It gives basic info and a Request Membership button, making it easier for users to join a federation they are interested in. It is still bare bones, but will be fleshed out more later.

Also, now if a colony is a member of a federation, you will see a new button that links to their Federation window when you are looking at their colony info screen, making requesting federation membership even easier.

In the last update, there was a bug where participating in a challenge from a Region city would cause the city to keep losing resources when the regional output/input was simulated. This has been fixed. I also fixed a bug that was causing builder units to act strangely.

Now for the stuff people will not be as happy about.

Last time I spoke of removing Import/Export completely from online games. Some people liked this, some hated it. For now, I have kept Import in the game with the 99.99% price penalty, and have kept Export in the game and reduced the penalty from 99.99% to just 90%. I might adjust that further later, or may still remove it completely. TBH the extreme penalties have not really caused much of a problem that people were claiming it would.

And now for the change that I think I will get the most rage from on this update, resource decay has been increased dramatically, as in the engine will now try to get your resource level down to your storage capacity within 10 minutes or so (that is not a hard number, that is just roughly how long it takes). I consider being able to have more resources than you have storage for to be an exploit anyway, and now it has been patched, but the patch does give the player sufficient time to use export or post stuff onto the marketplace. Basically, the higher above your storage capacity, the faster your resource will decay, and if you are just a little bit over, it will decay basically at the old decay rate. So if you have, for example, 50 million star ships but can only store 10,000, you will be losing millions per second at the beginning. This is another change geared towards bringing galactic resource values into balance.

Finally, over the next month or so, I am doing a "dark structure" series on the collectable structures window (which you can find by clicking on the "New Content Available" button. These will basically be dark theme colored variants of some of the most popular regular structures, so if you have any requests of structures you would like to see get the dark treatment, let me know!

So anyway, that is all for this update. I know that some tweaks are being made to the rest of the Dark Matter update, so stay tuned for that, and as always let me know what bugs or other issues you find in the game. And until next time, enjoy!


My Colony 2 v0.30.0 Released

I have just pushed the My Colony 2 v0.30.0 update to production on Ape Web Apps, and the patch should be hitting mobile platforms over the coming days. There are no new features or content additions in this update, this is a straight bug fix and performance tweak release, with the following corrections:

  • Fixed issue with Excavator crashing the game server
  • Fixed long standing issue where a reset in the Ape Apps Signaling server would put all online MC2 games offline
  • Fixed major performance issue related to unit harvesting
  • Fixed major server hangups that would occur during game saves
  • Improvements to news ticker scroll speed
  • Terrain objects on non-active chunks are now placed in a simulated state so they are not updated every singe game tick
  • Communications from game server to game clients are now bundled and sent only once per game tick to reduce network bandwidth and packet decompression times
  • Units that are located on non-active chunks no longer do elevation checks while moving

In addition, this update brings in the latest version of the Scroll3D library, which received several performance improvements and bug fixes during the last update to the My Tokens app.

Important to note: due to the new server-client packet bundling code, game clients v0.29.0 and lower can not connect to servers v0.30.0 or higher, so if you cannot join a game and you do not have the update yet, do not report this as a bug.

As I said, the update is now live on the Web and should be hitting everywhere else over the coming days. Sorry for the delay in getting the fixes out, let me know what further issues you find, and stay tuned for more!


My Colony 2 v0.29.0 Released

Today I am finishing up My Colony 2 v0.29.0, and the update should be hitting all platforms over the coming days. This is a major update to the game, including many core changes to the engine and underlying code, so unfortunately there are probably bugs that I am not foreseeing. But what is new here anyway? Let's take a look!

To begin, this update marks the triumphant return of the Galactic Board of Trade, featuring an excellent voxel model provided by @SPARKY0303 ! This is the only new building in this update, which is accompanied by the new Long Range Communications tech which is required to build it. It also requires a level 3 settlement in order to be built. Once you build the GBT, it will unlock the new Trade tab in the statistics window, provided your camera is currently centered on a settlement that has a GBT.

From there, you are able to post resource contracts, or purchase contracts that have been posted by other players.

The Galactic Board of Trade is still in it's early stages in My Colony 2, and more features will be added as time goes on, but the basic framework is now there and available to use. Keep in mind, that the trade tab will only be available on un-modded games, so if you have mods activated, you will not be able to post trades to the GBT.

Along with the new GBT, this update also brings back the classic Newsfeed ticker from My Colony 1!

The news ticker is also in it's early stages, but has a huge advantage over the ticker found in the original My Colony, in that it now supports custom third party news feeds! Anybody can create their own news feed for My Colony 2, and I have posted information on how to do so in this thread. There are a lot of updates planned to the news ticker as well, so it will be evolving as time goes on. I also plan to let world/server admins create their own news headlines for the ticker, as a way to convey information to the players on their server.

There have been some engine changes that should help performance. On one of my worlds, a synthetic Crystalline deposit got away from one of the players, and ended up covering many chunks in the game, lagging down the server and exploding the file size. Luckily, this was an opportunity to do some heavy performance tuning and make some important changes to resource spreading as well.

Terrain objects like Synthetic Crystalline or Palm Trees now keep track of their "generation," so every time a terrain item spawns a child, it's generation number increases. When a terrain hits generation 6, it can no longer spread and spawn new children. Now, six generations still allows for a good amount of spreading, but it should keep something like Crystalline from destroying an entire world.

In addition, terrains can now no longer spread over roads and structures. They weren't supposed to be able to before, but it was bugged, but now it works, so you can more easily contain crystalline farms with a wall or road.

Now, all of the big changes mentioned above required the creation of a new centralized server for My Colony 2, which is now online and took way more man hours to set up then I expected, but it's capabilities are going to be way greater than those found in the MC1 server long term. Connecting to the MC2 Online server is done automatically behind the scenes, and the server only allows connections from non-modded games. You can tell if you are connected to the MC2 Online server because a My Colony 2 Online tab will show up in your Statistics window.

The tab right now only shows you the top 30 online colonies ordered by GDP, but this is going to be greatly expanded in the future, allowing players to see all sorts of stats, rankings, and even conduct interplanetary trades and diplomacy, so stay tuned for more on that.

The new MC2 Online server also ties into the new news ticker and can give you some important information. For example, if you are playing an online game in World A, but you also have a settlement in World B that is online, and the settlement in World B is suffering from starvation, you will get notices in the news ticker that your settlement in the other world is having starvation, in case you want to log in to the other server and help your people out.

I have really big plans for the centralized server going forward, and I am probably going to do a My Colony Podcast in the coming days to discuss some of them. All of these new features are in their infancy though, and all will be improving as time goes on.

So that is basically what is up in this update. It should be live right now on the Web, the Launcher, and on Windows Store, and should be hitting Android and iOS sometime this week, so check it out, let me know what you think, let me know what problems you find, and stay tuned for more!


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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