Hello everyone and welcome to the Terraforming Update!
Terraforming the area around your city is our new large end game goal.
This update doesn’t only feature terraforming, but also some improvements and fixes, see changelog below. Also: all of your saves are compatible!
In order to terraform the planet, you will have to research a bunch of new technologies, build up some new production chains and build five different buildings to deal with the different aspects of terraforming.
Dust Particle Filtering
This is the first and easiest step of terraforming. The atmosphere on your planet is filled with some very fine dust. If your citizens are exposed to the fine dust for longer periods of time, the dust settles in their lungs, causing long term health problems. You will need to supply the dust particle filtering building with fresh filtering meshes to continue operating.
In order to enable more plants to grow on this planet, the soil composition needs to be improved over a large area. In order to spread the fertilizer, you can use flying drones - as long as you provide them with tons of fertilizer!
(Note: currently the drones are not flying around the map yet, just a little above the building. Maybe in the next update!)
Ground Acidity Regulation
When you arrive, the ground water is way too acidic to sustain the kind of plants we know on earth. The ground acidity regulator reaches down to the ground water and removes the acidity in a large radius.
This building needs to reach high up in the atmosphere to extract all the ammonia necessary to make the air safe for humans. It requires expensive advanced filtering meshes to operate, but it covers a large area.
Magnetic Field Generation
Your planet does not have a protective magnetic field like the earth - and is therefore subject to way too much radiation. There is one solution: You can build a huge electromagnet that covers the whole map. You will need to construct this monument in multiple stages, like the huge adamantine drill. Once it’s done, you will need to supply it with superconducting coils and huge amounts of electricity.
The terraforming panel will give you information about your current terraforming progress and what you need to accomplish in each category.
You can even turn on visualizations to quickly see your progress on the map and any spots you might have missed:
Performance: VAT and Impostors
This update we have taken game performance more seriously and started with some core optimizations. There are two main things:
First, we a technique called impostors to reduce triangle counts and draw calls in the distance. These are basically advanced billboards that look good from any angle. For example, trees in the distance are not rendered in full detail, but just as a simple plane.
Second, we optimized our animations to run almost solely on the graphics card. This technique is called Vertex Animation Textures (VAT) and reduces load on the CPU. Check out our huge animation test scene, where we can animate thousands of buildings with almost no performance hit:
There is a caveat though: These techniques require a little more memory. We will keep an eye out to see if this becomes a problem or not. Also, you can now change your memory consumption through the graphics settings. Finally, these improvements have nothing to do with simulation performance, which we’ll look at in the next update!
Here is the list with the most important changes:
- 5 terraforming buildings, 3 new resources
- terraforming panel with visualizations and stats
- fixed a couple of save loading issues
- fixed production priority panel resetting on load
- added a bunch of new building sounds (park, arena, school, water buildings, methane buildings, terraforming buildings, solar panels)
- some gondola pathfinding fixes (a piece of cargo used to take the gondola instead of faster alternatives)
- VAT (animation performance)
- Impostors (graphics performance)
- RAM work (VAT and impostors take more RAM, but texture streaming optimizes RAM usage)
- some small general performance improvements
- some localization fixes
We’re excited to hear about your experiences with the Terraforming Update!