Early Access 0.21 OUT NOW! Freeplay overhaul, Leafcutters, 3.x Challenge Mode, Extra Map, Achievements, New Movement Code


Community Manager
Staff member
Community Manager
For many months we have been working hard on improving movement in Empires of the Undergrowth, and this patch represents successes in this area but also a bunch of content and quality-of-life changes that we hope you will be pleased with.

Thanks so much for those of you who have helped out during the beta phase for this update; we’re very glad to be able to release it for everyone!

Headline Features

Updated Movement Code

After replacing most of the movement code in the game and running extensive beta tests, this is now ready to go. This will lead to a noticeable performance boost for all which ultimately means more creatures and bigger maps!

This will also help fix bugs that have been persistent in movement for a long time. Bugs to do with ants freezing or getting stuck on ramps should, for the most part, be eliminated.

Freeplay Overhaul

Freeplay has seen many changes and should feel very different now than it used to.
  • Leaf cutters make their way to freeplay, along with climbable plants!
  • New rainforest map Embankment
  • Difficulty has been tuned and and extra difficulty option added that affects how quickly and how far the games difficulty will change
  • Optional victory conditions have been added allowing you to set goals (these also affect the difficulty as you approach victory)
  • Freeplay setups can be saved, and can also be shared via a string
  • Ubers have been rebalanced bringing them to a fairer difficulty level. They have also been altered to be strong / weak against various enemy combinations
  • As difficulty increases, creatures will now get stronger (rather than just more numerous) and will have much less food reduction
Extra Levels

We will be bringing regular extra missions to the game apart from the main campaign. Here we have allowed ourselves more freedom to do things in a more game-like fashion rather than true to nature, like we strive to be in the story.The first 3 maps will be released a month apart!
  • Aggrandise launches today! Command a Formica ereptor colony featuring the fierce trap jaw ants and carefully choose your targets as your colony grows large enough to take on a large foe!
  • More are on the way - follow our social media for details!
Third Tier Challenge Mode

Phorid flies are tiny, inconspicuous-looking insects that could easily be mistaken for fruit flies but are far deadlier. They lay their eggs between the armoured carapaces of insects, in particular your ants, leading to a time where they will be less effective followed by inevitable death as the larva eats away at the innards.

All ants have a chance of fighting off the flies when they are attacked, but level 3 mediae and majors have a 100% chance to fight them off.

First Tier Achievements

We have also added a bunch of achievements for the first tier levels of the game. This includes New Home, Subjugation and the first formicarium challenge. Multiple achievements have been added for various difficulties and challenge modes. There are the generic achievements, such as finishing a level on a specific difficulty, but also tasks that have specific conditions to achieve. Check your achievements from the in-game menu.

Optimisation and Balance

On top of all these additions there has been a raft of optimisation changes made that should also improve performance. Some areas have also seen balance changes including area-of-effect (AOE) attacks, insane difficulty on 3.2 Front Line and many others. Many of these changes are listed below.

  • Projectiles have been significantly optimised (very noticeable with rapid fire wood ants)
  • Substantially reduced the cost of rendering the Isolepis Cernua (spiky plant)
  • And many more! See previous patch notes from beta testing for extensive details
  • Black ants now take 20% less damage from AOE attacks
  • 3.2 Front Line on harder difficulties will spawn less environmental creatures and more higher level army ants
  • Formicarium challenge 3 has been made much easier on harder difficulties:
  • Reduced the number of resource refills the enemy colony receives across various difficulties (now 0/1/2/4 down from 0/1/5/10)
  • Reduced reload quantity to 1800 (down from 2000)
  • Resource reloads will now appear gradually (10 per second) rather than instantly
  • Reduced size of cricket drops on harder difficulties
  • Damage falloff implemented on wood ant mortar, uber basic attacks and some whip spider attacks. This deals less damage the further away from the epicentre of the attack the creature is (reaching zero at the very edge)
Selected Improvements
  • Multiple frame rate limits added
  • Added an option slider for a darkened square behind resource counters for visibility
  • Markers should feel more responsive with faster movement between different markers, more ants at the end of the marker and far fewer ants waiting at home to head to the marker
  • Camera zoom now interpolates very rapidly
  • Visuals added for leafcutter major auras
  • Difficulty levels have been added for Formicarium challenges 1 and 2
  • Trail calculations have been updated. Should lead to more ants at the end of trails, more consistent flows and less ants waiting underground
  • And many more! See previous patch notes from beta testing for extensive details
Selected Fixes
  • Significantly less ants getting caught on corners
  • Corrected an error that could cause creatures to get stuck at the entrance to ramps
  • A previously dormant patrol route behind the player’s nest has been reactivated in 3.2
  • Fixed an issue where workers could survive their tiles being deleted if they have the “evasive” skill
  • After purchasing a queen ability, all queen cool-downs need to recharge (prevents switching queen abilities during formicarium challenge exploit)
  • Ladybirds now immune to many crowd control effects to prevent them being affected whilst eating an aphid
  • “Attack when favourable” creatures (such as mantis and jumping spider) now take nearby allies into account when deciding to attack or not
  • Improvements to ant crowd movement - particularly in combat
  • Mole crickets now take room size into account when selecting a room to spawn in
  • Improvements to collision detection with difficult shapes
  • Battle arena now only removes creatures that are not in combat
  • Ubers will no longer ignore the nest invasion setting in freeplay setup
  • Moved all pebbles off walkable area in the original Hungry Spider level
  • Fixed a visual error with the wood ant projectile splash
  • And many more! See previous patch notes from beta testing for extensive details
Last edited:
The thing is ''Significantly less ants getting caught on corners '' ants started to go zigzag through 1 tile tunnels and bump in to sharp corners.


Community Manager
Staff member
Community Manager
Di you know who else does that? Ichnuneun wasps. ( please forgive the spelling Latin is so hard to pronounce and write correctly), they live in North America.

A bunch of species work this way- gruesome yet fascinating. All things bright and beautiful.