It runs off the Kongregate one. And your area compound list changes depending on your level, activeness of the other players, and overall random generated. There’s really no way to “make” your friend join your neighborhood besides leveling up close to them, and getting lucky.
I agree, at first I was amazed by engine and atmosphere. First disapointment were “you have to wait 7 days to finish” upgrades. Second disapointment were raids. Raids can be so fun, instead – especialy on higher levels – you die soon after you shoot for the first time. It is quite disapointing to actualy disable only fun left for high level players.