So, thrive 5.2 is a major improvement over the previous version (5.1.1? I forget already, whoops) in my opinon. I’m going to try and not turn this post into a multiparagraph essay, but sometimes I just have too much to say.
First off, compounds are much more reliably spawned, making heterotrophy actually viable. Even when I started getting really big (towards my 15th and beyond evolution; I played until the game said I “won”), I never had too much trouble with keeping my compound levels up.
A rough retelling of my evolution path
I spent my first 5 or so evolutions as a prokaryote, building up a fair amount of prokaryotic proteins and cytoplasm to ensure I had enough of everything for the nucleus. I started as a chemotroph in this phase, abusing the frequency at which hydrogen sulfide spawned.
Once I got the nucelus, I began to focus on energy economy and flagella, rushing the surface to begin using chloroplasts. I never got to complete autotrophy, but they helped keep me alive in the rare instance there were no compounds around for a good few screen lengths. I also played around with nitrogenase around this time, but it never really got much further than 3 or so proteins.
As I got to the surface, I pushed for a lot of energy economy, storage, and speed (flagella). The end result was a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type cell, that could eat basically anything it came across (I had added one rusticyanin just to say I could eat iron) and would move along, sifting materials from the medium it’s moving in.
I’d almost argue some compounds are a little too common, especially when staying in a “patch” of resources (for example, I’d move through a cloud of glucose, only to discover phosphates and ammonia, only to turn around and see that the patch of glucose behind me had spawned a bunch of iron, glucose, and hydrogen sulfide right around it), though it definitely keeps the pace of the game fairly quick and competitive.
I’d say either try and make it so the game spaces out resources a little more, or make it so other cells are more frequent in patches so you have to work harder to get the resources you’re competing for.
Another quirk of the new system is just that surviving is overall a lot easier. in my 80-ish minutes of playtime, I only died once overall (just due to bad luck with glucose spawns, after I left the first area was a bunch of hydrogen sulfide but before I got to the lit zones), compared to dying 1-4 times per generation in older versions. The pace was overall faster and much less frustrating, and I can’t wait to jump back in and do it all over again.
The game feels much easier, but in a good way. You can still die if you have bad luck, but overall there’s not much to worry about. It feels like it’s more balanced for player enjoyment, where the player has a much higher success rate. That said, though, I’m not sure how easy is too easy for the devs, so I’m just trying to tell my experience rather than how I’d change it.
EDIT: Reporting what seems to be a bug; the cave patch says it has 4% hydrogen sulfide, but I didn’t find a single spawn in about a half hour of playing.
I’ve also had a couple of random crashes that I can’t find note of in the logs. Not sure if this is just my computer being old and crappy or a problem with the game.