A few issues with Multicellular

In short, autotrophs are currently heavily favored by the Multicellular stage. Here’s why.

Firstly, non-player cell clusters don’t seem to exist. This is a general issue with auto-evo, which is often neglected. The lack of NPC cell clusters could be fixed at least in some respects by having a few player character speciations during the start of the multicellular phase. I doubt that auto-evo can handle multicellular yet, though. It can barely handle a single cell, how is it going to create sane multicellular creations?

Secondly, fights are iffy. Health isn’t shared between cells, and as far as I can tell, there’s no real way to create some sort of ‘skin’ layer for protection or anything. As a result, a bad encounter with an OxyToxy-wielding eukaryote can divide your creature in two, setting you back significantly from reproduction. Combat design in the multicellular stage is not merely lacking, I believe it is absent.

Thirdly, heterotrophs have a hard time. Due to the engulfment mechanics, if you want to engulf a cell, only the specific cell in your cluster that you’re using can be used to engulf it. If that cell isn’t large enough - if you reduced the size to specialise it - then you’re fresh out of luck. I designed a digestive cell which consists of essentially only lysosomes, and attempted to construct a feeding arrangement on my cell’s anterior. This did not work. My ideal prey would be a cell that split from my species in the beginning, an early eukaryote with a good deal of size. Unfortunately, none of my cells were large enough to eat it, despite the fact that my digestive cells collectively should have had enough size. I suggest, to deal with this, that some method of primitive, freeform tissue-creation would be implemented, so that I could collect my three digestive cells into a digestion cluster that could then easily consume this lesser cell.

Because of some of these issues above, along with an apparent issue with cell generation (in my wanderings as a large multicellular creature, I saw very few prokaryotes or eukaryotes around), heterotrophy, which is by far the more interesting method of play, is seemingly infeasible. Meanwhile, autotrophy is humongously powerful. I could easily sustain five movement cells simply by creating a few cells filled with chloroplasts. This doesn’t make sense. A defining characteristic of most photosynthetic organisms on Earth is that they have very little ability to move, being sessile or plankton, often. While plants do move to a degree, it is a small degree, effectively only to reach for light over the course of a day.
I don’t really know how to fix this, other than nerfing photosynthesis. I suppose I’d suggest giving chloroplasts a high osmoregulation cost or making them able to feed less mitochondria (currently one chloroplast can feed several mitochondria, IIRC), so that although they would turn a net gain in glucose and ATP, it wouldn’t be enough to sustain significant movement.

There are many other pressing issues, such as unplayability caused by it being a prototype - like the lack of saving or fossilisation. On a minor respect, you can’t change your cell’s color in Multicellular.

When you fail to engulf something in Multicellular, you don’t know why. No messages are given. I tried to engulf small(ish) cells with my large(ish) digestive cell and got no response. Meanwhile, a few eukaryotes broke pieces of my cell cluster off.

I think there should be some ability to control the connections between the cells. I’d suggest having some capacity that, in essence, collectivises damage - the stronger the bond, the more damage is shared with the bonded cell. So at maximum bond, any damage to an individual cell would be spread across the entire cell cluster. At minimum bond, any damage to an individual cell would be fully kept away from any other cells (and the cell would be prone to breaking off). Bond would be cell-to-cell, along the hex borders.
Those hexes are an issue. They don’t handle differently-sized cells very well. The cells connect weirdly, in ways that I don’t want them to connect. The only way I can think of to fix it is to make cell connections fluid, not bound by the hex grid, but I don’t know how you’d accomplish that without significant code rewrites (and there’s already been hell in that regard with all the engine changes - which really should quit).

Zoom: also a problem. Zoom is already an issue with large eukaryotes, but there’s zero additional zoom in multicellular, meaning your species takes up a significant part of the screen, resulting in you being vulnerable, as you can’t see very far.

Clipping issues are common as well. Clipping is already a problem with large cells, but it’s very noticeable in the multicellular stage, when your unwieldy cell is being chopped up by those pesky eukaryotes, and you evade them by shoving them through your tail and fleeing at a clumsy speed.

You can’t change the membrane of either your individual cells or your whole cluster, collectively, which I think is an issue. I’d like to augment the membrane of all the cells that aren’t my stem or digestive cells to be, say, calcium carbonate, as that would protect them well. Instead, I can’t.

This is wrong. You can do this. I didn’t see it.

Multicellular has a problem with transparency. I cannot tell what is going on. Part of that is the zoom. Another part of that is that I just don’t get information. When my cells are injured, if they aren’t the stem, I have no information. I don’t know why they can’t engulf, why they’re being hurt, what is going on. And then I lose cells, and I’m set back.

You aren’t given much information about your overall cell function. The UI for your whole cell cluster is not only lacking in-run, it’s lacking in the editor too. I cannot really tell if compounds are shared amongst all cells, but I assume they are - which leads to an issue, as I don’t know my overall compound balance. I’d have to do tedious investigation of every cell in order to tally up every surplus and deficit to reach my conclusion on production.

Lag. Lag is a problem. That’s not easily fixable, but large clusters - even clusters that aren’t fully developed - occasionally have massive lag spikes. (Also, chitin’s texture looks kind of ugly and weird. But that’s a general cell problem.)

OxyToxy is unwieldy as a multicellular creature. That might be because only my stem cell fires OxyToxy and it is behind the others. But also, the OxyToxy goes in weird directions sometimes. Why?

Just replying to a few specific points that are known issues.

I think it should work if you do another edit at the same time, this is a bug where certain actions by themselves don’t stick:

Another bug / known limitation:

I think it should work if you do another edit at the same time, this is a bug…

Nevermind. It’s there. I didn’t notice.
I didn’t see the membrane button, so I assumed it was absent. I think I was getting confused because of how the buttons get shuffled around. There were two buttons in cell edit, three in macrocell edit, and I couldn’t remember where behavior had gone. I have found membrane and will modify it now.

Yeah, the behaviour tab is removed. The behaviour editor is per species so it doesn’t make sense to show that in the multicellular cell editor tab.

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I’ll still be putting more issues in the first post.
Phantom damage: still a problem. (Probably spikes too small to see. Suggestion: Implement some form of ‘weight class’ based on size. If I can’t see the spikes, they shouldn’t be able to puncture me. Or deal significant damage. I can’t tell how much damage they’re doing.) Cells on the seashore inexplicably having stores of hydrogen sulfide: still a problem. This isn’t TIRA 292b.

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A few thoughts I had on my issues list:

  1. To solve the zoom issue, instead of simply increasing zoom, have the player be given the ability to design sensory cells. Even single-celled organisms may have primitive eyes; I think it’s reasonable to give the player the ability to design senses. Eyes would increase visual range, chemoreceptors could be given additional functionality to design a basic sort of nose (perhaps they are used to expand nutrient sensing range, while eyes let you simply zoom out farther and see cells). Maybe even a more complex smelling ability to let you track and hunt cells.
  2. Heterotrophy is actually totally playable. But still, there’s an issue with lack of suitable prey. My predator cluster moves at top speed and swivels on a dime to… eat tiny prokaryotic cells. More enemy clusters, and thus better auto-evo, solves this.
  3. I’d suggest that some basic implementation of nerves would give the ability to know more about your cells and identify the issues with whatever you’re doing.
  4. I would suggest blood and skin options, but that’s shading towards macroscopic.
  5. Hex borders need to be playtested. With my wildly-varying cell sizes, the cell ends up looking a bit weird - nevermind the many gaps in it. I’m still suggesting adding the ability to form proto-tissue by linking together cells of the same type into a cohesive whole.
  6. The editor UI should be updated to include your total compound tallies.
  7. At multicellular stage, some form of stamina should be implemented. Instead of being firing on all cylinders at all times, modulate it a bit. Periods of high activity followed by low activity as you digest (perhaps this could include tickspeed-up).
  8. OxyToxy is imprecise. I’d suggest having cells fire it more towards your cursor, instead of every shot OxyToxy being parallel to the other shots (which results in an inconsistent ray rather than a precise attack).

Please edit your previous post instead of double posting.

Edit: also multicellular is a rough prototype that doesn’t get much development focus (other than any volunteer programmers who specifically want to work on it), here’s the 70 currently known bugs / limitations / missing features for the multicellular stage: