Comments on Specific Development Forum Posts

Hey all,

Before I had access to posting on the development forum, I would oftentimes see something and have just a tiny piece of input which I think would be cool for the developers to consider. So that’s what this thread will be.

Attach a link to a specific post you see on the development forum and leave a scientific source, fact, or small idea to consider. Keep in mind that we likely won’t consider massive shifts in existing game design, and would probably appreciate information we haven’t considered yet for whatever reason.


Fun! Let’s break this thread in then. I’ll (try to) keep anything I post in this thread as small and infrequent as possible.

There seems to be some concern over not letting the player advance through the stage too fast, and one option I have not seen mentioned here involves the biological fact that evolving f.e. a pilus for the first time is a much bigger deal than evolving 3 more of them. If placing an organelle/protein for the first time (when any conditions are met) cost as much as the nucleus, it would make the playthrough develop more gradually without needing to make conditions to restrictive. You would also be more picky in what you choose to unlock each time you play.


I think we’d want to stay away from first-time purchase bumps, but we might just implement an MP cost for unlocking certain parts. Which is essentially the same thing but a different flavor and tone I feel. It was brought up in that same discussion later.


What if there’s a mixture of constant ammonia/phosphate (and other compounds if you go all the way) gain and “hot spots” in some areas where the clouds would be used to signal this to the player. It would also make chemoreceptors have a very similar use to what they have now if all compound clouds are removed, as they can still point to compound clouds (hotspots).

Agree, but the clouds could also be replaced with bubbles

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I had a couple of ideas for this. First one was going with the word archive either next to the game name or the word universal. Second one if a really original name is desired, then maybe go with an acronym. I think that would be pretty neat. Something like C.A.K.I.U. (Collective Archive of Known Information of the Universe), G.W.I.D. (Galaxy Wide Information Database), or U.C.C. (Universal Comprehensive Compendium).


I had a small comment on this:

“I just don’t want players to be forced to… take a detour of sorts to get where they want.” The process behind what was described by NickTheNick is one of the basic principles at the heart of all evolution. The principle of functional elements that are derived from elements that evolved for a different function operates on all levels, from proteins, to organelles, to tissues, to organs, to limbs, etc. Even tools, materials and societal structures work like this. If you make a development decision to avoid it, you’re going to run into problems increasingly often as you approach more complex forms of life.

Also, this: “In order for progression to feel good for the player, it needs to form a path of incremental return in the desired form.”
Is notably not how most games that have tech trees work. Just take a look at Civilization or Stellaris, etc. It’s full of some intermediate steps that have very different effects than what precedes or follows them.

Of course, you can think of other potential ways for any particular organelle to evolve, I would just advise against eliminating the paths we actually know worked.


Just noting that RuBisCo is probably the most well known protein involved in carbon fixation, and is easily pronounceable.

I also discussed this gameplay element with Untrustedlife before:

Mentioning also here that RuBisCO was almost going to make it as a separate organelle in the game, but turns out it is already in the game, just as an implicit part of other things.

My reply about this in the specific RuBisCO thread.


it could be made so that the parts with RuBisCO (other than the membrane bound ones) don’t have RuBisCO in them and it has to be added and it would make photosynthesis more realistic(with a lot of RuBisCO and thylakoids in chloroplasts and prokaryotic algae) and cyanobacteria would be actually cyanobacteria and not just a thylakoid in a membrane.

there would need to be an announcement or something before it happened though to make sure players don’t get angry about going extinct because they had no energy storage compound available due to being prokaryotic and the size of a eukaryote

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(I’m not a theorist, so take this with a grain of salt. I did my best to google stuff.)

Before you go with gluconeogenesis for the new organelle, I think it’s important to ask where the carbon comes from. Gluconeogenesis uses certain organic compounds as its source of carbon. Where do the compounds get their carbon from? Since the new organelle is supposed to be a source of glucose for cells that get their energy from carbonless sources like temperature differences or iron, the energy source doesn’t supply them with any carbon. If they want to get carbon, they need to either become heterotrophs and hunt organic compounds (which would kind of defeat the point) or produce their own compounds from inorganic sources, most likely by fixing carbon from CO2.

Carbon fixation is already in the game even though it’s not named explicitly. It’s how other autotrophs get their carbon when they perform photosynthesis or hydrogen sulfide chemosynthesis. That’s why those processes scale with the amount environmental CO2.

I think that having to work for the carbon in your glucose would be more realistic and more consistent with photosynthesis and chemosynthesis. So if you want to get glucose as an autotroph, in my opinion you should have to fix carbon for it. And the new organelle would be the way to do so. Here are some name suggestions:

  • Carbon Fixing Proteins , proposed by Buckly. It was rejected, but I think it could be considered again since there are fewer options without gluconeogenesis. You could also use similar terms like carbon assimilation, carbon dioxide reduction, carbon fixing enzymes, etc.

  • Find some new fitting enzyme, e.g. Alpha-ketoglutarate Synthase (also called 2-oxoglutarate synthase or KGOR). I think it’s linked to CO2 reduction in the reverse Krebs cycle, so it’s basically analogous to RuBisCo. It’s not exactly catchy though, and it’s also not nearly as commonly used for carbon fixation as RuBisCo.

  • Ignore that it’s used in photosynthesis and call it RuBisCo anyway. It at least sounds good. RuBisCo is also used by some chemoautotrophs [source]. The same problem kind of exists for generic carbon fixing proteins as well, anyway.

  • Make up a new name. Maybe Glucose Synthase (which isn’t a thing AFAIK but sounds like something that makes glucose) or Glucose Synthesizing Proteins.

However, a question arises: Why would carbon fixation come bundled in with photosynthesizing and chemosynthesizing organelles but be a separate organelle with Rusticyanin or Thermosynthase? That might be confusing. Here are some options that might avoid the confusion:

  • Explain this in the organelle descriptions. “Thylakoids get carbon for the produced glucose from carbon fixation”, or something like that (although technically thylakoids on their own don’t fix carbon).

  • Remove carbon fixation from Thylakoids and Chemosynthesizing Proteins and have them produce ATP instead. You can keep the eukaryotic equivalents the same if you want because they would probably fix carbon inside themselves since they’re plastids. This would be a bold change. It would make the organelles consistent, but it might also make the game harder for new players. On the other hand, it would open up new potential strategies, e.g. can you live as a photosynthesizing mixotroph without carbon fixation?

  • Go back to the upgrade idea instead. Add a “Carbon Fixing” upgrade to Rusticyanin and Thermosynthase. Yes, it does require that upgrade for any possible new organelles, but are there that many of those planned? It’s pretty simple, you don’t have worry about naming as much and you don’t have to deal with how to control the ATP to glucose conversion. Personally I think I’m actually a fan of this one.

What do you guys think? Do you agree that carbon fixation is the way to go? Should the new organelle still be an organelle? If so, how do you deal with photosynthesis and chemosynthesis? Do any of my name suggestions help?

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I just casually added to the issue on Github a note about thinking about where the carbon comes from, either from CO2 or handwaving it away by saying it gets recycled from when the glucose is used to produce energy again (respiration).

Ah, that does make sense. I was aware that it’s also used in most photosynthesising organisms (that’s why it’s so abundant in real life) but I figured it could also apply to most imaginable energy sources.

The actual carbon fixation IRL takes place outside the thylakoids, though in for example plants it takes place outside the thylakoids but still inside the chloroplast. One option could be to separate the carbon fixation from thylakoids altogether, and only have it as a separate organelle (and funnily enough, light-dependent organisms that can’t make their own glucose do exist). In that case, you would probably want to still have chloroplasts (and equivalents) directly produce glucose.

You should read the exact plan as outlined in the issue:

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Gluconeogenesis does indeed recycle carbon from inside the cell. However, that still doesn’t really answer how the carbon originally enters the cell. Sure, that could be the handwaved part. Maybe there’s invisible carbon fixation or an unknown source. I still personally feel that it would be weird if photosynthesizers need CO2 to turn an energy source into glucose but cells with the new organelle don’t. But maybe that’s not a big deal.

About these other ideas like separating carbon fixation from Thylakoids or going back to the upgrade idea… Yeah, they do divert from the current plan. They could still be worth considering in my opinion, but sorry if they are diverting too much from the discussion. We can stick to the current plan if that’s preferable.

I mean we’ve gamified so much that there’s a free glucose cloud that appears out of thin air next to the player when they return from the microbe editor. Compared to that this is a really minor nitpick.