Continental drift

So, sense multicellular/aware stages would take place over such a long timeframe, how exactly is that going to work with continental drift, as with that much time passing, the continent’s of the planet would have to change


One question I have about this is when (and why) should you get a map?

So clearly when you are a civilization with cartography you should get a world map. However should animals be able to see the world map? Should microbes?

If you can see the world map in the microbe stage, for example, it means you can watch loads of cool continental drift on your planet. However it also means that there is no exploration during the civilization stages, you can’t discover a new continent or undiscovered islands, which was an important aspect of human history.

So I’m not sure about plate tectonics in general, I’d be interested to know what people think.


There was a little bit of discussion about when to get the map here:

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This actually makes me think of a related topic, once you reach industrial would it be possible to learn how the continets have changed?

As in a sort of timeline of how the world changed over time?
I’d guess at a certain point there’d be an option to view how the continents changed.

As for your species discovering continental drift and trying to simulate it, definitely.

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What use would that be tho? Except for being a sort of gimmick to learn more about the planet your species lives in, I don’t see the actual use, and think it might not be worth the trouble of making.

Then again, if the worlds are going to be randomly generated using a sort of plate-tectonics system, then the PC might as well save the “paths” of the plates for later.

This is going to be a ton of work that just results in a single cool animation that the player might watch once. Not a huge priority but I don’t see an issue in including it in the game if someone programs it.

“might as well” isn’t that good of an argument when people complain about huge save games. The only sensible option is to save some data when generating the world to allow generating the intermediate states when / if needed.

Wait, aren’t we planning on using seeds? It could be possible to also base the map and the tectonic movements and the like on those seeds too, and when the player “unlocks” their tectonic past, have the computer regenerate the movements.

I was thinking that generating a new game might take something like 20 to 30 seconds. So that wouldn’t be great for having the history of the continents quickly available.

eh touché, I feel like we’ll only know for sure when we are at the stage where we know how maps will be generated

I have read quite a bit about procedural generation including one about procedural islands with geographic features. And I think the most sensible way to do plate tectonics is to simulate it in steps, which means that storing the intermediate steps for later display (only the end result will be used during gameplay) will take up a ton of space depending on how many steps are done. So some intermediate information should be stored in order to quickly simulate from some “check point” to any point in history or smoothly interpolating between them to get a kind of accurate, smooth animation.

Okay, one last thought, the geography of an earth like planet is based on continental drift, so would that be simulated or no? Not anything crazy, But just that mountains and earthquakes are generally on lines between tectonic plates

Ultimately (probably not in the first version of the planet generator) I think it should be simulated, unless it makes planet generation take way too long.

what about migrating? instinctual maps?


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Do you mean mirgating tribes slowly mapping the world they know?

i mean in the Aware Stage, instinct, like the behavior editor. Monarch butterfly’s for example, they don’t have a map or someone telling them what to do. Its instinct that makes them migrate 1000s of miles (i think metric is better but i am not that good at switching between the to). Can we not have this in thrive? Like arrows pointing ware you need to go when they migrate, or some thing like a map? You tell me.

I think animals like cows even have an instinctual map. Possibly you could develop senses in the brain to get this trait, but idk too much about it to be honest.