Note that most of this is based on Buckly’s contributions on the Endosymbiosis Thread in the developer forums. I just added a bit of feedback and detail which could make the concept make even more sense.
There are two aspects to this concept:
1.) How the player gets from simple engulfment to endosymbiosis. Before there ever was a mitochondrion, there was an organism which evolved into the mitochondria; and before there were cells able to hold in an organism, there were cells that were able to just simply digest another organism via phagocytosis. Endosymbiosis occurred as a biological phenomenon only when an organism became capable of holding in a cell without digesting them, only when the morphology of the cells allowed them to functionally benefit each other. I think it would be unrealistic if the player was able to undergo endosymbiosis from the beginning of the game, and I feel that it would be a bit of a lost opportunity for depth and realism if the player could just create an endosymbiotic link in just one generation. Special caution must be held in not making progression feel pointless.
2.) How the player can edit each endosymbiotic organism. Once two organisms were fully integrated with each other, there of course was a period of evolutionary time in which the cellular component was refined and edited to what would be most advantageous to the cell as a whole. It would be rather unrealistic in Thrive for an integrated organelle to immediately become highly functioning upon achieving endosymbiosis.
How Progression via Endosymbiosis could work.
The player initially starts out as a prokaryote with the ability to simply engulf and digest.
After some progression, the player will be able to unlock their cell membrane to allow them the endosymbiotic function. The first “phase” of this function is the ability to momentarily hold a microbe in for twenty seconds. For this length of time, the ATP consumption rate of the player is reduced by .25 times (factor can be changed to make it better) the net amount of ATP produced by engulfed cell. So, for example, if the cell you ingested has a net ATP production of 4 ATP, you spend one less ATP maintaining your cell.
- This makes it so that the player is not completely dependent on auto-evo to progress. A big problem that came up with previous endosymbiosis discussions is the concern that the environment wouldn’t have a suitable candidate for endosymbiosis, essentially handicapping the player’s progress and capabilities. By straying from realism just a bit in the beginning however so that the player can only benefit from endosymbiosis, the player is both incentivized to begin endosymbiosis and isn’t really held back by auto-evo.
The next few upgrades focus on increasing both the factor by which the player gets bonus ATP and the length for how long the player can retain onto this organism. In the interest of time and fun, there doesn’t need to be a large amount of small upgrades. I think each upgrade level should simply be from (20 seconds, .25) to (20 seconds, .5) to (40 seconds, .5) to (60 seconds, .75); so only 3 big upgrades in this series. The final upgrade in this series should eliminate the time limit and change the factor to 1.
Eventually, an upgrade will give you a slot, hereby allowing you to spawn into the world with an endosymbiotic organism inside of you. Also lets you edit these micro-organism components themselves. Basically, endosymbiosis is finished up in a fun and interesting way with a series of only 5 upgrades to the membrane.
Let’s stop and explain how the concept of the slot should be thought of. Most of this is based on Buckly’s concepts on the endosymbiosis discussion in the dev forum, the only thing I edited was simply adding designations.
A slot basically is a designated unit which lets the game discern what exactly it is that you are trying to build. Different slots account for different specialized organelle types; for example, there would be an energy producing slot (mitochondria), a photosynthetic slot (chloroplast), a poison slot (oxy-toxy), a bioluminescent slot, a rust slot, a chemo slot, and any other slot which pertains to the function of an analogous prokaryotic component.
A player only has a single slot for each designated function – that is, only one energy slot, per say – and the player can only designate one micro-organism to fill each slot. When you place an ingested organism into a slot, only the components corresponding to each slot can be placed on the micro-component; so for example, when you place an organism in your energy slot, you can only place/edit metabolosomes when editing that slot. Each different slot also has a progressive osmoregulation increase penalty after a certain size to help limit exploitation of making a cell giant by making organelles massive; for example, energy slot components with 3+ tiles being used have a 25% increase in osmoregulation cost for each component, with 4+ tiles have a 50% increase in osmoregulation cost for each component, etc. The bracket for applying this progressive osmoregulation cost increase can vary between components; for example. Penalties could also vary; with photosynthetic organelles for example, components with 4+ tiles could begin to have movement slowed down by a progressive factor. When the player is a prokaryote, they can only have an energy slot and one other chosen slot designation. The nucleus will allow you to have all other slots available.
Each slot has an advantage to it that incentivizes the player to develop organelles. Note that all components have the benefit of basically being a bargain for what they offer you. For example, an organelle with three metabolosome components priced 45 would be much better than buying three separate metabolosomes.
These are a few examples demonstrating what each slot could be.
Each metabolosome within the organelle membrane generates 1.2 times more ATP with the same amount of glucose as an individual metabolosome would. Also unlock more upgrades for metabolosome components in organelle compartment.
Progressive Cut-Off Penalties = 4 tiles – 25% increase in osmoregulation cost of each component, 5 tiles – 50% increase in osmoregulation cost of each component, 6 tiles - 100% increase in osmoregulation cost of each component.
Each thylakoid within the organelle membrane generates 1.3 times more glucose with the same amount of sunlight than an individual thylakoid would. Also unlocks more upgrades for thylakoid components in organelle compartment.
Progressive Cut-Off Penalties = 4 tiles – Movement slowed by 10%, 5 tiles – movement slowed by 25%, 6 tiles – movement slowed down by 50%, 7 tiles - movement slowed down by 100% percent.
Cytoplasm will make up the inside of the membrane. Every unit of cytoplasm within this slot’s membrane will have twice the storage room of a regular cytoplasm unit outside of the component’s membrane.
Progressive Cut-Off Penalties = 4 tiles – osmoregulation cost for each component increased by 10%, 5 tiles- osmoregulation cost for each component increased by 25%, 6 tiles – osmoregulation cost for each component increased by 50%, 7 tiles, osmoregulation cost for each component increased by 100%.
These are the slots I have thought out as of now; I want to make sure the basic idea behind the concept is sound and reasonable before devoting more thought to it. I wrote this while being exhausted, so if there are any inconsistencies or odd omissions, please bring them up. I don’t know how Buckly came up with most of this: it’s ingenious yet exhausting to work out.
What are some thoughts concerning these ideas?