Hi there, been a while.
I am not sure if any of you out there have seen Ancestors or not but it is a relatively new game that focuses on the evolution of ancient humans and uses a very cool system for evolution. Now the system would have to be heavily modified for use in a sandbox game like Thrive due to the fact that Ancestors is a story based game and it’s evolution system was designed with that in mind.
But it does handle some of the issues I had with Spore’s evolution mechanics in a very pleasing way that would be a lot more realistic but would take more work from the Dev team.
I think it would be best if you looked it up and saw game play for yourselves but I will briefly describe some of the aspects of the game that I think would benefit Thrive.
- Individual generational leaps do not produce significant changes to a creature’s anatomy. (this was one of my biggest gripes with how spore handled evolution. You mated once and instantly jumped millions of years)
- Your population growth and decline during your play directly affects how far your evolutionary leap will take you. (In ancestors 1 birth gives you 5k years bonus and 1 unnatural death would subtract 25k years from your evolution leap.)
- You have the ability to switch control between members of your clan provided you are interacting with them. This makes it so that if the player dies during the game they immediately inhabit the nearest clan member preventing that free reset that Spore had whenever you died. This makes player death an actual problem for the immediate future of the species.
- You have Elders in addition to Infants and Adults, each having their own benefits and disadvantages.
- Fertility as well as sibling relations are both factors that influence who can mate and produce offspring.
- The player can choose to make a generation leap at which point all currently born Infants become Adults, all Adults become Elders, and all Elders die of natural causes. Doing a generational leap allows for minor cognitive and internal development such as improving recognition, reaction time, or stamina as well as having the chance to develop minor mutations. (All manual improvements are unlocked by doing things related to the improvement and the amount of improvements you can lock in is tied directly into the amount of children you have with any improvements not being locked in being forgotten by the next generation.)
- When the Player chooses to evolve they must make an evolutionary leap which functions similarly to a generational leap as far as how the members of the clan are handled. During the evolution leap the game calculates all the things you have done since your last evolution leap and then calculates how far of a leap you make based on that in addition to births and unnatural deaths. (The amount of time could then be translated directly into evolutionary points for Thrive and the player would be able to use that character creator using the given points.)
Also Ancestors allows the player to switch between 4 senses; Sight (Default sense), Sound (toggled on to make sound visible to the player and allows identification of things you can hear), Smell (toggled on to allow the player to visualize scents and identify their sources within range), and Intelligence (which allows the player to tag and memorize specific places and things).
Now obviously things like this would take a lot of work on the dev’s part to make happen but it would be very nice to see it make it into the game. Please feel free to offer opinions, ask questions, or add features you’d like to see implemented.