Features I believe need refinement or implementation the most currently

As I play Thrive, there are always moments where just one feature being implemented or being refined further would save my cell from death. Some of these features are planned to be implemented soon, but many… seem to barely even be in the planning phase. This post will have some mentions of the single cell stage but will primarily be focused on multi cell.

I want to start off by saying that I am NOT calling the developers lazy, or telling them what to do, or implying it’s ‘easy’ and they should ‘just do it.’ The point of my post is not to boss anyone around. Rather, like my first post, the intent is more to give the developers input on the perspective of a player. Whether what I suggest is plausible at the moment or not, this post exists purely to show what I- and I alone- would prefer to be implemented when it BECOMES possible. This is a post purely of opinion, not of demands, and may have suggestions which are not as possible or as important as I- someone with NO experience in developing- believe them to be. This is in “Future game” for a reason- much of this will have to wait. It is simply my intent to say what I personally believe should spend as little time waiting as possible.

With that out of the way, here’s some features I would like to see sooner rather than later, and why. I’ll start off with features that would be easier to implement based on the little I know of game development.

First of all, something which I see little mention of on either of the forums… Different methods of reproduction, and also options for cell growth.
What do I mean by this, and why?
Starting with reproduction.

Obviously, this is for the most part as simple as “How does your cell make more of itself?”
There are more aspects I’m hoping for which tie into this, such as a revamp of how reproduction impacts your population, but I’ll get into this later since it’s more complex and a suggestion that would be better off coming AFTER more reproductive methods are added.
Why do I believe it’s so important to add new reproductive methods?
Before multicellular, it wasn’t very important. But now that we have it, a problem has arisen… Reaching adulthood is useless. Part of why it’s useless ties into the needed revamp on how reproduction impacts population, but again, that will come later. The biggest reason why I find it so useless is that because you must grow your cells one at a time while already active and roaming the world, most of the gameplay is not spent with specialized body parts. In order to make a truly beneficial and specialized part, you must make it complex enough that your organism would die, or at least struggle to live, without said part. But since you’re born as just one cell, you simply make it so your organism can SURVIVE as one cell. At which point not only does it become pointless to make specialized body parts, but specialized cells as well. And let’s say you do make varied and specialized cells, and specialized body parts with said cells. By the time you reach adulthood, you’re almost ready to bud and have no reason to utilize the adult form you just created. It exists ONLY to reproduce, not so much to survive. Which is a fine strategy in evolution, but not the only strategy.

This also brings me to the point of ‘how cells grow.’ If you were to change the method of reproduction, you could also change how the infants of the organism appear and grow. Many small organisms are born with all or most of the cells they’ll have into adulthood and simply make their cells bigger. Others start off as a very different organism than the adult form and slowly change. Some will have quite a few cells, enough to survive and have specialized parts in infancy, but still grow even more to become bigger.
In any of these scenarios, I could make an organism that NEEDS special adaptations and varied cell types without simply dying when I am born due to lacking them. Which would make gameplay much more varied and fun.

It would make a WORLD of difference to add the option to reproduce using eggs and pop out an organism which already has multiple cells to work with. As for whether the game would start off with just one or multiple methods of growing, I don’t really care. It would be so much better than the game is now.

And what’s this revamp of population growth based on reproduction I mentioned? It’s something I’ve seen on the dev forums before. It’s a revamp which would encourage the player to continue playing even into adulthood, and even making it so that even with a budding organism one might still feel inclined to make the adult form function differently than the infant form.
I’m going off of memory, but essentially the idea was that you can reproduce WITHOUT entering the editor. The purpose of this would be to give a bonus to the population increase when you DO enter the editor. I’d imagine there would be a limit to how many times you can do this to avoid an absurd cheat to the system to get a huge population. And now that I’m saying this, I’m wondering if the limit should be another new feature in itself, that being a lifespan for the organism. Once you die of old age, or become infertile, you can’t pop out any babies anymore. This would allow the evolution of organisms with short but sweet lifespans with quick reproduction, or organisms which live long and reproduce less, etc. It would be a cool factor when making new organisms. But that’s a whole tangent for another day.

Following the pattern of “harder to implement features” like the different growth methods idea, the current rigid cell thing the game’s got going on makes hunting and just moving around in general very difficult. This is one of the suggestions I’m going to make where I KNOW it’s essentially ludicrous to ask the developers for it at this time. Still, it’s something that would make the game much more fun, so I feel the need to address it regardless.

We need to have the rigidity of cells themselves impact their animations, and how organisms move.
I will start with “how organisms move” first because it would be easier to implement and, in my opinion, create more variety. Yes, this connects to the rigidity thing and you’ll see why later.

At the moment the only way you can get around is with a flagellum. This is… decent in the single cell stage, though still not perfect. But once you reach multicellular… I really think not addressing the problem of movement now will only hurt the updates in the future as you need to go back on past stages and implement new methods. The fact is, once you become multicellular, you’ve become something like an animal, or a plant, or a fungus, or whatever. The point is that all these organisms operate very differently from single celled organisms. You CAN’T use a flagellum to move once you reach a certain size. You need something like a fin instead, or a foot, or something else.

And even though the organisms we can play as are still tiny, I think the effects of using a single cell’s method of locomotion for a multicellular organism are already showing. It takes so, so many flagella to move at a decent speed. And this, again, makes it difficult to create varied cells for your organism. Because every cell needs flagella or you move at a snail’s pace. Or, you can alternatively have one cell with a billion flagella on it. But then you have to wait for that cell to grow after moving slowly for such a long time… unless you circle back and place that mega flagella cell all over the place, creating the same effect as putting flagella on every cell.
It’s also disappointing being able to use only one method of moving as just one cell. Not everything has flagella. The game knows this, because you start off without one. So using ONLY that as a method of increasing your speed is just odd. I’m not versed in how cells move though, so I can’t give suggestions on what mechanisms to add.

As for multicellular organisms, this is one major aspect where it ties into my rigidity comment.
If decreasing the rigidity of cells actually made them soft and malleable, we’d be able to move a lot smoother as multicellular organisms and create more methods of movement too. I’m sick of evolving a ‘snout’ so I can easily reach my prey and squeeze between their spikes to engulf them, only to end up constantly ramming into a million things because the front end of my organism moves faster than the rest of it during rotation and I can’t even suck the snout back in to avoid this problem. I’m sick of the fact my snout stays perfectly straight during movement which makes it exceedingly easy for it to swipe across the screen and hit everything, as opposed to how it would be if my snout curved in the opposite direction of where I was moving due to physics. It’s clunky, it’s unrealistic, it’s limiting, and it gets me killed all the time. Single cells can get along mostly fine with a rigid body, but a full on animal can only do that if it’s specialized for it. My organisms are SUPPOSED to be soft-bodied, so their squishy cells can’t handle the life of a solid organism.
Something I forgot to mention is that this isn’t just a suggestion to make the cells themselves soft. More importantly, I want them to be segmented as if they were soft. I can live with still having hard cells, but I at least want my organism to move like it isn’t a brick. Even if the cells themselves never change in shape or contort in any way, I’d like to at least be able to turn parts of my body ‘soft’ so that they bend when I move.
Turning organisms soft, whether the cells themselves display soft body physics or the body simply turns hard but segmented as if it were soft, would allow the usage of more parts to move. Rudimentary feet, fins, or just the ability to ‘slither’ would be possible and we wouldn’t be bound by the accursed flagella hell.

Flagella hell would especially be a problem for the macroscopic stage, because at the moment it’s not a smooth transition. You go from microscopic to macroscopic instantly. You’ve have to have very large or very, VERY many flagella to be able to move in the macroscopic stage, even if you’re barely visible. So if the sudden transition is kept, how would someone logically be able to move any decent speed in the macroscopic stage if they were unable to evolve another system in preparation? It makes more sense to allow people to evolve other methods of movement even before then. Even if they’re not very effective. Even if they aren’t allowed to have fins or leg nubs or the like. Anything… Anything is better than flagella hell. Please help.

Another thing I really want to see is the ability to create orifices in the multicellular stage. It might seem like something that should be left for macroscopic, but I disagree. There are so many microbes out there with orifices. Sometimes even single cells have them if I recall correctly, not even just multicellular organisms. This is another example of how limiting it is to allow only one method of doing a simple thing, and also an example of something that is better off being dealt with now rather than the future.

Currently we can ONLY eat using engulfment. This means no stomachs or stomach-like structures are allowed. No mouths and no biting. Nothing. This limits creativity IMMENSELY. It also makes eating difficult sometimes.
Say I wanted to make an organism with a hard other shell, but I also need to eat to survive. It’s unfair to just say that I need to stay soft and live life on the edge. Now, you CAN make an organism with a shell that can still engulf, if you make a stomach adjacent structure made of solid cells. The problem is that you can’t close your ‘mouth’ since there’s no hole (and organisms are still completely rigid so mouth closing isn’t possible either way) which means you’ve constantly got a large portion of your body exposed anyway. To combat this, you decide to make the ‘opening’ just one single cell. Problem is, now you either have just one cell containing all the food and doing all the digestion, or you’ve got multiple that just can’t reach any of the food. You could make the ‘mouth’ cell unable to digest certain types of cells so that it spits them into the rest of the stomach, but now you’ve got one stomach cell that is only able to digest one type of organism and- if it gets full- it can’t even spit the food into the other stomachs because it can’t take any food in.

If we could make a mouth and then create a very rudimentary stomach using lyposomes, all of this would be avoided and would make evolution in the macroscopic stage a lot smoother as you wouldn’t have to absorb things through your ‘skin’ to survive since you already have a basic digestive system.

Summary of features I believe are most needed for smooth gameplay at the moment…
1: More reproduction options, better growth system
2: Revamp on reproduction itself and population growth (Possibly the addition of lifespans in the future as well)
3: AT LEAST segments and joints in multicellular, and preferably soft-body physics as well
4: Different methods of locomotion, especially in multicellular
5: The implementation of orifices, and different methods of consuming food
6: Something that takes very little explanation as to why it’s needed and so I didn’t even dedicate an entire segment to it… Enzymes and upgrades. It’s such a long topic and the devs are trying very hard to get these features out sooner rather than later anyways, so I don’t think I need to go into detail about why they are important in this post. The developers already know.

Sorry for the absolutely JUMBLED post. I was playing the game and noticing all these things which had bothered me in the past, and decided right then that I needed to make these complaints heard because the more I play the more I realize these things are what frustrate me the most in every playthrough I’ve ever had. So I just ended up writing it all down as quick as I could before I forgot the complaints like I always do… until I play again.