Figuring out Thrive v.0.4.2

Lets get started

First of all - there is a lot to tackle. While the previous version was mostly about producing enough ATP and running from toxic prokaryotes, this version is much more complicated. ATP production is finally fixed, but it is really hard to find enough glucose for ATP production, especially in the early game. In the midgame focus shifts to competing with other cells for survival. But, while I genuinely love the idea, I cant tell if the realization is good.
I will try to write a bit less this time because nobody got time for reading all of my ranting.

I havent really tested patch map yet, so everything written below is only applicable to vents biome.
There is no light in the vents, but a lot of resources. Knowing that, I have decided to go for chemosynthesis. Two of them should be enough for providing your cell with enough glucose for maintaining five cytoplasm. That means that gen4 nucleus is very possible here. After that I have decided to go for toxic vacuole. That solved my problems with hunting but, since other cells evolve from my cell, soon all of other cells had a toxin. And… yeah, it was not pleasant to deal with.

Lets talk about toxic vacuole for a bit - I have a feeling that it is kinda broken. It is the best tool for hunting it player’s hands, and other cells can use it quite sufficiently. It wouldnt be a problem by itself, but cells tend to move in packs, and pack of 5 cells can obliterate player in the matter of seconds. What makes it really broken though - there is no counter to that. The best thing I came up with was putting some flagella and simply fleeing when I see other cells. In order to hunt, I was searching for cells of my species, since they can protect me. That resulted to massive 10v10 fights (and really laggy) where I at least had the chance to survive long enough to reproduce.
Also, even if you manage to flee from other cells shooting at you, hp regen is painfully slow. I feel like some hp regenerating organelle would be very helpful.
If somebody has figured out how to deal with toxins, please share your experience with us.

Game still kinda lacks late game, since you can build whatever you want by generation 10, and after that you can just stack whatever organelles you want.

Also, I just feel that population numbers are weird. In my runs I have nearly no prokaryotes, but shouldn’t they reproduce faster than other cells?

The last thing - I have already said that, but some description of biomes at a patch map would be really helpful. Something like “Vents have no light, but there are a lot of sulfur and iron” would do the job.

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There is no actual auto-evo yet. All the population number changes are random (other than the external effects)

Coming in a future release:

This is very helpful feedback thank you for writing it. I’d be interested in what you think of the abyss biome, that is a very different challenge I think.

I think there is a general problem with combat / predation that basically it’s relatively easy just to live of nutrients dropped by other cells and so lategame there are no more energy problems. I would really like to get to the point where getting nutrients from another cell is hard and risky work. Each time you want to get a kill you need to work for it in some way, I think that would be much better.

For me I noticed that in the late-game, a lot of species had a massive population (probably due to the ‘escaping predation’ boost being really sensitive), and were really big(, yet often still engulfable). This would mean there would often spawn groups of 5-15 different large cells that I could then engulf en masse, immediately giving me enough nutrients to reproduce. (Once a group was so big I had enough nutrients to reproduce twice in a row)

One slight thing I’d like to see myself is it being easier for other cells to die. (Or at least run out of ATP.) I’ve had multiple moments where cells without any thylakoids or vacuoles would manage to chase me long enough for me to run out of glucose and ATP (which I had full stores of due to me dying from them a moment back, and multiple thylakoids replacing lost glucose in the tide pool biome), all the while constantly firing oxytoxy at me. (which would be a pretty big ATP sink if the player had them)

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Under the sea, under the sea...

I have tried deep sea biome and abyss. Let’s talk about these.
Deep sea - there was less sulfur, so I have decided to go for iron respiration. And oh ny god, it is good. Highly recommend.
Abyss - no sulfur, no iron. Still went for one rustycianin, just in case. There is a lot of glucose though, so I had no trouble getting myself a nucleus.
I have noticed that I go for the same build no matter what biome I am in. The only difference is in my early game decisions. Maybe that is due to the fact that I have only tried ‘bottom of the ocean’ biomes and they are kind of similar. But really, there is no point in collecting clouds after you reach a point where you can engulf other cells.
Also, what are the things floating in the deep sea?

Is it just me or is iron respiration just in general really fucking good in this version? It gives a lot of ATP per amount of iron, (still don’t know what units are used to denote the amounts of compounds tbf,) and engulfing pieces of iron gives a substantial amount of iron per piece, while for the big chunks you can survive a really long time just casually swimming around it and absorbing its iron. It may not be very fast, but that can easily be solved by just adding more respirators.

I still personally think it needs to take a certain time to digest a chunk, slowing you down while eating it. This would both nerf it and create a new form of scavenger-esque gameplay that is between plant and animal.

Marine snow, so it’s basically dead organisms falling down from above, it’s one of the main nutrient sources in the deep sea.

Yeah I buffed it quite hard because I think it was a bit weak before, I may have gone to far, not sure.

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Never go for toxins

I’m slowly trying every area bottom-up. I have tried bathypelagic, mesopelagic and the cave. And I just want to say - great job guys, all of the biomes are distinct (except for the bathypelagic and the deep sea, I really can’t tell the difference). I can see the potential of the system. Some suggestions though:

  • AI cells should migrate as well - that should make the patches even more distinct
  • Player should be able to move between patches after every death as well - Sometimes you just do a bad choise regarding your evolution (overestimate your ATP production, for example) and you just get stuck in a biome, unable to reach to the next evolution, and, after you enter the editor, you can just correct your mistake so there is no point in migrating anymore

But still, no matter where I am, I mostly play as a predator, either by engulfing or by shooting stuff.

On a side note, I have changed my playstyle. Earlier I would just reproduce whenever I can in order to evolve quicker. Now, I tend to max out on ammonia and ATP before evolving. That way I am starting the game twice as big and that makes the game much easier. Plus, you always have an option to enter the editor when things go not as planned. I havent really done the math yet, but it feels like maxing out before evolving gives to enough resources to evolve twice in a row. If not, consider a vacuole as an option.

Another thing I have noticed - you dont want to put toxins on your cell. Just never do it. Why? Because once you have it - everybody has it. And, as I said before, there are no counters to the toxins. You cant really even hunt cells with toxins, since they release toxins on death and you are very likely to blow up immediately if you are engulfing them.
I am starting to think that toxins play a big role in speeding up the game. Right now, sedentery lifestyle is out of question. Even if you are playing as a hunter, you can be killed immediately if you are not careful. Other than that - since all of the cells are modified versions of you, becoming twice as big makes you literally unkillable.

And yeah, iron respiration is really good indeed.

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Thanks for the kind words :slight_smile: You make a lot of good points.

Yes. I think we will sort of this out soon.

This is something we haven’t really begun on which is “what does the player do when they make a bad mistake in the editor which prevents them from getting back there”. Like maybe adding a nucleus when you don’t have enough ATP producing organelles. How do you fix this? Same with moving to a patch where you can’t survive at all. We do need some decent mechanics for it.

Yeah I am not sure about this. I think it’s cool that you can kind of provision your offspring by playing well each turn, I think that is nice. However it feels sometimes like you get into the cycle of “fully fill Am + Ph”, “reproduce 3 times and have 0 resources”, “suicide”, “respawn and use the free glucose to fully fill with Am + Ph” which I’m not sure I like. It’s not particularly interacting with the environment.

Yeah we need to work on agents for sure, and on evolution. I almost never put agents on so I guess it’s one of the things I miss as being unbalanced. I mostly play small prokaryotes which don’t use much energy, I should try to use everything more to get a better sense of where the game is at.

Thanks for all the feedback.

Yeah, that is definitely an abuse, at least in its current state.

Maybe that’s why prokaryotic gameplay is more balanced.
I am trying to do the opposite, because I feel like you are supposed to get a nucleus, then go multicellular and so on. I think I will tackle prokaryotic gameplay later.
If you want to replicate the experience I had on my first runs, just go for a nucleus and a single toxin. After that, play for several generations until everybody has a toxin. It is not fun

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Oh so when your reproduce bar is full you don’t have to go the editor?

Currently you can hang out as long as you want. I think probably that’s a good thing, especially for later in the game.

I disagree, toxins are great due to the fact that they are the only way of safely taking down enemies that have toxins themselves. (Due to how engulfing them often results in you getting toxins shower.) As long as you keep your distance while taking them out it’s usually safe. Basically, the only counter to toxins is more toxins. But yeah, I do agree that when other cells don’t have toxins yet it is not the best move, but once other cells acquire them I always either leave the patch (if I have issues with ATP) or I get toxins myself.

I do agree on this part, I’ve had moments where a certain patch was near impossible to survive in for me, (lack of useful compounds, there being a lot of toxic cells, etc.) making it almost impossible to reproduce and leave the patch.

One thing I’d like to see is it being possible to see where your flagellum will be placed in the editor. I’ve had moments where I placed a flagellum in the bottom of my cell, only for funky membrane generation resulting in it being stuck on the side.