I’ve noticed some flaws in the auto evo system, resulting it in producing homogeneous organisms.
Most organisms have a capsule or triangle shape (always with a point on the right side for some reason), and a similar size of around 25.
No specialization into niches. The vast majority of species (over 90% across 5 worlds with 25 generations) have cytoplasm (and protoplasm), Metabolosomes, Thylakoids, Chemosynthesizing Proteins, and Rusticyanin (97% have this despite it being extremely rare on Earth). 70% have Perforator Pilus (and Nitrogenase). This means that the majority of species are getting energy from all food sources in the game: Glucose Clouds, Photosynthesis, Hydrogen Sulfide, Iron, and Predation. Real species get energy primarily from one food source.
Few species (under 15% in the same 5 words) have Oxytoxisome, Flagellum, or a Nucleus. No species has a binding agent. Very few (under 3%) have a Slime Jet, Signaling Agent, or Chemoreceptor. There is no selection for these organelles, for behavior, or for rigidity. This is because auto evo only takes into account the food sources an organism can consume, and how efficient it is with those resources (how big the ratio of ATP production to ATP consumption is). Auto evo does not take into account stats like speed.
This is an example of what auto evo produces. Here are six organisms from a world ran for 20 generations, each selected because they were the first species in a large branch (so the last common ancestor of any two of these species was over 12 generations ago). They all have roughly the same shape, and they all have multiple food sources. Some of them like the fifth and sixth have adaptations for all five food sources. None of them have any unique agents.
You could have the auto evo account for stats like speed, so organisms evolve organelles like flagella. (Not taking this into account can lead to absurd scenarios where an organism with hundreds of hexes of cytoplasm can support a healthy population according to auto evo, despite being unable to move and starving within seconds in the actual game). Also this issue prevents sessile plants from evolving.
You could have specialization. Perhaps once a cell unlocks a protein, it’s cheaper to add more, and for larger cells (which are more evolved and adapted to their niche) it’s more expensive to add new proteins, or the more you have of a protein, the more efficient it is. A plant shouldn’t be able to suddenly unlock Rusticyanin, and a predator shouldn’t be able to suddenly unlock Thylakoids, as these things don’t happen in real life. In general, organisms should be adapted to specific niches rather than trying to get all food sources as the current system incentivizes.
Auto evo should produce more of a diversity of life. You could have small organisms with a few hexes (or less) living off glucose or vents or sunlight or heat or iron, medium sized prokaryotes adapted to specific foods or predation (hunting the small organisms, or hunting larger organisms with spikes), and eukaryotic predators or plants. There could be organisms adapted to being plants (cellulose wall, sessile) and organisms adapted to being animals (no photosynthesis) rather than most organisms being generalists.
Rusticyanin should be nerfed in general. I tried running a world with 10 mutation attempts instead of 3, and after 15 generations every species except Primum Thrivium had it. Maybe have a system like protein unlocks to prevent every organism from evolving it.
This is an intentional tweak that there’s an equilibrium size. The species mutation algorithm, which you can read here:
has a natural balance based on the random chances of removing and adding organelles. It was intentionally balanced so as to not create bigger and bigger cells constantly. There might be an uninentional bias for placing organelles at the front of the microbe.
There is a bit of a feature in auto-evo to try to make cells specialize: energy source fitness uses a power function to try to exaggerate fitness differences between cells. This could use more work.
Though I want to highlight how even now I have to read players not understanding how this works. I see quite a few posts from people saying that adding thylakoids just decreases their population. Most often that is caused by the competition being so harsh that adding a new organelle doesn’t allow the player species to gain any energy due to the existing competition.
That’s because auto-evo is a really neglected part of the game and people adding new organelles don’t want to program auto-evo to take them into account (though some of these parts you mention do have handling).
It does already but it also gives slow predators some energy as that simulates lucky catches of prey. There are a few issues to improve the speed handling in auto-evo:
There is like a 90% debuff in auto-evo from not being able to osmoregulate. It’s not 100% to allow species to exist that are just temporarily really bad. And also players might hate auto-evo even more.
See the link to the mutations code I linked above. Auto-evo is actually above your concepts of mutation costs etc. it uses an entirely different system to create mutated copies of species.
It is not allowed to double post immediately after creating a thread. The only exception I’ll allow if someone hits the character limit per post and they still have content to put into the thread.
This organism, with 323 hexes of cytoplasm, a speed of 2.1, and a glucose deficit of 2 per second, is predicted to have a population of 1634. This is because it has a good ratio of ATP production to ATP consumption and has a lot of potential food sources from predating on everything. In the actual game, it instantly runs out of glucose and is unable to move.
One thing to note is that if you are playing as that species, it is marked as the player species. That makes auto-evo kinder on the species. If I remember right the auto-evo strength is reduced down to like 20%. So if auto-evo predicts the population is 0 but previous population was thousands, the population will only go down a few hundred population per simulation step. Meaning that auto-evo might have actually predicted 0 population for that species but thanks to the previous population and being the player species the next calculated population is not 0, yet.