(Since this would apply to several stages, I wasn’t sure where it should go, so I decided to put it into the subforum for the earliest relevant stage. If it should be moved, please let me know)
So you might’ve heard about the Fossilization feature, in which you can save organisms you encounter during gameplay into the Thriveopedia for later viewing. The choice of name for this feature got me thinking about actual fossilization, as in the process by which dead organisms are preserved in some form within rock. Mainly, I’ve been thinking about how such a thing might be able to be implemented into Thrive, if at all. So far, I’ve come up with what sounds to me like a decent idea about how this could work.
Every generation, alongside Auto-Evo, the game would run checks to determine if a species is likely (relatively speaking, given how exceptionally rare fossilization is in general) to fossilize in a given patch. This would probably best be done on a per-patch basis first, taking consistent environmental factors into account before moving on to specific species to see how their traits might modify their chances. Environmental factors to take into consideration might be things like precipitation and temperature, bodies of water, or things like oxygen levels and salinity for oceanic patches. For species, you would look at things like population, behavior/lifestyle, size, and anatomy, among other things.
Actually generating the fossils seems like it might be a bit more complicated. I would imagine that the game would save information about fossilization for each patch and species—things like the actual likelihood of fossilization as determined earlier, as well as possible methods of fossilization and which parts of the organism are likely to fossilized—and then use that information to randomly generate fossils in the environment.
This constant saving of information might cause massively bloated save files, but that could potentially be mitigated by doing things like only adding new information when a significant change happens that would affect fossilization or only saving information about species with a likelihood above a certain threshold.
As for why such a system might be implemented: personally, I just think it would be really cool to be able to discover and study the fossils of long-dead organisms from throughout the history of your playthrough, or even just see them in the environment. A more practical benefit is that it could give players the ability to get glimpses and fragments of organisms that existed during their playthrough but that they otherwise would’ve never encountered due to simply not being in the right place at the right time. I’m not entirely clear on what the deal is with organisms that aren’t saved to the Thriveopedia and whether or not there will be other ways to look at them, so I don’t know how necessary that would actually be, but it might still be something to consider.
So yeah, that’s what I’ve got regarding (literal) fossilization. I have no idea how viable this idea is in terms of implementation (especially the part about actually generating fossils), or whether it’s even a good idea in the first place, but what do y’all think?