General: Emergent gameplay

I’ve made two posts already but this one is my third because, like, why not. This one is basically about my wildest dream for how Thrive would function.
Chess, as a game, is very simple. The ruleset is easy to grasp, but the gameplay becomes complex and strategic, and you need decades of experience to play world-class - not that you’d be able to beat a computer at a chess match. Similarly, Go also has a simple ruleset, but (proverbially) it takes a lifetime to master.
This (albeit upscaled) is basically what I wish Thrive would be.

Basically, in my Ultimate Impossible-To-Achieve version of Thrive, the mechanics are relatively simple, stage-to-stage. However, the majority of the complexity comes from auto-evo finally growing a brain, and the mechanics allowing a lot of emergent gameplay, like in chess and go. This hypothetical version of Thrive would have the game mimic life, not through being meticulously coded to do so, but by obeying a specific set of rules and mechanics - which are analogues to those of real life - which have a side effect of producing creatures which emulate real life.

There’s a few problems with this.

  1. Thrive is a tiny project. This would need a lot of devs.
  2. I am not a biologist, but I’m reasonably certain we don’t know all the rules that result in life yet.
  3. This would require a lot of work and processing power on computers. The ideal game can be played on a potato.
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I mean isn’t emergent gameplay basically one of the core ideas of Thrive? Even now in the cell stage there is very little hard coded gameplay, instead auto-evo follows its rules and generates species and the AI system doesn’t have behaviour chains but instead cells react in a few ways that lead to very many different gameplay outcomes.

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I suppose.
Some of the emergent gameplay does emerge the wrong way at present. Auto-evo appears to have about a dozen different issues which result in weird cells.
Emergent stuff is just cool in general. Wish there were ways to, say, have symbionts appear without need for a mechanic. But you’d need an absurd level of computer power for that.
Do hope that the rules are relatively light in later stages. Auto-evo should be doing most of the work. Right now it is kind of incompetent.

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