How long should Thrive be?

Just as a thought - how long should a playthrough of Thrive be?
Thrive, right now, is very short. Which is good, in some respects. One hour for a cell-stage playthrough (as I estimate that is the general timeframe) allows you to do a lot of experiments and see a lot of the complexity Thrive presently has to offer. It also means you can introduce it to your friends without ruining the party. (You’ll probably ruin the party anyway, though.)
However, Thrive is not going to stay this short. If we assume that complexity will exponentially increase across the 7 stages, then it’ll end up being around 200 hours if stage length doubles, or around 3000 if stage length triples. I would personally prefer that Thrive ends up somewhere in the ballpark of 100 hours in the final version. I suppose.
What do you all think about the amount of time Thrive should take, once it’s finished?

The estimate of playtime I’ve had in my head in for years is basically as follows:

  • The microbe stage should take about 2 hours to complete
  • Then the further stages should only take about an hour more
  • So multicellular would take maybe around 3 hours
  • Aware and awakening maybe 4 each
  • Then the strategy stages would take maybe about 5-ish hours each. With probably the industrial stage being a bit shorter

I think a reasonable Thrive playthrough length would be then around 25-30 hours, of course depending on how determined the player is to get through the game. I feel like that’s about the optimal length as Thrive is also about different playstyles, so that gives the chance for players to try 2-3 different playstyles. Of course people who want to put a ton of time into Thrive to explore everything could easily stretch each playthrough probably to at least double the length and do many more playthroughs.


What made you decide/estimate (i have no better name for that) to make the game (relatively) this long? It is relatively similar to “Spore” in terms of length, only longer

If I remember right, when this was first discussed, it was already the case that for a first time player getting through the microbe stage took over an hour. So the estimate for microbe stage duration was rounded up to 2 hours based on assuming there’ll be more content in the future. And then picking up the idea that more complex stages should take longer than microbe (as they should also be more interesting). With those facts you basically arrive at those numbers I posted above.

Of course if someone instead wants to plan the strategy stages to take like double time (by being way more complex and/or slower to get through), it would be possible to target Thrive playthroughs to last closer to 50 hours.


It seems that the strategic part will take a very long time (both to prepare and to play), so this is the plan.
I guess there’s no telling how much strategy there will be.
But what about those who do speed-runs? How much do you think you will limit the game time run?

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I’m not really in favour of arbitrarily limiting progression speed, but there’ll likely be some. For example how we added the max reproduction compounds use rate in the microbe stage. So while I expect a speedrun to be much much faster, I’d still expect a speedrun to take like at least 10-15 minutes per stage even with totally optimized playing and doing absolutely nothing optional.


yeah just wait till they figure out the reproduction skip

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