Implementing sight during the stages

First of all, I would like to discuss sight. In the current game, you can see the clouds, other cells, etc. but eventually I’m assuming that you’ll need eyespots or other mechanisms to sense the world around you. Would, at a certain point, the game reduce sensory perception to nothing, or would the integration be more subtle?


The current “sight” is based on chemoreception, with planned eyespots to see patches of light.
When the player grows their organism, the range of chemoreception would reveal less relative to the organism. I’d say that a depth of field blur would be most appropriate for range.
Of course, there are many ways to perceive the world that aren’t just sight. Different types of perception would probably give some kind of baseline light-perception to be able to see the game world, with different strengths and weaknesses. Material shaders could have parameters to reveal senses.
Light - [ +habitable planets have sunlight, +longest range, doesn’t work in the dark ]
active component: bioluminescence
Infrared - [ +detect active creatures, +detect heat spots, heat dissipates easily / short range ]
(subset of light, but interesting enough)
Smell - [ +tracking, +detect chemicals, -dissipates easily, doesn’t work on inorganic things ]
active component: general biology
Sound - [ +detect active creatures, +works out of sightline, doesn’t work on unmoving things ]
active component: echolocation
Vibrations - [ +see through walls, must be on ground ]
(combines sound and touch)
Electric - [i don’t understand this enough to gamify it]
active component: electric eel stuff

Other senses could just provide live readouts for environmental values (as is displayed in the patch map). Senses that have not been developed to widely perceive the game world could also just be readouts - like temperature, self and ambient volume, pressure, whatever. Undeveloped hearing would muffle or damp in-game sounds, as well.
Magnetic senses would give the player an on-screen compass.

Radioactivity is an afterthought, but if life happens to evolve around it, those organisms would find a way to detect it.

Problem: We don’t have a stably discussed concept to implement photoreceptors in game

Obstacles: The fact that the player can seemingly see light although only using olfactory sensors, The fact that it doesn’t seem to have microbial concept, The visuals for a “realistic” implementation will probably confuse or supposedly “bore” the player

Current Assumptions: Eye spots will either deeply change the visuals now which will lead to player boredom, or just slightly change the range and visibility, but lead to quite a small change for such a huge evolutionary feature, so how do we make the player not feel annoyed by this possible new change of visual while also making the evolutionary feature huge?

What we know: The current visuals is fine, but inaccurate. Accuracy of senses may interfere with games “play-ability” as @phrenomythic keeps describing. What do we know? The cells currently are supposed to sense by chemical recognition. We humans use versions of this such as taste, and smell. We also know that the current thrive aesthetic uses visual light to communicate to the player, as if the cell already has eye spots (which is quite inaccurate). We also know that there are people here who would gladly play thrive blindly, or hate to see a colorless view when blind like spore. We also know that hhyyrylainen doesn’t enjoy debating over nonsensical stuff that will just reoccur in the future. Finally, we know that smell comes in gradients, from "what is that faint smell’ to “oh god, the smell is strong”.

Solutions: We don’t want to blind the player. Smell is still a sense, so you can still interpret the world with it. However, smell-o-vision doesn’t exist, and showing smell or taste on a computer screen that only broadcasts light is pretty tricky. I don’t know any games where smell is implemented, so here is our time to shine. I was thinking keeping the visuals similar, except you can only “see” compounds by default. You can argue players already see like this. However, the interpretation seems similar to just having a visual apparatus. What you can do is keep compound clouds relatively the same. Now, assuming the player can smell the compounds, they can most likely smell some compounds through membranes (the higher the membrane rigidity, the less visible compounds will be). It will be simple. Every cell has to collect compounds for a number of reasons. This would mean that the player can see compound clouds being casually carried around by these cells, and maybe a faint membrane judging by rigidity and opacity. The surrounding environment could be made immensely dark, except for places with high compound deposits like the hydrothermal vents, and caves. In caves and vents, seeing cells will be quite easy, since low rigid membrane cells will just be little hasty moving compound clouds, and high rigid membrane cells will just be hunks with low absorption, and instead leave a moving spot of emptiness in compound clouds. This also helps the determination of eyes. Eyes can help you see all types of membranes and compounds, and thus, predation could become easier. However, eyes in caves are quite dumb, as they are expensive and vulnerable out on open skin, and work badly in low concentration of light. I might draw a concept if feeling good today.

I do like the suggestions by by DPHkraken also.

Maybe we should boil it down to this: Viewport symbolizes what your microbes “senses”. All “senses” chemotactically or otherwise could be conflated into what’s represented visually to the player. More advanced senses, like “eyespots”, could in principle give additional sensory enhancements, like e.g. possibility to zoom in/out or whatever. I think that may work.


Maybe it could have an influence on the patch map. lets say in the future most of the patches are hidden, you will only be allowed to see the ones you can actually go to. imagine also that a dynamic patch map has been added at this point, making the changes to the patch map very unpredictable. maybe eyespot will allow you to see nearby light patches so you would know witch way to migrate. also maybe they will allow you to “skip” a patch, since your species has been able to go towards the lit patches over the many years the editor represent? I havent really put much thought into this, i just wont to add it to see if it can lead to anything interesting

There is no way any cell has the visual range to see across tens of clear kilometers into the distance, and then decide to venture there. The patch map doesn’t broadcast what the cell senses, but rather the possible spots you can migrate your cell. Also, you can’t really see into the distant future of another generation with eyes. It would have interesting outcomes but would shift upon the game’s goal of realism and respect to science and the player.

Thats not exactly what I ment. Since the time jump that happens when your cell splits represents so many years and generations, i ment that the cells with eye spots has had an easier time then species without them to follow the sun over the generations that has lived within the time jump. So if you were to take advantage of the “patch skip”, it would just represent that your cell has moved way more efficient towards the brighter patch over all those years passed, if that makes sense.

So say a patch gets darker over time for whatever reason. The cells without eyespots wont notice as quickly and therefore move slower towards brighter patches. Whereas the species with eyespots will notice faster and start moving towards the lit areas. This is what i thought the “patch skip” could represent i guess

Also a little addition, some of the migrating population should drop off in the skipped biome


I would think that there would be photoreceptor parts you can add, that increases an value that dictates how far your microbe can see, the default is 30 hexes in the world, and then more up to 200 in the multi-cellular world, until your species should see 5km, the amount a human can see at maximum.

P.S. Is the speed hexes per second? and what is the conversion from (kilo)hexes to meters? Honesty meters should be the unit of measurement after the microbe stage.

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The speed measurement is (AFAIK) just made with trial and error to correspond roughly linearly to the actual speed in game which is a result of a physics engine simulation on the cell.

so no unit? i’m not really sure if this is right.

the speed unit in thrive is hex for second, duh

oh… @hhyyrylainen worded it in a way so that it implyed that the unit is just a value from the physics engine.

the physics engine uses hex per second

ohhhhh… i need to do something real quick

It’s not.

No, because I think our hexes are defined to be 0.75 units wide, so it isn’t an exact match.

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