Learning from past mistakes of Spore and other games

In this thread we will take a look at aspects of Thrivesque games that we found either tedious and infuriating or really cool. You do not have to mention Spore being too cartoonish and unrealistic, the whole premise of Thrive is realism.

My first point will be the playtime of Spore. One of the reasons Spore feels so shallow is the fact that you can usually get from a microbe into a spacefaring civ in one and a half hour. Some speedruns even managed it in half an hour. But what should the playtime of Thrive be, given that you do not stick in any stage longer than necessary? My guess would be at least 8 hours or so, but I personally would have no problem with going even higher, such as 12 or 15 hours. I think Thrive shouldn’t be a game you can finish in one sitting. It should be a long journey from a primordial soup all the way into space. Each playthrough should have a playtime as its own game. You should feel proud about how far have you gotten and how much effort it took. This is something Spore was not able to do. How long should it take in your opinion?

My other problem is with how the space stage serves you all the things you can do at the very beginning and from that point it’s just repetition. Within the first 30 minutes of the space stage you can experience terraforming, colonizing, politics (basically just war or trading) and exploration. And this is all you will be doing for the rest of the game. It tedious and uninspired. The solution? A clever mix between strategy system similar to Stellaris and an exploration system similar to No Man’s Sky or Spore(? uuhhh… kinda…?). It would even make sense. With a space civilization, you don’t want to spread too far, because there’s A LOT of issues with that. Rather, you want to have a centered empire and manage it. This is the part similar to Stellaris. The other part is the exploration of the entire universe. Here, you will have control over one ship on an expedition, maybe you will even have your little personal fleet, either in the style of No Man’s Sky (basically 1st person, view from the ship) or Spore (3rd person). I think this would be a nice mix between strategy and adventure that makes logical sense and would be fun to play, what do you think?

What are some things in other games you liked/disliked? It can be absolutely anything, from which Thrive could learn. I think it’s important to actually look at other games and see what works and what not and how it could be improved. What about Spores “”""“cell”"""" stage? What did you like and what did you hate?

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I feel they shortened Spore’s playtime to encourage replay-ability, because if you get so invested in one save, you kind of don’t feel like starting a new one. On the other hand, Spore was very repetitive, whereas Thrive makes sure you have a different play throughs with more possibilities. So I think for this reason Thrive can tolerate a longer playtime, but I’m not sure.

In my opinion the high investment with one save makes it so much more engaging and makes you actually care, whereas if you :belgium:up in Spore you can get on the exact same level within minutes, so you don’t care as much. I think the emotional investment with your playthroughs is a great thing that makes you come back over and over. Just as a Minecraft world you spent months working on. And you will always have a reason to start a new one, to explore all the things you haven’t done until now.

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Spores short play time wasn’t for replay ability it was just because they got lazy
Thrive is going to be longer because unlike spore which was more like a series of minecraft minigames (i’m talking more in length not quality) with the exception of the out of place long and kinda annoying space stage, Thrive is going to make each stage its own full fledged and replayable game they already managed to do that with microbe stage since everyone’s still playing that over and over again it’s why development will be a long while to perfect each stage’s replay ability
For example Microbe and multicellular will have nigh nothing in common despite the similar timespans multicellular may have its early stage like microbe but with a second cell but still in a while after that transition period you’ll be playing an entirely different game

Aware and awakening are very different and in a way i like to imagine the difference between early stage and mid to late stage is that early stage for all stages in thrive are just the introduction cutscene to ease the change in gameplay I.E Early awakening is the same as aware but you do not have any evolution occuring instead you’ll bug around for awhile until you discover the RTS mode then thats the rest of awakening stage the new game mentioned

I am always wondering what each stage will entail for the player in terms of gameplay in this aspect though i wouldn’t be surprised if society stage is just a total war game

I understand that this has nothing to do with the point you’re trying to make, but it’s generally better to think of Thrive as one long changing game than a series of smaller games.
So for example, when you transition into multicellular there won’t be a cutscene congratulating you on unlocking the next stage and telling you what the new game mechanics are.

Instead, there’d just be a ‘bonding protein’ in the list of proteins you can unlock. So you add it to your cell and now you can stick to other cells of your species. There is no cutscene, your not playing a ‘different game’. You just added something new to your cell.

And you could play through the entire game this way, just adding stuff and seeing what happens, not thinking about “progressing” to the next stage. In fact, you could probably play through the entire game without ever knowing what the different stages were.
Because it’s all one, long, continually evolving game.

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Yes, I absolutely agree with that, but I don’t see where I conflict any of that. I totally agree that the transitions should be as smooth as possible, sometimes even melting and blurring together, but I don’t feel I mentioned anything that would contradict that.

You didn’t, @TheXenomorphian did:

I’d still like there to be some stylised popup saying you’ve achieved Multicellularity (but only during Mid multicellular when the game changes from Microbial with extra cells to its own thing) or for other stages just to let people know plus i love the pop up in the current stage of thrive with microbial stage (it helps to explain some stuff about why the hell a cell is doing there) The popups could be used to describe the process that leads to this stage like Awakening could say at the beginning

Congratulations you have achieved Intelligence (forgot the word that began with S didn’t bother to look it up) Now that you reached this point the time flow is shortening from millions of years to a few hundreds, as your creature stops evolving its body but its mind

There simple right? tells some of the people what stage they’re on (since imagine playing Thrive and reaching awakening only to find out due to early awakening having the same gameplay as Aware that you have unintentionally reached that stage and now you cannot evolve anymore you’d spend hours doping about as you would in Aware ) It also helps inform some of the aspects of the gameplay like how you must get more smarter and you no longer evolve, and it would still be somewhat a smooth transition Despite the popup (the popup could appear 20 seconds after you have achieved that stage so that you start out wondering what stage you’re in and wandering about then bam theres your exposition its still a smooth transition between the stages just a popup appears shortly after said transition

IDK my personal opinion remember i’m the man who would like to see Stellaris crisis events in Thrive so take this with a beaker of salt, Molten salt , Molten salt with a layer of solid salt above , and the whole room is filled with Salt gas , and you’re on a planet made of salt

Not to mention the timeline option from Spore… Maybe that’s a good idea to notify the player about when they approximately reached different stages.

I actually enjoyed the timeline function of spore though an exact copy would be a bit difficult in thrive (due to the larger amounts of editor changes needed to shape your creature) a way to do something similar in my opinion could be like one of those weird spore evolution videos where they basically have a black background and esentially speed show each variant your species has under gone throughout evolution

Though thats just a fun way to do it for those who want more indepth inspection the old spore timeline is fine

IDK how technology could be fitted within a timeline though another idea is there is a button in the menu that leads to the Timeline tree Within that timeline tree is a few tabs One is dedicated to your species and creature as its evolution has been, it’d only be valid till Awakening stage when you stop evolving by which point the Tech tab opens, The tech tab could have various bars representing different weapons for example Lets say one bar is Melee weapon beginning with a simple stone axe as you improve on it, the graph shows the changes but when you create a new melee weapon it shows a branch off (thus timeline Tree ) the same could actually be used for the regular life tree but that feels a bit different and another subject already covered

Though i can already hear the devs angrily typing

There’d be a hella large amount of bars

So to fix that perhaps instead of a dedicated Tech timeline it’d be split off into different tabs
One is for weaponry of all sorts
One is for Vehicles
One is for structures
One is for Function parts (as they can change too)

in the future there could be another tab for Space design timeline

It was only today while being amazed by the Slovakian landscape, that I realized stunning landscapes are something very few games can pull off, let alone randomly generated. My question is why. If you look at the landscapes of Spore, No Man’s Sky or some parts of unmodded Skyrim, the land often seems like a barren wasteland. More of a desert, rather than at least savana plains. I think the three main problems are the landscapes not being dynamic enough, the lack of diversity and the low quantity of the flora. Let me explain.
The landscape is not dynamic enough
When you look at the landscape in the games mentioned above, all you get is usually smooth hills and not much more. However, in the real world, landscapes are much more dynamic and there is so many ways the terrain can form, bend, crack, ascend and descend. I don’t think many games have pulled this of, hence I don’t even know of any game even attempting it. When was the last time you have seen a randomly generated waterfall? Stuff like that is what matter in creating stunning landscapes.
The lack of diversity
Another aspect is the fact that in most games there are usually just a few presets for flora on every planet and they are just scattered randomly across its surface. But in reality, even if you were to look out of the window right now, you would probably see dozens of different species of flora, even if you live in an urban area. One solution for this might be biome specific plants (which should be taken care of by the auto-evo). Each biome would have its specific flora and in some places they would blur together.
The low quantity
As I said before, any place in the games mentioned above feels like a wasteland or a desert. This is because of the frequency of the plants, which is everywhere the same and everywhere somewhat lacking. I want you to imagine a tundra, a desert, a taiga, a rainforest, a savana and compare the frequency of the plant-life in them. When it comes to creating a certain atmosphere, this is often overlooked.

̶H̶o̶w̶e̶v̶e̶r̶,̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶g̶a̶m̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶m̶a̶n̶a̶g̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶p̶u̶l̶l̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶o̶f̶f̶.̶ ̶M̶i̶n̶e̶c̶r̶a̶f̶t̶.̶
What do you think? What are other steps to follow in order to create an atmospheric landscape to be remembered? Try looking some up to get some inspiration.

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We could work on the timeline now, with the microbe stage being worked on for diversity all from the player in 5.0. or later.

I really hate(d) comic expressions in games like spore and other evolution games. An example being a comic exclamation point or question mark appearing above an entity. In other games this is fine, it fits. But in evolution games I just think it looks… stupid. I have no other reason it just doesn’t fit I think. If we wanted to know a creatures emotion or reaction I think we should be able to click on it and find some sort of description along with an emotion.

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(Credit: DeadlyBlueApples, Game: Dwarf Fortress)
I assume emotional readouts would be something like this, though decidedly less verbose.

I would also like to see non-verbal expression of emotions.
Here are some universal markers that I have come up with.
Joy - The creature walks slightly faster and will often gesture to other creatures.
Sadness - The creature cares less about proper prosture, moving slower and ignoring others.
Combat - The creature’s stance is wider and aims its hands/claws/weapons at any foes.
Anger - The creature will frequently stomp and yell/point weapons at others.
Fear - The creature attempts to lower its form and will look around for any potential threats. The creature may also start shaking.

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The Scavengers from Rain World come to mind, they have really impressive, lifelike body language and i love them

scavs are funny

two
aaaaaaaaaa
alertiboi
carlhowdareyou
carlpile1
chill
fluffyrummage
halt
zap

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Just gonna go on a quick rant here… rain world changed my perspective on games. Honestly it is the most beautiful game I’ve ever played. The gameplay is so well thought out and (no spoilers) when you finally discover things, or rather they discover you it provokes some age-old instinct somewhere in your brain. Obviously I’m exaggerating BUT NOT THAT MUCH. On one hand it’s a survival game, and on the other it’s dark and philosophical. I cannot stress enough how good of a game this is. Has rain world ruined all other games for me due to how good it is? Yes, yes it has.

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Not to double post but shut up.

If you do EVER play rain world once you reach the wall I highly recommend having mr. Blue sky playing on a constant loop. There are many reasons why and if you’ve played the game and don’t know what I’m talking about um then… do that

Add mr blue sky into thrive we can learn from spore’s mistake of not using it

would actually make for a good ending song once you’ve completely finished the game

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Mr. Blue Sky is owned and must be licensed for fair use (otherwise sue sue sue). Licensing costs money. Thrive is open-sourced, and doesn’t plan to profit from the game. The devs would have to pay out of their pockets for this feature.

Anyways, we don’t need mr blue sky. Have you listened to some of the Thrive tracks? They’re wonderful!

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Yes, but this is MR BLUE SKY. You can’t make this shit up man!

I joke. The thrive soundtrack is amazing. Is there currently an end of game soundtrack (for credits)?