Okay, so, I love Thrive, and I also love microbiology. And in microbiology, membranes are everywhere. As such, the logical conclusion is that membranes should be everywhere in thrive, right?
So, the crux of this whole concept is the idea of a "Designate Inner Membrane " tool, in which the player can designate sort of “rooms” inside their cell for various proteins, and multiple proteins contained in a room make up an organelle.
In this way, cells become modular. For example, 2 metabolosomes create a mitochondria, or 2 thykaloids make a chloroplast. Even better would be the addition of a “chromosome” structure; these would either be used to build a nucleus (I’m thinking at least 3 chromosomes for a nucleus) or would be used to make organelles more efficient (with DNA to encode their genetic code, they can suppress errors in proteins and therefore able to work harder).
As for the exact maths… I’m not a game dev. I don’t know the absolue units for anything in this game, so I’ll use percents for production values and I’ll try to give rough estimates of what each protein should cost under the new system:
Chromosomes should cost roughly 35 MP, and when free-floating, they provide +2 mutation points per piece. when bound together in a nucleus (3 or more chromosomes in a membrane with no other proteins), this value jumps up to 5 per chromosome, plus a bonus 5 points for every 6 chromosomes in the same nucleus. When placed in other organelles, they become support units, finalizing a room and massively improving work speed.
Metabolosomes are 40 MP until a nucleus is formed, at which point they drop in price to 25 MP. When 2 or more Metabolosomes are in a membrane, they become roughly 40% more efficient. When a chromosome is placed into the membrane, they become a mitochondria, and another 35% boost is added.
Thykaloids are 50 MP until a nucleus is formed, at which point they drop to 35 MP. When 2 or more Thykaloids are in a membrane, they become roughly 175% more efficient. When a chromosome is placed into the membrane, they become a chloroplast, and another 225% boost is added.
Chemosynthesizing Proteins are 50 MP until a nucleus is formed, at which point they drop to 30 MP. When 2 or more Chemosynthesizing Proteins are in a membrane, they become roughly 25% more efficient. When a chromosome is placed into the membrane, they become a chemoplast, and another 50% boost is added.
Rusticyanin is 45 MP until a nucleus is formed, at which point it drops to 20 MP. When 2 or more Rusticyanin is in a membrane, it becomes roughly 75% more efficient. When a chromosome is placed into the membrane, they become a ferroplast(maybe, just going off of the root word for iron), and another 175% boost is added.
Nitrogenase is 55 MP until a nucleus is formed, at which point it drops to 25 MP. When 2 or more Nitrogenase is in a membrane, it becomes roughly 50% more efficient. When a chromosome is placed into the membrane, they become a ferroplast(maybe, just going off of the root word for iron), and another 75% boost is added.
(The thermoplast would need somekind of protein equivalent but I can’t find any numbers on the wiki, oops.)
OxyToxisomes are 60 MP until a nucleus is formed, at which point they drop to 40 MP. When 2 or more Oxytoxisomes are in a membrane, they become roughly 450% more efficient. When a chromosome is placed into the membrane, they become a chloroplast, and another 575% boost is added.
Vacuoles would be created when 3 or more empty cytoplasm hexes are designated together. A vacuole doesn’t preform glycolysis, but it has 5 times the compound storage space.
Game Balancing Issues
The most apparent issues are cost and size. Modular organelles would drastically inflate cell sizes to insane levels compared to now (imagine a mitochondria taking 3-5 tiles) and the costs could get a bit out of hand (which is admittedly why I made chromosomes do the thing they do). On one hand, if the devs really want to stick to the established ideal progression system, thrive isn’t a cell simulator. On the other hand, this could theoretically make macroscopic cell people possible, which would be really fun~ wink
I dunno. Overall, I love this game, and wanted to make my pitch some way or another. Leave your thoughts in the replies!
Small Edit: I made a mock-up of various modular types with a screenshot, gimp, and crappy digital art skills:
Image and key
In this concept mockup, the dark blue lines represent vertecies and edges where an inner membrane is established (with the exception of the “selected” vacuole, which is outlined in white). The gray round squiggly X thingies are chromosomes because I’m not an artist.
The little dossier to the side shows the type of compartment selected as well as what it is comprised of. Some examples for custom organelle names would be:
Vacuole - Must be completely empty and at least 4 hexes big.
Vesicle - Must be at least one hex, or have at least one miscalleneous component (a protein, a chromosome, or even a prefabricated vacuole) if over 4 tiles in size.
Mitochondria - Must be at least 3 hexes, but no more than 7, and must contain 1 Chromosome and at least 2 Metabolosomes.
Sheathed Mitochondria - Must be at least 8 hexes (but no more than 20) and must contain 1 chromosome, at least 7 metabolosomes, and 1 prefabricated vacuole.
Chloroplast - Must be at least 4 hexes, and must contain 1 Chromosome and at least 3 Thykaloids, but no more than 10. If the number of Thykaloid proteins in one Chloroplast exceeds 5, however, the cell will take damage at lux level 101% or higher (a reference to the fact where, in plants, a cell must spread its chloroplasts out to avoid a form of botanical sunburn, also known as sunscald). A prefabricated vacuole can be placed in the Chloroplast to prevent this sun damage up to 9 chloroplasts, or 8 chloroplasts above 175% lux (this preventative effect doesn’t stack).
Ferroplast - Must be at least 3 hexes and contain at least 2 Rusticyanin and 1 Chromosome. A prefabricated vacuole can be added to increase efficiency but not work speed; that is to say, the whole ferroplast uses less iron.
Chemoplast - Must be at least 3 hexes and contain at least 2 Chemosynthesizing proteins and 1 Chromosome.
Sulfuric Oxidizer - Must be at least 5 hexes (but no more than 7) and contain at least 1 Chromosome, 2 Metabolosomes, and 2 Chemosynthesizing Proteins. This custom organelle directly converts Hydrogen Sulfide into ATP at a more efficient rate than having both organelles separate, however it has a lower maximum size and is more restrictive in terms of input (it will not accept glucose, only Hydrogen Sulfide).
And of course, there could be plenty of others. These are just examples.