Microbial Digestive Systems and their Role in the Microbe Stage

So, I was reading one of the old threads, and someone brought up a remark somewhere along the lines of “microbes aren’t that simple, you’d be surprised what they can do” and for some odd reason it made me think of the digestive systems of certain amoeba which include oral and anal grooves as well as food vacuoles. And, well, who better than me (a completely new person to these forums) to bring this all up!

So, for starters, let me explain the rough components of the digestive system of the cell:

Reference Picture


(Put in block quotes so it’s a bit easier to see.)

As you can see, amoeba digestive systems are quite complex; they include oral and anal grooves in which whole food enters and waste exists, a gullet where food is trapped while a food vacuoles form to transport the meal deeper into the cell. The addition of the digestive system could also add lysosomes as a component for digestion.

I’d imagine the whole system would take at least 100 MP to get fully up and running, with 35 for the oral groove, 35 for the anal pore, and 30 per food vacuole, with food vacuoles working as the “modular” portion of the system. The system would allow for absorbing larger clumps of nutrients (perhaps “chunks” of resources that yield a lot of a given resource but have to be broken down) and from further away (perhaps even allowing the engulfing of small iron rocks for continuous sources of iron, allowing ferrocytes to have a reliable source of iron away from rocks)

In larger cells (I’m talking like 8 or more evolution stages spent on nothing but making the cell bigger) it could also provide an efficiency boost, allowing materials and waste easy transport around the cell.

This could also go well with endosymbiosis (as the mouth would make it easy to absorb larger prey) and my other concept of modular membrane-bound organelles, where it could make it easy to transport materials into and out of membranes.

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if this would be implemented, which would require many new organelles (which I would not be adverse to), or many more mechanics. I think it would be interesting to develop quite complex creatures later on in the cell creatures. one thing I disagree with is the cost of getting this system set up. I would assume it would cost much more than 100 mp, because if it was 100 mp, you could get the entire system ready in one turn, which is both unrealistic and a bit overpowered.

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I like it, especially if you could combine it with with the current system of digesting organelles and iron chunks, since currently they’re both instant boosts to your compound stores. I’d like to see some system where eating food in non-cloud-form would actually take some time. You could even increase what you get out of it to balance it, but slow down the cell depending on the amount and what was ingested. I think this would even be pretty realistic, (I don’t see why it shouldn’t be, but I’m not a cell biologists,) since IRL creatures that ate a big meal would have to slow down to digest it.

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It would definitely add a lot of complexity to the cell stage for sure, yeah.
That’s sorta the idea; if the opportunity for macroscopic unicellular life does pop up, chances are a microbial version of a mouth, guts, and an anus would all be necessary for autotrophs. The hope would be that having specialized predatory organelles like this would make autotrophy much more appealing and effective than just sitting with a dozen thermoplasts and calling it a day.

Not to use the “I’m not a game dev” excuse, but… I’m not a game dev (lol). I’d say the gullet/mouth could be bumped up to 80 by itself, with food vacuoles remaining around 35-45 ish and the anal pore being about 40 (it’s just a specialized exit pore for waste, nothing extremely spectacular or complex).

This is precisely the kind of thing a microbial digestive system would seek to affect. Food vacuoles would probably affect your maximum “engulfed mass”; that is, the amount of “solid” material your cell can devour before it has to digest before swallowing up anything else. You’d probably digest at a rate based on your mass consumed, plus a fixed amount (3 nanograms per second + 5% of engulfed weight, or something?). The system would most likely require a lot of atp, with all the enzymes and vacuoles moving around and forming, but the net resource yield (in patches with a lot of other microbes and resource lumps) would most likely be worth it.

I also like the idea of engulfed mass slowing the player down afterwards; it could lead to autotrophs specialized in quick “lunges”, snapping up big prey and then having o recover and digest it.

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