My experience with

So I’ve installed the new version the day before yesterday and I’ve seen there’s that new cutscene when you start the microbe stage, which is pretty interesting. Otherwise, everything went fine for me, in the sense that it didn’t crash. One problem I have though is when I entered the microbe editor: I had trouble trying to understand some of the organelle’s descriptions due to the technical words (and maybe because I was a bit tired.) Also I noticed that the description of some organelles goes beyond the information box. I added a mitochondria and another organelle (don’t remember wich one) and when I went back to the game I started loosing ATP, and even as I went in the compound clouds I was unable to replenish it and I ended up extinct.

And yesterday when I went in the microbe editor, the background had yellow and black stripes and at one moment when I respawned after killing myself, the background was also black and yellow. What is going on?

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You don’t really need the descriptions though. the only thing you need to know is the effect and cost.

Also, did you pick up glucose specifically, not ammonia or phosphates or something? Because that not being true is the only reason I can think of as to why your ATP production wasn’t big enough. A single mitochondrion should be able to support at least 2 flagella, and that’s not counting the cytoplasm which also creates ATP slowly.

But yeah, the “yellow zebra”-background is something which happens once in a while, no one really knows why exactly.

I went in every compound clouds I could but it didn’t work. My microbe had a flagella in addition to the mitochondria and the other organelle. I actually learned on Mouthwash’s review that you had to stay still to recover ATP, I tried it and it worked!

And about the “yellow zebra” bug, since it covered the whole background of the microbe editor, I wasn’t able to edit my microbe, so I just randomly swim here and there collecting compounds until my glucose and ammonia bar were full ( I think my phosphate bar was pretty much full too). Oh, and there wasn’t any sound telling me I could reproduce.

Thers an additional osmoregulation ATP cost which is at the bottom of the editor screen. Which changes based on the amount of organelles you have. The yellow background is a known and very difficult to fix bug with our graphics engine.

It also costs ATP to use flagella of course P

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I’m also going to share my experience with the game so far. I will be talking about the dev version released on February 2nd, as I’m yet to download today’s version.

First things first - I love the new features, I think they are absolutely amazing. But there are a few things I’d like to mention and I’d also like to talk about high-priority things (in my opinion). Some of the things might be obvious and/or highly discussed. So here we go, my feeling about the current features and also some features, that in my opinion should make it into the game as soon as possible.

Now let’s take it step by step:

Starting prokaryotic

Starting as a prokaryotic organism is great. I love the fact that you have to buy the nucleus now. I think, however, that getting the nucleus should be a bit more of an achievement. As of now, all it takes is just one reproduction, I think, however, that the player should feel like making a great deal of a progress when getting the nucleus. But right now it feels just like an extra step, not something you have to earn.
The other thing that concerns me about this feature as of now is the fact that you are the only one starting as a prokaryotic organism, while everyone around you is much more developed. I think I’ve read somewhere that you’ll be the first organism and I think that should be the case. The prokaryotic stage should also serve as a tutorial. Otherwise, I love it!


I don’t have much to say here, it’s just great. What’s still missing is, as far as I know, the iron ion clouds being tied to the iron particles as of yet, but otherwise it’s pretty much done (except the organelle texture/model).
But what I’d love to see is the ability to engulf the smaller iron particles and process them inside of you and the second thing I’d love to see is adding another debris the size of the big iron particle just to make your surroundings more interesting. They would be useless, however, would provide much more diverse aesthetics.

It's time for the new GUI

Despite really liking the current aesthetics of the game, I was absolutely mesmerized by @narotiza’s (and @That_Dude’s, if I am not mistaken) concept for the new GUI that showed up here: The UI. It looks highly professional, which will surely come in handy during the outreach, plus it is much more understandable and communicative. It provides player with more clearly displayed information, mostly in the editor, which is somewhat lacking in the GUI as of now.

Another kind of miscellaneous thing I’d like to mention here is perhaps a solution to the toxin’s missing texture. The toxin vacuole should perhaps have the same texture as the normal vacuole, just with different color (maybe the color of the current toxin model). “Oh yeah but what about the projectile?” I hear you ask. Well let me finish, would you be so kind? From what I understood, the reason of still not having the real deal with the toxin texture was the division of opinions whether to have it being a cloud for the sake of realism or have it a particle for the sake of gameplay. Now hear me out, are you ready? Imagine a particle with the texture of a cloud similar to spells you can find in a lot of RPGs and so on. Here’s something at least a bit looking like what I mean ( This particle, if not having hit anything, would then dissolve into a toxic cloud in the same manner as it’s intended for the small iron particles. However, it shouldn’t cover a large area.


Perhaps the most important thing on this list. However, I have no idea on how to make it work. Sorry, this one’s gonna be short. Still, one of the most important things on this list.

The lack of diversity in the later game

At the very beginning of the game, there was a plenty of different species, each looking pretty unique and interesting, but as the species were dying out, auto-evo couldn’t keep up with it and at the very end of my playthroughs there were always only about 6 species left, usually around 3 species of bacteria and 3 species of cells. In my opinion, the diversity of organisms should increase, rather than decrease. This is connected to the very start of the game, where you should be the only organism and all the other life-forms should evolve out of you with new species emerging every now and then to the point, where you wouldn’t be even able to memorize all of the species. This would give the later game the feel of a diverse and vibrant world.

Bugs and other stuff

One of the nastiest bugs I came across prevented me from using toxins whatsoever. I guess it might be connected to the ability to place the nucleus now, but whenever I tried to shoot them, they would appear inside of me, thus slowing me down and just leaving the projectile on the place where I was, rather that propelling it forwards.
Also, once I show up in the infamous banana biome, I always spawn there from that point, even after dying. The only way I can get rid of it is starting a completely new game. However, I have not experienced a single crash, good work!

Alright, this is probably all from me. Thank you, dev team, for making such a great project possible. I highly appreciate all the effort put into it, which is also why I decided to try to donate to @Untrustedlife’s Patreon monthly, if I’ll be financially able to do so. I’ve seen a lot of effort being put into the game as of now, with a new indev version daily/weekly and we as a community cannot thank you all enough. Keep it up, we are proud of y’all!
(If I realize I’ve forgotten to mention something, I will post-edit it down below)


Awesome glad you enjoyed it.

I agree that getting a nucleus feels too small, it would be nice for it to be a bigger moment. We are heading towards having the start be only your single hex of cytoplasm and have that part be a tutorial, I think these are good things.

We talked a bit about gui on the most recent podcast but the main thing is we need to sort out the underlying engine issues with the gui before doing a rework, however a rework is planned.

I like the idea of a simple toxin burst, that sounds interesting.

Hopefully the game will be much more diverse once the patches are in, we will work on it until the diversity is good.

Thanks for any donations you end up making, we appreciate the support :slight_smile:


Thank you for your response and thank you even more for mentioning one of the ideas on the podcast! That was a pleasant surprise and I had a fan moment. I’m glad you liked the idea!

Here are some other ideas that I had while playtesting the latest version ( released on 2/10/2019)

Making every gameplay a bit unique

As of now, once you start a new game, you know exactly what to do. You know how much ATP you get from what organelle per second, you know what works how efficiently and basically everyone can master the game after a few playthroughs. But if some factors, such as the enviromental O2 and so on were a bit randomized, it might change the efficiency of certain organelles. Or how abundant/rare is iron on said planet. This would spice things up a bit and would force you do be a bit more adaptive.
Edit: I’m a drunk dumb-dumb. This is already planned for the biome diversification to some extend, if I’m not mistaken. But it might be nice to have some things a bit randomized even then so that the biomes in one playthrough are just slightly different from the ones from a different playthrough. Basically parameters of the planet as such (composition of the atmosphere, what elements are to be found there etc.)

First step to solving organelle gluttony

In my last playthrough I created an abomination, that consisted of one of each organelle and maybe around 20 of mitochondrias. Why? Because I know I’m not going to be punished for doing so. So I was thinking about a system, where every organelle (maybe exept the prokaryotic ones) has severe downsides that add up the more organelles you have. We have the same thing with flagellae, where every single one of them consumes 7 ATP/sec, meaning that if you had 10 flagellae, they would be consuming 70 ATP/sec, which is a thing to concider. So for instance every organelle would have its mass, that would slow your cell down, with chemoplast, for example slowing you down even more. Now it’s just about finding another downside other than mass for every organelle and then it’s just about balancing the numbers. Another thing that might work is if the amount of organelles would have an effect on their prize, slowly rising and rising with every organelle of that type that you add. Also, some organelles might have a negative effect only when in combination together.


One thing I noticed is that the background is pretty HQ and almost seem like a flat plane. I noticed that there are perhaps 2 layers of the background, each moving a bit differently, which is nice, but still, the further away background seems to be very flat and photo-like. What might solve this would be a slight blur, making it seem far more distant. Another nice feature would be a slight blur around the edges of the screen and as you would scroll out, the edges would become more and more blurry (you would still be able to see pretty much everything, though).
Another thing I’d like to mention here one more time, despite being mentioned in the previous post as well would be the floating particles such as the big chunks of iron, that have no other purpose than to be a nice touch to the environment. And I would go even further and make the numbers, in which they occur dependent on the biome you are in. For example in a tidepool there would be much more sand particles floating around than in a middle of watery nowhere. Some of them might even be really big, covering perhaps half of the screen. This would make the environment more interactive, as you would have to navigate your way among a lot of these particles when being for example in the tidepool.

That’s it from me for now. And I think that after one or two big updates, we might be ready for the outreach. And with the outreach, we might try to contact a youtuber called “Game Maker’s Toolkit” (, who does analyses of a lot of games on the topic of feedback loops, balancing, upgrades etc. and let him give his opinion on Thrive and how to do things and such. Thank you for reading.

yeah lots of good ideas here, I think a lot of which is stuff we are planning which is good.

We’re planning to have lots of different biomes which have different environemntal compounds, and those compounds should change over time and the planet you are on will make a big difference. Hopefully that should all come before too long.

Organelles already have an osmoregulation cost of 1 ATP/s to make you pay for having a lot. We are going to move to having a cost per hex of the organelle so big ones will cost more. They also slow you down.

Yeah hopefully we can do some stuff with the visuals, especially when we put in light and dark mechanics.

I’m a bit fan of GMTK and I’m not sure we’re ready for him yet. In a while I think we’ll be good enough to make serious people sit up and take notice.


Boy-oh-boy, here I go again, spitting out my terrible and questionable ideas wherever I can. I’m going to vomit all of them at y’all here and hope someone might like at least one of them.
So fasten your seatbelts, here we go.

"Unlocking" the nucleus

As I mentioned before, getting the nucleus feels way too small as of now. And as someone from the dev team mentioned before, the speed/osmoregulation penalty is going to shift from the number of organelles to the number of hexes. Neat. So I propose that the nucleus gets unlocked only if your cell is able to sustain its energy needs, meaning you will need to get a few prokaryotic organelles in order to be even able to afford the energy consumption that comes with having a nucleus. Unlocking the nucleus, rather than having it available despite not being able to afford it will prevent people from extinction caused by getting the nucleus too early. This still doesn’t feel big enough, so maybe there might be another factors as well in combination with this one? But let’s take it step by step.
Side note - in order to make the editor look a bit less messy, the organelles might get displayed only if unlocked. And perhaps, once you unlock them and get into the editor, they might pulse, or glow, bling, basically anything signifying “Hey, I am unlocked now”!

Improvements to engulfing Vol.1

First improvement to engulfing I would propose is regarding the need to nerf current ability to engulf the iron rocks and pieces of cytoplasm from dead cells floating around. That’s too OP as of now. What would be better is if instead of immediate consumption, they would float around in your cell and slowly release the compounds there, until they would just vaporize. I think this was already suggested as well, but here’s the catch - slight, really just minor speed penalization for every engulfed thingy currently floating inside of you. As they would get smaller, you would start recovering your speed. As of now, there is no downside of engulfing the iron rocks and it is much more beneficial than just collecting the iron ions being dispatched by it. But with this system, you would have the benefit of continuous delivery of iron, but the downside of being a tiny bit slower. This needs to be addressed, since now all I have to do is eat one tiny rock at the beginning of the round and I am filled with iron for almost eternity.

Improvements to engulfing Vol.2

Another thing that get’s my goat when speaking about engulfing is that engulfing a tiny bacterium takes about the same time as engulfing a cell of my size. One crucial thing I would implement - engulfing based on hex size, rather than the number of organelles (Bacteria would be an exception as they are even smaller than a single hex from what I can tell). And there should be a big size difference between the engulfed cell and the engulfing cell. Even IRL the cell has to be multiple times larger in order to engulf another one. I would say that for the game purposes at least double the size. This would mean that as a regular cell, you would be able to engulf bacteria almost right off the bat.
Another thing that goes along with this is that the engulfing would look like the engulfing of rocks mentioned above. The bacteria, for example, would get inside of you as it is - whole. The main difference between rocks and organic stuff would be that the organic stuff would get dissolved muuuch quicker.
I can hear y’all scream “ThAt sUuCkS, I wAnT tO eNguLf bIg cElLs aS wElL”. And you still can, just a tiny bit more realistically (also-in-a-bit-more-harder-way-because-let’s-be-honest-the-game-is-too-easy-now-shhh). The first thing you have to do is to kill the big cell, either with a toxin or with a pilus (Whaa, pilus? Finally? Yup, I’ll get to that) and then you would engulf the broken bits and pieces of cytoplasm scattered around. This would make it easier for you if you want to rely on engulfing without toxin or a pilus, as engulfing bacteria and itty-bitty tiny cells would be a lot quicker now. Amoebae usually do just that. But also, if you’d like to be a giant-slayer, you still can! But now, a pilus and toxins will be much more useful to you, as you have to cut your meal apart first. I think it mixes realism with enjoyable gameplay quite well.
Side note: I imagine the dissolving of the rocks taking around 2 minutes, the dissolving of organic stuff around 10 seconds.
Edit: The time it takes to dissolve an organism should also be determined by their size. Such as “X seconds per hex”

Improvements to bacteria

Bacterium: “Okay, this is not epic. Prokaryotes, rise up!”

Obviously, bacteria are not gonna be happy about this, as they will be much more easier source of yummy compounds now. The solution? Realism! Again! What do I mean by that? Well, as in real life, bacteria will reproduce like rabbits now and just like that 0.1 % of bacteria in your mouth, they will quickly avoid any mass-genocide by dividing into oblivion. Since reproducing as a bacterium is not hard, there should be A LOT of them. But is that all they are going to do in order to survive? No. As seen on TV and in real life, I propose to you faster mutation rates than ever! Yes, I would pump those numbers up and since bacteria are so vulnerable now, we introduce our brand new superfast mutations. We have all of the special bacteria! Speedy ones? Hell yeah! Invisible bacteria also known from the previous version? These boys are stayin’! Bacteria packed with toxins? I wouldn’t munch on these! Call now and you will get an extra offer for bacteria with a pilus! Prokaryotes, rise up!

Ehm, yeah… I’d like to apologize for writing this in the style of a crappy TV infomercial. Sorry. I got carried away.

Introduction of the pilus

So… Yeah. The pilus. The only thing that causes more discussion than underwater civs. And how exactly is it going to work? I think that with regards to the discussion here, it would NOT be wise to represent the rupture by taking away HP, as the cells with medium rigidity membrane (the default type) would be absolutely doomed. My idea is, that instead of just HP damage, the cell would perhaps take minor HP damage and from the exact point of rupture would vent its compounds similarly to how iron particles do based on the membrane type. For example, the cellulose wall would be completely immune to a basic pilus rupture, but a pilus strong enough to get through the wall would let it “bleed out”, as the wall would be too tough to seal itself and so on (all the other cases are described really well in the hyperlink). I think the membrane type should determine for how long is the cell going to “bleed”. So let’s say the default wall will bleed for a long period of time, so let’s say 10-15 seconds, the soft membrane would just burp out a bit of compounds for let’s say 1 second before sealing itself off and the thick cellulose wall IF punctured (unlikely, given how strong it is), would just probably vent compounds out till the cell dies.

Sorry for such a long post, hope none of you have fallen asleep. Tell me what you think.

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This is all good feedback, thanks, I agree with a lot of your points. I like your vision of combat with more stabbing and toxins and chopping things up before you can eat them, that’s cool.

I agree engulfing the iron rocks is op. I’m not sure what to do about it as I think making the cell slow could be dull.

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Hmm, I do have to say I would not agree with making more rigid walls leak compounds for a longer time.

It seems the belief has arisen among the devs that walls can be seen as essentially a more extreme version of a rigid membrane? That’s really not an accurate way of thinking about it. Plant cells still have a flexible membrane under that rigid cellulose cell wall, that can even detach in some conditions (High osmotic solutions mainly).

You should really think of cell walls as an additional layer around a membrane, rather than a part of it.

Oh, thank you for educating me, I’m really no expert in the field of biology (most of my knowledge of biology arises from the times I hadn’t slept in class and simplified youtube videos). That is actually really cool and it might even solve the problem with… you know… bleeding the Belgium out, as the membrane underneath the wall would more or less “seal itself”.
But that raises the question - could the cell wall be so damaged that it would just fall off, leaving the cell exposed and more vulnerable?
Thank you one more time, there’s never enough knowledge to learn!

Oh, you’re welcome! And yes, it’s possible to strip the cell wall off a cell, we even have a name for those cells: Protopolasts. We sometimes strip the cell walls off on purpose for research purposes.

You won’t often see this happen outside lab conditions though, since cells with cell walls usually are not very well adapted to living without them. Plant cells would generally explode without them because they suck up more water than they can take, for example.

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But if you were good at osmoregulation and someone got rid of your cell wall, would you be still technically capable of surviving?

I still think you should be slowed down by engulfing a rock, not for the gameplay, but for the environment. If you only add systems that are fun to play, the pool will probably end up a bit too one-sided, with every cell zipping around. The AI doesn’t care about fun, so why not add a couple tricks that aren’t fun, for the AI to use? It would probably make everything a bit more realistic. (E.G. plants aren’t that fun to play, but you need them for a working ecosystem, and there’ll be no option for a ‘herbivore’-esque build if every cell is a predator)

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Yeaah, soo… Here comes another idea… Sorry.

External editor (There is actually no reason for this spoiler thingy, it's just a habbit at this point)

Basically, what I’d like to talk about is having the external organelles not being added by placing hexes, but rather by mounting them directly onto the membrane. Maybe we should add “External editor” rather than having the membrane selection/slider in the ‘Appearance’ tab. In the external editor you would edit your membrane/cell wall and mount external organelles to it (Cilli, Pilus, Flagellum). There would be no osmoregulation penalty for adding those, as they are in fact not part of the inner cell. Also, this would not take place on a hex grid, but rather would they be placed on the rendered shape of your cell, providing more of a free hand and preventing the current state, where you can place a flagellum in the middle of your cell and somehow it appears on its edge. Here in the external editor, you’d be able to edit only the ‘outer layer’ of your cell.

If you think there might be a better thread for my doubtable ideas, please tell me (but I think that at this point this is already considered an unofficial “Current Game And Future Microbe Stage Ideas” thread). I think it’s such a shame that there is so much ideas and suggestions about the later game stages, but so little about what we have now. Shall we create a thread for current game ideas, or has this one transcended to exactly that already?
Thank you for your time, I’m out!

Making an extra editor is a lot of work and it sounds like it wouldn’t actually make the game that much cooler.

Re trading fun for realism I get the point but I’m against it, I think we want to make the game really fun, that’s important.

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I thought that was the plan, how you supposed to make sure organelles are outside of your cell then? Because the current system of ‘just place a flagellum anywhere and now it’s automatically added on the side’ doesn’t really work with things like pili and agent secretors (since the player needs to be able to place them pretty accurately), and otherwise you’ll have to move your external organelles each time you increase the size of your cell (to decrease the chances of a pili ending up inside your cell).

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Not sure. I guess if it becomes a problem then we’ll solve it, having a separate external organelles editor would be a good option.

Just don’t let the player place external organelles anywhere but the exterior and disallow them from placing anything beyond them. This would involve knowing the orientation of such organelles - you should be able to place organelles next to a flagellum everywhere except the edge from which it protrudes, for instance.