Preparation for Planetary Diversity: Compound Upkeeps

Greetings, fellow microbes! This is TheRexYo.
Today I will be talking about the planet editor and ways it could impact the different features a cell can have. As the ability to modify the player’s world is slowly added to the game, it is crucial that the game changes its content to make the most out of this new feature. In this article, I will defer to you an idea regarding this change.

Certain organelles should have different types of compound upkeeps, rather than solely relying on ATP to function. This would be a change that provides two benefits simultaneously. For starters, it would simulate a more realistic environment, as organelles often require more than just ATP to function (1). Secondly, it would give players more diversity in terms of strategy. Rather than choosing organelles solely based on their effects, they would need to keep their environment in mind as well. A player should never be able to go for a calcium-carbonate exoskeleton on a planet without much calcium.

(1) Notably, a cell wall made of chitin requires a certain degree of glucose to create, and a calcium-carbonate exoskeleton would require both calcium clouds and environmental carbon.

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I always thought about that. Like to have many organelles that produce many CO2 or oxygen, it would have a drawback maybe?And even with other coumpounds. (I dont know if it would work/ works in real life, though) What about this?

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Waste byproducts aren’t quite what I’m talking about, but you’re not wrong. Perhaps they should make it so that, if too many cells are releasing CO2 or O2 in a patch, the environmental conditions will change to incorporate that?

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Continuing with that, other cell characteristics like pH, that can affect enzymes and other cell processes be influenced, though, cell excretion and patch would be an amazing thing I would like to see in the game too, helping creating changing conditions to patches.
Ok, sorry to deviate from the topic’s idea, ill stop it now.

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I definitely see this as being implemented. It adds an extra layer of depth and difficulty to the game.

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May I ask, what on earth does the cell wall made of Chitin do? My testing see’s no difference in ATP Making.

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It’s supposed to make the cell more durable against either toxins or pilus (one of the two, can’t remember which).

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Whats stopping the player from choosing all 3 /s

No existing microbe has all the different kinds of cell membranes, likely because it would be a highly inefficient design.

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I, uh, put down /s. It means sarcasm or satire but I understand that it would be terrible at ATP and other energy management.

This might be one of those ideas which sound nice on paper, but translate poorly into reality. Yes, it adds more things for the player to worry about and hence necessitates another level of consideration and management on behalf of the player: but if we make each organelle require a compound other than glucose to properly function, we could easily make the game into a mess of frustrating micro-management and unfair restriction, not even considering the burden of implementing extra elements which serve a single function and effect a single aspect of gameplay.
For your calcium carbonate exoskeleton for example; that sounds like a nice idea by itself, but of course, calcium and carbon aren’t your only worries if we make compound upkeep a significant aspect of the microbe stage. Iron-processing, hydrogen-sulfide processing, chloroplast-based, and all the other specialized organelles would need their own compounds to be maintained as well. That means you would need to not only ensure that you have enough glucose to fuel your organelles, you would also need to make sure you have enough iron, enough carbon, enough sulfate, enough calcium, and enough whatever to properly function. That just seems like a headache, if I’m being honest. You would need to constantly zip around the map and chase those clouds endlessly to fulfill your equally endless needs, and if one compound isn’t present, a whole aspect of gameplay is cut off to you. This restriction isn’t necessarily bad; making the player have important choices to decide, which dictate what strategies work or don’t, adds a good amount of depth and replayability to Thrive. Basing this restriction entirely on the environment with almost no choice or input from the player, however, doesn’t make for a fun and creative play-through, however.
I’m not saying this idea isn’t a good one or that it doesn’t have potential, but thinking about it as our traditional pursuit of a numerous amount of compound clouds doesn’t work well with Thrive.
An interpretation of this idea which works well I think would be to have certain organelles require less ATP to maintain if an environmental (non-cloud) compound is present at a sufficient level. So for example, if there’s 2-5% calcium present, it costs 5% less to maintain a carbon exoskeleton, if there’s 5-7% calcium present, it costs 10% less to maintain a carbon exoskeleton, and if there’s 7-10% calcium present, it costs 20% less energy to maintain. At the same time, we could have certain cells suffer from environmental compounds; perhaps chloroplasts could suffer a maintenance penalty if enough calcium is clogging the environment, for example. I feel that this is significant enough to effect the player’s decision making, but not in a way which takes the choice out of the player’s hands. The player could still be a plant in a calcium heavy environment; sure, it might not be smart, but it could work if they’re willing to suffer through the event and change. This interpretation of the concept I feel also connects with other pre-established concepts in Thrive, namely having compounds such as pressure, oxygen, and sunlight effect gameplay, hence allowing us a lot of flexibility in being able to induce evolutionary events. The Cambrian Explosion coincided with the increased availability of potassium in the environment in our own history; perhaps this could be reflected in Thrive, where the availability of potassium could lessen the amount of ammonia and phosphate needed for reproduction and thus trigger rapid evolution (0-5% K = No Effect, 5-10% = 5% less need for ammonia and phosphate, 10-15% = 10% less).

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Yeah, I kind of was referring to environmental factors anyway, but the idea of reduced upkeep based on those factors is pretty cool, too.

Also, regarding the comment: “Basing this restriction entirely on the environment with almost no choice or input from the player, however, doesn’t make for a fun and creative play-through, however.”,
since (see the purpose of this article) the player controls their environment via Planet Creation, there shouldn’t be an issue with them getting what they need. For example, the player could just turn up environmental Calcium.
Also, I’m not saying that the player needs to find the compounds, they’re already built into the environment, like the Oxygen and Nitrogen gases in the patch map.
Though, you’ve got a point. Thanks for reading! :slight_smile:

Edit: (Redacted Redundancy)

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