Thrives current progression system/learning curve is flawed. Heres why:
You first start the game as a simple hex of cytoplasm floating around to find compounds to replicate. this is simple and easy to understand. Once you enter the cell editor however, things begin to get much more complicated. The player is graced with the ability to add almost any part they desire. (with the obvious exclusion of organelles) This grants the player the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. it would undoubtedly teach the player that cell gluttony (Using all parts and becoming an intense generalist) is bad and will result in you getting punished, whereas specialization is good and will result in you getting rewarded. as much as i love this whole trial and error gist, there is a clear issue with it. the learning curve of the whole editor is far too steep. and this isnt an issue with the player, but rather the way the game currently fails to communicates certain ideas to the player.
ive seen a few casual youtubers play thrive, and one thing i immediately see is them placing thykaloids onto their cell, despite the fact that they literally live nearby hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea where no light is able to penetrate through. why is this? is it because these people are incompetent idiots? no. its because the game currently fails to communicate the idea that there is no light in the hydrothermal vent region. sure the little patch tab shows us the environmental stats a certain region has, but players arent willing to read through statistics, they would rather play the game. this problem already has a solution that im pretty sure the developers are working on. adding darkness to the game! theres even some concept art that shows how bioluminscence can be used as a sort of cellular flashlight allowing the player to see a greater range of things, do you think anyone will place thykaloids once they not only see darkness, but also read the description of a thykaloid which states it works in sunlight? more subtle cues need to be implemented. the trial and error part of the game should come last rather than first.
This whole “show don’t punish the player” mindset would have to be applied to every single part in the cell editor. thykaloids are shown to be useless by showing the player the darkness of the thermal vent region. a similar solution just needs to be applied for every part. I’m not even sure this can be done for some parts though. how is the game supposed to subtly show the player that THERE IS NO OXYGEN HERE TO ENABLE AEROBIC RESPIRATION or THERE IS NO CARBON DIOXIDE TO ALLOW FOR YOU TO UNDERGO PHOTOSYNTHESIS. and this basically promts the creation of a more friendly gui that is easy to mentally and visually digest. i think we can take a look at narotizas concept for ui for a great look at what thrives cell gui will probably look like at the end;
There is also another problem that ive seen be pointed out numerous times. Jumps in the games pacing. isnt it a bit strange how the addition of the nucleus is an instant and abrupt one? once i place a nucleus its almost impossible for me to survive unless i subsist off the rotting corpses of my fellow eukaryotic bretheren who weren’t lucky enough to have more glucose than me. certain parts should be evolved gradually rather than instantly placed in order to allow for a smother transition of difficulty. The game would benefit greatly from passive evolutions. Passive evolutions are not placeable parts, but rather (as their name suggests) passive ‘upgrades.’ which can lead to the unlocking of certain organelles. look at the small minor changes which allowed for the evolution of the nucleus:
ill probably add more onto this section as i havent thought this one through thoroughly.