Questions and suggestions about the Society Stage

Hi, I’m new to the forum after having followed thrive for a year or so. I have some questions about the society stage:
What will the pov be? In my opinion the most interesting would be to play as a single indiviual during gameplay and in the menu you get to affect the culture/industry/goals of the society as a whole. This would keep continuity will earlier stages where you play as a single creature in gameplay and switch to affecting the whole evolutionary line of the species in the menu stages. But I could also see a more civ like direction where you play as the abstracted collection of society as a whole. Or maybe a Suzerian route where you play an important figure in your society but other agents will still react to you

Another topic that interests me is how the biological evolution affects societal evolution. For example omnivores could choose to adopt either a more meat or plant centric diet which will determine how much land that society will need and whether they will be incentivised to expand and go to war once populations rise a certain level. While carnivores or herbivores are hardlocked into either one

A concern I have is how to prevent historical linearism. I’m not sure if I can easily explain what I mean by this but it is like thinking of the progression of society as predetemined steps (hunter gatherer, small farming cities, empires, industrial nationstates). Then societies that are at a lower step may be characterised as static, not having changed hard enough to move to a further stage, ignorant of their further development or stuck in the past. This conceptualisation of the development of societies is harmful, inaccurate and contributes to thing like the noble savage myth or Orientalism. I would like this stage to work as an educational tool in anthropology the same way earlier stages do for biology

Another interesting point I find is overlapping economic systems. Like in many societies of our historical past would be mainly a gift economy for most high trust interpersonal relations between indiviuals and communities, with occasional trade/barter with lower trust outsiders and an elaborate fine system for when feuds break out (I’m mainly drawing off the anthropological work of David Greaber here). I would like to see the game navigate these various complexities

I would be interested to know how these various topics have been discussed and what the plans for this game are

You should make posts that focus on a single topic and use the existing threads if that topic was discussed before. For example you mentioned gift economies, there is already a thread for that. If you have just a small suggestion, you can use the " Ideas for the Society Stage" thread. You can also use the suggestions website if your suggestion is about the cell or multicell stage. If you want to ask the developers what the current plan is for the future game, you can ask on the quick question thread by pinging them, or you can ask it discord. They also come together and answer questions in youtube when they make a thrivestream. Or you can look at the release roadmap.

Being able to see the pov of a citisen would be interesting. This is doable, but being able to enter the buildings would require more things to be designed for the game.

There is no reason to just focus on a monarch or something like that. Its not like you can order buildings to be built or command armies in the first person mode… Hmm… I mean its not planned. The game will switch to strategy mode and you will not be able to do the same things in the organism mode unless you come up with how that could be done and convince everyone. I think this will be discussed at least in space stage, when that is being developed, because spore did a similar thing with its dlc.

I have an idea. We can play as a city and all the other cities can be treated like a different thing that can declare independence if they get unhappy. So a capital centric gameplay.

There would also need to be a balance between doing what you need to survive in the international stage and doing what the different groups in your population wants. So if you make them work hard like slaves, they may rebel and cause a revolution. This should also be a game over. It would feel weird losing to a revolution but still playing the game and being able to do the same things.

I don’t know what suzerian is, wikia says it is a text based game. Oh wait, thats suzerain. In any case, I can’t give feedback on that suggestion.

I think everyone agrees that previous stages should effect the later stages. I think the game would be more fun if we do that as much as possible. If your species is as bulky as a horse, it should provide 1 horsepower to factories if you work them like slaves. I’m sorry I’m talking about slaves again. I’ll stop.

I think its not possible for carnivores to make societies. Only omnivores and herbivores can do that. Society stage starts with the agricultural revolution. Lets ask this question: why did we even start to do agriculture? It is needed for feeding a large population. And when there is more people around, they could discover more technology and build larger settlements. Farming only happens with plants. There is also animal domestication but thats no better than hunter gathering. If you decide to raise animals, those animals would be eating plants that could have fed humans. When farming was discovered people were only eating grains for calories and legumes such as beans* for proteins. Animals were only raised in terrains that are unsuitable for agriculture such as mountains or steppes. Or they were raised for the nobility. Only 10% of the energy in a trophic level moves to the next level, so sapient carnivore species can’t increase their population and form societies. But plant consuming species can do that by increasing the amount of land that provides them food.

I think nothing should be hardcoded, so you should be able to make cities as a nomadic society, and adopt the technology of your settled neighbors. Cities do exist in deserts, they import food. You should be able to try everything and see what prevents you, for example you should be able to see the tech web in awakening stage, but be unable to research any of that (in a reasonable amount of time) because you have a low scientist population. If thats how science works in the game. It can also happen due to chance, with no way to know what your scientists will do. In that case the game may roll a dice and show you how likely are you to get those technologies.


My argument would be based on providing educational value in seeing how weird societies can really get. Like I’ve read at least once of some place where violent crime is so unheard of the population genuinely beliefs if you were to kill another human you would die painfully of polution killing your body. There’s another place (the Tiv people) that has a stateless society but at the same time a social hierachy in the form of older men having all the women in harems. In order to balance these two conflicting elements a mythology of canibalistic witch cults which target and forcefully indoctrinate powerful charismatic men is created as a pretense to tear down social hierachies. And those are real things in human societies alien ones could be even more different. Being able to be an indiviual inside of the society itself can make you explore all of these concepts directly as a participant, rather than just reading about it on a tech tree. I think this would be more unique and interesting than an rts game. I kind of see this game as a form of edutainment so this would keep contiuity with that. But that’s the why. I guess the how would be idk, I’m not skillfull in prgramming. I don’t see why it would be any more difficult? The gameplay loop would consist in playing as a member in your society, if you die you can be reborn out of any family you want, a bit like how it works now, and once enough time has passed in the society you go to the menu and get to affect the direction of your society and a timeskip happens, after which you play again and see the consequences of the choices you made in the menu. I guess considdering this doesn’t seem to be the current vision this might be a lost cause to actually advocate to implement so I’m just laying it out right now

That is an interesting argument. My immediate thought was that they would need to be very expantionist in order to make up for the land inefficiency. Like we can see in history that more meat eating societies also often had a tendency to be more imperialist. But I guess maybe a purely carniverous species might never get that far

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The feature of taking control of an individual during the strategy stages is in the plans. And when I say in the plans it has been dreamed of being part of Thrive (there are some references to it: Society Stage - Thrive Developer Wiki). But due to the extreme difficulty (probably as hard as making the strategy stages themselves, so this one feature doubles the amount of work) it will be pushed to the back of the priority list. And probably only really considered to be fleshed out when all of the rest of the game is complete.

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Thanks for that wiki page. How much do you think the current plan of action is interested in applying concepts in anthropology in the game?

I think because the game is still in early stages, anyone who is interested in anthropology wouldn’t have had the patience to wait around. Instead I think it’s much more likely once the society stage is starting to shape up that any people more interested about that part of the game will stumble upon Thrive and decide to hang around and discuss and improve ideas.