Questions from a Developer/Developers

Hey y’all! I wanted to collect feedback from community members, so I am creating a forum thread here when I have future moments of wanting to collect feedback. These questions will be somewhat broad and will ask generally ask questions related to the state of the game as a whole or balancing.

Keep in mind this generally isn’t a place to suggest the implementation of entirely new features and concepts; again, it generally is meant to balance Thrive optimally. If you want my reaction to a specific proposal, post on a relevant or dedicated thread to it here; if you think I have missed it, send me a message here with a link to the concept.

Here are some questions for you guys to consider for now. Don’t be afraid of being honest. You also don’t have to answer every single one:

  1. What is the most boring part of a playthrough? What is the most fun part of a playthrough? Early in the game, mid-way through the game, after you get a nucleus, etc.
  2. What mechanic/part is the most fun? Slime jets, engulfment, endosymbiosis, etc.
  3. Do you guys starve too much, or do you feel like it is too easy to get food?
  4. Are there parts that you generally avoid or do not use? Is it out of confusion, or does the part not feel useful?
  5. Does the game feel too slow or uneventful at certain points? Too fast or hectic at other points?
  6. Do you feel that the game does too much hand-holding, or do you need more feedback as to whether or not you are doing well?
  7. Is the game too easy? Too hard? What difficulty do you play at?
  8. Do certain things feel cheap or overpowered?
  9. Are there little things that frustrate you about the game which you feel can be patched up pretty easily?

I am generally focused mostly on the Microbe Stage when I ask these questions. Though if you feel that something is especially relevant for the early-multicellular stage, that works too.

  1. Microbe stage itself feels kind of boring… why it is boring - i don’t know.
  2. Membrane customization, slime jets providing some kind of sprint thing, expect for since i haven’t played Thrive for 1 year for sure due to boredom.
  3. Kind of starving too much ( on normal difficulty )
  4. Anything which does not allows me to generate energy through the POWER OF THE HOLY SUN!
  5. Game feels kind of slow due to trying to find resources… even slower when you are dying which will force you to deal with sisyphean stuff… AGAIN!! Also due to lack of events, gameplay and stuff overall, game becomes kind of hollow.
  6. Can’t answer this question.
  7. I’m playing on normal difficulty, i guess… through maybe i’m doing a mistake by playing normal gamemode due to lack of events, gameplay and sometimes wandering around for a long time.
  8. Nucleus being just an organelle which opens up other cool organelles… at the cost of being expensive. To fix that, nucleus could provide a bit of total max hp increase and reduced atp consumption from other organelles.

Since i haven’t played Thrive for 1 year for sure due to boredom, i can tell my opinions here are not valuable in this post.
Question 8 is skipped because i 100% don’t know how to answer it.

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1- The most boring part is when your cell start to die everytime no matter what you add due to being far from any compond cloud, and to you being too slow. the coolest part is just after the early game, when you start to make your cell “your cell” it’s become more efficient and evolved each turn
2- When you’re a big cell, engulfing is SO FUN. It’s like an filter feeder, but on the unicelular level. i cant say about the other ones cuz i still didn’t tried them.
4- That one that turns iron in ATP. its just useless. Not mattering how much of it i add on my cell, even with another energy sources, i keep dying. This is the motive too of why i avoid going to another biome. Hydrogen sulfide is the best food source in the game.
5- I think only just before getting a nucleus.
6- I don’t think so.
7- Too hard. I play on easy. Either i’m the worse player ever or the game is too hard.
8- Hydrogen Sulfide is so good that i don’t have any incentives to exit hydrotermal vents.
9- Captura de tela 2024-06-21 215527
it might be just me, but the menu icon looks a little bit stretched out.

  1. The most boring part is almost always waiting for something inevitable from meters, either starvation or reproduction, when you know exactly what’s going to happen but have to wait; the game is at its most fun just before nucleus in sunlit patches where you have to outcompete the ai.
  1. The game is very reliant on picking the right option for gameplay, less than any specific mechanic is fun on it’s own, it’s what happens when you have to use them appropriately that’s fun (Countering something spiky with toxin, avoiding an engulfer with slime, having to choose between more production or storage); an example of another game that’s like this would be FTL: faster than light, where upgrading, say, engines isn’t fun, but narrowly dodging an attack that you wouldn’t have survived is, especially if you had to make a tough choice on what you needed and it paid off.
  1. Starvation is almost always a binary state in any given cycle, either you can gather enough to survive indefinitely (Or play autotroph) or you cannot, it seems to have very little to do with actually playing the game, and is very frustrating to get death looped until you get booted to another patch because the one microbe in the patch you can engulf died last editor session.

Pilus, and to a lesser extent toxin (though the rework has made this better), do barely any damage and nearly all cells can regen 90% of damage you do deal off, the only way to kill is often to starve your enemies to death;

Iron is underwhelming, not because it doesn’t work, it’s easy enough to beat the game using iron, but because ai will never interact with you if you use it, they just don’t even try to compete with you which gets boring fast;

vacuoles come too late in the game to be useful because by then you have more than enough storage from size alone;

nitrogen fixing does literally nothing but waste atp because if you’re mobile, phosphate and ammonia are equally abundant so why waste time waiting for one when you can just gather both, for sessile you can’t automate phosphate anyway so you get nothing for completing ammonia faster.

  1. The game is never too fast, it only really has an exciting pacing by late pre-necleus when the ai opponents still keep pace with you, at this point almost every option available (except pilus which is worse toxin) has some use, the games pacing plummets off a cliff as soon you get nucleus as you become very slow and the ai stops trying, by the time the ai catches up with a nucleus its own you’ve already won, and the past hour was a slog of waiting for something to happen in an empty ocean.
  1. I can’t give much input on this, as I’ve followed the project too long to not know what all the mechanics are at this point, so skip/ignore every tutorial.
  1. Normal. The fun parts of the game feel a little easy, but in the way a first level is easy, like there’s more to come, but then the only challenge from there is surviving with no other complex life on the planet, which is “hard” in the sense you die a lot from starvation, but it’s not challenging. I avoid playing higher difficulies because last time I tried hard mode all noticibly did was increase the MP cost of parts which made the game too slow.
  1. Nothing is gamebreakingly overpowered, but autotrophy is definitely much stronger then active playstyles; cellulose is groan worthy in an engulf playthrough since it’s not visually distinct, but it doesn’t really affect much once you realize which microbes have it.
  1. Not exactly a little fix, but my cell always aiming to my mouse is annoying for the clicking the ingame menus or other windows on the desktop, especially with slow rotation speed, since rotation is game mechanic that affects other things like flagella and toxins, it would be nice to lock/unlock rotation with a keybind, or aim with the keyboard.
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Disclaimer: My last playthrough was a few months ago, so these answers may be a few updates out of date

  1. The most boring part is early multicellular for me, though that may be because I went as a mostly sessil organism, it was painful trying to grow my plant only for it to get stuck in a neighboring member of my species because of how growing cells currently just appear, not to mention because of how pilluses, toxins, and other methods of damaging work it was impossible for me to find another hunting method for my cells that wasn’t painfuly slow. I kinda just quit after realizing I was nowhere near the amount of cells I needed. My species was carnivorous plant that charged at other cells. The most fun parts were probably before then, I had a blast playing a murderous lava plant, though closer to the late stage it was slowing down alot because I couldn’t find a way to reliably produce glucose without moving, wich was a big issue when you dumped all your movement into slime jets, and all the currents were evil since they always moved the compounds away from me.

  2. Definitely slime jets, there needs to be better ways to get the compound needed for them but when they work it is a blast, also I guess Thermosynthase proteins since out of my three playthroughs I made builds centered around those twice, and one of them was my first playthrough ever.

  3. Too easy Thermosynthase needs nerf

  4. I don’t really avoid parts, unless I’m playing a specific niche, though the injectisome pilus never really felt like it did anything, it just felt like a weaker pilus to me

  5. It never really got too fast for me, though it did get too slow when I ran out of mucilage and had to crawl to the nearest hydrogen sulfide cloud, usually because the currents would take the glucose spawned in front of me and take it away from me much faster then my species could swim

  6. It do good

  7. I do not play enough to answe this question, I guess I feel like there’s not enough urgency in the actions I take, I hunt things because they are there and are edible and not over any real need to hunt.

  8. I feel it’s too easy to become a plant, because I remember having to refrain from using chloroplast in my hunter playthrough because I knew i’d just start adding more and more of them, though I believe recent updates might have fixed this issue, though. I believe the thermoplasts still have this problem. I like going with the flow, and I dislike when the flow leads to the same spot.

  9. The fact you can just duplicate as many cells as you want bothers me, I feel like it would better if you could only make a new type of cell via editing the ones already in your organism via the modify button. Oh also rotation is extremely disorienting, I think there needs to be an option to have controls function globally instead of where the cell is facing.

I hope you’re okay with me adding a link here this contained few small and one big idea that I felt would improve the game.

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Definitely the generations before the nucleus where I have to build up thylakoids to meet energy requirements - it’s very grindy.

Engulfing other cells/being predatory is pretty fun I suppose. Sometimes I have to switch to a membrane that can’t engulf to save on energy, but this is temporary because I can evolve a specialized mouth cell in early multicellular. The channel-inhibitor from the toxic rework is also fun to have.

I usually starve a little bit right after evolving a nucleus, but this is solved after I add some chloroplasts.

The mucus jet. I just don’t really see a need for it with my playstyle.

Yes, it feels slow, but literally - my cell colony gets pretty slow in early multicellular, especially with turning speed. In hindsight, I probably should just add some celia. An interesting thing I’ve noticed is that different patches greatly vary in eventfulness even if they’re right next to each other.

Pretty good amount of hand-holding. The new compound production UI in the editor is a little confusing though.

It somewhat varies in difficulty in playthrough to playthrough. It’s usually more difficult in the beginning, before I evolve a nucleus.

Normal difficulty with the compound production cap turned off, which results in very fast glucose production speeds in early multicellular.

Enemy toxins feel overpowered and player toxins feel underpowered - a lot of times large eukaryotic damage-sponges evolve with very damaging toxins and mucus jets and my toxins do nothing to them. Take this with a grain of salt though, I haven’t seen this happen since the 0.6.7 (but I’ve only had 1 playthrough in 0.6.7, so who knows).

Eukaryotic damage-sponges and the generations just before and after evolving a nucleus.

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Thank you all for the feedback. Seems that the two common threads are a relatively empty ocean and too much downtime when an outcome (starvation or success) is known for sure.

Some more questions. For people joining in on the conversation, you don’t have to answer only these ones. You can answer the ones originally asked:

  • Do you think the average microbe life is too short or too long?
  • Do you feel that trips to the editor are too busy (you have too much you want to do in one trip), or too uneventful (you too frequently go to the editor without adding something)?

I wont answer all the questions right now since I don’t have internet connection, so I will probably come back in a few days when I do. (I also didn’t have time to play the latest release but I did play the release just before this one, so I will probably play the latest release before answering the rest)

But to answer this question:

Before getting a nucleus the trips to the editor aren’t too busy, but afterwards it takes far too long to replace the proteins with organelles.


It’s a good length, but it really depends on how boring or fun that specific generation was

Generally as long as there wasn’t an event that made me want to pivot my species very hard, like me realizing that using slime jets primarily for locomotion was a terrible idea, the editor felt like a good balance. Getting into early multicellular is when the problems arrived, as I always felt like I had too many edits I needed to do, while they also were all simultaneously useless. even when I took advantage of an infinite mp glitch, I could never get the organism where I wanted be, because the problems I had were mostly game physics based and any edits made to fix or help with it felt too fast and unnatural , while any cells added were mearly cosmetic since no species knew how to properly hunt me. On top of glitches that forced me to continue rearranging my cells, editor visits very quickly become a chore in order to get to Macroscopic.

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Most of the time it’s an ok length, except during the later parts of early multicellular - it takes too long to reproduce.

It’s too busy, especially after I evolve a nucleus when I need to replace proteins with organelles.

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  1. I personally don’t, I’m thoroughly enjoying the game.
  2. Consuming all of the resources.
  3. I only starve if I am too greedy with moving locations. Though, I will say, single cellular set up eventually makes it impossible to starve unless doing something stupid (in my opinion). The issue comes in in reconfiguring the set up for the multicellar stage.
  4. The ammonia generating organelle. Because of the passive generation and the fact that it feels so abundant, I just don’t really use it. Technically I don’t use other organelles such as the spike and poison, but that is due to the ‘build’ which I consistently go for. Which I call ‘Omni Stoma’, and is centered around simply engulfing everyone else.
  5. Not personally, though I force glucose to be retained and slow down npc mutations (mostly to avoid poison from spawning in everyone)
  6. No strong feelings either way.
  7. I play at normal and it gets to a point where it feels easy (until I try and reconfigure for multicellular)
  8. Not really to me, but that is personal opinion.
  9. Recently, if I engulf things, there seems to be about a 10% chance that the cell doesn’t break apart into the sweet sweet organelles inside.

Unasked questions that I guess are suggestions (feel free to ignore)
Volcanic coasts - Sulfide at the surface
I think I heard of a pressure organelle at one point. I would like to consume the environmental pressure, yes.
I would like an organelle which lets engulfed toxins to be neutralized.
Even though I don’t use them, before that, I would like to see multiple different toxins to appear first.

Edit: I have realized that I am infact a stoopid and you have implemented multiple toxins. An organelle that increases resistance to X toxin with the added benefit of reducing damage taken while engulfing a cell with that toxin would be neat IMO, and similar to the Lysosome organelle.


As I only played the recent versions of Thrive for a short time, I’ll just answer this one:

Right now, the fact that when you leave the editor, you end up in the exact spot of when you left. Seeing stuff (chunks, cells[1]) in the same place after supposedly millions of years breaks the immersion. I’ve committed suicide more than once[2] because of the suspension of disbelief.

  1. Especially my species. ↩︎

  2. That’s an excellent phrase, D. Six. ↩︎


Yeah I like the siwter cell because clearly we’re newborns, recently split, but why are we in the same spot? It implies a direct continuation.

  1. I have noticed for me that sometimes waiting for other organisms to split from my own seems to be the bottleneck at this time.
  2. Right now, the most fun mechanic would be using the chemoreceptor for finding other organisms.
  3. Starvation depends on the playthrough for me.
  4. I don’t normally use the slime jet, but that is because I normally play sessile organisms. Also, it was fun before to make a rocket organism with the slime jet.
  5. Related to point 1, waiting for other organisms to split off of me seems to be a slow point.
  6. While I have played and watched Thrive for sometime, more feedback would be welcome for newer players.
  7. I normally play at custom difficulty. I like playing with AI mutation set to 5 in order to get a “Spore-like” experience with Epic creatures. However, I recently started playing with AI mutation set to 0.5 and I get more “specialized” species occurring.
  8. I mean, the AI literally cheating is kind of overpowered, which is why I set the AI mutation to 5 in order to make it more “fair”.
  9. It would be nice to have a cheat button for giving the player Iron, as I do not believe that there is one.
  10. This is not my suggestion, but I like the idea of having mutli-tier nuclei for different scales.
  11. To enhance the gameplay, I do believe more environments will be necessary, like maybe sky or clouds. I think microorganisms survive in the clouds…
  1. The most fun part is right after getting a nuculus but few generations after that there are few threats and little to achive as you just look for your next meal and make a few optimazations before early multicelular.

  2. Slime jets are super fun especially in the early game , endosymbosis is fun as well.

  3. I think the amount of food is just right , especially early game i have to look for food but rarly starve.

  4. Chemoreception i kinda only use when i go for Iron

  5. I find the game slows down as a playthrough gos on , early game there is danger everywhere wich is fun cause i have to stay alert. Late game i kinda just wait for the bar to fill after i snacked some microbes.

  6. I find it find it gives me all information i need

  7. I usualy play on normal wich feels right to me except that other species start to fall to far behind after i get nuculus with only one or two other microbes getting and besides the small snack microbes there are a number of middle sized microbes that are sometimes to big to eat but not developed enough to be a threat.

  8. Nothing comes to mind right now

  9. Nothing comes to mind either except what i already said.

Edit: i wanna point out that my enjoyment is heavly based on my population setting wich i set to extreme so i get to enjoy a lot of microbes around me on lower popultion settings im almost never threatend but also a predetory playstyle becomes less viable because i cant find enough smaller microbes.