I’ve recently discovered Thrive and honestly, this game is beautiful! I really hope to see it chart a course different from Spore’s, away from building civilizations, and towards simulating ecosystems. The reason this is interesting is because of the all the feedback loops and unstable equilibrium this involves.
- More biological compounds should be nutrient sources for those organisms able to to digest them, i.e. cellulose or methane.
- The metabolic processes should have outputs that are exhaled / emitted into the environment. Examples include oxygen, CO2, methane, and bio-available versions of nutrients for organisms without the organelles to feed on them.
- Symbiotic relationships should exist because of the differing metabolic inputs and outputs. A potential play-style that could result would be the ecosystem engineer, who deliberately seeds and shelters organisms beneficial to their own.
- Mitosis should build up mutation points much more slowly, but be able to happen more frequently. Mitosis without going into the editor should be an option.
- Late-game performance seems to suffer from arbitrarily added microbes that then go through auto-evo. Reproductive cycles and population limits based on a successful life cycle allow regulation by food supply, which both makes for interesting gameplay and better performance.
- Upgrades to organelles should become available as the player’s microbe completes x number of generations with them in environments which favor the evolution, or by consuming those from other microbes, or by the appearance of environmental pressures which select for them.
- Upgrades should include stingers with metabolic requirements to make the poison.
- When consuming other microbes, it should be randomly possible that one of the consumed organelles becomes available in the cell editor.
- Horizontal gene transfer should be an option to gain upgrade options.
- Auto-evolution should follow the above rules.
Do these overall changes, with more upgrades and more interactive eco-systems, sound like fun gameplay?