The Absolute Size of Thrive

We all know thrive is going to be immense in scale when the game is completed (if it is going to be). A game with this much depth and size is a god game player’s dream. But there is something about the size of thrive i feel like needs to be acknowledged. We know the game is going to accurately simulate evolution as well as the universe to some extent. The universe is big, really really really big, mind-blowingly big. I’m certain the game won’t simulate the entire universe, so let’s think of something smaller: a galaxy. A galaxy is much easier to grasp, but it’s still large enough to pose a problem. The Milky Way has a couple hundred billion stars, which may not sound that big at first, especially when compared to other galaxies such as Andromeda and Messier 87, but here’s some perspective.

One billion seconds is roughly equal to 31.6 years. If Thrive was to simulate a galaxy that was around the size of the Milky Way, it would literally be impossible to explore it all, even if you visited each solar system for one second. Even if you spent your entire life playing Thrive and exploring the galaxy, you would still only have 2-3% explored. Even cutting it down to 300 million it would still take about as long as Thrive has been in development to explore all of the galaxy. 10 million and even 1 million seem a bit too overwhelming to me. A million seconds is a week and a half, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but only if you are visiting each solar system for a second. Depending on how long it actually takes to beat the space stage and what the player does, it could still feel very tedious to the player, especially if one of the goals is to carve out a big slice of the galaxy for their empire or sphere of influence, having to spend months conquering and colonizing with seemingly no end in sight. I think somewhere between 100,000-500,000 sounds much more reasonable. I feel like I as a player know that it’s still a pretty big world, but I can explore it without wasting a lot of my time. A hundred thousand is still a decent amount, and I know that’s probably a puny galaxy in real life, but it really wouldn’t be much to sacrifice for gameplay. This obviously doesn’t apply to the game now, but I feel like it should be decided eventually when the game is in a much more complete state. I don’t want people playing the game to be utterly overwhelmed but rather mesmerized and immersed.

I rest my case.


That is a reasonable amount, Thrives point is to be accurate, but to some extent, it still is a game, not a simulation

Some very good point. Thrive tries to balance being real and being a game, compromises have been and will be made on both sides.

In the space stage the player will be controlling an interstellar empire. They won’t be personally flying in some dingy ship to explore the galaxy, instead they’ll command like all of their thousands of colonized planets to send out 20 colony ships each, each year. With such an exponentially growing number of colonies, is the only realistic way to colonize a galaxy. There’s a well known name for a self-replicating galaxy exploring spacecraft:

Though, I suppose due to various limitations in computer performance we’ll need to have some number of star systems that represent a galaxy (so like one solar system could maybe represent 10000 ones, and their stats and time to explore would be adjusted based on that).

1 Like

Although I agree that you shouldn’t be flying in one personal ship, I can’t bring myself to agree that the galactic empire I’m controlling, made up of many different and unique stars and planets, is a viral entity, and that is the way the Space Stage should be. I personally think the Space Stage should be all about exploration and engaging in that exploration.

Space is the final frontier, and a huge one, but there’s still individual planets. Even if humanity uses millions of self-replicating colonizing ships, we still have to keep track of all the planets we colonize, otherwise it will be chaos. Seeing as how we can barely manage our own planet, we obviously are not at that level where we can grasp the entire milky way, and we won’t be for a long time. So I agree that there has to be a compromise for the sheer number of celestial objects.

That being said, I personally don’t agree that the Space Stage should just be a game of ‘colonize this region, then send out ships and colonize the next’. I think planets and stars should just exist in it of themselves, and not be dots that represent a lot of other solar systems. I think you should be able to interact with all celestial bodies and have the option to switch to an individual and go explore a planet yourself. Just as the multicellular stage opens up a larger 3D world and the society stage lets you take matters into your own hands, the space stage would open the doors into the whole galaxy in which you can do anything you want with what you have, the experience you’ve had throughout the game, on steroids. You should be able to engage in starting and managing your colonies, maybe there’s a disaster happening on that planet and you need to send aid and take control of how the settlement is planned. Maybe as the stage goes on it’s easier to establish colonies and you don’t need to manage them as much, but as i said there should be engagement and it should feel like your planets and people are actually there. This is all just my opinion and honestly I’d be fine with whatever direction the space stage goes.

i apologize for the long posts lol

1 Like

Oh man, do NOT remind me of Spore’s space stage with that idea. You’d be there, on your colony, terraforming it to T2, when all of a sudden:


help, our colony is under attack or help, we have an environmental disaster we can’t take care of ourselves because we’ve spent our entire military budget on a literal crusade to get a T0 planet

And all the prompts are triggered at the same time. It happens a lot, once you ally the first 4 empires around you, once they get more than 3 colonies, they will make it their priority to attack their neighbour, no matter the planet, including the CAPITAL! It’s frustrating because you can’t get anything done and your allies attack your other allies because they aren’t allies so you can’t gun down the assailant’s ships or else they’ll turn on you so the defendant gets angry at you for “failing your mission” even though I have no obligation to protect my allies, right?

Sorry this became a Spore rant, but that sentence triggered some memories in me I would have rather kept repressed.

1 Like

I was just saying what would be a realistic way to “conquer” a galaxy, which seems to be what many people think the space stage is about. Instead it is about researching cool tech and building megastructures to eventually win the game.

I’ve read quite a bit about how unrealistic large space empires are, if you don’t have very fast communication and ships. Because if it takes like 4 years to send a message to one of your planets, it’s very simple for them to just decide that “we’re our own nation now”. And it just isn’t worth it to spend a ton of resources keeping them in line.
So instead space “empires” need to focus on a few core planets and fill them full of technology, computers and stuff like that.


I agree with @CaptainCH that one of the most exiting things in the space stage is the exploring. Visiting alien worlds, some of them barren wastelands, some of them THRIVING (see what I did there?) with alien life looking nothing like the life on your home planet, discovering nebulae, rare natural occurrences, getting to know and understand the universe itself. I think that’s one of the beautiful wonders of the Space Stage.
I also agree with @OmnipotentFNarr to an extend. These disasters in Spore were a tedious duty everyone hated. In Thrive, they should be very rare event, that DOESN’T HAPPEN EVERY FIVE MINUTES FFS. The player should experience them like maybe just once to three times during the entire Space Stage. It should not be a mundane event the player hates, it should be something that rushes with them adrenaline, something unexpected, something the player will look back on and won’t feel annoyed, but will feel a sense of achievement for fending the danger off and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Give the player a chance to have a few rare memories of being a hero, rather than being a space traveler constantly in charge of tedious chores.
And I also agree with @hhyyrylainen. Space empires spanning half a galaxy are a bullgium (see what I did there? Belgium and bullsh… nevermind ). The player should have a strong, fairly centered empire, not an empire spread too thin over a large area. That does not mean you won’t bother with the rest of the galaxy, that’s why we have the :dizzy: EXPLORATION :dizzy: . If you still want more reasons why big empires are a no-no, watch this Exurb1a’s video. If you have a space empire, be centered in one place, do sciency stuff, conquer the wisdom, tame the technology, build cool stuff. Don’t bother flexing your budget by colonizing solar systems you won’t ever utilize.
Conclusion? Centered empire, the heart of your civilization, the birthplace of wisdom and awesome technology. Adventurous expeditions to every single corner of the galaxy. Just you, maybe a few more ships and a lot of exploring to do. Maybe for scientific purposes, maybe just driven by curiosity (basically the same thing though). And at last, very rare events that won’t make you the galaxy’s babysitter, but a one-time/few-times hero.


I totally agree that those were the MOST ANNOYING THINGS about the space stage in spore. Don’t worry though mate, I wasn’t even thinking of that when typing it out and I definitely don’t want to see something similar in Thrive. What I meant was that there might potentially be a few disasters but if you plan your cities well they won’t be so stupidly dependent on you and can hold their own.

I guess I never really considered that. I can agree that the space stage isn’t just all about conquest and it should be focused on managing what you have and building up your technology and resources instead of biting off more than you can chew. I’m absolutely cool with that. I think as the player develops technology more, they can apply it in many ways, and one of those applications can be expansion, like they can keep in touch with colonies better, and have a better military, but yeah I agree that there would be personal limits to how big your interstellar nation can be. And I also don’t think we should stop the player from conquering the whole galaxy when they have endgame tech and are pretty much a god lol

1 Like