So with patches implemented into the game and the planet generator hopefully coming soon, I thought it was about time the community came up with some more cool ideas for patches. Useful information to think about is:
How could the patch be generated realistically, i.e. what kind of geographical or other effect would cause this patch to exist? What are its variables, based on the ones already in the game? And: How will this patch affect gameplay, what makes it cool to play in? To be clear, I’ll mostly be talking about stuff useful for the microbe stage (water stuff), but you can post any biome in this thread.
Here are some of my ideas:
An atoll is created when a ring of land appears in the middle of a larger body of water, seperating the insides of the ring from the rest of the ocean. Atolls are shallow, allowing lots of light to reach them. On Earth, they are primarily sustained by coral reefs, but in Thrive that will likely be different; Coral Reefs don’t exist yet in the cell stage. Without Coral, it is unlikely that an Atoll wil persist for very long (certainly not longer than one generation). They can still be created though: Volcanism can create temporary Atolls on planets with geological activity, and planets without that might have Atolls created by meteorite impacts creating craters.
Gameplay-wise I like the idea of Atolls as a temporary refuge. An Atoll won’t realistically last more than a single editor cycle, but it can give the player a useful place to migrate to to hide from predators for a generation. I imagine the UI would include some sort of countdown clock to indicate that the population of this patch will be dumped back where they came from when the atoll dissapears.
As the tides roll in they can moisturise the sand, creating a unique enviroment that acts as an intermediary between sea and land. IRL many creatures both micro- and macroscopic make their home in this unique enviroment. In Thrive I imagine beaches being accesible from the Estuary and Tidepool patches. They would be largely filled up with grains of sand (see the Microbe Scaling thread), giving microbes with pseudopods or movement pili ( How Bacteria “Walk” Across a Surface | The Scientist Magazine® (the-scientist.com)) an opportunity to ‘walk’ along surfaces. For most microbes the sand grains are a double-edged sword: They will limit movement, making it harder to get to compounds, but also harder for predators to get to you. I think it would be exciting to see what sort of microbes evolve on the beach, and how we can make the AI handle it.
What other ideas do you have for interesting patches? Lagoons, Banks, Lakes, Rivers? Ocean floors at more different depths? Let’s see how many biomes we can come up with.