The Problem that is Organelle Gluttony

In the current game and what I’v seen of 0.4.0 from videos it would seem that organelle gluttony is still a problem, where players add as many organelles as they can and end up having cells with 2-5 of every organelle available making game play always the same as you always end up with a giant venomous generalist cell that does everything. I believe the problem stems from both the player and how the editor work, the problem is that people are greedy and every time a player enters the editor they want to add something to their cell (or spend all of their MP) resulting in giant cells that are always the same. A player isnt going to work their butts off to get to the editor just to leave their cell exactly the same as when they entered so even if they have “the perfect cell” they will still be asking them selves what else can they add. I think a good way of countering organelle gluttony is to

  1. Advantage in disadvantage: give organelles disadvantages like a chloroplast being heavy so it slows down your cell. But make them meaningful disadvantages that force the player to specialize their cell so a predator cell wouldn’t want chloroplasts as its pay off isn’t worth the debuff, while a slow moving scavenger might want it as long as there aren’t meany predators.

  2. MP Dump: Give the player something to throw MP at so they dont feel like they reproduced for nothing. so they have something to work for and throw spare change at when they dont really need to add anything to their cell but feel they might as well seeing they have extra MP. This could be anything from unlocking new organelles to improving the ones they already have. (this could also work as a progress bar so it would take multiple reproductions to unlock so they have to slowly work for it)

  3. Pace Yourself: This one ties in with the last one but you need a way of pacing the players evaluation like making them unlock organelles ether by grinding for them by throwing EP at it or by finding it in the wild like what spore did.

I know most of this is planned for the future but I feel now is the time to start working on them and maybe implement them for 0.5.0 and have that update about cells specialization, so we can finally start seeing real ecosystems with different types of predators, prey and plants.


Weve been working on this i’d say it is improved in 0.4.0, but its still not totally there.

You can actively specialize your cell now, but the player can still do the gluttony thing. I agree it needs more work but i think 0.4.0 brings us closer to solving the problem.

I like your ideas.


One other way to work on this i think would be to make some organelles ,make it take longer for you to reproduce, right now all organelles take 1 ammonia and 1 phosphate to be duplicated before you enter the cell editor, but some could have double or even triple the amount, which would discourage getting the organelle when you don’t need it for your “playstyle”.


I think this is an astute observation, organelle guttony is a problem at the moment. I think part of it is because we haven’t separated out the biomes yet so chloroplasts and chemoplasts both work whereas there aren’t any real biomes where they both should.

I also really like the idea of some kind of MP dump, I did notice in the gameplay videos that people always seem to add a couple of cytoplasm just to use up their MP which is not what we want. Also I agree it feels weird to leave the editor without making any changes. However I don’t like straight upgrades that much, I also worry that MP to unlock might make the game slower and grindier as you go to the editor just to put MP into an unlock.

It would be nice if there were some positive reason to keep MP rather than instinctively making changes.

On the main point I think the goal is to have each editor session feel like you’ve got problems that need solving. So maybe the climate has changed and you need to adapt to that, or maybe a new predator has emerged and you need to try to counter them, or your prey got faster to avoid you etc.

Another part of it is how abundant clouds are, it means you don’t need to struggle to survive very much and so ridiculous cells can survive easily. When resources are more rare you’ll need to carry only what you can afford I hope.


Anyone else have some ideas on how we can fix this problem I want to start a conversation on this

Well 0.4.0 is coming out in a couple days, so I feel like there gameplay will change a lot anyway

What if you do a scaling resource consumption by size, as well as resrouce absorption by surface area?
These are both problems cells have trouble with. The bigger the cell, the harder it is for the nucleus to commumicate with its organelles, the harder it is for it to get rid of waste, and the more nutrients it needs. As well, due to its relatively large surface area to volume, the cell cannot absorb enough minerals to allow it to use. Basically it would be like if you were the size of an elephant, but your mouth was physically never able to get bigger then a mouses mouth.
Then there would be ways to get around that. For example amoebas are able to send out portions of itself, increasing its total surface area. More complex cells have pumps and such to force nutrients in, instead of relying diffusion. This could be a late game way to have a point sink, dumping MP into various pumps thah consume a minor amount of ATP, but allowing you to grow to be bigger and gave more complex organelles.


This, as the game is right now, it feels like all the organelles are on the same level and everything is pretty cheap (as everything needs to be under 100 EP).
I like the idea of upgrading organelles, even without a bar to dump EP you could have some organelles that require some EP and to be placed on top of a specific preexisting organelle; or you could require a specific set of organelles to make a new one (3 flagelli ->1 cilia?).
About finding organelles in the wild it could be an idea, either by having some smaller cells that must be eaten (isn’t that how mitochondria came to be by the way?) or by giving a chance to a dying cell of “dropping” one of its organelles intact

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I actually have a couple of points to make here, hopefully it’s coherent:

  • On the specific topic of players collecting all different kinds of organelles: Perhaps placing the first of certain organelle in your cell should be a lot more expensive than placing additional ones. This way, players are incentivized to focus on improving their strengths further, rather than trying to collect everything. It makes biological sense as well: evolving a fully integrated chloroplast is a much bigger step then increasing the population of chloroplasts maintained in the cell. Of course, the player should still want to evolve completely new organelles if it is particularly beneficial.

  • Small sidepoint: moving organelles around should also be a lot cheaper than adding new ones. Both from a logical standpoint, and to make it easuer to rearrange things (especially for external organelles).

  • How to make organelles more expensive, while we can only spend limited MP per reproduction? Follow real evolution: add intermediate steps. I know there are problems with strait upgrades, but more advanced organelles might also come with more (or new) downsides as well to keep things interesting. This also avoids adding “unlocks” since while you do need to invest MP to get something else later, it gives you something to work with immediately. (Evolutionary logic is maintained as well, yay!) Think of a “research tree” or in fact an evolution tree here for organelles. I think is actually quite a significant design change, but I think it would make changes made in the editor much more significant, even later in a game.

  • Small sidepoint here on leftover MP: let players invest anything they have left in one organelle (that they cannot afford right now) to get a slight discount on it next time. Not equal to what they invest of course, but just enough that they don’t feel the need to place random cytoplasm.

  • There should definitely be downsides to organelles (kinda already the case if only in their upkeep and reproduction cost). This way, players would have to adjust the number of different organelles in the editor to best function in their current environment (a little report on how your environment has changed before you enter the editor would be nice here). Since removing organelles can be beneficial, I would suggest having this cost MP as well. This way players will spend a portion of their MP just to tweak the characteristics of their cell each reproduction. What @tjwhale mentioned about adapting to challenges fits this I suppose.

  • Lastly: in the current state the objective is to survive for a certain number of reproductions, so if your cell can do that it may feel unsatisfying to not need any alterations in the editor each time you reproduce. However, in later versions of the game as far as I know, you will “win” by advancing to the next stage. Therefore, any MP not being spent on immediate challenges will probably go towards evolving the proteins, organelles etc. to reach that goal, correct? Seems like working towards the actual design vision for this stage will resolve some of these problems.


This is all helpful feedback thanks :slight_smile: I am hopeful we can tackle organelle gluttony with this next release so it will be interesting to see how well we do.

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Resource absorption is already scaled with surface area in 0.4.0, it wasnt in 0.3.4 though.

I know this thread is old but I have an idea to stop organelle gluttony. My idea is to make it where the more you invest into a organelle/reserch tree, the more the other unrelated organelles cost.

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And what we might also do is that the more distinct kinds of organelles you have, the less effective they are. Let’s say you have just mitochondria - then they are 100% effective and the production is going smoothly. But if you add for example chloroplast, the efficiency drops a bit - not that much, just ever so slightly, but if you were to add for example a chemoplast, the effectiveness of all organelles would drop even more, thus communicating to the player that it’s better to be specialized.

Example for clarification:
Your cell always has “180 %” efficiency to divide between the kinds of productive organelles
If you have only one kind of productive organelles, they all work with 100 % efficiency (in other words they are maxed out). But if you added a second kind of a productive organelle, you’d have to divide the 180 efficiency by 2 (as you have 2 kinds of productive organelles now). So every organelle would be 180/2, or in other words 90 % effective. That still seems reasonable, but if you were to add a 3rd one, you would get only 60 % efficiency out of all of them, which is something you’d like to avoid.
The logical reasoning behind this might be something along the lines of specialization, perhaps. What do you think?
(Even more clarification - it is not based on the number of organelles, but on the number of kinds, so 10 mitochondrie still work with 100% efficiency, but 1 mitochondria and 1 chloroplast work only with 90% efficiency. Also, the number might need tweaking, I’m not sure.)
Edit: This would only apply to organelles producing ATP

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Wouldn’t that just result in the player getting 50 of the same organelle instead of multiple ones? It doesn’t really solve the issue of spending all your MP.

This would make more sense in the multicellular stage I think, because large colonies tend to have specialised cells, but microbes tend to diversify a little with their organelles. Protists for example have mostly mitochondria, but some also have chloroplasts. Sort of torn between plants and animals, and they seem to survive perfectly.

Thinking about it, you are both right

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I do like questkitty’s idea. Perhaps the game should punish organelle redundancy, so at a certain point, more of the same organelles will become too taxing to properly sustain.

I think the game should make people aim for their cell to be perfect for its environment no more no less so if only having 2 organelles is best for it at that moment do to lack of food or other reasons than that is what the player will stop at instead of going overboard. Imo the best way to do this is like I said to make a point dump or an advantage to not useing all their points before they go a good way of doing this is to make things more expensive and let points stack with each editing session so people don’t feel the need to use them all in one go.

It’s necro time! The problem I’m going to focus on today is not “I will just pick every single organelle in the game”, but rather “I will have 789645 organelles creating a cell the size of Manhattan”. As we know, cells are three-dimensional objects. But the calculation of mass of the cell right now is two-dimensional, taking just the hexes you are placing into account. What if the math fot the cells was done as if they were 3D? Meaning the volume of the cells would be increasing rapidly the more “area” (regarding mass of the cells are 2D as of now) they have? If I’m not mistaken, the result would be that the initial growth would be really easy, but with every hex added the cost per hex goes a bit up, making it easy to grow your cell regularly, but near impossible to make a monumental behemoth of a cell. This might require making the “weigh per hex” smaller, as there would be much more hexes taken into account now.
Btw, this change wouldn’t be visual, just the math behind the cell mass would be different.


IIRC there was discussion at some point about giving microbes behavior settings beyond the addition of physical changes like organelles. I think if a behavior evolution is made dynamic enough in the game, perhaps this would be a good MP dump for the game.