Thrive Development Polls

Welcome everyone to the development polling thread! It is here that the development team will create voting polls about various decisions and concepts to assist in understanding just what the players and community desires for future development.
It is important that you read the associated forum threads before voting to better understand what exactly you will be voting on. Feel free to discuss the topics with your peers , or provide additional info about your opinion and choice within this thread if you like. Keep in mind that these features are not guaranteed to be implemented.

With all that said, let’s get started with our first ever round of polls!

How would you like the random part unlocking concept if it were to be implemented?
  • I want all parts and proteins to be unlocked randomly!
  • I only want passive proteins and accessories to be unlocked randomly.
  • I want random unlocks to be optionally avoided by using MP.
  • I dont want to rely on random outcomes at all!
  • Other (Please elaborate in comments.)

0 voters

Should the player be entirely locked out of inhospitable patches, or allowed to risk the unfavorable conditions?
  • Yes lock me out so I dont ever accidentally trap myself in a deadly place.
  • A biome I am mostly not prepared for? Let me in! (There will still atleast be a warning.)

0 voters

How would you like a protein storage system concept to effect prokaryotic gameplay?
  • I want all prokaryotic protein organelles to be handled by this new protein system!
  • I prefer Narotiza’s method of controlling protein placement in my cell!
  • I want to keep my placable prokaryotic parts!
  • Other (Elaborate)

0 voters


On the inhospitable biomes topic, I think you should have the option to go to them, but have also have an option to boot yourself back to previous biome without needing to reproduce to prevent getting trapped in death loops.


Getting booted out of a patch where you run out of population, is something I want to add to the game anyway. So you can’t brute force your way through a patch anymore, instead you need to strategically go to a patch when you are likely to survive the first generation there (as when you move to a patch there is 0 of your population there, so dying once will kick you back out).


I wrote this in the discord already:

Since I am still not a dev, this idea probably seems futile, but here is my take: As a prokaryote, proteins are synthesized from amino acids, producing ammonia as an outcome. Will this add ammonia to the player every time they make a protein? Would the game need balance for this? So I believe the protein editor can merge both buckly and narotiza’s idea. We can have some sort of slot system that develops proteins over time that follows the slot method, but once you earn a golgi body, you have more control to where the proteins go and paint their designated location either within or without the cell’s membrane. Also, I go into the void of death when I want too!

1 Like

The two things that I really have an opinion on are getting into a patch without being adapted to it and randomly unlockable proteins.

Personally, I see the main premise of the game as this: “Can you beat an evolution algorithm at it’s own game?” In other words, the player’s goal should be to adapt his cell to the ecosystem faster and/or better than auto-evo can.
According to this I believe that:

  1. Auto-evo needs to be allowed to enter patches it isn’t adapted to because that’s how auto-evo works. It gets into an environment and then it adapts to it. The player should be allowed to do the same thing for the sake of realism and preventing the auto-evo from ‘cheating’.

  2. Proteins should not be random unlocks. I don’t care what way you come up with for unlocking them (I personally wouldn’t mind if they were all available at the start), but there needs to be a way to force the process. Sure, realistically a lot of mutations only exist because the cell that got them never stumbled into the objectively better option (like how eukaryotes can’t aerobically respirate without mitochondria), but the player circumventing that is sorta the point of the game.
    Let auto-evo choose from randomly selected proteins. Make it randomly ‘unlock’ only certain proteins and make stupid decisions because of that. But let the player be better than that; he is an intelligent designer and that’s simply his advantage over a random natural process.

Making proteins randomly unlockable could be enabled in an option for those who want to play realistically. This could be an option named “Realism Mode”, which would include all features related to life realism. Then, a sort of “difficulty” setting could re-arrange how realistic or how rare mutations are.
I personally would really like it as an option, for I’d like to play realistically. It should really be an option.

I think that’s a great idea. This way, you don’t really need an abstract punishment system or concept that “balances” against rushing to a different biome, it just completely depends on the cell itself. And the threat of going back to where your started adds weight to your decisions and adds to the story of life on your planet; do I risk adding these organelles which could be useful in the future but take up a lot of energy now, or do I just stay here and battle it out with the food chain and environment I know? This decision could tip the scale away from strategies which are perhaps a bit unrealistic as well, such as rushing to the surface and putting on a million thylakoids.

Reading through some of the forum discussion topics, I think the older enzyme concept and the feedback people had to that (Enzyme Concept) could prove to be a good consideration when dealing with topics such as Environmental Toxicity, Passive Enzymes, and Proteins coming up. It helps provide a concept similar to the “Protein Sliders bound by space” concept in the development forums, and I think it’s a neat way of organizing information and balancing systems.

I also agree with Sentiant when they rebuke the idea of random unlock proteins. I think it’s kind of a slippery slope as to exactly when said proteins will come into play, and with the way I see them through discussions on the development forums, I think they are too fundamental of a gameplay feature to leave up to chance. I think either letting the player unlock proteins or having them all unlocked in the beginning would be best.

About the worries of overburdening a new player with many different proteins if they were all available in the beginning, looking to the evolution of life on Earth provides a remedy. Early cells had much less to deal with in terms of environmental challenges, biological functions, etc. For example, they didn’t have to worry about oxygen poisoning for a while because oxygen would be introduced gradually into the atmosphere via biological/geological functions, and they didn’t have to deal with UV a lot because life (likely) started next to hydrothermal vents in the dark corners of our Earth. If we take this and apply it to Thrive - a simple environment with few things to worry about transforming into a biogeochemical system as entrenched and varied as the life that inhabits it - I think the player will naturally progress through the protein system as easily as possible, as they would only need to worry about a few proteins at first and will then begin to understand the wide variety as challenges come up. And then eventually, when the atmosphere is relatively stable as it is now, a player would know most aspects of the planet’s atmosphere, and would then have a base “level” of protein balances which they could tweak going forward.

And on another note, I also feel that this system represents biology. Life on Earth over the past few 100 millions of years grew so complex because of the relative stability of the environment, as body plans based on proteins and enzymes fine-tuned to the environment wouldn’t need to be constantly wiped out or completely reconfigured. Using this in Thrive, a more stable planet could expect to see more Earth-like or complex creatures, while a less stable atmosphere could lead to odd monstrosities and more simple life forms.


Unfortunately I didn’t consider that when writing the auto-evo framework. It doesn’t consider any mutations when calculating if moving to a different patch is beneficial or not.

I suppose you’ll be happy to hear that in this case this is exactly how the auto-evo chooses possible mutations.
Additionally it computes the population results from the mutations so that it can pick the best.

My comments from discord to this:

Why would it produce ammonia?

If I remember correctly it used to be that ammonia -> amino acids was a process in Thrive, but it was simplified away so that any process using amino acids used ammonia directly

In thrive conceptually cells do not metabolize amino acids, they only produce them

When a cell dies it releases ammonia that is conceptually already broken down amino acids the cell was built out of

We would have to program a lot of extra logic for just a few hardcore players who don’t want to have fun.

But it would show how miraculous and almost impossible how life really is. Even our own existence is a pure miracle. We should be thankful to nature. Anyway, sure. Not everything should be random or too rare, but it’d be great to have it implemented for some proteins or upgrades (the random mechanics, not the Realism Mode).
Also, what did you mean by “lootboxes” in the dev forums? Did you mean like the crates in TF2 or CS:GO?

If you add a system in thrive where you throw MP at randomly unlocking organelles, it wouldn’t take a ton to add a button to roll the random unlock a couple more times for a little bit of real money to help thrive development.

1 Like

I think that the new idea for prokaryotic organelles is really neat, but prokaryotes would end up looking very similar. My idea is to keep the placeable organelles, and also integrate the new system to change the efficiency of each organelle. I don’t know how realistic that would be as I am not a biologist. This system could allow eukaryotes to potentially rely on evolved prokaryotic organelles as opposed to eukaryotic structures. There should be a limit or restriction to how efficient organelles can become. This could be a hard limit, soft limit, or equation with diminishing returns.

I am not a fan of the random part unlock thing. It would suck to unlock parts that are irrelevant to my creature, such as getting chloroplasts for a cell living in an underground ocean under kilometres of ice.

There could be two modes, where 1 has random parts unlocked for both you and the ai, being unpredictable, and another that allows both you and the ai to choose the organelles and things for your organism, making the game easier and harder at the same time.

1 Like

That sounds awful. Please don’t turn this game into a P2W game.


It’s a joke. And a reference to a potential april fool’s that was announcing lootboxes for Thrive. I don’t think we actually used that for april fool’s, but discussed it only.


spand 40 to random unlock,spand 100 to specific unlock.
Also I want to talk about the MP limite, it should grow when the DNA get more complex. Because a complexDNA get more probability to get mutation.

The problem with giving the player complete control over his or her cell, civilization or whatever is that it can lead to very unrealistic situations. Let me take the Thrive Odyssey forum game as an example. We had complete control over our actions except for the results of these actions. As a result, we reached the Industrial Revolution in the 5th century. That is because:
  1. Metagaming : The player already knows the truth about the realities of our world. For instance, heliocentrism would always be chosen over geocentrism because the player already knows about the former being the real theory. It could be balanced by creating multiple schools of philosophy and one of them would be eventually accepted either because of popularity of common belief. To give control to the player, they would have to increase their chances of getting their theory accepted (e.g argumentation). Now, I’m just talking about the forum game, but the player can have the same situation in Thrive. Let me take the nucleus upgrade as an example. In our reality, the nucleus allowed lifeforms to become more complex and is the main reason we are here today. But it was created by pure chance; it was created because of a “bug” in the membrane regeneration. In Thrive, the player will always buy the nucleus because they know it makes it easier to become more complex (except for playing as an iron bacterium but let’s ignore that for now).
  2. Information Giveaway : The player is given information that he or she shouldn’t already know (e.g. zenzonegaming wanting to research biowarfare because I was dealing with a plague even if he never met me) In Thrive, this can be seen as showing the player every possible organelle, patch or other species report from the start.
  3. Control Overload : The player can use his or her actions however it pleases him or her. That makes it so that the player can literally research everything they need for the steam engine in a single round. In the game, this is done by allowing the player to upgrade anything they want whenever they want to.
Yes, it is annoying not to have complete control over our cell. However, it would end up with unrealistic consequences. What I suggest is that the unlocks are random, but the player could increase their chances through other upgrades.
The main point of Thrive is to create an evolution game based on realism. The game won’t become realistic simply by writing an organelle description with scientific terms.

But the game is inherently unrealistic, you can place organelles and choose which patch to go and you can even make choices that a unintelligent cell would not do , these should be random or not possible if we want it to be realistic but they are something we have control over because thrive is not a simulator but a game with realistic rules that the player can explore and each player have different goals, some might not even want to “win” but create unique species or even just want to just mess around with mechanics and so the unrealistic scenarios is not really a bad thing but just a play style someone might want to try


I personally am a big fan of player agency. I think this game should be a game first, not a scientific simulator. With the random unlocks, it forces a player to basically bend to the will of both the world as well as their genome. If the first several things you unlock are terrible for your enviroment, but the only way to utilize your unlocks are to go to another area (which you need to reproduce in order to get to), too bad, you lose, and nothing you can do about it. I personally have a bane against rng.


Your argument here is that randomness is the best way to most accurately and enjoyable portray the reality of evolution, so I don’t really see how extracting lessons from the Thrive Odyssey would be the best way to make that point considering the main mechanic judging whether or not an action is successful in the forum game is a dice. It definitely makes a fun forum game, seeing as the thread is over 1,000 posts long; it doesn’t make a solid simulation, however.

On that note, I don’t think the realism problem in Thrive Odyssey is necessarily a result of the player’s complete control over everything their species does; I think it’s because the challenges and hardships which early societies faced were not properly simulated in the forum game. Therefore, the best way forward in Thrive is not through introducing randomness, but instead through introducing an obstacle to overcome and then balancing the game so that the obstacle is simultaneously challenging and conquerable.

I’ll focus on your points to make my own.

But in order to get to this point of understanding, we had to face challenges that held back our understanding of astronomy, physics, and the sciences as a whole. For us, this challenge may seem like a matter of thinking very hard about something until an idea pops up (or in other words, a matter of time), but so many things had to first be present in order to facilitate scientific advancement. Let’s look at your heliocentrism example.
I believe that the reality of heliocentrism was proven without a doubt by Galileo, which means the concept has been widely recognized by the scientific community for at least 450 years. Thing is, Galileo was inspired by Copernicus, a mathematician who also was going on about how the Earth revolved around the Sun before the Church told him to shut up. And the thing is, Copernicus was inspired by Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer who lived more than a 1,000 years before Copernicus was born. So, the idea of heliocentrism was around in some state for at least 1,500 years. There were multiple challenges that stood in the way of a proper recognition of heliocentrism:

1.) The culture which Copernicus and Galileo lived in was a culture that heavily discouraged scientific advancement to preserve an existing social order based on the Church, who’s word must be perceived as legitimate and absolute. The Church had a lot of power in Italy; its word was viewed as being absolute, truthful, and final. If someone says something that could put what the Church said into doubt, then the Church loses some of that legitimacy. Copernicus’s view went directly against the Church’s geocentric view; therefore, he had to be shunned into silence. Galileo was also taken into trail for perceived heresy, and he barely made it out with his head and his theories.

2.) There was a lack of an ability to prove or comprehend the potential of a heliocentric existence. Ptolemy’s theories lost popularity with the ancient world because he had no way to prove his assertions. There were no optics powerful enough to witness Jupiter or Saturn in motion, no theory of gravity to make sense of the forces which pulled planets along the night sky, no understanding of exactly what the Sun was, etc. And besides, every Greek child knew that the Sun god Helios flew around the world and provided us with his light. There was no way for a person to argue for the heliocentrist reality we live in without looking insane until technology and human mentality progressed.

3.) Ultimately, it was in our nature as a species to first interpret geocentrism as the intuitively correct perception of astronomy. We have no innate understanding of planetary motion, no ability to naturally go into space, no ability to heavily rely on a sense other than our own, etc. We always saw that the big light above us moved across the sky with our Earthly perceptions, so we made an Earth-centered hypothesis.

All of the above were incredibly difficult obstacles to overcome, and all of the above have resulted in an almost innate recognition of the heliocentric nature of Earth today. It wasn’t really just a random thought that lead to the widespread recognition of Copernican heliocentrism; it was a combination of factors which we had overcome through hardship, innovation, and effort.

And already, by simulating these hardships in a game format, we can create concepts for fun and yet challenging game mechanics which can both fully engage a player and dynamically simulate an aspect of reality without relying on a factor as frustrating, tedious, and boring as randomness. For example, to represent the challenges which scientific progress faces within Thrive, we can:

1.) Have the creation and balance of culture be a fundamental part of the society stage, and have a major aspect of that culture editor be its effect on scientific progress. For example, you can have a slider which determines how ideological/rational your society is, with ideology promoting loyalty/productivity and rationality promoting scientific progress.

2.) Having some sort of tech tree to help symbolize this progression of thought or capability.

3.) Having certain adaptations you chose in the Aware Stage heavily effect the way your society develops. For example, a species with an understanding of navigation akin to that of a pigeon could innately understand electromagnetic forces and navigation better than a species with an absence of such senses. For another example, carnivorous intelligent species could be hampered in the development of agriculture, which slows down many other developments. They could also tend to require more space and thus be more prone to conflict related to land, as it takes more resources to hunt than it does to farm.

And remember: in order to think, one must have enough time and security to do so. We have been in the dark for 96% of our 200,000-year history because we had struggled with the basic questions of feeding ourselves and keeping ourselves safe. Galileo wouldn’t have had the time to argue with the Church 150,000 years ago because Galileo would have spent most of his time hunting and foraging (if he didn’t die as an individual is statistically likely to in the wild). We had to get to a point where we could ensure a steady supply of food to our inhabitance and an ability to defend ourselves from the elements, the sicknesses, the predators, and all of nature’s wrath before we could even think about the sky. That is a challenge which could be fundamental to Thrive’s later stages; making sure you feed your people.

I feel like this first example properly illustrates the solution for Thrive: not a reliance on luck and randomness, but instead a deliberate struggle through a changing environment and fundamentally challenging obstacles. Cells must struggle through energy barriers if they progressed down a path of organelle compartmentalization and dependence on nucleic functions. Societies needed to ensure safety and growth, and then, they needed to (and still do) struggle through technological limitations, cultural shortcomings, etc. Our luck and our randomness is manifested through the planet we inhabit, but our challenges are uniquely ours.

And so, the path for Thrive to take is not a path of randomness, but a path of struggle.

Maybe the proteins shouldn’t be random. But some of the eukaryotic organelles are still too easy to unlock. It’d be better if the endosymbiotic theory is re-implemented. Instead of having to absorb floating mitochondria, chloroplast or whatever to unlock those organelles, I suggest that the player could absorb actual prokaryotes and they would unlock specific organelles depending on what kind of bacteria they absorbed. Their bacterium would automatically be considered as an organelle and they could buy as many organelles as they see fit afterwards.
Type of bacterium Organelle(s) Unlocked
Metabolosome Mitochondrion
Thylakoid Chloroplast
Chemosynthesizer Chemoplast
Iron “Ferroplast”
“Thermal Protein” Thermoplast
Combination* Unlocks organelles related to combination components
*If it’s a combination, the bacterium the player absorbed would retain all abilities.
What I don’t know is what would happen if a bacterium has oxytoxy? Would that damage the player or would it give them the toxin vacuole?
To avoid having a 100% probability to successfully absorb a bacterium without killing it, which would prevent the player from getting their nutrients, there should be a rule to determine the probability. The base probability should be relatively small, but not too much. To increase their chances, the player would have to reduce their own HP. Therefore, having 70 HP gives you a much better chance of absorbing the prokaryote than if you are at full health.
Probability = \frac{k}{Health} + Bonus
To take an example, let’s assume that the base chance is 5% and that the bonus is 3%.
Probability = \frac {5}{Health} + 0.03
Health Probability
100 8.00%
90 8.56%
80 9.25%
70 10.14%
60 11.33%
50 13.00%
40 15.50%
30 19.67%
20 28.00%
10 53.00%
As a side note, I like @narotiza’s concept of a protein tree.

Maybe special upgrades such as nucleus and some membrane-bound organelles should have a special mechanic of unlocking.