My English teacher has oddly mentioned Ebola every day for the last 3 days of being in her class whenever a kid coughs. I was thinking about that while checking my email and re-discovering the Thrive Community Forums. This got me thinking… Will viruses ever be a threat that players will encounter in the game? I’m not sure how tricky this would be to install but I know that it seems to me to be achievable.


We’ve talked about Viruses a bit. The issues are that they are really small and secondly what do they do that is interesting? For example if viruses just kill you when you touch them is that fun?

Or maybe they use you to replicate but that just makes you slow and lose resources, is that fun?

It’s kind of hard to see how they could be included in a fun way. Like prokaryotes interact with the player a lot and can fight and feed them so they’re really interactive and fun. I’m not so sure what a virus could actually do that would be interesting to interact with.

Open to suggestions.


Virus could have injected RNA, and later DNA in some empty cell bodies (some random sack of cytosol). In other words, viruses might have been the origin of life. (That’s only a theory of mine.)


Maybe we could have macro viruses from Star Trek.

I’m kidding by the way unless you think that’s possible.

…But where did the cell bodies come from? And the viruses? (virii?) And why did the viruses have DNA that could power the copying of the cell bodies?

At the beginning, there were only random strands of RNA that were catalyzing chemical reactions, thus creating new molecules including the ones that could form the virus’ “shell” and the ones that could form cells’ bodies.

But wouldn’t it be way simpler to just immediately start with the DNA inside a fosfolipoid-esque sack, instead of starting with the RNA for a virus, the shell, the sacks and the RNA for the cell inside the virus? It may be possible, but it does not seem very likely to me.


The macro viruses would have to be fundamentally different from normal viriuses due to the large bodies consuming more energy. Macro viruses would be cells but not. Instead of reproducing by splitting they would inject a host with the RNA and the newly created macro viruses would burst out of the cell, absorbing the nutrients of that host. The macro viruses would need to collect compounds to survive since they need to fuel themselves.

Yeah, you’re right, but there’s one problem, you can’t start with DNA. DNA comes later, RNA is the origin of life. DNA came because it is more stable than RNA.

phospholipids, lol

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The RNA world hypothesis is not confirmed so we are not sure if it came first, its only likely it came first.


Shhh I’m Dutch, the word I learned was fosfolipide.

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Isn’t the basic distinction between viruses and other things that they don’t have any cellular mechanisms (ie. they have no chemical processes going on that supports life). So if a “virus” needed to collect compounds to run some processes, then it would be something else than a cell. It would be a normal cell that had a hostile DNA injector mechanism for attacking other cells.

Note: I’m not a biology expert, feel free to correct


I thought that viruses were viruses and not cells because they have RNA and reproduce by injecting cells with RNA.

" While not inside an infected cell or in the process of infecting a cell, viruses exist in the form of independent particles. These viral particles , also known as virions , consist of: (i) the genetic material made from either DNA or RNA, long molecules that carry genetic information; (ii) a protein coat, called the capsid, which surrounds and protects the genetic material; and in some cases (iii) an envelope of lipids that surrounds the protein coat."

i.e. viruses have no “active” parts to them before they hijack the cellular machinery of a cell.

And another more explicit quote:
" Opinions differ on whether viruses are a form of life, or organic structures that interact with living organisms.[65] They have been described as “organisms at the edge of life”,[8] since they resemble organisms in that they possess genes, evolve by natural selection,[66] and reproduce by creating multiple copies of themselves through self-assembly. Although they have genes, they do not have a cellular structure, which is often seen as the basic unit of life. Viruses do not have their own metabolism, and require a host cell to make new products. They therefore cannot naturally reproduce outside a host cell[67]"

Virus doesn’t have any metabolism and the only function that is common to both viruses and living being is reproduction. But, in the end, viruses aren’t considered to be living beings as they can only reproduce. By the way, I don’t think they can collect compounds because they can only reproduce by injecting DNA/RNA into living cells.

I think I should reconsider my theory.

In earlier posts I brought up the idea of a macro virus like the one from Star Trek (but still microbial, big enough to be visible as a cell while still being tiny compared to a bacteria). For something that big I think that they need to have a metabolism to navigate and that would require basic compound collection to survive. The being said, a macro virus wouldn’t be that similar to a normal virus but it would also lack a lot of what makes a cell a form of life.

I haven’t seen Star Trek. I should give it a look. But why not?

EDIT : And all that stuff about Crisper and that defense mechanism out of it, wouldn’t it be an upgrade to make to have at least a chance to survive the virus?

By the way, why am I still Aware! Aware! How do I get to the next stage on the forum? Also, how the hell did RoboRomb get to Spacefaring? What?!

Attention! Bad words in meme

The name “macro virus” is misleading as it doesn’t fulfil the criteria of being a virus.

It should be named something like “cell with a mechanism for hijack other cell’s reproductive systems (and lacking its own)”. But with that I feel like there is no reason for such a thing to evolve as other cells might evolve resistance and hijacking a cell and making it produce another full cell is probably way harder than just having your own cellular machinery to replicate (which is already needed for keeping your cell operational).

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A microbial parasite essentially. Just as cells could evolve to resist hijacking, the macro virus (shorter and easier to say) would evolve better hijacking mechanisms. Also they may not need navigation and that would negate the need for metabolism. At that point they are just big viruses which makes me wonder what advantages an increase in size would offer (faster movement due to more surface area?).

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Remember though: Increasing size means a relative smaller surface area. Surface area rises squared, while volume rises to the power of three. For example, a cube has a volume of X^3, and a surface area of 8X^2. This means that if X increases, the volume rises faster than the surface area (at X>8 the volume is higher than the surface area, while at X<8 the surface area is bigger) This is why “specialized organs” such as lungs exist, because creatures that are too big are unable to obtain the necessary compounds just by absorbing whatever they touch. (Organs like the intestines are build almost specifically to have a high surface area)

So if the virus would become bigger the mass would rise faster than the area they could cover with cilia/flagella/etc., resulting in a slower speed.