There are 2 ways water currents can effect the game. First is underwater currents, that move the cells between patches (in evolutionary time scales, can a microbe move to any patch no matter what the current is?). Second is “turbulence” that microbes can feel (that is the water current in spore). How would that work, if added?
Water currents are planned. And in fact are already partly implemented for the floating chunks.
The reason they don’t affect cells is that we don’t have a graphics programmer to do the visuals (and the current generation needs a slight tweak to make the currents follow longer paths instead of being pretty chaotic in a small area). We’ve been waiting for years at this point for a graphics programmer to show up to help do various things. So we’ll probably need to keep waiting for a long time still.
Personally, I really like the idea of water currents (and other natural elements) being key factors in the environment and changing it.
I am not a big fan of the patch map and system and, truth to be told, would love to see it replaced with something more natural. A game, where your movement and changing position are what changes the environment and not some random clicks seems to be more in line, in my opinion, with what Thrive is promised to be.
I think that a more open world game would be truly a sight to behold, with Thrive already having its own established charm and, if you ask me, quite beautiful scenes at times, even if you are just a bacteria in all of this. Half of every game is the atmosphere, after all!
I feel the opposite. In cell stage, you would have no idea where you are, only the conditions of the enviroment (like light levels or compounds), and what species are around (changes in a different ocean if not every species can move between those oceans), and we get patches. The patch system can be removed (or the number of patches(resolution) increased) in aware stage, but for now, I think its great.
Maybe, manually changing the patch could be removed. Your species spreads to whatever patches it can, and you pick which patch to play (or succesfuly playing in a patch proves that you are suited to that patch, and auto evo plays you in other patches. what about removing playing altogether?)
Indeed, you have no idea where you are, but I think that’s part of the charm - evolution is, in nature, chaotic. It isn’t a mastermind that has carefully orchestrated everything, but is instead reactive and merely responds to the changes around it. I believe that the arbitrary change of the environment (which will depend on your movement, which, considering you’d be just a cell, would most likely be done by getting pushed around by the sea) could reflect that chaos very well. Obviously that is if creative liberties are taken - I doubt that a small cell that has emerged in the tropics would get carried to the Artic in its lifetime, so I suppose that ignoring the true size of the world, at least for the game mechanics, is worth considering.
Besides that, this would give initiative to the player to develop a better motion apparatus, now and later in-game. With the environment being an active agent, one which affects your gameplay, we would be forced to respond very actively to it. (Environment in this case I mean literally as the environment, not the separate living elements in it, such as other organisms).
I do admit that the patches work very well - so far, so good. But I just don’t think that they really fit Thrive, or at least what I see it as. And I hope that they won’t stick around and would be replaced with something more reactive and natural looking, which would also serve as an interesting game mechanic.