Why can't development on the Society stage begin right now?

Not the actual Society stage, but a prototype. Seriously, what is stopping anyone from making a simple, 2D real-time strategy game? No complicated graphics or physics; just give us a few presets, some traits to select from (Stellaris style), and a customizable environment.

This would be a perfect way to test out concepts like the ‘procedural culture generator’ or ‘treaty editor’ talked about here - the links are broken, so can someone explain these? (Crash course economics also sounds interesting.) It would draw an audience more interested in the strategic gameplay, and give work to developers with a different skillset than what’s needed for the main game now (so it’s not like it would split the resources).

What do you think?

The problem is that only I and Untrustedlife are active (out of all the programmers, though also crodnu made one change recently). So we just do not have the resources to try to do that. Of course if someone wanted, they could work on what you suggest.
But right now I’m busy working on graphics library changes and Untrustedlife is working on patches, which is the major feature for the next release. That leaves no one to work on future stages.


Yeah I second the point about resources. Another issue with it is that even if we had a lot more people I think it’s preferable to focus on one stage, get it really good and finish it. That way we can prove to the world that we really can make something solid. It will be much easier to recruit people once they see what we are capable of.

One thing about future stages is that the first few decisions people make are some of the biggest. Is the map hex based (CIV), region based (CK2) or continuous (Total War)? As you say 2d is much easier however quite a lot of people are keen to have 3D elements to have continuity with the other stages. Are there base resources, if so what are they? Food, hammers, research, metals, dark matter? (I quite like Bio-matter, Atoms, Computation and Energy personally :slight_smile: )

Once someone starts making these decisions it will hugely shape how the stage turns out. For example some people are keen on RTS style combat. That can be a cool thing and will add a huge amount to dev time vs chess pieces throwing numbers at each other (as paradox games have).

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Actually, I wasn’t suggesting the active developers switch over to a new project at all. I’m talking about recruiting others, maybe some who already follow the project, who have skills more suited for strategy games than the current iteration of Thrive - because unlike Thrive, this sort of thing is well-trodden territory. You could just make a simplified version of Dwarf Fortress’s engine and build on top of it.

(Also, I was under the impression that it was already decided it wouldn’t be turn-based. As for continuous gameplay - well, that’s only possible depending on how to scale the planets are. Surely not realistic?)

I’m not sure why you think continuity with other stages is so important. There’d be no reason to ever integrate such a thing into the main game at all; it would simply be a ‘test chamber’ where people could get a glimpse of what the true product might look like.

Finally, do either of you know where those links originally led or can describe what they refer to? Thanks.

Any links to the old forum will work if you replace thrivegame.forum-free.ca with thrivegame.canadaboard.net in the URL.

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It has been really, really difficult to attract programmers. Of course we can’t know for sure if some people looked at our postings and decided to only contribute once the strategy stages start to be made. Though, I would guess that amount is close enough to zero to be irrelevant.

It is true that a green-field project is easier to get into. But then only one new developer could work on those. And while it would be good for prototyping, I’m not sure how much it would help. So even if we managed to attract new programmers with this plan you suggest, I think we should have them work on the current game.

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I agree that if I had any power to attract people I would want to attract them for the microbe stage.

If it’s making a game which is totally seperate from Thrive and never to be integrated doesn’t that just make it a different game? Like sure I am all about strategy games and would love to make one, but if it’s not going to be part of Thrive then really it’s a different project.

I’m not sure why you think continuity with other stages is so important.

I think it’s interesting that this is one of the most important things in the game as a whole. The worst thing would be a series of minigames where when you are done with one you throw all your choices away and start again, really then you’re just making a few seperate games under the same title.

I would love to see it in the space stage that all the layers are working together. So choices at the cellular level are impacting the choices at the creature level which impact culture and therefore what sort of diplomacy is happening between space empires.

For example one race has hydrogen sulfide cells which means they are interested in different planets from those without, stuff like that.

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Of course, but the game is going to be pretty complicated. I think exposing ideas to the oxygen of player feedback before actually getting there, even if a lot of detail is sacrificed, would make things easier than just winging it when you do.

You’ll be adding a lot of mechanics in the Society stage that are totally absent in previous stages. Even if they’re meant to be affected by earlier choices, it’s easy enough to just use placeholder traits like ‘eusocial’ or ‘carnivore’.

I’m sure there are people who can build strategy games but wouldn’t be much use for the cell stage. Don’t the two require different skillsets? But more importantly, they’d have different audiences. Someone who isn’t interested in coding for some underwater eat-em-up might jump at the chance to prototype the most open strategy game ever conceived.

the evolution in the game corresponds to the evolution of the game itself. think of it like Tierzoo’s idea of outside the game

Maybe. But I’ve never heard there being genre specific roles in the games industry. All AI programmers can work on any genre they like etc. There isn’t really technically all that much different between different genres of games. Of course it is possible to have a preference to work on some kind of game. But even then I think most game developers are really enthusiastic about games and will prefer on working on games, even if it isn’t their preferred type of game, instead of business software.

I mean sure. But such a thing likely leads to them just making their own game. All our prototypes are simple proofs of concept of something to be added to the game. Making a strategy thingy would be way more effort than the previous things. And then we would end up as a collection of minigames, instead of the grand vision of a seamless experience between the stages. Recently there popped up a post on Reddit where someone was building a game to build a collection of minigames and become Spore 2. This is that post:

I’m not against this idea, if someone wants to make it. I’m just highly sceptical that this will result in something that benefits Thrive.

furious inhaling


Correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember it being said that each stage would be able to “zoom in” to previous stages (possibly with some limits), like playing a single entity/creature in the space stage (I also remember potential issues of that being brought up). If that is the case, then each stage being interrelated would become far more important and having blurry separation more critical; each stage would need to be designed so the impact of an action done in any other stage can effect any prior or later stages. This would make having each stage done one by one taking into account previous stages and later stages could possibly be either more important or harder (but presumably faster) than all at once (as simultaneous development would allow mechanics that effect earlier or later stages to be developed simultaneously between the effected stages but could make all development more difficult and slower due to varied mechanics). If that is not the case, then focusing only on the impact of previous stages is significantly easier if done one by one. I’m not advocating either way, however.