What if the player didn’t automatically enter the editor every time they reproduced?
I was reading about sexual reproduction in unicellular organisms, and I saw that certain eukaryotes can transfer DNA without actually reproducing. The same occurs in bacteria (conjugation).
At the same time, organisms reproduce quite a lot and do not evolve every single time, especially in asexual reproduction. But in the current concept if microbes reproduced quickly it would also mean super fast evolution rates.
My idea is, what if we make it so that each time you reproduce, there’s a chance that you will mutate. Mutating means entering the editor. The chance of mutating is summative, so if you fail it increases until you succeed and then its reset.
When starting a new game, the player can choose under “Mutation Rate” how likely they are to mutate with each reproduction. They can set it at 100%, which is the current concept, and it would lead to quick evolution. Or they could set it lower (default would be something like 25%).
This would also mean that we could allow the player to mutate without reproducing. In observed sexual reproduction in microbes, two microbes meet and exchange DNA (aka “have sex”) across their membranes and then part. In Thrive we would allow microbes to do this if they evolve sexual reproduction. The player would swim their microbe to another microbe and engage in the DNA transfer, and there would be a 25% chance that he would enter the editor and if he did he would spawn back in with an evolved organism, but with no reproduction having taken place.
Another example would be in transformation, where a cell absorbs some DNA and integrates it into its own DNA. We can represent this in game by having a small chance to mutate if you ever consume some floating DNA.