Advice for a new team member

So you’ve joined the team, welcome to the project. Here’s some advice on how to get started.

  1. DON’T try to read the whole forum and DON’T try to read and understand the whole codebase. This is the biggest trap we see people falling into early on when trying to get started. We want you to find a place for yourself in the project that works for you and that will probably take some time. If you’re finding it overwhelming that’s ok. Just ask for some help. We want to help you settle in.

  2. DO download and play the game as is. What do you like about it and what do you not? Of course it’s not nearly finished but do you get the basic idea of what we are aiming at for the microbe stage? Where you swim around and fight and collect compounds and die. And then you go to the editor and adapt your species a little bit. Does that make sense? Can you see how it’s supposed to work? If not ask.

  3. If you are a programmer have a go at setting up a development build using the instructions on the github page. This may take you some time. That’s fine. Try for half an hour and if you fail then come back to it another time.

  4. Read the forums “as they are updated”. So see what discussions are currently happening. If you don’t understand something then ask. It’s great for us if you ask questions and we are all happy to answer them. Questions are great because they help us flesh out what we are doing, explaining something helps us understand it so you are helping by asking questions.

  5. Find a little thing that you would like to work on. Especially if you are a programmer play around with the game for a bit and find a tiny thing and try to improve it. This will require digging into the codebase. Don’t try to understand it all, just find out what you need to know to change that little thing. Then when that is done get your change checked by one of the team leads. Then find another little thing and keep doing this. That’s the way to get into the project. It is better to give an hour a week but to stick around than to spend all of one day failing to do something and quitting.

  6. Don’t pressurise yourself with Thrive. There is no minimum commitment. If you want to work on it today then that’s great, if you don’t then that’s fine too. Don’t turn it into another stress inside a stressful life.

  7. There are a lot of different reasons to work on Thrive. Firstly we all want a finished and fun game. Along side this everyone on the team is motivated by different things. For example it’s a great space to experiment with new ideas and to learn new things. There’s a whole load of interesting problems to work on and that in itself can be really valuable. The project won’t be finished any time soon and so it’s important to find out what you can get out of it while we work on it and how it can help you grow your skillset.

  8. Good luck! If the project isn’t for you then it’s fine to leave, don’t worry about it. We hope you can find a contribution you enjoy to make and really get something out of working on Thrive like the rest of us do. We hope you’ll stick around because there’s a lot to be gained by being here and we hope that you will gain skills through making this game which means your time here is of great value to you.

Edit: If you need a quick intro to some of the microb-biology stuff here and here are a couple of videos.