Unless I’m mistaken we have no threads on finalizing the design for bacteria, so let’s do that here. Some important questions I can think of that we should answer are:

  1. What different types of bacteria will there be?
  2. What will each type look and act like?
  3. How will the player interact with bacteria?
  4. What current game features will have to be changed, and how, with the implementation of bacteria?

Once we’ve got a final concept here, I’ll copy the contents to the Bacteria wiki page.


I figure I should just repost all of the Bacteria that I made to here for ease of access, so I made a convenient imgur album for them, I will post any that I make from now on to here :smile:


Edit in response to reply: Alright, I’ll keep my art posts there


Awesome! But we’ll have to save this thread mostly for discussion on the theory and design behind implementing bacteria. For discussion on the art assets for bacteria the organelle model thread is best (or other appropriate graphics threads).


Photosynthesizing bacteria (PSB)

Can be found in a few different forms:
1) Single celled: single bacillus which moves by gliding. Move in clouds of bacteria like schools of fish, until it finds sunlight where it will stop moving until current pull it away again. Reproduces occasionally by binary fission. On rare occasions, binary fission will not fully split the single celled bacteria, producing a slowly growing chain. Produce oxygen.
2) Filamentous: a long chain of PSB that moves with a snake-like motion. Found swimming with single celled in bacteria clouds. Move in clouds of bacteria like schools of fish, until it finds sunlight where it will stop moving until current pull it away again. Reproduces, adding to the length of its chain. On rare occasions,reproduction will cause the chain to start becoming a slowly growing colony.
3) Colony: large sheets or hollow spheres of PSB. They are planktonic meaning they move with current. Creates an obstacle for the player. After reaching a certain size, the colony will release single celled PSB, starting the cycle all over again. Also produces oxygen.
4) The color of the PSB should be dependent on their pigment which should be dependent on the type of star the planet is orbiting. Stars like ours will have a higher chance to produce chlorophyll which produce purple, green, red, etc bacteria.

1) Players can consume the PSB clouds like the compound clouds but only when engulfment is turned on. There is a chance the player will unlock chloroplasts from engulfing PSB.
2) Player can sit inside PSB clouds or near PSB colonies to accumulate oxygen.
3) If players acquire a mouth (protozoa have mouths I’m really pushing for microbial mouths look here, they can consume portions of the PSB colonies.

1) Sunlight will need to have more information associated to it, such as color and intensity and such, to determine what kinds of pigments will be available.
2) Algal bloom biomes might need to change as well depending on the color.
3) Add cytostome!


If I’m able to chip in my two cents here, I have a couple of ideas on how to determine what color the bacterium that produce oxygen can be. I think that they can either be randomly generated and survived based on a set-parameter of the world (for instance if it’s star is say, a blue dwarf, it could be purple or black), though that would need to be done for another day.

Another idea I have is that for sunlight we could possible use Cloud-Generation (like photoshop clouds) at random to determine the amount of sunlight in an area, treating it sort of like a depth map of light to say.


I think the first one would be the best and most realistic option.


Thermosynthesizing bacteria (TSB)

Can be found in a few different forms:
1) Single celled: single rounded disk shape. Dark colors such as black, dark red, and dark orange/brown. Possibly with some kind of banding or flecks of a lighter warm color to help it stand out. Moves by gliding. Moves on it’s own until it finds heat. Will plant itself in a high temperature area and begin reproducing to form a colony. Produce oxygen?
2) Colonial: large sheets and clumps of TSB. Stationary/move with current. Creates an obstacle for the player. Also produces oxygen?

1) Players can consume the TSB like other cells but only when engulfment is turned on. There is a chance the player will unlock thermoplasts from engulfing TSB.
2) If players acquire a mouth they can consume portions of TSB colonies.


Those look good. I’d presume a third kind we’d want is also an aerobically respirating bacteria to be assimilated to become mitochondria.

@moopli @TheCreator @tjwhale @Seregon : If you guys get a chance could you give your input on this? I remember you guys had several ideas for different bacteria types to be in the game, and I don’t know if we’re covering all of them.


Well part of this is what the bacteria will actually do. They could

  1. Just be cosmetic.

  2. When you swim around they could make compound clouds of their own + maybe be toxic + maybe attack the player etc.

  3. They could be part of the CPA system and process compounds in the patch in bulk.

or something else.

  1. is a bit boring, 2. is not so difficult and 3. will need to wait while we discuss how the CPA system will actually work because it’s complexity is already pretty vast.

  1. I agree that’s boring, but I feel like SOME bacteria could be purely cosmetic for aesthetic purposes. I mean, it’d be a bit odd to only find bacteria exclusively certain areas in what’s supposed to be a teeming microbial environment.

  2. I do have concepts for harmful bacteria I have yet to type up :-}

  3. Yeah, the PSB and TSB, when in large swarms, produce equally large clouds of oxygen. The aerobic bacteria (which I’m in the process of writing up) should produce large amounts of CO2)


Aerobic bacteria (AB)

Single bacillus. Violet/magenta color? Has a bacterial flagella on one end. Constantly searching for and consuming glucose and oxygen. Undergoes aerobic respiration and produces carbon dioxide.

1) Players can consume the AB like other cells but only when engulfment is turned on. There is a chance the player will unlock mitochondria from engulfing AB.
2) AB move in swarms consuming oxygen and glucose, providing a bit of a challenge for the player when collecting compounds.
3) Due to their flagella and aerobic respiration, AB are able to move quite quickly and can dart away from the player.


@nickthenick Question: what kind of anaerobic respiration will be in the game?

I also edited the TSB a bit


Glycolysis, and we could add a process for oxidation to lactic (or some other) acid to complete an anaerobic bacterial respiration chain.


I was thinking about Bacteria implementation and wondered about a procedural system, what do you think?

So each time anew species of bacteria is created it chooses the following things.

First it chooses a model and a colour for that model.

Second it chooses whether it is mobile or static.

Third, if it’s mobile, it chooses how to move. It may “flee microbes” (move away when any microbe gets close), “approach microbes”, “move randomly” or “flock” (try to maintain distance from others of it’s own species).

Fourth it chooses an “action”. So these might be “release a small cloud of a compound” (could be any compound, though maybe not DNA, for example), “release a toxin / agent”, “melee damage any cell it touches”, “glow” and maybe others. It performs this action periodically.

Each time auto-evo is run there is some percentage chance it will remove a bacteria species and create a new one.

The advantages of a system like this are that it creates a lot of variety for the bacteria and it means the player always has to adapt to what has spawned around them. Some species will be very dangerous (like ones which approach the player and do melee damage) and some will be very helpful (like ones which emit glucose and follow the player around). However over time each species will get replaced and so the player can’t rely on any good species nor fear any bad species too much.

I think the danger of having pre-defined bacteria species is that things will get stale and predictable too quickly.


With melee damage you mean like with a pilus right?
Also how would we handle the microbe gaining/unlocking an organelle from the microbe.


In terms of melee damage I think it would be ok if you got damaged when certain bacteria touched your cell. I’m not sure they would have to have an organelle for it. What do you think? Is that reasonable?

In terms of unlockables I guess there’s a few different options. Maybe each time you engulf a bacteria you get a 5% chance of unlocking one of the organelles. Maybe there are a few bacteria which are always present (like photosynthesizers) until you’ve absorbed one of them.

If chloroplasts don’t exist in any cell then I guess photosynthesizing bacteria (or chemosynthesizing bacteria) must be present or you can’t survive (where would you get sugar?).


Well only mentioning on evolutionary aspects, some early bacteria a light-sensitive dimple on their surface that could detect sunlight so they could flee (sunlight=DNA killing UV rays), and would flee to deeper levels where they could reproduce their DNA in peace.

Yes, they had the first set of eyes. Well, eye. The dimple deepened and the opening narrowed, forming a pupil, add a clear outer cover and they have something actually resembling an eye.

Food-wise there are Phototrophs, lithotrophs, and organotrophs and get energy from sunlight, inorganic compounds, and organic compounds respectively, and all recieve carbon from compounds that contain carbon and from carbon fixation.
Bacteria don’t actually ‘eat’, and have to get raw nutrients by diffusion.

Deep sea volcanic vents were another hotspot for life, where the source of energy was hydrosulphiric gases from the earths core.