Cytoplasm


#1

This post is split into two parts: what we want for 0.3.1, to be released as soon as this and bug testing are finished; and what we want from cytoplasm in the final game.


So a cytoplasm organelle has been planned for a while now, and according to @crovea it’s relatively simple to do but nobody’s gotten around to it yet. Effectively it’s a blank organelle, which will require its own definitions and an extra organelle panel in the left-hand scroll section.

My question to the programmers is this: are you planning the simple route of adding a cheap blank organelle that just adds size to the cell and consumes small amounts of ATP, or are you going to have it be a base organelle which needs to be placed before adding others? My thinking is that the latter might be too complicated a concept for players to handle until we get a tutorial or better GUI in place, but the former doesn’t serve much purpose.

Either way, I guess it adds things in place for future modifications, and since it’s the last part of 0.3.1 left I’m hoping it can be completed within a couple of days.


For the future, we need something that actually serves a function. To an extent, even a blank organelle that does nothing but change the shape could be a creative tool, but it seems redundant simulation-wise. If membrane generation stays similar to what it is now, you don’t even need cytoplasm to build a shape - you let the membrane algorithm fill spaces in for you.

Here’s every major mention of cytoplasm in the GDD in relation to itself and other mechanics. Of course these things can all be changed, but I think they serve as important reasons why cytoplasm is so important.

[quote]Osmoregulation is the process by which a cell keeps concentrations of water and ions constant inside its membrane given changing outer conditions. In-game, this happens passively, as each cytoplasm hex consumes small amounts of ATP. Effectively this means that an otherwise blank cell would eventually lose all ATP reserves and die.

When a cell stops producing ATP, even if all other organelles are turned off, their ATP reserves will still drain as ion pumps in the membrane perform osmoregulation. Eventually, ATP levels will drop to zero. Since there is no more energy available to maintain water concentrations, water will flood down the concentration gradient into the cytoplasm, putting pressure on the membrane and quickly breaking it.[/quote]

[quote]The first choice in the organelle list is cytoplasm, a relatively cheap option with a different functionality to all other organelles. When the player hovers over a hex when cytoplasm has been selected, it partially lights up to indicate cytoplasm can be placed (with symmetry active, all hexes in matching positions in each sector light up too). This only occurs for hexes connected to part of the microbe’s existing structure, and doesn’t occur when there are insufficient Mutation Points to add cytoplasm hexes. Cytoplasm provides very little actual benefit besides allowing other organelles to be placed. When the player clicks anywhere cytoplasm can be placed, that hex turns white. Cytoplasm cannot be added to a hex bordering an external organelle – external organelles must be removed first, with the associated Mutation Point cost. Cytoplasm can be removed by right clicking, while left clicking brings up cell wall upgrade options.

Other than cytoplasm, there are two varieties of organelle available here: internal and external. Adding either of these requires the placement of an organelle hex placeholder. This is an arrangement of hexagons linked together which must be placed over existing cytoplasm within the cell. All external organelles are only a single hex in size, and their orientation is adjusted in the ‘Appearance’ tab. Both are subject to the adding, removing and moving rules of Mutation Points.[/quote]


#2

This also links in with a deeper question.

This is quite important. I’ve been working on a CPA prototype and the first step of actually building it is to have a proper list of all organelles and their processes. It’s got to be consistent (like if there is a way to make fat and not to break it down then everything won’t work). It’s a separate step from actually building the system. Cytoplasms role in this structure needs to be fixed. I have been working from this list just because it is the most up to date we have (and I checked it’s consistency myself) but it’s not great. Like there are processes which output Hydrogen, which is a bit weird.

So yeah for now it’s fine to add a place holder but at some point we are going to have to go through and make a proper list. We can’t just add organelles one by one and hope the whole system will work.


#3

Yes, a CPA prototype is a must. I think just getting to work on that with the current list and then seeing what needs changing to balance things out is a good idea. If you need any help let me know.

As for the cytoplasm organelle, what is the point of it? Like, when would the player use that as opposed to using normal organelles and why would he do that?


#4

I agree 100%. This is the place where prototypes are great, because they show you what works and what doesn’t without breaking what’s already in place. I for one think a CPA prototype is the most important thing we need in the near future, because really it’s what the whole game is about. I’m really looking forward to seeing one.[quote=“TheCreator, post:3, topic:159”]
As for the cytoplasm organelle, what is the point of it? Like, when would the player use that as opposed to using normal organelles and why would he do that?
[/quote]

There were a couple of reasons in the original post, but I’ll summarise them here with some others. I’m not advocating cytoplasm’s inclusion per se, just making sure everyone knows what will have to be offloaded onto other game mechanics if they’re decided against.

In the current concept, cytoplasm hexes:

  • Perform simple chemical reactions. Having cytoplasm hexes as opposed to the overall cell size would help quantify the rate of these reactions.
  • Guard against engulfment, because bigger cells can only eat smaller ones. Again, explicit hexes aren’t completely necessary, but they’re an easy way to display this mechanic to the player.
  • Are major components of the as yet unfinished osmoregulatory system concept.
  • Allow external organelles (flagella, pili, etc.) to be placed further away from the main cell body in exact locations, for strategic purposes or other reasons.
  • Make the assimilation of new organelles easier to process, because (in the current concept) a cell must have enough free cytoplasm hex area for a bacterium it consumes to be placed inside it as an organelle.
  • Give the player a lot more creative freedom. Even if all the other stuff is solved via other methods, I think creativity in building a microbe’s shape without the need for restrictive organelle sizes is important. It’s a simulation, but also a game with a heavy focus on creativity.

Questions from the Wiki
#5

Okay, in that case, should I just do this as a temporary placeholder?

A blank hex that affects the cell shape but does not do any processes (until we get glycolysis and osmoregulation in). You are able to place organelles on top of it, which makes the organelles cheaper. If, on the other hand, you place an organelle onto a hex with no cytoplasm, you just pay extra (5 per tile?) for the cytoplasm.


#6

Yeah, it’s not worth all that complication right now.