Differentiating Microbe Biomes


#1

Don’t worry this post isn’t going to be full of calculus!

So when going about making a list of Microbe Biomes it’s interesting to think about in what ways they can be different, other than visually. The Wayward Admiral has some really interesting suggestions in this thread, It’s interesting to think how these might actually be different in the game.

Sunlight: High, Medium or Low
Hydrogen Sulfide: Is it present?

Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia, Phosphates concentrations. I suppose different concentrations of these would allow different species to do well.

Heat: The problem here is that nothing is actually heat dependent yet. So maybe if there is a Thermoplast then fine but otherwise temperature is, currently, not factored in. Maybe heat could be damaging to the microbe introducing some sort of terrain?

Currents: What does this mean? Does it mean some amount of flow which moves the cell around? Does it make agent based warfare harder? How does it work? If everything is in the same flow is that the same as no flow at all (like being in a moving Galilean frame)?

Salinity: Currently Salinity doesn’t affect anything. It might if we go with the osmotic pressure cell wall health system.

Plant Life: Presumably the microbe stage is set before the evolution of plants and so there won’t be any?

I had been assuming all the patches would be accessible from each other. So you would always be in one connected ocean. However does that mean you could go up rivers and into lakes as well? Why not?

I love the idea of the Abyss and the Cynobacterial Mat. Would we want several types of Bacterial Scenery?

Also there is the possibility of spatial arrangement of patches. So for example sometimes one patch could be directly below another from which “material” (not sure exactly what) could descend to it. Also maybe material from a patch high up a river could descend to the estuary at the bottom of it.

Because everything is in 2D we have a nice chance to make quite a lot of different patches without too much difficulty for the player to explore. Also what about some sort of procedural system? If we can identify the variables could we not just generate random patches? (So you might get high sunlight, high ammonia, no current, for example, without knowing to what that corresponded to).


Iconography
Microbial Biome Visuals
#2

[quote=“tjwhale, post:1, topic:194”]
Maybe heat could be damaging to the microbe introducing some sort of terrain?
[/quote]If you get too close to hydrothermal vents, I think microbes should be incinerated. The intensity of the heat should depend on the source, and should diminish as it radiates outwards. On the surface of the water (ooo new biome idea), heat could be constant. Perhaps on the ocean floor near hydrothermal vents, there could be volcanic cracks in the ground that the player should take care to avoid. I like the idea of environmental hazards.

[quote=“tjwhale, post:1, topic:194”]
Currents: What does this mean? Does it mean some amount of flow which moves the cell around? Does it make agent based warfare harder? How does it work? If everything is in the same flow is that the same as no flow at all (like being in a moving Galilean frame)?
[/quote]I think currents are meant to affect the entire environment. Compound clouds might disperse quicker (or be pushed in a certain direction faster) in areas with high currents. Agent based warfare would definitely be harder, requiring use of more physical methods like the pilus. There would probably be varying currents like in Spore, coming from all directions, knocking you around into enemies and getting you stuck in those giant green algae things. Even if everything is in the same flow, the player still needs to learn how to properly move through the currents. Swimming with the currents will make them faster, while swimming against will be impossible or make them slower. The player wouldn’t be faced with this in a no current environment.

[quote=“tjwhale, post:1, topic:194”]
Plant Life: Presumably the microbe stage is set before the evolution of plants and so there won’t be any?
[/quote]I had this idea that, since you can derive the lifetime of a sun based on its mass, when the solar system is created, it also creates a time-limit of sorts (a very massive and negligible one at that). I figured it’d give a way for other life to evolve past you should the player (for one reason or another) want to stay in a stage, in a way that makes sense.

[quote=“tjwhale, post:1, topic:194”]
I had been assuming all the patches would be accessible from each other. So you would always be in one connected ocean. However does that mean you could go up rivers and into lakes as well? Why not?
[/quote]The whole planet would need to be generated beforehand, but I support this. 100%

[quote=“tjwhale, post:1, topic:194”]
I love the idea of the Abyss
[/quote]Thank you! :smiley:

[quote=“tjwhale, post:1, topic:194”]
Also there is the possibility of spatial arrangement of patches. So for example sometimes one patch could be directly below another from which “material” (not sure exactly what) could descend to it. Also maybe material from a patch high up a river could descend to the estuary at the bottom of it.
[/quote]The way I think this could work is have the player begin on the ocean floor, and work their way up by evolving different pressure tolerances.

So on the ocean floor level, we have no sunlight and possible heat spots (default being none), leading to a set of biomes including abyss and vent. Eventually as the player evolves low pressure tolerance, they’ll be able to access an entire new set of biomes in each consecutive ocean level. At the lowest pressure, the player may even be able to form floating colonies on the ocean surface and access the river biomes.


#3

Let’s revive this topic because we should make a master list of all microbe biomes and then add them to the wiki (there were a few topics on this so apologies if I revived the wrong one).

We’ll track the progress on this on this GitHub issue: https://github.com/Revolutionary-Games/Thrive-Organization/issues/17

Then these are the wiki pages that we’ll update with the final lists:
http://thrivegame.wikidot.com/biomes
http://thrivegame.wikidot.com/gdd-microbe:appendices

Alright, so let’s nail down some specific values for each of the stats that TJ listed above, as well as any other ones we may think of.

Biome Name:
Sunlight (% Intensity): Light will appear in the environment ranging between a set of intensities. It speeds up chloroplasts, but at higher intensities can also damage cells that haven’t evolved pigments to protect against solar radiation.
Temperature (°C): Heat will appear in the environment ranging between a set of temperatures. It speeds up thermoplasts, but at higher temperatures can also damage cells that get too close and aren’t evolved to withstand high heat.
Currents: How strong the water currents are, affecting the need to evolve more movement organelles or not, and how quickly compounds circulate throughout the environment.
Salinity (% Ratio of salt to liquid): Cells that are adapted to high salinity need to evolve their membranes to migrate into low salinity biomes. (This might be an unnecessary variable to include)
Pressure (atm): Cells that are adapted to high pressure need to evolve their membranes to migrate into low pressure biomes.
Acidity (pH): Cells that are adapted to regular pH need to evolve to tolerate highly acidic or basic environments.
Compounds: A list of compounds and how common they are.
Visuals: The colours and VFX of the biome.
Notes: Any other notes about the biome.

Current List

  • Deep Ocean/Abyss

    • Sunlight: 0%
    • Temperature: 0-6°C
    • Currents: Weak to none
    • Salinity: Medium
    • Pressure: High
    • Compounds: Oxygen (High)
    • Visuals: Dark blues and blacks.
    • Notes: Oxygen levels are high because of cold oxygenated water flowing in from polar melting. Salinity is lower and currents are weaker in the deep ocean (confirm this). At these depths water pressure is very high. Organic detritus falling from above?
  • Hydrothermal Vent

    • Sunlight: 0%
    • Temperature: Up to 400°C near the vents, 2-4°C a few meters away
    • Currents: Medium
    • Salinity: Medium
    • Pressure: High
    • Compounds: Hydrogen Sulfide (High), Iron (High), Manganese (High), Methane (High), Ammonia (High)
    • Visuals: Dark blues and blacks mixed with streaks of grey and white and red/orange/brown.
    • Notes: The sunlight and oxygen levels are assuming the hydrothermal vent biome is in the deep ocean. It may be worth considering overlaps of biomes? (like a hydrothermal vent on a coastal shelf). Hydrogen sulfide, iron, manganese, and methane are all chemicals that make good fuel for chemosynthesis.
  • Coastal Shelf

    • Sunlight: 50-80%
    • Temperature: 10°C?
    • Currents: Medium
    • Salinity: High
    • Pressure: Low
    • Compounds: Oxygen (Medium), Iron (High), Manganese (High)
    • Visuals: Lighter blues and greens.
    • Notes: Near the surface of the ocean the sunlight penetrates enough to provide warmth and light, but also deadly UV radiation. Oxygen here is close enough to the atmosphere that it’s level is more in equilibrium with the atmospheric level. Salinity is high near the ocean surface because of a high amount of evaporation, and pressure is low. Dissolved minerals are common along the coast.
  • Tidepool

    • Sunlight: 75-100%
    • Temperature: 14°C?
    • Currents: Strong
    • Salinity: High
    • Pressure: Low
    • Compounds: Oxygen (Medium), Iron (High), Manganese (High)
    • Visuals: Lighter blues and greys/yellows/browns.
    • Notes: The tidepool is completely exposed to the warmth and light, but also deadly UV radiation, of the sun (which could potentially lead to extremely fast mutations). Oxygen here is close enough to the atmosphere that it’s level is more in equilibrium with the atmospheric level. Salinity is high near the ocean surface because of a high amount of evaporation, and pressure is low. Dissolved minerals are common along the coast. What makes the tidepool distinct from the Coastal Shelf biome is that it is filled with strong currents from the waves, and a high amount of nutrients and minerals carried by the currents to the shoreline.

To-Do

Underwater Cave?
Cavern
Polar Sea/Ice Flow
Ocean Surface?

Notes

  • Iron and other minerals common near fresh igneous rocks near magma activity and lava beds

I will also leave a section open for global climatic trends, such as the oxygenation of the oceans, ice ages, etc. The earth was a very turbulent place during the microbial life period and the environment was in constant flux. These changes can lead to big changes in what is considered common in each biome (for example deep ocean would probably have no oxygen in the early stages of life).

Climatic Trends
Oxygenation Event
Snowball Earth / Ice Age
Ocean Acidification

These links have a lot of relevant info and ideas on the topic:

Relevant Links

Microbial Biome Visuals
Biomes
http://thrivegame.freeforums.net/thread/587/microbial-biomes?page=1&scrollTo=10916


Compound Rebalancing
Compound Rebalancing
#4

Nice post.

I think maybe it would be worth thinking about how to differentiate the biomes in terms of gameplay and feel. Personally I would rather there be a small number of biomes (<5) which were genuinely different and felt interesting to play in than there were a large number (>10) where a lot of them felt the same.

So with Deep Ocean / Abyss, maybe the vibe should be horror. So the screen is completely black apart from any areas lit by bioluminscent organelles, which I think would look cool. So you wander around the depths looking for scarce food to scavenge from dead cells that have fallen from above holding your little lantern against the dark. We could have some small cells that have a specific biolumiescent organelle (like a green one) which are easy to eat but then 10% of the time it’s a horrible predator which has the same thing to lure you in!

(As a technical note I think no sunlight at all should reach the depths).

Hydrothermal vents could be about risk vs reward with lava. So maybe as you go left there is less hydrogen sulfide and less life and as you go right there is more of both and more lava pockets which damage you if you touch them. So the question is where is the best area to be in? Maybe you can push enemies in to the lava pockets to kill them etc.

Does that make sense? I’m not particularly arguing for these specific ideas but more that it would be great to differentiate the biomes in terms of gameplay. A river could have fast currents, coastal shelf could have dangerous radiation etc.


#5

Does the player get to determine that pace of the game? One thing I notice is that with some of these they take you away from what I assume would be the end goal of the microbe-stage which is evolving onto land (unless there is an aquatic stage as well). Will the player still have a fulfilling experience if they choose these less conventional ecological niches? If that is the case I have a few ideas that might work. Otherwise if there is a set pacing towards land I would suggest against Deep Ocean and Hydrothermal.

What might be cool is being able to choose between benthic & pelagic, with benthic being able to more easily reach certain areas with high currents, pelagic being able to cover distances more easily, etc. (a passive way to restrict the kinds of environments you can encounter).

I’d love a long microbe and extensive microbe stage but I still haven’t caught up to speed on what sort of expectations there are for Thrive as a game so I don’t know if this was the intention or not.


#6

@tjwhale Yup I’d agree, I’d lean more towards fewer biomes that we could make feel and look more distinct that a slew of very similar ones. Also yeah I’ll update the list so that Deep Ocean has 0% sunlight.

@BadOmen Could you clarify what you mean by the pace of the game?

Yeah there will be an aquatic period where the player plays as an underwater organism before they evolve to go onto land, but the game is intended to not force the player to have to progress to the next stage if they don’t want to. If a player is content with playing and competing as a microbe for hours without advancing to the next stage they’re free to do so. So I wouldn’t restrict biomes for that reason.

Also Hydrothermal Vents are biomes that actually likely spawned the first life on Earth. The kind of chemicals that are found there are ideal for early cells that are evolving new ways to metabolize and grow and become more complex.


#7

Ok thanks for clarifying. I was talking about how like in Spore there was basically a progress bar till land evolution as you collected more and more DNA, but I’m glad to hear that this won’t be the case here. I love the idea of hydrothermal vents where you could have a pretty cool initial microbe creation, I’m just not fully oriented to the vision for the game so I am using Spore as a mental crutch.

On that note I feel like seagrass beds & macroalgae reefs/kelp forests would be good ones to add as well.


#8

@BadOmen I think the problem with such a biome ist that the transition to multicellular stage is locked for non-player-species until the player becomes multicellular. Therefore there can‘t be any macroalge or kelp while the player is still a microbe.


#9

Has it been decided that the npc species can’t overtake the player? I vaguely remember it being a possibility that the player loses because the npc species get too far, so it would be possible to have multicellular life while the player is in microbe stage. But if any npc species becomes aware the time scale changes so much that the player is basically doomed as the npcs will evolve so much faster and get to society and industrial so much earlier that the player doesn’t have a chance.


#10

@MirrorMonkey2 I would’ve thought macroalgae, seagrasses, etc. would be more of an environmental asset. Although it would make it pretty dynamic if we could have plants trying to disperse and form new biomes elsewhere.


#11

Well, having macroalgae as enviromental assets doesn‘t really make sense if they haven‘t evolved yet as species. But maybe I‘m wrong and npc species can become multicellular before the player as hhyyrylainen said. Can anyone confirm/disconfirm this? What is the consensus?


#12

We might make it an option for other species to evolve into multicellular ahead of the player, and it could be a toggleable setting when starting a new game.

As for other stages, the only transition where we definitely won’t allow other species to overtake the player would be Aware to Awakening (gaining Sapience), because of the huge time difference between the stages. Awakening, Society, Industrial, and Space are all very interconnected and seamless so it’s easy to allow surpassing there. Late/3D Multicellular and Aware are also very similar and thus surpassing is allowed there.


#13

Doing some research it looks like minerals, such as iron, are mostly found along coastlines, or near hydrothermal vents, lava beds, and fresh igneous rock near magma activity. They appear in much lower quantities in the open ocean. I’ve updated the list (though we have no biomes relating to lava beds or magma activity at the moment).


#14

We could simulate detritus right now by having patches of atp mixed with ammonia floating around in the deep ocean biome.

I think we should allow for cave gameplay. Sure it would be exceedingly similar to deep ocean in terms of visuals, but it could have more chemicals for chemosyntgesis, and hazards like patches of sulfuric acid.


#15

Starting in a cave biome could be fun and would be an area we will need during later stages. The issue I could see with that is how would we simulate the evolution of eyes that can adapt to light sources when there was an absence before. Do we have an idea of how the player could evolve eyes yet for any situation? Aquatic biomes come in a range of areas and from what I’ve read so far we have a good idea of that and how to simulate being in different areas.

For alien worlds we could possibly use different tones to simulate the feel of life below the surface, ice, and more. I like the idea that @NickTheNick brought up with the different compounds and quantities being different since that’s how it is in the real world. An idea for lava beds and magma activity could be the increased presence of sulfur and greater biodiversity the closer you get to the source of heat for deeper areas, but more complex life would need special adaptations for the heat separate from that of pressure. Perhaps a slightly red glowing biome section to simulate the light given off by the magma if you’re above while giving a waving animation to the water if you’re near it to simulate thermal disturbance. I would say throw particles floating around in the water to simulate the ash but particle effects can be a bit evil on hardware if we try to simulate trillions at a time.


#16

Eyes began as little more than a light-sensitive pigment spot on bacteria in the shallow sea layers. This light sensitivity provided an advantage to survival as the bacterium with light sensitivity could avoid harsh, DNA damaging UV radiation.
As these bacteria became multi-cellular, the pigment spot stayed, and hollowed, forming an indentation, increasing the area that can capture light (enough to see light, but not much else). This indentation deepened, and the opening narrowed, and a membrane formed (the first lens). Thus is the basic form of the eye as it has been ever since.
Now we see eyes in all stages of development in mammals, fish, birds, etc.

Fun Fact: fish can see a LOT better than humans, as eyes originally evolved in a watery environment, not dry land.


#17

Now that all the new compounds are implemented (though gameplay wise we cant test much as compound clouds arent working perfectly just yet) , and oxygen and c02 percentages all per biome, someone can go ahead and tweak the biome json, add a cave biome etc. To accomplish some differentiation. If they want more numbers to work with ill gladly add them. (such as microbe spawn chances/bacterial spawn chances per biome etc. which are all currently generalized)

For exmaple tidepools/algae bloom may have higher bacteria chances, while abyss would have less microbes and bacteria overall, but that variable isn’t in the json yet so if someone wants me to add it i would :slight_smile: ) We do need some people brainstorming this though

Also, backgrounds


#18

At least any major differentiation has to wait until cells don’t randomly spawn in some biome.

If those don’t screw over the player randomly (my point about the random spawn biome above was about this) I think they can be done, but focus for the next few releases should be in other things.


#19

Im mostly worried about background stuff rn :stuck_out_tongue: .
But it is a good time for some experimentation i think in the next few releases. Also i think the bacteria spawn too often in general now after playing with the incomplete version alot over the past few months.