Differentiating Microbe Biomes

Those are all great.

Looking good @Narotiza can you post all the layers we need, in a zip file or something so i can update all the backgrounds?
Then you and i can discuss it, and i can play with the shader until it fits your “vision”.

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Here you go, zip file of all the backgrounds

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Really, I love these. They’re really simple, yet really detailed. Great job on these

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Looks good in game aswell

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To try and round out the discussion on this thread into some conclusions, I’ll write up a full picture of how I see the Microbial Biomes System working in Thrive. These are just my thoughts so please feel free to suggest different ideas if you have them. I just want to move towards a final and complete concept that we can put into the wiki and then implement in a future update.


Here are the relevant threads I could find:

A thread where we discussed the membrane’s role in protection from the environment: Membranes characteristics
A thread about the penalties a cell will incur if out of their tolerable environment range: Environmental Tolerance Adaptations
The Microbe Stage Appendices where we had taken some notes on differences between biomes: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OTEzsEAKld5V8NBBOvXvsIix_tIgzsyB8-zZAW6T3B8/edit?usp=sharing
And of course this thread where we talked about how to differentiate between Microbial Biomes.

There’s also the Compound toxicity thread where we discussed the possible toxic effects of some compounds. This, alongside the Biogeochemistry (Carbon Cycle) thread, I think strays more into compounds territory which we can address in a future discussion. For now let’s not overwhelm ourselves and just focus on environmental variables.


Default Tolerance Ranges

Here’s a list of the starting, default environmental tolerances for the first living species on any planet/playthrough.

Temperature: 15-45 °C
Pressure: 0-100 atm
Light: 0-5%
pH: 5-9
Salinity: 0-50,000 ppm

From what I could find online, these are the living conditions of normal (non-extremophile) organisms.

Biome Ranges

Here’s a list of all the biomes and their typical environmental values.

Hydrothermal Vents (Starting Biome)
Temperature: 60-400 °C at the vents, 0-4 °C nearby
Pressure: 100-400, or 400+ atm
Light: 0%
pH: 4-10
Salinity: 35,000 ppm
Notes: Since Hydrothermal Vents are typically found at diverging plates, they have the pressure and light stats of the Bathypelagic biome. This does raise a question though. Notice that the Temperature and pressure conditions of Hydrothermal Vents are outside of the default living conditions of normal life on Earth. Should we make the starting cell species be adapted to the Hydrothermal Vents, instead of starting with the Default List? Scientists believe that life started on the edges of the hydrothermal vents where the water was not extremely hot. Eventually, some of those cells evolved to live directly in the hot waters, while the rest spread over the rest of the world and led to life as we know it. So do we model the hydrothermal vents as the hot waters at the center of the smokestacks? Or as the warm waters nearby? Or both? Or do we create an intermediary biome?

Abyssopelagic (Ocean Floor)
Temperature: 0-4 °C
Pressure: 400+ atm
Light: 0%
pH: ph 7
Salinity: 35,000 ppm
Notes: None.

Bathypelagic (Deep Ocean)
Temperature: 4 °C
Pressure: 100-400 atm
Light: 0%
pH: 7
Salinity: 35,000 ppm
Notes: None.

Mesopelagic (Mid Ocean)
Temperature: 4-20 °C
Pressure: 20-100 atm
Light: 0-1%
pH: 7
Salinity: 35,000 ppm
Notes: None.

Epipelagic (Ocean Surface)
Temperature: 11-20 °C
Pressure: 0-20 atm
Light: 1-100%
pH: 7
Salinity: 35,000 ppm
Notes:

Underwater Cavern
What stats should we use? I don’t know what biomes to research online.

Tidepool
Temperature: 11-20 °C
Pressure: 0 atm
Light: 100%
pH: 7
Salinity: 35,000 ppm
Notes:

Coastal
Temperature: 11-20 °C
Pressure: 0-20 atm
Light: 1-100%
pH: 7
Salinity: 35,000 ppm
Notes: Is there any reason for this to have different stats to Epipelagic?

Ice Shelf
What stats should we use? I don’t know what biomes to research online.

Estuary
Temperature: 11-20 °C
Pressure: 0-20 atm
Light: 100%
pH: 7
Salinity: 34,000 ppm
Notes: From what I can find this is just Epipelagic with reduced salinity.

Adaptations

A list of all the adaptations that can be evolved to change environmental tolerance. These are based off of adaptations currently in the Microbe Stage Appendices, as well as discussions on the forums and what I could find online. Note that cell walls supposedly offer resistance to many environmental variables.

Also note that some variables only have fewer adaptations. This is since there is only one direction of hazard for those variables, such as light where increasing intensity means increasing radiation, but reduced intensity is not a risk. However, other variables have bidirectional hazards like temperature, where both high temperatures and low temperatures can be hazardous. These have more possible adaptations.

Temperature

  • Heat Resistant Proteins
  • Antifreeze Proteins
  • Cell Wall (Cellulose, chitin, silicate, etc.)

Pressure

  • Higher/Lower Internal Osmotic Pressure
  • Contractile Vacuole
  • Cell Wall (Cellulose, chitin, silicate, etc.)

Light

  • Pigment Proteins
  • Cell Wall (Cellulose, chitin, silicate, etc.)

pH

  • Acid Neutralizing Proteins
  • Alkaline Neutralizing Proteins
  • Cell Wall (Cellulose, chitin, silicate, etc.)

Salinity

  • Halophilic Proteins
  • Cell Wall
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The starting patch is the vents, right? In Thrive life is assumed to have started in the vents.
So the tolerable conditions actually need to start off as being what you need to have to survive in the vents.

Yeah in the notes for the Vents biome I brought that point up. The thing is, scientists believe life started near the vents (where conditions were normal) but not right in the hot waters, so how should we model this in game? Should we add an intermediary biome? Put multiple vent patches beside each other where one has extreme conditions and one has mild conditions? Or make life originally adapted to extreme conditions?

If we do make life originally adapted to the extreme conditions, it does pose some problems. Does that mean the cell starts with Heat Resistant Proteins? Don’t we want the starting species to be as basic as possible?

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It would complicate things quite a lot.

Why not?
I think one of the previous membrane ideas was that you could select with a slider what temperature at your membrane is the most useful. That slider could just start being cranked so that life in the vents is possible.

Interesting, that is true. In that case, I’d be in favour of the following approach:

The starting vent is always a milder one, around 60 degrees celsius. This doesn’t stop there from being other, hotter vents elsewhere in the world, however. We add a membrane slider as an additional adaptation for temperature, with the starting setting allowing cells to live around 60 degrees celsius.

It’s a much more complicated solution, but depending on the level of detail we’re giving other patches, we could make different regions a bunch of subpatches under one big “vent” umbrella, for instance the mild area on the gradient between hot and cold, the warmer area located right next to the vent, and the floor/rocky surface of the vent itself (though there might also have to be different temperature patches for the floor, and you might need to differentiate between the vent itself (which is more vertical) and the seafloor around it and…)

Typing it all out, it does feel like more trouble than it’s worth haha

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Yeah, I also feel like creating an intermediary would be cool, but I’m afraid it would force us to add a lot more detail to Microbe Biomes which overall wouldn’t add much.


To now dabble in the topic of compounds briefly, something I wanted to mention is that we currently have the oxygen values misrepresented in the game. Oxygen does not effectively dissolve past a certain depth in the ocean.

At the surface, which for us would be the epipelagic, oxygen is basically equal to atmospheric levels. But as you go deeper it reduces. Colder waters hold more though, so the Atlantic has a greater amount.

In the table you can see that the ocean surface has high oxygen levels, but the overall ocean actually has quite low levels. We could use the values in this chart to help us rebalance the compounds in our biomes.

What would this mean in game? Oxygen is not common in the Hydrothermal Vents, Bathypelagic, or Mesopelagic, and would dis-incentivize the use of Metabolosomes in the early game (since it would be way less efficient). Therefore the first life will have to evolve chemical respiration or iron respiration, or chemosynthesis or thermosynthesis. Then, successful species that migrate closer to the ocean surface can evolve to use oxygen.


I got the figures from this source: https://rwu.pressbooks.pub/webboceanography/chapter/5-4-dissolved-gases-oxygen/

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I agree with this, and I have the feeling that this was discussed in the past.
What was also discussed regarding this is that the world would start off as 0% oxygen, and oxygen would only show up once the population of photosynthesisers on the surface start to rise. Once that happens cells need to evolve oxygen protection if they are near the surface, otherwise they die to oxygen poisoning.

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Yes definitely, once we can I’d love to get the Great Oxygenation Event into the game. But even on top of that, once oxygen has become commonplace in the world, it still will not be able to penetrate the lower depths of the ocean as well, as observed in those graphs from recordings on Earth. So some biomes will serve as “safe havens” for anaerobic life.

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I’ve updated the appendices here:

With the updated stats for every biome. All that’s left is to do some research into what the stats should be for the Underwater Cavern and the Ice Shelf biomes.

Once I finish setting up the development environment on my computer, I can update the stats for the biomes in the game files. However, this won’t make any difference in gameplay at the moment because we currently have no penalties for being outside of your range.

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Could you put the updates on the wiki (https://wiki.revolutionarygamesstudio.com/wiki/Microbe_Stage_Appendices) as well? I know the editor is a bit bad for such big tables, but would be nice to have it there, as last time we found only some of the google sheets links and probably lost some stuff because of that.

I could get around to it later, though it might be a bit tedious and I’m not sure would be the best use of my time. It would also be a little inconvenient to try to maintain since we’d have to change it every time we change the Excel file.