Differentiating Prokaryotic Gameplay?

I am kind of re-igniting this old discussion (Prokaryote Gameplay) , but now that we have prokaryotic game-play i think its time to start a new thread with ideas that can be put into our newly added prokaryotic gameplay to at least partially differentiate it from eukaryotic gameplay.

So right now as of the most recent change which added prokaryote gameplay it almost feels like we could pull off two different microbe “stages”, the prokaryotic microbe stage and the eukaryotic microbe stage. To me this feels like an awesome opportunity to make gameplay as a prokaryotic creature as engaging as it is as a eukaryotic creature, and an opportunity to come up with a “template” for further smooth progression (eg something to take inspiration from when we add the progression from a single celled organism to a multicelled organism, by already having a “smooth transition” between a prokaryote and a eukaryote to use as our “template” in further design choices)

So the first question is, do we even want to make it feel any different game play wise? If not maybe we treat it simply as a tutorial.

But if we do want to make it different?

How do we differentiate gameplay? The nucleus unlocking organelles is a start but when you are a prokaryotic you still feel like you are in the same “stage” its just that you are in the same stage with less options. How can we make it so it feels different while still being a smooth transition.

-Do we still want plasmids?
–If so maybe plasmids are more central to the game when you are prokaryotic.

-Should Eukaryotes be able to use prokaryotic structures, they can now but does that make much sense? If not we could lock some special gameplay behind lacking a nucleus.

-Would setting it up so the cell is the same size as other prokaryotes make gameplay feel different?
– If not what further steps can we take to differentiate it?

I agree that now prokaryote gameplay seems just like eukaryote with less options.

I think an interesting feature could be done by limit the number of organelle that can be added when player cell is prokaryotic.

I also think that behavior tab should be completly different if we play as prokaryotic or eukaryotic.

In first case we could choose to play as colony, so all player cell try to stay together, by become eukaryotic this option could be locked and some other options unlocked.

Lock prokaryotic organelle from gameplay point of view could be right solution, but is it also from scientific point of view?

We could differentiate also which membrane player can used, but as previous point, i don’t know if b doing it we add lack of realism

Interesting ideas.

I feel rather the other way that it’s better to have one flexible editor that can make any type of cell with pretty much any combination of organelles. I don’t like the idea of building a big wall between prokaryotes and eukaryotes as then you end up doing twice as much work and you end up with many fewer options. I think it’s better if there’s a general pool of organelles every cell can choose from so players are free to make the combinations they like.

My main example of this working is Kerbal Space Program. They just give an open, flexible, editor which lets you make whatever you like, as if it were a lego set. People make all sorts of things which are interesting.

In terms of differentiating the gameplay I think when we switch from cost per organelle to cost per hex for movement and osmoregulation that will make the nucleus quite expensive and slow. Therefore you will need to have more flagella and mitochondria to support it and that will mean a bigger, more complex cell, with more need for energy. The prokaryotes by contrast can get by being very lightweight which will be their big advantage.


Okay so today i had what i think is novel idea for Prokaryotic gameplay, when @hhyyrylainen suggested we make it so you cant zoom as far out when a bacteria and everyone agreed, i was reminded of this video:

So my suggestion is, we not only make it so you can only zoom out so far when a prokaryote but also allow you to zoom in more when a prokaryote. (At least until the bacteria is the same relative size as it is when fully zoomed in on the eukaryotic microbe currently)

Then we use this size difference and Ogres ability to scale things however we want without losing detail to our advantage.

A long time ago there were many ideas floating around for a prokaryotic stage, one of those ideas was plasmids. Plasmids were to unlock different prokaryotic abilities and different organelles (not just prokaryotic ones). I am bringing it back now. As a form of metaprogression and inbuilt tutorial.

Plasmids in real life can be “stolen” by bacteria from other bacteria, so i don’t think its a huge leap.

So we add plasmids, several kinds of plasmids, one for each prokaryotic structure. And one special one for the nucleus. When you engulf a plasmid, (using the new engulf-able component i just added) there is a 1 in 10 chance you unlock the associated structure. And it is very small, small enough that as a eukaryote they would be hard to see, or nonexistent. (or we don’t even spawn them when you are a eukaryote)

When you engulf the nucleus one, it is a 100% chance to unlock the nucleus.(so as not to frustrate people).

I think this would be a fun bit of progression, once you get the nucleus, the game would work as normal, the nucleus would unlock all the membrane bound organelles as it doe snow (the plasmids would only be used by prokaryotes)

What do you guys think?

So as nucleus unlock bound organelles, so plasmid unlock prokaryotic organelles but with 1/10 chance.

It’s very interesting idea, engulfing will become more important part of the game, and that’s really good. so to unlock nucleus we just need to engulf one cell with it.
What about make nucleus even more complicated to get? do you think player can get too much frustrated?

Because from your idea i just imaged another one, quite similar. in few words i image nucleus like unlocked when you reach some goals, like reach X size, take 3 or more prokaryotic structures.
I think could be funny but of course need to be well implemented in order to not make game too much lock with no freedom to decide what organelles take and how play the game.

I’m not really sure what to think about it. Isn’t the player’s species supposed to be the only one that unlocks the nucleus? Locking other structures behind other cells’ plasmids might be a little frustrating and it might not work with some playstyles. And it raises the question, “how did they get them?” Let me know if I’m misunderstanding.

The plasmids would be floating around on their own for you to eat not as part of any creature.

1 Like

Answered with my reply to dak ^

Ok like iron chunks and new reworked death.
But when you eat them player can go in editor? or he just receive notification that he had unlocked that organelle?

Just a ntotification that they have unlocked the organelle. You can add it the next time you reproduce.

1 Like

If they’re floating around in the water, where did they come from if not another cell?

because chemistry.

Thew same way we ended up alive next to a hydrothermal vent, a bunch of RNA or something made dna or something. (They would just spawn around)

I don’t think those chemical processes would result in unreplicating strings of DNA that happen to work well with the bacteria that absorb it and happen to create beneficial structures. I think exploring DNA and plasmids in bacteria is a good thing to do in general though.

They had to have appeared at some point. I mean here we are, with dna, and bacteria with plasmids.

They can be picked up from the environment

I think plasmids are a cool thing to look at in terms of gameplay. I also think it’s an interesting idea to have pickups in the water, that’s a nice idea in general.

A couple of concerns I have about collecting them to unlock organelles:

One is replayability. Is this interesting to play more than once? To an experienced player would it feel like a chore they have to before unlocking more interesting choices?

A game whose beginning I really like is Civ 5. In the first few turns you make a bunch of decisions about which technology to go for and what early units to build and these are big, important decisions. How your civ will be at the end of the game is heavily influenced by what you choose at the start.

I think it would be cool if we could have something similar, where right from the start you are making interesting choices about how you want to proceed. Are you becoming a predator or a scavenger or a hydrogen-sulfide breather? Are you thinking of hanging around the vent a long time or moving on quickly? Are you shooting straight for being a Eukaryote or hoping to explore the map? I think those are really cool choices.

I’m not sure that collecting things to unlock offers much choice. It’s just something that you do that is the same every time.


Keeping what Tj said, do you think could be interesting make that unlock and use some organelle made other organelles more expensive?
Not completely locked because this will close too many way of exploration, test and fun, but create a sort of decision that make player consciousness that to change way to play his cell need important investment in MP.
This could work both in Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic organelles.

1 Like

Any ideas for improving on my idea to make it interesting to play more then once?

It just seems off that you can just get a nucleus and all the organelles right away.

Maybe all prokaryotic organelles start with a very high price (double currently) and you can get the plasmid to reduce them to their normal price. so if you want to be an iron respirator you go for that. But it still teaches you that choices and prices matter in the editor.

I just feel like prokaryote should feel unique enough from being a eukaryote, gameplay wise, so it feels more distinct, like its own stage, almost. So it justifies its existence.

Yeah the idea of changing prices in the editor is interesting.

They could do things like offer a few MP extra when you are in the editor maybe or give MP towards specific organelles or something. Not sure, more general things might be a bit more flexible.

When we move to cost-per-hex you won’t be able to just have one hex of cytoplasm and add a nucleus, you will immediately go extinct if you do that. And I think that’s great because it means that working out how to support the nucleus is a learning challenge where you have to understand the systems enough to know how to keep it fed with ATP and keep it moving.

I think personally the most important thing is to seperate out the biomes. Once we have that it will give a much better view on what the gameplay is really like, what we are playing now is kind of a giant pile of mechanics. Once we’ve done that plasmids could be an interesting thing to look into.


Originally, if I‘m not mistaken, prokaryote gameplay was added for these two reasons:

  1. To serve as a tutorial for the rest of the microbe stage.
  2. To give the bacteria and the eukaryotes a common ancestor which is not only implied, but shown.

I‘m not totally against giving prokaryotes anything that eukaryotes don‘t have, but I‘d say that these two points on their own already justify the existance prokaryote gameplay.

But I have my doubts about it. Giving eukaroytes options which prokaryotes don‘t have isn‘t problematic because eukaryotes (presumably?) will generally not evolve into prokaryotes. As soon as you give prokaryotes options which eukaryotes don‘t have, things are bound to get complicated.
That and giving prokaroytes their own exlusive features kind of works against the idea of a prokaryote tutorial.

That being said, I agree with @Untrustedlife that it feels off that you can select all proteins from the beginning. I‘ll try to think of something akin to the first decision in Civ V.