Fatty acids


#1

Is any gameplay feature planned for this compounds?
So far they are useless, and they seem very similar to aminoacids in terms of processes and the fact that both seem to be related to reprouction.


#2

Since fatty acids make up the cell wall perhaps there can be stronger versions that increase defense.


#3

In real life, different fatty acids ascribe different characteristics to cell membranes.

Unsaturated fatty acids are disorganized and prevent membranes from becoming too crystalline in cold or high pressure environments.

Saturated fatty acids keep the membrane somewhat organized and prevent it from dissociating into myriad gel patches in hot environments.

Sterols enter between other fatty acids and prevent phase changes from occurring too quickly.

Perhaps we could add more types of fatty acids and allow the player to hedge themselves against environmental constraints?


#4

So what we were thinking a while ago is that firstly the cell needs to able to make a copy of itself. To do that it has to make proteins, DNA and fatty acids. That’s why this diagram has those things at the peaks. (Proteins also have Agents above them as Agents are just specialist proteins).

Secondly fatty acids act as a storage container. So if you are in a nutrient rich area you fill up on fatty acids and then burn them later in a nutrient poor area. On the transition to multicellular some cells can specialise as fat storage cells and have that as their primary function, allowing the player to add fat stores to their creature.

Very happy to discuss any of this again :slight_smile: Great work on the process system in general.


#5

Thanks! :smiley:

What about aminoacids?
Are they used on reproduction or are they just a stepping stone to proteins?


#6

The way we had it they were a stepping stone. Also in that setup nucleotides were also 100% stepping stone with no other function. I guess we can choose to what level of detail we want to go. I think it’s nice to have enough different compounds to explain the steps of how things are made (CO2 + N2 + Phosphate -> DNA would be a bit of a huge leap) and having too many will just bog things down unnecessarily.

@Moopli was also interested in the idea that maybe if you pick up another cells proteins, after killing them, you can’t use them directly yourself (as they are different from yours). You would have to break them down into amino acids and then build them up again. Not sure where we settled on that or whether that’s still an interesting direction. It basically adds an energy cost to predation over and above killing the microbe. Same with DNA being unusable before being broken into nucleotides.


#7

I think stepping stones could be ok (tho i would remove nucleotides from the diagram since their only function is to be dna, aa can be both nucleotides and proteins.

What i’m worried about is that proteins, fatty acids and dna seem to be kinda redundant between themselves, since the 3 are needed for reproduction.

About the other cells we could just have a compound called “foreign proteins” (not sure what the technical term is) that would be released on microbe death and have a process to transform them into normal proteins, with some degree of inefficiency maybe. Or just make them release glucose and ammonia (kinda like atp).


#8

Yeah I agree nucleotides do seem a bit redundant.

The one thing which proteins, fatty acids and dna have which separates them is that

fatty acids are made from pyruvate
proteins are made from pyruvate + ammonia
dna is made from pyruvate + ammonia + phosphate

which does give the player some different goals in the stage. They need a source of sugar just to live and act (to make atp etc) and then they also have to get some phosphate and ammonia somehow.

I guess that could be replaced by saying you just need to produce DNA which requires all of these constituents. It’s a little less realistic though.

Yeah I agree that having cells only drop things you can use is a reasonable solution. Having the players cell have an invisible process which breaks things down might be nice but it might also add very little.