Finishing the microbe stage roadmap

With my prototypes coming along nicely, I think I’ll be ready within a year to start pushing the microbe stage towards completion so that we’d finally be able to say that we have a “finished” stage.

In order to do that we need to come to a decision as to what are the necessary features (and what can be left out for really enthusiastic people to push forward and implement themselves) for the microbe stage.

For reference here’s the backlog wiki page:

I think all the high priority, planned and accessory features should be thrown in the finished roadmap with the following changes:

  • Reworking the spawn system (only if necessary), and this should be one of the last things to do like in 0.9.x version range, as we got a partial rework of the spawn system already
  • Allow player to play any species occupied patch upon death/reproduction (should be a new game option only available in easy mode in my opinion)

From the debatable features I’d like to keep the following (so anything not mentioned will be kept in the debatable features and not make it into the roadmap):

  • Damage delay or knockback for offensive pili
  • Compound Toxicity and Environmental tolerance
  • Implement diffusion of compounds and gasses between patches (dynamic gas compounds is at least a part of this)
  • Add hydrogenase
  • Bioluminescence
  • Environmental events
  • Launcher for mac (proper support, and investigate if we can do code signed builds or not), proper mac support (I’m still hoping to open a thread to talk about this and ask the fans to wishlist the mac version to make sure there’s enough demand to cover the hardware and license costs)
  • Improved microbe backgrounds
  • Toxin system customization and rework
  • Rework player starting compounds to allow for more flexibility (we probably should show this in the editor and let the player pick as long as the total amount is below some threshold)

One feature I’m dreading needing to implement but I’d like to keep anyway due to it being very important (and we may want to start trying to recruit a graphics programmer right away to be able to):

  • Improve water currents functionality and visibility

And here’s a few items I think need to be added to the roadmap:

  • Reworked auto-evo report to be much more graphical, also auto-evo prediction
  • Expanded tutorials, maybe even a hand holding mode, though as this is a lot of effort, that should be left until the 0.9.x releases.

With the features roughly thrown based on my time consumption estimate into the following ranges, for clarity I didn’t put all of them yet here, but when this discussion is finished I’ll do that and update the wiki:

  • 0.6 upgrade system, part unlocks (with endosymbiosis lite being one option), binding benefit balancing and bug fixing, pili balancing, toxin rework and general combat balancing
  • 0.7 thriveopedia, changing light levels, stamina, food chain, improved auto-evo report, changing gas amounts, hydrogenase
  • 0.8 planet generation and customization, better patch terrain, radiotrophs, compound toxicity, environmental effects
  • 0.9 achievements, thermoplasts, migrations, official mac support, microbe background improvements, bioluminescense

We’ll also need to throw in important bugs that affect the features or overall playability of the game.

Once the features listed for 0.6 are done, we’ll call the release with those done 0.7, and so on. So 1.0 will be when all the features listed in 0.9 are finished. I highly doubt we can put out a 1.0 release with not that many bugs, but still I think that’s important enough milestone that we don’t want to leave a ton of game enjoyability affecting bugs or bugs that get reported often.

Please share your thoughts.

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This is a good start. Looking at the features laid out like this, I find myself pretty hesitant to try and tack on anything else in each update. It’s pretty substantial as is… But at least all of this wouldn’t be implemented all at once and more in intervals of 0.6.1 etc as usual.

Since I do not have a firm grasp of programming, I’ll try my best to lay features out in a “gameplay” point of view instead.


0.6:

Toxin rework:

With the upgrades system coming along around this time, I feel it’s a good period to throw in a rework to toxins as well. At the very least we could implement the various types of toxic delivery as elaborated in pacing and combat.

0.7:

Hydrogenase:

I was originally going to tack hydrogenosomes/hydrogenase to 0.6, but since they only have practical use in anerobic conditions, I figured they would be better off implemented during or after gas exchange. These are speculated to have evolved from mitochondria, therefore they might either fit well in the upgrades system or as a stand-alone part. Implementation should also be fairly simple as they operate very similarly to mitochondria, thus require no additional coding. I could probably even do it myself.

0.8:

Compound Toxicity/Environmental tolerance:

With the upgrades system implemented, and changing conditions present, 0.8 may be a good period to make those conditions matter more. It’s been a while since I last touched up on that topic, and looking back, it adds a ton of complexity. I propose the following;

Exposure to conditions you are unadjusted to adds a new passive ATP upkeep to your cell identical in function to osmoregulation; The idea being that moving outside of your cell’s comfort zone forces them to expend more energy maintaining their homeostasis. We might need to add a warning about this to patches, perhaps include a “habitability score” to the patch screen for quick reference. I’ll make a post elaborating on this at a later time.

Environmental Events:

With the implementation of changing conditions being completed in 0.7, I believe 0.8 is a good timeframe for the implementation of other events that might spontaneously change the conditions of a patch.

Events such as volcanic activity in any of the floor patches drastically increasing temperature and creating dangerous hotspots for a time, or atmospheric migration, which causes certain species to be swept up from far away surface patches, and dropped into other new patches via rain (Would this just be part of migrations?).


Other than that, I think the roadmap is good. I’m fairly confident I am forgetting a few things though, so I’ll edit this post if I remember.

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Well I didn’t even put all of the things we need to do in that list, so the real finished list is going to look even more daunting…

Makes sense to try to fix combat balancing all at once. However the toxin type editing will probably have to be a separate screen by itself so while it would rely on the organelle upgrades to be selected, that feature doesn’t help doing toxin customization that much.

Sounds fine, I think I may have left them off my list as I had no clue what they were and was dreading it would be as hard to implement as thermoplast or radioplast.

I’ll lump this in with the compound toxicity item.

I’m also probably forgetting a bunch of stuff we’ll need to make space for in the roadmap. There’s probably even some stuff that already has open Github issues. Well we can just stretch out the second version numbers thinner once we are closer if we need way more releases to finish things.

I’ll do a few edits to my original post based on things I covered in this post.


Also I just remembered one thing I think we need to add to the debatable features (but not to the final roadmap in my opinion): changing toxin projectiles into compound cloud like things.

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The currents visuals are done (it’s pretty simple if you use particles or points), the currents themselves just aren’t good. Somebody has to implement Buckly’s design.

Recruiting a graphics programmer is gonna be pretty rough, not sure where you’d even look and not get laughed at / ignored by the worthwhile ones (who are typically Render Engineers). They are pretty rare and their skills are all over the place. Usually all they can do is write interesting fragment shaders and such. You see them like that a lot on ShaderToy, as that’s all really somebody needs in a normal game.

I really think somebody has to just to focus on learning Graphics, Kemikal has come a long way for example and wrote his own Ray-Marcher for clouds.

Shouldnt somewhere up to 6.0 or 7.0 be better auto-evo? The current one doesnt make cells with nuclei right?

I dont know what to say about graphics programming haha. But arent current visuals relatively easy to do ? Like what would they require, maybe some particles moving in the direction of the current and thats it.

Maxonovien fixed that I think

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Maxonovien did indeed fix it. I guess the next challenge is hooking up multicellular creatures to auto-evo.

I like how the roadmap is set up. I’ll make sure to focus some effort on pushing through endosymbiosis and figuring out what we do and don’t want to do with it. @Buckly i remember we had an exchange on the community forums related to it that might be worth looking into. Perhaps it would be too complicated now but it could have some earlier established principles we might have forgotten.

And I remember Nunz saying that the currents just need to have larger vectors or something like that so they’re more like streams and less like the random noise that is being applied currently to the compound clouds.

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Very exiting roadmap! And from a laymans perspecitve it feels like the features are quiet evenly distrubuted both in terms of how hard they are to implement and how fun they are going to be.

There’s one feature which hasn’t been mentioned and I’m not 100% sure if it’s been decided that we want to include it but I’m going to mention it anyways:
There has been an idea for a difficulty setting which made it so if the players species dies out, the player will take control of the species which is most closely related to it, i.e. the species which has most recently diverged from the player.
Is this still planned as a setting? Imo it would be a very fitting and unique difficulty setting.

That is already on the roadmap wiki page and my idea was not to exclude it, just make it only available in easy mode.

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I must be illiterate because I’ve read the Release Roadmap for a third time now and I still didn’t find where it was metioned^^
But nevermind, the important thing is that we haven’t forgotten about it.

First bullet point in the “planned” section: Release Roadmap - Thrive Developer Wiki

  • Allow player to play any species occupied patch upon death/reproduction
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Oh, I did read that… But in that case I misinterpreted what it meant.
Anyways, sorry for wasting your time:)

Forgive me if I am mistaken, but I thought that was limited to the player species.

As in; the player has died in X patch, so now they can choose to play in a prior patch as it has some population in it.

Likewise after reproducing they would be able to play in any patch their species currently resides in.

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Well I think whoever wrote that initially wasn’t really clear as it seems to be two separate features.
Now reading it again, I see it says “species occupied” and not “any species” so the wording was unclear. I’ll switch it out to be that the player can switch to any patch their species is in or next to while in the editor.

And put the take over a related species on game over (only in easy mode), to the end of the feature list.

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