Generational Events and Population Dynamics

Hello everyone! This is my first post here on the development forums.

I was reviewing how population dynamics are simulated in the current build. I personally think it would be in our best interest to introduce generational events to the microbial stages. As it is now, the environment is static and the generation of compounds in the environment is static and doesn’t necessarily reflect the ever-changing reality of the natural world. Below I have a list of events that could impact local organism populations. Note: These events last the entire play sequence before the player’s next evolution.

  • Geological Hot Spot (Increases the output of chemical compounds from thermal vent ecosystems, this would change the concentration of compounds in the environment, increases competition among player and AI organisms with a spike in local population.)

  • Invasive Presence (Introduces a new invasive organism that can not be part of the predation food web, this would exclude them from predation in AI-controlled organism populations. In addition, the player could earn bonus mutation points for eliminating organisms marked as invasive. Invasive organisms could have speed advantages or an increased resource consumption rate.)

  • Local Eutrophication (Introduces dead zones to the ecosystem! These pockets of hypoxic water can be generated randomly around the environment. On-screen visualization would be a huge plus, so the player wouldn’t have to constantly look at the oxygen concentration. This ultimately would create a significant decline in populations.)

These are just a few quick examples of how we can more accurately simulate the environment for the microbial stage. Along with this implementation I think it would be in our best interest to better visualize populations with some sort of bar graph in the Report Menu. This could include the individual player species population as well as the population of other organisms. Some nice pie charts for ratio comparison could really polish the current Report system with more visual guides that are ultimately more appealing.

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We currently don’t have an auto-evo algorithm (the part for population dynamics is missing) complete. Here’s the latest thread where @NickTheNick worked on it: Nick's Auto-Evo Algorithm (Episode 1) (but it wasn’t finished).
With proper auto-evo the species population changes would be derived from how well they are adapted to their environment and how well they can compete against other species.
So with the auto-evo done, we would be most of the way there already.

A stop-gap suggestion was done here: Population Scaling before we get auto-evo done.

These your suggestions seem to me to be long-term effects, which is a topic that has been discussed quite a bit, but those are difficult to fit in the game design as the environmental changes need to happen slow enough so that the player can react to them (so they don’t fit the timeline of a single editor session representing 100 million years).

So while we could add some of these now to make things less static, these would need to be majorly reworked once we get proper auto-evo. As such I don’t think these should be added to the game at this time.


Ok, I see what its all about. These events are definitely looking at the game being played in a slower matter, but the fact of the matter is the game is spanning millions of years and it wouldn’t necessarily be accurate to represent these environmental conditions over such a long period of time. Thank you for the clarification, it is much appreciated! Take care!

Hey there Glassdev, as hhyyrylainen has mentioned, the idea of environmental events is not new around here, but nonetheless your concepts here are a breath of fresh air on the subject! A good practice for keeping things neat and tidy here on the forums is using the search bar to identify if your topic or similar topics already exist before creating a new one.

By geological hotspots I assume you mean a global increase of compounds concentration localized in a whole patch rather than spots within the patch. If so, a rise in compounds during a generation or two might not have a particularly noticable effect on the player or game itself. However, if we ever introduce a system where compound concentrations are able to dynamically flow into nearby patches, this idea could potentially prove to be a pretty cool feature and could have a larger impact on the game and player. Either way, there’s not anything to lose by implementing this should we desire it.

Personally the way you explain the invasive presence event doesnt sit right with me. I feel like it’s somewhat against the concept of Thrive to artificially grant a species benefits such as exclusion from predation. I’m also somewhat unsure of the MP bonus it could grant as it could potentially conflict with the simulation aspects of Thrive, but some others may like the MP. That being said, invasive species are a very real part of nature, and we could certainly implement events that would introduce foreign species to another patch. An example could be an irregularly strong current blowing some species from one patch to another. Weither they survive or thrive in the new patch is another story.

Local eutrophication sounds interesting! Thrive is currently lacking in environmental dangers at the moment, with only cold patches featuring damaging ice shards. However, the issue with this idea as you have noted lies in how hard it can be to visualize a lack of oxygen in water. I would certainly not want to force the player to rely on UI elements to detect this, as it would be akin to navigating an invisible maze! And some particularly inattentive players may not realize why they are suddenly not getting the energy they need. I’m for the idea if we can devise a way for the player to “see” the zones though! If we cant, we could potentially recycle the idea with actual “hot spots” for the pangonian vents patch, places where the water is much too hot for the player to survive which could be represented by bubbling water and perhaps a red glow.

Visual elements for the report menu? Yes please! I’m completely on board with that idea as it would make it much easier for a player to understand the changes that have occured in the patch, especially when the amount of species has become high.

I enjoyed reading your ideas, and look forward to much discussion with you in the future!


Similar to how compound clouds are generated, we could generate hypoxic zones with specific visual cues, such as a light border with discoloration to the normal background environment (kind of like a filter) Spawning of organisms and cellular reproduction would be prevented in these zones and as for the patches you could perhaps have only one patch at a time spawn with the eutrophication disadvantage. I think something like heat maps could be interesting to use when looking at environmental factors that do not associate with compounds or other usable elements in the environment.

Perhaps the player’s organism could be equip with sensors that display environmental hazards with a heatmap at a default radius that can upgraded over time. If this were the case, all types of hazards whether they be temperate-based or things like DO (dissolved oxygen) would be displayed with a single color heatmap that identifies all hazards so that players would not have to constantly switch between hazard filters.

[Considering eutrophication occurs more frequently in water with higher temperatures. Hotter water can not store the same capacity of dissolved gases that colder water can. That’s why things like upwelling in oceanic aquatic environments having more nutrients and higher population counts!]

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It used to be the case that oxygen was a cloud. So for the player to get energy they would need to find both glucose and oxygen clouds. This is pretty much the opposite of the idea of oxygen dead zones (having only specific areas with oxygen). The oxygen clouds were removed from the design as they were considered to be an unnecessary complication, and the assumption instead was made that oxygen will be uniformly distributed in a patch.

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