IMPORTANT: Read Before Posting

Welcome new user to the Thrive Project! If you are interested in contributing to this daunting project, make sure to introduce yourself and your talents in the following category so we get to know you:

The following thread should introduce you to the teams we have in place, so keep these in mind when making an application and posting an introduction:

When suggesting new ideas, make sure that they are implementable. Post them with an explanation of how they will be implemented. For example, it is very easy to suggest continental drift and dynamic planet tectonics, but it’s important to take into account the context of the stages before and after the feature, the complexity versus the reward of the idea, and how well it would fit into the limitations of the game’s engine and the current planet generation and data storage methods. As such, it helps to have experience in game development, or programming, when suggesting new features for the game.

You may see references or links to our old forums around the place. While we no longer use them, they’ve been kept to serve as an archive:

In our time on both forums, we have developed our own jargon of game related terms. Check this post for the meanings of these.

[size=20]What is Thrive?[/size]

Thrive is a free, open-source game that will see the player evolve from a single cell to a space-faring civilization. We are using the GPL license. For a more detailed synopsis, check out the link to our first wiki below.

[size=20]Official Website[/size]

[size=20]How to Get Involved[/size]

If you are yet to be approved, you will not be able to post anywhere. The permissions process is outlined here, and if the mods are happy with your application they will send you an email invite and you will gain regular posting capability.

In your application, tell us about yourself and what you can do, as well as any past project experiences you might have had, or show some samples of your work. This would include art as an artist or demo as a coder. Don’t panic, we aren’t looking for MIT computer science graduates, we just want people who can help make a game in one way or another, as listed below (as opposed to a plethora of useless users, which we have unfortunately had to deal with in the past).

If you are thinking of applying, we are looking for people with skills in most fields of game development. These fields include:

  • Programming
  • Modelling
  • Scripting
  • Animation
  • Audio
  • Composing
  • Texturing
  • Project management/Outreach
  • Science and mathematics (Experienced)

A full list with detailed information can be found here:

If you have experience in one or more of these fields and wish to help, we would be very appreciative, and glad to have you on the team. More talent is always welcome, and there will always be new tasks to do.

For programming, we organize the code here:

Unfortunately, if you do not have experience in any field pertaining to the game’s development such as those mentioned above, and come as more of an “idea-man”, there is little for you to do. Years of existence of this project have resulted in most concepts of the game being planned out. Several game design documents are being developed. Chances are that new ideas which new people want to suggest have already been mentioned. Most importantly, talking takes time away from implementing – Thrive has dealt with accusations of being vaporware in the past, and the only way to fix that is to make the game.

We understand, of course, that a game as ambitious as Thrive will get people excited. There are multiple locations for discussions not so development-worthy, such as our community forums and subreddit. We politely ask that you go to these locations instead if you wish to speculate with other people excited for the game. Moderators reserve the right to repeal your posting capabilities here should your contributions regularly diverge from productivity.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t panic - see this post for new user guidance which aims to ease you into the process of helping out.


Here is the link to the official releases of the game:


There are two wikis for the Thrive project. The first one, below, is meant for developer use, and is a more in-depth wiki with details explained to help developers keep tracks and records of implementing systems and ideas into the game. Editing rights to this wiki must be granted, and are only given to higher level developers and mods on the team.

The second wiki is for fan and community use. It will be most important to keep track of the game’s details and information when the game itself has progressed further. Anyone registered to Wikia can edit this wiki.  

[size=20]Forum Rules and Etiquette[/size]

Here on the Thrive development forums, we take pride in our work, and that means we expect a certain level of respect, professionalism, and effort from our posters. For the most part, these expectations are followed by all members, and rarely does anyone have to reprimand another member of the forums. Nonetheless, there may be some confusion among members as to what is expected of them, so this thread exists to establish guidelines for forum behavior.

General Rules

  • Respect other members. This means that any personal attacks are unwelcome, and any language that is purposefully inflammatory or derisive is prohibited.

  • Stay on topic. Please only post information in threads that that information is pertinent towards, and try to discuss issues tangential tom the thread’s main purpose as little as possible.

  • Act professionally. It’s fine to have personality, but we want to run an efficient forum where ideas are exchanged quickly without too much superfluous chit-chat.

  • Leave the dead to rest. Please don’t post in threads that haven’t seen any activity in the past year or so. If you want to start discussion on them again, first message a moderator.

  • Think before you post.

Things to Remember

  • We are a worldwide community. Many of our members speak English as a second or third language, so be accepting of misspellings and imperfect grammar. At the same time, try to keep your own posts as coherent as possible, so that there is minimal misunderstanding between members.

  • There is a hierarchy of command. When there is a question or dispute, don’t be afraid to summon a moderator or team lead to the thread to resolve it.

  • Thrive has been around for a while. We’ve had lots of ideas, and lots of those ideas didn’t make the cut, or are being put on the back burner to be dealt with at a later date. If we’ve already thought of your idea, or seem to dismiss it fairly quickly, don’t be offended. We’ve probably seen it before.

[size=20]Social Media[/size]

If you want to stay in contact with the development of Thrive, you can keep up with us on our various social media outlets below:


For a general FAQ for Thrive, see here. Questions about Discourse can be found either in your recent messages or here.

Why can't I sign up for the forums? If you are interested in joining, read the paragraphs below the heading "How to join" on this page: Basically, you need to first send an application email, and from there we can make you an account for the dev forums.

We also have a fan forum, which requires no application to sign up for.

I have a really cool idea! Where do I put it? This project has been around for a while, so we've discussed a lot of things. You might have a really cool new idea, but 90 percent of the time that's an idea that has already been discussed. Before you post a new thread look around our forum and [our Wiki][13] and [archive forum][14] to see if we already covered that topic.
I've checked the FAQs and Wiki, but haven't found an answer to my question. Where should I ask it? If you don't find anything to answer your question, please message a moderator, or ask on our [community forums][15] if not development-related.

Newcomers ask these general questions often:

What is Thrive? Information about our game project and various web presences can be found [here][16].
When is the game coming out? Thrive is being released piece by piece. We already have [several releases][17] of the Microbe Stage out, but the full game has no release date because it will never be complete. There will always be things to add.
How much will the game cost? Thrive is free and open source, with all code released under GPL and assets under CC BY-SA. This means that the game is open source- anyone can use it, edit it, change it, and release it, but they must credit the original makers and they must release it for free.
What will the game be rated? Since thrive is free and has no budget, we cannot pay to be rated by the ESRB, PEGI, or similar organizations. Therefore, we will not have a rating, but we will caution that the game will contain violence to some extent, as it mimics the real world.
Can I play this on my Mac? Our game is being written and compiled on linux and Windows, but we've been working on getting a Mac release working. Someday, hopefully.
Is this game like EA/ Maxis's Spore? In the general concept, yes, Thrive is a lot like Spore. However, upon close inspection, the similarities end. Yes, we do want to simulate the rise of a species from cell to civilization, but Thrive does many things Spore does not. What are these things? Read on.

These game concept questions come up a lot:

How do I play the game? [You download and run Thrive][18]. If you're asking about more general gameplay plans, read on: There are a few different ways to play Thrive: You can play from first of third person in control of a single organism with Organism Mode. If your organism evolves a social structure such as a colony or pack, you can then play from a third person omniscient viewpoint in Strategy Mode. A third mode, called Observer Mode, can be accessed late in the game. In this mode, you can simply move about your camera and see what's going on.
How do I evolve my species? Change in your species can be produces manually through small direct edits with our organism editor. However, other species in our game evolve just as you do, but through a simple procedural evolution system. You can choose to hand your evolutionary fate over to the computer and use this system for your own species if you so choose.
How do I make buildings/ weapons/vehicles? Thrive will have a technology editor that allows you to make just about any kind of device imaginable.
Can I play as an aquatic species? Yes. On some planets, you will have to, since there will be no dry land.
Can I play as a tree? You could play as a tree, but your options for gameplay would be quite limited.

Sometimes our forums can be a little confusing:

What is "Belgium"? If you see the word Belgium somewhere odd, it's because of a reference to our old forum's censorhip. When members attempt to use profanity, our old forum would gently nudge their foul mouths in a more correct direction with this charming Douglas Adams reference, and we've stuck with it despite the lack of an editable censor here. Self-censoring is the Belgium.
I don't understand some things that seem to be technical terms- PPG, org, Direct Editing, FP, etc. What are they? These are part of our forum lingo. It's necessary that we use these to save our fingers from breaking from typing too many things. Meanings for most if not all of these things can be found in our [Abbreviations Dictionary][19].
What does "QFT" mean? QFT is short for "Quoted For Truth". Some members use it after they have quoted someone to show that they agree with what that person said.
What are team leads/how do I become one? Team leads are members in charge of knowing everything about a certain part of the game, and are moderators on our forums. If you want to become a lead for something, you have to contribute a huge amount to that topic, and then apply for a lead position.

Other questions get asked by newcomers all of the time. Here are some particularly memorable ones:

Can I become a civilized species underwater? No. It's simply not possible for you do become an advanced civilization without metalworking, which is essentially impossible underwater. This topic is definitely not up for debate, since we've probably seen it spring up about six times or more during development so far, and come up with the same answer every time.
Can I live on a planet without water? No. As far as we know, water is completely essential to life, so we're not going to try to simulate waterless life.
Can I change physics in the game? No, since this would cause the environment of the game to collapse.
Can I make new elements/ chemicals? Kinda. You can mod the game to include new chemicals (including fantasy elements if you want), and the reactions they are involved in. However, all naturally occurring elements have already been discovered, and the unnatural ones have either been discovered or are too massive to exist for more than a few fractions of a second, so any elements you make up would be just that -- made up. And chemical simultation is much too difficult for us to program, so there is no guarantee that new chemicals you mod in will behave realistically.
You should use Space Engine! We have made contact with the owner of Space Engine before, and he has agreed only to collaborate ideas. As Space Engine plans to develop future projects itself, it prefers to keep its code to itself, and is not open source.
You should use a Kickstarter! We have nothing to spend the money on. Plus, it would be quite challenging deciding how to split the money. This game is built upon the principle of voluntary, open-source contribution. We develop this not to make a quick buck, but because **we want** to develop this, and that makes sure people here are people who have time, commitment, and a natural interest in the project.

Now that you’ve read this thread, you’re ready to start contributing to the Thrive Project. Welcome aboard!