In-game encyclopedia

A major part of Thrive that has as of yet not really been implemented at all in the game is the CPA system. The player is going to interact with the CPA system through microbe and editor gameplay. But how is he going to have insights into the system?
I assume once the planet generator, auto-evo and so on are implemented, there will have to be a kind of in-game encyclopedia for the player to see the data of his current save. How intense is the solar irradiation on his planet? Where on the planet does his species live? How does the food web of the biome his species inhabits look? All of this and more could be communicated to the player through this sporepedia-like in-game encyclopedia.
I‘ve come up with two „fake screenshots“ that illustrate how I imagine this encyclopedia. The concepts are far from perfect, but they‘re the first step.
The first shows the map of the players home planet, here named ORP-7309.

On the right side of the map there‘s a bar where the player can toggle what should be displayed and what not. On the bottom there‘s a feed which documents the major changes that occured on the planet during the last few generations. Within this feed, the names of species and biomes are links to their respective encyclopedia entries, so the player can easily navigate the encyclopedia. On the left side there‘s the interface for navigation within the encyclopedia. There‘s three levels of analysis at which the player can look at the save data: Planet, biome and species. Right now the player has selected the planet level. Here there are again three sub-pages: The planet within its solar system, general information about the planet and the map, which is currently selected. In the top right corner there‘s the icon to close the encyclopedia and to resume microbe or editor gameplay.

The second image I have as of yet shows the food chain of the player species‘ home biome.

Here the player has selected the biome rather than the planet level. Within this page there are two sub-stages: One for general information about the biome (average temperature, irradiance, total biomass etc.) and one for the food chain.
There will ideally be a system which determines which species is the predator of which. It could maybe register how much of a given species‘ diet is comprised of another species and once this is above a certain limit (for example 10%) there will be an arrow from the prey species to the predator species. Which species is shown on which level is determined as follows: If a species doesn‘t prey on any other, it‘s a producer, so it‘s on the bottom level (for example Irida Pseudacorus). If a species preys exlcusively on producer, it‘s a primary consumer (like Agais Agenta). If a species preys on at least one primary consumer, it‘s a secondary consumer (such as Brayura Cymata) and so on. Brayura Cymata also preys on Fluvita Carcinum, but its ranking is determined to be one level higher as its highest level prey. Like in the feed on the planet map page, the names in the food web are also links to the respective species‘ page.
Regarding biome names: I think it would be ideal to eventually have a system to generate biome names that make sense for a human. The system could scan the planet map and assign names to continents or oceans. Then it could name the biomes by these terms. So if there was a „Xeculian Ocean“ an abyss biome in it could be named „Xeculian Abyss“. If needed compass direction prefixes could be applied to for example differenciate the East-Xeculian Abyss from the North-Xeculian Abyss.

More images of other encyclopedia pages like the tree of life will follow soon. What do you think of the ideas? Have you any suggestions for pages that are still missing? Should the sturcture of the selection bar on the left be altered? Does it even make sense to discuss these things or do they still lie too far in the future?
As these are my first contributions on here: Is this helpful? Should I continue to make these? Constructive criticism is much appreciated!

EDIT: For the record I should say that the map is made using an online generator and some of the icons on the left side are from online icon collections.


I like it! One suggestion though: Don’t use the Thrive font in large amounts like that, since it’s kinda difficult and painful to read. Instead, I’d recommend Jura, which should be somewhere in Thrive’s files. It’s a lot more readable, while still looking relatively Thrivey.

Also, if the species names in the food web are randomly generated, the player probably won’t know what they are unless they have a little portrait next to them or something.

1 Like

Hey MirrorMonkey,

This is a nice concept in general. I think it’s clear and I like the layout.

I think one of the games core themes is discovery. That’s kind of what science is all about. For example in CIV 5, and many other strategy games, the map is hidden from you while you explore it and it becomes visible over time. I think one of the core gameplay features of Thrive is discovering your planet, so it might make sense to build the mechanics around this. For example a cool thing in Thrive could be that your astronomers will find new planets in your system and then you can look at them.

So I think it’s worth having a think about how much info to give the player at which stages. For example if you reveal the world map, complete with generated names, during the microbe stage then you’ve given out all that discovery info without letting the player work for it. IMO it makes sense to have a system where this info is being more slowly released. Have a think about it and if you agree how would it influence your concept?

Here’s a concept I did a while ago for how to display the CPA system, have a look. I’m very flexible if you want to change things or go in a new direction, the thing I want most is for Thrive to be great!

1 Like

Thanks, Narotiza, I‘ll try to download Jura and swap the large amounts of texts out. I too thought it a bit tedious to read. Problem solved!

Hey, tj!
Yes, I‘ve already brushed over your thread before I made this to see if this fits in there, but I came to conclusion that your thread is mostly about the food web while this one is about the whole encyclopedia. Also the last reply in your thread is two years old so I thought it would be better not to necropost.
In your original post you talk about patches containing thousands of species. This would be awesome, but I think at first the patches will be much simpler. That‘s why in my suggestion the threshold for considering one species the predator of another is as high as 10%. If you have thousands of species that number will obviously be lower.

Regarding your suggestion that the microbe stage will only contain one biome of each type: For early stages of implementing an actual biome or patch system this may be very viable. But I think at some point having an actual simulation of a map with multiple, seperated patches of the same biome will prove very interesting.
In actual evolution this plays a huge role: Imagine there are two small regions with hot plumes seperated by a large, empty abyss region. Different species may evolve to occupy the same niche in the two hot plume biomes. Let‘s for example assume there‘s one species occupying the primary consumer niche in hot plume 1 while there‘s another primary consumer in hot plume two. If now, by alteration of the abyss between the hot plumes or by chance one primary consumer ends up in the others hot plume biome, there will be a fight for that niche.
In real life a good example for this would be marsupials. In Australia they occupy the niches that around the world are occupied by higher mammals. This is only because they haven‘t yet faced competition by higher mammals due to Australias geographical isolation. The marsupials that once dominated South America weren‘t so lucky: The two Americas collided and higher mammals poured into South America from North America. Most South American mammals, including almost all marsupials, were driven to extinction by their North American counterparts.

Events like this can also happen at a microbe level. Geographic isolation is a major factor in evolution and in later stages of developement I think it would be a huge missed oportunity not to implement it.

Now to your point about exploration: You‘re right, showing the player the whole planet with all biomes and species might spoil the fun of exploring. But during the microbe stage the layout of continents will look nothing like it will look in the aware or society stage. Our own planet looked nothing like it looks now during the „early aware stage“. Because of this the player would never have known how the planet looked like during microbe stage if there was fog of war and I think this would be sad as understanding the evolution of the planet is a major part of the simulation aspect of the game. But I agree that fog of war should totally be an option.
I don‘t know if this is a little off-topic, but the question about fog of war leads me to another question: How is the expansion of the player species handeled? Does he have control of migration and can he deliberatly move a part of his population to a neighbouring patch? Or does the game simply put a random number of player microbes into the neighbouring patches and calculate wether or not they can take a foothold in these biomes? Depending on which of these models we use fog of war will make sense or not. For the first option fog of war makes sense, as the player would then only have the „knowledge“ his species has. If we go with the second model fog of war doesn‘t make any sense in my opinion. The first option would be more gamey and the second option would be more simulation-like.


This isn’t settled yet but I think it could be good to make a sort of strategy game out of it where the player gas control.

Re: fog of war. I don’t think you can show the player the whole planet and then later introduce fog of war, I think that would feel very jarring. IMO either it’s got to be in from the start or it’s never there.

However I do agree that without being able to see the whole planet in the microbe stage that plate tectonics doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Yes, I agree. I meant that the player could turn fog of war on or off at the beginning of a playtrough. Turning it on in the later stages while having it switched off at the beginning doesn‘t make a lot of sense.

1 Like

Perhaps, in the RTS stages, you can only move your camera a small distance from where your units are. In Awakening, the camera is fairly zoomed in so you can see your organisms, and as you develop more technology you can zoom out further and further, and move the camera larger distances away from your units, and eventually you’ll be able to view the entire planet.
Being unable to move the camera too far away from one of your units might feel quite limiting and claustrophobic though.

I’d hate not being able to zoom out really far. I really like supreme commander which has the best camera of any rts game as you can basically zoom out fully at any point to make the main view look like a mini map.

Great work MirrorMonkey! These are good ideas for these pages.

I think on the point that TJ raised, some of these pages should be unlocked by specific technologies later in the game, such as the world map page, since we don’t want to reveal that info to the player too early.

One distinction I think is important to make is that these don’t technically count as the in-game encyclopedia. The “Thrivopedia” (for lack of a better word) will cover general rules and concepts about the game, such as how to reproduce as a microbe, whereas these sorts of pages are more specific to the current playthrough you are in and would be part of a different category.

1 Like

Allright, sorry for the delay, but I was on holidays for a few days and only had internet access with my phone. I quickly made new versions of the existing pages. I changed the font on most of the text to jura and drew some fog of war.

I interpreted Nicks demand for a general encyclopedia which explains playthrough-unspecific concepts by adding a general „?“ page to the icons on the far left. General entries for in-game concepts such as „species“, „compound“ etc. could be found here.
This way there aren‘t two seperate encyclopedias, which would in my opinion only be confusing. Like this the playthrough-specific and -unspecific information can be found in one place.
Maybe if you open the Thriveopedia for the first time in a new playthrough the „?“ page could show up first so you have fast access to the basics.
What do you think? Is this approach viable?


I think we should have different names for general in game help encyclopaedia detailing what organelles do, tips etc. and another for viewing data about the current game the player is playing, their species, other species, the planet etc.

We could steal the names from civ and have Thriveopedia and maybe something like Catalogue of Life (which is an actual website) or something like Current universe (which would cover everything the later stages unlock information about).


I think as microbes can’t really draw maps the map should be like a connected graph of different biomes the player can move between.

So there would be squares with images of the biome backgrounds and lines between them. That would be enough of a map for cell stage and early multicellular. And as a plus it wouldn’t reveal information useful for later stages that the player can’t find out by moving between biomes as a microbe.


Perhaps the playthough-unspecific things should be in Help or the Thrive Guide or whatever, and info about the current universe, the planet and species and such, could go in Statistics. They’re two completely different things, so I think they should be in separate places.

1 Like

This is an idea worth investigating. Basically you‘re suggesting something between what I proposed and what TJ proposed in his old thread. If I understand you correctly this system could in earlier releases stand on its own, the game would just generate a grid of biomes. In (much) later releases that feature an actual heightmap of the planet the game could check which biomes have a border to one another and create a grid based on this information. I made an exapamle of such a grid and the schematic map that this grid would be based on:

This approach, however, poses some problems:

  1. There could be arrangements which would be very impractical to display on a square-based grid, for example if one biome borders to 20 others (Am I wrong in the assumption that there will be that many biomes? Are we talking about 10 or 1000 biomes per planet?)
  2. If we have a grid without a map it is equally probable for a species to either of it‘s neighbouring biomes. To make an example on my map sketch: If a species lives in the Ulrarian Rift, its chances of randomly ending up in the Ulrarian Ocean are much higher than its chances to end up in the Ulrarian Vents since the border between rift and ocean is way larger than the border between rift and vents. How are we going to represent that difference? (Am I losing myself in details btw?)

A large benefit of this grid „map“ would be that biomes that are on top of one another could be represented more easily. The ocean surface biome is linked to the twilight zone, which in turn is linked to the deep ocean.
All of this feels quiet speculative at the moment. I don‘t even think it‘s clear yet how exactly biomes will be implemented (exept for the various nice backgrounds, which are already in the game.)

1 Like

I don’t think it will be possible to have a very huge number of neighbouring biomes. So if the graph is circles that are on a 2d plane and can move freely it should be possible to clearly display a whole planet that has a reasonable number of smallish biomes. Perhaps looking like this:

For that we can represent that as weights on the vertices between the biomes, and a higher weight would indicate that it’s easier to move to that biome, which would be calculated from the amount of shared border, currents etc. Basically I want the biomes to be a mathematical (unfortunately the wikipedia article has no graphs with weights) graph that is displayed graphically to the user.


As was mentioned I think it’s actually quite important to distinguish the Help/Game Rules/Thrivepedia from the stats of your current playthrough info (Statistics?/Demographics?), because they are quite different topics.

The map idea is good for later in the game with the discovery of cartography and then later with Satellites/GPS. I think the node web that hhyyrylainen suggested is a good idea, because it will show you the biomes and how they are connected without giving away geographical info that you don’t have. And yeah we’ve got to find a way to calculate which biomes are connected to which to display that graphically.

@hhyyrylainen That looks awesome, that type of layout would be perfect for presenting the biomes/patches to the player in the early stages. That screen may also be needed after reproducing, if the player chooses to migrate their species to a neighbouring biome before spawning.


I agree with Nick on pretty much everything. I think a node web is a great way to represent the planet’s biomes without revealing the its geography.
I like his reproducing idea too; would it let you spawn in a biome where your species isn’t present at, or one where they couldn’t survive? Or would it restrict you to the biomes your species already exists in, and it’s up to you to adapt your species to those environments in order for them to migrate there automatically? Or would it be manual?

May i suggest that we move the biome discussion to the biome thread so it doesn’t clutter this thread?

Alright, in that case don‘t mind the ? symbol in some of the images. If we‘re going to put those two things in seperate places we‘ll have to figure out how to access which. I‘m going to look at the GUI of the current game to suggest a place to put the two menus (I think we already have a very tiny help/? window, don‘t we?) For that, I‘m going to have to actually play the game again some time.

I think the plan is that Statistics will be a Bar Graph icon on the UI, and the Thrivepedia will replace the Help icon and be shown as a question mark or book icon.