I think Nick suggested we look at the template ad again if we’re going to start outreach, so here it is again, with some updates to reflect 0.3.2 and everything. What should be changed about it?
I’m personally still a bit doubtful of how effective such a long ad would be. We might be able to link to Wiki pages in some places instead.
#Thrive - Open-Source Evolution Game
Thrive is a free, open-source game currently being developed by an online volunteer team called Revolutionary Games. Thrive is a game about a species’ evolution from unicellular organisms to galaxy-wide space travel, though for the moment we are heavily focusing on only the microbial section.
Our team seeks to accomplish two major goals: create engaging, compelling gameplay that respects our players’ intelligence, and remain as accurate as possible in our depiction of known scientific theory without compromising the former.
We are currently looking to get new people to join the project with experience in game development. Getting new people will make development easier and faster, and it will add depth to the community to strengthen the project as we continue to work on it.
Development Forums: http://forum.revolutionarygamesstudio.com/
Community Forums: http://thrivegame.freeforums.net/
Getting Started Guide: http://thrivegame.wikidot.com/new-member-guidance
Microbe Stage GDD: http://thrivegame.wikidot.com/microbe-stage-gdd
On an alien planet not too dissimilar to ours, a new phenomenon has emerged: life. Simple unicellular organisms drift among the primordial currents, competing for the ocean’s scant resources, replicating with mutations driven by the forces of evolution. New biological developments, such as toxins and flagella, have instigated a state of evolutionary warfare. A struggle for nutrients rages over million-year timescales. Only the best adapted may survive.
From this microscopic battlefield contained within a puddle, organisms vie for an advantage, some working together to achieve their goals in the harsh environment. Others are predatory, extracting their nutrients from other cells. Eventually, only one species will achieve the crucial transformative step – multicellularity.
For this valiant organism, a new chapter awaits in their own saga of life.
Here is the current concept for the first stage of the game (the only one we’re realistically considering for the time being). For a more detailed guide, see the GDD link above.
In the microbe stage, the player’s species is a unicellular organism exploring a tide pool populated by other microbe species, simpler life-forms and floating organelles.
Distributed throughout this environment in various forms (including other microbes) are compounds necessary to a species’ survival, such as oxygen, glucose and ammonia. The player must collect these to keep their own ATP stores (equivalent to energy) high – organelles inside microbes simulate their metabolism, with compounds combined, stored and converted in accordance with known organic chemistry. Some of these can even be turned into agents/toxins, which influence surrounding microbes in a variety of ways.
Once enough compounds are collected and converted to a locked-up form, the player can enter the editor. Mutation Points act as a mutation currency, preventing wild changes to the organelles and shape of a microbe within one generation. New organelles (unlocked from the environment) can be added based on a hexagonal grid, and eventually upgraded to be more efficient. With one generation’s changes complete, the player re-enters the environment.
At the same time, AI microbe species will be evolving via a procedurally generated interpretation of Darwinian evolution (affectionately called Auto-Evo). Their generation time can be modified beforehand to change the difficulty, as the player will be directly competing with them for resources, or working with them in a symbiotic relationship should they so choose. Eventually this feature will grow in importance, with agent signals released by microbes to keep colonies intact. This is the first step towards multicellularity, needed to progress to the next stage of the game.
Who We’re Looking For
As an open-source project, we’re keen to welcome skilled individuals to the team who are free to contribute as much or as little as they wish. Our core team features members of all the development areas listed below, many of whom have been with the project for a long time. We are always looking for more people with proven game development skills to help out and we are keen to help new members of the team settle in and get up to speed. How much you contribute is entirely up to you - we appreciate any help, no matter how small.
Those with only ideas to give and no ability to implement them are likely to be turned down, as this has been a major recurring problem in the project’s history. Consequently, we’d prefer it if you can give some evidence of your skill in a particular area when applying.
These are the roles we’re mostly looking for, although you can find a full list of possible roles on our Wiki here. We’re also open to more roles we haven’t thought of if they could be useful.
- Programmers - Our custom engine is programmed in C++, while scripting is done with Lua (using LuaBind). We’ll soon be tackling some fairly difficult implementation, but most work, generally quite easy, is in Lua. We are also looking for a developer specializing in Mac conversions, as our releases so far have only covered Windows and Linux. A full list of code dependencies is available to view on our GitHub repository. If you aren’t up to actually helping with the code, we’re also on the lookout for code assistants who can help others understand the code and troubleshoot building problems.
- 3D Modelers - Skill with almost any major tool will do, and we’ll eventually need particularly talented artists able to create models which look good even under heavy deformation. We use Ogre3D for graphics rendering, and a tutorial for prospective modelers focused on Blender can be found here.
- Animators - Linking with the above, the ability to animate 3D models will be incredibly useful, and even those who specialize in other areas will be helpful in creating more features of the game, such as updated opening cutscenes or GUI animations. Accompanying knowledge of the code required for dynamic animations (for instance changing between two animation types seamlessly) will help considerably when rendered organisms are involved.
- Vector Artists - The in-game GUI is for the moment largely a placeholder, and a huge amount of work is in order for later stages’ interfaces. We use CEGUI in conjunction with Lua scripting, so anyone with additional knowledge of XML or UX we will likely beg to join. Even if you’re not familiar with CEGUI, you can still help design basic concepts or mock-ups, or even learn the process of implementation yourself through this tutorial.
If you want to help out, either reply here or read this page to get up to speed with development.
Current Progress and Future Goals
As of right now, we’ve had several release iterations, the latest of which can be found here. If you have issues running the game, we’d appreciate it if you file a bug report here with as much detail as possible.
Our latest release features compound clouds, a tutorial, a process system overhaul and several other features (described in detail here), plus all the features of our previous downloads:
- Player and AI cells
- Basic compound processing
- Microbe editor
- Procedural non-dynamic membrane
- Organelle models (including two unlockables)
- Offensive engulfment and toxins
- Varying AI for different NPC species
- Music and sound effects
Our current short-term goal is to refine and eventually complete our current unicellular game stage. Implementing planned gameplay is next on the agenda, with improvements to the editor, free-living bacteria, combat involving synthesised agents and revamped systems for health, death and reproduction.
All our code is covered by the GPL licence, while the content lies under CC BY-SA.
Feel free to ask questions on anything either here or at one of the locations linked above.