So lately I have been thinking about the nature of MP discounts, and how we might apply those to make choices like the symmetry of your organism or placement of your parts more meaningful. I believe that this should be handled carefully as it can easily skew the balance of the game otherwise.
At the moment I only have two concepts regarding MP discounts to discuss, but might have more at a later time in regards to methods of reproduction and such.
Replacing Prokaryotic Parts
As of now, replacing your old parts with the more efficient eukaryotic variants can be a bit of a hassle due to needing to first delete your old parts for an MP cost (20-30 MP to make space for the new organelle) before placing down the organelle. This results in a player only being able to afford one new organelle per generation through this method. I believe that this makes replacing old organelles an unattractive option for many, as I see them simply placing more parts on top of the old, rather than replacing them outright.
I believe that by allowing players to place organelles on top of prokaryotic parts (In a similar manner to placing parts on top of cytoplasm to replace it), we can better encourage them to optimize their cells.
In addtion to this; We could apply discounts or even penalties based on the parts that are being replaced. For example; placing a mitochondrion on top of 2 metabolosomes would incur a 10 MP discount, where as placing a mitochondrion on top of two thylakoids could perhaps incur an MP penalty of 20 MP (Equal to just removing them). This could encourage more strategic purpose to the placement and organization of a cell’s parts without being overly punishing.
(Concept art coming soon, don’t let me forget)
Purpose for Symmetry
Not too long ago, someone brought up the idea that symmetry could incur a discount for parts placed when used. I have mixed feelings about this because on one hand this would actually enable players to use symmetry, but on the other hand it would be rather unbalanced due to allowing players to place more parts at once, thus evolve more parts more quickly; Essentially speeding up the process of evolution in Thrive. As we know; Symmetry is actually helpful and easy for evolution, but as it stands right now, radial symmetry would just provide an unfair advantage over all others simply because of the amounts of parts placed; Thus discouraging players from using any other symmetry options and very quickly being able to evolve a nucleus and binding agents…
I’ve been thinking hard about how to handle this, and I fear that there may be no perfect solution for the microbe stage at least. Regardless I will list some of my disjointed ideas.
My first idea was to implement a basic discount to parts placed through symmetry as was suggested, thus enabling players to utilize the higher symmetry options. The discount would scale with amount of parts placed, just enough to enable one or two placements per generation with the symmetry option.
However; Players could place parts with the highest symmetry option to get many parts in one generation, which would more than likely grant them immediate access to the nucleus in the next generation.
They would simply get more production/consumption faster than creatures with less symmetry lines.
This is an odd idea, but I considered making symmetry itself an adaptation with a cost. Essentially it would be a selection of buttons similar to how players select their membranes. By evolving a symmetry type, the player would be able to place parts along that plane. However; Should they deviate from their selected symmetry plan, they will suffer higher MP costs for placement. This would make it so that radial organisms would find it more costly and expensive to evolve things like flagella without putting them around the entire cell. (Thus encouraging bilateral symmetry for motile organisms).
The biggest issue here is how we would handle nucleus placement… since the nucleus is already 100 MP it would make it impossible for radial organisms to place it down if they had an MP penalty… Aside from that I just don’t feel entirely confident about this idea.
Personally; I think radial symmetry won’t be able to work too well with how our microbe parts system is designed, but it might work better in later stages where we deal with sculptable tissues instead due to a less rigid placement system.
Please let me know what you think about this.