New Game Settings

Here we will compile the list of settings the player can define before starting a new game.


Homeworld Type: Planet, Satellite, Random
Satellites (If homeworld is a planet): Yes, No, Random
Satellite Number (If planet has moons): [Enter number], Random
Terrestrial to Aquatic Ratio: Fully terrestrial, Mostly terrestrial, Balanced, Mostly aquatic, Fully aquatic, Not
"Fully aquatic", Random
AI Difficulty: Hard, Medium, Easy
Mutation Budget: Unlimited, Double, Normal
Generation Length: Long, Normal, Short
NPC Evolution Rate: Fast, Normal, Slow
Natural Disaster Frequency: Frequent, Normal, Uncommon, Never
Life as We Know It: Yes, No


Starting Biome: Tidepool, Hydrothermal Vent, Shallow Ocean, Stromatolites
Compounds: Abundant, Normal, Rare
Endocytosis Chance: Certain, High, Normal, Low

Since there are so many starting options, and there will be tons more when the game is fleshed out, it’d be a good idea to allow the use and creation of presets. The game would ship with a few, and the player could make some of their own, or download ones other players have made on the forums.

Some ideas for presets would be:

Classic (Normal or random settings for everything, LAWK on, etc.)
Terracentric (Start on a balanced land to water planet with one satellite, normal settings, LAWK on, etc.)
Hardcore (All the hardest options, high disaster rates, slow evolution rates, fully random homeworld, etc.)

Yeah, I agree that we should have presets, especially for difficulty options.

Here’s the list from the GDD with some other options you could include:

  • Difficulty – A dropdown box with options of easy, medium, hard and custom. Picking one sets all other difficulty options to a set of values previously chosen to balance the game to that level. Choosing a set difficulty grays out all other parameters, while custom retains the values of the last difficulty selected but allows the player to make edits. All settings below are tied to difficulty unless otherwise stated.

  • Experience Level – Not tied to difficulty. A drop-down box featuring different levels of game experience, such as novice or veteran. Choosing a lower experience level gives the player an option to run through an initial tutorial, with text guidance or tutorial-like tasks whenever a new mechanic is introduced. Higher experience levels may only have text guidance, or no guidance at all for experienced players.

  • NPC Evolution Rate – A slider or spin button which modifies the time taken for each generation of an NPC microbe species relative to the rate of CPA evaluations. Higher values correspond to higher difficulties (as Auto-Evo can more quickly adapt to changes in the environment with a shorter generation time), so balances should be found to accommodate for easy, medium and hard difficulties. These options are presets available to the player. The range is bound between a lowest possible value and highest, also found by testing for balance.

  • NPC Evolution Rate Variance – Similar to the above, a slider which allows the player to change the variability in AI generation time, measured using a percentage less than ~75%. Reproduction rates are still random, but bound within different ranges depending on this setting. For example, with a high variance setting, there may be between 25 and 75 (50% variance with a rate of 50) generations of a creature between each CPA fitness evaluation, but a lower variance with the same base rate would keep this number between 40 and 60 (20% variance). It is unclear how this will affect difficulty, but presets should still be selectable once we know.

  • Natural Disasters – Possible in-game disasters accompanied by sliders determining their frequency. Even at their highest state, disasters of all types should be relatively infrequent, but their rate will be intrinsically linked to difficulty. An easy difficulty would feature no disasters at all, medium would have no heavily destructive disasters (such as an asteroid extinction event), and hard would have all disasters possible with less destructive options having a higher probability. If an option is disabled, the player will never experience the corresponding disaster during that save.

  • Compound Concentration – A drop-down box with several options determining overall compound abundance within the environment. Options include ‘Sparse’, ‘Abundant’, and several intermediary options. This variable is tied to difficulty, as more resources will make the game easier.

  • Start Location – This parameter is not tied to difficulty, so is still editable when a fixed difficulty is selected. The player chooses one of several microbial start locations (tide pool, stromatolite, hydrothermal vent, etc.) by clicking on one circular icon from a set with various locations represented pictorially. Changes in the environment arising from this choice are currently uncertain, but visual styles (such as background and favorable microbe coloration) will definitely vary. It may be that this option determines compound concentration, although this would lead to location being tied to difficulty.

  • Mutation Budget – A slider or text field to change the player’s available Mutation Points each generation. The default (medium difficulty) is 100, and all organelle costs should be decided based on this number to allow sensible changes in each generation. Higher mutation budgets correspond to lower difficulties and vice versa.

  • LAWK – Not tied to difficulty. A checkbox toggling Life As We Know It in-game. Un-checking this option will enable fictional organelles such as thermoplasts, while leaving it checked will restrict gameplay to only scientifically accurate concepts.

Yeah I looked through the GDD when making the list, but I was doubtful about some of them:

Difficulty: This would be basically AI Difficulty
Experience Level: So basically the level of tutorials you get? I think this could be more clearly broken up into two categories.

Tutorial: Yes, No
In-game Advice: Beginner, Regular, Experienced

NPC Evolution Rate Variance: Why do we want the player to be able to change this? What is significant about this?

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[quote=“NickTheNick, post:3, topic:185”]
NPC Evolution Rate Variance: Why do we want the player to be able to change this? What is significant about this?
[/quote]I’m pretty sure this option would decide whether or not the rest of the world would evolve without you should you choose to stop evolving.

If the game is set at a low evolution rate, NPCs will evolve at a slow rate, giving the player a better chance to assert themselves in the ecosystem.

However should the game be set at a high rate, if the player is too slow in evolving or chooses the wrong mutations, the NPCs can surpass the player, possibly entering into later stages before the player can. TheUteen and I were discussing the possibility of NPC species forming civilizations before the player could on the community forum:

No that’s NPC Evolution Rate. NPC Evolution Rate Variance allows for NPC species to range between evolving faster, as fast, or slower than you.

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It’s mostly something on the simulation side. I think Species ALRE has something similar. It’s not essential, I just thought it might be interesting to include.

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I don’t think it actually makes much sense as a parameter given the state of the CPA system.

Unless it can relate directly to gameplay, and a player could understand it, I don’t think it should be included.