You raise alot of good points here! Especially with how many players certainly seem to want to be able to have a great deal of control on what they evolve into. This is definitely something I would like to try making a poll on in the community forums or such to gauge the overall preferences of the community, assuming enough developers are in support of such a system. We could probably make some compromises should opinions be somewhat divided.
That being said, I agree with your apprehension of randomization of unlocking parts. As you noted it takes away from the control a player has over their species; and while that’s an exciting gameplay feature, we need to make sure that our community would enjoy such an element before depriving them of the great deal of control Thrive seems to have featured since it’s conception.
By the way when I said evolution in reality lacks intelligent design I wasn’t actually thinking about that goal of Thrive at the time, but now that you remind me, I suppose I should emphasize that it’s best we think pretty carefully on how we want to give players some control over the random outcomes from such a feature as I mentioned before. (I kind of like naggorath’s idea of there being seperate systems for the organelles and proteins but it could potentially be pretty jarring.)
Anyhow, I don’t believe I have seen that idea on making a larger first time cost to organelles but it seems like a nice simple way of encouraging players to think about what they are intending to do with their cell before committing to it. Though we would need a good way to communicate to the player that there’s a marked up cost on first purchase, I’m sure that wouldn’t be hard.
Organelle upgrades are something I’ve been eyeing for a while now, I really love the concept and they seem to be a great way to give players more means of customization and adaptation, as well as giving new flavors to parts and mechanisms. They also introduce that lovely gradual sense of progress that people seem to love. It’s not mutually exclusive from unlock systems though I’m sure you know, some upgraded forms of a part could potentially require a protein you dont have at the time, or the organelle itself may not be available for whatever reason. It’s alot to think about, and I definitely want to take the time to do so eventually.
On an unrelated note, I came up with a hastily drawn concept on how we could make a protein slot system work based on Nickthenick’s brief mention of how he would prefer if the system didn’t have a hard limit. I suppose I should take it elsewhere though as to avoid sidetracking the discussion