Alright, so with this new idea for protein slots, I’ve decided to do some brainstorming on how we could make the concept more easily navigable for players, while still featuring the upgrade path mechanics that @MirrorMonkey2 provided in their concept.
Basically, the proteins will be listed in a selection window, much like regular placable parts. The key difference here, is that each protein type will have a sort of “upgrade bar” occupied by nodes that can be unlocked in a linear fashion by spending set amounts of MP. There are two types of nodes here, the intermediary nodes that have no particular function by themselves, and the unlocking nodes which will grant the player new alternate forms of their protein, or otherwise a new protein altogether. The specifics of what exactly should be unlocked is open for discussion.
The two new organelles I brought up in the concept are to provide players with options for different means of protein storage. The exact stats and costs are up for discussion, but I have provided an idea on their shape and storage capacity.
The micronucleus is fairly self explanatory, but the nucleoid might be a bit problematic when it comes to implementation. It would make sense that the nucleoid would be essential should it be a feature, but it wouldn’t make sense for a cell to still have one after evolving a nucleus. So perhaps the player’s nucleoid would be replaced by normal cytoplasm once they place down their nucleus?
Edit: I have decided that the starting nulceoid be replaced with a cytoplasm upon placing the nucleus, the nucleoid’s contained proteins will be migrated to the nucleus, so the player will not lose anything. The nucleoid will have the same stats and costs as a normal cytoplasm as well, so the player will experience no fundamental change aside from the natural costs of the nucleus.
I believe that accessing the protein placement menu should be done similar to organelle upgrades, by selecting a protein storing part in your cell and accessing it’s “upgrades” via the selection menu. This should help prevent too much visual button clutter in the UI.
Edit: I should mention that I do not believe we should use this system to replace the current prokaryotic parts, but to instead act as an addition to both prokaryotic and eukaryotic gameplay. From a gameplay perspective, keeping active processing proteins such as metabolosomes as parts helps keep prokaryotic and eukaryotic gameplay similar to each other. I would prefer that both types do not deviate too far from each other so that the transition between is not jarring to the player. It is also worth mentioning that I intend for proteins within the slots system be distinct in that they are intended to be passive changes to the cell’s functions and defenses, rather than active processes. I believe we can save the discussion of keeping the parts or not for after we implement the slots feature, as it would not be inherently difficult to migrate the parts into the slots system.