Prokaryotic civilisations

#1

So i mentioned in the development discord server that colonies could be a good gameplay addition to the game, so i’m making this thread to brainstorm some ideas into something more concrete.

My ideas so far are as follow:

  • There are colonies in the map, and their location is permanent (if you move away and go back the colony is still there). They should be different in different biomes, and not too close to one another.
  • The player can in the editor choose to become a colony, and if they do they will spawn a colony wherever they opened the editor (the biggest decision on where to create a colony being the nearby npc colonies).
  • Whenever a player dies they would spawn in the colony, instead of on a random spot like now.
  • Eukaryotes would unlock more mechanics for the colonies than prokaryotes.
  • There could be dymorphism (maybe locked behind the nucleus?) where one type of cell moves and doesn’t reproduce and another reproduces and doesn’t move, and the player could play as the second type and bring compounds to the first type. this is somewhat inspired by this algae.
  • Colony cells would defend eachother, and will attack any foreign cell that gets too close to a colony, making attacking a colony dangerous (but potentially very profitable). It would also make respawning safer for the player.

What do you think? (especially the biology people since i can’t biology)

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#2

Nice idea.

I made this swarming prototype a while ago and I think if you tune the parameters it wouldn’t be so hard to get the cells to sit close to each other.

Would implementing something like this into some species AI give most of what you are thinking? You would come across groups of those cells all packed together which move together. The colonies could move which might be interesting if two of them collided.

I guess there are other things you are talking about, like spawning near a colony of your own and dymoprhism, however would this sort of thing get most of the way to what you are imagining?

Edit: Here is a video with some changed parameters where the cells form more of a colony. Because it is emergent from simple interactions between them it reforms if the cells are scattered.

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#3

An interesting idea. And definitely a bit different from the earlier ideas for forming cell colonies.

At least for the player I’d like the transition to multicellular work more like this:

  • Add binding agents
  • The player can now bind to other cells of their species. So they need to swim around and find them
  • Still on dividing they wouldn’t keep their colony.
  • After they reach some threshold of size they would switch over to budding and they would be able to predesing the “body plan” they want in the editor and then they would grow into it
  • After that the player would then be able to design and place specialized cells.

But I like the idea of having some big NPC colonies to add variety to the game.

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#4

This thread is about cellular colonies, not necessarilly multicellularity. Even bacteria would be able to form colonies.

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#5

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it discussed that colonies are a prerequisite to get into proper multicellularity, so…

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#6

Yeah but you could have a colony of unicellular organism without wanting multicellularity

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#7

I think there’s a lot of different theories about how multicellularity arises, so we’re quite free from a scientific perspective.

I guess the beginning of the process is a single cell swimming around and the end is when, in the multicellular editor, you can place specialised cells and plan out a larger 2D creature, how we get between these points is relatively open.

Maybe one interesting idea is to take what both of you are saying. So summoning agents could cause cells to form a colony, with many members swimming close together, but not being bonded. Maybe bonding agents lets you stick together with other members of your species but maybe it’s quite hard to find very many of them. Only if you have both can you make a larger multicellular creature.

I’m not sure if that makes sense, bonding + summoning is something we have talked about before. I think it would be interesting if both pieces had interesting mechanics for them so you could do them in either order and have an interesting experience.

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