@Leinourdian has brought up an interesting thought about the nucleus which I want to bring up for discussion since the “nucleus paradox” has been a common issue of discussion for us here in Thrive.
He mentioned that we could change the nucleus a bit with three things…
- Make the nucleus less expensive energetically
- Have the nucleus have a more stringent unlock condition
- Have the nucleus provide a certain benefit to cells of larger sizes
To my knowledge, the nucleus evolved as a byproduct of endosymbiosis. In the exchange of genetic information between the primordial mitochondria and the host cell, it is believed that the membrane genome information of the mitochondria species got transferred to some host organisms accidentally. This could have resulted in the generation of a lipid membrane within the cell (lipids naturally form enclosed membranes). While this harmed undoubtedly harmed some host cells, the lipid membrane could have enclosed around the genetic information of certain hosts. This would have been an invaluable barrier against genetic parasites, allowing cells to maintain larger genomes with smaller chances of something going wrong.
I got the information above from a book which I forgot the name of at the current moment. I will edit this post when I remember the title and author.
Going back to the ideas, I think points 1 and 2 are pretty worthwhile, since the immense energy burden the organelle puts in a cell in Thrive currently makes it a very detrimental part to place in itself - hence making it a big balancing issue and hence making auto-evo treat it like it’s worth nothing. 3 is good too, but it needs careful thought.
I support the idea that we should attach an unlock condition to the nucleus based on reaching a certain size, as well as reducing the energy costs of the nucleus itself. Based on the information above, the nucleus wasn’t necessarily a costly organelle to develop; rather, it allowed the development of advanced biological process that are energy intensive. So placing down a nucleus shouldn’t necessarily be expensive, your organism should just have enough size to be able to host an internal structure like the nucleus in my opinion.
Looking at effects on gameplay, I think we can only benefit the player with these changes. One of the messier and less “accurate” components of Thrive is the fact that players have to prepare for the nucleus before placing it. While it presents a strategic consideration, I don’t think it’s really accurate to evolution as a whole, and as such, I don’t think we are encouraging realistic evolutionary strategies. I also think the detriments placed on auto-evo and AI by the nucleus are not worth whatever benefits we see currently.
Placing the constraints on the nucleus to be more unlock based can also make us control the pace of Thrive more. Depending on how quickly a player beelines energy production, they could easily get the nucleus within 10 generations. Having an unlock condition allows us to more clearly define a point in which the player should have access to the nucleus, therefore allowing us to accurately gauge and define the length of an average gameplay experience.
I will say though that having size as an unlock constraint could be a bit messy. Players could theoretically spam down larger parts until they reach the necessary size and then place the nucleus down. We could have the nucleus still take a good amount of energy to maintain of course, but not too much; that is the whole point of the unlock constraint after all, to lessen the energy burden of the nucleus. I guess rethinking the impact of size on osmoregulation would help, but that’s a whole conversation in itself.
Idea 3, as said before, requires more thought. I think we are due to consider things like non-linear osmoregulation scaling with size and surface area and volume, and I foresee the nucleus relating to that conversation. But for now, that will have to wait.
What do you guys think?