Note: Along with plants, the scope of this discussion includes other sessile organisms, such as fungi, sponges, coral, etc.
Sessile organisms have always been murky in concepts for Thrive, with brainstorming pushed off into the distant future. With the microbe stage steadily approaching completion however, we are running short on time. So I think it’s important to start rounding out some thought, and I wanted to create this thread before I forgot my train of reasoning.
Before I or other developers devote brainpower to sessile gameplay however, I want to establish some basic information as to how ambitious we can afford to be. The original scope of Thrive proudly says that every sessile organism - plants, coral, sponges - will be simulated and playable, refusing to exclude sessile organisms from the player’s reach. I would like to revisit that thought and see if you guys think it is feasible.
Knowing that sessile biota play outsized roles in defining an ecosystem - trees defining forests, coral reefs supporting entire ecosystems, sponges lightening up the sea floor - how realistic is it for us to assume that every plant, reef, etc. will procedurally evolve along with the player? Knowing that these organisms will have to populate the planet at a far more dense rate than motile organisms, and knowing how important these organisms are such that their absence or presence might change gameplay dramatically, I have my doubts. But of course, I’d like to be proven wrong.
Would another option be better to utilize? For example, perhaps sessile organisms can be pre-generated and dynamic not through auto-evo but through a more simple mechanic using existing assets. Or perhaps a few plants and such are subject to auto-evo while the majority are not, and those non auto-evo organisms are forcefully implemented into the environment to populate the world.
I think we can make decently engaging player gameplay with sessile organisms, we just need to make sure we aren’t too ambitious with our scope so that we don’t fall into the early-Thrive trap. So input from our programmers and graphic artists would be appreciated before dedicating a major effort to sessile gameplay.