It’s that time again: another Devblog, and a new release! World, prepare to welcome Thrive 0.3.2. There are two big new features (compound clouds and a tutorial), and a bunch of smaller changes.
In this Devblog, we will be covering the new features of this release and the plans for the next release. Read on to find out what’s new in Thrive.
Thrive 0.3.2 introduces some important changes, and for the first time we’ve provided a video where a developer, TheCreator (Graphics Team Lead), demonstrates the new features with some gameplay. Check it out below.
The main feature of this update is the addition of compound clouds wired into an underlying fluid dynamics simulation. Previously we’ve had to make do with unscientific, unattractive and game-breaking compound emitters. Compound clouds are the scientific, beautiful and game-enriching replacement. These are colourful splashes of resources spawning throughout the environment; microbes can collect nutrients essential for survival by swimming through them. For a full list of compound clouds, see here.
Process System Overhaul
We’ve rewritten the process system (which controls how compounds are processed within cells) to make it more intuitive and less prone to errors. Now you won’t spend ages collecting enough reproductase to divide only for the process system to screw you over by ejecting it all.
A tutorial was our most requested short term feature, and for good reason. Not everyone is a microbiology expert, and it really got some people’s goat when they had no idea what they were doing.
Now we have a full, if temporary, tutorial in place, which will guide you through how to play from the very beginning: all the controls, how to survive, how to use the editor, everything currently in the game. If you want to go hardcore and try the game without it, press escape. Every organelle in the editor has a tooltip too, so now you can combine compounds inside cells with ease. We wish to stress this isn’t a substitute for an actual degree in cellular biochemistry.
We don’t have proper microbial biomes yet, but our new varying backgrounds might trick you into thinking otherwise. Every time you die there’s a chance you’ll respawn in a different biome background, from oceanic abyss to algal bloom. The change is purely cosmetic for the moment.
More Linux Fixes
Our programmers have been hard at work adding support for more versions of Linux. We have compatibility with Ubuntu, Red Hat, Arch and Fedora with (hopefully) no problems, and those running a different version can compile the dependencies themselves and run the game. We’re still expanding our Linux compatibility further and looking to add OSX support, so developers native to either are more than welcome on the team.
We’ve rewritten some of the code for the CPA (Compound, Processes and Auto-Evo) processes. This will make it better suited to dealing with bacteria once implemented. Currently it’s hard to repurpose the current system to deal with bacteria, partially because it is so intertwined with the microbe code. So we created a model for process rates that is more modular and independent. It won’t make a visible change to the gameplay of Thrive, but rather will be underlying the game, which is, nonetheless, as important as the visible, frontline aspects of Thrive.
Sound Effects Update
Our Sound Team has also been working on some sound effect updates in order to iron out any untidiness and to improve the general atmosphere of the microbe stage so far. These include creating sounds for engulfment and reproduction, adjusting the relative volumes of music and sound effects, and adding ambience to the editor.
Miscellaneous Minor Matters
As always, a bunch of small things were added or got fixed in the course of building this release. Scrolling is smoother, and can be done with +/- as well as the scroll wheel. We fixed a recurring text scaling issue, so now text actually fits inside the buttons as it’s supposed to, and we replaced the annoying compounds panel with a better temporary alternative. Only 50 Mutation Points are now available in the editor (the video above was created before this change) since we want to emphasize how gradual evolutionary change in the game will be.
Thanks to a useful pre-release period, we squished a whole load of bugs. Crashes, compound processing glitches, unintentional Sonic mode. A few could have slipped through the cracks, but we’ve decided it’s stable enough to release.
Thrive’s development hasn’t stood still in other areas.
Theory Team Lead tjwhale has been diligently working away on his CPA system prototype, introducing predation into an already complex simulation. It’s far from nearing implementation into the game, but you can read his progress here and get a taste for how the underlying simulation will function at some point in the future.
We get it, our GUI is a bit clunky. It was always meant to be temporary, so right now we’re developing concepts for its replacement (see this thread). Bear in mind the aesthetic is as basic as possible at the moment, only the layout is being considered. We certainly won’t have boring black and white buttons in the future game.
On a similar note, we’re creating icons for in-game elements such as compounds, biomes and organelles. These should make it easier for the player to distinguish something on-screen quicker than reading text. Just remember that it’s not a Nike shoe, it’s a slab of meat.
As part of a Wiki revamp to improve the impression of the Wiki to new members, we’ve written a detailed history of the Thrive project: from its origin as a disfigured offshoot of Spore to its present state as a combination of a variation of games and our own ideas. It may be a little self-indulgent, but our history can be found here for your potential enjoyment.
So, in conclusion, here’s to a prosperous future for the game, beginning with this release. More to follow shortly…stay tuned…