Where did this project begin and how has it evolved?

Several years ago (2009 to be exact), a topic was posted on the Spore forums detailing a game called Evolutions! with screenshots showing ultra-realistic graphics and an organism editor with much more flexibility than Spore’s. It was later revealed to be a hoax, created to convince EA (Spore’s developers) that they had competition, supposedly inciting improvements to Spore. However, enough people were interested to start a small development team, with the thread’s original poster as its leader. Soon it became apparent that the team in place didn’t have the necessary administration to run effectively. A small group consisting of people who had the skills and determination to make a realistic evolution game broke off, and Thrive was born.

The open-source nature of the project has meant only a single founding member is still with us (~sciocont), but plenty of skilled newcomers have arrived to take the place of those who leave. For much of Thrive’s development, little programming work was done, a lack of coders meaning conceptual work was favored. By mid-2012, so little concrete development was visible that the only remaining programmer left, believing the project was too ambitious from the start (an understandable sentiment, if you ask us). However, the team worked to reverse the situation in only a few months, aided by a Reddit post in early 2013 which saw 30,000 visitors to the forums in a single day.

Since then, work has progressed, like the proverbial tortoise, in a slow and steady manner, with increased organisation and a growing internet presence. At the time of writing, the release of 0.2.4 is fast approaching, to be followed by an outreach initiative to attract new members and grow the team, hopefully leading to faster updates and more progress. The full Microbe Stage is still some way off, but most of its core systems have been thoroughly planned, only implementation and assorted balancing remaining. Once we are happy with the stage as final, we will move on, beginning work on the Multicellular Stage.

You can read a more detailed account of the project’s history here.

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