Devblog #2: Membrane and More

Membrane

Welcome to the second in a set of monthly official devblogs on to the Revolutionary Games website! These devblogs will keep you up to date with all the recent progress in Thrive’s development.

In this devblog: new organelle models, cell membranes and a new theme. Also covered is the question of Kickstarter, and some activity on our community forums.

Graphics

Since the last devblog, we have made great strides in the visual improvement of Thrive. Here’s what we’ve been working on:

Cell Membranes

If you’ve played or seen pictures of Thrive before you will know that our cells so far are comprised of hexagons and resemble honeycombs more than actual cells. But now, the hexagons are gone. We have created an amazing new dynamic cell membrane that shall fit around the cell’s organelles and make the cells look more like real cells. (See above image. Bear in mind, the hexagons won’t be visible, instead replaced by floating organelles.)

Not only have these membranes been rendered they have also had physics added so that cells cannot pass through each other. Furthermore, we have managed to map the flagella to the edge of the membrane, so that it is external to the cell.

Now we’re working on having the player able to change the colour of their cell’s membrane.

To follow this discussion, go here:

http://forum.revolutionarygamesstudio.com/t/membrane/80/23

Organelle Models

In keeping with the graphical updates, we have also been working on new organelle models. These include: mitochondria, nucleus, predatory pilus, bioluminescent organelle and thermoplasts, with more to come. These will eventually replace the organelles we currently have.

We are now going to fine tune these models and work on adding the finished ones into the game.

The discussion on this can be followed here:

http://forum.revolutionarygamesstudio.com/t/organelle-models/88/23

Team Lead

Following these recent graphical updates, we also now have a new Graphics Team lead: The Creator. Having a Team Lead will help to organize and coordinate development and will hopefully lead to increased progress.

Meta

Opening Cutscene

In addition to all this, we have also managed to add the Thrive opening cutscene, that will play upon opening the game. Here it is:

 

 

Kickstarter

Second only to underwater civilisations, questions about using Kickstarter have to be one of the most popular questions we’re asked. After the last devblog, there were a few comments regarding Kickstarter and we feel we must address this.

People who are very eager for Thrive to develop assume that donating money will make progress go quicker. So they ask why we do not use Kickstarter to receive donations.
There are several reasons that we do not use it and several reasons we should. However, we fell that the negatives outweigh the positives.

To begin with, here are some reasons for using Kickstarter. Adding money into the equation creates a responsibility to keep working which may attract more people and help them stay on the team longer, as well as solidify the sense that Thrive is actually happening. Money would allow us to pay for professional programmers who can get the game finished far quicker, as well as subsidising server costs, software costs, advertising costs and so on. It may also instill more confidence from newcomers.  An open-source team trying to make a game like Thrive for free sounds highly unlikely and any newcomers may feel immediately doubtful that it will amount to anything. It also gives people who feel they have nothing else to offer an opportunity to show your support and feel you’ve contributed something, which is always a good thing.

However, it’s quite difficult to decide what to do with the money if we had it. The core team’s a bit more static than it once was, but even so, the list of people actively helping at any one time changes constantly. Dividing up money between everyone would be hard simply because we wouldn’t know what the value of everything should be. Do we just give it to the programmers because they’re what we need above all else right now? If not, how much do we value things like sound design relative to art or programming? Within the different development areas, who gets how much, and how do we measure how much everyone has contributed? What’s the cutoff between getting some money for substantial contribution and getting none? Answering these seems at best unfair, and at worst massively ungrateful.

Alternatively, you might suggest we use it for team-wide purposes. These include server costs, software costs, etc. This could perhaps be a possibility (especially with server compensation) but again we have to pick priorities and leave some things behind. Say a 3D modeler wants some expensive software to work on graphics, but at the same time a composer wants to hire session musicians to record tracks. Who do we prioritise? Should we even consider “hiring” 3D modelers who don’t have their own appropriate software? While this is a worst-case scenario and highly unlikely, what if they just take the money and leave, or buy something far cheaper and keep the rest for themselves? We’re not a proper organisation, so we have no way of policing these things via proper contracts.

Another possibility is hiring programmers. Many of the members of Thrive could be labelled as idea guys, which programmers in general don’t like working with, especially for free. Paying to hire new programmers who simply build what we want would certainly allow us to find more, but then we have to question whether existing programmers should get compensation. And again, it’s the problem of weighing up how much work necessitates how much pay, and whether that’s even a measurable statistic.

Hopefully, this has answered any queries about Kickstarter but if not feel free to ask at our Community Forum. You can find a link for this at the bottom of the page.

Community Forum Games

Furthermore, the Community Forum games have been a great success so far, from the “Ecosystem“ roleplay to the “Contact” Space Race roleplay to the Official Thrive Forum Game Competition (which is now full.) If you want something to do while you wait for the real game to come out, then why don’t you check these out. They can be found here:

http://thrivegame.freeforums.net/board/24/forum-games

Questions are best asked at our Community Forums that can be found here:

http://thrivegame.freeforums.net/

Sadly, that’s it for this devblog.  Enjoy this theme by Oliveriver to finish. Make sure to check back here in about a month’s time for the next one!