Devblog #24: And Godot arrived

It’s been only two months since we started the last engine change, and today we are proud to announce our newest release: Thrive 0.5.0!

Yes, it only took us two months to rewrite the whole game in Godot. So what does this new release bring and what’s so good about this new engine? Well Godot is user friendly, has a lot of documentation, an active community and no missing important features. In other words, it makes development on Thrive easier, meaning that with this (hopefully) there won’t be any more engine changes.

But what does this mean for players like you? Better performance and compatibility, with this update those with Intel HD Graphics cards will finally be able to play the game without issue. Even better, as long as we don’t need native code, this and future releases should be compatible with Mac!

And of course, this version runs much smoother and without random crashes, so stop waiting and give 0.5.0 a try!

If you use Mac, download the game directly from here, since the launcher is not Mac compatible.

Read on to see what else this release brings and our plans for Thrive’s future.

Thrive 0.5.0

Most of the work consisted on remaking the game on Godot, so there isn’t as much new content as we’d like. That being said, this version still brings many changes to Thrive.

Settings Menu

Once the game starts, you can access a new settings menu. There you can change things like graphics, sound volume, the compound cloud resolution to improve performance and even enabling cheats (don’t do that though). This menu lets you play in full screen as well! It also includes color blind filters for more accessibility and of course it features a brand new UI based on Narotiza’s cool concepts.


The engine switch has let us make a few graphical improvements. There are new particle effects that make the game prettier and also enhance the feeling of being underwater, giving more depth to the environment.
Most biomes have their own particular particles (sorry), so you can find dwindling embers in the Vents, fast moving bubbles in the Estuary or floating ice crystals in the Ice Shelf. Go explore the patch map and see what you can find.

Toxins have been overhauled too, they no longer use x models but instead are represented by clouds and projectiles of dwindling particles. Now they finally feel like actual toxins!
In the future we’ll add more effects including new unique environment particles for the biomes that don’t have them yet and add a new affect for environmental toxins, that still use the old model.


We had issues with performance for a long time: random crashes, low FPS counts and some users couldn’t even run the game at all. That’s all over, since we published the beta many users have reported Thrive runs way more fluid now and we noticed too. This also means that players with Intel HD Graphics cards and older hardware should be able to properly run the game. Now that this kind of issues are out of the way, we can focus on adding new features and keep improving the game, so look forward to that in future updates!

Graphic Improvements

Another thing we worked on was improving the graphics. We should have fixed the camera jitter that happened when moving the cell. Clouds have been improved too, they don’t have straight edges anymore, looking more natural. We also tweaked the color of some compounds so let us know how you feel about this change.

And speaking about color, backgrounds are properly lit again. Since the BSF change they looked much lighter and over saturated than they should, but that is now fixed. Coupled with the new particles, environments now look better than ever.

Another important improvement is that the intro cut scenes are less choppy and play much smoother. Speaking of which, we have a new cut scene for the microbe stage.

We also made new changes to the UI. We improved the reproduction bars, now they show the ammonia and phosphates icons and turn white when your cell is ready to reproduce. Compounds and agents that your cell can’t use, like iron and hydrogen sulfide, now don’t appear in the compounds tab making everything less cluttered. An useful feature if we end up adding more compounds.

Other stuff

Other new features include:

  • Added zooming out in the editor, now you can make bigger cells!
  • Dead microbes spawn mitochondria models less frequently. We intend to make a new model for corpse chunks in the future.
  • Added new fades to make transitions between screens smoother.

Known issues

Even if we’ve reimplemented most, if not all of the features, this has caused several bugs. Balance-wise, the environment is more barren. We had issues with compound spawning and we need to fix that in the future.
Cells may feel slower now too specially if they are eukaryotes, so we apologize in advance.
Collisions and the ATP balance bars also need tweaking, as well as the membrane, that looks smaller than it should.

So what now?

As we said, Godot makes everything easier and that’s true for non programmers too. Speaking from personal experience, (hi, DonGororo here) I never dared to work directly on the game, but with this engine switch I finally got to it. And surprisingly, it was fun and rather easy. I made the particle effects for this release and it took me roughly a week to learn how they work and then to start making them.

We received several new developers during these couple of months and with Godot as our engine we expect to keep this trend. So if you have the skills, now is the best time to join the team!

We remind you as well that hhyyrylainen has a Patreon and that any contribution will help future development of Thrive. We already reached our first goal, and once we reach the next one he’ll be able to work on thrive part-time, something essential to ensure future development.

Lastly, we are having a release livestream later today. Join us as we answer your questions and talk about our plans for the future until silliness eventually consumes us all.