Devblog #4: A Life in Color

A couple months after the release of 0.3.0, we are proud to announce the newest version of Thrive: 0.3.1. Although this update is not as major as the last one and doesn’t have any new gameplay, it is full of features that improve the experience.

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Read on to find out more about this new release and our plans for the future.

Release 0.3.1


 

Linux Support

Probably the most noteworthy addition in this version is Linux support. Quite a lot of our players are using the Linux operating system, and ever since we upgraded to Ogre 2.0 in the last release, they’ve been unable to play. However, thanks to the work of a brave programmer who shall remain anonymous* we have finally fixed this issue. This feature is also really important since it means that our programmers on Linux operating systems are finally able to contribute again.

Parallax Background

Next in this release we have a parallax background. One of the most frequent complaints about Thrive’s previous version was that it was almost impossible to tell whether the player cell was moving or not. There weren’t many points of reference in the environment – the old background was stationary and the moving cells and compound emitters further distorted the perspective by erratically moving about the environment. However, in 0.3.1, our amazing graphics team has painted a bunch of tileable textures layered over each other to create a sense of depth.

Colored NPC Microbes

The third bullet on the list is the colored NPC microbes. Color is an important part of evolution, not to mention that it looks so much better than the prosaic microbes we had before. In this release, all species have their own color to help the player distinguish them from each other. Unfortunately, you are still unable to modify the color of your own cell (other than actually modifying the configs.lua file). The reason for this isn’t that the code isn’t there; rather, we just don’t have the necessary GUI elements for this yet, but this should be done soon enough.

Editor Symmetry

Another feature is the addition of symmetry in the editor. You might have noticed the weirdly shaped grey button with a line through it between the undo and redo buttons in the editor. Well, now this button actually does something! By clicking it once, you are able to symmetrically place two organelles. Clicking it a second time creates a four-way rectangular symmetry, where you place four (!) organelles at the same time. Finally, clicking it one more time creates hexagonal symmetry which allows you to place six organelles at once. Obviously, because symmetrically placed organelles cost the same amount as placing an organelle many times, the hexagonal symmetry can only be used to place vacuoles (everything else is too expensive). We also flipped the player cell while in the editor, so that forward is now up.

New Icon

Last but not least is the new .exe icon. It was originally added by jjonj, but thanks to Narotiza from the community forums, we have something much more pleasant. So even if you aren’t part of the development team, if you don’t like something, feel free to change it, and if it works better we will incorporate it. Such is the nature of open source!

Other Fixes

Other than this, the 0.3.1 release has a lot of bug fixes, more so than any other release. Most notably, we fixed the audio bug which crashed the game for some people. We also allowed the membrane to be any size (it no longer clips with larger microbes) and made the chloroplast organelle spawn randomly in the environment. The species name label is also fixed, so no more cut off text!

Other News

Although we’ve done quite a bit for this release, our team has also been busy elsewhere, doing prototyping and community outreach.

The astute reader may notice this Devblog isn’t quite as major as we made it out to be at the end of the last one. Rest assured it’s still coming, we’ve just had issues getting it finished. We have it ready, so expect to see it here within the next week. Stay tuned!

Thrive Community Survey

If you’ve been following us on our subreddit or community forums, you most likely already know about the Thrive Community Survey. If you haven’t, please take some time to fill it out – knowing who our fanbase are, how they interact with us and what they think of the project are really useful data sets, which could help us improve our outreach efforts and better understand what people want from the game.

You can view the results so far here, but we’ll be posting a more detailed look at some point in the near future. Apparently less than two thirds of people think TheCreator is the best. This is a travesty, because he clearly is. It’s just obvious.

New User Guidance

As always, we are looking for dedicated volunteers to help make the Thrive project a reality. We’ve written some advice for new team members to help ease them in to working on the project. Even if you’ve already tried helping but found it overwhelming, please take a look – we want to make it as easy as possible for people to jump in and contribute as much as they want. If you’re interested, submit an application.

Future Release Plans

With 0.3.1 wrapped-up, it’s time to move onwards to the next release. We’ve compiled a list of all the features we want to include in the next few releases, which you can view here. This is all subject to change of course, but it should give you a pretty good idea of where we’re going next.

Prototypes

And now, to end this Devblog, what is probably the hardest and most important part, the CPA system. As many of you already know the Compound, Population-Dynamics, and Auto-Evo (CPA) system is the most important part of the microbe stage and the whole game in general. Heck, the CPA system is Thrive. We have been avoiding working on it for some time now because of its complexity, but with fluid mechanics, compound clouds, and bacteria coming in the next two releases, it’s crucial that we cement our understanding of how it will work. One of our theorists, tjwhale, has volunteered to work on a prototype demonstrating the CPA system based on this theory post he wrote a while earlier. These graphs might be a bit confusing to you, but the player doesn’t really need to understand them, they are just going to run in the background to make the world around the player look very realistic. Cool, huh?

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* It was jjonj and/or hhyyrylainen