Devblog #41: Godot 4 is Here

After over a year since Godot 4 was released, Thrive has finally made the huge leap to go from Godot 3 to 4. This release is sadly thin on new features as Godot 4 is so different from 3 that it took a lot of time to go over everything that needed to be updated to work with Godot 4, as the automatic upgrade process was missing a ton of things. Also we needed to bugfix and tweak a lot of our code that relied on how Godot 3 worked which was changed in 4.

This conversion didn’t require us to fix the gameplay once again thanks to the ECS rework that was done last year. That protected our gameplay code from all of the Godot changes. A lot of the GUI needed to be tweaked and fixed, though. This upgrade to Godot 4 now allows us to use a modern C# runtime and language version features. As an added bonus the new runtime has increased the game performance. While Godot 4 initially looked like it made the game a bit slower, that runtime upgrade should have the net effect of the game being again just a bit more performant. All this background work is setting up for the future of Thrive. For the next release we’ll get back to working on microbe roadmap features so hopefully everyone can have a bit more patience with us before we can bring out some new major features. Unless of course an overwhelming amount of new high priority bugs are discovered after this release, but here’s hoping that that doesn’t happen.

Read on for more details, or visit the download page linked below to get the new version. As always, the update is available for free with our launcher, or you can support development by purchasing on Steam or

Thrive 0.6.6

See our patch notes for full details, or read on for some of the highlights.

Godot 4.2.2

This is a massive upgrade to the Godot engine, as such it has been pretty painful to upgrade to, but we got it done. Godot 4 has overhauled their rendering, improved and changed almost all of their systems, it’s not a brand new engine but this is almost that level of overhauling the engine. The biggest visible changes are the new Vulkan-based renderer, which requires a more recent GPU than before. Thrive can be played with the OpenGL 3 fallback renderer, with very few graphical problems, which is an improvement compared to the GLES2 fallback renderer.

This upgrade finally allowed us to switch to .NET 8 runtime, which we have been wanting to use for a longtime now and have had to do various workarounds in Thrive due to being stuck on an ancient runtime while using Godot 3. This runtime upgrade also nicely has improved the performance of our C# code. The engine upgrade also now allows the Thrive Launcher to set an audio delay override which when increased enough can fix crackling audio in the game.

Engulfing Animations

Through the magic of shaders, cells no longer flash blue when they try to eat something. You can now feast your eyes on the hypnotic undulations of predatory engulfment each time a cell is engulfing it’s prey!

Varied Environmental Conditions

Returning players may notice that oxygen levels now have a little bit of variation between oceanic patches. Make sure to account for this fluctuation in available energy generation in your cell as you make your way through the sea!

Moving forward, these values may be subject to change, and someday might even be determined by the activities of life itself.

Other Notable Changes

  • There’s now a native library variant that doesn’t require AVX, this should make Thrive playable again on some older CPUs
  • Osmoregulation cost values are now shown in red as it is a negative property
  • Engulfment storage full tutorial now has an end trigger once the player has digested enough things
  • Memory usage metrics now works on Windows
  • Removed our custom checkbox implementation now that Godot’s has all the needed features

Looking Ahead

We have recently spent quite a lot of development time working on background systems that don’t have much visible impact on the gameplay. We feel like this has been necessary for the long-term future of Thrive as the game will take at least more than a decade to “complete.” As a result we can’t neglect keeping the game architecture clean and on up to date engine versions, as what we have now would be extremely ancient by the time the game is complete.

Now with the engine upgrade done, we will focus on new features for the next release, 0.6.7, from our roadmap to get us closer to a complete microbe stage. Of course we’ll need to correct any new impactful bugs that still exist in the game. But hopefully there isn’t too many of those so that there’s enough time to make many new features for 0.6.7 which is probably going to be released by the end of June.

As always, remember to join us for our developer Thrivestream later today, where we’ll cover the changes in this release and answer any questions you might have about the future of development.

You can also visit our feedback thread to give your thoughts on this update.