Hey guys, Nick here, and welcome back to another Mini Update.
As mentioned in the latest devblog, today we’re going to talk a bit about the short term plans and goals for the project. However, I’m also going to throw in a part at the end to talk about our new forum and some of the interesting discussions on the Microbe Stage we’ve been having recently. Let’s begin!
As you might have noticed before , we’ve mentioned that we want to switch the engine. A quick recap of the main benefits of this would be having a game engine that is understood by one of the programmers, and through him and his documentation make it easier for current and new programmers to become more familiar with it as well. You can read more about it in the links above.
Release & Recruitment
Once we finish the engine switch, we’ll be able to work on all the tasks of programming and development that are currently on the backburner. We’ll make a release of the game using the new Leviathan engine, and then follow this up with a period of outreach and marketing to grow the development team. We won’t go all out during this period of outreach, we will save that for the step detailed below. Leviathan should ideally make it easier to introduce new developers to the project and the code base, so when it’s ready we want to grow the team and speed up the work on new features.
With an expanded team after a period of outreach, the plan is to start a new update that will be a big overhaul of the game.
We’ve updated the compounds from floating circles and triangles to clouds, we’ve updated the cells from hexes to actual membranes, we’ve updated the UI at least two or three times (and don’t expect that to be the end of it), we’ve even overhauled how cells grow and reproduce, but the basic gameplay is still quite lacking. There are many ways we have planned for how to make the gameplay a lot more fun and replayable, something we’ll cover in more depth in an upcoming Mini Update. We want to make the release after the Leviathan engine release be a gameplay overhaul update. Ideally this will be easier and quicker because of our expanded team accomplished in the previous step.
Operation B.O.B. (Big Outreach Burst)
Once we finish and release the gameplay overhaul update, then we can start a big scale outreach burst. I’m talking all-out. At this point we’ll have a nice looking AND fun game with a whole plate of features waiting to be added, and a decent sized self-sufficient team. Ideally, at this point we garner a lot more steam both by expanding the community and by expanding the developer team to increase our manpower and ability to work on new features. We already have several plans for how to do outreach during this period. From this point on we knock off some of the major still-to-do features of the Microbe Stage (NPC and environmental evolution, population dynamics, fluid dynamics, soft membranes, agents, bacteria, etc.) and then start moving to multicellular!
It’s hard to predict past that point. The goal is to iteratively make more content, to attract more devs, to make more content, and just let the cycle continue. Since there is no money involved and everything is voluntary and open-source, there should ideally be no barriers or decelerators to this process and it will just indefinitely continue (unless the internet is taken down or there is a nuclear war).
New Community Forums
In other news, we have officially moved our forum over from proboards to discourse. The main reason behind this was because of the lack of features and admin control proboards would offer, as well as many invasive ads and spambots. It was sad to leave the old forums behind, but now we have a much more sleek and aesthetic forum with many new features and customizability options. Be sure to check it out here.
Lately we’ve also been having some discussions about big concepts surrounding the Microbe Stage. On the “Evolution of Early Planets” thread, we’ve been discussing the conditions under which life would evolve on other Earth-like planets, and by extension what sort of environmental conditions the player should face during the beginning of the game. It’s got a lengthy first post if you are interested in reading it here. In the “Differentiating Microbe Biomes” thread, we’ve been talking about different possible biomes in the Microbe Stage. Whether your species lives deep in the oceans by a hydrothermal vent, or in the sun baked waters of a tidepool, or the bubbling waters of a hotspring, you can face some very differing environments (and this also ties back into that first thread). You can find this conversation here. Lastly, we’ve finally started discussing plans for an earlier start to the Microbe Stage! What do we mean by this? We mean having the original cell start with no organelles, not even a nucleus, so that you truly do play from the beginning of life as the simplest cell possible. This is a new idea for us, and the concept for it is still a work in progress, but you can see what we’ve discussed about it so far here.
If you have any questions or points you want to discuss on any of the above topics but you don’t have access to the developer forums, please do not hesitate to start a thread on reddit or the community forums to get a discussion going. We’d be glad to join in and here what you think.
That’s all for this mini-update. You can discuss this update on reddit or the community forum. Stay tuned for the next update!