Items separate from all other sections.
Free distribution is handled digitally through an official download from the team’s GitHub repository. All releases linked by the team must lead to the latest download there, but fans and other community members are free to upload and distribute their own versions, provided they acknowledge the original team and don’t charge to download.
Mods are also encouraged – the Lua-based framework provides solid support for modding, especially simple changes to numerical parameters. At this time it is unknown whether the game will have a dedicated mod-loading interface.
Players may wish to transfer saved games or items to share with friends, or challenge them to be the most successful given the same initial conditions. Game assets and saved states are kept as individual files, making sharing creations simple. In future an online content library may be added for widespread sharing, though this is not a priority.
Since the game will be regularly updated, often with large additions for future stages, the update process should be thoroughly considered to make it as easy as possible for the player to obtain the latest version of the game.
Ideally, the game should auto-update when a new version is released to save the player from downloading new copies each time, requiring an internet connection and possibly some form of launcher. If this turns out to be unfeasible, a better solution could be to distribute the graphics and physics libraries separately from the game built on top. They take up the vast majority of download space, and asking players to re-download copies for each new version seems unnecessary. Players would instead download the graphics and physics packages once, before downloading all additional files for each new release, replacing the last set. While this system will work, it isn’t optimal, and an auto-update feature would fix all issues if possible.
The exact game file structure can’t be pinpointed until all files are in place, but there are some general rules to follow. The most important of these is that it should be simple to start the game – a shortcut to the executable should be placed within the first folder level to reduce confusion. If possible, the player may be given the option to create a desktop or start menu shortcut, though this would require a dedicated installer, something not heavily discussed at this time.
Another caveat for file structure is that it shouldn’t be too difficult for modders to navigate. By placing custom assets or modifying Lua code, modders should be able to change the game in any way they choose. The simplest example is changing the requirements and outputs for certain processes. Instead of taking six oxygen and a glucose units to produce six water units, six carbon dioxide units and ATP, a modder could have the process require only two oxygen. Edits like this are likely to wreak havoc on the game environment as it will be balanced towards the processes already in place, but with practice a modder may be able to create quite complex additions.
Due to the project’s open-source nature, team organisation is a constant point of contention. So far, Revolutionary Games has largely organised itself through a development forum, though recently our team leads (responsible for organizing specific areas of development) have spoken far more frequently using instant methods of communication. While it’s useful for in-depth discussions, not being publicly viewable negates the principles of open-source participation, and often useful views are lost after large volumes of other subjects.Hence why the team is making an effort to move more discussion onto the new development forums. A more user-friendly experience should incite more activity.
Another issue is the separation of developer and community discussion. The team has experienced a lot of unproductive talk in the past, often from members with little to contribute to the game itself. While we don’t want fan engagement to abate, it’s undeniably useful to have it separate from development-focused talk. This has led to the creation of our community forums, where fans and developers can talk freely about the game, even in unrealistic terms, without interfering with useful work.
To keep development talk focused while allowing new useful members to join, we have instituted an application system. More robust than that on the old forums, prospective users must fill an application form on the website with their personal summary and email address. The team reviews new applications based on a potential user’s apparent skill in a development area, and those deemed promising are sent an email invite to join the development forums.
Team leads or regular contributors are granted access to the core team’s methods of instant communication to help review new applicants and discuss overall team organisation.
Community forums: http://thrivegame.freeforums.net/
Development forums: http://forum.revolutionarygamesstudio.com/
There are likely to be several sneaky pop culture references in the game, especially to science fiction or parts of Thrive’s past. While no ideas have been confirmed and they’re of incredibly low importance, there’s a section on them here anyway.
- When the player starts a new game, their initial ATP level is always 42. Similarly, the words ‘Don’t Panic’ need to appear somewhere in the in-game text.
- If the main menu is left alone for long enough, a spaceship will fly across the screen quite far away, but close enough for the player to read ‘Uteen Toothbrush Supplies’ on the side.
- On incredibly rare occasions, the player may find a rock in the environment in the shape of a microbe, with two googly eyes drawn on it.