Thrive is a free, open-source game currently being developed by an online volunteer team called Revolutionary Games. Drawing inspiration from numerous simulation and strategy games (in particular the original concept behind the PC game Spore), Thrive is a game about a species’ evolution from unicellular organisms to galaxy-wide space travel.
Our team seeks to accomplish two major goals: create engaging, compelling gameplay that respects our players’ intelligence, and remain as accurate as possible in our depiction of known scientific theory without compromising the former. The eventual game will contain powerful creation tools, allowing players to realistically craft organisms, technology, cultures, and even entire planets.
Write Your Own Saga of Life
Thrive’s goal is to encapsulate the player in the wonders of the universe, and to allow them to manipulate the virtual world around them in any way they please by using editors to modify technology, culture, organisms, and entire solar systems. Seven stages are planned – Microbe, Multicellular, Aware, Awakening, Society, Industrial and Space – though for the moment we’re only focusing on the first of these, as the whole project is a massive undertaking.
Explore the possibilities of simulation within a game context, competing against the game environment as you wield the forces of evolution. Create and edit an organism on its journey from insignificance to the stars, using all the creation tools at your disposal to rise above your adversaries, themselves products of evolution by natural selection as the game simulates its own ecosystem. Hunt or cooperate with a procedurally generated assortment of organisms as they collect and process resources in multiple biomes.
Difficulty levels can be set by modifying the rate of simulation in the world around you. Quicker evolution rates will pose a challenge as organisms can react to changes in less time, while slower rates won’t put you under as much pressure, so your imagination can run wild as you edit your own species’ anatomy. Choose your own way of playing.
Evolution is gradual, with minor changes made each generation for both you and other species. By collecting substances from the environment and processing them in a simulated metabolism, you can increase your species’ fitness rating, building resistance against extinction. Less successful evolutionary paths will die out, and only one may progress through the crucial transformative steps towards cell cohesion, terrestrial conquest, sentience, settlements and space travel. Will you thrive?
Rise to Galactic Dominance
From the lowly tidepools of your home planet, you will rise to cosmic prominence. Along the way, use behaviour, nation and technology editors, plus many more, to create a culture of your own. Design a roster of units and buildings using Function Parts to conquer the planet.
Defeat the armies of clashing nations within your own species, then travel off-world to do battle with the galaxy’s best adapted organisms. Control a fleet of starships of your own design, defending your own system and colonizing others. Build massive orbital structures, including the Ascension Gate. With it you can rise to a new plane of existence, even bending planets to your will. From your new perspective as the survivor of all life’s trials, watch over your domain, or go back and start all over again.
Join the Community
Along the way, trade save files and creations with friends, challenging them to survive better than you did in the same circumstances. Create brilliant technologies, or simply touch up an organism that could be a little more beautiful.
The game is completely free and open-source, so anyone can join our team provided they have the necessary skills. Visit our Get Involved page to see how you could help. Maybe you’re a talented artist or musician, a programmer, or even an expert in one of the various scientific fields we aim to simulate. We’re always on the lookout for potential new contributors.
If you were to graph Thrive’s progress since its inception, you’d probably have a slow but steady background rate of development with occasional spikes in activity. This is quite similar to the evolutionary concept called punctuated equilibrium, where species remain static for millions of years then change dramatically over short time periods in response to rapid ecosystem change.
Nowhere is this demonstrated better than the last few months of the project. As I write (hello, this is Oliveriver by the way, which will become important later) we’re about to break this website’s record for number of visits in one day after several months of comparative nothingness. Why? What’s happened? What do we do next? Read on to find out…
Hey guys, Nick here, and welcome to the first in our new series of mini updates!
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The latest version of Thrive, including procedural membranes, organelle models and much more, is now available on ModDB. The last download here was posted...
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