In the natural world, the only questions to have regarding an organism's body materials (wood, bone, shell, etc.) are "can I eat it?" and maybe "will it get in the way?" This isn't quite the case come sapience, since the player would be able to use hides and bones and stuff for more advanced purposes, like burning as fuel and crafting into tools and clothing.
For this to happen, the computer has to know "this plant is made of wood and is x meters tall, the player should get y wood for chopping it down." Something potentially useful is for the game to keep track of how much of a resource is on an animal through the organism editor. Logically, a player would get less "hide" from a small grazing herbivore than from a huge browser. If it thinks about how the animal's been designed/generated in the editor, not only can they think of a concrete value for this, but also more in-depth information like "this small animal's hide is flexible, but thin, so is better for tying than wearing as armor."
The latter would take more processing power, but add more variety than the broad resource system you'd usually run into in games. Even the former shows a level of dynamics (the way species evolved never stops being important).
I feel like we had some plans on the old forums around the tech editor requiring fundamental materials, with physical properties (density, tensile strength, that sort of thing).
Linking it into the organism editor is a cool idea. Helps unify the ideas, and familiarise the player with materials early on. Basic materials introduced as new body parts are added, and the player considers basic things like how strong their claws should be. Then when the tech editor comes into play, the set of materials is expanded, and the physical properties become more relevant.
This would also make farming a much more direct benefit - the player would naturally think to farm something, once they realise it has a useful resource. Like a later-game compounds system!
Why did the grubworm cross the gromp? [answer loading, please wait…]