Post by mitobox on Aug 6, 2015 21:55:43 GMT
The way Thrive is right now, the player collects the Toxin Vacuole organelle in its free-floating form; a toxin-filled, but otherwise harmless thing. Not-so-harmless AI cells will use it on you, so having one of your own is a good defense. Not only is it the most prominent form of player-NPC interaction, it is also the first agent-producing organelle (the agent being Oxy Toxy).
The way Thrive is planned to be, this is... a bit simple. How did the free-floating vacuoles get there? Are they alive, and the player unlocks the organelle through endocytosis? Why are they making Oxy Toxy if the player is not damaged by engulfing them? Granted, the game's still early in development, so it's not entirely fair to look so far into a placeholder mechanic, but it's still interesting.
The way I see it, the first agent-producing organelle will be the slime gland. Why? In terms of cell-to-cell interaction, the most primitive is engulfing smaller cells. While bigger and bigger cells evolve (in the form of auto-evo granting more body tiles), smaller cells become defenseless food. Therefore, it stands to reason that they would evolve the slime gland to keep themselves from being engulfed. As agents go, this is rather tame; instead of damaging essential organelles or slowing down the processes they carry out, the enemy's membrane becomes too clogged to engulf their would-be prey.
Why wouldn't more harmful agents be developed first? Let me put it this way; the slime gland is a crude quick-fix to the issue of predation. Although the slime you release prevents you from engulfing others as well, at least you're not the one being eaten. Spilling out toxins, on the other hand, could quickly go wrong for you. Therefore, it is more useful to use a crude quick-fix than slowly refine the use of toxins, since the latter, even when you reach the point you don't have to worry about it backfiring, would take so long that your population would plummet.
So now cells can defend themselves from being eaten. As the giant cells go the way of the dinosaurs, the smaller cells find themselves in a world without predation, which becomes a world of competition. Sure, you can evolve an extra flagellum to get to food faster, but the cells that rise up are the ones that start to use a greater variety of agents. For one, you can use a "trick" agent to lure other cells away from resources you need. Or, you could choose a more direct approach and target other cells' organelles to take out or scare away the competition. You could even develop an agent that dissolves the slime from slime glands (the larger cells may have figured this out by now).
What do you think? Would agents evolve differently?