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 From a Colony of Cells to an Organism

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Redstar
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:43 am

Back again. Because I was quoted in the OP, I feel somewhat entitled to comment. Even if I'm still wassailing. Sorry in advance.

Anything that allows players too many options is a mistake. Don't forget that this is an early gameplay mode, and we want to retain the ability to reward players by unlocking new gameplay modes as they fulfill goals. I think that they should be able to call in a "flock" of cells if they have the appropriate communicative organelle; otherwise, they're on their own.

Gluers seem vital. What do they do before you assimilate them? Glue other proto-cells together to make themselves scarier? Worth discussing.

I got my GF interested in this game concept over the past few weeks, and we've been watching a great many documentaries about the origins of life on Earth (thanks NetFlix). An interesting point she came up with was: "And all those bacteria are still living in our guts!"

How can we give the player new organelles? Must they kill everything they come across? Are there any other ways to beat this "stage"? If not, we would do well to define it clearly - including "win conditions" (which open up new gameplay modes and progres the player). Bashi could use some clear, simple dynamics like this. Cell should get done, and soon.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:12 pm

Thanks for stopping by Redstar. One of the ways to gain new organelles would be to be infected by a virus- it's estimated that about 20% of human DNA has come from viruses (or something like that). If a virus does not take down a cell, the cell can use its DNA, which may give it new organelles or abilities.
And it's pretty much a cell-eat-cell world out there.

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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:15 pm

~sciocont wrote:
Noitulove wrote:
So the Cell Stage will be in 3D?

Good Belgium, what have I missed?

Anyhow I think it'll be interesting and bring something new to the table. I think we can all agree it'll be more realistic--think about it. In real life cells doesn't just go in two dimensions. Or have eyes. Or mate by dancing.

So my vote goes to approval of the descision.
I'm saying in cell stage that the models sould be 3d, but you should have a fixed camera point.

Fixed camera point? So you can't move the camera... But you can still move in 3 dimensions, right? Forwards and back?
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:34 pm

The Uteen wrote:
~sciocont wrote:
Noitulove wrote:
So the Cell Stage will be in 3D?

Good Belgium, what have I missed?

Anyhow I think it'll be interesting and bring something new to the table. I think we can all agree it'll be more realistic--think about it. In real life cells doesn't just go in two dimensions. Or have eyes. Or mate by dancing.

So my vote goes to approval of the descision.
I'm saying in cell stage that the models sould be 3d, but you should have a fixed camera point.

Fixed camera point? So you can't move the camera... But you can still move in 3 dimensions, right? Forwards and back?

Well we always percieve Cells in 2D because we are used to viewing them on a seemingly 2D Plane - The microscope slide. Basically at this stage its like aquatic life except on a reaaaaally small scale. Perhaps to make things easier it should be:

WASD/Click for left, right, up, down on the X-Y 2D plane.
Scroll up to move up along the Z axis
Scroll down to move down along the Z axis.

Things beneath you cell should appear blurred and out of focus (Or maybe not present if your cell is unable to sense them - Chemunication? I know thats not a word :P), things above you cell could occasionally flash across the screen or, if your cell has an eyespot, dim the screen when they pass over.

Like this game, flOw
Spoiler:
 


Now as for what Redstar said about stage criteria. I think that a certain amount of Gluers, Sharers, any kind of the movement cells (Flagella, cilia, pseudopod etc) and any kind of 'eater' are necessary to finish unicellular stage. This way your multicellular colony has a way to bond, breed and attain energy.

Perhaps those are some more ways that unicellular/multicellular could affect the outcome... Assimilate lots of Flagella-boasting cells, you end up with a tail in early org mode like a fish, cillia gives lots of tiny legs or tentacles, pseudopod makes you like a worm/slug.
Its far from realistic but easier to include in the game.
Just a thought. Kinda vague too
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:10 pm

Pezzalis wrote:
The organelle eyespot should give a meter on the GUI showing how intense light is there, and a group of eyespot-intense cells in an early multi-cellular should give a more clear depiction (More accurate....?)

Then perhaps from these areas Eye-Cups can form. (perhaps giving a direction to a light intense area...)
Actually, it might be interesting to see if players could figure out to actually place light-sensitive patches in a cup formation to be able to figure out direction... Hmmm....

Pezzalis wrote:
What do people think of the Early-Multicellular stage concept? Is there anything that needs to be seriously altered?
It seems okay, but are we all remembering that there is no way around making a sharp transition from this editor to the OE?

As to the 3D thing, all the proposed controll scheme are not 3D thus far. They are multiple 2D planes. They only way I see to do effective 3D control that I know of is to you classic reticle-style aiming with the mouse.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:00 am

Pezzalis wrote:
WASD/Click for left, right, up, down on the X-Y 2D plane.
Scroll up to move up along the Z axis
Scroll down to move down along the Z axis.

You mean back and forward along the z axis?

And multiple 2D panes sounds cool.

And can't pure 3D control be direction buttons and scroll for up and down? That's how I'd imagine it...

And, why exactly do we have to go for the microscope-slide thing? Why can't this stage be pure 3D, like aquatic? Not trying to argue, I'm just curious why you want standard microbe gaming approach to be used, rather than the realistic approach.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:36 pm

The Uteen wrote:
Pezzalis wrote:
WASD/Click for left, right, up, down on the X-Y 2D plane.
Scroll up to move up along the Z axis
Scroll down to move down along the Z axis.

You mean back and forward along the z axis?

And multiple 2D panes sounds cool.

And can't pure 3D control be direction buttons and scroll for up and down? That's how I'd imagine it...

And, why exactly do we have to go for the microscope-slide thing? Why can't this stage be pure 3D, like aquatic? Not trying to argue, I'm just curious why you want standard microbe gaming approach to be used, rather than the realistic approach.

Pure 3D Control in a volume (Ie air or water) would probably handle in the same way as flight sims as to account for pitch yaw and roll. But in the sense that you don't have to keep moving forwards like a plane. I dont think any of those are really necessary at cell stage...

But as for why Cell stage should be played on multiple Planes... I think its more for simplicity.

3D control at that scale is quite hard to imagine but I actually think it could be possible.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:46 pm

Pezzalis wrote:
The Uteen wrote:
Pezzalis wrote:
WASD/Click for left, right, up, down on the X-Y 2D plane.
Scroll up to move up along the Z axis
Scroll down to move down along the Z axis.

You mean back and forward along the z axis?

And multiple 2D panes sounds cool.

And can't pure 3D control be direction buttons and scroll for up and down? That's how I'd imagine it...

And, why exactly do we have to go for the microscope-slide thing? Why can't this stage be pure 3D, like aquatic? Not trying to argue, I'm just curious why you want standard microbe gaming approach to be used, rather than the realistic approach.

Pure 3D Control in a volume (Ie air or water) would probably handle in the same way as flight sims as to account for pitch yaw and roll. But in the sense that you don't have to keep moving forwards like a plane. I dont think any of those are really necessary at cell stage...

But as for why Cell stage should be played on multiple Planes... I think its more for simplicity.

3D control at that scale is quite hard to imagine but I actually think it could be possible.

Good point, you don't have to keep moving forwards. But it still could be made fully 3D, it wouldn't be that hard, easier than sea and air, and would be a new fun way of doing it.

But go for 2D if you want, it'll still be better than any other game of its type, if all goes to plan.
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Tenebrarum
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:29 pm

I wrote:
It seems okay, but are we all remembering that there is no way around making a sharp transition from this editor to the OE?

Reposting for response.
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Pezzalis
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:16 pm

Tenebrarum wrote:
I wrote:
It seems okay, but are we all remembering that there is no way around making a sharp transition from this editor to the OE?

Reposting for response.

Well the microbe editor is going to start in 3D isn't it?

Excluding Auto Evo, what if for Multicellular you were given a certain number of cells to 'add' to your colony every generation?

It will be much the same as the cellular editor except you can't add organelles, you would instead be able to add cells, copy cells, increase certain traits of some cells (IE make them tougher, make some of them excrete digestive enzymes) and move them around a bit.
Every time you specialize a cell you can produce it from a pallete and use its icon as a quick use-selection without having to specialize each individual cell. Each generation you attain more and more cells to work with.
As this gets more and more complicated you will be moving around many cells at a time as your colony gets larger. The editor is still in 3D and the colony at this stage will be quite big. Perhaps at this stage you could connect large areas of cells onto certain areas of the colony/organism. For example, A large area of tough cells in a point makes a defensive spike, a long section of stinging cells makes a jelly-fish like tendril, as discussed, a curvature of light-sensitive cells in a cup formation gives light direction sensors. These sections could be created yourself or selected from a pallete. Essentially these are the first 'Parts'.

Now as you progress from late multicellular to early Organism (On a side note are Multicellular/Organism/Aware 3 Different Stages? Would make sense) you will eventually be able to create and or select more complex parts such as eyecups, digestive tracts, limbs etc. These will phase into the even more complicated selections of editing options as your organism itself becomes more complex IE Hands, Eyes, Brains etc. Until eventually, The OE in its full glory is accessible.

Thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:59 pm

This is logical and quite in depth, but I'm pretty sure that Scio vetoed the "paint on cell types" because it would be too complicated.
However, I'm pretty sure a more rudimentary "assign cell groups roles" (ie stinging cells, digestive,) is going to be a necessary go-between.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:44 pm

Seems a bit too complex. I'd rather go with the sharp transition, but start out the OE with low cell-count orgs.

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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:48 pm

~sciocont wrote:
Seems a bit too complex. I'd rather go with the sharp transition, but start out the OE with low cell-count orgs.
QFT
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:46 pm

How will we inform the player about controls and the necessity of cells like gluers? I know dialogue and hint boxes can be immersion breaking but how do we expect the player to learn the controls without a tutorial? Are they just going to be thrown into the deep end? Not knowing how to play a game at the beginning can seriously deter players.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:44 pm

2creator wrote:
How will we inform the player about controls and the necessity of cells like gluers? I know dialogue and hint boxes can be immersion breaking but how do we expect the player to learn the controls without a tutorial? Are they just going to be thrown into the deep end? Not knowing how to play a game at the beginning can seriously deter players.
Start with text and whatnot, if we think of a better way, we'll patch it in.

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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:07 pm

I have to agree with scio, here. See, thiis is one of the most complicated transitions in the game because it's all visible, rather than under the hood like sentience.
Maybe having hints that can be turned on or off? Other games have it, it shouldn't be too hard.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:30 pm

Mysterious_Calligrapher wrote:
I have to agree with scio, here. See, thiis is one of the most complicated transitions in the game because it's all visible, rather than under the hood like sentience.
Maybe having hints that can be turned on or off? Other games have it, it shouldn't be too hard.
Already agreed to have toggleable hints.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:05 pm

So one thing we need to figure out is how we will transition from a colony to a single entity.

Any ideas...?
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:40 pm

Pezzalis wrote:
So one thing we need to figure out is how we will transition from a colony to a single entity.

Any ideas...?

When you zoom in, there should be a limit (to stop you seeing lack of detail, and to stop you going stupidly over-zoomed). As your colony gets bigger, you can zoom in less, so as the cells become less and less visible, the gameplay becomes more like the multicellular one, with the arrow keys allowing feeble wriggling of the colony (an attempt at swimming, basically the colony begins to act as a whole), and the cells become less customisable (each of those things you absorb in single-cell can no longer be absorbed, you can't change cell positions, etc.).

I think a slow, steady change like this should work okay. Introducing the new controls one at a time and replacing old single/colony cell controls should make this, probably the biggest transition in the game, fairly smooth.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:07 pm

@ Uteen: That sounds like a really good idea!
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:11 pm

Yeah, really good idea.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:43 pm

Uteen, that's a good idea, but I cannot begin to imagine implementing it. We're still talking about going from one mutually exclusive editor to another. For example: The wriggling you mentioned requires muscles, which are not present pre-multicellular.
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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:23 pm

I think the Org editor should be opened once you have eviolved differentiated cells. Once your creature has more than one type of cell, you get the OE. This would mean life will probably start as a jellyfish like organism, just a step above lower cnidarians like the hydra.

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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:54 am

Okies people, I have more or less overhauled my idea on how Cell specialization in colonies will work, and have added this to the OP.

It is not 100%, not quite 60% and probably not 30% compliant with our current niches concept, so this section needs quite a bit of rigorous thought on how it could be implemented.

Spoiler:
 

I also think that Multicellular/Colony stage should be a different 'section' to single cellular and Organism mode. The main difference between Colony and Organism mode is that as Bashi has stated, Organism mode technically begins when you are a single 3 dimensional entity. Colony also doesn't have much in the way to do with niches or many of the other aspects relating to the current Organism concepts.

But thaaaaaats just my opinion

I hope you can make sense of my concept

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PostSubject: Re: From a Colony of Cells to an Organism   Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:06 am

I've also been thinking about the current niche concepts.
Then something hit me that I can't believe I didn't really see before.

Plankton.

Plankton on earth are defined by their niche rather than their classification, so I think that this early multicellular stage could be done quite easily with different variations of a pelagic, planktonic ecosystem.

What if at the start of each game, you start in a randomly selected (or a chosen) pelagic biome? You start there as a prokaryote and can leave when you enter full-3D organism mode.

(Could be tropical, freshwater, polar, etc and different global locations and water types will determine different niches).

Heres an example:

Spoiler:
 

We will probably need to make quite a few for varied early gameplay.

Thoughts?
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