The player starts off as a prokaryotic cell made of a hex of cytoplasm in the Volcanic vents patch. The player cell is the first and only organism in the game, to survive, the microbe has to collect Glucose (or other compounds if the cell has certain organelles) to create ATP. Osmoregulation, movement and engulfing costs ATP.
Every time the player exits the editor their species (and the NPC species) splits into a new one, which also evolves each generation.
Cells can engulf any microbe, iron or organelles by pressing G to activate or deactivate the engulfing mode. If the organism has an Oxytoxisome or a Toxin Vacuole it can shoot toxins by pressing E. The microbe can puncture other cells using the Pilus.
The player can create a colony with other cells of the same species with the Binding Agents by pressing B next to another microbe. While cells are in a colony they share resources with each other, if you want to reproduce, get the five cells then press Multicellular
The cell can die by losing all of their ATP or losing too much HP to predators. When this happens, the player takes control of another microbe of their species with default compound reserves. If the population goes to zero the species goes extinct and the player loses the game.
If the species has at least 300 population and survive for 20 generations the game shows a pop-up saying that the player has won the build.
- Main article: Compounds
Compounds are substances the cells needs to perform various processes, and some of them are needed for survival. They are usually found:
- In compound clouds. They're colored by the type of compound, the cell can absorb them by swimming through them.
- Within another cell. When a cell dies it eject some compounds as clouds and as part of the organelles.
- As global variables. Some compounds are present as variables varying by patch
The reproduction is available when the player collects enough Ammonia and Phosphates and split every organelle into two, the amount of collected compounds is shown in the reproduction progress bar in the lower right corner.
Clicking the Reproduction button in the lower right corner the player goes to the Microbe Editor. The editor is divided into three tabs:Report, where it reports the events occurred in the game like the variation of the population of the species in the patch. Patch Map, where you can move to another patches and the Cell Editor, where it's possible to edit the cell and it's divided in Structure, Appearance and Behavior.
The player and AI cells can damage and kill other organisms for mostly acquire its compounds, there are three ways of combat in the game:
- Engulfment: The cell can engulf every cell smaller than them, iron chunks or organelles pressing the G key. The microbe that is engulfing will flash blue when is in engulfing mode.
- Pili: Pilus is an organelle used for puncture other cells and rupture their membrane.
- Agents: Agents are substances released by an organism to damage other microbes. The only agent implemented on the game, OxyToxy, is represented by particles and can be used pressing E if you have the Oxytoxisome or the Toxin Vacuole.
Some types of membranes can increase or decrease the resistance to Pili and Agents.
|Gameplay Stages & Editors|
|Thrive's gameplay stages||Current||Microbe Stage|
|Future||Multicellular Stage · Aware Stage · Awakening Stage · Society Stage · Industrial Stage · Space Stage|
|Stage editors||Microbe Editor · Organism Editor · Nation Editor · Tech Editor · Planet Editor|