The idea behind this project has matured from a long-lasting passion toward medicine and evolution of life in general.
How we work is so fascinating that trying to turn it into a complex but rewarding and accessible game sounded like a real challenge, and we’re proud to say that we like the direction we’ve taken so far!
The game is a survival game in which you start from a simple cell, striving to survive by assimilating resources from a sort of primordial broth.
Through evolution you will be able to slowly become a more advanced organism which will have to deal with all the benefits and drawbacks of it: you will need more energy, more complex resources and you will have to manage more high level processes (eg. digestion, circulation) to survive: you’ll become a fully fledged organism composed by many subsystems which must cooperate in a perfect balance.
Each subsystem will have its own quirks and way to be managed, finally forcing you create synergies between all of them.
In addition to this there will be external or internal interferences given by possible diseases: viruses, bacteria, wounds which must be healed and so on.
Once the rule for this micro-world are set, the gameplay possibilities are endless!
Development of the game is proceeding by phases: the first phase is the intracellular gameplay.
Intracellular gameplay can be considered stand-alone as it involves mostly assembling proteins and producing energy, and this is what we’re polishing right now.
All the subsequent gameplay features are laid on top of that, exactly in the same manner as a single cell is responsible of all its tasks but a tissue is a sort of emerging behavior which shows complex properties and functions.
Trying to blend intracellular behavior and structured features on top of if (think about breathing) has been the most challenging task so far because we’re dealing with two completely different game scales and we’d like to be able to have them side by side.
So far we’ve solved the problem by having different zone depths, separated by membranes or capsule which partition what you can do according to the zone you’re trying to interact into. Many design decision are still to be made though!
The intracellular gameplay can be considered a milestone and our free alpha will be focused on that: giving a way to test this low-level gameplay on which more complex system will be built on.
Produce proteins by linking aminoacids in ribosomes, proteins are everywhere and will be used extensively to build structures, catalyze reactions, digest, signal other cells.
Energy is a crucial aspect of the game, you will be able to produce ATP, which can be considered energy stored in a battery, through glycolysis and even mitochondrial respiration! Energy will be used to power building both inside the cell and outside the cell.
Evolution will let the player discover new elements of gameplay which will make the organism more complex but able to become larger and larger! Starting from circulation and leading to brain and neurons. There will be some utility evolution steps which will be used to give you better tools to optimize all the logistics.
You start as a small organism and soon you will need to expand to make room for more structures and access better and novel resources in the outside broth. This will be done by expanding chunk by chunk wherever you want through production of the required scaffold and tissue materials! Don’t forget though: larger organisms require to deal with more issues so you will have to find a proper balance between expanding and improving your gameplay flow.
Once the organism will be large enough, transporting things between buildings with microtubules won’t be enough. In addition there’s no way to directly transport materials outside cells so circulation will be fundamental. You will need pumps, arteries, veins and capillaries to supply or take away materials.
Viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. There are a lot of dangerous things outside! It will be necessary to defend against these threats by using your immune system to defeat them!
A working organism requires some parameters to be stable in their correct ranges, this is called homeostasis. Temperature, oxygen, pH are all parameters that will need to be regulated to avoid perishing.
Most of the energy used by a living organism is produced by cellular respiration which requires oxygen and produces carbon dioxide. To breathe in the former and breath out the latter you will need respiratory tissue connected to your circulary system.
At the beginning of the game, simple resources will be necessary but later in the game you will need to digest complex resources (food) into basic elements, you will need teeth, stomach and intestine. You will also need to synthesize a lot of enzymes which are used in the whole process.
Well, everything that is not used as a resource is useless and possibly toxic to an organism. That’s why you will need a way to filter out toxins with kidneys, but also get rid of useless materials through other ways.
At some point the organism could want to automate management of the subsystems through finer regulations, that’s where neurons come into play: with sensors and logic you would be able to set specific rules which will make behavior of the organism automatic.
What happens if the organism gets wounded? It will need to heal, possibly through hemostasis to stop bleeding, and then through regeneration of tissue.
This microworld is just something with specific rules already designed. But what happens if you alter some mechanics? What happens if the organism has some disease which prevents some enzymes from working properly? What happens if the air available to the breathing subsystem contains a lot of pollution? What happens if energy is limited?
There are infinite different scenarios that can be experimented!