Organism Editor

This article describes design decisions that will be rediscussed before their implementation in the future, and as such are not final.

The Organism Editor is one of the five main editors in Thrive, and the second editor to be unlocked. It is used after the Microbe Stage is completed, and is the successor to the Microbe Editor. It allows the player to edit a more complicated organism, and is most useful in the Multicellular, and Aware stages.

Like the Microbe Editor, it may become accessible later in the game for the development of complex organisms for the player's race. To create organisms in such a manner, the player's race would need to have researched a certain technology or group of technologies.

Current Concept


Point and click-based

  • To add a part, click and drag it from parts selection window
  • Tap S key for asymmetry on a selected part
  • Hold S key for special symmetry options
  • In Symmetry Options and Sizing Board windows, there will be a few number input fields for size and radial symmetry
  • Click off of the organism and drag a box to select multiple objects

General Options

  • A tool for stiffening or softening up bones, tentacles, and plant parts. This allows you to create stiffened raptor tails or prehensile monkey tails.
  • A tool for setting vertebrae as a tail section, and defining in what ways a tail will move.
  • From the editor, you can always save, edit or start a new organism.
  • You can edit the organism's AI and behavior using the Behavior Editor window. Behavior "maps" made in that editor can be shared between organisms.


The "Caste" option will allow you to differentiate between sexes and types of your organism (think:ants). Once you have created an organism, you can click "Add Caste" and your organism will be copied into another caste slot, where you can edit it to produce a differentiated caste. You can edit what castes are needed for reproduction, individual AI for each caste, and the proportions of castes in the species.

Creature Construction Systems

These separate construction systems will be handled in different tabs of a construction panel. Skeletal, organ, skinning, and textures/detailing are separate tabs and will bring up separate views. Some tabs will have sub tabs, such as the Organ Systems tab.

Skeletal Construction Systems

All of these categories can be used on one organism, and they can all be used in any one of the specific skeletal parts. For example, a hand could be a tentacle with three fingers and leaves.


Structure Usage
Spine You can create a spinal cord by making a Bezier curve on the center axis of your organism. The curve shows where the spine is. You can stiffen the spine by selecting a section and using the stiffen tool. Ribs are automatically generated along the spinal cord. Each rib generated in skeletal view represents three ribs on the actual organism. You can scroll up or down on them to make them wrap around,or recede back into the spinal cord. The ribs' shapes are controlled by handles at the top, bottom and side, so you can make a circular, elliptical, or egg-shaped cross-section. You can also split the spine, allowing you to create into two or three spines coming out of one.
Limbs Limbs are made of joints and bones. You drag a joint onto the existing skeleton to create a new limb, and then put a bone on it, stretch that bone or bulk it up using the scroll wheel, then put on the next joint and the next bone and manipulate that until you have the desired shape.
Feet/Hands Feet and hands are created using the same parts as the limbs, but when you want to add one, you drag the hand/foot creation bubble to the end of an existing limb, and the camera zooms in and the rest of the skeleton becomes translucent so that you can focus on that area. You build hands and feet just like you do limbs, but you can add claws, nails, hooves, and a few other ending parts. If you want it to be exclusively a foot, then go back to full skeletal view and the game will ask you if you want it to be a foot, hand, or a walking grasper, a hand that you also use to walk (think gorillas).
Skull/Unique Bones The skull is made of separate blocks, which you mold into the desired shape. You can twist, angle and morph them until you are happy with the look. If you want to create a jaw, you can add a jaw attachment point and build off of that. You can create one piece jaws like a human's two piece jaws where they are split down the middle, or many jaws. You can place teeth and get them into shape with handles or have them procedurally generated. You can also add a beak, etc. The skull brick construction will be used to create special bones as well, such as pelvic girdles and shoulder blades.


Wormacle : This tool is used like the limb and spine parts in the vertebrate category. You draw a Bezier curve on the screen, slide the points around, and you have your path for a tentacle or worm body. You can modify the shape of the wormacle by rings that are generated procedurally along it. You can edit the shape in much the same way as ribs, with top, bottom, and side handles. You can split wormacles just like the spine.

Structure Usage
Feet/Hands You can use the wormacle tool to make tentacle hands or blend it with other parts to make a very unique hand. You can add suction cup ends.
Head The wormacle really does work for everything. You can use it to shape a tentacle-mop head for your creature, or stiffen it to make eye stalks.
Arthropod Parts There will be about 25 or 36 arthropod parts. They are arranged in a square and are grouped around others with the closest shape. You use them like limb bones in vertebrates, except for the fact that arthropod parts have a cube of lines around them. When parts come out, they are in their cubic form, so if you make the part twice as long, it will be the same length as any other arthropod part that is twice as long as its original cube. This simple numeric system allows you to swap a part for another and keep the same dimensions.


Structure Usage
Trunks/Stems You can basically drag a type out (trunk or stem), and decide where you want to put it, then edit the basic shape of it (width/height and shape of the trunk in cross section). All plants will be differently shaped because they will have their parts' shapes generated by number strings. Trunks and stems can be created on their own or be attached to animal parts. Roots will be generated procedurally as well, but you can influence their depth and spread, and if roots can sprout up into another pant. Roots will not be needed if the plant is on an animal base.
Branches There will be a few different types of branches and layouts of branches to choose from. You could have many grass-stalk like branches all around the plant, a few woody branches at the bottom, or clumps of different branches in different places. Branches will be populated either by placing them onto the trunk or defining areas for branches to fill using procedurals. Each branch will procedurally grow out smaller sections and twigs, and leaves, also flowers, cones, and other reproductive parts.


Fungus parts are still under discussion. They may be incorporated into plant parts, left out altogether, or be added to a separate section all their own.



Muscles will wrap around any bones in a procedural way. Larger muscles will attach to larger bones. You can make muscles larger/smaller, but you can't delete procedurally generated muscle. You can add muscle, but remember that larger muscles consume more energy, and smaller ones pose the risk of snapping. Muscles will not wrap around arthropod, plant, or fungi parts. Wormacle invertebrate parts will be filled in by muscle.


You can also give your organism fat stores. You brush on where fat is stored, and if your creature eats enough, these places will start to expand.


Our organ systems will rely on a tube and node system. Tubes will be, of course, the tubes going through the body. Nodes will be organs, and the tubes will connect them.
There will be a few different tabs of organs, organized by organ systems. The systems will include:


Includes blood pump(s), type of blood plus any other specialized circulatory organs/systems. You can specify whether you want closed circulation (like in vertebrates) or open circulation (like in most invertebrates). Closed blood conduits will be automatically drawn in to all organs and extremities if you have evolved a closed circulatory system. If you do not have a closed circulatory system, you need only a pump and a few open blood conduits.
This system will include blood filters


The sexual system will rely on the basic organs of

  • Genetic storage (male and female; can be separate or the same)
    • The organ for this will be a gland for both male and female types (sperm and egg)
  • Internal fertilization (optional; female only)
    • The organ for this will be a sac that inflates with eggs/young
  • Genetic transfer (male and female; can be separate or the same, but must match in transmission type)
    • The organs for this will vary with transmission type
Transmission types
  • Expelled as a solid/liquid for pickup later
  • Spread by a pollen-like substance
  • Spread by spores
  • Spread by physical contact with a certain organ
  • Spread by any physical contact (probably wouldn't happen, but might)
  • Expelled onto an organ without contact
  • Internally self-fertilizing


The respiratory system will consist of the gas-collecting organs. Available respiratory organs will include:

  • Gills (a few different types, upgrading in efficiency)
  • Lungs (from book lungs to very advanced lungs, even better than those of birds)
  • Tubes for respiration


The nervous system is primarily your creature's brain/ganglion. It will be constructed by molding balls of nervous tissue together to obtain the general shape of the brain/ganglion. You can have as many of these as you like; nerves will be invisible.


This will cover both digestive and waste systems. It will consist of:

  • Tubes connecting organs (an intestine here is not considered a tube, it will be treated as an organ)
  • Stomach (upgraded in efficiency through different chambers/ acid levels)
  • Intestine (upgraded in efficiency by bacteria)
    • The intestine will be seen as a clump of tubes that you can shape to your specifications
  • Filtering organs (upgraded by efficiency)
  • Excretion organs (many different types; can be liquid/solid/gas specific or deposit one or more types of waste)
    • Excretion organs must be placed on the outside of a creature and connect with tubes to the digestive system

Leaves are the metabolic, circulatory, and respiratory system for plants. Leaves will be populated in the same way as branches, but there will be a leaf editor as well. It pops up and lets you draw the leaf in a box. You can save that leaf and the drawn part will become the 2d part and a model will be made procedurally for the 3d part. The 3d part is a cutout of the outline of your leaf on a slightly folded plane. Flowers and fruit will be procedurally populated wherever you specify. There will be many, many different types of flowers, and each will grow into one of a few types of fruit possible for that flower.

Skinning and Details Construction Systems

Once you are done muscling your animal, you skin it and add all of the details. Skin will be wrapped procedurally around all muscle. Body coverings such as fur, feathers, and skin tags will be instanced onto your organism with an instancing brush.

There will be a skin connecting tool which can connect two parts with skin. In this way, you can create bat wings. A certain surface area to weight ratio of feathers or skin gives your creature the ability to fly. There will also be a flight feather tool. You select a limb to be the wing part, and then the tool will add flight feathers to the limb that are large enough to let the creature fly. Once this is done, the wing will try to animate itself by folding up against the body and stretching itself out all the way. It will then try a few different flaps.

There will also be a skin removal tool for beaks and bone plates that you don't want to be covered by skin.

Detail parts are just like the ones in Spore. There are larger feathers, camouflage, odd lumps, and more. Put them wherever you want.

Coloring and Texturing

Coloring and texturing can be done procedurally or by the player using brushes constructed of a skin texture plus a few colors.

Fur and feathers will be 1-dimensional billboards or 2-dimensional static parts populated onto your creature with a brush or procedurally.

Behavior Editor

The behavior editor is where you can customize how your creature behaves. You can select general behavior patterns (aggressive, cautious) and even introduce your own Boolean behavior modifiers. The behavior editor also controls the reproductive cycle of your animal- you can choose between semelparity and iteroparity, or anywhere in between. On top of this, the behavior editor will have an area in it where you can program special movements, perhaps mating displays.

Sizing Board

This is where you decide how big your organism is. Basically, you start out as a silhouette that is human-sized, next to a silhouette of a human, elephant, and mouse. You can get up to about 300 ft long or down to fly-size, all by scrolling up or down on your silhouette. Underneath the silhouette is your dimensions and mass, which will change depending on your silhouette's size. Also, if you set up one dimension or your mass, the entire thing will snap to comply with that. So if my creature is 1m by 1m by 1m and five kilos and I want it to be 2m long, I set in 2m as the length, and then the silhouette,height, width and mass change accordingly.

As well, the sizing board will be the virtual representation of a planets capability to sustain viable life. If you were to attempt the creation of a creature that is too large for a planet, whether as a result of gravity, air density and composition, as well as solar exposure. These resources, if they are not available in sufficient proportions, cannot support a large creature, which limits the maximum size of a player-created creature.

Editor/Test Drive Environment

The basic environment is a 900m wide volcanic crater. A player decides whether the entire thing is in the deep sea, under a little water, or some water/some land, with a 300m island in the middle. Different plants, cliffs, caves, and hills let you test out your creature in its natural environment. If your creature can fly, it will have plenty of airspace to drift or flap around. The editor ceiling is about 900m high, and the player can select what sorts of gases and density the air is.

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