Thrive is a free, open-source game currently being developed by an online volunteer team called Revolutionary Games. Drawing inspiration from numerous simulation and strategy games (in particular the original concept behind the PC game Spore), Thrive is a game about a species’ evolution from unicellular organisms to galaxy-wide space travel.

Our team seeks to accomplish two major goals: create engaging, compelling gameplay that respects our players’ intelligence, and remain as accurate as possible in our depiction of known scientific theory without compromising the former. The eventual game will contain powerful creation tools, allowing players to realistically craft organisms, technology, cultures, and even entire planets.

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Write Your Own Saga of Life

Thrive’s goal is to encapsulate the player in the wonders of the universe, and to allow them to manipulate the virtual world around them in any way they please by using editors to modify technology, culture, organisms, and entire solar systems. Seven stages are planned – Microbe, Multicellular, Aware, Awakening, Society, Industrial and Space – though for the moment we’re only focusing on the first of these, as the whole project is a massive undertaking.

Simulate, Create

Explore the possibilities of simulation within a game context, competing against the game environment as you wield the forces of evolution. Create and edit an organism on its journey from insignificance to the stars, using all the creation tools at your disposal to rise above your adversaries, themselves products of evolution by natural selection as the game simulates its own ecosystem. Hunt or cooperate with a procedurally generated assortment of organisms as they collect and process resources in multiple biomes.

Difficulty levels can be set by modifying the rate of simulation in the world around you. Quicker evolution rates will pose a challenge as organisms can react to changes in less time, while slower rates won’t put you under as much pressure, so your imagination can run wild as you edit your own species’ anatomy. Choose your own way of playing.

Evolution is gradual, with minor changes made each generation for both you and other species. By collecting substances from the environment and processing them in a simulated metabolism, you can increase your species’ fitness rating, building resistance against extinction. Less successful evolutionary paths will die out, and only one may progress through the crucial transformative steps towards cell cohesion, terrestrial conquest, sentience, settlements and space travel. Will you thrive?

Rise to Galactic Dominance

From the lowly tidepools of your home planet, you will rise to cosmic prominence. Along the way, use behaviour, nation and technology editors, plus many more, to create a culture of your own. Design a roster of units and buildings using Function Parts to conquer the planet.

Defeat the armies of clashing nations within your own species, then travel off-world to do battle with the galaxy’s best adapted organisms. Control a fleet of starships of your own design, defending your own system and colonizing others. Build massive orbital structures, including the Ascension Gate. With it you can rise to a new plane of existence, even bending planets to your will. From your new perspective as the survivor of all life’s trials, watch over your domain, or go back and start all over again.

Join the Community

Along the way, trade save files and creations with friends, challenging them to survive better than you did in the same circumstances. Create brilliant technologies, or simply touch up an organism that could be a little more beautiful.

The game is completely free and open-source, so anyone can join our team provided they have the necessary skills. Visit our Get Involved page to see how you could help. Maybe you’re a talented artist or musician, a programmer, or even an expert in one of the various scientific fields we aim to simulate. We’re always on the lookout for potential new contributors.

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Good news: Thrive now has its own dedicated launcher. Even better news: there’s a whole new release available as a demonstration of its abilities. This Devblog will run through both, as well as the general miscellaneous updates we post to make sure nobody mistakenly thinks the project is dead.

Release 0.3.4

Thrive 0.3.4 isn’t a large release on the surface, but underneath our programmers have been hard at work on some very important features and fixes. And for the first time, we have a voice-over (by developer MontySpud) for our trailer:


As you may have seen on social media, developer hhyyrylainen has built us a Thrive launching program. Why is such a thing needed? For one, the launcher handles downloading of new releases on its own – download and run the launcher, and you’ll never have to manually download a full release again. It also comes with handy links and feeds from our development forum and website.

In future it’ll play a much larger role. Whenever it detects a new release, only changed files will be overwritten. Neither you nor the launcher will have to download the entire thing ever again. Considering the bulkiness of our physics and graphics backend systems, this is pretty handy. You’ll also be able to run old versions of Thrive, as well as manage mods. None of these features are implemented yet, but as always this is one more step in the right direction. We have a separate GitHub repository for the launcher here; if you’re a programmer with Javascript, HTML or CSS experience, this might be something to work on.

Process System Overhaul

Meanwhile, developer crodnu has wrestled with the temperamental process system, the logic involved in collecting and converting compounds within cells. The compound bars featured in the GUI of our last release revealed a strange bug where cells would lose all their starting ATP and remain at near zero from then on. We’ve done our best to fix this and other process issues, so compound changes should now be much more readable.

Lua Scripting Rewrite

As if that’s not enough, we’ve also completely rewritten the way the game handles Lua files. Lua files are the scripting on top of the engine, and until now have been the game’s major performance bottleneck. Thanks to another titanic programming effort from hhyyrylainen, the game now runs on a completely different form of Lua.

It’s hard to state why this is such a major change. We recommend you look at the absolutely enormous list of code changes on GitHub to get the full picture. With this upgrade came a couple of major crash fixes, though we’re still on the lookout for information which could help us fix more. If you have a crash while playing, let us know in the bug reports section of our forums, and make sure you post a screenshot of the console printout. If you don’t, our programmers have nothing to go on to help fix the issue.

Other News

It’s been quite a while since our last Devblog. Many minor things have happened in that time. We’ve collated them below for your convenience.

Unreal Engine Conversion

Not content with contributing two massive lumps of code to this release, hyyrylainen has also been making tentative steps into a potential engine conversion. Since the beginning, Thrive has run on a custom engine built with Ogre and Bullet, and let’s just say it has…issues. Inability to take screenshots, difficulty using alt-tab, large file sizes, and most prominently, endless headaches for new programmers wishing to set up a development build make it unwieldly at best. It’s certainly served us well, but the need for an accessible programming environment drove us to consider alternatives.

The best alternative appears to be Unreal Engine 4. Unlike all engines available when we started building Thrive a couple of years ago, it’s open-source, which makes it appropriate for use in our project.

In the interests of fair comparison, hhyyrylainen is working on a copy of Thrive 0.3.4 constructed inside Unreal. You can find progress and thoughts on the relative merits here. We feel that if it’s possible to develop what we already have in a reasonable timeframe without any major compromises, a complete engine switch will benefit the project significantly in future. Please test it out by downloading here.

To make it clear, this is nowhere near a certainty, merely an experiment. If it goes well, expect to see us moving into the realms of unreality sometime soon. If not, Ogre it is (unless any of you have suggestions for alternatives, and we’d love to hear them).

Website Changes

We recently posted a survey asking for your opinions on our outreach and web presences. You can check out a brief overview of the findings here.

The main findings centred on adjustments to our many websites. Our main website homepage has undergone significant change, incorporating: feeds from our Devblog and development forums, more prominent links to forums and Wikis, more efficient space usage, and of course the good old Disturbance. We’re still working out the kinks, so let us know what you think of it and if there’s anything else we could add.

Our community forums also look noticeably different. White on white was alright, but we decided it was better to showcase some concept art with a more adventurous colour scheme. If this scheme isn’t to your liking, fear not – if you create a profile, you can choose from a bunch of premade themes we’ve worked on. Go to Profile -> Edit Profile -> Settings and under the Forum Theme dropdown, select the one you want to go on a new colourful Thrive adventure.

Subreddit of the Day

Our first step towards more involved self-promotion was the day r/thrive was named subreddit of the day. Exposure to new people is always a tense experience for us – will they see potential in the project or think us morons for pursuing it? Responses to the SROTD post were encouraging, and you can read our own subreddit’s thread on the event – which quickly became the most upvoted submission on the subreddit ever – here.

Expect more news in the outreach department soon. In the meantime, keep spreading the word.

Art Competition

Anyone of an artistic nature might be interested in joining our community forum art competition, running every month in this thread. Submissions can be any form of static visual media you want – digital art, 3D models, pencil drawings, paintings, etc. Users vote on their favourites for each month, and the winning submission each month will be posted to Thrive’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Winners will also receive time machines to see the completed version of Thrive in 2150.

Terms and conditions apply. Time machine delivery dependent on someone inventing it in the future and going back in time to give it to you.

Latest Livestream

Shortly after the release of Thrive 0.3.3, we staged another livestream showing off its features, discussing random topics and answering fan questions. Despite a disconnected microphone leading to a load of us accidentally talking over hhyyrylainen as he explained the engine, it went well and we all had fun in the process. Schedules mean it’ll be difficult to organise another in the near future, but keep an eye out.


And finally, memes have started appearing on our subreddit. Memes as a scientific concept are a potential feature of the game in the Society and Industrial stages (and you can read some or join some discussion on them here), but we obviously can’t pass up the opportunity to make our own image-based stupid inside jokes. Does this deserve a whole section in a Devblog? Probably not. Oh well.

That’s it for the latest Thrive news – stay tuned for more in the coming months!

Discuss this post on our forums.

Thrive v0.3.3 Released

Thrive v0.3.3 Released

News 5 comments

Is it too late to say happy New Year? Probably, but we’ll do it anyway. Happy New Year, and as 2017 takes its first steps we’re happy to present another...

Thrive v0.3.2 Now Available

Thrive v0.3.2 Now Available

News 8 comments

Another release for your enjoyment, this time including compound clouds, a process system overhaul, a tutorial and plenty more.

Thrive v0.3.1 Now Available

Thrive v0.3.1 Now Available

News 1 comment

Our latest release features Linux support, colored NPC cells, editor symmetry, a parallax background and various other fixes.

v0.3.0 Released!

v0.3.0 Released!

News 3 comments

Here comes our latest release with updated cell membranes, new cell organelle models, improved AI, and more! Read on for more details.

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Thrive v0.3.0

Thrive v0.3.0


The latest version of Thrive, including procedural membranes, organelle models and much more, is now available on ModDB. The last download here was posted...

Cell Editor Prototype

Cell Editor Prototype

Demo 46 comments

This is the earliest version of our cell editor. Enjoy and comment!

AI Editor Prototype

AI Editor Prototype

Demo 13 comments

Say hello to our first Prototpye! Many more to come!

Comments  (0 - 10 of 395)

I have been following this project for years now, probably since 2013 and you guys are doing a wonderfull job. It gets better and better every year (slowly but steadily;D). And I can see my own personal developement in this project as well. I have learned a lot more about biology in these past four years and I'm almost done with school, after which I will move on to university. It's great to see some of that knowledge in your game (mitosis etc.) and to see how my knowledge has grown. Well, ofcourse I have known most of what's in your game for quite some time now, but it is still very interesting to see all of that in a game that tries to give a realistic view of evolution and I LOVE it. Keep up the great work and I'm looking forward to see how this project will develop in the future!

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So... this is death? Or is evolving?

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They released a update a month or two ago on their website. So don't worry, it lives.

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This game looks like it'll be amazing! I was just wondering, when it is released, will it also work on macs?

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the day of the release of the new update i thought abut this game and wondered how far it had gotten since last time I checked (about 1 year ago) coincidence? or destiny?

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May i ask what engine/platform the game uses/will use?

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I am not a dev but I believe the engine is Ogre.

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This SOUNDTRACK EHMAHGERD!!! is like ambrosia for my ears.... :3 can't wait so see how much this amazing project evolves

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes

Amazing idea iv already looked at the cell editor and i must say amazing concept. I cant wait to see the finished project nor can i wait to see how far it comes expect to be watched intently from now on and keep up the outstanding work!

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Latest tweets from @thrive_game

Watch YouTuber Kinesis play a little Thrive and hopefully you'll be as excited as he is.

9hours ago

Our developers are discussing the mechanics involved in transitioning to the Multicellular Stage of Thrive.

Sep 17 2017

Devblog #13: The Engine Dilemma

Sep 10 2017

The August round of the Thrive Art Competition finished in a draw between Atrox and MirrorMonkey2. Congrats guys! H…

Sep 8 2017

What are your opinions on Thrive social media? See this thread for details and to post your responses.

Sep 7 2017

RT @Oliveriver_555: Thrive Swamp Theme Despite what my inactivity might lead you to believe, I am still composing for the game.

Sep 4 2017

In case you missed it: we released Thrive 0.3.4 yesterday, along with a dedicated launcher.

Jun 13 2017

Thrive 0.3.4 has been released!

Jun 12 2017

Devblog #12: Prepare for Launch

Jun 12 2017

Here's our first release candidate for Thrive 0.3.4.

May 16 2017

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