Idea 039 - Growth a game

5 minute read

This post is part of the 100 project ideas project. #The100DayProject. I am looking for feedback. Comment below or DM me via social media Instagram, Twitter.

One Line Pitch

A game where you start as the smallest living thing, then grow and evolve depending on what actions you do the most


In this game the theme is “growth”. You get bigger, more complex, you face ever larger challenges, bigger enemies. Always getting bigger with every completed challenge. The numbers (stats) always go up. It should have the feel that any action that you do no matter what you do, makes you stronger then you were before. The better actions just make you grow faster than the bad actions. There is no death, game over, only slower progression.

Simple Bacteria

group-bacteriaThe game starts out and you are a simple bacteria. The smallest living organism that we know about. You only have one stat to start “movement”. The movement stat starts at “1”. Top down view. Fog of war, nothing on the screen. As you move around your movement stat increases. After the first 10 steps, your movement stat increases to “2” and you can move a little faster. 100 more steps for level 3 movement, etc… As you explore the fog of war slowly disappears around you. You find things in your world. Sunshine, physically smaller bacteria, etc… Depending on what you do with your simple bacteria will determine the next phase of life.

Sunshine Bacteria

sunshine-bacteriaIf you stay in the sunshine for 3 seconds, then you “evolve” into sunshine bacteria. A pop up box is displayed and it describes a new stat that you have gained. “Energy”. The more time you spend in the sunshine the more energy you gain (1 energy per second). When your energy level hits 10, you divide into two bacteria. You collect energy for both bacteria while they are in the sunshine. You gain a new skill “population” for the number of bacteria in your group. After 10 more energy both bacteria divide again into 4 (doubling your size), etc.. If you move then the whole group as one moves, if there are many of you then you move as a swarm.

The sunshine moves around the play space like the sun is moving though the sky, so you have to move to follow it. You can’t just stay still. Sometimes it disappears and you need to hunt for more sunshine.

Your enemy here is a larger bacteria (Hunter Bacteria) that will hunt you and envelope your bacteria. Once the larger bacteria touches one of your smaller bacteria it gets consumed and is split off of your group. The larger bacteria take some time to devour your sunshine bacteria (3-5 seconds) and can’t move until it’s done eating. If there is only 1 of you, then the hunter bacteria is not interested in such a small snack (no death)

Growth pattern 2,4,8,16,32,64,128. As soon as you get to the size of 128 bacteria you evolve to the next stage.

Hunter Bacteria

fighter-bacteriaAs a simple bacteria if you find the smaller bacteria and touch it, you turn into hunter bacteria. You get a new skill “size”. The more you eat the larger (physically on the screen) you get. You need to run through the fog of war trying to find other smaller bacteria to eat. You eat them by touching them. As you move more your movement stat will increase.

After you consume your second smaller bacteria you gain a new stat “stamina”. Each time you eat your stamina goes back to 10size. As you move your stamina decreases with each movement. If your stamina ever reaches zero then your size is decreased by 1, and your stamina is reset to 10size. You can not decrease below 1 size. (No death)

Once you reach size 8, then you evolve to the next stage.

Rest of the game

As you evolve you start to unlock a skill tree that gives you new abilities, new stats, etc.. New ways to get larger or eat more. A more complex creature.

At a certain point you “evolve” to the next species type. Each species has a predator and prey style organisms with their own style game mechanics.

The goal is to get larger and bigger as fast as you can. Expand and breed.

Because players need to compete with each other. Add a score that is based on the amount of progress you have made (count, size) divided by the amount of time. We will need some mechanism to prevent the score from going down… Because numbers only go up.


hunter-bacteriaThe game should reward getting bigger and more complex. The physical look of the bacteria should reflect the stats and skills.

If your movement stat goes up then your tenderals of your bacteria should get larger, thicker, and the quantity should increase.

As your population increases each little bacteria should have its own “face” so that it looks unique in the group.

If you are a hunter bacteria, as you grow in size. You bacteria should have cartoony mussels.

Prior art

  • Spore - Be the architect of your own universe with Spore, an exciting single-player adventure. From Single Cell to Galactic God, evolve your creature in a universe of your own creations.
  • SimAnt - The game is a simulation of an ant colony. Wright was inspired by E. O. Wilson’s study of ant colonies.
  • Bacteria - ‘Bacteria’ - A relaxing puzzle game based on the rules of the cellular automaton ‘Life’ devised by John Horton Conway in 1970.
  • Bacteria Wars - A real-time strategy game in which you fight to secure the victory of your Bacteria over the Cell Defense Force and other enemy Bacteria in a world where your units are your only resource, and where your mobile base will not be enough to keep you alive.




  • I can envision something like D&D classes. For viral level, you can choose between pathogen (destroy the competition), parasitic (become the competition), or immunity (build up yourself and destroy the competition). Then mutate to bacteria. Or something. I’m sure my gross misunderstanding of basic physiology is obvious, but you get the idea.

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