DNA points are a numerical representation of an organism's potential to evolve and are the currency a player uses during the Cell Stage and the Creature Stage to purchase body parts for their creature within the Cell Creator or Creature Creator. In the story mode, players must collect a certain amount of DNA points to progress, grow a bigger brain, and ultimately complete both the Cell and Creature stages.
The Tribal, Civilization, and Space Stage, DNA points are replaced by Food points (Tribal Stage) and Sporebucks respectively (Civilization Stage and onward). Any excess DNA points are wasted when transitioning between stages.
DNA points can be earned for completing tasks that are beneficial to an creature's survival, but vary depending on the stage and creature's abilities:
In the Cell Stage, eating a piece of food rewards 1 point per piece of food consumed, indicated by a green icon floating above where the food was consumed.
Filling up the progress bar will cause the cell to develop into a more complex organism, this increases the cell's size and introduces them to a new environment. This happens about ten times over the course of the stage.
Sources of DNA in the Cell Stage include:
- Meat chunks found lying around or appearing in groups of three after a cell dies and is broken apart. Meat chunks can only be eaten by cells with a Jaw mouth and cells can be broken down into meat chunks with a Jaw or Spike.
- Green plant matter, sometimes referred to as Seaweed, can either be found in single chunks or as part of a larger plant. Plant Matter can be consumed by either a Filter Mouth or a Proboscis.
- Live cells of the same size or smaller can be sucked on by a Proboscis, which is an alternative to killing a cells first for its meat chunks. Cells of the same size can be sucked on 3 times before death (from full health).
- Smaller "Prey" cells can be eaten whole with either a Jaw or Proboscis mouth and are equivalent to a meat chunk. However, eating prey-sized Juniors will never grant DNA points.
- Maa's eggs, which are obtained by either waiting for a Maa to lay them naturally or by killing one, which will always lay eggs afterwards. These eggs can be consumed by any cell. These eggs will hatch into Juniors after a short while, which do not award DNA if eaten.
Upon filling the progress bar, DNA points can no longer be earned from eating food, capping out the maximum amount of DNA at 125 points. Any excess DNA points earned are deducted when the progress bar is filled until the total amount of DNA a cell has (including that spent on parts) equals 125.
In the Creature Stage, DNA points are awarded for completing tasks. Killing or impressing creatures (and tasks involving killing or impressing creatures) will award points depending on their social or combat scores relative to the player's creature, tougher creatures will award more points while weaker creatures reward less. A creature's ability scores are calculated by the combined levels of their respective abilities in each category, these can be viewed in the Sporepedia or with the "Inspect" function in the menu.
Filling up the progress bar will increase the creature's brain size, making them more intelligent. This will allow the creature to add members to their pack and increase their max health by increasing amounts per development milestone.
Sources of DNA in the Creature Stage include:
- 125 DNA is given as a starting budget but does not contribute to stage progress.
- Impressing or killing an individual creature will yield a very small DNA point reward upon impressing or killing.
- Baby creatures have half the health of adults and are easier to impress but yield less points.
- Alpha creatures yield more points than their normal counterparts but have more health and are harder to impress.
- Rogue creatures reward 100 DNA upon successfully killing or impressing them, but have high-level abilities and 250 health.
- Epic creatures reward 100 DNA upon death but have 1000 health and powerful attacks that can kill most creatures in a single hit.
- Eggs will award 25-50 DNA points upon breaking but will anger any creature of the same species and provoke them to attack if they witness a creature attacking an egg. Eggs will automatically disappear if the species are made extinct but will not reward DNA points if broken this way.
- The "Migrate to a new nest" task awards 25-50 points upon completion.
Upon filling the progress bar, the amount of DNA received from completing tasks and impressing or killing creatures (except Rogues and Epics) is reduced, but (unlike the Cell Stage) there is no limit on the amount of DNA that can be earned as long as there are tasks to be completed or creatures that can be interacted with (i.e. not extinct or allied with).
- The "adddna" cheat gives 150 DNA points per activation of the cheat. The cheat can be used inside the editor or during gameplay.
- Creating a creature from the main menu will initially give players 125 DNA (Early Creature) or 2000 DNA (Normal Creature) to work with, but this can be increased with the "adddna" cheat.
- Parts attached to starter organisms can be sold or exchanged for other parts. This includes parts on creatures played as using the "evoadvantage" cheat.
In the Creator
When the player is brought to the Cell Creator or Creature Creator, their current amount of DNA points is shown in the lower-left of the screen. Body parts cost anywhere from 5-250 DNA points per part depending on the level of abilities they provide. Players will always get a full refund on the sold part, meaning they can sell a few small, inexpensive parts to buy a larger, more expensive part.