The Life Cycle Game Mode
Like any other gamemode, Life Cycle requires one to keep their selected playable creature alive by maintaining an appropriate level of hunger, thirst, and comfort. Perhaps oxygen level as well, if one selects a completely aquatic creature. However, unlike Combat and Sandbox - where a player is granted a fully grown creature right off the bat - in Life Cycle you are spawned as a playable at 0.4 growth or have the option to possess another player's egg and hatch at growth 0.1. The goal, if possible, is to grow to full size or perhaps even larger.
While every freshly spawned creature within the Life Cycle gamemode enters the map at a growth of 0.4, every creature has a different growth rate. Growth rate refers to how long it takes a certain creature to gain a tick of growth. Smaller creatures gain growth faster than larger creatures (for example, a Velociraptor will grow larger faster than a Mosasaurus would). However, the rate of growth can be improved by keeping one's stats such as comfort at a high level. Having pack/herdmates can help to keep comfort high at all times; consuming a large amount of healthy herbs (comfort flowers, crystals, sponges) will increase one's comfort bias and allow comfort to be maintained at a higher level as well.
On some maps, there are specific areas where one can go to get a boost to growth no matter their status levels. The area may take the form of a small island or temple. The buffs are custom set by the creator(s) of the map, and also can be set to increase in intensity as one gets closer to the center of the growth increase radius. One will receive a status message in blue on their screen when they have entered or left a growth increase radius.
Growth is infinite. One can grow as big as they would like, provided they are able to survive. Growth significantly slows once any creature reaches their full size at 1.0. However, while growth is different for every creature, it slows down to the same rate for any animal once said animal reaches 1.2 growth (for example, a Velociraptor at 1.2 growth will grow at the same rate as a 1.2 Mosasaurus.) The larger one grows, the more resources (such as food) they will require to survive. Eventually, one may find oneself at a point where they cannot sustain their huge animal any longer due to massive resource requirements.
Growth rate can be increased by finding the growth orb. These glowing blue orbs can be found on the Bloodbath and Forest Island maps, but currently only the one on Bloodbath functions.
Like all other current gamemodes, Life Cycle has a talent system. When spawning as a juvenile (growth 0.4) from the respawn screen, the player starts out with 5 talent points that can be applied to any accessible talent on any tree (survival in blue, power in red, speed in green.) As with any other gamemode, a talent can only have 3/3 points if the previous talent does. This also applies to talents with 1/3 and 2/3 points.
Additional talent points can be gained by surviving. When any creature advances 0.04 growth, they gain a talent point. This remains constant as long as a creature is alive. At 1.0, one is expected to have around 20 talent points in total (invested or not, not including inheritance). One can gain more by growing past 1.0.
When one spawns as a juvenile, one is guaranteed to inherit 2 or more positive talent points outside of the ones that can be applied. Because the inherited talents exist outside of talents generated gradually from the user, the talents have the possibility to stack past 3/3. Instances often include 4/3 in a certain talent (3 applied, 1 inherited) and very rarely 5/3 (3 applied, 2 inherited). However, it is also possible to inherit negative talent points as a juvenile. It is unlikely, though, as one is not guaranteed to inherit negatives. Negative talents inherited can range from 0 to 2. This means the maximum amount of talent points any spawned juvenile can inherit is 6 points (4 positive, 2 negative).
Inherited talent points do not appear until certain milestones in a creature's growth. A purple prompt will be issued on screen when the talent is revealed, showcasing how many points went to the talent and the talent's specific name. Higher tier talents require the creature to be larger to be revealed, with the last and highest tier talents having (potential) points revealed at growth 1.2.